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Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 11, Slice 8 "Germany" to "Gibson, William"

Intermingled with Zuris and Tajiks


chief part of the present population of Ghor are Taimanis, belonging to the class of nomad or semi-nomad clans called Aimak, intermingled with Zuris and Tajiks.

The people and princes of Ghor first become known to us in connexion with the Ghaznevid dynasty, and the early medieval histories of Ghor and Ghazni are so intertwined that little need be added on that subject to what will be found under GHAZNI (q.v.). What we read of Ghor shows it as a country of lofty mountains and fruitful valleys, and of numerous strongholds held by a variety of hill-chieftains ruling warlike clans whose habits were rife with feuds and turbulence,--indeed, in character strongly resembling the tribes of modern Afghanistan, though there seems no good reason to believe that they were of Afghan race. It is probable that they were of old Persian blood, like the older of those tribes which still occupy the country. It is possibly a corroboration of this that, in the 14th century, when one of the Ghori kings, of the Kurt dynasty reigning in Herat, had taken to himself some of the insignia of independent sovereignty, an incensed Mongol prince is said to have reviled him as "an insolent _Tajik_." Sabuktagin of Ghazni, and his famous son Mahmud, repeatedly invaded the mountain country which so nearly adjoined their capital, subduing its chiefs for the moment, and exacting tribute; but when the immediate pressure was withdrawn, the yoke was thrown off and the tribute withheld.

In 1020 Masa'ud, the son of Mahmud, being then governor of Khorasan, made a systematic invasion of Ghor from the side of Herat, laying siege to its strongholds one after the other, and subduing the country more effectually than ever before. About a century later one of the princely families of Ghor, deriving the appellation of Shansabi, or Shansabaniah, from a certain ancestor Shansab, of local fame, and of alleged descent from Zohak, acquired predominance in all the country, and at the time mentioned Malik 'Izzuddin al Hosain of this family came to be recognized as lord of Ghor. He was known afterwards as "the Father of Kings," from the further honour to which several of his seven sons rose. Three of these were--(1) Amir Kutbuddin Mahommed, called the lord of the Jibal or mountains; (2) Sultan Saifuddin Suri, for a brief period master of Ghazni,--both of whom were put to death by Bahram the Ghaznevid; and (3) Sultan Alauddin Jahansoz, who wreaked such terrible vengeance upon Ghazni. Alauddin began the conquests which were afterwards immensely extended both in India and in the west by his nephews Ghiyasuddin Mahommed b. Sam and Mahommed Ghori (Muizuddin b. Sam or Shahabuddin b. Sam), and for a brief period during their rule it was boasted, with no great exaggeration, that the public prayer was read in the name of the Ghori from the extremity of India to the borders of Babylonia, and from the Oxus to the Straits of Ormus. After the death of Mahommed Ghori, Mahmud the son of Ghiyasuddin was proclaimed sovereign (1200) throughout the territories of Ghor, Ghazni and Hindustan. But the Indian dominion, from his uncle's death, became entirely independent, and his actual authority was confined to Ghor, Seistan and Herat. The whole kingdom fell to pieces before the power of Mahommed Shah of Khwarizm and his son Jelaluddin (c. 1214-1215), a power in its turn to be speedily shattered by the Mongol flood.

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