History Files


Far East Kingdoms

Central Asia




Aria / Haraiva / Ariana
Incorporating the Areioi

The ancient province of Aria lay largely within the northern areas of modern Afghanistan, southern Turkmenistan, and perhaps the eastern edges of Iran. Within it was included the River Hari (the ancient River Arius, from which the region gained its name, or vice versa). With Aria centred on what is now the city of Herat, the valley of the Arius was famous for its fertile soil and excellent cultivation properties. Prior to its late sixth century BC domination by the Achaemenid Persians, Aria seems to have formed part of a much larger and more poorly-defined region known as Ariana, with the later Aria seemingly lying at its heart. Barely recorded by written history, its precise boundaries are impossible to pin down. It may have encompassed much or all of southern Transoxiana, the region around the River Oxus (the Amu Darya), and could have reached as far south as the coastline of the Arabian Sea.

This region was home to one of the oldest series of states in Central Asia, the indigenous Bactria-Margiana Archaeological Complex, or Oxus Civilisation (otherwise known as the BMAC). As suggested, this was centred on Bactria and Margiana, but it extended into the neighbouring (Persian and Greek) provinces and regions of Paropamisadae (to the south-east), Arachosia (to the south), Carmania (to the south-west), and Hyrcania (to the west). East Indo-European tribes soon integrated into the area from the steppelands to the north, creating a melting pot which formed the Indo-Iranian tribes. From there, following the civilisation's collapse by around 1700 BC, they migrated outwards, westwards into pre-Achaemenid Iran as the Alans, Mannaeans, Medians (or Medes), and Parsua, and eastwards into India. Those who remained behind appear to have entered the historical record around the sixth century BC, when they came up against the rapidly expanding Persian empire.

The name is a variation of Arya, usually shown as Aria (Latin), Areia (close to the Greek spelling), Haraiva (Persian), or Haraeuua (Avestan). The Areioi tribe mentioned by Herodotus which occupied the Persian and Greek province of Haraiva/Aria were named on the same basis (he also mentions that the Medes were formerly called the Arioi - Aryans). Although it is unfashionable to use it these days, thanks to the Nazis, the name Arya appears to be the oldest one known for Indo-Europeans (IEs). Both Iranians and Indians derived from a single group which are usually called either Indo-Iranians or Indo-Aryans and which were descended from East IE groups. They probably knew themselves as Arya plus a plural suffix, possibly '-na', producing Aryana. Apart from being preserved in the eponymous province, this was also retained in names such as Iran (Aryan), the prefix of a line of kings in Cappadocia, Satrap Ariobarzanes of Persis, the duchy of Ariano in Italy, and many others. It does not seem to have been retained amongst Celtic names, but if it can be found amongst the Celto-Italics and Slavics then it may be the case that it was the actual name of the original IE homeland or a major sub-grouping of IE tribes.

The term 'Ariana' was used by various ancient writers as a general geographical term which covered the later provinces of Aria, Carmania, Gedrosia, Drangiana, Arachosia, Gandhara (part), and Bactria (part). This would appear to correspond relatively closely to the modern borders of Afghanistan and Pakistan. Curiously, and perhaps not at all coincidentally, the land of Tūr (or Turaj, sometimes also shown without the accented 'u' as Tur) which is mentioned in Persian sources seems to border this to the north. The land of Tūr, which contained the kingdom of Turan, can be equated to territory in the heartland of Indo-Iranian southern Central Asia and South Asia, focused mainly on the later provinces of Bactria and Margiana, and extending into Sogdiana. The focus in Tūr seems largely to have been westwards, along the migratory trail used by Alans, Mannaeans, Medes, and Persians to reach the Zagros Mountains or southern Iran.

The focus in Ariana is less clear, but the region was the gateway into India so, even prior to Alexander's campaigns through this land and into the northern Indus and southern Indus, the focus was probably eastwards. If Central Asia was, as it seems to be, the melting pot which created the Indo-Iranian and Indo-Aryan groups, then if Tūr was the Indo-Iranian heartland, could Ariana have been the Indo-Aryan opposite number? The migration of Indo-Aryans into India would have come through this region, so it's not an impossibility that the migration started from Ariana, perhaps after a period of relatively settled life here following the BMAC decline. This is speculation, of course, but highly interesting nonetheless.

