Babek Uprising

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Babek Uprising


a major popular antifeudal uprising in Western Iran and Azerbaijan circa 816 to 837 led by Babek, who united the activities of several peasant groups in 816.

The main driving force of the uprising consisted of peasants and artisans, followers of the doctrine of the Hurra-mites, who struggled against the Arabian Caliphate, feudal exploitation, and Islam. The uprising was joined by petty landowners who suffered under the yoke of the caliphate. Almost all of Azerbaijan and some provinces of Iran fell into the hands of the rebels after the Arabs were expelled. The uprising also extended to Eastern Armenia.

Babek had 300,000 partisans under his command. The Arab war with Byzantium and the effort to suppress an uprising in Egypt (830–833) somewhat weakened the caliphate’s struggle against the rebels. But after concluding peace with Byzantium in 833, Caliph Mutasim (833–842) concentrated his forces on suppressing the uprising. In the same year the rebels suffered a serious defeat near the city of Hamadhan, losing, according to Arabian sources, 60,000 men. In 835 the caliph’s greatest general, Haydar ibn-Kaus, was made commander in chief of the Arab troops. Resistance was crushed with the considerable aid of the feudal lords who betrayed the rebels. The last stronghold of the rebels, the fortress of Badz, was taken in the fall of 837. Although it was suppressed, the uprising weakened the caliphate and hastened its disintegration.


Tomara, M. Babek. Moscow, 1936.
Iampol’skii, Z. I. Vosstanie Babeka. Baku, 1941.
Istoriia Azerbaidzhana. Baku, 1958. Pages 117–125.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.