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The State of Ravvadids

The ground of establishment of the state of Ravvadids was related to the name of Ravvad ibn Musan – arab, who came to Azerbaijan in the last third of the 8th century. He settled in the small city of Tabriz with his sons and supporters and did his best to create here independent feudal state. His son and successor, Vedjna built fortress walls around Tabriz. After him, the authority in Tabriz passed to the hands of his brother, Muhammed (813/14-844/45), who managed to subordinate such big cities as Maragha, Ardebil and Varsan. His brother, Yahya ibn Ravvad, who governed Tabriz after him, was captivated and brought to Baghdad in 849/850. Yahya was among the people who was exiled to Baghdad in 850/851, together with the governor of Marand, Ibn al-Bais. According to al-Yakubi’s information, chaliph accepted him with respect and preserved his possessions too.

Beginning from this period, sources did not give any evidences about Ravvadids either as independent or as half-dependent governor. Might be they preserved their possessions but become under the dependence of Caliphate, then they paid taxes to Sajid and Salarids. Ibn Khaukal confirms this and mentions that the governor of Ahar and Varzakan, Abul-Khadja ibn Ravvad payed taxes for 50 thousand dinars.

Well-known orientalist from Great Britain, V.F.Minorsky mentioned the name of Muhammed ibn Khusand ar-Ravvadi before Abul-Khadja, who was the governor of Armenia in the mid of the 10th century and during the period of arrest of Salarid Marzban he became the ruler of some regions of Azerbaijan too. Abul-Khadja’s father, Huseyn ibn Muhammed ar-Ravvadi captured Tabriz in 956/957 and moved the capital of his state there in 961, since Tabriz possessed suitable position for the unite of Azerbaijan lands it was also located on essential caravan ways.

The state of Ravvadids reached to its power and significance during the reign of Abdul-Kheydja Muhammed (983-988) and his son Mamlan (988-1019/20). As it was mentioned above, after the death of Salarid ruler, Ibrahim ibn Marzban in 983, Abul-Khaydja Muhammed ibn Khusayn ar-Ravvadid united all lands of Azerbaijan under his authority. Especially, the prosperity, strengthening and territorial extension of the state of Ravvadids began during his reign. He kept Marzban ibn Ismail ibn Vahsudan, who tried to preserve some regions of Azerbaijan under his authority, in the dungeon in 985. When the brother of Abul-Khaydja, Marzban rose against him, Abul-Khaydja arrested him and Marzban died in the dungeon after four years.

In 988, Abul-Khaydja died in one of his campaigns to Armeniyye. He was replaced by his son Mamlan, who successfully continued Abul- Khadja’s activity and strengthened his dynasty for 30 years. It’s also important to mention that his attempts on the extension of authority of Ravvadids in the South Caucasus was over unluckily-during of his campaign to the West, Mamlan was defeated by united forces of Georgian tsar David (975-1014) and the governor of Arminiyye.

The state of Ravvadids reached to its greatest essence during the reign of Mamlan’s son, Vahsudan (1020-1058). There were preserved gasidas of Gatran Tabrizi, which had been written for the honour of Vahsudan in the history along with the evidences of sources. Namely during Vahsudan’s reign there happened great changes in the destiny of Azerbaijan and other neighborhood countries, which were related with the interference of Turk-oghuz tribes of the Middle and Front Asia led by Seldjukid Sultans to these lands.

In the years of 1015-1021, oghuz tribes often attacked to the lands of Azerbaijan and reached to Arran, Nakhichevan and Eastern Georgia. After the unlucky revolt in Khorasan, in 1028, which was arisen against Mahmud Gaznevi (998-1030), about 2 thousand oghuz families escaped to the West. Part of them settled in the state of Ravvadids, where Vahsudan encountered them friendly. He gave them lands and made them vassals, implying to utilize from them in the fought against Byzantyne Empire and other South Caucasion states. At that time, the territory of the state of Ravvadids stretched approximately in whole South Caucasus and often made campaigns against neighborhood states.

In the 40s of the 11th century, Seljukids, who defeated their weakened rivals, strengthened in the south part of Azerbaijan. Neither Vahsudan who had been in power till 1059, nor his heir, Mamlan was able to resist them.

In 1054/55, prominent Sultan Toghrul bey that made campaign to Azerbaijan and appeared in Tabriz led by seldjukid army. Vahsudan was obliged to adopt the vassal dependence under Seldjukids, ordered to read khutba with the name of Toghrul and gave him plenty of presents. In 1058/59 Toghrul bey confirmed Mamlan, the son of Vahsudan to the post of emir of the state of Ravvadids.

In 1063, Toghrul bey died and the power passed to the hands of his nephew, Alp Arslan (1063-1072). Continuing the policy of his predecessor, Alp Arslan considered that it was necessary to strengthen his authority in Azerbaijan and liquidate the governance of small, local dynasties, which were not reliable too. In 1065, emir Mamlan was replaced by one of the military commanders of Seldjukids. So, at the result of Seldjukid supremacy the authority of the dynasty of Ravvadids, which was existed about a centure (1065-1107), was over. Whole South Caucasian regions became to the part of Seldjukid power.

About Ismayil bey Zardabli

Author of t extbook for the higher educational institutions "THE HISTORY OF AZERBAIJAN, from ancient times to the present day"