Saka

Saka, Śaka, Shaka or Saca (Persian: old Sakā, mod. ساکا; Sanskrit: Śaka; Ancient Greek: Σάκαι, Sákai; Latin: Sacae; Chinese: , old *Sək, mod. Sāi) were a group of nomadic Iranian peoples who historically inhabited the northern and eastern Eurasian Steppe and the Tarim Basin.[1][2]

Though closely related, the Sakas are to be distinguished from the Scythians of the Pontic Steppe and the Massagetae of the Aral Sea region,[2][3] although they form part of the wider concepts of "Scytho-Siberian" or "Scythic" culture. Like the Scythians, the Sakas were derived from the earlier Andronovo and Kararuk cultures. They were racially Caucasoid and their language formed part of the Scythian languages. Prominent archaeological remains of the Sakas include the Pazyryk burials, the Issyk kurgan, artifacts of the Ordos culture and possibly Tillya Tepe. It has been suggested that the ruling elite of the Xiongnu was of Saka origin.[4]

In the 2nd century BC, many Sakas were driven by the Yuezhi from the steppe into Sogdia and Bactria and then to the northwest of the Indian subcontinent, where they were known as the Indo-Scythians. Other Sakas invaded the Parthian Empire, eventually settling in Sistan, while others may have migrated to the Dian Kingdom in Yunnan, China. In the Tarim Basin and Taklamakan Desert region of Northwest China, they settled in Khotan, Yarkand, Kashgar and other places, which were at various times vassals to greater powers, such as Han China and Tang China.[5]

Scythia-Parthia 100 BC
Scythia and Parthia in about 170 BC (before the Yuezhi invaded Bactria).

Usage of name

MenWithDragons
Gold artifacts of the Saka in Bactria, at the site of Tillya Tepe, northern Afghanistan.

Modern debate about the identity of the "Saka" is partly from ambiguous usage of the word by ancient, non-Saka authorities. According to Herodotus, the Persians gave the name "Saka" to all Scythians.[6] However, Pliny the Elder (Gaius Plinius Secundus, AD 23–79) claims that the Persians gave the name Sakai only to the Scythian tribes "nearest to them".[7] The Scythians to the far north of Assyria were also called the Saka suni (Saka or Scythian sons) by the Persians. The Neo-Assyrian Empire of the time of Esarhaddon record campaigning against a people they called in the Akkadian the Ashkuza or Ishhuza.[8] However, modern scholarly consensus is that the Eastern Iranian language ancestral to the Pamir languages in North India and the medieval Saka language of Xinjiang, was one of the Scythian languages.[9]

Another people, the Gimirrai,[8] who were known to the ancient Greeks as the Cimmerians, were closely associated with the Sakas. In Biblical Hebrew, the Ashkuz (Ashkenaz) are considered to be a direct offshoot from the Gimirri (Gomer).[10]

Issyk Golden Cataphract Warrior
A cataphract-style parade armour of a Saka royal, also known as "The Golden Warrior", from the Issyk kurgan, a historical burial site near ex-capital city of Almaty, Kazakhstan

The Saka were regarded by the Babylonians as synonymous with the Gimirrai; both names are used on the trilingual Behistun Inscription, carved in 515 BC on the order of Darius the Great.[11] (These people were reported to be mainly interested in settling in the kingdom of Urartu, later part of Armenia, and Shacusen in Uti Province derives its name from them.[12]) The Behistun Inscription initially only gave one entry for Saka, they were however further differentiated later into three groups:[13][14][15]

  • the Sakā tigraxaudā – "Saka with pointy hats/caps",
  • the Sakā haumavargā – interpreted as "haoma-drinking saka" but there are other suggestions,[13][16][17]
  • the Sakā paradraya – "Saka beyond the sea", a name added after Darius' campaign into Western Scythia north of the Danube.[13]

An additional term is found in two inscriptions elsewhere:[18]

  • the Sakā para Sugdam – "Saka beyond Sugda (Sogdia)", a term was used by Darius for the people who formed the limits of his empire at the opposite end to Kush (the Ethiopians), therefore should be located at the eastern edge of his empire.[13][19]
  • the Sakā paradraya – the western Scythians (European Scythians) or Sarmatians. Both the Sakā tigraxaudā and Sakā haumavargā are thought to be located in Central Asia east of the Caspian Sea.[13]

Sakā haumavargā is considered to be the same as Amyrgians, the Saka tribe in closest proximity to Bactria and Sogdia. It has been suggested that the Sakā haumavargā may be the Sakā para Sugdam, therefore Sakā haumavargā is argued by some to be located further east than the Sakā tigraxaudā, perhaps at the Pamir Mountains or Xinjiang, although Syr Darya is considered to be their more likely location given that the name says "beyond Sogdia" rather than Bactria.[13]

In the modern era, the archaeologist Hugo Winckler (1863–1913) was the first to associate the Sakas with the Scyths. John Manuel Cook, in The Cambridge History of Iran, states: "The Persians gave the single name Sakā both to the nomads whom they encountered between the Hunger steppe and the Caspian, and equally to those north of the Danube and Black Sea against whom Darius later campaigned; and the Greeks and Assyrians called all those who were known to them by the name Skuthai (Iškuzai). Sakā and Skuthai evidently constituted a generic name for the nomads on the northern frontiers."[13] Persian sources often treat them as a single tribe called the Saka (Sakai or Sakas), but Greek and Latin texts suggest that the Scythians were composed of many sub-groups.[20][21] Modern scholars usually use the term Saka to refer to Iranian peoples who inhabited the northern and eastern Eurasian Steppe and the Tarim Basin.[1][22][2]

