The Rebellion of al-Ḥārith b. Surayj (116–28/734–46)


al-Ḥārith b. Surayj
Umayyad Khurasan
poll tax
local rulers
black garments


This article addresses the rebellion of al-Ḥārith b. Surayj, which occurred between 116 and 128 AH (734–46 CE) in Umayyad Khurasan. Combining Bactrian documents, Chinese, Arabic, and Persian narratives, and numismatic evidence, it highlights the local aspect of this rebellion. It shows that in the frontier region of Khurasan, the Umayyads were only one political group among many other local and regional powers, all with different political priorities. Al-Ḥārith b. Surayj successfully united Arab soldiers, Sogdian converts, and local western Bactrian rulers by appealing to their political priorities and by mobilizing local cultural symbols against the Umayyads. The role of Bactrian local rulers in the initial success but also in the downfall of al-Ḥārith’s rebellion turns out to have been crucial.
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