Who were the Samanids? Later Sogdians in Central Asia
Welcome to Quatr.us Study Guides!

Who were the Samanids?

Mausoleum of the Samanids
The tomb of the Samanid rulers.
Bukhara, Uzbekistan, about 900 AD.

The Samanids were people who lived in the easternmost part of the Abbasid Empire, in the 800s AD. The Samanids were pretty much the descendants of the Sogdians who lived in that area before them, and like the Sogdians they were Indo-Europeans. The Samanids mostly spoke Persian (not Arabic) even though they followed the Islamic religion. The Samanid rulers were families descended from the old Zoroastrian aristocracy of the Sassanian Empire, but they too had converted to Sunni Islam.

Samanid rulers mostly supported the Abbasids and copied Abbasid government. They were technically part of the Abbasid Empire, though really they were pretty much independent. One of their capital cities was Samarkand, the old capital of the Sogdians.

Like the Sogdians before them, the Samanids continued to travel between West Asia and China as traders. Samanid coins were the common currency of the Silk Road in the 800s and 900s AD, so that even people as far away as the Vikings in Scandinavia often used Samanid coins. As educated traders, the Samanids ran a kingdom that supported education and art and so they attracted scholars like the scientists al-Razi and Ibn Sina. They probably brought crucible steel technology from India north to Afghanistan, Iran, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan, selling steel to the Vikings and to China. They also supported Islamic architecture, building mosques and palaces all over Central Asia.

By the year 1000 AD, the Samanids lost power to the Turkish Ghaznavids and the Karakhanids, who dominated this area from then on.

Bibiography and further reading:

Sogdians
Uighurs
Afghanistan
Central Asian history
More about Central Asia
Quatr.us home


LIMITED TIME OFFER FOR TEACHERS: Using this article with your class? Show us your class page where you're using this article, and we'll send you a free subscription so all your students can use Quatr.us Study Guides with no distractions! (Not a teacher? Paid subscriptions are also available for just $16/year!)
Please help other teachers and students find us: link to this page from your class page.
Karen Carr is Associate Professor Emerita, Department of History, Portland State University. She holds a doctorate in Classical Art and Archaeology from the University of Michigan. Follow her on Instagram or Twitter, or buy her book, Vandals to Visigoths.
Cite this page
  • Author: K.E. Carr
  • Title:
  • Site Name: Quatr.us Study Guides
  • Publisher: Quatr.us
  • Date Published:
Did you find what you needed? Ask your teacher to link to this page so other people can use it too! Send it in and win a Quatr.us "Great Page!" award!
Sign up for more free articles and special offers in Quatr.us' weekly newsletter:
We will never share your e-mail address unless you allow us to do so. View our privacy policy. Easy unsubscribe links are provided in every email.
Comment on This Article

Does your class page honor diversity, celebrate feminism, and support people of color, LBGTQ people, and people with disabilities? Let us know, and we'll send you a Diversity Banner you can proudly display!
Looking for more?
Quatr.us is loading comments...
(Comments will appear after moderation, if they are kind and helpful. Feel free to ask questions, and we'll try to answer them.)
Cite this page
  • Carr, K.E. . Quatr.us Study Guides, . Web. 23 April, 2017
ADVERTISEMENT