AḤMAD B. ʿABDALLĀH ḴOJESTĀNĪ, military commander in 3rd/9th century Khorasan, one of several contenders for authority in the region after the collapse of Taherid rule had left a power vacuum, d. 268/882. He was from Ḵoǰestān, a small town of Bādḡīs (the district northeast of Herat, described by the geographers as the home of warlike people and as a last pocket of the Kharijites in eastern Iran (see, e.g., Ḥodūd al-ʿālam, tr. Minorsky, p. 104, commentary, p. 327; Yāqūt [Beirut], II, p. 347). Ḵoǰestānī is the hero of an anecdote in the second maqāla of Neẓāmī ʿArūżī Samarqandī’s Čahār maqāla, which describes how he was formerly a mere ass herd but was stimulated to take up a military career by reading some stirring verses by one of the earliest poets in Persian, Hanẓala Bādḡīsī; he entered the service of the Saffarid ʿAmr b. Layṯ (r. 265-88/879-901) and rose to high command and fame (ed. M. Qazvīnī, Leiden and London, 1910, pp. 26-27; tr. E. G. Browne, London, 1921, pp. 27-29). Ḵoǰestānī seems actually to have been, for at least one period of his career, in the army of Moḥammad b. Ṭāher, the last Taherid governor of Khorasan. The latter’s capital, Nīšāpūr, fell to Yaʿqūb b. Layṯ in 259/873. Aḥmad, in turn, seized the city from the governor left by Yaʿqūb, ʿOzayr b. al-Sarī. He then held the city in the name of the Taherid, who never dared, however, leave Baghdad and reclaim his former capital. Consequently, from 267/880-81, Ḵoǰestānī began minting dirhams and dinars in his own name (Ṭabarī, III, p. 2009; Ebn al-Aṯīr, VII, p. 253). He held his own in the confused three cornered struggles for control of Khorasan with ʿAmr b. Layṯ and Manṣūr b. Ṭalḥa, capturing Herat and Ṭoḵārestān in 268/882; but in the same year he was murdered by one of his Turkish slaves.
The main primary sources are Ṭabarī and Ebn al-Aṯīr, with some references in Gardīzī. C. Defremery, “Mémoire sur un personnage appelé Ahmad fils d’Abd-Allah,” JA 6, 1845, pp. 345-62.
E. von Zambaur, “Neue Khalifenmünzen,” Numismatisches Zeitschrift 55, 1922, pp. 12-13.
R. Vasmer, “Über die Münzen des Ṣaffāriden und ihrer Gegner in Fārs und Ḫurāsān,” ibid., 63, 1930, pp. 136-38.
C. E. Bosworth in Camb. Hist. Iran IV, pp. 116-18.
(C. E. Bosworth)
Originally Published: December 15, 1984
Last Updated: July 28, 2011
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Vol. I, Fasc. 6, p. 650