History Files


Far East Kingdoms

Central Asia




Drangiana / Zranka
Incorporating the Ariaspae, Asagarta, Drangians, Sargatians, Thamanaeans, & Utians

The ancient province of Drangiana lay largely within what is now the easternmost areas of modern Iran, roughly where it meets the border between south-western Afghanistan and western Pakistan, and with a focus on Seistan (Sistan) in Iran. The country is a dusty and often stormy desert with sandy dunes, but there are fertile plains along the River Etymandrus, the modern Helmand Rûd. Prior to its late sixth century BC domination by the Achaemenid Persians, Drangiana seems to have formed part of a much larger and more poorly-defined region known as Ariana, of which the later province of Aria was the heartland. Barely recorded by written history, its precise boundaries are impossible to pin down. It may have encompassed much or all of Transoxiana, the region around the River Oxus (the Amu Darya), and could have reached as far south as the coastline of the Arabian Sea.

Drangiana or Zarangiana to the Greeks may have been more readily known as Zranka or Zraka to the Persians. The word apparently means 'waterland'. Following its formation into a province, it was bounded to the north by Arachosia, to the east by the Indus region of far western India, to the south by Gedrosia, and to the west by Carmania. As a whole, this region formed the meeting point between Central Asia and South Asia. By the first millennium BC it may have been populated largely by Indo-Iranian tribes which were migrating east and west from across the River Oxus. Those tribes which remained behind appear to enter the historical record around the sixth century BC, when they came up against their cousins from the rapidly expanding Persian empire.

One of those tribes was known as the Drangians, from which the region gained its name. They have also been referred to as the Sarangians, Drangae, and Zarangae, and are claimed as being subjects of the Median empire when this was at its height (although calling it an 'empire' may be a mistaken view of something which may have been more akin to a domination of tribal confederations with the Medes at the top. The Drangians and other tribes in eastern Iran were Indo-Iranians themselves, just like the Medes and Persians. They spoke the same language and had the same customs, such as the fire cult and the cult of the supreme god, Ahuramazda, so they probably would not have viewed Persian rule as an occupation by a foreign power. Breaking down Indo-Iranian tribal names is tricky. The closest finding in Avestan/Old Iranian is darəgə̄m (adjective); accusative singular neuter 'long'. As for what might be 'long' in the name, this may have to be left as one of history's mysteries for now.

According to Greek historians who documented the campaigns of Alexander the Great, there was also a tribe in Drangiana called the Ariaspae or Ariaspai. They were neighbours of the Gedrosii to their south. Their name is most likely the Latin version of the Greek form, which would be much closer to Ariaspaeoi. Without the Latin or Greek suffix, the name is 'Ariasp', with an unknown meaning that clearly bears a relation to the Arya name (see Ariana for more details). The 'sp' of Ariasp is probably, almost certainly, a contraction with the vowel missing, possibly in the same manner as the 'nt' in the word 'isn't'. Analysis of whether the vowel is missing from the front, back, or middle still awaits. This tribe was also known as 'the Benefactors' because they had saved the army of king Cyrus when it was crossing the desert. Whether the use of 'Drangians' covered a host of local tribes or the Ariaspae were a separate unit is not known, but the Drangians were most likely the most numerous tribe or confederation in the area.

During the Persian conquest of Central Asia, the Drangians were placed in the same district as the Utians, Thamanaeans (or Thamanaioi), Myci, and Sargatians (Heredotus' Sagartioi, Old Persian Asagarta). Except for the Thamanaeans, who are generally unknown apart from a suspicion that they were also present in Arachosia, and the Myci, who lived in Oman, these tribes can all be found in central Iran. The Sargatians were counted as one of the ten clans of the Parsua but seem to have participated in the rebellion of 521 BC against Darius the Great. In later texts, the Utians are mentioned as inhabiting the Zagros Mountains, to the north of the Persian capitals of Persepolis and Pasargadae, but it is possible that in the sixth century BC, they lived farther to the east and simply followed the migratory path opened up by their Indo-Iranian cousins.

