Al-Mas‘udi was an Arab historian and traveler. He is sometimes referred to as the "Herodotus of the Arabs". Al-Mas‘udi was one of the first to combine history and scientific geography in a large-scale work, The Meadows of Gold and Mines of Gems, a world history. More described as prolific and as a polymath, he was the author of "over twenty" works, which dealt with "a wide variety of religious and secular subjects, including history, the natural sciences and theology." Apart from what Al-Mas‘udi writes of himself little is known. He had been born in Baghdad and was descended from Abdullah Ibn Mas'ud, a companion of the Prophet Muhammad, he mentions the names of many scholar associates. The true extent of al-Mas‘udi's travels has met some skepticism, yet conservative estimates hold it was considerable: Al-Mas‘udi's travels occupied most of his life from at least 903/915 CE to near the end of his life, his journeys took him to most of the Persian provinces, Armenia and other regions of the Caspian Sea.
He travelled to the Indus Valley, other parts of India the western coast. He sailed on the Indian Ocean, the Red Sea, the Mediterranean and the Caspian; some biographies include Sri Lanka and China among his travels, but we know that he received information on China from Abu Zaid al-Sirafi whom he met on the coast of the Persian Gulf. In Syria al-Mas‘udi met the Byzantine admiral convert-to-Islam, Leo of Tripoli, from whom he learned much about Byzantium, he spent his last years in Egypt. In Egypt he found a copy of a Frankish king list from Clovis to Louis IV, written by an Andalusian bishop. Little is known of his means and funding of his extensive travels within and beyond the lands of Islam, it has been speculated that like many travelers he may have been involved in trade. Towards the end of The Meadows of Gold, al-Mas‘udi wrote: The information we have gathered here is the fruit of long years of research and painful efforts of our voyages and journeys across the East and the West, of the various nations that lie beyond the regions of Islam.
The author of this work compares himself to a man who, having found pearls of all kinds and colours, gathers them together into a necklace and makes them into an ornament that its possessor guards with great care. My aim has been to trace the lands and the histories of many peoples, I have no other. We know that al-Mas‘udi wrote a revised edition of Muruj adh-dhahab in 956 CE. Al-Mas ` udi in his Tanbih states. Lunde and Stone provide a detailed reminder of the intellectual environment in which al-Mas‘udi lived: He lived at a time when books were available and cheap. Aside from large public libraries in major towns like Baghdad, many individuals, like Mas‘udi's friend al-Suli, had private libraries containing thousands of volumes; the prevalence of books and their low price was the result of the introduction of paper to the Islamic world by Chinese papermakers captured at the Battle of Talas in 751. Soon afterwards there were paper mills in most large towns and cities; the introduction of paper coincided with the coming to power of the Abbasid dynasty, there is no doubt that the availability of cheap writing material contributed to the growth of the Abbasid bureaucracy, postal system, lively intellectual life.
They note that Mas‘udi encourages his readers to consult other books he has written, expecting these to be accessible to his readership. They note the stark contrast between contemporary European conditions confronting say the author of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle and this literate Islamic world. Ahmad Shboul mentions the rich blend of Greek philosophy, Persian literature, Indian mathematics and the rich heritage of the ancient cultures that went into the vigorous life of the day; this enabled the society of the day to manifest a knowledge seeking and analytical attitude. There was a natural association of scholarly minded people in this civilized atmosphere, al-Mas‘udi much took part in this energizing activity. Al-Mas‘udi was a pupil or junior colleague of a number of prominent intellectuals, including the philologists al-Zajjaj, ibn Duraid and ibn Anbari, he was acquainted with famous poets, including Kashajim, whom he met in Aleppo. He was well read in philosophy, knowing the works of al-Kindi and al-Razi, the Aristotelian thought of al-Farabi and the Platonic writings.
Al-Mas‘udi's extant writings do not confirm his meeting with his contemporaries al-Razi and al-Farabi, however such meetings were likely. He does record his meeting with al-Farabi's pupil Yahya ibn Adi. In addition he was familiar with the medical work of Galen, with Ptolemaic astronomy, with the geographical work of Marinus and with the studies of Islamic geographers and astronomers, he indicates training in jurisprudence. He was aware of the work of others. Subki states that al-Mas‘udi was a student of ibn Surayj, the leading scholar of the Shafi'ite school. Al-Subki claimed. Al-Mas‘udi met Shafi'ites during his stay in Egypt, he met Zahirites in Aleppo such as Ibn Jabir and Niftawayh.