(Additional information by Edward Dawson, from The Persian Empire, J M Cook (1983), from the Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography: 'Ariana', William Smith (Boston, 1980), from The Histories, Herodotus (Penguin, 1996), and from External Links: The Geography of Strabo (Loeb Classical Library Edition, 1932), and Encyclopaedia Iranica.)

8th century BC

Later myth ascribes a dynasty of Indo-Iranian rulers to this period, as described in the Shahnameh (The Book of Kings), a poetic opus which is written about AD 1000 but which accesses older works (such as the semi-official seventh century AD book called the Ḵwadāy-nāmag), and perhaps elements of an oral tradition. The Kayanian dynasty of kings of the Persians are also the heroes of the Avesta, which forms the sacred texts of Zoroastrianism.

The earliest of these mythical Indo-Iranian rulers is Fereydun, king of a 'world empire'. His subjects are the Indo-Iranian tribes of the region while his kingdom is apparently in the land of Tūr. This can be equated to territory in the heartland of Indo-Iranian southern Central Asia and South Asia, focused mainly on the later provinces of Bactria and Margiana, along with the Kopet Dag region (a mountain range which serves to separate modern Turkmenistan and Iran), the Atrek valley, and the eastern Alborz Mountains.

Judging by those borders, the land of Tūr stretches from Samarkand to Tehran, although the kingdom of Turan is probably a good deal smaller and more eastern-based. The Persians themselves may still control a good deal of the western section as they began to settle in southern Iran. Curiously (and probably not coincidentally), these borders place the land of Tūr on the northern border of another ancient region, that of Ariana.

Map of Central Asia & India c.700 BC
Following the climate-change-induced collapse of indigenous civilisations and cultures in Iran and Central Asia between about 2200-1700 BC, Indo-Iranian groups gradually migrated southwards to form two regions - Tūr (yellow) and Ariana (white), with westward migrants forming the early Parsua kingdom (lime green), and Indo-Aryans entering India (green) (click on image to see full sized)

c.546 - 540 BC

The defeat of the Medes opens the floodgates for Cyrus the Great with a wave of conquests, beginning in the west from 549 BC but focussing towards the east of the Persians from about 546 BC. Eastern Iran falls during a more drawn-out campaign between about 546-540 BC, which may be when Maka is taken (presumed to be the southern coastal strip of the Arabian Sea). Further eastern regions now fall, namely Arachosia, Aria, Bactria, Carmania, Chorasmia, Drangiana, Gandhara, Gedrosia, Hyrcania, Margiana, Parthia, Saka (at least part of the broad tribal lands of the Sakas), Sogdiana (with Ferghana), and Thatagush - all added to the empire, although records for these campaigns are characteristically sparse.

Index of Persian SatrapiesPersian Satraps of Haraiva (Aria)

Conquered in the mid-sixth century BC by Cyrus the Great, the region of Haraiva (or Haraiwa) was added to the Persian empire. The name is also known in Avestan as Haraēuua. Before the Persians took control it was populated largely by Indo-Iranian tribal groups, and especially by a tribe known as the Arii. Under the Persians, it was formed into an official satrapy or province which was focused on the River Hari and its fertile valley soil. According to the Behistun inscription of Darius the Great it was known as Haraiva (Aria is a Greek mangling of the name).

These eastern regions of the new-found empire were ancestral homelands for the Persians. They formed the Indo-Iranian melting pot from which the Parsua had migrated west in the first place to reach Persis. There would have been no language barriers for Cyrus' forces and few cultural differences. Although details of his conquests are relatively poor, he seemingly experienced few problems in uniting the various tribes under his governance. He was the first to exert any form of imperial control here, although his campaign may have been driven partially by a desire to recreate the semi-mythical kingdom of Turan in the land of Tūr, but now under Persian control. Curiously the Persians had little knowledge of what lay to the north of their eastern empire, with the result that Alexander the Great was less well-informed about the region than earlier Ionian settlers on the Black Sea coast had been.