History

TilliaTepeReconstitution
Artifacts found the tombs 2 and 4 of Tillya Tepe and reconstitution of their use on the man and woman found in these tombs

Origins

The Sakas a group of Iranian peoples who spoke a language belonging to the Iranian branch of the Indo-European languages. René Grousset wrote that they formed a particular branch of the "Scytho-Sarmatian family" originating from nomadic Iranian peoples of the northwestern steppe in Eurasia.[23] Like the Scythians of the Pontic Steppe, with whom they were related, the Saka were racially Europoid and traced their origin to the Andronovo culture and the Karasuk culture.[24][25] The Pazyryk burials of the Pazyryk culture in the Ukok Plateau in the 4th and 3rd centuries BC are thought to be of Saka chieftains.[26][27][28] These burials show striking similarities with the earlier Tarim mummies at Gumugou.[27] The Issyk kurgan of south-eastern Kazakhstan,[28] and the Ordos culture of the Ordos Plateau as also been connected with the Saka.[29] It has been suggested that the ruling elite of the Xiongnu was of Saka origin.[4]

Early history

Xerxes detail three types of Sakas cleaned up
For the Achaemenids, there were three types of Scythians: the Sakā tayai paradraya ("beyond the sea", presumably between the Greeks and the Thracians on the Western side of the Black Sea), the Sakā tigraxaudā (“with pointed caps”), the Sakā haumavargā ("Hauma drinkers", furthest East). Soldiers of the Achaemenid army, Xerxes I tomb detail, circa 480 BCE.[30]

They are known to the ancient Greeks as Scythians and are attested in historical and archaeological records dating to around the 8th century BC.[31] In the Achaemenid-era Old Persian inscriptions found at Persepolis, dated to the reign of Darius I (r. 522-486 BC), the Saka are said to have lived just beyond the borders of Sogdia.[32] Likewise an inscription dated to the reign of Xerxes I (r. 486-465 BC) has them coupled with the Dahae people of Central Asia.[32] The contemporary Greek historian Herodotus noted that the Achaemenid Empire called all of Scythians as "Saka".[32]

Greek historians wrote of the wars between the Saka and the Medes, as well as their wars against Cyrus the Great of the Persian Achaemenid Empire where Saka women were said to fight alongside their men.[22] According to Herodotus, Cyrus the Great confronted the Massagetae, a people related to the Saka,[33] while campaigning to the east of the Caspian Sea and was killed in the battle in 530 BC.[34] Darius I also waged wars against the eastern Sakas, who fought him with three armies led by three kings according to Polyaenus.[35] In 520–519 BC, Darius I defeated the Sakā tigraxaudā tribe and captured their king Skunkha (depicted as wearing a pointed hat in Behistun).[1] The territories of Saka were absorbed into the Achaemenid Empire as part of Chorasmia that included much of the Amu Darya (Oxus) and the Syr Darya (Jaxartes),[36] and the Saka then supplied the Achaemenid army with large number of mounted bowmen.[15] They were also mentioned as among those who resisted Alexander the Great's incursions into Central Asia.[22]

The Saka were known as the Sak or Sai (Chinese: ) in ancient Chinese records.[37][38][39] These records indicate that they originally inhabited the Ili and Chu River valleys of modern Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan. In the Book of Han, the area was called the "land of the Sak", i.e. the Saka.[40] The exact date of the Sakas' arrival in the valleys of the Ili and Chu in Central Asia is unclear, perhaps it was just before the reign of Darius I.[40] Around 30 Saka tombs in the form of kurgans (burial mounds) have also been found in the Tian Shan area dated to between 550–250 BC. Indications of Saka presence have also been found in the Tarim Basin region, possibly as early as the 7th century BC.[31] At least by the late 2nd century BC, the Sakas had founded states in the Tarim Barin.[5]

Migrations

Behistun.Inscript.Skunkha
Captured Saka king Skunkha, from Mount Behistun, Iran, Achaemenid stone relief from the reign of Darius I (r. 522-486 BC)

The Saka were pushed out of the Ili and Chu River valleys by the Yuezhi[41][42][43]. An account of the movement of these people is given in Sima Qian's Records of the Grand Historian. The Yuezhi, who originally lived between Tängri Tagh (Tian Shan) and Dunhuang of Gansu, China,[44] were assaulted and forced to flee from the Hexi Corridor of Gansu by the forces of the Xiongnu ruler Modu Chanyu, who conquered the area in 177-176 BC.[45][46][47][48][49][50] In turn the Yuezhi were responsible for attacking and pushing the Sai (i.e. Saka) west into Sogdiana, where around 140 and 130 BC the latter crossed the Syr Darya into Bactria. The Saka also moved southwards towards to the Pamirs and northern India where they settled in Kashmir, and eastwards to settle in some of the oasis city-states of Tarim Basin sites like Yanqi (焉耆, Karasahr) and Qiuci (龜茲, Kucha).[51][52] The Yuezhi, themselves under attacks from another nomadic tribe the Wusun in 133-132 BC, moved again from the Ili and Chu valleys and occupied the country of Daxia (大夏, "Bactria").[40][53]

Darius I Statue Sakas
The Sakas
(𓐠𓎼𓋴𓎡𓈙/sꜣgskš)
as subjects of the Achaemenid Empire on the statue of Darius I, circa 500 BCE.