Iran called Persia, the Islamic Republic of Iran, is a country in Western Asia. With over 81 million inhabitants, Iran is the world's 18th most populous country. Comprising a land area of 1,648,195 km2, it is the second largest country in the Middle East and the 17th largest in the world. Iran is bordered to the northwest by Armenia and the Republic of Azerbaijan, to the north by the Caspian Sea, to the northeast by Turkmenistan, to the east by Afghanistan and Pakistan, to the south by the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, to the west by Turkey and Iraq; the country's central location in Eurasia and Western Asia, its proximity to the Strait of Hormuz, give it geostrategic importance. Tehran is the country's capital and largest city, as well as its leading economic and cultural center. Iran is home to one of the world's oldest civilizations, beginning with the formation of the Elamite kingdoms in the fourth millennium BCE, it was first unified by the Iranian Medes in the seventh century BCE, reaching its greatest territorial size in the sixth century BCE, when Cyrus the Great founded the Achaemenid Empire, which stretched from Eastern Europe to the Indus Valley, becoming one of the largest empires in history.
The Iranian realm fell to Alexander the Great in the fourth century BCE and was divided into several Hellenistic states. An Iranian rebellion culminated in the establishment of the Parthian Empire, succeeded in the third century CE by the Sasanian Empire, a leading world power for the next four centuries. Arab Muslims conquered the empire in the seventh century CE; the Islamization of Iran led to the decline of Zoroastrianism, by the country's dominant religion, Iran's major contributions to art and science spread within the Muslim rule during the Islamic Golden Age. After two centuries, a period of various native Muslim dynasties began, which were conquered by the Seljuq Turks and the Ilkhanate Mongols; the rise of the Safavids in the 15th century led to the reestablishment of a unified Iranian state and national identity, with the country's conversion to Shia Islam marking a turning point in Iranian and Muslim history. Under Nader Shah, Iran was one of the most powerful states in the 18th century, though by the 19th century, a series of conflicts with the Russian Empire led to significant territorial losses.
The Iranian Constitutional Revolution in the early 20th century led to the establishment of a constitutional monarchy and the country's first legislature. A 1953 coup instigated by the United Kingdom and the United States resulted in greater autocracy and growing Western political influence. Subsequent widespread dissatisfaction and unrest against the monarchy led to the 1979 Revolution and the establishment of an Islamic republic, a political system that includes elements of a parliamentary democracy vetted and supervised by a theocracy governed by an autocratic "Supreme Leader". During the 1980s, the country was engaged in a war with Iraq, which lasted for eight years and resulted in a high number of casualties and economic losses for both sides; the sovereign state of Iran is a founding member of the UN, ECO, NAM, OIC, OPEC. It is a major regional and middle power, its large reserves of fossil fuels – which include the world's largest natural gas supply and the fourth largest proven oil reserves – exert considerable influence in international energy security and the world economy.
The country's rich cultural legacy is reflected in part by its 22 UNESCO World Heritage sites, the third largest number in Asia and 11th largest in the world. Iran is a multicultural country comprising numerous ethnic and linguistic groups, the largest being Persians, Azeris and Lurs. Organizations including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have criticized Iran's women's rights record; the term Iran derives directly from Middle Persian Ērān, first attested in a third-century inscription at Rustam Relief, with the accompanying Parthian inscription using the term Aryān, in reference to the Iranians. The Middle Iranian ērān and aryān are oblique plural forms of gentilic nouns ēr- and ary-, both deriving from Proto-Iranian *arya-, recognized as a derivative of Proto-Indo-European *ar-yo-, meaning "one who assembles". In the Iranian languages, the gentilic is attested as a self-identifier, included in ancient inscriptions and the literature of the Avesta, remains in other Iranian ethnic names Alan and Iron.
