By Yuri Bregel
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Additional resources for An Historical Atlas of Central Asia
Soon the name Turkmen began to be used primarily for these Muslim Oghuz, and it became their ethnic label. The Oghuz yabghu also converted to Islam a little later (see map 13). Some of the Turkmens who split from the yabghu under Seljuk and his family began to nomadize in Mavarannahr, between the Sïr-Darya and the Amu-Darya (possibly, in the region of Nur), and participated in the military campaigns of the last Samanid, al-Muntasir, against the Qarakhanids. In the steppes east and north-east of the Oghuz another Turkic tribal union, named Kimek, emerged before the middle of the 9th century, in the steppes south of the Irtïsh river.
10TH CENTURY: THE SAMANIDS, QARAKHANIDS, OGHUZ, KIMEKS, AND QÏPCHAQS 24 12. THE CENTRAL REGIONS OF WESTERN TURKESTAN IN THE 10TH CENTURY Although the greatest external expansion of the Samanid state took place under Isma#il b. Ahmad (892-907), it was during the reign of Nasr II b. Ahmad (914-943) that the state experienced its greatest prosperity. The capital of the state was Bukhara, which was the seat of the central administration modelled upon the caliphal court in Baghdad. The head of the Samanid family had the title of amir, lit.
Mahmud and Mas#ud also continued the Samanid tradition of patronizing arts and literature (Firdawsi presented the Shah-nama to him), and their court in Ghazna was a great cultural center. But the mighty state created by Mahmud suffered a severe blow from the Seljuk Turkmens just ten years after Mahmud’s death. In the early 11th century the Turkmens, under the leadership of Seljuk’s three sons, Musa, Mika"il and Arslan Isra"il, and then two sons of Mika"il, Toghrïl Bek Muhammad and Chaghrï Bek Davud, were nomadizing on the borders of Mavarannahr and Khorezm and in the Qara-qum desert, providing their military services to the Qarakhanids and the Khorezmshah (cf.