The ancient Greco-Roman geographer Strabo noted that the four tribes that took down the Bactrians in the Greek and Roman account – the Asioi, Pasianoi, Tokharoi and Sakaraulai – came from land north of the Syr Darya where the Ili and Chu valleys are located.[23][40] Identification of these four tribes varies, but Sakaraulai may indicate an ancient Saka tribe, the Tokharoi is possibly the Yuezhi, and while the Asioi had been proposed to be groups such as the Wusun or Alans.[23][54]

Grousset wrote of the migration of the Saka: "the Saka, under pressure from the Yueh-chih [Yuezhi], overran Sogdiana and then Bactria, there taking the place of the Greeks." Then, "Thrust back in the south by the Yueh-chih," the Saka occupied "the Saka country, Sakastana, whence the modern Persian Seistan."[23] Some of the Saka fleeing the Yuezhi attacked the Parthian Empire, where they defeated and killed the kings Phraates II and Artabanus.[41] These Sakas were eventually settled by Mithridates II in what become known as Sakastan.[41] According to Harold Walter Bailey, the territory of Drangiana (now in Afghanistan and Pakistan) became known as "Land of the Sakas", and was called Sakastāna in the Persian language of contemporary Iran, in Armenian as Sakastan, with similar equivalents in Pahlavi, Greek, Sogdian, Syriac, Arabic, and the Middle Persian tongue used in Turfan, Xinjiang, China.[32] This is attested in a contemporary Kharosthi inscription found on the Mathura lion capital belonging to the Saka kingdom of the Indo-Scythians (200 BC - 400 AD) in North India,[32] roughly the same time the Chinese record that the Saka had invaded and settled the country of Jibin 罽賓 (i.e. Kashmir, of modern-day India and Pakistan).[55]

Iaroslav Lebedynsky and Victor H. Mair speculate that some Sakas may also have migrated to the area of Yunnan in southern China following their expulsion by the Yuezhi. Excavations of the prehistoric art of the Dian Kingdom of Yunnan have revealed hunting scenes of Caucasoid horsemen in Central Asian clothing.[56] The scenes depicted on these drums sometimes represent these horsemen practicing hunting. Animal scenes of felines attacking oxen are also at times reminiscent of Scythian art both in theme and in composition.[57]

Migrations of the 2nd and 1st century BC have left traces in Sogdia and Bactria, but they cannot firmly be attributed to the Saka, similarly with the sites of Sirkap and Taxila in ancient India. The rich graves at Tillya Tepe in Afghanistan are seen as part of a population affected by the Saka.[58]

The Shakya clan of India, to which Gautama Buddha, called Śākyamuni "Sage of the Shakyas", belonged, has been suggested to be Sakas by Michael Witzel[59] and Christopher I. Beckwith.[60]

Indo-Scythians

The region in modern Afghanistan and Pakistan where the Saka moved to become known as "land of the Saka" or Sakastan.[32] The Sakas also captured Gandhara and Taxila, and migrated to North India.[61] The most famous Indo-Scythian king was Maues.[62] An Indo-Scythians kingdom was established in Mathura (200 BC - 400 AD).[32][63] Weer Rajendra Rishi, an Indian linguist, identified linguistic affinities between Indian and Central Asian languages, which further lends credence to the possibility of historical Sakan influence in North India.[61][64] According to historian Michael Mitchiner, the Abhira tribe were a Saka people cited in the Gunda inscription of the Western Satrap Rudrasimha I dated to 181 CE.[65]

Kingdoms in the Tarim Basin

Kingdom of Khotan

KingGurgamoyaKhotan1stCenturyCE
Coin of Gurgamoya, king of Khotan. Khotan, first century.
Obv: Kharosthi legend, "Of the great king of kings, king of Khotan, Gurgamoya.
Rev: Chinese legend: "Twenty-four grain copper coin". British Museum

The Kingdom of Khotan was a Saka city state in on the southern edge of the Tarim Basin. As a consequence of the Han–Xiongnu War spanning from 133 BCE to 89 CE, the Tarim Basin (now Xinjiang, Northwest China), including Khotan and Kashgar, fell under Han Chinese influence, beginning with the reign of Emperor Wu of Han (r. 141-87 BC).[66][67] The region once again came under Chinese suzerainty with the campaigns of conquest by Emperor Taizong of Tang (r. 626-649).[68] From the late eighth to ninth centuries, the region changed hands between the rival Tang and Tibetan Empires.[69][70] However, by the early 11th century the region fell to the Muslim Turkic peoples of the Kara-Khanid Khanate, which led to both the Turkification of the region as well as its conversion from Buddhism to Islam.

Khotanese animal zodiac BLI6 OR11252 1R2 1
A document from Khotan written in Khotanese Saka, part of the Eastern Iranian branch of the Indo-European languages, listing the animals of the Chinese zodiac in the cycle of predictions for people born in that year; ink on paper, early 9th century

Archaeological evidence and documents from Khotan and other sites in the Tarim Basin provided information on the language spoken by the Saka.[32][71] The official language of Khotan was initially Gandhari Prakrit written in Kharosthi, and coins from Khotan dated to the 1st century bear dual inscriptions in Chinese and Gandhari Prakrit, indicating links of Khotan to both India and China.[72] Surviving documents however suggest that an Iranian language was used by the people of the kingdom for a long time Third-century AD documents in Prakrit from nearby Shanshan record the title for the king of Khotan as hinajha (i.e. "generalissimo"), a distinctively Iranian-based word equivalent to the Sanskrit title senapati, yet nearly identical to the Khotanese Saka hīnāysa attested in later Khotanese documents.[72] This, along with the fact that the king's recorded regnal periods were given as the Khotanese kṣuṇa, "implies an established connection between the Iranian inhabitants and the royal power," according to the Professor of Iranian Studies Ronald E. Emmerick.[72] He contended that Khotanese-Saka-language royal rescripts of Khotan dated to the 10th century "makes it likely that the ruler of Khotan was a speaker of Iranian."[72] Furthermore, he argued that the early form of the name of Khotan, hvatana, is connected semantically with the name Saka.[72]