Iran has been referred to as Persia by the West, due to the writings of Greek historians who referred to all of Iran as Persís, meaning "land of the Persians", while Persis itself was one of the provinces of ancient Iran, today defined as Fars. As the most extensive interaction the Ancient Greeks had with any outsider was with the Persians, the term persisted long after the Greco-Persian Wars. In 1935, Reza Shah requested the international community to refer to the country by its native name, effective March 22 that year; as The New York Times explained at the time, "At the suggestion of the Persian Legation in Berlin, the Tehran government, on the Persian New Year, March 21, 1935, substituted Iran for Persia as the official name of the country." Opposition to the name change led to the reversal of the decision, Professor Ehsan Yarshater, editor of Encyclopædia Iranica, propagated a move to use Persia and Iran interchangeably. Today, both Iran and Persia are used in cultural contexts, while Iran remains irreplaceab
The Encyclopædia Britannica published by Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. is a general knowledge English-language encyclopaedia. It was written by more than 4,000 contributors; the 2010 version of the 15th edition, which spans 32 volumes and 32,640 pages, was the last printed edition. The Britannica is the English-language encyclopaedia/encyclopedia, in print for the longest time: it lasted 244 years, it was first published between 1768 and 1771 as three volumes. The encyclopaedia grew in size: the second edition was 10 volumes, by its fourth edition it had expanded to 20 volumes, its rising stature as a scholarly work helped recruit eminent contributors, the 9th and 11th editions are landmark encyclopaedias for scholarship and literary style. Beginning with the 11th edition and following its acquisition by an American firm, the Britannica shortened and simplified articles to broaden its appeal to the North American market. In 1933, the Britannica became the first encyclopaedia to adopt "continuous revision", in which the encyclopaedia is continually reprinted, with every article updated on a schedule.
In March 2012, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. announced it would no longer publish printed editions, would focus instead on Encyclopædia Britannica Online. The 15th edition had a three-part structure: a 12-volume Micropædia of short articles, a 17-volume Macropædia of long articles, a single Propædia volume to give a hierarchical outline of knowledge; the Micropædia was meant as a guide to the Macropædia. Over 70 years, the size of the Britannica has remained steady, with about 40 million words on half a million topics. Though published in the United States since 1901, the Britannica has for the most part maintained British English spelling. Since 1985, the Britannica has had four parts: the Micropædia, the Macropædia, the Propædia, a two-volume index; the Britannica's articles are found in the Micro- and Macropædia, which encompass 12 and 17 volumes each volume having one thousand pages. The 2007 Macropædia has 699 in-depth articles, ranging in length from 2 to 310 pages and having references and named contributors.
In contrast, the 2007 Micropædia has 65,000 articles, the vast majority of which contain fewer than 750 words, no references, no named contributors. The Micropædia articles are intended for quick fact-checking and to help in finding more thorough information in the Macropædia; the Macropædia articles are meant both as authoritative, well-written articles on their subjects and as storehouses of information not covered elsewhere. The longest article is on the United States, resulted from the merger of the articles on the individual states; the 2013 edition of Britannica contained forty thousand articles. Information can be found in the Britannica by following the cross-references in the Micropædia and Macropædia. Hence, readers are recommended to consult instead the alphabetical index or the Propædia, which organizes the Britannica's contents by topic; the core of the Propædia is its "Outline of Knowledge", which aims to provide a logical framework for all human knowledge. Accordingly, the Outline is consulted by the Britannica's editors to decide which articles should be included in the Micro- and Macropædia.
The Outline is intended to be a study guide, to put subjects in their proper perspective, to suggest a series of Britannica articles for the student wishing to learn a topic in depth. However, libraries have found that it is scarcely used, reviewers have recommended that it be dropped from the encyclopaedia; the Propædia has color transparencies of human anatomy and several appendices listing the staff members and contributors to all three parts of the Britannica. Taken together, the Micropædia and Macropædia comprise 40 million words and 24,000 images; the two-volume index has 2,350 pages, listing the 228,274 topics covered in the Britannica, together with 474,675 subentries under those topics. The Britannica prefers British spelling over American. However, there are exceptions such as defense rather than defence. Common alternative spellings are provided with cross-references such as "Color: see Colour." Since 1936, the articles of the Britannica have been revised on a regular schedule, with at least 10% of them considered for revision each year.
