Bukhara History - Part 5

Bukhara under the Arabian conquest

In his History of Bukhara, Marshall mentions several rulers of Bukhara. The first one was Abrui (or Abarzi), followed by two others: Kana and Mak. R. Frye mentions a silver dish bearing the name of another ruler of Bukhara, Dizo. Arabic-Persian and Chinese sources provide us with much more data on the seventh and eighth century rulers of Bukhara:

Bidun (died prior to 673 AD) Khutak Khatun (673-692 AD) Tugshada I (692-724 AD) Vardankhudat-usurper (706-709 AD) Tugshada II (724-738 AD) Kutaiba (738-753 AD) Unidentified bukharkhudat-Tugshada III (753-768 AD) Sukan (768-775 AD) Buniat (755-782 AD) O.I.

Smirnova proposes a somewhat different chronological table of the rulers of Bukhara. It differs in the dating and the way of reading names. O.I. Smirnova's opinion is based upon comparing the Chinese and Arabic written sources. Chinese Sha Dusaboti I Dusaboti II Tsoidibo (Kyuidiba) Asilan (Dafudan-fali) Aarabic name Shaba (Shaya'a) Bidun Khatun (his widow) Tukaspada (Tugshada I) Varkhan-khudat (usurper) Tukaspada II Kutaiba (Tukaspada ll's brother) Skan (Salan, Tukaspada II's brother) Buniyyat (Tukaspada II's brother) reigned for ten years between 760 and 780, killed by caliph Mahdi's order.

By the time of the first Arab campaigns against Bukhara, began under the vice-regent of Khorasan Ubaydullah ibn Ziyad (673-674) and continued under Said b. Usman and Salmb. Ziyad (680-683), there were several independent kingdoms in the Bukhara oasis: Bukhara itself, ruled by the Bukhar-khudat Dynasty; Vardana, ruled by the Vardan-khudats, descendants of Shapur, a Persian prince; Karmana and Paikend, the merchants' city. Numismatic evidence eloquently testifies to the fact that in the Bukhara oasis there were independent kingdoms that had the right to mint their own coins. V.A. Livshits reads a Soghdian legend, stamped in the coins of so-called Bukhara-Chinese type, A. Naimark, however, examined coins of this type that were better preserved and proposed deciphering the legend in a different way: "magnificent city, the city of glory, the city of grace". In his opinion, this interpretation corresponds to the medieval name of Bukhara: Bukhara-i-Sharif. He also supposes that a group of bronze coins, defined comparatively recently, was minted by the rulers of Vardana. The images on these coins show a predator animal on the obverse and a Nestorian cross in the reverse. At the same time, A. Musakayeva, who defined several new coin-groups ("deer and cross" and "ram and cross", apart from the "predator and cross" group) suggested that these coins were localized to the area of Varaksha. Among the Bukhara-Chinese coins, according to A. Naimark, are those bearing the Hestorian cross along with tamgas to the left or below a square hole.

O.I. Smirnova says that the majority of Central Asian coins bearing Christian symbols were minted by leaders of Christian communities, not by rulers of certain kingdoms. The strong influence of Christianity in this region can be seen in the large number of coins with Christian symbols found here, unlike in any other Central Asian region. It is an established fact that there was a Christian cathedral in Bukhara itself which was later replaced by the Banu Khanzala, the first mosque that Kutaiba. Muslim had built in this city in the year 1334.

Currently, we do not know what kind of pre-Islamic coinage existed in either Karmana or any other kingdom in the Bukhara oasis. However, it is known that in the seventh and eighth centuries there were copper coins bearing the image of a Bactrian camel on the obverse and a fire altar with a legend written in Soghdian letters in the local Bukhara form. These coins were used as currency in the Early Middle Ages. They were minted in one of the kingdoms of the Bukhara oasis. One more type of coin is also known, namely one made of copper and bearing a three-quarter image of the ruler with a Soghdian legend opposite his face. V.A. Livshits reads this legend. A. Musakaeva links this inscription with the village of Karnab, situated to the south of the Bukhara oasis. Musakaeva has defined thirteen independent coinages within the so-called "Turan" coins. Apparently, each coinage belonged to a separate principality that minted these coins.

The first Arab campaigns were raids conducted in order to acquire plunder. It is well known that Khutak-Khatun paid a tribute to Ubaydullah b. Ziyad of one million dirkhems and 4,000 slaves. Once Kutaiba ibn Muslim was appointed as the vice-regent of Khorasan and general commander of the Arab troops there, the conquest of Maverannakhr proceeded systematically. In 706, Kutaiba started a military campaign against Paikend with his united army, which now included the troops of the Chagan-khudat and other Central Asian rulers. Paikend was seized after a fierce battle. The Arabs seized many arms and valuables in the city.37 Then, having seized Bukhara, Kutaiba routed the troops of the Bukhar-khudats and their Turkic allies and demanded a tribute of 220,000 dirkhems to be paid to the Caliph and 10,000 dirkhems to be paid to the vice-regent of Khorasan.

Kutaiba stationed a permanent garrison of Arab soldiers in the city and appointed Ayub b. Khasan as the first Arab emir of Bukhara.38 At the same time the Bukhar-khudats retained their power as co-rulers in their kingdom. Once Kutaiba died in 715, Bukhara was no longer in Arab control. In 110 Hijra (728-729), the Arabs lost the city as a result of a powerful Soghdian uprising supported by either Mos'o (Moschjo), a kagan of the Western Turks, or Sulu, a kagan of the Turgeshes. This situation lasted for a year,39 but then the city felt under Arab control again.

The Arab tribes settled in Bukhara expressed their opposition to the rise of the Abbasids to the power of the Caliphate. This is evident in the anti-Abbasid uprising led by Shariq ibn Shaikh Makhri that broke out in 750. The leader of this uprising was supported by the Arab authorities in Bukhara and the people of the city. Abu Muslim sent Ziyad. Salih, a ruler of Bukhara and Samarkand, to suppress the uprising and the latter was successful in his action. The uprising was suppressed with cruelty, and Bukhara was burnt down in three days. Bukhar-khudat Kuteiba fought together with the inhabitants of 700 castles against Shariq b. Shaikh Makhri. However, despite his support of the government troops, he was executed by Abu Muslim, who convicted Kuteiba of betraying Islam.

During the third quarter of the eighth century, the Arabs strengthened their power in Bukhara. The Bukhar-khudats became only nominal rulers and gradually faded into the background. In 148 Hijra(765-766), Ma'bad, an Arab amir of Bukhara, minted felses for the first time in history. It happened under Al-Mahdi, who was a vice-regent at that time and who later became calipha These felses contain only Arab legends reflecting Islamic symbols, place, date, mintage, and the rulers' names. However, some of the other coins of Ma'bad retained the ancient symbol of the Bukhara rulers.

In 151 Hijra (768), al-Djunayb. Khalid, an arnil of imam al-Mahd: minted felses in his own name as well.
The Bukhar-khudats supported Hashem b. Hakim (Mukanna) who made Bukhara into one of the main centers of his struggle against the Abbasids. The leaders of this struggle were Mavali Tagif, Yusuf Qarm and the village of Narshakh appears to have been a place where Mukanna's partisans from all over Bukhara concentrated.

As soon as Mukanna's uprising was suppressed in 782 under vice-regent Museiba b. Zukheir 780-783, the caliph's warriors killed the last Bukhar-khudat, Buniyyat, who had supported the uprising of Mukanna42 The death of Buniyyat ended the dynasty of the Bukhar-khudats that had been ruling Bukhara for many centuries. This event also completed the pre-Islamic period in the history of Bukhara.