BAYTUZ, a Turkish commander who controlled the town of Bost in southern Afghanistan during the middle years of the 4th/10th century. Turkish control of the town dated from the time when the Samanid slave (ḡolām) commander Qaratigin Esfījābī had withdrawn to Bost and the adjacent region of Roḵḵaj (at some time before his death in 317/929) where his followers apparently retained power after the collapse of the first Saffarid empire and the reduction of the succeeding Saffarid amirs to a modest role as rulers in Sīstān. It seems that in the third quarter of the 10th century CE, the rule within Bost was disputed between two of these Turkish soldiers, Baytuz and Toḡan. Baytuz was certainly in control in 359/970, for a bronze coin of this date, of Samanid pattern but without mentioning the Samanids as suzerains and minted by him, has been found at Laškarī Bāzār (q.v.), subsequently a palace site of the Ghaznavids (see J.-C. Gardin, Lashkari Bazar II: Les trouvailles, céramiques et monnaies de Lashkari Bazar et Bust, MDAFA 18, 1963, pp. 170-71). This confirms the information in the Tārīḵ-eSīstān (p. 333; tr. p. 272, where one must obviously read Bāytūz for Yūztemir) that Baytuz gained, or regained, possession of Bost after it had been temporarily captured by an amir from Sīstān Ṭāher b. Abī ʿAlī Tamīmī. However, in 367/977-78 another Turkish slave commander, Sebüktigin (q.v.), who had established himself at Ḡazna in eastern Afghanistan, made an appeal from Toḡan the pretext for intervention at Bost. He eventually expelled Baytuz and Toḡan (who are said to have fled westward to Sīstān and Kermān, disappearing from recorded history) and added Bost and southern Afghanistan to his own dominions, which became the nucleus of the later Ghaznavid empire. It was from the service of Baytuz that the famous secretary and Arabic stylist Abu’l-Fatḥ Bostī—with Sebüktigin’s victory over his master—now entered the Ghaznavid service.
ʿOtbī, al-Taʾrīḵ al-yamīnī, with commentary by Aḥmad Manīnī, Cairo, 1286/1869, I, pp. 64-67.
Jorfāḏaqānī, Tarjama-ye Tārīḵ-e yamīnī, ed. J. Šeʿār, Tehran, 1345 Š./1966, pp. 22-25.
Gardīzī, ed. Nazim, p. 54.
Ebn al-Aṯīr (repr.), VIII, pp. 212, 478, 685.
Bosworth, Ghaznavids, p. 37.
Idem, “Notes on the Pre-Ghaznavid History of Eastern Afghanistan,” Islamic Quarterly 9, 1965, p. 16 (also in The Medieval History of Iran, Afghanistan and Central Asia, London, 1977, no. XIV).
(C. E. Bosworth)
Originally Published: December 15, 1989
Last Updated: December 15, 1989
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