Civilization V Customisation Wiki

The Ghaznavid Empire led by Mahmud ibn Sabuktigin is a custom civilization by TopHatPaladin, with contributions from LastSword and the Civ V Modding Helpline.

This mod requires Brave New World.


The Ghaznavids[]

The Ghaznavids arose out of the failing Samanid Empire in the later 10th century AD. Alp Tigin, a Turkic commander under the Samanids, captured Ghazni in a 962 rebellion; however, he died the next year. After a series of ephemeral leaders, Ghazni fell into the control of Alp Tigin's former slave Sabuktigin. Sabuktigin had been freed when Alp Tigin began his rebellion, and married Alp Tigin's daughter; he would become the patriarch of the Ghaznavid dynasty.

The Ghaznavid expansion began under Sabuktigin; he defeated several opponents to his reign and conquered the regions of Afghanistan and Peshawar. The Ghaznavid Empire then reached its apex under the rule of Mahmud of Ghazni (r. 998 - 1030). Mahmud greatly increased the territory of the Ghaznavids, expanding into Iran in the west and into modern-day Pakistan in the east; he also attained great wealth by raiding and plundering temples in India.

The Ghaznavid ascendancy was short-lived; they soon ran afoul of the rapidly growing Seljuk empire. In 1040, the Ghaznavid and Seljuk armies met, and the resulting Battle of Dandanaqan was a disastrous loss that robbed the Ghaznavids of most of their territory. Ibrahim would restabilize the Ghaznavid empire in the middle of the 11th century, but the Ghaznavids could not recapture their early success before their ultimate collapse in 1186.

Mahmud ibn Sabuktigin[]

LS PNG Mahmud

Art by TopHatPaladin

Yamin-ud-Dawla Abul-Qasim Mahmud ibn Sabuktigin, best known as Mahmud of Ghazni, was born in 971 AD. He began his career as a general under his father, Sabuktigin, participating in the capture of Khorasan in 994. However, he was not Sabuktigin's preferred successor; instead, Sabuktigin chose Ismail, his younger son from a more prestigious marriage. To ascend the throne, Mahmud was first forced to defeat his brother at the 998 Battle of Ghazni.

Mahmud's reign was dominated by military success. His first conquests were Kandahar and Bost, in the west, but beginning in 1001 he principally focused his armies on northwest India. He conquered some land in the Punjab region, but these were principally looting expeditions; Mahmud installed local nobles as vassal kings, and plundered the region's temples of their relics.

Mahmud's conquests and lootings brought substantial wealth to Ghazni. During Mahmud's reign, he was also a prominent patron of literature, and much of the Shahnameh was composed in Mahmud-era Ghazni. He was also granted the title of Sultan in 1002. In Mahmud's last years, he lost Merv and Nishapur to the Seljuks; however, the Ghaznavids mostly retained their territorial integrity until Mahmud's death of malaria in 1030.

Dawn of Man[]

Greetings, Mahmud of Ghazni, great sultan and sword of the state! You ascended the Ghaznavid throne when it was still a fledgling state, and under your strong hand, it flowered into a regional power. Expanding outwards from Ghazni, you oversaw conquests of Khorasan, Kandahar, eastern Persia, and northwest India; your raids also brought tremendous wealth back to your capital. And you were more than a warrior: you were also one of your dynasty's great patrons of learning. You built colleges, purchased libraries worth of texts, and it was under your auspices that Ferdowsi completed his epic Shahnameh.

Mahmud, your reign was a time of great ascension for the Ghaznavids, but much of your people's glory was lost after your death. They call for you to return to the throne, to drive out the hated Seljuks and reinstate the glory that transpired during your rule. Can you lead your people to match and surpass the glory they once held? Can you build a civilization that will stand the test of time?

Introduction: You enter the camp of Mahmud of Ghazni, conqueror of the Afghans and plunderer of the Hindus. Guard your temples, or you may be next.

Introduction: Welcome to the empire of the Ghaznavids. I am Mahmud, son of Sabuktigin, and the soldiers you've seen answer to me.

Defeat: You've destroyed my armies? That's impossible! I won't be defeated like this!

Unique Attributes[]

The Ghaznavids (Mahmud ibn Sabuktigin)
IconPNG Mahmud

Art by TopHatPaladin

Sword of the Dynasty

Garrisoned Great Generals increase Gold Gold yields from Traderoute Trade Routes. Traderoute Trade Routes increase military production in their home cities.

IconPNG Ghulam

Art by TopHatPaladin

Ghulam (Longswordsman)
  • Does not require Iron
  • Gains HP and XP when beginning its turn on a Pillaged improvement in enemy territory
IconPNG Saraparda

Art by TopHatPaladin

Saraparda (Caravansary)
  • Allows rebasing of Great People to other cities with a Saraparda
City List
  1. Ghazni
  2. Balkh
  3. Herat
  4. Kabul
  5. Merv
  6. Lahore
  7. Rey
  8. Bost
  9. Tiginabad
  10. Nishapur
  11. Peshawar
  12. Multan
  13. Wayhind
  14. Qusdar
  15. Zaranj
  16. Isfahan
  17. Nagar
  18. Bhatia
  19. Sistan
  20. Gardiz
  21. Bamiyan
  22. Hamadan
  23. Urghun
  24. Kohat
  25. Miyanwali
  26. Dera-Ismail Khan
  27. Khulm
  28. Kahmard
  29. Dandanaqan
Spy List
  • Khusrau
  • Ibrahim
  • Mas'ud
  • Ismail
  • Ali
  • Kausari
  • Sitr-i-Mu'alla


Peace Theme War Theme
Link Link
Age of Empires Online - Persia Music 6 by Chris Rickwood Age of Empires Online - Persia Music 4 by Chris Rickwood
Icon Ghaznavid

Mod Support[]

Additional Achievements[]

From Ghulam To Glory

  • Win the game on any difficulty setting as the Ghaznavids.

Hump Day

  • As the Ghaznavids, station a Camel Archer in a city originally founded by Arabia.

Events and Decisions[]

Commission the Shahnameh[]

Our raids have brought us great wealth, but we need to put these riches to use. Thus far, we have invested in texts and colleges, but we should begin producing our own literature. Let us employ some poets; this one named Ferdowsi seems especially inspired.


  • Player must be the Ghaznavids
  • Must have researched Drama and Poetry
  • May only be enacted once per game


  • 300 Gold Gold
  • 1 Magistrates Magistrate


  • Constructs the National Epic in the Capital Capital
  • Begins a Goldenage Golden Age

Introduce Arabian Cavalry[]

The Abbasid caliphate thrived with its novel use of cavalry. We too could benefit from having a strong, mobile cavalry force; perhaps we should purchase some detachments from the region.


  • Player must be the Ghaznavids
  • Must have entered the Medieval Era
  • May only be enacted once per game


  • 250 Gold Gold
  • Magistrates Magistrate


  • Receive 3 Camel Archer units outside the Capital Capital

Unique Cultural Influence[]

"Our people are now looting foreign temples and reading your poetry. I worry that the rest of the world will also succumb to the influence of your culture."

Full Credits List[]

Civfanatics Download

Steam Workshop

Latest Version: v 7
Last Updated: 24 November 2019


  • TopHatPaladin: Design, Code, Art, Text
  • danrell: Unit Model
  • LastSword: Lua
  • Civ V Helpline: Advice & Code Fixes
  • Chris Rickwood: Music

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