According to one Britannica website, 46% of its articles were revised over the past three years. The alphabetization of articles in the Micropædia and Macropædia follows strict rules. Diacritical marks and non-English letters are ignored, while numerical entries such as "1812, War of" are alphabetized as if the number had been written out. Articles with identical names are ordered first by persons by places by things. Rulers with identical names are organized first alphabetically by country and by chronology. Places that share names are
The Sudan is the geographic region to the south of the Sahara, stretching from Western to eastern Central Africa. The name derives from the Arabic bilād as-sūdān, or "the lands of the blacks", referring to West Africa and northern Central Africa; the Arabic name was translated as Negroland on older English maps. The name was understood to denote the western part of the Sahel region, it thus encompassed the geographical belt between the Sahara and the coastal West Africa. In modern usage, the phrase "The Sudan" is used in a separate context to refer to the present-day country of Sudan, the western part of which forms part of the larger region, from which South Sudan gained its independence in 2011; the Sudan region extends in some 5,000 km in a band several hundred kilometers wide across Africa. It stretches from the border of Senegal, through southern Mali, Burkina Faso, southern Niger, northern Nigeria, northern Ghana, southern Chad, the western Darfur region of present-day Sudan, South Sudan.
To the north of the region lies the Sahel, a more arid Acacia savanna region that in turn borders the Sahara Desert further north, to the east the Ethiopian Highlands. In the southwest lies the West Sudanian Savanna, a wetter, tropical savanna region bordering the tropical forests of West Africa. In the center is Lake Chad, the more fertile region around the lake, while to the south of there are the highlands of Cameroon. To the southeast is the East Sudanian Savanna, another tropical savanna region, bordering the forest of Central Africa; this gives way further east to the Sudd, an area of tropical wetland fed by the water of the White Nile. The people of the Sudan region share similar lifestyles, dictated by the geography of the region; the economy is pastoral, while sorghum and rice are cultivated in the southern parts of the region. The region was governed in colonial times by European powers, including the French ann the latter half of the 20th century. Sub-Saharan Africa Sudanian Savanna East Sudanian Savanna West Sudanian Savanna Readers Digest: Atlas of the World, Rand-McNally ISBN 0-276-42001-2
Abū-Muhammad Muslih al-Dīn bin Abdallāh Shīrāzī, better known by his pen-name Saadi known as Saadi of Shiraz, was a major Persian poet and prose writer of the medieval period. He is recognized for the depth of his social and moral thoughts. Saadi is recognized as one of the greatest poets of the classical literary tradition, earning him the nickname "Master of Speech" or "The Master" among Persian scholars, he has been quoted in the Western traditions as well. Bustan is considered one of the 100 greatest books of all time according to The Guardian. Saadi was born in Shiraz, according to some, shortly after 1200, according to others sometime between 1213 and 1219. In the Golestan, composed in 1258, he says in lines evidently addressed to himself, "O you who have lived fifty years and are still asleep", it seems. He narrates memories of going out with his father as a child during festivities. After leaving Shiraz he enrolled at the Nizamiyya University in Baghdad, where he studied Islamic sciences, governance, Arabic literature, Islamic theology.
In the Golestan, he tells us. In the Bustan and Golestan Saadi tells many colourful anecdotes of his travels, although some of these, such as his supposed visit to the remote eastern city of Kashgar in 1213, may be fictional; the unsettled conditions following the Mongol invasion of Khwarezm and Iran led him to wander for thirty years abroad through Anatolia, Syria and Iraq. In his writings he mentions the qadis, muftis of Al-Azhar, the grand bazaar and art. At Halab, Saadi joins a group of Sufis. Saadi was captured by Crusaders at Acre where he spent seven years as a slave digging trenches outside its fortress, he was released after the Mamluks paid ransom for Muslim prisoners being held in Crusader dungeons. Saadi visited Jerusalem and set out on a pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina, it is believed that he may have visited Oman and other lands in the south of the Arabian Peninsula. Because of the Mongol invasions he was forced to live in desolate areas and met caravans fearing for their lives on once-lively silk trade routes.
