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KANGJU (SOGDIANS) – HISTORY OF CENTRAL ASIA

KANGJU

KANGJU


The state of Kangju occupied the territory of Northern Khorezm, the Bukhara oasis, the valley of the Kashkadarya river, the Sogd, the Tashkent oasis, the steppes to the north of the Syr Darya, the Ferghana valley, and in many ways resembled the Kushan kingdom in its socioeconomic relations, political structure, customs and customs, and they had a common language – Turkic.


The permanent residence of the ruler was the city of Bityan, not far from present Shakhrisabz. As in the Kushan state, the Kangju people preserved intact all the orders that were before them, granting a certain autonomy to all the conquered regions, confining themselves to establishing marital ties with the sovereign houses and placing their relatives in the hands of the rulers of the large regions. So the ruler of Samarkand came from the Yuezhi tribe and was married to the daughter of a Turk khan. His residence was on the Zeravshan River, not far from Samarkand, but he constantly roamed, never getting used to a settled way of life. All affairs on his behalf were ruled by three nobles. Here in the temple was stored the “Turkic code”, used to resolve any disputable cases or when assigning punishment to someone. Marriage and wedding ceremonies were also of Turkic origin. The writing used the Turkic (Uighur) alphabet, but the religion was Buddhist, apparently the Kanguy people were related to Uighurs (speaking Turkic, but worshiping the Buddha).


Sughd and Tashkent Oasis

 


Two main centers were in the Kangju state – Sughd and the Tashkent oasis, which were the core of the entire economy. They personified the settled-agricultural and trade-craft basis of the nomadic state. The nomads retained the right to wage wars, maintain armed forces, deliver animal products, and raw materials for handicraft production (leather, wool, horns, hooves), establish a system of relations between the city and the nomadic economy, while at the same time providing complete freedom in urban management of the local population.

Sogd was the most developed region of the Kangju state. It covered the valley of the Zeravshan River, the Bukhara Oasis, and also the valley of the Kashkadarya River with the cities of Kesh and Neser. The oldest center, undoubtedly, was Afrasiyab (ancient Samarkand). Its formation dates back to the VII-VI centuries BC, but as a major city it is formed to the VI-IV centuries BC. At this time, a water supply system and a city wall are being built, and ceramics and bronze casting are being produced. A large number of settlements emerged in the same period in the Bukhara oasis, and in the valley of the Kashkadarya river.


 

IRRIGATION CANALS – DARG

 


In the first centuries of our era there is an acceleration in the growth of settlements. The needs of the nomadic economy in the production of the city were an additional incentive in the organization of urban settlements.

The basis of the economy of that time was agriculture, and the most important role belonged to irrigation farming. At the turn of our era, powerful irrigation canals were built by the Darg, irrigating the left-bank part of the Zeravshan valley and Eski Angor (200 km long), which irrigated the vast area of ​​the Karshi steppe. In the Bukhara oasis a whole system of main canals with branches and sprinklers was created. Some of them reached a length of 30 km and had a width of 11-20 m.

At the same time, it is necessary to note the great importance in the economy and cattle breeding. They raised, as the ancient Chinese sources say, horses, camels and donkeys. Horticulture and gardening became widespread.

In the craft industry of Sogd, metallurgy and metalworking, as well as the production of tools and weapons, should be placed first. The master of stone and marble worked out their art, and in addition to grain grinders and millstones, marble dishes were also made. Sogdian weavers were also known. As in other places, the important place was occupied by pottery, and potters with their furnaces and workshops occupied whole blocks in urban settlements.

In art and culture the leading role was played by Hellenistic forms and motives, which in some cases were combined with ancient local traditions. Sogd residents spoke in one of the Central Asian dialects, which Abu Raikhan Beruni called “Sogdian”. The Sogdians wrote the ancient Aramaic script, which apparently passed to them from the Parthians, but after the Kanguy domination was approved, the alphabet began to be replaced slowly by the Uighur, which was widely spread on the territory between China and Central Asia and in Mongolia.


