1103 – 1108
If you have nothing to tell us but that on the banks of the Oxus and the Jaxartes, one barbarian has been succeeded by another barbarian, in what respect do you benefit the public?
- Voltaire, Dictionnaire, philosophique, 1764
Understanding that his legacy was going to be more than land and titles, it was early in 1103 when Abu’l-Fawaris II took his heir under his wing. This closeness between the two became the most important connection for the Sultan. And during this time his son was able to see how to handle shakeups within the court and wars both internal and external.
Toward mid-August the Court Imam Karatay Karatayid had plotted the death of the Sultan’s Spymaster, Mayor Hasan of Khujandi. Upon learning of this treacherous act the Imam was jailed however he was not immediately replaced. Imprisonment of the Imam wouldn’t last for more than a few days due to the observance of Ramadan. Alms were given to the poor and all political captives within prisons were set free. But freedom wouldn’t keep the Imam’s position. A new man of religion was sent for and Dukak Dukakid replaced him. In addition, during the interim Grand Viziers were also replaced but was largely ignored because of Karatayid’s deceit.
Within the first quarter of 1104 the Sultan made an attempt to recapture the pair of uncles he set loose during Ramadan. While one was recovered, the second, Artuk Abu’l was able to find asylum within the court of Dashhowitz. This flight would later be blamed for Bey Bahadir’s fight for independence in mid-September.
By late October 1104, Bey Bahadir had convinced Khidr Abu Shuju ‘The Old’ of Maverannahr to join his cause.
This new front brought a more incredible threat to bear as its strategic location was much closer to the capital. However, the brunt force of both Dashhowitz and Maverannahr was set on besieging Khiva rather than fighting the Oghuz army on unfamiliar ground.
The political opportunism held by Khidir Abu Shuju had altered the way the war was going to be waged. It had also delayed the action of Abu’l-Fawaris II. By late December troops had begun laying the groundwork for a siege in Maverannahr and were reinforced as the months began warming until a total of just over 3200 men led by Timariot Belek of Koshkar, had settled in the province.
The site of the walls near Dashhowitz have been destroyed and built up an innumerable amount of times until they outgrew their usefulness.
The reinforced siege in Maverannahr was able to starve out its people until they crumbled upon the feet of soldiers in late August. Once the siege was successfully completed, Timariot Belek took his 3000+ soldiers north into Khiva, eventually deposing the illegal siege by the middle of November. In the battle and the subsequent chase which followed, the Dashhowuz army was crumbled in exchange for 900 Oghuz men. A new siege was created in the illegal capital by the end of 1105.
Without an army there was little the opponents of Oghuz could do except hide away behind their walls. In the interim Sencer was named the new Marshal and by early 1107 Bey Bahidir had lost two of his own cities; one to a siege and another against an assault.
The internal rumblings within Oghuz reverberated far enough to gather the attention of the Pagans in the North once more. Early May High Chief Uzluk I of Aqtobe declared war. But just because Abu’l-Fawaris II had his own troops tied up in the south didn’t mean he was without options. As soon as time was made available both the Cuman and Turkic Mercenary bands were hired which was believed to be more than enough to fend off Uzluk’s attacks. The speed of the Pagans would undermine this effort to fight a solely offensive war when they invaded Emba but there was still time to route these troops before they overtook the region.
After the long siege at Dasshowuz high ranking officials were able to enter through the walled gates as easily as they had twelve months before.
The plot to send the mercenaries north repaid Oghuz with success after the capitulation of Bey Bahadir’s fort. Peace followed in late August with his arrest and immediate revocation of his title. In turn, Abu’l-Fawaris II vowed to rule Dasshowuz directly.
In late September the combined forces of the hired mercenaries reached the Ryn Desert where after a month long of skirmishes, battles, and harassment, they were able to deplete an Aqtobe army from 1800 to little more than 500 men. The mercenary groups would ultimately destroy the Aqtobe army from where they had first landed, in Emba, before returning to lay siege to the fortifications located in the Ryn Desert. At the beginning of 1108 Sencer laid siege to the offending Aqtobe capital with 1100 men as the mercenaries began assaulting the Pagan walls of Ryn in June.
At the start of 1108 Tyumen had broken from Cumania which further inhibited Aqtobe’s efforts to wage war.
By late August the mercenaries and the inadvertent efforts of Tyumen were able to force High Chief Uzluk I to concede defeat to the House of Oghuz less than eighteen months after issuing his declaration of war. While no land would exchange hands a truce would be enforced and indemnities on Aqtobe’s side would be paid. This, however, wouldn’t end the marching of Tyumen troops in Uzluk I’s east.
On the heels of the victory the lone region in Bukhara was welcomed into the Oghuz fold through Kutalmis I’s willful submission. The interests in Bukhara weren’t inherently pure but the benefits of adding to the realm and strengthening the land against the Pagans or Muslim dissenters outweighed the possibility of further rebellion.