(Additional information by Edward Dawson, from Epitome of the Philippic History of Pompeius Trogus: Books 11-12, Volume 1, Marcus Junianus Justinus, John Yardley, & Waldemar Heckel, from The Persian Empire, J M Cook (1983), from The Histories, Herodotus (Penguin, 1996), from Farāmarz, the Sistāni Hero: Texts and Traditions of the Farāmarznāme and the Persian Epic Cycle, Marjolijn van Zutphen, and from External Links: the Ancient History Encyclopaedia, and Zoroastrian Heritage, K E Eduljee, and Talessman's Atlas (World History Maps), and Livius.org, and Old Iranian - Online Avestan Master Glossary (University of Texas at Austin), and Dictionary of most common Avesta words.)

c.1000 - 900 BC

The Parsua begin to enter Iran, probably by crossing the Iranian plateau to the north of the great central deserts (through Hyrcania) but also by working round to the south of them. Already separated during their journey, Parsua groups head in two main directions. In time the northern groups find themselves in the Zagros Mountains alongside their cousins, the Mannaeans and Medians. They are attested there during the ninth and eighth centuries but disappear afterwards. The southern groups, perhaps more numerous, trickle in through Drangiana and Carmania, towards southern Iran and begin to settle there.

Located in the Fārs region of Iran, these Parsua come under the overlordship of their once-powerful western neighbour, the kingdom of Elam. In the later stages of Persian settlement, Assyria and Media also claim some control over the region. As Elam's influence weakens, the Persians begin to assert their own authority in the region, although they remain subjugated by more powerful neighbours for quite some time.

c.620 BC

The Medians (possibly) take control of Persia from the weakening Assyrians who themselves had only recently taken control of the region from Elam. According to Herodotus, Media governs all of the tribes of the Iranian steppe. This sudden empire may well include territory to the east which covers Hyrcania, Parthia, Drangiana, and Carmania.

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 Zranka (Drangiana)
Incorporating the Satraps of the Ariaspae

Conquered in the mid-sixth century BC by Cyrus the Great, the region of Drangiana was added to the Persian empire. Before that it was the easternmost part of the Median empire, who themselves had conquered various fellow Indo-Iranian tribes. The Drangians (Drangae) were based in this region, according to Strabo, while Pliny knew them as the Zarangae. Other sixth century BC tribes in this region were named as the Ariaspae, Sargatians, Thamanaeans, and Utians, all Indo-Iranian tribes. Under the Persians, the region was formed into an official satrapy or province which, according to the Behistun inscription of Darius the Great, was called Zranka or Zraka (Drangiana 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.

The Persians founded a capital for Zranka called Phrada which may be identical to modern Farâh or the Achaemenid palace which was excavated at Dahan-i Ghulaman (near modern Zabol). Gradually during two centuries of Persian domination the region probably changed from one which incorporated a tribal society of cattle drivers to one of committed farmers who often lived in formal villages. One new economic activity was the extraction of tin, which is used to make bronze. By the time the Greeks arrived, they could refer to the Drangians as persisontes, which may mean that they were effectively the same as Persians. Zranka belonged to Harahuwatish/Arachosia in the Persian period, thanks to Strabo's description of Arachosia being situated south of the mountains that enclose Aria. This geographical reference is only comprehensible if Arachosia is understood as a unit which included Zranka. No minor satrapies within Zranka are known.

The minor satrapy of the Ariaspae was autonomous, as was that of the Oritans. Arrian noted the fact that the Ariaspae lived on the River Etymandrus (today's Helmand) is particularly helpful when locating the province. Even better is the fact that their territory bordered Zranka, Harahuwatish, and Gedrosia.

