Samanid (sämäˈnĭd) [key], Muslim Persian dynasty that ruled (819–1005) in Khorasan and Transoxiana as vassals of the Abbasids; founded by Saman-Khuda, of old Persian aristocracy. The Samanids were one of the first purely indigenous dynasties to rule in Persia following the Muslim Arab conquest. Not until the reign (892–907) of Saman-Khuda's great-grandson, Ismail I, did Samanid power become extensive. In 900, Ismail defeated the Saffarids in Khorasan, while his brother was the governor of Transoxiana; thus, Samanid rule was acclaimed over the combined regions. Persian influence was felt immediately, and the cities of Bukhara (the Samanid capital) and Samarkand became centers of Persian art and literature; industries included pottery making and bronze casting. After 950, Samanid power weakened, but was briefly revitalized under Nuh II, who ruled from 976 to 997. However, with the oncoming encroachment of Muslim Turks into the Abbasid Empire, the Samanids were effectively defeated; in 999, Bukhara fell under a combined force of Ghaznavids and Qarakhanids. Ismail II, d. 1005, last ruler of the dynasty, briefly fought (1000–1005) to retain Samanid territory, until he was assassinated.
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