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Turkish slave commander of the Saljuqs; in the late 11th century, he bore the traditional title of Ḵᵛārazmšāh.

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Volume II, Fascicle 2, pp. 140

ANŪŠTIGIN ḠARČAʾĪ, Turkish slave commander of the Saljuqs; in the late 5th/11th century, under Sultans Malekšāh and Berkyaruq (Barkīāroq), he bore the traditional title of Ḵᵛārazmšāh. Ḵᵛārazm had passed into Saljuq hands with the flight of the son of the Oḡuz Yabḡū Šāh Malek of Jand in 433/1042 and had subsequently become an important base for punitive campaigns by the Saljuq sultans into the surrounding steppes against the Qipchaq and other pagan tribesmen. In Alp Arslan’s distribution of provincial governorships when he made his son Malekšāh heir to the throne in 458/1066, Ḵᵛārazm was allocated to Alp Arslan’s brother Arslan Arḡūn as an appanage (Ebn al-Aṯīr, X, p. 50).

Anūštigin is first heard of at the beginning of Malekšāh’s reign; in 465/1073 the sultan sent an army under Gümüštigin Bilge Beg and Anūštigin to recover territory in northern Afghanistan temporarily seized by the Ghaznavid Ebrāhīm b. Masʿūd. Anūštigin’s nesba of “Ḡaṛčaʾī” presumably relates to the region of Ḡaṛčestān in northwestern Afghanistan, to the north of the Harī-rūd, where Anūštigin had been originally bought by the commander Bilge Beg (Ebn al-Aṯīr, X, p. 267); Kafesoğlu has surmised that he was possibly of Čigil or Ḵalaǰ Turkish origin, while Z. V. Togan (“Hârizm,” İA) put forward the view that he was of Qipchaq, Qanḡlï or Uighur Turkish stock. Anūštigin held the office of ṭaštdār (keeper of the royal washing bowls) at the Saljuq court; according to Jovaynī, the revenues of the province of Ḵᵛārazm were used to defray the expenses of this charge, so that Anūštigin bore the title of šeḥna of Ḵᵛārazm. It is unclear when Anūštigin actually took up duties in Ḵᵛārazm as governor; Ebn al-Aṯīr (X, p. 219) records that the great vizier Neẓām-al-molk’s son ʿEzz-al-molk had, at some point before 486/1093, been governor in Ḵᵛārazm. It is equally uncertain when Anūštigin relinquished the office and/or died. In 490/1097 a new Turkish governor of Ḵᵛārazm, Ekiṇčī b. Qočqar is mentioned, but in that same year he was murdered, and Berkyaruq appointed in his place Anūštigin’s son Qoṭb-al-dīn Moḥammad (Ebn al-Aṯīr, X, pp. 267-68), who thus began the line of hereditary Ḵᵛārazmšāhs which endured there until the Mongol invasions of the early 7th/13th century.


The main primary sources are Ebn al-Aṯīr and Jovaynī, tr., Boyle, I, pp. 277-78 (both based on the lost work of Ebn Fondoq, the Mašāreb al-taǰāreb), on whom later sources like Rašīd-al-dīn and Mīrḵᵛānd depend.

For secondary sources, see: E. Sachau, “Zur Geschichte und Chronologie von Khwārazm,” Sb. Ak. Wiss. Wien, Phil.-hist. Kl., 74, 1875, pp. 314-15.

Barthold, Turkestan3, pp. 323-24.

I. Kafesoğlu, Sultan Melikşah devrinde Büyük Selçuklu imparatorloğu, Istanbul, 1953, pp. 20, 145.

Idem, Harezmşahlar devleti tarihi (485-617/1092-1229), Ankara, 1956, pp. 36f.

Bosworth in Camb. Hist. Iran V, pp. 66, 93, 141-42.

Cite this page
C. Edmund Bosworth, “ANŪŠTIGIN ḠARČAʾĪ”, in: Encyclopaedia Iranica Online, © Trustees of Columbia University in the City of New York. Consulted online on 20 July 2024 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2330-4804_EIRO_COM_5516>
First published online: 2020
First print edition: 19861215

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