Iranian dynasty of lower class origins that ruled a large area in eastern Iran. The dynasty’s founder, Yaʿqūb ebn Leys̄ aṣ-Ṣaffār (“the coppersmith”), took control of his native province, Seistan, around 866. By 869 he had extended his control into northeastern India, adding the Kābul Valley, Sind, Tocharistan, Makran (Baluchistan), Kermān, and Fārs to his possessions; with the overthrow of the Ṭāhirids and the annexation of Khorāsān in 873 the Ṣaffārid Empire reached its greatest extent. Yaʿqūb then ventured to march against Baghdad in 876, but was defeated by the forces of the caliph al-Muʿtamid at Dayr al-ʿĀqūl.
The Caliph then acknowledged Yaʿqūb’s brother and successor (879), ʿAmr ebn Leys̄, as governor of Khorāsān, Isfahan, Fārs, Seistan, and Sind. But the Ṣaffārid Empire collapsed when ʿAmr, trying to wrest Transoxania from the Sāmānids, was defeated by Ismāʿīl ibn Aḥmad near Balkh in 900. Thereafter few of the Ṣaffārids had any wide authority, though they maintained their position in Seistan intermittently at least until the 16th century, despite Sāmānid, Ghaznavid, and Mongol conquests.