Various Persian royal inscriptions list the provinces of the eastern empire or depict local representatives. Those of Haraiva are shown wearing Scythian-style dress which includes a tunic over trousers which are tucked into high boots. The twisted turban in the head provides the final touch, and perhaps all the proof that is needed that these were an Indo-Iranian people with close links to the Indo-Europeans of the Pontic-Caspian steppe. Strabo describes Haraiva's territory, which seems to be pretty close to the modern Herat Province of Afghanistan. The province of Harahuwatish (Arachosia) lay to the south of the mountains that enclosed Aria (Strabo). The capital was at Artacoana, which has also been shown as Artacana, Artacaena, Articaudna, or Chortacana by various ancient authors, Roman and Greek. Curiously there does not seem to be a Persian version available.

(Additional information from Geography, Ptolemy, from Bibliotheca Historica, Diodorus Siculus, from Historiae Alexandri Magni, Quintus Curtius Rufus, from Anabasis Alexandri, Arrian of Nicomedia, from The Persian Empire, J M Cook (1983), from The Histories, Herodotus (Penguin, 1996), and from External Links: The Geography of Strabo (Loeb Classical Library Edition, 1932), and The Natural History, Pliny the Elder (John Bostock, Ed), and Encyclopaedia Iranica.)

516 - 515 BC

Achaemenid ruler Darius embarks on a military campaign into the lands east of the empire. He marches through Aria and Bakhtrish, and then to Gadara and Taxila. By 515 BC he is conquering lands around the Indus Valley to incorporate into the new satrapy of Hindush before returning via Harahuwatish and Zranka. Along the way the Sakas are largely defeated and conquered.

River Oxus / Amu Darya
The River Oxus - also known over the course of many centuries as the Amu Darya - was used as a demarcation border throughout history and was also a hub of activity in prehistoric times - but during this period it flowed right through the heart of the region that was known as Bactria

fl 480 BC


Persian satrap. Son of the Hydarnes of Darius' 522 BC coup.

c.480 BC

Sisamnes is a son of Hydarnes I, one of the seven co-conspirators, along with soon-to-be Achaemenid ruler, Darius the Great, who had been responsible for removing the 'usurper' Gaumata from the throne in 522 BC. Darius had since treated his colleagues as family, and Hydarnes' appointment as satrap of Media is one of the empire's plum jobs.

360s/350s BC

Artaxerxes II is occupied fighting the 'revolt of the satraps' in the western part of the empire. Nothing is known of events in the eastern half of the Persian empire at this time, but no word of unrest is mentioned by Greek writers, however briefly. Given the newsworthiness for Greeks of any rebellion against the Persian king, this should be enough to show that the east remains solidly behind the king. It seems that all of the empire's troubles hinge on the Greeks during this period.

? - 330 BC


Persian satrap. One of the three highest-ranked in the east.

330 - 328 BC

Satibarzanes is one of the three most senior satraps of the east, the others being Bessus in Bakhtrish and Barsaentes of Harahuwatish. In 330-329 BC, despite the best efforts of Bessus to rally supporters to his defence of the empire, the Persian provinces of the east are conquered by the Greek empire under Alexander the Great.

In the case of Haraiva, Satibarzanes submits to Alexander and is allowed to retain office. Alexander leaves a garrison of forty horsemen in the capital, Artacoana, so that Macedonian troops who are following on behind him do not reopen hostilities. Satibarzanes has them murdered, excites the province into a state of rebellion, and orders his forces to defend Artacoana. When Alexander returns, however, he flees to join Bessus and the city is taken after a short siege. Satibarzanes is slain soon afterwards when attempting to lead reinforcements back into Aria.

Index of Greek SatrapsIndex of Greek SatrapiesArgead Dynasty in Aria

The Argead were the ruling family and founders of Macedonia who reached their greatest extent under Alexander the Great and his two successors before the kingdom broke up into several Hellenic sections. Following Alexander's conquest of central and eastern Persia in 331-328 BC, the Greek empire ruled the region until Alexander's death in 323 BC and the subsequent regency period which ended in 310 BC. Alexander's successors held no real power, being mere figureheads for the generals who really held control of Alexander's empire. Following that latter period and during the course of several wars, Aria was left in the hands of the Seleucid empire from 305 BC.

