Mahmūd of Ghazna (Magill’s Guide to Military History)
Article abstract: Military significance: Mahmūd of Ghazna plundered Indian cities and temples and set the example for later Muslim dynasties in India.
Mahmūd, sultan of Ghazna in south Afghanistan, is considered a central figure in the spread of Islam in South Asia. Mahmūd had no intention of establishing an empire in India, but his example of conquest in India led to empire building by successive Muslim dynasties.
Leaving his principality in eastern Afghanistan, which he won from his younger brother, Ismail, in around 997, he embarked on seventeen devastating raids between the year 1000 and 1025 to attack Hindu temple cities in India and to extend his rule to the Punjab in India. He started his raids in the dry season in October and returned to Afghanistan before the hot weather began and the monsoon rains made the rivers difficult for his plunder-laden armies to cross. His sway extended from central Asia through Afghanistan to eastern Persia and western India.
Several factors contributed to his military success. His cavalry consisted of specially trained slaves who had practically been raised on horseback and were subject to constant training. They would charge toward the enemy and, at a certain moment, rein their horses to a halt, turn them so the horses’ heads were not in the way, and then let go a coordinated volley of arrows. They would then ride off to attack elsewhere before they could be the subject...
(The entire section is 651 words.)
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