The history and monuments of the Tahirid dynasty of the Yemen 858-923/1454-1517
This thesis examines the rise to power and the rule of the short-hved Tahirid dynasty of the Yemen. The dynasty ruled over most of Lower Yemen at a critical juncture between the fall of the better known Rasulid dynasty in 858/1454, and the Mamluk conquest of the Yemen in 923/1517. The first part of the thesis, chapters 1-5 looks in detail at the political history, while the second part, chapters 6-8, examines other aspects of the period: the coinage and the architectural legacy. The thesis argues that the Tahirids were able to take over Lower Yemen by making themselves indispensable to the previous dynasty. Once in power, successive Tahirid suhans were faced with three major kinds of problem: challenges to their authority within the family, rebellious tribes on whom they depended for tax revenues and the ever present threat from the Zaydf imamate to the north of the country. However, the end of the dynasty was brought about as an indirect consequence of the Portuguese incursions into the Indian Ocean. This led to the Mamluk interest in and subsequent invasion of the Yemen. In the face of this challenge, the precariousness of Tahirid power and authority became apparent Defeated by the Mamluks and with no resource to fall back upon, the dynasty came to an abrupt and violent end. The principal legacy of this short-lived, indigenous Sunní Yemeni dynasty lies in its architectural monuments. These display an interesting synthesis of traditions some of which reflect the styles of their Rasulid predecessors, some the influence of India. The accompanying volume of plans and photographs illustrates aspects of the Tahirid monuments and their architectural decoration.