The former Persian satrapy of Haraiva retained its borders under the Greeks. They pronounced the name differently - as Aria or Areia - and some writers confused it with the ancient region of Ariana. The regional capital of Artacoana, largely destroyed during the siege to take it from the Persian satrap, Satibarzanes, was replaced by a new city, built at an unknown point after the Greek conquest, but probably earlier rather than later. This was named Alexandria Ariana or Arion, although it most likely either began its life as a fortress with a few dwellings springing up alongside it or was a renamed and repaired existing city - Alexander's time in Aria was brief. In time it became better known to modern audiences as Herat in what is now north-western Afghanistan. The satrapy was also home to a large number of other cities (or rather, large towns in the more modern sense of what constitutes a city). Aria was a rich province situated in rich farming territory, so cities such as Aria Civitas, Astasana, Paracanacê, and Susia flourished.

(Additional information from External Link: Encyclopaedia Iranica.)

330 - 323 BC

Alexander III the Great

King of Macedonia. Conquered Persia.

323 - 317 BC

Philip III Arrhidaeus

Feeble-minded half-brother of Alexander the Great.

317 - 310 BC

Alexander IV of Macedonia

Infant son of Alexander the Great and Roxana.

323 - 321 BC

Stasanor the Solian

Greek satrap of Aria & Drangiana (and later of Bactria).

321 BC

Stasanor the Solian, former satrap of Aria and Drangiana, now becomes satrap of Bactria and Chorasmia, perhaps with more of a focus towards the Indo-Greek territories than the eastern coast of the Caspian Sea. His territory extends as far north as Ferghana, which contains the city of Alexandria Eschate ('the Furthest').

323 - c.130 BC

Following the death of Alexander the Great and the subsequent Greek in-fighting, Bactria is part of the Seleucid empire until 256 BC, when an independent Bactrian kingdom is declared, followed by an Indo-Greek expansion eastwards. Arachosia is still a Seleucid territory in 206-205 BC, when Antiochus III proceeds through it on his way back to the west.

Map of Bactria and India 200 BC
The kingdom of Bactria (shown in white) was at the height of its power around 200-180 BC, with fresh conquests being made in the south-east, encroaching into India just as the Mauryan empire was on the verge of collapse, while around the northern and eastern borders dwelt various tribes that would eventually contribute to the downfall of the Greeks - the Sakas and Greater Yuezhi (click on map to show full sized)

312 - 306 BC

The Wars of the Diadochi decide how Alexander the Great's empire is carved up between his generals, but the period is very confused, especially in the east. Bactria is taken by the Seleucids in around 312 BC. In some sources, the assassination of Philippus is placed at 325 BC, during Chandragupta Maurya's conquest of northern India and his takeover of the Macedonian vassal states there.

Index of Greek SatrapsIndex of Greek SatrapiesMacedonian & Parthian Aria

Once safely under Seleucid control after the conclusion of the Greek Wars of the Diadochi, Aria was governed by Macedonian satraps under the authority of the Seleucid empire which commanded from Babylonia and Syria. Farther east, The descendants of some of the original satraps became independent kings, after Bactria had been cut off from the Seleucids by Parthian incursion into central Persia. Aria itself was eventually cut off from the west, and was subsumed within the growing Parthian empire in 167 BC.

(Where information conflicts regarding the Indo-Greek territories, Osmund Bopearachchi's Monnaies Gréco-Bactriennes et Indo-Grecques, Catalogue Raisonné (1991) has been followed. Additional information by David Kelleher, from the Encyclopaedia Britannica, from Epitome of the Philippic History of Pompeius Trogus: Books 11-12, Volume 1, Marcus Junianus Justinus, John Yardley, & Waldemar Heckel, and from External Links: the Ancient History Encyclopaedia, and Encyclopædia Britannica, and Ancient History Encyclopaedia, and Encyclopaedia Iranica.)

c.235/230 BC

Diodotus II of Bactria is overthrown by Euthydemus, possibly the satrap of Sogdiana. The date is uncertain and Strabo puts forward 223/221 BC as an alternative, placing it within a period of internal Seleucid discord.

