Abbāsid Dynastyʿ


Abbāsid Dynastyʿ

      second of the two great dynasties of the Muslim Empire of the Caliphate. It overthrew the Umayyad caliphate in AD 750 and reigned as the ʿAbbāsid caliphate until destroyed by the Mongol invasion in 1258.

      The name is derived from that of the uncle of the Prophet Muḥammad, al-ʿAbbās (died c. 653), of the Hāshimite clan of the Quraysh tribe in Mecca. From c. 718, members of his family worked to gain control of the empire, and by skillful propaganda won much support, especially from Shīʿī Arabs and Persians in Khorāsān. Open revolt in 747, under the leadership of Abū Muslim, led to the defeat of Marwān II, the last Umayyad caliph, at the Battle of the Great Zāb River (750) in Mesopotamia and to the proclamation of the first ʿAbbāsid caliph, Abū al-ʿAbbās as-Saffāḥ.

      Under the ʿAbbāsids the caliphate entered a new phase. Instead of focussing, as the Umayyads had done, on the West—on North Africa, the Mediterranean, and southern Europe—the caliphate now turned eastward. The capital was moved to the new city of Baghdad, and events in Persia and Transoxania were closely watched. For the first time the caliphate was not coterminous with Islām; in Egypt, North Africa, Spain, and elsewhere, local dynasties claimed caliphal status. With the rise of the ʿAbbāsids the base for influence in the empire became international, emphasizing membership in the community of believers rather than Arab nationality. Since much support for the ʿAbbāsids came from Persian converts, it was natural for the ʿAbbāsids to take over much of the Persian (Sāsānian) tradition of government. Support by pious Muslims likewise led the ʿAbbāsids to acknowledge publicly the embryonic Islāmic law and to profess to base their rule on the religion of Islām. Between 750 and 833 the ʿAbbāsids raised the prestige and power of the empire, promoting commerce, industry, arts, and science, particularly during the reigns of al-Manṣūr, Hārūn ar-Rashīd, and al-Maʾmūn. Their temporal power, however, began to decline when al-Muʿtaṣim (Muʿtaṣim, al-) introduced non-Muslim Berber, Slav, and especially Turkish mercenary forces into his personal army. Although these troops were converted to Islām, the base of imperial unity through religion was gone, and some of the new army officers quickly learned to control the caliphate through assassination of any caliph who would not accede to their demands.

      The power of the army officers had already weakened through internal rivalries when the Iranian Būyids (Būyid Dynasty) entered Baghdad in 945, demanding of al-Mustakfī (944–946) that they be recognized as the sole rulers of the territory they controlled. This event initiated a century-long period in which much of the empire was ruled by local secular dynasties. In 1055 the ʿAbbāsids were overpowered by the Seljuqs (Seljuq), who took what temporal power may have been left to the caliph but respected his position as religious leader, restoring the authority of the caliphate, especially during the reigns of al-Mustarshid (1118–35), al-Muqtafī, and an-Nāṣir. Soon after, in 1258, the dynasty fell during a Mongol siege of Baghdad.

* * *


Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • {ʽ}Abbāsid dynasty — (750–1258) The second of the two great Sunnite dynasties of the Islamic Caliphate. The ʽAbbāsids took their name from an uncle of the Prophet Muhammad, al ʽAbbās, whose descendants formed one of several groups agitating for change under the… …   Universalium

  • Abbasid Caliphate — For the Caliphate of Córdoba (Al Andalus) dynasty see Abbadids; for the southwest Arabia Islamic sect, see Abādites. Abbasid Caliphate الخلافة العباسية al khilāfah al ‘abbāsīyyah …   Wikipedia

  • dynasty — dynastic /duy nas tik/; Brit. also /di nas tik/, dynastical, adj. dynastically, adv. /duy neuh stee/; Brit. also /din euh stee/, n., pl. dynasties. 1. a sequence of rulers from the same family, stock, or group: the Ming dynasty …   Universalium

  • Dynasty — A dynasty is a succession of rulers who belong to the same family for generations. A dynasty is also often called a house , e.g. the House of Saud or House of Habsburg . In the histories of Europe, much of Asia and some of Africa, ruling and… …   Wikipedia

  • Abbasid — [ə basɪd, abəsɪd] noun a member of a dynasty of caliphs who ruled in Baghdad 750–1258. Origin named after Muhammad s uncle Abbas, founder of the dynasty …   English new terms dictionary

  • abbasid — n. & adj. n. a member of a dynasty of caliphs ruling in Baghdad 750 1258. adj. of this dynasty. Etymology: Abbas, Muhammad s uncle d. 652 …   Useful english dictionary

  • Abbasid — noun Date: 1788 a member of a dynasty of caliphs (750 1258) ruling the Islamic empire especially from their capital Baghdad and claiming descent from Abbas the uncle of Muhammad …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • Abbasid — /euh bas id, ab euh sid/, n. a member of a dynasty of caliphs ruling at Baghdad, A.D. 750 1258, governing most of the Islamic world and claiming descent from Abbas, uncle of Muhammad. Also, Abbassid, Abbasside /euh bas uyd, ab euh suyd /. [ < Ar… …   Universalium

  • Abbasid — n. member of a dynasty of caliphs who ruled an Islamic empire from Baghdad as from 750 to 1258 …   English contemporary dictionary

  • Abbasid — Ab•bas•id [[t]əˈbæs ɪd, ˈæb ə sɪd[/t]] n. anh why ear a member of a dynasty of caliphs ruling most of the Islamic world from Baghdad, a.d. 750–1258, and claiming descent from Abbas, uncle of Muhammad …   From formal English to slang


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.