ʿOTBI, the family name of two viziers of the Samanids of Transoxiana and Khorasan.
1. Abu Jaʿfar b. Moḥammad b. al-Ḥosayn (thus in Gardizi; the sources are, however, uncertain about his names and nasab), vizier in the first place to the Amir ʿAbd-al-Malek b. Nuḥ (I) from 344/956 to 348/959. After a military coup, he was appointed vizier in succession to Abu Manṣur Moḥammad b. ʿOzayr (Gardizi, p. 41; Barthold, p. 250). He is praised by Kermāni (p. 36), repeated in ʿAqili (p. 147) for replenishing the state treasury to an unprecedented high level; but his money-raising policies aroused discontent and he was deprived of office after two years in favor of Abu Yusof b. Esḥāq (Gardizi, loc. cit.; Barthold, loc. cit.). However, he returned to office a few years later, sharing the vizierate for the Amir Manṣur (I) b. Nuḥ (I) with Abu ʿAli Moḥammad Balʿami, till 363/974; Gardizi (p. 47) states that he corresponded and negotiated with the great Buyid statesman Abu’l-Fatḥ Ebn al-ʿAmid (q.v.), bringing peace to Khorasan and doing laudable things in that province.
2. Abu’l-Ḥosayn ʿAbd-Allāh b. Aḥmad, vizier to the Amir Nuḥ (II) b. Manṣur (I) from 367/977 to 372/982. He was appointed in Rabiʿ II 367/November-December 977 in succession to Abu ʿAbdallāh Aḥmad Jayhāni, the deceased Amir Manṣur’s last vizier, in face of opposition from Abu’l-Ḥasan Moḥammad b. Ebrāhim Simjuri, who considered Abu’l-Ḥosayn too young (ʿOtbi, p. 38; Gardizi, pp. 48-9; Barthold, p. 251). At the outset, he and Nuḥ’s mother in effect ruled the state as regents for the thirteen-year old Amir. ʿOtbi endeavored to reduce the power in the state of over-mighty Turkish military commanders, above all, of Abu’l-Ḥasan Simjuri. Latterly, he worked with the commander-in chief of the army, Tāš, who had been one of his father’s ḡolāms (ʿOtbi, pp. 42-3; Gardizi, pp. 49-50). He was in 372/982 about to join an army at Marv to repel an invasion by the Buyids when he was murdered by agents of the commanders Fāʾeq Ḵāṣṣa (q.v.) and Abu’l-Ḥasan Simjuri; his death was much mourned by the poets, and his kinsman the historian Abu Naṣr Moḥammad b. ʿAbd-al-Jabbār ʿOtbi (q.v.) rightly considered him the last effectual vizier of the Samanids (ʿOtbi, pp. 61-5; Gardizi, pp. 50-1; Barthold, p. 252).
Sources. Gardizi, Zayn al-aḵbār, ed. M. Nazim, Berlin, 1928.
Nāṣer-al-Din Kermāni, Nasāʾem al-asḥar, ed. Jalāl-al-Din Ormavi Moḥaddeṯ, Tehran, 1959.
ʿOtbi, al-Ketāb al-Yamini, ed. Eḥsān Ḏonun al-Ṯāmeri, Beirut, 2004.
Sayf-al-Din ʿAqili, Āṯār al-wozarāʾ, ed. Jalāl-al-Din Ormavi Moḥaddeṯ, Tehran, 1959.
Studies. Barthold, Turkestan3. Bosworth, "al-ʿUtbī,” EI2 X, p. 945.
(C. E. Bosworth)
Originally Published: November 24, 2010