235 - 200/195 BC

Euthydemus I Theos

Satrap of Sogdiana? Founder of the Euthydemids of Bactria.

c.220 BC

The realm of Euthydemus of Bactria is a large one, including Sogdiana and Ferghana to the north, and Margiana and Aria to the west. There are indications that from Alexandria Eschate in Ferghana the Greco-Bactrians may lead expeditions as far as Kashgar (a little under three hundred and twenty kilometres (two hundred miles) due east of Ferghana), and Urumqi in Chinese Turkestan. There they would be able to establish the first known contacts between China and the West around 220 BC.

Even more remarkably, recent examinations of the terracotta army have established a startling new concept - the terracotta army may be the product of western art forms and technology. An entire terracotta army plus imperial court are manufactured using five workshops and a form of human representation in sculpture that has never before been seen in China. Archaeologists today continue the process of discovering new pits and even a fan of roads leading out from the emperor's burial mound, one of which, heading west, may be a sort of proto-Silk Road along which Greek craftsmen may be travelling.

167 BC

Under Mithradates the Parthians rise from obscurity to become a major regional power, although a precise chronology is not possible. Their first expansion takes the former province of Aria from the Greco-Bactrian kingdom. It seems possible that Aria (and possibly a rebellious Drangiana too) had already been conquered once by the Arsacids, with the Greco-Bactrians recapturing it, probably during the reign of Euthydemus I Theos. During the reign of Eucratides I the Greco-Bactrians are also engaged in warfare against the people of Sogdiana, showing that they have lost control of that northern region too (and by inference Ferghana).

The other eastern provinces, all of which still appear to be in Seleucid hands, must also fall to the Parthians very quickly after this - including Carmania, Gedrosia, and Margiana - although firm evidence to show a specific date appears to be lacking. Another date which may be valid for these losses is 185 BC, when Seleucus IV loses eastern Iran to Parthian expansion, but the fact that the Parthians fail to expand out of their initial conquests until Mithradates accedes makes this period a more likely one.

c.165 BC

Defeated by the Xiongnu, the Greater Yuezhi are forced to evacuate their lands on the borders of the Chinese kingdom. They begin a migration westwards that triggers a slow domino effect of barbarian movement.

115 - 100 BC

MapWith Parthian territory having been harried for years by the Sakas, King Mithridates II is finally able to take control of the situation. First he defeats the Greater Yuezhi in Sogdiana in 115 BC, and then he defeats the Sakas in Parthia and Seistan (in Drangiana) around 100 BC. After their defeat, the Greater Yuezhi tribes concentrate on consolidation in Bactria-Tokharistan while the Sakas are diverted into Indo-Greek Gandhara. The western territories of Aria, Drangiana, and Margiana would appear to remain Parthian dependencies. Although Carmania doesn't seem to be mentioned directly, its position between Drangiana and Persia would make it likely that this too is still in Parthian hands.

c.AD 230 - 250

The end of Kushan King Vasudeva's reign in AD 207 apparently coincides with the beginning of the Sassanid invasion of north-western India, although the dating for the main invasion fits with Vashiska and his successor around 230-250. Perhaps there is a first, preliminary invasion followed by a much greater second.

The Kushans are toppled in former Arachosia, Aria, and Bactria (more recently better known as Tokharistan) and are forced to accept Sassanid suzerainty, being replaced by Sassanid vassals known as the Kushanshahs or Indo-Sassanids. There is a split in Kushan rule, so that a separate, eastern section rules independent of the Sassanids, while some of the nobility remain in the west as Sassanid vassals. Even so, Kushan power still gradually wanes in India.

Aria now becomes better known as Harev.


