Annazids or Banu Annaz were a Kurdish[1][2] dynasty whose territory located on the current border between Iran and Iraq. Their area of rule roughly covered that of their predecessors the Kurdish Hasanwayhid Dynasty.

The Name of the Dynasty

According to the historian Ibn al-Athir, the name ‘Annâz derives from ‘anz (عنز: goat) and refers to the goat farmer (or owner, merchant).

Sharaf Khan and the Persian historian Mustawfi used the name Banû ‘Ayyâr which is also the version preferred by several contemporary Kurdish historians. This view is based on the fact that unlike the word “anz”, Ayyar has been found in Kurdish language.

Ayyar عيار‎ the loanword from Arabic ended up in the iranic languages and may also refer to “smart, shrewd” or more commonly “a member of warrior class” [3] in medieval Middle East.


Abul-Fath Mohammad bin Annaz who reigned between 990 and 1011 was the founder of the dynasty and ruler of Hulwan. Political rivalry during his twenty-year reign resulted in military conflicts with the powerful Arabian clans of Banu Uqayl and Banu Mazyad in the west, as well as a battle with Zahman bin Hendi the lord of Khanaqin whom he overthrew. In the east, he had a rivalry with the Hasanwayhid Kurds who were his relatives through marriages. In year 1006, Badr bin Hasanuya supported by Abul-Hassan Ali bin Mazyad, sent a 10,000-strong military force against Abul-Fath. This campaign forced Abul-Fath to seek refuge with the Buyid vizier, Amid-al-Joyus Abu Ali Hassan bin Abi Jafar in Baghdad. He declared himself a Hasanwayhid vassal in a treaty concluded that year between the two Kurdish dynasties.

Husam ad-Dawla Abu’l Shawk the son of Abul-Fath Muhammad bin Annaz reigned from 1011 to 1046. His roughly 36 year reign was full of internal conflicts and inter-state battles. Thus, his suzereinity was always under threat and borders were unstable. Sometimes the territory decreased to narrow mountainous regions, and at other times extended as far as the gates of Hillah. He initiated his rulership by containing an offensive by the forces of Fakhr al Mulk, the newly appointed Buyid vizier. But he was obligated to withdraw to Hulwan until the sides came to a mutual understanding. In year 1029, Abu’l Shawk successfully defeated Shams-al-Dawla and managed to stop the Seljukids after they captured Hamadan and launched offensives on Asadabad and Dinawar. He took Daquq from Uqaylis in the same year. During the years of 1038-1039, he captured Qarmisin (Kirmashan) and took its Qohid (Kuhistani) Kurdish ruler captive.

Husam al Dawla’s single biggest rival was Muhallel, his brother. Territorial disputes within the dynasty eventually resulted in the devastating internecine battles.

In year 1040, Husam’s son Abul-Fath Abul-Shawk attempted to seize Muhalhel’s territories. As a result, Muhalhel vanquished him and took him prisoner of war. Muhalhel who was backed by Muhammad ibn Rustam Dushmanziyar the founder of Kakuyids, managed to take control of Kirmashan,  Dinawar and many other settlements. Husam and Mohalhel started to negotiate through the mediation of Baghdad’s Buyid amir Jalal al Dawla, but Muhalhil didn’t release Abul-Fath ibn Abul-Shawk and he died in captivity. This led to renewed battles and territorial changes within the Annazid Dynasty.

With the increasing Seljukid pressure on Annazids, the already unstable dynasty entered the decline stage. In 1045, Tughril I of Seljuk Empire lauched a campaign to seize Annazid territories. The incursions forced Hamadan’s Kurdish governor to flee and Husam al Dawla Abu’l Shawk withdrew from Dinawar to Kirmashan and eventually took refuge in the citadel of Sirwan. Annazids failed to stop Turkish invasion, and lost the towns of Mahidasht and Hulwan to the Turks. Abu’l Shawk lived in the castle of Sirwan until his death in April 1046. His adherents started to join with Muhalhel.

The dynasty was not united under Muhalhel. Internecine conflicts kept happening, particularly when Abu’l Shawk’s son Sa’di Ibn Faris took the side of Inal (Toghrul Beg’s half-brother) against his uncle. In 1046, Inal captured Hulwan on behalf of the Hasanwayhids. Following the relatively peaceful four years, Toghrul Beg eventually recognized Muhallel as the ruler of Shahrizor, Daquq, al-Samaghan and Sirwan; and set his brother Surkhab free.

Although Annazid authority declined in several generations, the dynasty did not disappear. In late 12th century, Surkhab III ibn Annaz was a ruler of Luristan. And the name “goat owner” ended up in Kurdish and Turkish tribal names:

Karakeçili: It refers to black goat farmer in Turkish. They live mainly in Siverek, specifically around Karaca Dağ. They are also found in Northern Aleppo countryside in Syria. Even though this tribe has a Turkish name, they are mentioned as Kurdish tribe in old Turkish documents. Plus, they speak Kurdish as mother tongue despite Turkey’s assimilation policies.

Akkeçili: It refers to white goat farmer in Turkish. In Aq Qoyunlu documents, they are mentioned as a Kurdish tribe living in Mardin region. They are not around anymore.

In Kitab-i Diarbakriya written by Abu Bakr Tehrani in the name of Uzun Hasan, these two tribes are referred as “Ekradî Aqkeçîlu we Qerakeçîlu” which means “Akkeçili and Karakeçili Kurds”.

Şêx Bizinî (Sheikh Bizinî): It refers to “Sheikh of goat farmers” in Kurdish. They are one of the most numerous Kurdish tribes and probably the most dispersed one. Their original region is the historically-Annazid territory, but today they have large communities outside Kurdistan as well, such as in Ankara, Sinop, Sakarya, Kocaeli, Eskişehir etc. Haymana district of Ankara is their present day central settlement. Except those who live in Diyarbekir and speak Kurmanji, Şêx Bizinîs speak their unique dialect which is closer to Sorani and Laki rather than Kurmanji.

Annazid Rulers

Abul-Fath Muhammad bin Annaz991–1011Founder of the dynasty
Husam al-Dawla Abu'l Shawk Faris ibn Muhammad1011-1046Hulwan
Muhalhil ibn Muhammad1011-1055Shahrizor
Surkhab I. ibn Muhammad1011-1046Bandanijin
Sa'idi ibn Faris1050-1055
Surkhab II. ibn Badr? -1107
Abu Mansur ibn Surkhab1107-?
Surkhab III. ibn Annaz1100s


1.Unesco, 1992: History of Civilizations of Central Asia, Vol 4/2 p. 154.
2.Kennedy, Hugh (2004). The Prophet and the Age of the Caliphates: The Islamic Near East from the 6th to the 11th Century (Second ed.). Harlow: Longman. p. 215.
3. Taeschner, F., “ʿAyyār”, in: Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition, Edited by: P. Bearman, Th. Bianquis, C.E. Bosworth, E. van Donzel, W.P. Heinrichs. (Brill online reference)

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