The Samanid Empire was a Sunni Iranian empire from 819 to 999. The empire was centred in Khorasan and Transoxiana during its existence; at its greatest extent, the empire encompassed all of today’s Afghanistan, large parts of Iran, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, and parts of Kazakhstan and Pakistan.
The Samanid state was founded by four brothers; Nuh, Ahmad, Yahya, and Ilyas—each of them ruled their own territory under Abbasid suzerainty. In 892, Ismail Samani (892–907) united the Samanid state under one ruler, thus effectively putting an end to the feudal system used by the Samanids. It was also under him that the Samanids became independent of Abbasid authority.
The Samanid Empire is part of the Iranian Intermezzo, which saw the creation of a Persianate culture and identity that brought Iranian speech and traditions into the fold of the Islamic world. This would later lead to the formation of the Turko-Persian culture.
The Samanids promoted the arts, giving rise to the advancement of science and literature, and thus attracted scholars such as Rudaki, Ferdowsi, and Avicenna. While under Samanid control, Bukhara was a rival to Baghdad in its glory. Scholars note that the Samanids revived Persian language and culture more than the Buyids and the Saffarids while continuing to patronize Arabic for sciences as well as the religious studies. They considered themselves to be descendants of the Sasanian Empire. In a famous edict, Samanid authorities declared that “here, in this region, the language is Persian, and the kings of this realm are Persian kings.”