Saffarid dynasty is named after its founder, Yaqub bin Laith Saffar. He was a coppersmith (Saffar) who was appointed the general of the Tahirid army, because of his braveries. This was a good opportunity for him to capture Sistan in the southeast of Iran and through several battles and conquests he expanded his territories in the east and in the west and announced Zaranj, in Sistan, as his capital.Yaqub also seized khorasan and toppled the Taherid dynasty. In the west he captured Fars and moved on to khouzestan and towards Damascus, the capital of the Abbasid dynasty; but he was defeated by the caliph’s troops and withdrew to Sistan. However, he always remained a vassal of the Abbasid caliphs.
After his death in 878, the Saffarids almost lost their power. Yaqub’s brother and successor, Amr Bin Laith Saffar, who was less a revolter than Yaqub, was granted some provinces to rule while completely under the control of the Abbasid Caliph; but later, in 900 CE, their territory was limited to Sistan as a result of a defeat in a battle against Amir Ismaiil Samani, the founder of Samanid dynasty. From then on, the Saffarids remained the vassals of other Iranian dynasties with little ruling power.