(Additional information from The Persian Empire, J M Cook (1983), from The Histories, Herodotus (Penguin, 1996), from Nomadism in Iran: From Antiquity to the Modern Era, Daniel T Potts, from Anabasis Alexandri, Arrian of Nicomedia, from Ctesias' Persica in its Near Eastern Context, Matt Waters, and from External Links: The Geography of Strabo (Loeb Classical Library Edition, 1932), and The Natural History, Pliny the Elder (John Bostock, Ed), and Livius.org, and Encyclopaedia Iranica.)

c.546 - 540 BC

During his campaigns in the east, Cyrus the Great initially takes the northern route from Persis towards Bakhtrish to reassure or subdue the provinces. This route probably involves the 'militaris via' by Rhagai to Parthawa. At some point he takes the more difficult southern route, destroying Capisa along the way (possibly Kapisa on the Koh Daman plain to the north of Kabul - which is possibly also the Kapishakanish named at Behistun as a fortress in Harahuwatish).

On a fresh leg of the campaign, Cyrus enters the Dasht-i-Lut desert (the modern Dasht-e Loot) on the eastern route out of Karmana towards Harahuwatish. His army faces crippling loses but for the assistance provided by the Ariaspai on the River Helmand. They are named 'the Benefactors' (Greek 'Euergetai') by Cyrus in thanks. This route appears to have been poorly reconnoitred, hinting at a lack of Persian knowledge of this region and therefore a lack of preceding Median occupation here in its eastern empire.

521 BC

Upon the execution of the Persian usurper, Smerdis, the Cyaxarid, Fravartiš, tries to restore the Median kingdom. He is defeated by Persian generals and is executed. Darius the Great mentions that the revolt arises in Asagarta, which is the land of the Sargatians within the satrapy of Zranka. The Sargatians are one of the ten clans of the Parsua, raising the possibility that it is some of Darius' own people who oppose him. However, the Sargatians at this time may not be focussed entirely on the Drangiana region. It is possible that they also exist in larger numbers farther west, closer to the Zagros Mountains, and that it may be this group which raised the flag of rebellion.

521 BC


Rebel who claimed to be a descendant of Cyaxares of Media.

The quashing of various simultaneous insurrections from Armina to Parthawa and Verkâna is chronologically coordinated in Persian records and occurs between May and June 521 BC. Ciçantaxma is another Sargatian rebel who meets the same fate as Fravartiš after a very quick defeat of his ambitions - mutilated, chained, and eventually impaled at Arbela. Another major rebellion in Mergu happens towards the end of 522 or 521 BC and is quickly crushed.

516 - 515 BC

Achaemenid ruler Darius embarks on a military campaign into the lands east of the empire. He marches through Haraiva 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

c.440s - 420s BC

The placement in Zranka of two satraps, father-and-son duo Hydarnes and Teritoukhames, is highly uncertain but is made possible because a city of Zaris is mentioned in their story. Hydarnes is believed to be a descendant of another Hydarnes, one of the seven who had defeated the Magi and elevated Darius I to the throne in 522 BC. His family becomes important to the Achaemenid succession, with a great deal of intermarriage into the royal line.

fl c.440s? BC


Satrap, with Harahuwatish & Hindush? Died.

fl c.420s? BC


Son. Satrap, with Harahuwatish & Hindush? Killed.

c.420s - 410s BC

The marriage alliance between Hydarnes and the descendants of Darius I has been important in supporting Darius II in his acquisition of the throne. Upon the death of Hydarnes, his son Teritoukhames has been appointed satrap in his stead (although the name of the satrapy is not given by Photius). Ctesias reports the plot by Teritoukhames to rid himself of his unwanted royal wife so that he can marry his own sister, Rhoxane. Darius has Teritoukhames attacked and killed and Darius' queen, Parysatis, takes violent action against the rest of Teritoukhames' family. There appear to be no survivors other than Stateira, wife of Arsakes (eventually to be Artaxerxes II). Many years later, Parysatis also arranges her death.

fl c.410s? BC


Unnamed replacement. Satrap, with Harahuwatish & Hindush?