Later Khotanese-Saka-language documents, ranging from medical texts to Buddhist literature, have been found in Khotan and Tumshuq (northeast of Kashgar).[73] Similar documents in the Khotanese-Saka language dating mostly to the 10th century have been found in the Dunhuang manuscripts.[74]

Although the ancient Chinese had called Khotan Yutian (于闐), another more native Iranian name occasionally used was Jusadanna (瞿薩旦那), derived from Indo-Iranian Gostan and Gostana, the names of the town and region around it, respectively.[75]

Shule Kingdom

Much like the neighboring people of the Kingdom of Khotan, people of Kashgar, the capital of Shule, spoke Saka, one of the Eastern Iranian languages.[76] According to the Book of Han, the Saka split and formed several states in the region. These Saka states may include two states to the northwest of Kashgar, and Tumshuq to its northeast, and Tushkurgan south in the Pamirs.[77] Kashgar also conquered other states such as Yarkand and Kucha during the Han dynasty, but in its later history, Kashgar was controlled by various empires, including Tang China,[78][79][80] before it became part of the Turkic Kara-Khanid Khanate in the 10th century. In the 11th century, according to Mahmud al-Kashgari, some non-Turkic languages like the Kanchaki and Sogdian were still used in some areas in the vicinity of Kashgar,[81] and Kanchaki is thought to belong to the Saka language group.[77] It is believed that the Tarim Basin was linguistically Turkified before the 11th century ended.[82]

Language

Issyk inscription
Drawing of the Issyk inscription

Attestations of the Saka language show that it was an Eastern Iranian language. The linguistic heartland of Saka was the Kingdom of Khotan, which had two varieties, corresponding to the major settlements at Khotan (now Hotan) and Tumshuq (now Tumxuk).[83][84] Both the Tumshuqese and Khotanese varieties of Saka contain many borrowings from the Middle Indo-Aryan Prakrit, but also share features with modern Wakhi and Pashto.[85]

The Issyk inscription, a short fragment on a silver cup found in the Issyk kurgan (modern Kazakhstan) is believed to be an early example of Saka, constituting one of very few autochthonous epigraphic traces of that language. The inscription is in a variant of Kharosthi. Harmatta identifies the dialect as Khotanese Saka, tentatively translating its as: "The vessel should hold wine of grapes, added cooked food, so much, to the mortal, then added cooked fresh butter on".[86]

A growing body of both linguistic and physical anthropological evidence suggest the Wakhi are descendants of Saka[87][88][89][90][91][92]. According to the Indo-Europeanist Martin Kümmel, Wakhi may be classified as a Western Saka dialect, the other attested Saka dialects such as Khotanese and Tumshuqese being Eastern Saka dialects.[93] The Saka heartland was gradually conquered during the Turkic expansion, beginning in the 4th century, and the area was gradually Turkified linguistically under the Uyghurs.

Culture

Similar to other east­ern Iranian peoples represented on the reliefs of the Apadāna at Persepolis, Sakas are depicted as wearing long trou­sers, which cover the uppers of their boots. Over their shoulders they trail a type of long mantle, with one diagonal edge in back. One particular tribe of Sakas (the Saka tigraxaudā) wore pointed caps. Herodotus in his description of the Persian army mentions the Sakas as wearing trousers and tall pointed caps.[94]

Fraternal polyandry was a common custom among Saka. Brothers had one wife in common and the children were considered as belonging to the oldest brother.[95]