The attempts by Tughlugh Temur, Chaghatayid khan of Mughulistan, to quell the tribes of Transoxiana are eventually unsuccessful, despite two invasions of the region. His death ends Chaghatayid hopes of restoring control of western Mughulistan. Instead, two tribal leaders contest for control of Transoxiana. Tîmûr-i Lang (Timur) is ultimately successful, taking Transoxiana and Khorasan in the name of the khanate, but effectively forming his own Timurid khanate.

Timurid Khorasan (at Herat)
AD 1369 - 1459

From 1363, Timur began to conquer large areas of Transoxiana and Khorasan, supposedly in the name of the Chaghatayid khans of Mughulistan. Samarkand, to the east of Greater Khorasan, fell in 1366, and Balikh (in the north of modern Afghanistan) in 1369. Timur was recognised as the region's ruler in 1370, and around 1381 he ravaged Herat, with his son, the Timurid ruler Shah Rukh, later rebuilding it. In 1405, the Timurid empire split in two, with the western, Persian, portion being ruled from Herat (which still exists as a city and a province in the west of modern Afghanistan), while the eastern portion was governed from Samarkand.

(Additional information by Abhijit Rajadhyaksha.)

1369 - 1405

Much of Southern Khorasan (modern Afghanistan) is territory which belongs to the Timurid Persian empire, initially under the control of Timur himself, and then under his successors, with regional governors in place to provide day-to-day administration. Timur himself is crowned in Balkh, north of Afghanistan, in 1370, and all of the territory which makes up modern Afghanistan is conquered by 1394.

Map of the Timurid empire AD 1400
Timur effectively recreated the ancient Persian empire through his various conquests over the course of almost forty years, subduing many competing clans and khanates that would begin competing again after his death (click on map to show full sized)

1382 - 1383

Having secured his conquests around Transoxiana, Timur has begun the expansion of his territory into Southern Khorasan and Persia. He forces the Kartid dynasty of Herat into submission and demands a hostage from Seistan to symbolise the subservience of the Mihrabanids. Malik Qutbuddin sends a relative named Tajuddin.

However, in 1383, despite agreeing a hostage, Timur still turns up at Seistan with his army. The two sides fail to come to agreement so Timur defeats the Mihrabanids in open battle. Qutbuddin is soon captured, imprisoned, and deported to Samarkand. He is executed three years later. Timur appoints Shah-i Shahan as governor of Seistan and proceeds to ravage the province.


The Timurid empire splits in two following the death of Timur, and Queen Goharshad, wife of the western ruler, Shah Rukh, moves the capital from Samarkand to Herat, part of their domains in Greater Khorasan and Persia. The eastern portion is governed from Samarkand.

1405 - 1409

Shah Rukh / Shahrukh

Son of Timur. In Khorasan initially, and in Persia (1409-1447).

1409 - 1447

Herat remains the heart of the Timurid empire which still covers Persia and Greater Khorasan, until Ulugh Beg's weak rule allows a rival to take control of the city.

The tomb of Shah Rukh in Multan
The tomb of Shah Rukh in Multan (in modern Pakistan)

1447? - 1448

'Ala' al-Daula

In Khorasan.

1448 - 1449

Ulugh Beg defeats 'Ala' al-Daula in battle at Tarnab while his son recaptures Herat. Ulugh Beg massacres the population of Herat (presumably for allowing the city to fall to a usurper), and then abandons it so that a rival Timurid, Babur Ibn-Baysunkur, a grandson of Shah Rukhm, is able to take control. Persia itself falls to another Timurid prince, Sultan Muhammad.

1449 - 1457

Babur Ibn-Baysunkur / Abu'l-Qasim

In Khorasan.

1450 - 1451

Sultan Muhammad invades Khorasan from Persia, defeating Babur at the Battle of Mashad in March 1450. After initially ceding territory, Babur recovers in 1451 and turns the tables, taking his rival prisoner and executing him. Central Persia becomes his, reuniting two portions of the empire.

1451 - 1453

Jahan Shah ends the loyalty of the Black Sheep emirate with the fracturing Timurids. He besieges Qum and Sava with overwhelming forces which the main Timurid ruler, Babur Ibn-Baysunkur, is unable to face. Most of Persia is taken by 1452, including Ray, with the last section, Abarquh, falling in 1453. The Timurids are never able to recapture Persia.


