The founder of the Saffarid Dynasty

05 Jun 2020  Fri

Yaqub ibn al-Layth al-Saffar was a Persian coppersmith and the founder of the Saffarid dynasty of Sistan, with its capital at Zaranj (a city now in south-western Afghanistan). Under his military leadership, he conquered much of the eastern portion of Great Iran, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, as well as portions of western Pakistan. At one point he came close to capturing Baghdad, the seat of the caliph (the religious leader of all Islam).

The dynasty began with Yaqub ibn al-Layth al-Saffar (Yaqub, son of Layth, the Coppersmith), a coppersmith who moved to the city of Zaranj. He left work to become an Ayyar and eventually got the power to act as an independent ruler. Yaqub started minting his own coinage and driving out the ?ahirid dynasty from the control of Khorasan, in eastern Iran. Later, he seized control of the Iranian food-producing provinces of Fars and Ahwaz.

Yaqub is a popular folk hero in Iranian history. It was during Yaqub's rule that Persian was introduced as an official language. He died on Wednesday, 5 June 879, in Gundeshapur. The above shown silver Dirham was issued under his reign from the al-Banjhir mint. The obverse of a coin depicts ‘Llah Muhammad Rasul Allah Al Mutaamid Ali Allah’. The reverse of a coin engraved Kalima and ruler’s name Yaqub below. Inner circle bears mint name and date.

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