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The future vizier first gained employment in government service of the Ghaznavids in Khorasan. According to Sobki d. Yusof d. Soon thereafter, he encountered a young Torkman astride a stallion, who offered him his horse in exchange for the mule. This he took as a favorable omen that his fortune had turned. These anecdotal accounts of his early career vary from source to source.

An important part of this enduring legacy is a manual of advice on governance addressed to the Saljuq rulers entitled Siar al-moluk The ways of kings. The book has an intriguing history of its own. Supposedly penned by the vizier himself while in office, it was completed only after his forced removal from his position in Bosworth, , pp.

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Siar al-moluk maintains that good advice is the linchpin of successful kingship, and that the sultan cannot govern without a trusted councilor. These prescriptive sentiments are accompanied by a pessimistic prognostication: the demise of the counselor is deemed as inevitable, for the king would ultimately submit to his engrained frailties and repeat the errors of his forefathers.

Alarmed by this, he inquires further.

Sobki V, p. The secret plot to assassinate the vizier was revealed to the sultan at the outset. There is yet another biographical detail that foreshadows the ultimate downfall of the vizier and is in itself emblematic of the logic of causality as depicted in medieval biographies.

How Islam Began, Fred Donner: UnCommon Core Lecture

So thanks to being engaged at your service I have secured for myself this world and the one hereafter. I fear that you will see this custom rebound on your own person and that of your progeny. Browne, II, p.

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This was apparently intended not so much to foster better relationships between the sultan and the caliph, but rather to secure their support for his own position against internal opposition at the Saljuq court Makdisi, , pp. Marriage ties are another indication. Makdisi, , pp. His insolence and audacity marred relations with the Abbasids. Jahir d.

A. C. S. Peacock

He is cast as a stalwart of bureaucratic reform, institutionalization, administrative efficiency, and visionary rule. Some sources and modern studies have erroneously credited the vizier as the progenitor of madrasas. Medieval sources announce the establishment of the madrasas with great fanfare but say little about their subsequent fate. Financed by private endowment, they could only function and flourish in times of peace and political stability—scarce commodities in the 12th and 13th centuries.

Talas, p. Under his guidance, Saljuq policy veered away from doctrinal disputes and ideological rivalries. His own preference, he declared, was for the preservation of learning and the traditions of the Prophet rather than for instigating riots. Biographical accounts, regardless of their ideological underpinning or ethnic affiliation, remark on his seeking the company of Sufis and promoting their cause. Cooperson, pp. The Sufi shaykh encouraged the vizier to befriend the truth, act justly with people, restrain his carnal desires, treat the Sufis with kindness, serve dignitaries, be kind to the young, advise friends, treat enemies with mercy, remain silent in the company of the ignorant, and show humility in the presence of the learned Varia , fol.

That he was incorporated in the historical vision of future generations as an exemplar, an authoritative template of good governance and godliness, attests to the success of his policies and to the durability of his vision. Yet many modern scholars still search for an ecological interpretation as the key solution to human history. These present-days geographers and historians investigate the history of climate and nomadism in Central Asia.

The border of the Eurasian Steppe was ethnic and ecological. The Caliphate imported from this vast territory a variety of goods.

Muslim and other merchants traversed it in their travels to remote sedentary and nomadic civilizations, returning across the Steppe to the heartlands of the Islamic Caliphate they carried with them exotic merchandises. The data that excavations and artefacts provide supports the line that the narrative sources tell.

These texts present a picture of cross-border trans-civilization movements and influence. Adopted and re-edited from Peacock And that the Turks are the most skilled bowmen on Earth. The recruitment of Eurasian slave-soldiers by the Abbasid caliph is well researched and there is no need to dwell upon this phenomenon here Kennedy Most of the narrative sources which we are using to construct the story of the coming of the Turks were written in Arabic; yet some were composed in Syriac, Armenian and Persian.

The state of Persian sources differs only slightly. In the sections on Eurasia, Iran and the Turks he uses earlier works that have not reached us. In interpreting those years his point of departure is the Sacred Scriptures. Based on the words of the prophets he provides his audiences with biblical interpretations of the events that his predecessors experienced. The deep demographic change that was caused by the advance of the Turks is revealed by him as a fulfilment of ancient prophesies.

No word on climate catastrophe. Despite using a lost early Saljuqid source the Book of King his narrative is mainly political and dynastic and not adds a record of ecological history.

Encyclopædia Iranica

Turning to the Persian sources the history of the source material tells a similar story. Remarks on weather in these chronicles are limited. At most, these sources inform their reading audiences on farming and food shortage. These sources, whether in Arabic or in Persian, do not report on the effects the fluctuating weather had on the nomadic tribes who roamed the Eurasian Steppe in the last quarter of the tenth and first half of the eleventh century. Indeed, I was not able to trace in the narrative sources from these long years any sort of meteorological information about the Steppe.

The chronicles report only on weather events. This no doubt will be visible in the conclusions I deduce. Nowhere in these narrative sources is climate blamed for the military-break down of a straining empire that failed to defend its territory against invading nomads. Famine should affect both parties, even if not equally.

Moreover, nowhere is it said that the environmental conditions in Central Asia differed from the climate in Iran during those days.

I will return to these points below. Indeed, irregularities in climate are recorded in past and modern periods Moreover, as a whole, settlements in this region demonstrated resilience and recovery, despite famine, plague and massive deaths of humans and animals. The recovery from climatological disasters is quick. Data from the Chronicle of Michael the Syrian tran.

Hence, we should ask: do these irregularities cause a permanent change? Paul Following these condensed introductory remarks, we can turn now to an interpretation of the coming of the steppe barbarian in the eleventh century. The collapse of Samanid rule removed a buffer separating the Eurasian Steppe and the Iranian Plateau. They elucidate the massive penetration of pastoralist nomads into the territory of a highly developed urban civilization, which subsequently experienced several decades of crises and political disorders.

We number 4, families. Moreover, we would provide additional manpower for his army. On the same pages, we read that for several years plowing and harvesting was not chronicled in the province of Bayhaq Fig. Reinforcements from Ghazna arrived and camped in the rural region near Bayhaq. It was winter, and the expedition force cut down the Pistachio trees, using the wood to warm themselves.

They also uprooted the trees and sent the wood to Ghazna Fig.