Of these Ahmad and his second son Isma`il overthrew the Saffarids (q.v.) and the Zaidites of Tabaristan; and thus the Samanids established themselves with the sanction of the caliph Motamid in their capital Bokhara.
Under the Tahirids of Khorasan, the Saffarids of Seistan and the Samanids of Bokhara, it flourished for some centuries in peace and progressive prosperity; but during the succeeding rule of the Ghaznevid kings its metropolitan character was for a time obscured by the celebrity of the neighbouring capital of Ghazni, until finally in the reign of Sultan Sanjar of Mer y about 1157 the city was entirely destroyed by an irruption of the Ghuzz, the predecessors, in race as well as in habitat, of the modern Turkomans.
His son was besieged by Dahhak and his Kharijites and Saffarids in Nasibin; but a fierce battle at Mardin ended in Merwan's favour (745).
The dismemberment of the empire continued fast in these years, and the caliph was compelled to recognize the virtual independence of the governors Ya`qub the Saffarid (see Saffarids and Persia, History, § B) in Seistan, and Ahmad b.
Ahmad, the Samanid, and the Saffarids were henceforward a merely nomiSamanids.
The first who wrote such a mathuawi was Abti Shukur of Balkh, the oldest literary representative of the third dynasty of KhorSsSn, the Skmgnids, who had been able in the course of time to dethrone the Saffarids, and to secure the government of Persia, nominally still under the supremacy of the caliphs in Bagdad, but in fact with full sovereignty.