Afrighids

Afrighids

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The Afrighids were native Chorasmian
Khwarezmian language
Khwarezmian, also known as Khwarazmian or Chorasmian, is the name of an extinct East Iranian language closely related to Sogdian. The language was spoken in the area of Khwarezm , centered in the lower Amu Darya south of the Aral Sea .Our knowledge of Khwarezmian is...

 Iranian  dynasty who ruled over the ancient kingdom of Chorasmia until 995 AD.

Sources


Abu Rayhan Biruni, the native Chorasmian
Khwarezmian language
Khwarezmian, also known as Khwarazmian or Chorasmian, is the name of an extinct East Iranian language closely related to Sogdian. The language was spoken in the area of Khwarezm , centered in the lower Amu Darya south of the Aral Sea .Our knowledge of Khwarezmian is...

 scholar, mentions twenty-two members of the Afrighid dynasty for a total span of 690 years with an average rule of 31 years for each ruler. According to him, the Afrighids ruled from 305 AD, through the Arab conquests under Qotayba b. Moslem in 93/712, and up to their overthrow in 385/995 by the rising rival family of Ma'munids
Ma'munids
ĀL-E MAʾMŪN , were an independent dynasty of Iranian rulers in Chorasmia. Their reign was short-lived and were in turn replaced by the expansionist Ghaznavids.-Rulers and Kingdom:...

. The main source on the Afrighids prior to Islam is also Abu Rayhan Biruni. Part of the reason for the gap in information about this dynasty is mentioned by Biruni.

Biruni states:

Etymology


It has been suggested that 'Afrigh' is the Arabicized of 'Abriz' in Persian (آبریز where water flows, a reference to the geography of Khwarazm and its abundant water). However, Dr. Parviz Azkai, in his annotations on Biruni's Chornology of Ancient Nations, explains that this is a popular etymology. Azkai explains that Afrigh was originally Ap-Air-ig meaning from the Aryan descent: ap or af is the same in 'afrashtan' (Persian: افراشتن) to raise; air is the root meaning Aryan as seen in Iraj, and Eran/Iran (land of Aryan); and -ig is the suffix of relation in Iranian languages
Iranian languages
The Iranian languages form a subfamily of the Indo-Iranian languages which in turn is a subgroup of Indo-European language family. They have been and are spoken by Iranian peoples....

 and cognate to '-ic' in English or '-ique' in French
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

.

Kingdom


The ancient Iranian kingdom of Khwarazm had been ruled until 995 by the old established line of Afrighids of Kath. Khwarazm, or the classical Chorasmia, was the well irrigated and rich agricultural region of lower Oxus. Surrounded by all sides by steppe land and desert, it was geographically isolated from other areas of civilization. This isolation allowed it to maintain a separate distinctive Iranian language and culture
. Khwarazm was one of the early areas of Iranians
Iranian peoples
The Iranian peoples are an Indo-European ethnic-linguistic group, consisting of the speakers of Iranian languages, a major branch of the Indo-European language family, as such forming a branch of Indo-European-speaking peoples...

 civilization, and the local Chorasmian historian, Abu Rayhan Biruni traces civilization there beyond the first millennium BC. Before the 8th century, there had only been few ineffectual Arab raids on the fringes of Chorasmia from the directions of Khorasan
Greater Khorasan
Greater Khorasan or Ancient Khorasan is a historical region of Greater Iran mentioned in sources from Sassanid and Islamic eras which "frequently" had a denotation wider than current three provinces of Khorasan in Iran...

 and Transoxania. But in 712 AD, Qotayba the son of Moslem Baheli was able to intervene in a civil war between the Afrighid Shah and his brother Khorrazad. Two Arab
Arab
Arab people, also known as Arabs , are a panethnicity primarily living in the Arab world, which is located in Western Asia and North Africa. They are identified as such on one or more of genealogical, linguistic, or cultural grounds, with tribal affiliations, and intra-tribal relationships playing...

 invasions lead to much destruction as Biruni notes. Once the Arabs withdrew from their raid, the Shahs recovered power in Chorasmia and they continued to adhere to their ancestral faith, which according to Biruni was Zoroastrianism
Zoroastrianism
Zoroastrianism is a religion and philosophy based on the teachings of prophet Zoroaster and was formerly among the world's largest religions. It was probably founded some time before the 6th century BCE in Greater Iran.In Zoroastrianism, the Creator Ahura Mazda is all good, and no evil...