See also

References

Citations

  1. ^ a b c Beckwith 2009, p. 68 "Modern scholars have mostly used the name Saka to refer to Iranians of the Eastern Steppe and Tarim Basin"
  2. ^ a b c Dandamayev 1994, p. 37 "In modern scholarship the name 'Sakas' is reserved for the ancient tribes of northern and eastern Central Asia and Eastern Turkestan to distinguish them from the related Massagetae of the Aral region and the Scythians of the Pontic steppes. These tribes spoke Iranian languages, and their chief occupation was nomadic pastoralism."
  3. ^ Kramrisch, Stella. "Central Asian Arts: Nomadic Cultures". Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Retrieved September 1, 2018. The Śaka tribe was pasturing its herds in the Pamirs, central Tien Shan, and in the Amu Darya delta. Their gold belt buckles, jewelry, and harness decorations display sheep, griffins, and other animal designs that are similar in style to those used by the Scythians, a nomadic people living in the Kuban basin of the Caucasus region and the western section of the Eurasian plain during the greater part of the 1st millennium bc.
  4. ^ a b Harmatta 1994, p. 488 "Their royal tribes and kings (shan-yii) bore Iranian names and all the Hsiung-nu words noted by the Chinese can be explained from an Iranian language of Saka type. It is therefore clear that the majority of Hsiung-nu tribes spoke an Eastern Iranian language."
  5. ^ a b Sinor 1990, p. 173-174
  6. ^ Herodotus Book VII, 64
  7. ^ Naturalis Historia, VI, 19, 50
  8. ^ a b Westermann, Claus (1984). : A Continental Commentary. John J. Scullion (trans.). Minneapolis. p. 506. ISBN 0800695003.
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  10. ^ "The sons of Gomer were Ashkenaz, Riphath,[a] and Togarmah." See also the entry for Ashkenaz in Young, Robert. Analytical Concordance to the Bible. McLean, Virginia: Mac Donald Publishing Company. ISBN 0-917006-29-1.
  11. ^ George Rawlinson, noted in his translation of History of Herodotus, Book VII, p. 378
  12. ^ Kurkjian, Vahan M. (1964). A History of Armenia. New York: Armenian General Benevolent Union of America. p. 23.
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  25. ^ Di Cosmo 2004, p. 39 "The physical type of this group, distinctly Mongoloid, is also very different from the Europoid "Saka" people of the Altai."
  26. ^ de Laet & Herrmann 1996, p. 443 "The rich kurgan burials in Pazyryk, Siberia probably were those of Saka chieftains"
  27. ^ a b Kuzmina 2008, p. 94 "Analysis of the clothing, which has analogies in the complex of Saka clothes, particularly in Pazyryk, led Wang Binghua (1987, 42) to the conclusion that they are related to the Saka Culture."
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  63. ^ Beckwith 2009, p. 85 "The Saka, or Śaka, people then began their long migration that ended with their conquest of northern India, where they are also known as the Indo-Scythians."
  64. ^ Rishi, Weer Rajendra (1982). India & Russia: linguistic & cultural affinity. Roma. p. 95.
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  67. ^ Yü, Ying-shih. (1986). "Han Foreign Relations," in The Cambridge History of China: Volume I: the Ch'in and Han Empires, 221 B.C. – A.D. 220, 377-462. Edited by Denis Twitchett and Michael Loewe. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp 410-411. ISBN 978-0-521-24327-8.
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  78. ^ Yarkand at Encyclopædia Iranica "The territory of Yārkand is for the first time mentioned in the Hanshu (1st century BCE), under the name Shache (Old Chinese, approximately, *s³a(j)-ka), which is probably related to the name of the Iranian Saka tribes."
  79. ^ Whitfield 2004, p. 47.
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  81. ^ Scott Cameron Levi; Ron Sela (2010). Islamic Central Asia: An Anthology of Historical Sources. Indiana University Press. pp. 72–. ISBN 0-253-35385-8.
  82. ^ Akiner (28 October 2013). Cultural Change & Continuity In. Routledge. pp. 71–. ISBN 978-1-136-15034-0.
  83. ^ Sarah Iles Johnston, Religions of the Ancient World: A Guide, Harvard University Press, 2004. pg 197
  84. ^ Edward A Allworth,Central Asia: A Historical Overview,Duke University Press, 1994. pp 86.
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  86. ^ Harmatta, János (20 August 1994). History of Civilizations of Central Asia: The Development of Sedentary and Nomadic Civilizations. UNESCO. pp. 420–1. ISBN 978-9231028465.
  87. ^ Kuz'mina, E.E. (2007). The Origins of the Indo-Iranians. BRILL.
  88. ^ Peng, M.S.; Song, J.J.; Zhang, Y.P. (29 November 2017). "Mitochondrial genomes uncover the maternal history of the Pamir populations". European Journal of Human Geneticsvolume. 26: 124–136.
  89. ^ Frye, R.N. (1984). The History of Ancient Iran. p. 192. ...these western Saka he distinguishes from eastern Saka who moved south through the Kashgar-Tashkurgan-Gilgit-Swat route to the plains of the sub-continent of India. This would account for the existence of the ancient Khotanese-Saka speakers, documents of whom have been found in western Sinkiang, and the modern Wakhi language of Wakhan in Afghanistan, another modern branch of descendants of Saka speakers parallel to the Ossetes in the west.
  90. ^ Bailey, H.W. (1982). The culture of the Sakas in ancient Iranian Khotan. Caravan Books. pp. 7–10. It is noteworthy that the Wakhi language of Wakhan has features, phonetics, and vocabulary the nearest of Iranian dialects to Khotan Saka.
  91. ^ Windfuhr, G. (2013). Iranian Languages. Routeledge. p. 15. ISBN 1-135-79704-8.
  92. ^ Carpelan, C.; Parpola, A.; Koskikallio, P. (2001). "Early Contacts Between Uralic and Indo-European: Linguistic and Archaeological Considerations : Papers Presented at an International Symposium Held at the Tvärminne Research Station of the University of Helsinki, 8-10 January, 1999". Suomalais-Ugrilainen Seura. 242: 136. ...descendants of these languages survive now only in the Ossete language of the Caucasus and the Wakhi language of the Pamirs, the latter related to the Saka once spoken in Khotan.
  93. ^ Novak, L. (2014). "Question of (Re)classification of Eastern Iranian Languages". Linguistica Brunensia. 62 (1): 77–87.
  94. ^ Gropp, G. "CLOTHING v. In Pre-Islamic Eastern Iran". iranicaonline.org. Encyclopaedia Iranica. Retrieved 6 January 2019.
  95. ^ Litvinsky, B.A.; Guang-da, Z.; Samghabadi, R.S. (1996). "The Hephthalite Empire". History of Civilizations of Central Asia. Paris: UNESCO Publishing. pp. 138–165. ISBN 978-92-3-103211-0.

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External links

Abdel-Zaher El-Saqqa

Abdel Zaher El-Saqqa (Arabic: عبد الظاهر السقا‎) (born 30 January 1974) is an Egyptian retired footballer. He also won 112 caps for the Egypt national side, scoring 4 goals.Beginning his career in Egypt with El Mansoura, El-Saka has also played in Turkey with Denizlispor, Gençlerbirliği, Konyaspor and Eskişehirspor.