Saadi lived in isolated refugee camps where he met bandits, men who owned great wealth or commanded armies and ordinary people. While Mongol and European sources gravitated to the potentates and courtly life of Ilkhanate rule, Saadi mingled with the ordinary survivors of the war-torn region, he sat in remote tea houses late into the night and exchanged views with merchants, preachers, wayfarers and Sufi mendicants. For twenty years or more, he continued the same schedule of preaching and learning, honing his sermons to reflect the wisdom and foibles of his people. Saadi's works reflect upon the lives of ordinary Iranians suffering displacement and conflict during the turbulent times of the Mongol invasion. Saadi mentions honey-gatherers in Azarbaijan, fearful of Mongol plunder, he returns to Persia where he meets his childhood companions in Isfahan and other cities. At Khorasan Saadi befriends a Turkic Emir named Tughral. Saadi joins him and his men on their journey to Sindh where he meets Pir Puttur, a follower of the Persian Sufi grand master Shaikh Usman Marvandvi.
He refers in his writings about his travels with a Turkic Amir named Tughral in Sindh and Central Asia. Tughral hires Hindu sentinels. Tughral enters service of the wealthy Delhi Sultanate, Saadi is invited to Delhi and visits the Vizier of Gujarat. During his stay in Gujarat, Saadi learns more about the Hindus and visits the large temple of Somnath, from which he flees due to an unpleasant encounter with the Brahmans. Katouzian calls this story "almost fictitious". Saadi came back to Shiraz before 1257 CE / 655 AH. Saadi mourned in his poetry the fall of Abbasid Caliphate and Baghdad's destruction by Mongol invaders led by Hulagu in February 1258; when he reappeared in his native Shiraz, he might have been in his late forties. Shiraz, under Atabak Abubakr ibn Sa'd ibn Zangi, the Salghurid ruler of Fars, was enjoying an era of relative tranquility. Saadi was not only welcomed to the city but was shown great respect by the ruler and held to be among the greats of the province; some scholars believe that Saadi took his nom de plume from the name of Abubakr's son, Sa'd, to whom he dedicated the Golestan.
Some of Saadi's most famous panegyrics were composed as a gesture of gratitude in praise of the ruling house and placed at the beginning of his Bustan. The remainder of Saadi's life seems to have been spent in Shiraz; the traditional date for Saadi's death is between 1291 an
The Kanem–Bornu Empire was an empire that existed in modern Chad and Nigeria. It was known to the Arabian geographers as the Kanem Empire from the 8th century AD onward and lasted as the independent kingdom of Bornu until 1900; the Kanem Empire was located in the present countries of Chad and Libya. At its height it encompassed an area covering not only most of Chad, but parts of southern Libya and eastern Niger, northeastern Nigeria and northern Cameroon; the Bornu Empire was a state of what is now northeastern Nigeria, in time becoming larger than Kanem, incorporating areas that are today parts of Chad, Niger and Cameroon. The early history of the Empire is known from the Royal Chronicle or Girgam discovered in 1851 by the German traveller Heinrich Barth. Kanem was located at the southern end of the trans-Saharan trade route between Tripoli and the region of Lake Chad. Besides its urban elite it included a confederation of nomadic peoples who spoke languages of the Teda–Daza group. In the 8th century, Wahb ibn Munabbih used Zaghawa to describe the Teda-Tubu group, in the earliest use of the ethnic name.
Muhammad ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi mentions the Zaghawa in the 9th century. Kanem comes from anem, meaning south in the Teda and Kanuri languages, hence a geographic term. During the first millennium, as the Sahara underwent desiccation, people speaking the Kanembu language migrated to Kanem in the south; this group contributed to the formation of the Kanuri people. Kanuri traditions state; this desiccation of the Sahara resulted in two settlements, those speaking Teda-Daza northeast of Lake Chad, those speaking Chadic west of the lake in Bornu and Hausa-land. The origins of Kanem are unclear; the first historical sources tends to show that the kingdom of Kanem began forming around 700 AD under the nomadic Tebu-speaking Kanembu. The Kanembu were forced southwest towards the fertile lands around Lake Chad by political pressure and desiccation in their former range; the area possessed independent, walled city-states belonging to the Sao culture. Under the leadership of the Duguwa dynasty, the Kanembu would dominate the Sao, but not before adopting many of their customs.
