ʿALĪʾ-AL-DĪN ATSÏZ B. ʿALĀʾ-AL-DĪN ḤOSAYN, a late and short-reigned sultan of the Ghurid dynasty in Afghanistan (607-11/1210-14). He was still a child when his father, the great ʿAlāʾ-al-dīn Ḥosayn Jahānsūz died in 556/1161, and the succession in the Ghurid capital Fīrūzkūh went to his cousins, Šams-al-dīn (later Ḡīāṯ-al-dīn) Moḥammad and Šehāb-al-dīn (later Moʿezz-al-dīn) Moḥammad. He spent much of his life in the service of Sultan Moʿezz-al-dīn, and was widely recognized among the Ghurid chiefs as a candidate for the throne after that sultan’s death. Moʿezz-al-dīn, however, expelled him from his court in Ḡazna to that of the Bāmīān branch of the Ghurids under Bahāʾ-al-dīn Sām b. Šams-al-dīn Moḥammad, where Atsïz’s daughter married the amir’s eldest son. But when Moʿezz-al-dīn died in 602/1206, his own son Ḡīāṯ-al-dīn Maḥmūd succeeded as head of the main branch of the family. The Ghurid dynasty lost its momentum of expansion after Moʿezz-al-dīn’s death and fell more and more under the shadow of the rival Ḵᵛārazmšāhs. Atsïz appealed to Shah ʿAlāʾ-al-dīn Moḥammad for help in establishing his claim, but only succeeded in this after the murder of Ḡīāṯ-al-dīn Maḥmūd in 607/1210. He then reigned as a protégé of the Ḵᵛārazmšāh for some four years, until he was killed in battle with an army sent by Yalduz, the Turkish slave ruler in Ḡazna, in 611/1214. With his death, the authority of the Ghurids virtually disappeared; in the following year, the Ḵᵛārazmšāh took over Ḡazna and the Ghurid dominions. Jūzǰānī emphasizes the piety of Atsïz and his patronage of the ʿolamāʾ, but apart from this, nothing is known of his personality.
Jūzǰānī, Ṭabaqāt I, pp. 379-82, tr. Raverty, I, pp. 413-17, is the only detailed source.
For the general background, see Bosworth in Camb. Hist. Iran V, pp. 162-66.
(C. E. Bosworth)
Originally Published: December 15, 1984
Last Updated: August 2, 2011Cite this entry:
C. E. Bosworth, “ʿALĪʾ-AL-DĪN ATSÏZ,” Encyclopædia Iranica, online edition, 2011, available online at http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/ali-al-din-atsz-b (accessed on 30 December 2012).