a Persian (Iranian) dynasty, in power from 861 to 900, which played a significant role in the liberation of Persia from Arab domination. The dynasty was founded by Yakub ibn Layth and his brother Amr ibn Layth, peasants from Sistan. Yakub was at one time apprenticed to a coppersmith (Persian saffar; hence the name of the dynasty).
Having come to prominence while serving in the caliph’s army, Yakub removed his commander, the ruler of Sistan, from power, and in 861 became emir of Sistan. By 873 he had seized all of southern and eastern Iran and part of what is now Afghanistan, and in 873 he seized the lands of the Tahirids in Khorasan. He undertook a campaign against Baghdad in 875 but was defeated by the caliph’s army. Thereafter, only Sistan and Khorasan remained in the possession of the Saffarids.
Amr, who reigned from 879 to 900, accepted the status of vice-gerent to the caliph, who granted him a charter to rule eastern Iran. From 900 to 908, the Saffarid possessions were part of the Samanid state. Information about the internal policy of the Saffarids is sparse. It is known that the dynasty at one time imposed financial demands on its subjects and spent most of the revenues on the army.