Sogdians

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Mercenaries and military history

By |2018-04-20T08:25:06-07:00September 20th, 2017|War|

Nubian archers in the Middle Kingdom (from the Nubian museum in Aswan, Egypt). About 2000 BC. Mercenaries (MURR-sinn-air-eez) are paid volunteer soldiers: they are soldiers who are fighting as a job, not in order to save their country or for the glory of God. They only fight if they are paid, or for the [...]

Who were the Scythians? Central Asian history

By |2018-04-24T11:39:59-07:00September 14th, 2017|Central Asia, History|

Scythian history: A Scythian milking a sheep (Tolstaja Mogila kurgan, Ukraine, 400 BC) Scythians lived in Central Asia The Scythians were a large group of loosely connected people who lived in Russia. They also lived further south around the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea.  Like the Hittites, the Greeks and the Germans, they were Indo-Europeans. Powerful in the Iron Age We [...]

Sassanians and the Silk Road – West Asian economy

By |2018-04-25T23:27:00-07:00September 12th, 2017|Economy, West Asia|

Coin of the Sassanian king Hormizd V (ca. 593 AD?) The most important part of the Sassanian economy, as in all other states in Late Antiquity, was farming - most people still were farmers, growing mainly wheat and barley. But most farmers didn't eat the food they grew. They sold their wheat or barley to a mill and used the money [...]

The Yamnaya and the Indo-European language family

By |2018-04-21T13:20:00-07:00July 27th, 2017|Central Asia, History|

Yamnaya get around: Map of the spread of Indo-European languages Who were the Yamnaya? People we call the Yamnaya (Ukrainian for "People who lived in pits") seem to have been speaking an early version of the Indo-European language at least as early as 5000 BC in the area between the Black Sea and the Caspian [...]

Ancient Indian economy

By |2019-02-21T10:11:58-07:00July 20th, 2017|Economy, India|

Ancient India trade: Indian herbal medicines What did most people do for work? Most people in ancient India were farmers. That's the same as in other parts of Asia and Europe at this time. In India, farmers mainly grew wheat and rice. They grew cotton for cloth. They grew opium for medicine too. More about opium History of wheat Where did rice come [...]

Alexander the Great dies in Babylon

By |2019-01-22T10:18:40-07:00July 7th, 2017|Greeks, History|

Alexander the Great: Gedrosia Desert Alexander in India When Alexander reached the end of the old Persian Empire, he turned back. He did not go further east into India. Who was Alexander of Macedon? Alexander and the Silk Road All our Ancient Greece articles Historians who were there say that this is because [...]

Alexander the Great and the Silk Road

By |2019-01-22T05:41:36-07:00July 7th, 2017|Central Asia, Greeks, History|

Alexander in the east: Darius' palace at Persepolis Alexander reaches Afghanistan When Alexander finished conquering Persia (modern Iran), he burned Darius' great palace at Persepolis: only ruins are left today. Then he marched further east with his army up into the mountains of Bactria (modern Afghanistan). Who was Alexander of Macedon? The Persian [...]

Where do almonds come from? West Asian food

By |2019-01-23T06:23:23-07:00June 20th, 2017|Food|

History of almonds: Almonds drying after harvest (Southern Spain) Where do almonds come from? Wild almonds are related to peaches and apples. Almonds probably evolved about the same time, around five million years ago. Like peach trees and apple trees, almond trees made cyanide poison. That kept sheep and goats and rabbits from eating their [...]

Who was Xuanzang? A Buddhist scholar of medieval China

By |2018-04-18T09:54:15-07:00June 7th, 2017|Central Asia, China, India, Religion|

Travels of the Buddhist traveller Xuanzang (T'ang Dynasty, 630 AD) Xuanzang was a great Chinese scholar who lived in the 600s AD, under the T'ang dynasty. He was a Buddhist, and he wanted to see India, where the Buddha had lived. So he traveled from the Chinese capital at Changan to India and [...]

End of T’ang Dynasty China – Uighurs and Buddhists

By |2018-04-18T09:53:37-07:00June 6th, 2017|China, History|

Emperor Wuzong Hsuan Tsung's son, the T'ang Emperor Suzong, asked a neighboring power, the Uighur Empire, to help him crush An Lu-shan's rebellion, and by 757 AD, thanks to the Uighur army, Suzong was able to get An Lu-shan assassinated. Still there was more civil war until 763 AD. These wars wrecked China [...]