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Ancient Khorezm...

Alexander the Great 

In 334 B.C., Alexander began marching to Asia. Having conquered the Minor Asia, Syria, Phoenicia, Egypt, and Iran Alexander, entered the territory of Central Asia in spring 329, crossing Hindukush Mountains. Bess, the Satrap of Bactria and Sogd, who had accepted the title of King and name of Artakserks, left Bactria and ran to the other side of Amudarya, territory of Sogdiana, after he had known that Alexander had come near. Alexander crossed Amudarya surreptitiously. Bess could not avoid him because at that time his recent supporters - Spitamen and Datafern - imprisoned him. They sent their messengers to Alexander with offer to send his force to capture Bess. In Nautak (north-western part of Kashkadarya Valley) Alexander conquered several fortresses. Having left his garrison in Marakand, he took a tour to the Land of Saks, Syrdarya. On their way to Marakand, the Macedonians had faced tough resistance of local population - the Usturshan highlanders. Alexander was hardly wounded. The "riverside barbarians" began to revolt from back with defeating the Macedonian garrisons. At the same time, Sogdians led by Spitamen began to revolt. The Sogdians adjoined Baktrians. Spitamen had stood openly against Alexander and halted the Macedonian garrison in Marakand. Over the short period of time, on the bank of Syrdarya, the Macedonians built their fortress of Alexandria Distant (Alexandria Eskhata). Alexander hurriedly accomplished peace with Saks and threw his basic forces against Spitamen. The regular retaliatory actions of Greek-Macedonian armies in the territory of Sogd from autumn 329 till the same period in 328 did not bring results, which Alexander expected. After two years of wearisome and unsuccessful struggle he changed his tactics and went for rapprochement with local elites. Kwint Kursye Roof writes: "He ordered to give cities and lands of those who persisted in insubordination to those barbarians, who have obeyed". As a result, Alexander could involve a significant number of local dynasties and formed military contingencies from Sogdians and Baktrians in his campaign. In autumn 328 the decisive battle between Alexander and Spitamen took place, in which Spitamen had lost and ran to desert, where his recent allies executed him. Having conquered the mountain fortresses of Horien and Oxiart in Gissar mountains, Alexander married the daughter of Oxiart - Roxanne, thus related with local elite. Having appointed the king of Sogd, Oropiya, one of the representatives of Sogdian elite, who took sides with Alexander, he finished the conquest of Central Asia. Crossing through Amudarya, in the very summer of 327, he passed through Hindukush and began his famous Indian campaign.

The State of Selevkides

After the death of Spitamen and the consensus with Sogdian-Baktrian crest in 327 BC, Central Asia had become a part of the Great Empire of the Alexander the Great. The military groups of local elite were included in his army. In 323 BC, when the message about Alexander's death had reached Central Asia, the Greek settlers in Sogd and Bactria gathered group of 20,000 infantrymen and 3,000 cavalrymen, intending to return home. The commander Perdikka, Alexander's comrade-in-arms, was sent to stop them. He managed to disarm and interrupt the runners. A Sogdian satrap from local grandees, who sympathized with Macedonian retreat, was displaced with Macedonian Phillip, ruling for some time two satrapies - Sogdiana and Bactria. After 315 BC, the Greeks and Macedonians replaced all the appointed local satraps, with exception of Oxiart (Alexander's father-in-law) and Iranian Atropat (Perdikk's father-in-law). In 312 Selevk, one of the commanders of Alexander, secured Babylon. Soon, he expanded his possessions up to Syrdarya and Ind, and his son - Antioch 1 Soter (born from a marriage of Selevk and Apama, who was Spitamen's daughter) had possessed even more Asian territories, which belonged to Alexander. In Central Asia, only one satrapy, which included Sogdiana and Bactria with Margiana, was formed. Khorezm did not belong to Selevkids. During the period of Achaemenids and Alexander, it kept its independence. Selevk and Antioch paid much attention in strengthening their position in Central Asia. The fortresses and cities, settled by Greeks, had been built actively. The historical tradition imputes building of 75 new cities to Selevk. In keeping in line with Pleniy, Antiochia behind Yaksart was one of the most distant cities. Supposedly, it was situated in the area of modern Tashkent (Kanka town) or the Ferghana Valley. Till the sixties of 3rd century B.C., in Bactras, there was a selevkian mint, which issued mainly large nominal gold and silver coins. From the beginning of Selevkian Antioch II (261-247 BC) governance, Diodod, his strap in Bactria, issued coins of Selevkian sample, which witnesses of relative autonomy. Bactria, Sogdiana and other areas of Central Asia kept living with their economic life, significantly differing from the western regions of Selevkian kingdom.

