Ancient Iranian civilization / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Sogdia (Sogdian: soγδ) or Sogdiana was an ancient East Iranian civilization between the Amu Darya and the Syr Darya, and in present-day Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan. Sogdiana was also a province of the Achaemenid Empire, and listed on the Behistun Inscription of Darius the Great. Sogdiana was first conquered by Cyrus the Great, the founder of the Achaemenid Empire, and then was annexed by the Macedonian ruler Alexander the Great in 328 BC. It would continue to change hands under the Seleucid Empire, the Greco-Bactrian Kingdom, the Kushan Empire, the Sasanian Empire, the Hephthalite Empire, the Western Turkic Khaganate and the Muslim conquest of Transoxiana.
|6th century BC to 11th century AD|
|Capital||Samarkand, Bukhara, Khujand, Kesh|
|Religion||Zoroastrianism, Manichaeism, Buddhism, Islam, Nestorian Christianity|
|Currency||Imitations of Sassanian coins and Chinese cash coins as well as "hybrids" of both.|
The Sogdian city-states, although never politically united, were centered on the city of Samarkand. Sogdian, an Eastern Iranian language, is no longer spoken, but a descendant of one of its dialects, Yaghnobi, is still spoken by the Yaghnobis of Tajikistan. It was widely spoken in Central Asia as a lingua franca and served as one of the First Turkic Khaganate's court languages for writing documents.
Sogdians also lived in Imperial China and rose to prominence in the military and government of the Chinese Tang dynasty (618–907 AD). Sogdian merchants and diplomats travelled as far west as the Byzantine Empire. They played an important part as middlemen in the trade route of the Silk Road. While originally following the faiths of Zoroastrianism, Manichaeism, Buddhism and, to a lesser extent, Nestorian Christianity from West Asia, the gradual conversion to Islam among the Sogdians and their descendants began with the Muslim conquest of Transoxiana in the 8th century. The Sogdian conversion to Islam was virtually complete by the end of the Samanid Empire in 999, coinciding with the decline of the Sogdian language, as it was largely supplanted by Persian.
The modern day descendants of the Sogdians are suggested to be the Tajiks.