 

ANCIENT ALPHABET AND WRITER SOURCES

 


Famous Oriental historian in Central Asia – V.V. Barthold connects the spread of languages ​​and the alphabet in ancient Central Asia with the development of trade relations and “religious propaganda.” None of the other languages ​​could compete with the Sogd-Uighur alphabet, which was used for writing religious texts: Buddhist, Manichean and Christian. Only much later, he writes, this letter was ousted in the west by the Arabic alphabet, in the east – Tibetan.

Sogd was a rich trading area. According to the surviving written sources, the urban population was rich, at that time, dressed: women wore dresses made of silk fabrics, and men dressed in crocheted caftans.

From Chinese chronicles it is known that: “Residents are partial to wine, like songs and dances on the streets. The tongue of the born boy is spread with stone honey, and glue is put on his palm so that he is sweet-spoken and holds the money tightly. Write across. Skilful in trade and self-interested. A man who has reached the age of 20, leaves for neighboring estates and will visit everywhere, where he only foresees the benefits. ”

Another center of the Kangju state was Chach – the Tashkent oasis. The largest city was Kanka – the actual capital of the Tashkent oasis. Some cities were formed on the basis of handicraft production, and some – as fortresses on the border with the steppe. In the middle reaches of the Akhangaran River, a city appears that has become the center of a specialized metallurgical production of non-ferrous and precious metals, and fortified fortresses are being created in the valley of the Chirchik River.

The Tashkent oasis can rightly be called the forge of Central Asia in ancient times. Copper and silver were mined in Almalyk, iron ore on the Karamzar Range, gold on the left bank of Akhangaran and in the mountains of Southern Chatkal. Melting of ores was carried out at specialized points in special furnaces. Various branches of the metallurgical craft – forge, metalworking and jewelry – have been developed.


 

EXTERNAL POLICY OF THE KANGUY STATE

 


The Kangju state carried out an active foreign policy. It strengthened the borders with Parthia and the Kushan state and had friendly relations with Yuezhi, the founders of the Kushans. The Alans, who lived in the north, depended on the Kangju and paid them an annual tribute to the furs of squirrels, ermine and sable.

In the I century BC. and in the first centuries AD. the main concern of the Kangju state was protection from China, which pursued an active expansionist policy. The Chinese court led unceasing wars to subjugate the Hun tribes, and in the middle of the II. BC. the idea arose to isolate these tribes from the west. At first they tried to persuade the Usun tribes living in the territory from the Irtysh to the Ferghana Valley to move to China to deprive the Huns of support from the rear. When this failed, a systematic extermination of the Zhungars began and the transformation of Zhungaria (Kalmykia) into a Chinese colony.

Annually China sent 10 embassies to the western regions, mainly to Central Asia. These embassies, each of several hundred people, studied the roads, explored the bowels of the earth, made maps, searched for valuable rocks. In 121 year BC, when the western lands were already sufficiently studied, their colonization began. As a result, from the I century BC, the Hun khans formally recognized themselves as vassals of China, and the Chinese emperors declared the whole “western edge” their territory. There were both Kashgar and Sinjan. Thanks to numerous embassies-expeditions, the Chinese emperors learned about the riches that the Fergana Valley owns (in the Chinese language – Davan). In the beginning I century BC. from there they took out the seeds of grapes and clover. In addition, in “Celestial” was brought wheat, peas and melons.

Attracted attention of the rulers and wonderful horses, grown in the Ferghana Valley, which were to decorate the Chinese cavalry. Almost 150 years, the Chinese emperors tried to subdue Davan, but without success. Kangju was his faithful defender, and each time the next Chinese expedition came up against Kanguy troops.

Kangju , meanwhile, established friendly relations with the Usun tribes in the Altai and these two peoples created, in fact, an insurmountable barrier to the Chinese expansion of Central Asia.


FROM THE BOOK “MY NATIVE HISTORY”
The historian-orientalist Khidoyatov G.A.
(in abbreviation, adapted)


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