part 33: the ghaznavid empire
Out of the Samanid dynasty, came the Ghaznavids, whose warriors forged the first great Islamic empire from Ghazni (Afghanistan) that spanned much of the Iranian plateau, Central Asia and conducted many successful raids into India. Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni was the first Sultan in the world. The Ghaznavids were great patrons of the arts and sciences as well as architecture. The royal court in Ghazni hosted such dynamic and talented personages as the poet Abul-Qasim Firdawsi, the Khwarazmian universal scientist al-Biruni, the Sufi mystic Abu'l Majd Majdud bin Adam and countless other historians, artists, mathematicians, and engineers. Contemporary visitors and residents of the capital city during its height speak of ornate buildings, great libraries, sumptuous court ceremonies, and the wealth of Ghazni's citizens. Unfortunately, today there are few surviving examples of Ghaznavid architecture and monumental artistic form with the only standing examples at Ghazni being the "Towers of Victory."