? - 330 BC


Satrap, with Harahuwatish & Hindush. One of 3 top satraps.

330 - 328 BC

In 330 BC, Zranka becomes part of the Greek empire despite the efforts of Bessus, self-styled 'king of Asia', to retain at least some of the Persian territories. His claim is legal, since his satrapy of Bakhtrish is traditionally commanded by the next-in-line to the throne, but Persia has already been lost and his loose collection of eastern allies provides nothing more than a sideshow to the main event - the fall of Achaemenid Persia. Still, it takes Alexander the Great two more years to fully conquer the region.

Barsaentes turns tail when Alexander appears at the border of Zranka and does not wait for him to reach Harahuwatish. Instead he takes refuge in the region of the 'Mountain Indians', a contingent of whom he had commanded at Gaugamela. These facts (probably) indicate that Barsaentes is also responsible for the province of Hindush, the home of the Mountain Indians, and therefore that it is a main satrapy of Harahuwatish.

Index of Greek SatrapsIndex of Greek SatrapiesArgead Dynasty in Drangiana

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, Drangiana was left in the hands of the Seleucid empire from 305 BC.

One of the most informative sources when attempting to reconstruct the satrapal administration of Arachosia and Gedrosia is that of Alexander’s appointments. In northern Arachosia, when he first encountered its large administrative complex, Alexander made important decisions about Drangiana, Gedrosia, Northern Indus and Southern Indus. These regions were therefore subsumed in the Arachosian administrative complex. During subsequent years Alexander's many adjustments in this province are not easy to interpret, partly because some of the appointed officers lost their lives during disturbances and through illness. However, the fact that Sibyrtius was satrap of Arachosia and Gedrosia is very good evidence that the two provinces were ruled from Arachosia. The territory of the Ariaspae may also have fallen partially or largely within Gedrosia in the form of a minor satrapy.

The Persian regional capital of X was renamed by Alexander as Prophthasia, meaning 'anticipation', as it was here that he discovered a plot against him which had been organised, it was said, by his companion, Philotas.

(Additional information from Ancient Samarkand: Capital of Soghd, G V Shichkina (Bulletin of the Asia Institute, 1994, 8: 83), and from External Links: Livius.org, and 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.

330 - ? BC


Greek satrap.

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').

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. During the break-up of the empire, it appears that parts of the area become independent, but much of it remains under the control of the Greek satrap of Bactria and Sogdiana and, after 256 BC, the kings of Bactria.

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 Tocharians (click on map to show full sized)

Index of Greek SatrapsIndex of Greek SatrapiesMacedonian Drangiana

Once safely under Seleucid control after the conclusion of the Greek Wars of the Diadochi, Drangiana was governed by Macedonian satraps.

(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 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.)

206 - 205 BC

Seleucid ruler Antiochus III returns from his expedition into the eastern regions by passing through the provinces of Arachosia, Drangiana, and Carmania. He arrives in Persis in 205 BC and receives tribute of five hundred talents of silver from the citizens of Gerrha, a mercantile state on the east coast of the Persian Gulf. Having re-established a strong Seleucid presence in the east which includes an array of vassal states, Antiochus now adopts the ancient Achaemenid title of 'great king', which the Greeks copy by referring to him as 'Basileus Megas'.

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 Tocharians (click on map to show full sized)

c.165 BC

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

140 - 130 BC

Indo-Scythians have long been pressing against Bactria's borders. Now, following a long migration from the borders of the Chinese kingdoms, the Tocharians/Yuezhi start to invade Bactria from Sogdiana to the north. Initially, Indo-Scythian elements who are already in Bactria become vassals to the Tocharians.