War between the two continued up to the late 16th century. One scholar, Dierk Lange, proposed another theory based on a diffusionist ideology; this theory was much criticised by the scientific community, as it lacks of direct and clear evidences. He connect the creation of Kanem-Bornu with exodus from the collapsed Assyrian Empire c. 600 BC to the northeast of Lake Chad.. An overview of the discussions regarding this theory are gathered in his personal web page. Another one, from the same author, proposes that the lost state of Agisymba was the antecedent of the Kanem Empire. Kanem was connected via a trans-Saharan trade route with Tripoli via Bilma in the Kawar. Slaves were imported from the south along this route. Kanuri tradition states Sayf b. Dhi Yazan establish dynastic rule over the nomadic Magumi around the 9th or 10th century, through divine kingship. For the next millennium, the mais ruled the Kanuri, which included the Ngalaga, Kayi, Kaguwa and Tubu. Kanem is mentioned as one of three great empires in Bilad el-Sudan, by Al Yaqubi in 872.
He describes the kingdom of "the Zaghāwa who live in a place called Kānim," which included several vassal kingdoms, "Their dwellings are huts made of reeds and they have no towns." Living as nomads, their cavalry gave them military superiority. In the 10th century, al-Muhallabi mentions two towns in the kingdom, one of, Mānān, their king was considered divine, believing he could "bring life and death and health." Wealth was measured in livestock, cattle and horses. From Al-Bakri in the 11th century onwards, the kingdom is referred to as Kanem. In the 12th century Muhammad al-Idrisi described Mānān as "a small town without industry of any sort and little commerce." Ibn Sa'id al-Maghribi describes Mānān as the capital of the Kanem kings in the 13th century, Kanem as a powerful Muslim kingdom. The Kanuri speaking Muslim Saifawas gained control of Kanem from the Zaghawa nomads in the 9th century; this included control of the Zaghawa trade links in the central Sahara with Bilma and other salt mines.
Yet, the principal trade commodity was slaves. Tribes to the south of Lake Chad were raided as kafirun, transported to Zawila in the Fezzan, where the slaves were traded for horses and weapons; the annual number of slaves traded increased from 1,000 in the 7th century to 5,000 in the 15th. Mai Hummay began his reign in 1075, formed alliances with the Kay, Tubu and Magumi. Mai Humai was the first Muslim King of Kanem, was converted by his Muslim tutor Muhammad b. Mānī; this dynasty replaced the earlier Zaghawa dynasty. They remained nomadic until the 11th century. According to Richmond Palmer, it was customary to have "the Mai sitting in a curtained cage called fanadir, dagil, or tatatuna...a large cage for a wild animal, with vertical wooden bars."Humai's successor, performed the Hajj three times, before drowning at Aidab. His wealth included 120,000 soldiers. Kanem's expansion peaked during the energetic reign of Mai Dunama Dabbalemi. Dabbalemi initiated diplomatic exchanges with sultans in North Africa, sending a giraffe to the Hafsid monarch, arranged for the establishment of a madrasa of al-Rashíq in Cairo to facilitate pilgrimages to Mecca.
During his reign, he declared jih
The Abbasid Caliphate was the third of the Islamic caliphates to succeed the Islamic prophet Muhammad. It was founded by a dynasty descended from Muhammad's uncle, Abbas ibn Abdul-Muttalib, from whom the dynasty takes its name, they ruled as caliphs for most of the caliphate from their capital in Baghdad in modern-day Iraq, after having overthrown the Umayyad Caliphate in the Abbasid Revolution of 750 CE. The Abbasid Caliphate first centred its government in Kufa, modern-day Iraq, but in 762 the caliph Al-Mansur founded the city of Baghdad, near the ancient Sasanian capital city of Ctesiphon; the Abbasid period was marked by reliance on Persian bureaucrats for governing the territories as well as an increasing inclusion of non-Arab Muslims in the ummah. Persianate customs were broadly adopted by the ruling elite, they began patronage of artists and scholars. Baghdad became a centre of science, culture and invention in what became known as the Golden Age of Islam. Despite this initial cooperation, the Abbasids of the late 8th century had alienated both non-Arab mawali and Iranian bureaucrats.