Greece and Bactrian Kingdom

In 256 B.C. Parphia, Bactria and Sogdiana separated from Selevkides. In response to this, the Arshakids captured power in Parphia. Sogdiana went under Bactria. In 230 B.C. Sogdiana's satrap (leader) Evtidem overthrew Diodot's descendent. There was a constant struggle between Greece-Bactrian kingdom over the possession of the trading roads. During 208-209 B.C. Selevkian king Antioch III the Great went on eastern crusade for re-establishment of the past powerful orb of Selevkids. Delivering defeat on Parphs, he has raged fierce attacks against Greece-Bactrian kingdom. As Evtidem's troops suffered much and Antioch besieged capital town of Baktri. A siege lingered for two years. Fighting for Bactri, Evditem cut peace agreement with Antioch, and left all his elephants to him. In the meantime, Evditem's son Demetriy married a Selevkien princess. Defeat delivered to Selevkians by Romans during the fight at Magnesia opened new chance for Greece-Bactrian kingdom in its quest for domains in southern territories - former allies of Selevkids. Around 187 B.C. Demetriy with inheriting father's throne conquered Arahosia and went further to India. In 171 B.C. during Demetriy's long absence, who was delayed in northern India, due to Bactrian power was conquered by one of his military commanders - Evkratid. Evkratid's kingdom was named "The Kingdom of Thousand Cities". Chinese sources assert that in 165 B.C. yuetji came from the land between two rivers (present Syrdarya and Amudarya). They managed to conquer Bactria. In 155 AD Evkratid was killed by his son during his military campaigns. Greece-Indian kingdom has been formed during these times. During 141-129 A.D. Greece-Bactrian kingdom collapsed. Presumably, after yuetji's conquest of Bactria King Geliokl kept power in Paropamisads or Arahosia. Two centuries of Hellenic rule world left behind a deep track in the territory of Central Asia. Sogd and Bactria became satraps (municipalities), backed up by Greek - Macedonian military command troops. New cities have been built (Herat and Merv). The Greek was a communication tool for governors and military officials. Greek standard money was issued in the area. The pantheon of Greek lords/gods, Greek literature and Greek theater became accessible to local elites. Synthesis of local and Greek tradition has occurred.


Chinese historian Si Ma-tsyan in his chronicle writes about nomadic state of Kangyuy or Kadzyuy and Kangha, where "traditions were similar to those of yuetji". Ancient authors do not mention about State of Kangha, but it was told in Avesto and Mahabharat, mentioned as Saks, Tohars and Kanghs. Later Chinese chronicles maintained that Kangyuy occupied the entire territory to the north of Amudarya: Bukhara, Shakhrisabz, Kattakurgan region, Tashkent oasis, where governors of Kangyuy were called "Chao-vu". Probably, "jabru" is the Chinese transcription for "Chao-vu". The second half of 2 century BC and 1 century AD are the period when the state of Kangyuy has seen its peak. The short-lived crisis in Kangyuy, when southern hegemony belonged to yuetji and northeastern part to Hun, Kangyuy re-established its power with the help of weak yuetji government in Bactria. In 2-1 BC Kangyuy issued the currency exchange. The Greek-Bactrian currency types were selected for the issue, as an example. Recovery from the territory of Khorezm, particularly at right side of Janbas-Kala, testifies about the level of material culture. The castle with a 200x170 m size is a 10-11 m high, and was built from the silver bricks. There is a wide street inside. At the end of street there are remains of buildings, community fire in the oval metal altar. There were many religious beliefs during Kangyuy era: Zoroastrianism, Anahita cult, Mitra cult - embodied on the horse. One of the great achievements of the period in the military field, which was related to the Kangyuy cult was the tactics that later were widespread. They were the metal worn riders on metal covered horses in a tightly lined fight. Rider arms were pommel, lance and long sworn. There is little information on the later history of state of Kangyuy. It is uncertain, whether it was included into Kushan state later. According to Chinese sources, from the beginning AD Kangyuy safekept its independence and conquered yantsay (aorsi-alans) and other tribes (areas).

Kushan Kingdom

Invasion of yuetji in middle 2nd century BC. Initial possessions of yuetji was in the north of Bactria (in the south of modern Uzbekistan and Tajikistan). Kushan Kingdom emerged in the first half or in the middle of the 1st century AD, as a result of rising of yuetji the Kingdom of Kushan, which corresponds with the name of yuetji tribe.

Founder of the kingdom was Kudzula Kadviz I, under whom Kushans conquered the largest part of now Afghanistan and Pakistan. Under his successor, Vina Tok, the considerable part of India was annexed to the territory of Kushan.

In Kanishka's time Kushan Kingdom has seen its highest rise (78-123 AD) The capital has been transferred from Bactria to Peshavar, that stretched the territory to India and Hotan. In Central Asia the northern part of Kushan ownership passed through Ghyssar Mountain Range, in the south of Uzbekistan, where huge borderline walls were erected.

New cities were built with trade relations established with India, China, and Roman Empire. Kushan coins and figures made of bones, made by Kushan masters, were discovered during excavations in Pompeii. The architecture reached its highest level of development in Kushan Kingdom. Particular attention has been paid in construction of palaces and temples. The high artistic work in wall painting and sculptures in the palace of governor's in Halchayan and Buddhist temple in old Termez and Dalvarzintepa are still preserved. The archaeologists revealed bronze vessel, graceful candlesticks, morrows, fine jewelry products by brilliant Kushan masters, concerning high masters of Kushan craftsman. The main economy of Kushan was land irrigation. Fertilizers were used in a bid to increase the harvest of crops.

The cattle breeding evolved in foothills and steppes. The excavations in ancient Termez also revealed inscription in Aramaic writing. Kushan Italic letters characterized in combination with acute-angled, quadrate and rounded form of letters that were wide spread.

In Kanishka's time the Kushan Kingdom accepted the religion of Buddhism, which later remained as a main state religion of Kushans.

However, simultaneously existed Zoroastrianism and also local Central Asian minor beliefs. In the third century the Kushan Empire began to face its gradual downfall and suffered a number of defeats from the Sassanid monarchies. By the fourth century, the empire no longer existed.

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