At around the time of the death of Indo-Greek king Menander in 130 BC, the Tocharians overrun Bactria and end Greek rule. Heliocles may possibly invade the western part of the Indo-Greek kingdom, as there are strong suggestions that the Eucratids continue to rule there, especially in Heliocles' presumed son, Lysias.

115 - 100 BC

MapWith Parthian territory having been harried for years by the Indo-Scythians, King Mithridates II is finally able to take control of the situation. First he defeats the Yuezhi (Tocharians) in Sogdiana in 115 BC, and then he defeats the Scythians in Parthia and Seistan (in Drangiana) around 100 BC. After their defeat, the Yuezhi tribes concentrate on consolidation in Bactria while the Indo-Scythians are diverted into Indo-Greek Gandhara. Drangiana and Aria would appear to remain Parthian dependencies.

Saffarid Emirs of Seistan (Southern Khorasan)
AD 873 - 1003

In the late ninth century a commoner by the name of Ya'qub bin Laith as-Saffar, a coppersmith by trade, remade himself into a warlord. He seized the Seistan region (formerly Sakastan, the 'land of the Sakas', and sometimes shown as Sistan) from the ruling Tahirid emirs of Khorasan. Then he quickly and aggressively expanded his holdings both east and west, conquering all of the emirate of Khorasan by the time he died, which included parts of Transoxiana as far as the River Oxus in the north. He also held western and northern areas of what became Afghanistan, territory as far east as the River Indus of India and bordering the kingdom of Zabulistan, and territory to the south, reaching Kerman and Pars.

Very much a one-man empire, this great sweep of territory was not to remain in Saffarid hands for long, though. Ya'qub failed to reach Baghdad itself (although he came close), and his Saffarid empire was thereafter confined to the eastern parts of Persia. His successor was defeated in battle by the Samanids in AD 900 and had to surrender Khorasan (or Khwarazm as it became better known). Their surviving rump territory lay to the south and west of greater Khorasan but still often bore the same name. Eventually it became an eastern Persian region which was governed separately from the rest of Khorasan and could be better explained as Persian Khorasan.

(Additional information from the History of Torbat-e-Heydariye, Mohammad Qaneii, and from External Link: Encyclopaedia Iranica.)

867 - 879

Ya'qub bin Laith as-Saffar

Gave his name to the dynasty.

879 - 900

Amr bin Laith / Amir Ibn Layth



Following the death of Amr bin Laith, the Saffarids are defeated by the Transoxianan Samanids and reduced in territory to Seistan in Persia. The Saffarid princes remain the vassals of the powerful Samanids who control areas of what is now southern Afghanistan and south-eastern Iran for a considerable period. The Samanids install their own governors in Khorasan.

Map of India c.AD 900
On Persia's eastern border, India of AD 900 was remarkably unchanged in terms of its general distribution of the larger states - only the names had changed, although now there was a good deal more fracturing and regional rule by minor states or tribes (click on map to view full sized)

901 - 908

Tahir I

908 - 910


910 - 912

Mohammed I

912 - 913

Amr II

922 - 963

Ahmad I bin Mohammed

963 - 1003

Wali-ud-Dawlah Khalaf I / Ḵalaf


Khalaf has long been exhibiting irrational behaviour, including the act of putting to death his own son, Tāher. He has largely alienated popular support within Seistan in favour of the Ghaznavids. Yamin-ud-Dawlah Mahmud is now able to march into Seistan, defeat the emir, and carry him off into captivity where he later dies. Seistan now becomes a province of the Ghaznavid empire, and the once-mighty Saffarid house is extinguished. A Ghaznavid governor is put in place in Seistan, becoming the founder of the Nasrids.

