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A Venture on the Frontier: Alptegin's Conquest of Ghazna and its Sequel

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A Venture on the Frontier: Alptegin's Conquest of Ghazna and its Sequel
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  Medieval Central Asia and thePersianate World Iranian Tradition and Islamic Civilisation  Published in 2015 by I.B.Tauris & Co. Ltd London • New York  www.ibtauris.comCopyright © 2015 A.C.S. Peacock and D.G. Torasserted by the author in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. All rights reserved. Except for brief quotations in a review, this book, or any part thereof, may not be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any formor by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without theprior written permission of the publisher.Every attempt has been made to gain permission for the use of the images in this book. Any References to websites were correct at the time of writing.ISBN:  978 1 78453 239 0 eISBN: A full CIP record for this book is available from the British Library  A full CIP record is available from the Library of CongressLibrary of Congress Catalog Card Number: available Typeset by Swales & Willis Ltd, Exeter, DevonPrinted and bound by CPI Group (UK) Ltd, Croydon, CR0 4YY   108 ë A VENTURE ON THE FRONTIER:ALPTEGIN’S CONQUEST OF GHAZNAAND ITS SEQUEL  Ó·²±®« ײ¿¾¿  -the thirteenth century witnessed a third wave of conquests, especially in CentralAsia and South Asia, which were carried out by the non-Arab local Muslims. Inwestern part of present-day Afghanistan, and eventually incorporated Afghanistanand Deborah Tor, both dynasties implemented a common policy of conductingvigorous against non-Islamic lands to bolster their political legitimacy, 1 andthis policy of is a distinct feature of expansion in the period in question.It was, however, the Ghaznavids who continued this policy and openeda new frontier in north-western India. 2 srcin. In this sense, the Ghaznavids inherited the legacy of these two earlierdynasties, and this paper outlines how these precedents were integrated withinthe process of Ghaznavid state formation, and how this was related to the fron-tier features of this region, thereby illustrating not only the economic aspects of the frontier but also the politico-military potential of this eastern frontier of theIslamic world in the period in question. ïò ß´°¬»¹·² characteristics of the Samanid military and policy. Alptegin originally hadbeen a Turkish  109the state. 3 -tial in the Samanid court as (Chief Chamberlain). According toalso a Turkish general, was appointed as Bakr’s successor. 4 same time, the post of  5 chronicler of the eleventh century, the ‘Abd al-Malik, who was anxious aboutfurther extension of Alptegin’s power, tried to remove him from Bukhara by appointing him to the post of the governor of Balkh. Faced with Alptegin’s refusal,however, he abandoned this plan, and Alptegin was instead made of  6 at the time, was forced to move to Tus. 7 In November of the same year,of the late , succeeded in winning the support of the members of royal family  8 WhenAlptegin received the news at Nishapur, he immediately departed for Bukharawithhisarmy,intending togaincontrol of thesituation.When hearrivedatAmul,a ford of the Amu Darya, there was already an army on the opposite side, whichhad been dispatched from Bukhara to bar his way. 9 At the same time, the new he was likely to be caught in a pincer movement, Alptegin decided to escape from 10 for a while and gathered volunteers by proclaiming a 11  110s and 800 s;that there were from 1,500 to 2,000 people as a whole, since there must have beennon-combatants with them. 12 the ruler, surrendered and yielded the city to Alptegin. 1314 struggle among various Turkish generals and notables that was triggered by thesuccession dispute that resulted from ‘Abd al-Malik’s death. As has already beenpointedoutbyBarthold,thepositionof to allow one to respond easily to the dynamic politics of the Samanid court,unless one had a trustworthy and capable deputy in the capital. It was fatal, in that 15 foothold there tended to quit the Samanid realm in search of new opportuni-people the position of  16 and as will be discussed below, the same is true of thepattern observed in Samanid history. However, the question remains: why did heto his own proclamation, the reason was simply that the region to the south of theHindukush was ruled by the . Let usnow examine this point more closely. îò Ю»óÙ¸¿¦²¿ª·¼ »¿-¬»®² ߺ¹¸¿²·-¬¿² øï÷ ̸» Ù¿¬» ±º ײ¼·¿  , a Persian geographical work of the tenth century by ananonymous author, describes two cities in eastern Afghanistan as the ‘Gate of 
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