He has Turkish citizenship with the name Abdel Zaher El Saka.

Akaneiro ni Somaru Saka

Akaneiro ni Somaru Saka (あかね色に染まる坂, lit. The Hill Dyed Rose Madder), also known in short as Akasaka, is a Japanese adult visual novel developed by Feng and first released for Windows as a DVD on July 27, 2007. A version without adult content was released under the title Akaneiro ni Somaru Saka: Parallel on July 31, 2008, by GN Software for the PlayStation 2. A port of this version of the game was released for the PlayStation Portable on December 17, 2009, under the title Akaneiro ni Somaru Saka: Portable. The gameplay in Akaneiro ni Somaru Saka follows a plot line which offers pre-determined scenarios with courses of interaction, and focuses on the appeal of the six female main characters. Two light novels were produced in December 2007 and February 2008 written by different authors, and an Internet radio show began in April 2008. A manga adaptation began serialization in Kadokawa Shoten's seinen magazine Comp Ace on June 26, 2008, illustrated by Homare Sakazuki. An anime adaptation produced by TNK and directed by Keitaro Motonaga aired in Japan between October and December 2008.

Balinese saka calendar

The Balinese saka calendar is one of two calendars used on the Indonesian island of Bali. Unlike the 210-day pawukon calendar, it is based on the phases of the Moon, and is approximately the same length as the Gregorian year.

Canna indica

Canna indica, commonly known as Indian shot, African arrowroot, edible canna, purple arrowroot, Sierra Leone arrowroot, is a plant species in the family Cannaceae. It is native to much of South America, Central America, the West Indies, Mexico, and the southeastern United States (Florida, Texas, Louisiana, and South Carolina). It is also naturalized in much of Europe, sub-Saharan Africa, Southeast Asia, and Oceania. Canna indica (achira in Latin America, cana-da-índia in Brazil) has been a minor food crop cultivated by indigenous peoples of the Americas for thousands of years.

Hasan Saka

Hasan Saka (1885, Akçaabat – 29 July 1960) was a Turkish politician, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Prime Minister of Turkey.

Indian national calendar

The Indian national calendar, sometimes called the Shalivahana Shaka calendar. It is used, alongside the Gregorian calendar, by The Gazette of India, in news broadcasts by All India Radio and in calendars and communications issued by the Government of India. The Saka calendar is also used in Java and Bali among Indonesian Hindus. Nyepi, the "Day of Silence", is a celebration of the Saka new year in Bali. Nepal's Nepal Sambat evolved from the Saka calendar. Prior to colonization, the Philippines used to apply the Saka calendar as well as suggested by the Laguna Copperplate Inscription.

The term may also ambiguously refer to the Hindu calendar; the Shalivahana era is also commonly used by other calendars.

The historic Shalivahana era calendar is still widely used. It has years that are solar

Isaccea

Isaccea (Romanian pronunciation: [iˈsak.t͡ʃe̯a]; Turkish: İshakçı) is a small town in Tulcea County, in Dobruja, Romania, on the right bank of the Danube, 35 km north-west of Tulcea. According to the 2011 census, it has a population of 4,955.

The town has been inhabited for thousands of years, as it is one of the few places in all the Lower Danube that can be easily forded and thus an easy link between the Balkans and the steppes of Southern Ukraine and Russia, north of the Black Sea. The Danube was for a long time the border between the Romans, later Byzantines and the "barbarian" migrating tribes in the north, making Isaccea a border town, conquered and held by dozens of different peoples.

Jauhar

Jauhar, sometimes spelled Jowhar or Juhar, was the Hindu custom of mass self-immolation by women in parts of the Indian subcontinent, to avoid capture, enslavement and rape by any foreign invaders, when facing certain defeat during a war. Some reports of jauhar mention women committing self-immolation along with their children. This practice was historically observed in northwest regions of India, with most famous Jauhars in recorded history occurring during wars between Hindu Rajput kingdoms in Rajasthan and the Muslim armies. Jauhar is related to sati, and sometimes referred in scholarly literature as jauhar sati.According to Veena Oldenburg, the roots of this practice "almost certainly" lie in the internecine warfare among different Rajput kingdoms. In contrast, Kaushik Roy said that the jauhar custom was observed only during Hindu-Muslim wars, but not during internecine Hindu-Hindu wars among the Rajputs.The term jauhar sometimes connotes with both jauhar-immolation and saka ritual. During the Jauhar, Rajput women committed suicide with their children and valuables in massive fire, to avoid capture and abuse in the face of inescapable military defeat and capture. Simultaneously or thereafter, the men would ritually march to the battlefield expecting certain death, which in the regional tradition is called saka.Jauhar by Hindu kingdoms has been documented by Islamic historians of the Delhi Sultanate, and the Mughal Empire. Among the oft cited example of jauhar has been the mass suicide committed in 1303 CE by the women of Chittorgarh fort in Rajasthan, faced with invading army of Khalji dynasty of the Delhi Sultanate. The jauhar phenomenon was also observed in other parts of India, such as in the Kampili kingdom of northern Karnataka when it fell in 1327 to Delhi Sultanate armies.

Kurgan

A kurgan (Russian: курга́н) is a tumulus, a type of burial mound or barrow, heaped over a burial chamber, often of wood. The Russian noun, already attested in Old East Slavic, comes from an unidentified Turkic language, compare Modern Turkish kurğan, which means "fortress". Kurgans are mounds of earth and stones raised over a grave or graves. Popularised by its use in Soviet archaeology, the word is now widely used for tumuli in the context of Eastern European and Central Asian archaeology.

