Bavand Dynasty

The Bavandi Dynasty (also spelled Bavend) was an Iranian dynasty that started in the early seventh century, as an independent group of rulers, reigning over Tabaristan in what is now northern Iran.
The Bavandi name apparently comes from Bav, son of Kawus, son of Kavadh I, the Sasanian Emperor. As the story goes, Kawus, who was the elder son of Kawad, was passed over in favour of his younger brother Khosrau IAusherwan, as the former was accused of Mazdakite sympathies. He was, however, reinstated in his position as the governor of Padishkhwargar, the name given to the northern satrapies of the Sasanian realm, consisting of Azerbaijan, Gilan, Tabaristan and Qumis, according to Mar'ashi.
Whatever their origin, it seems that in the chaos that followed the fall of the Sasanians to the Arab Muslims, the descendants of Bav managed to carve themselves a semi-independent kingdom in the regions to the south of the Caspian Sea. Probably because of their royal blood, they were successful in gaining the upper hand in the region and established their rule over other local clans and dynasties, including the Paduspanis and the House of Karen.
The early Bavandis were obviously Zoroastrian, but they later converted to Islam, as is attested to be the case for Karen son of Shahriar, the ninth ruler of the dynasty. They probably accepted the Zaidi branch of Shi'ism and became major supporters of the Zaidi and other Shi'ite movements. We know that Bavandis, along with other Tabari and Dailami dynasties, recognised the overlordship of Alavids such as Al-Utrush and assisted them in their struggles against the Caliphate. Another interpretation can be that the Bavandis used the influence of the Alavids among the common people in order to further their own agenda against the caliphal central rule.
The history of the Bavandis is detailed in the works of Ibn Isfandiar and Mar'ashi which belong to the genre of local histories that gained popularity in Iran after 1000 AD. We know that they were related to the Ziyarid dynasty, through the marriage of Mardanshah, the father of Ziyar, to the daughter of one of the Bavandi kings. The prominence of the Bavandi kings apparently continued throughout the Seljuk and Mongol period. One of their greatest kings, Shah Ghazi Rostam, is reported to have seriously defeated the Ismailis who were gaining prominence in Tabaristan and Dailam and to have made significant progress in consolidating power in the Caspian provinces.
After the Mongol conquest, the Bavandis continued to rule as local strongmen of Tabaristan and sometimes Dailam. Their power was finally brought down around 1350 when Afrasiab of the Jalaviyeh dynasty, themselves an off-shoot of the Bavandis, managed to kill Fakhroldoleh Hasan, the last of the mainline Bavandi kings.

Divisions of the Bavandis

The Bavandi rule, which lasted from ca. AD 665-1350, was commonly divided to three periods. The first is the "Ispahbed" period, lasting until 1028. This is the period in which the dynasty seems to have been rather autonomous and quite influential in Tabaristan and Dailam, although they often acknowledged the overlordship of the Samanids or occasionally, the Ziyarids. However, with the death of the last Ispahbed, the dynasty became temporarily defunct.
In 1062, a Bavandi prince re-found the dynasty, this time becoming known as "Kings of the Mountains" indicating the extent of the rule of the Bavandis in the highlands of Tabaristan. The greatest ruler of this stage was the aforementioned Shah Ghazi Rostam. The Kings of the Mountains became extinct in 1210, probably as a result of competition with the Ismailis and other local dynasties.
During the chaos caused by the Mongol conquest of Iran, another branch of the dynasty was founded ca. 1240 which continued until 1350 when the last king of it was killed by Afrasiab of the Jalaviyeh dynasty. This stage is called "Kindkhwariyeh" by the local historians.
However, the above divisions might be the result of the mixing of the history of the Bavandis with that of the Paduspanis, a neighbouring clan who ruled over the area of Royaan (or Alamdeh)and Kojur and were similarly descended from the Sasanians. It is quite possible that the last stage above, that of the Kindkhwariyeh, was actually a Paduspani takeover of the Bavandi lands. This is also quite possible as it will explain the efforts of Afrasiab of the Jalaviyeh dynasty in defeating the Kindkhwariyeh, as the Jalaviyeh were themselves a branch of the Bavandis.

Bavand rulers


Ka'usiyeh (Ispahbed)

Kings of the Mountains


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