Babur Ibn-Baysunkur invades Transoxiana in retaliation for Abu Sa'id's seizure of Balkh (now in northern Afghanistan). The two Timurid rulers agree a border on the River Oxus, which remains in force for the remainder of Babur's lifetime.


Shah Mahmud

Son. In Khorasan. Died in 1460s.


The eleven year-old Mahmud is ejected from Herat just a few weeks after his accession, with his cousin taking control of Khorasan. Mahmud's efforts to recapture Herat are undistinguished.

1457 - 1458


Cousin, and son of 'Ala' al-Daula. In Khorasan.

1457 - 1459

Almost as soon as Ibrahim takes command in Herat, Abu Sa'id invades from Transoxiana. Balkh is occupied but he is unable to take Herat. However, the Black Sheep Turkmen under Jahan Shah choose this moment to invade from Persia. They capture Gurgan and defeat Ibrahim outside Astarabad (modern Gorgan). Now assisted by his father, 'Ala' al-Daula, Ibrahim is again defeated and is forced to flee. The Black Sheep take Herat on 28 June 1458, but withdraw soon afterwards. Khorasan is taken by Abu Sa'ad, reuniting the remaining Timurid provinces. An attempt by Ibrahim to unite with another Timurid prince, Sultan Sanjar is defeated at the Battle of Sarakhs in March 1459. Sanjar is executed. Ibrahim dies in 1460, and 'Ala' al-Daula dies in 1461, ending all opposition to a sole Timurid ruler in Transoxiana for his lifetime.

1459 - 1469

Sultan Abu Sa'id Gurgan

In Transoxiana & Khorasan (and later in Persia too). Executed.

1459 - 1469

Abu Sa'id is the sole Timurid ruler in Transoxiana for the duration of his life, but following his death at the hands of Yadigar Muhammad (handed over by the White Sheep emirate who had captured him), the divide between Transoxiana and Khorasan re-emerges. The White Sheep supply Yadigar with forces which enable him to capture Khorasan, if only for a year before the Timurids in Transoxiana are finally triumphant. Yadigar is executed.


Sultan Mahmud

Son of Abu Sa'id. Captured Herat but did not stay.


Husayn Bayqarah / Sultan-Husayn Mirza

Son of Mansur, a great-grandson of Timur. In Khorasan.


The White Sheep supply their mercenary lieutenant, Yadigar Muhammad, with forces which enable him to capture Khorasan, if only for a year before it is re-captured by Husayn Bayqarah following the Battle of Chinaran on 15 September 1469. Yadigar is executed.

1469 - 1470

Yadigar Muhammad

Son of Sultan Muhammad of Persia. In Khorasan. Executed.

1470 - 1506

Sultan Husayn Bayqarah



Husayn's borders with the White Sheep emirate begin around the southern edge of the Caspian Sea, and run south and then east across the north of the Dasht-e Lut to Lake Hamun. The border with the Timurids of Transoxiana is still the River Oxus, which Husayn refuses to cross, wise to the growing threat of the Shaibanid Uzbeks to the north.

1501 - 1506

Following the Shaibanid conquest of Transoxiana, Khorasan is now threatened. Husayn does nothing initially, although one of his princes, Babur of Ferghana in Transoxiana attempts to fight back. Babur also conquers Kabul, which he makes his base of operations between 1504-1526. Finally deciding to mobilise in 1506, Husayn dies before he can achieve anything, and the crown is disputed between his sons, Muzaffar Husain and Badi' al-Zaman.

1506 - 1507

Badi' al-Zaman

Son. Died at the Persian court in 1517.

1506 - 1507

Muzaffar Husain

Brother and rival for the throne.

1506 - 1507

Babur recognises that Khorasan is undefendable and withdraws south. The following year, the Shaibanids invade and capture Herat, putting a final end to Timurid rule. In Transoxiana, the remnants of Khwarazm become an independent Muslim Uzbek state that is later known as the khanate of Khiva, but without Ghazni (modern Kandahar). At Babur's urging, Khorasan is soon recaptured by the Safavid shahs of Persia under Ismail.