Nasrid Emirs of Seistan (Southern Khorasan)
AD 1029 - 1229

With the removal of the deeply unpopular and potentially unstable Wali-ud-Dawlah Khalaf of the preceding Saffarid dynasty of emirs, Seistan in Southern Khorasan was safely back under Ghaznavid rule. Or was it? The Seistan region (formerly Sakastan, the 'land of the Sakas', and sometimes shown as Sistan) was politically unstable, along with much of Central Asia and South Asia under the rule of many competing Islamic states. Having retaken the city, the Ghaznavid ruler, Yamin-ud-Dawlah Mahmud, appointed a governor named Nasr to Seistan with the title 'malik of Sistan'. However, the death of Mahmud in 1030 ended the dominance of the Ghaznavids. Conflicts soon began to arise between various Ghaznavid claimants, and Nasr soon grabbed his chance to declare an emirate of his own.

Nasr's emirate was based on what is now the Nimruz Province of modern Afghanistan (the country's south-western corner, abutting Iran to the west and what is now Pakistan to the south). Sometimes referred to as the 'Later Saffarids of Seistan', his dynasty is seen as a resurgence of the Saffarid emirate, although it was only a little longer-lasting than the original emirate. They were also not always independent, being practical enough to serve as vassals of various larger powers who occasionally dominated Seistan. It should not be confused with the Nasrids of Granada who ruled in the thirteenth century.

(Additional information from the History of Torbat-e-Heydariye, Mohammad Qaneii, and from External Link: Encyclopaedia Iranica.)

1029 - 1073

Tadj al-Din I Abu l-Fadl Nasr I

Malik of Seistan. Declared independence in 1068.

1073 - 1090

Baha-ud-Dawlah Tahir II

1090 - 1103

Baha-ud-Dawlah Khalaf II

1103 - 1164

Tajuddin Nasr II

1164 - 1167

Shamsuddin Ahmad II

1167 - 1215

Tajuddin Harb


Seistan is occupied by the Khwarazm shahs.

1215 - 1221

Shamsuddin Bahram Shah


The Turkic Afshar tribe migrates from Azerbaijan to Southern Khorasan (now northern and western Afghanistan). In time the tribe gains a good grounding in battle tactics in the politically unstable region, and a fighting mentality which stands one of its sons in good stead when he founds the eighteenth century Afsharid dynasty of Persia.


Tajuddin Nasr III

1221 - 1222

Ruknuddin Abu-Mansur

1222 - 1225

Shihabuddin Mahmud I

1225 - 1229

Ali I

Mihrabanid Emirs of Seistan (Southern Khorasan)
AD 1236 - 1495

The Mihrabanids succeeded the Nasrids as the rulers of the Seistan region, usually under the dominance of greater regional powers.

1229 - 1254

Shamsuddin Ali II

1253 - 1258

Hulegu and his Il-Khan Mongols begin the campaign which sees him enter the Islamic lands of Mesopotamia on behalf of Mongke. Ismailis (assassins) have been threatening the Mongol governors of the western provinces, so Mongke has determined that both they and the Abbasid caliphs must be brought to heel. Hulegu takes Greater Khorasan, and quickly establishes dominion over Mosul. Hulegu's next conquest is Baghdad, in 1258. The caliph and his family are massacred when no army is produced to defend him.

1254 - 1328


1328 - 1331


1331 - 1346

Qutbuddin Mohammed II

1346 - 1350

Tafuddin I

1350 - 1362

Mahmud II

1362 - 1382


1382 - 1386

Qutbuddin I

1386 - 1403

Tajuddin II

1403 - 1419

Qutbuddin II

1419 - 1438


1438 - 1480

Nizamuddin Yahya

1480 - c.1495

Shamsuddin Mohammed III

c.1495 - 1537

Sultan Mahmud ibn Nizam al-Din Yahya


From the sixteenth century, the former emirate at Seistan generally formed part of an eastern province of Persia. The province continued to be referred to as Khorasan even though it had formed only a small part of the greater emirate of Khorasan. It frequently also provided a bolt-hole for the defeated participants in various Persian civil wars. It allowed them to control the eastern border and still claim to form part of a valid dynasty which could vie for control of the whole of Persia. Generally it can be referred to as Persian Khorasan.