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a medieval Islamic town on the right bank of the lower Jaxartes in Central Asia some 350 km from where the river enters the Aral Sea.

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Volume XIV, Fascicle 5, pp. 533

JAND, a medieval Islamic town on the right bank of the lower Jaxartes in Central Asia some 350 km from where the river enters the Aral Sea; hence the Aral often appears in geographical works as the “Sea of Jand.”

The town is first mentioned by the geographers of the 10th century as an Oghuz (Ḡozz, q.v.) Turkish settlement. Nothing is known of its prior history. Soviet archeologists have suggested that there were “Hunno-Turkish” settlements in the region, perhaps re-fortified in the 10th century but certainly having a lineal descent from early times, especially as one of the three towns of the Oghuz Turks mentioned by Ebn Ḥawqal (q.v., fl. 10th cent.) is called al-Qarya al-ḥadiṯa “the New settlement,” later known in Persian as ‘Deh-e now’ and in Turkish as ‘Yengikent’ (Ebn Ḥawqal, ed. Kramers, p. 512, tr. Kramers and Wiet, pp. 489-90; Ḥodud al-ʿālam, p. 122, commentary p. 371; cf. Tolstov, pp. 263-64). The site of Jand probably lay either near modern Qyzylorda (the Czarist Russian Perovsk) or at an old Kyrgyz cemetery lower down the river at Khorkhut, a station on the Orenburg-Tashkent railway, in either case now in the Kazakhstan Republic.

Jand and other nearby places were significant settlements of the Oghuz. Already in the l0th century, colonies of Muslim traders probably received there the products of the Inner Asian steppes and forestlands. Jand plays a role in the semi-legendary accounts of Seljuq (Saljuq) origins as the place where the eponymous founder Seljuq b. Duqāq became a Muslim. When the Seljuq family and their tribesmen moved south to Transoxania and Khorasan, the town became the seat of a rival branch of the Oghuz under the Yabghus (Barthold, Turkestan ³, pp. 178, 257). Jand had at this time close links with Khwarazm (Ḵwārazm; see Chorasmia) and its shahs. Bayhaqi (q.v., d. 1077) mentions a certain Yaʿqub Jandi, who had been a Khwarazsmhah diplomatic envoy to the Samanids at Samarqand (Samarkand) and was involved in the negotiations of the Ma’munid shahs with Maḥmud of Ghazna (r. 998-1030, see GHAZNAVIDS) in 1014 (Bayhaqi, ed. Fayyāż, pp. 911-12). At the time of Maḥmud’s son Masʿud I (r. 1031-40), the yabghu of Jand, Abu’l-Fawāres Šāh Malek b. ʿAli, was the sultan’s ally against the Saljuqs who were harrying Khorasan, and in 1038 Masʿud appointed him ruler of Khwarazm. But he only enjoyed this power for a few years, since he was expelled from his territories in 1043-44 by the victorious Saljuqs (Barthold, Turkestan3, pp. 297-303.)

Jand now entered on its period of greatest florescence, as a frontier outpost of the Saljuqs and then the Khwarazmshahs of Atsïz’s line against the pagan Qïpchaqs, although these rulers often had to relinquish control to local chiefs. Thus the Saljuq Alp Arslān (q.v., r. 1063-72) had to lead an expedition to Jand in 1065. The Shah Atsïz used Jand as the base for a punitive expedition into the steppes in ca. 1133, but then lost the town and only recovered it in 1152. The Khwarazmshah’s eldest son Il Arslān (q.v., d. 1172) was now appointed governor of Jand, an indication of its importance, and the latter’s son, Tekiš (d. 1200) likewise held this office. Various incursions into the Qïpchaq steppe were launched from it, and it was in the course of one of these that Khwarazmian troops first clashed with Čengiz Khan’s Mongols (see ČENGIZ KHAN, d. 1227), according to Nasavi (d. 1249-50) in 1215-16.

Jand had to surrender to the Mongols in 1220 but was nevertheless plundered. Čengiz’s eldest son, Jochi (d. 1227) used it as the base for his attack on Gorgānj in Khwarazm the following year (Jovayni, tr. Boyle, I, pp. 83, 86-90; Barthold, Turkestan3, pp. 415-16). The geographer, Yāqut (d. 1229), visited Jand around this time (Boldān (Beirut) II, pp. 168-69; cf. Samʿāni, ed. Yamāni III, p. 350). He noted that its people were Hanafite (q.v.) in maḏhab (legal school) and that its famous poet and stylist was Yaʿqub b. Širin Jandi, who had been a pupil of Zamaḵšari (q.v., 1075-1144) in Khwarazm and a Khwarazmshah envoy to Bukhara and Samarqand in 1153.

Jand continued to enjoy modest prosperity under the Mongol Great Khans and the Chaghatayids (see CHAGHATAYID DYNASTY). The town appears on an early 14th-century Chinese map as Jan-di, but towards the end of the century it apparently ceased to exist.


C. E. Bosworth, “Djand,” in EI² Suppl., pp. 244-46. S. P. Tolstov, Auf den Spuren der altchoresmischen Kultur, tr. O. Mehlitz, Berlin, 1953.

Cite this page
C. Edmund Bosworth, “JAND”, 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_3920>
First published online: 2020
First print edition: 20081215

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