The earliest kurgans date to the 4th millennium BC in the Caucasus, and researchers associate these with the Indo-Europeans. Kurgans were built in the Eneolithic, Bronze, Iron, Antiquity and Middle Ages, with ancient traditions still active in Southern Siberia and Central Asia. Archeologists divide kurgan cultures into different sub-cultures, such as Timber Grave, Pit Grave, Scythian, Sarmatian, Hunnish and Kuman-Kipchak.

Many placenames contain the word kurgan.

Makhuwa language

Makhuwa (Emakhuwa; also spelt Makua and Macua) is the primary Bantu language of northern Mozambique. It is spoken by 4 million Makua people, who live north of the Zambezi River, particularly in Nampula Province, which is virtually entirely ethnically Makua. It is the most widely spoken indigenous language of Mozambique.

Apart from the languages in the same group, eMakhuwa is distinguished from other Bantu languages by the loss of consonant + vowel prefixes in favour of e; compare epula, "rain", with Tswana pula.

Long and short vowels are used for i, e, a, o, u, which is unusually sparse for a Bantu language:

omala - to finish

omaala - to paste, stick

omela - to sprout, bud

omeela - to share outThe consonants are more complex: postalveolar tt and tth exist, both p and ph are used. Both x (English "sh") and h exist while x varies with s. Regionally, there are also θ (the "th" of English "thorn"), ð (the "th" of English "seethe"), z and ng. In eLomwe, for instance, the -tt- of eMakhuwa is represented by a "ch" as in English "church".Makhuwa is closely related to Lomwe.

Saka, Estonia

Saka is a village in Toila Parish, Ida-Viru County in northeastern Estonia.

Before the 2017 Administrative Reform, the village belonged to Kohtla Parish.

Saka guru

Saka guru, or soko guru in Javanese, is the four main posts which supported certain Javanese buildings, e.g. the pendopo, the house proper and the mosque. The saka guru is the most fundamental element in Javanese architecture because it supports the entire roof of the building. Because of its importance, the saka guru is imbued with symbolism and treated with certain rituals.

Saka language

(Eastern) Saka or Sakan is a variety of Eastern Iranian languages, attested from the ancient Buddhist kingdoms of Khotan, Kashgar and Tumshuq in the Tarim Basin, in what is now southern Xinjiang, China. It is a Middle Iranian language. The two kingdoms differed in dialect, their speech known as Khotanese and Tumshuqese.

Documents on wood and paper were written in modified Brahmi script with the addition of extra characters over time and unusual conjuncts such as ys for z. The documents date from the fourth to the eleventh century. Tumshuqese was more archaic than Khotanese, but it is much less understood because it appears in fewer manuscripts compared to Khotanese. Both dialects share features with modern Pashto and Wakhi. The language was known as "Hvatanai" in contemporary documents. Many Prakrit terms were borrowed from Khotanese into the Tocharian languages.

Saka no Ue no Kumo (TV series)

Saka no Ue no Kumo (坂の上の雲) (lit. “Clouds Above The Slope”) is an NHK 21st Century special drama which was aired over three years starting from November 29, 2009. The series runs 13 episodes at 90 minutes each. The first season, with 5 episodes, was broadcast in 2009, while seasons two and three, each with 4 episodes, were broadcast in late 2010 and 2011. While most episodes were shot in Japan, one of the episodes in season two was shot in Latvia. The TV series is based on the novel of the same name by Ryōtarō Shiba and adapted by Hisashi Nozawa.The theme song of the drama series is titled "Stand Alone". It was composed by Joe Hisaishi, written by Kundō Koyama, and performed by British soprano singer Sarah Brightman.

Scythian languages

The Scythian languages are a group of Eastern Iranian languages of the classical and late antiquity (Middle Iranian) period, spoken in a vast region of Eurasia named Scythia. Except for modern Ossetian, which descends from the Alanian variety, these languages are all considered to be extinct. Modern Eastern Iranian languages such as Wakhi, however, are related to the eastern Scytho-Khotanese dialects attested from the kingdoms of Khotan and Tumshuq in the ancient Tarim Basin, in present-day southern Xinjiang, China.

The location and extent of Scythia varied by time, but generally it encompassed the part of Eastern Europe east of the Vistula river and much of Central Asia up to the Tarim Basin. The dominant ethnic groups among the Scythians were nomadic pastoralists of Central Asia and the Pontic-Caspian steppe. Fragments of their speech known from inscriptions and words quoted in ancient authors as well as analysis of their names indicate that it was an Indo-European language, more specifically from the Iranian group of Indo-Iranian languages. Alexander Lubotsky summarizes the known linguistic landscape as follows:

Unfortunately, we know next to nothing about the Scythian of that period [Old Iranian] – we have only a couple of personal and tribal names in Greek and Persian sources at our disposal – and cannot even determine with any degree of certainty whether it was a single language.