They were forced to cede authority over al-Andalus to the Umayyads in 756, Morocco to the Idrisid dynasty in 788, Ifriqiya to the Aghlabids in 800 and Egypt to the Isma'ili-Shia caliphate of the Fatimids in 969. The political power of the caliphs ended with the rise of the Iranian Buyids and the Seljuq Turks, who captured Baghdad in 945 and 1055, respectively. Although Abbasid leadership over the vast Islamic empire was reduced to a ceremonial religious function, the dynasty retained control over its Mesopotamian domain; the Abbasids' period of cultural fruition ended in 1258 with the sack of Baghdad by the Mongols under Hulagu Khan. The Abbasid line of rulers, Muslim culture in general, re-centred themselves in the Mamluk capital of Cairo in 1261. Though lacking in political power, the dynasty continued to claim religious authority until after the Ottoman conquest of Egypt in 1517; the Abbasid caliphs were Arabs descended from Abbas ibn Abd al-Muttalib, one of the youngest uncles of Muhammad and of the same Banu Hashim clan.
The Abbasids claimed to be the true successors of Prophet Muhammad in replacing the Umayyad descendants of Banu Umayya by virtue of their closer bloodline to Muhammad. The Abbasids distinguished themselves from the Umayyads by attacking their moral character and administration in general. According to Ira Lapidus, "The Abbasid revolt was supported by Arabs the aggrieved settlers of Merv with the addition of the Yemeni faction and their Mawali"; the Abbasids appealed to non-Arab Muslims, known as mawali, who remained outside the kinship-based society of the Arabs and were perceived as a lower class within the Umayyad empire. Muhammad ibn'Ali, a great-grandson of Abbas, began to campaign in Persia for the return of power to the family of Prophet Muhammad, the Hashimites, during the reign of Umar II. During the reign of Marwan II, this opposition culminated in the rebellion of Ibrahim the Imam, the fourth in descent from Abbas. Supported by the province of Khorasan though the governor opposed them, the Shia Arabs, he achieved considerable success, but was captured in the year 747 and died assassinated, in prison.
On 9 June 747, Abu Muslim, rising from Khorasan initiated an open revolt against Umayyad rule, carried out under the sign of the Black Standard. Close to 10,000 soldiers were under Abu Muslim's command when the hostilities began in Merv. General Qahtaba followed the fleeing governor Nasr ibn Sayyar west defeating the Umayyads at the Battle of Gorgan, the Battle of Nahāvand and in the Battle of Karbala, all in the year 748; the quarrel was taken up by Ibrahim's brother Abdallah, known by the name of Abu al-'Abbas as-Saffah, who defeated the Umayyads in 750 in the battle near the Great Zab and was subsequently proclaimed caliph. After this loss, Marwan fled to Egypt; the remainder of his family, barring one male, were eliminated. After their victory, As-Saffah sent his forces to Central Asia, where his forces fought against Tang expansion during the Battle of Talas; the noble Iranian family Barmakids, who were instrumental in building Baghdad, introduced the world's first recorded paper mill in the city, thus beginning a new era of intellectual rebirth in the Abbasid domain.
As-Saffah focused on putting down numerous rebellions in Mesopotamia. The Byzantines conducted raids during these early distractions; the first change the Abbasids, under Al-Mansur, made was to move the empire's capital from Damascus, in Syria, to Baghdad in Iraq. This was to both appease as well to be closer to the Persian mawali support base that existed in this region more influenced by Persian history and culture, part of the Persian mawali demand for less Arab dominance in the empire. Baghdad was established on the Tigris River in 762. A new position, that of the vizier, was established to delegate central authority, greater authority was delegated to local emirs; this meant that many Abbasid caliphs were relegated to a more ceremonial role than under the Umayyads, as the viziers began to exert greater influence, the role of the old Arab aristocracy was replaced by a Persian bureaucracy. During Al-Mansur's time control of Al-Andalus was lost, the Shia revolted and were defeated a year at the Battle of Bakhamra.
The Abbasids had depended on the support of Persians in their overthrow of the Umayyads. Abu al-'Abbas' successor, Al-Mansur welcomed non-Arab Musli