Barmakids (bärˈməkĭdzˌ) [key] or Barmecides bärˈməsĪdzˌ, Persian-descended religious family from Khorasan. They served as viziers to the Abbasid caliphs in the 8th cent. Khalid ibn Barmak, d. 782?, supported the revolution that brought about Abbasid rule. He was given certain ministerial powers, such as tax collecting and control over the army; later, he was appointed governor of Fars and governor of Tabaristan. Yahya, d. 805, son of Khalid, became secretary to the caliph's son, Harun ar-Rashid. Yahya and Harun were imprisoned by the caliph's successor, Musa al-Hadi, who died soon afterward. Harun became caliph and made Yahya chief administrator. Yahya's sons, Jafar, d. 803, and al-Fadl, d. 808, also became administrators during the reign of Harun. Jafar headed various interior departments. Al-Fadl eventually assumed his father's central duties and was appointed governor of Khorasan. However, by 800 the Barmakids' power and status were rapidly declining. Jafar was executed in 803; Yahya and al-Fadl died in prison.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.