Scythians

The Scythians (; from Greek Σκύθης, Σκύθοι), also known as Scyth, Saka, Sakae, Sai, Iskuzai, or Askuzai, were Eurasian nomads, probably mostly using Eastern Iranian languages, who were mentioned by the literate peoples to their south as inhabiting large areas of the western and central Eurasian Steppe from about the 9th century BC up until the 4th century AD. The "classical Scythians" known to ancient Greek historians, agreed to be mainly Iranian in origin, were located in the northern Black Sea and fore-Caucasus region. Other Scythian groups documented by Assyrian, Achaemenid and Chinese sources show that they also existed in Central Asia, where they were referred to as the Iskuzai/Askuzai, Saka (Old Persian: Sakā; New Persian/Pashto: ساکا‎; Sanskrit: शक Śaka; Greek: Σάκαι; Latin: Sacae), and Sai (Chinese: 塞; Old Chinese: *sˤək), respectively.The relationships between the peoples living in these widely separated regions remains unclear, and the term is used in both a broad and narrow sense. The term "Scythian" is used by modern scholars in an archaeological context for finds perceived to display attributes of the wider "Scytho-Siberian" culture, usually without implying an ethnic or linguistic connotation. The term Scythic may also be used in a similar way, "to describe a special phase that followed the widespread diffusion of mounted nomadism, characterized by the presence of special weapons, horse gear, and animal art in the form of metal plaques". Their westernmost territories during the Iron Age were known to classical Greek sources as Scythia, and in the more narrow sense "Scythian" is restricted to these areas, where the Scythian languages were spoken. Different definitions of "Scythian" have been used, leading to a good deal of confusion.The Scythians were among the earliest peoples to master mounted warfare. They kept herds of horses, cattle and sheep, lived in tent-covered wagons and fought with bows and arrows on horseback. They developed a rich culture characterised by opulent tombs, fine metalwork and a brilliant art style.

In the 8th century BC, they possibly raided Zhou China. Soon after, they expanded westwards and dislodged the Cimmerians from power on the Pontic Steppe. At their peak, Scythians came to dominate the entire steppe zone, stretching from the Carpathian Mountains in the west to central China (Ordos culture) and the south Siberia (Tagar culture) in the east, creating what has been called the first Central Asian nomadic empire, although there was little that could be called an organised state.Based in what is modern-day Ukraine, Southern European Russia and Crimea, the western Scythians were ruled by a wealthy class known as the Royal Scyths. The Scythians established and controlled the Silk Road, a vast trade network connecting Greece, Persia, India and China, perhaps contributing to the contemporary flourishing of those civilisations. Settled metalworkers made portable decorative objects for the Scythians. These objects survive mainly in metal, forming a distinctive Scythian art. In the 7th century BC, the Scythians crossed the Caucasus and frequently raided the Middle East along with the Cimmerians, playing an important role in the political developments of the region. Around 650–630 BC, Scythians briefly dominated the Medes of the western Iranian Plateau, stretching their power to the borders of Egypt. After losing control over Media, the Scythians continued intervening in Middle Eastern affairs, playing a leading role in the destruction of the Assyrian Empire in the Sack of Nineveh in 612 BC. The Scythians subsequently engaged in frequent conflicts with the Achaemenid Empire. The western Scythians suffered a major defeat against Macedonia in the 4th century BC and were subsequently gradually conquered by the Sarmatians, a related Iranian people from Central Asia. The Eastern Scythians of the Asian Steppe (Saka) were attacked by the Yuezhi, Wusun and Xiongnu in the 2nd century BC, prompting many of them to migrate into South Asia, where they became known as Indo-Scythians. At some point, perhaps as late as the 3rd century AD after the demise of the Han dynasty and the Xiongnu, Eastern Scythians crossed the Pamir Mountains and settled in the western Tarim Basin, where the Scythian Khotanese and Tumshuqese languages are attested in Brahmi scripture from the 10th and 11th centuries AD. The Kingdom of Khotan, at least partly Saka, was then conquered by the Kara-Khanid Khanate, which led to the Islamisation and Turkification of Northwest China. In Eastern Europe, by the early Medieval Ages, the Scythians and their closely related Sarmatians were eventually assimilated and absorbed (e.g. Slavicisation) by the Proto-Slavic population of the region.

Shaka era

This is about the historical calendar era. For the "Śaka calendar" of 1957, see Indian national calendar.

The Shaka era (IAST: Śaka era) is a historical calendar era, corresponding to Julian year 78. It is commonly known in Indian languages as Shalivahana Śaka (era of Shalivahana) or RTGS: Mahasakkarat "Greater Era").

Tarim Basin

The Tarim Basin is an endorheic basin in northwest China occupying an area of about 1,020,000 km2 (390,000 sq mi). Located in China's Xinjiang region, it is sometimes used synonymously to refer the southern half of the province, or Nanjiang (Chinese: 南疆; pinyin: Nánjiāng; literally: "Southern Xinjiang"), as opposed to the northern half of the province known as Dzungaria or Beijiang. Its northern boundary is the Tian Shan mountain range and its southern boundary is the Kunlun Mountains on the edge of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. The Taklamakan Desert dominates much of the basin. The historical Uyghur name for the Tarim Basin is Altishahr (六域), which means "six cities" in Uyghur.

Western Satraps

The Western Satraps, Western Kshatrapas, or Kshaharatas (35–405 CE) were Indo-Scythian (Saka) rulers of the western and central part of India (Saurashtra and Malwa: modern Gujarat, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh states). The Western Satraps were contemporaneous with the Kushans who ruled the northern part of the Indian subcontinent and were possibly their overlords, and the Satavahana (Andhra) who ruled in Central India. The power of the Saka rulers started to decline in the 2nd century CE after the Saka rulers were defeated by the south Indian Emperor Gautamiputra Satakarni of the Satavahana dynasty. Later the Saka kingdom was completely destroyed by Chandragupta II of the Gupta Empire in the 4th century CE.Altogether, there were 27 independent Western Satrap rulers during a period of about 350 years.

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