. The local shahs continued to ally with local Iranians princes, Soghdian merchances and even Turks
Turkish people
Turkish people, also known as the "Turks" , are an ethnic group primarily living in Turkey and in the former lands of the Ottoman Empire where Turkish minorities had been established in Bulgaria, Cyprus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Greece, Kosovo, Macedonia, and Romania...

 and Chinese
Chinese people
The term Chinese people may refer to any of the following:*People with Han Chinese ethnicity ....

 in order to resist the Arabs.

It thus came vaguely under Muslim suzerainty, but it was not until the end of the eight century or the beginning of the 9th century that that an Afrighid was first converted to Islam appearing with the popular convert’s name of ‘Abdallah (slave of God). In the course of the tenth century, the local family of the Ma'munids
Ma'munids
ĀL-E MAʾMŪN , were an independent dynasty of Iranian rulers in Chorasmia. Their reign was short-lived and were in turn replaced by the expansionist Ghaznavids.-Rulers and Kingdom:...

 who were based in Gurganj, on the left bank of the Oxus grew in economic and political importance due to trade caravans. In 995, they violently overthrew the Afrighids of Kath and themselves assumed the traditional title of the Khwarazm Shah. Briefly, the area was under Samanid
Samanid
The Samani dynasty , also known as the Samanid Empire, or simply Samanids was a Persian state and empire in Central Asia and Greater Iran, named after its founder Saman Khuda, who converted to Sunni Islam despite being from Zoroastrian theocratic nobility...

 suzerainty, before it passed to Mahmud of Ghazna. From then on, Turco-Mongolian invasions and long rule by Turco-Mongol dynasties supplanted the Iranian character of the region although the title of Khwarizm Shah was maintained well up to the 15th century.

Name of Rulers


Only consonants of the pre-Islamic names are known with long vowels, since in Arabic
Arabic language
Arabic is a name applied to the descendants of the Classical Arabic language of the 6th century AD, used most prominently in the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book...

 script, the short vowels are not written and diacritic signs are used to clarify when required. After the conversion of 'Abdallah, all the names expect possibly 'Eraq are Arabic and their pronunciation is known. Unfortunately, the manuscripts that have also come down have also suffered some corruption due to scribal errors, since the Chorasmian names were incomprehensible for most non-natives. Biruni himself utilizes the extra letters of Chorasmian which were not used in Arabic
Arabic language
Arabic is a name applied to the descendants of the Classical Arabic language of the 6th century AD, used most prominently in the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book...

 writings.

More is known about the dynasty in the Islamic era after the beginning of the 8th century and their conversion to Islam.

Name of the rulers given by the native Chorasmian speaker Biruni

1) ʾfrḡ, Āfrīḡ.

2) bḡrh

3) sḵḵsk

4)ʾskǰmwk

5) ʾzkʾǰwʾr

6) sḵr [I]

7) sʾwšš, Sāvoš (Syavash)

8) ḵʾmkry/ḵʾnkry

9) bwzkʾr

10) ʾrṯmwḵ, Arṯamūḵ (mentioned also in coins)

11) sḵr

12) sbry

13) ʾzkʾǰwʾr [II].

14) ʾskǰmwk [II].

15) šʾwšfr.

16) trksbʾṯh

17) ʿAbdallāh.

18) Manṣūr.

19) ʿErāq.

20) Moḥammad.

21) Aḥmad.

22) Abū ʿAbdallāh Moḥammad, killed in 385/995.

Further reading



  • Albiruni. The Chronology Of Ancient Nations, trans.Edward Sachau. London: Elibron Classics, 2005.