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Phase I Variables (polity-based)

General variables

♠ RA ♣ Agathe Dupeyron; Edward A L Turner ♥

♠ Original name ♣ Tocharians ♥

♠ Alternative names ♣ Yuezhi; Yueh-chih; Kushans ♥

♠ Peak Date ♣ ♥


Temporal bounds

♠ Duration ♣ 129 BCE - 29 CE ♥ "The Yueh-chih first arrived in Bactria around 125 BCE."[1]

After they had been expelled from the Tarim Basin by the Hsiung-nu and before they entered the region of Sogdiana the Yueh-chih polity was based "north of the Oxus river"

In the early 2nd century BCE Chinese emissary to the Yueh-chih, Zhang Qian, said "The Great Yueh-chih live north of the Oxus river. They are bordered in the south by Daxia (Bactria) and on the west by Anxi (Parthia). They are a nation of nomads, moving from place to place with their herds."[2]

The end of Yuezhi rule is marked by the seizure of power by the first Kushan king, Kujula Kadphises. We have no fixed date for this but Loeschner thinks it may have been as early as 20 BCE.[3] In contrast, Osmund Bopearachchi gives a date of 40 CE for the start of Kujula Kadphises' reign.[4]

♠ Degree of centralization ♣ quasi-polity ♥

"Around 100 BCE the Yueh-chih conquered Bactria and drove the Scythians southwards to Gandhara. During the period 100 BCE to 40 CE, conditions in and around Bactria remained unsettled as the five factions of the Yueh-chih battled against each other for supremacy."[5]

"Thus, both the written sources and the numismatic data show that Transoxiana in the 2nd and 1st centuries B.C.lacked internal political unity. Even Sughd (the basin of the river Zarafshan) was divided between at least two realms, this corresponding more or less to the later partition of the Zarafshan valley into "Bukharan Sughd" and "Samarkandian Sughd"; accordingly we have imitations of tetradrachms of Euthydemus and imitations of drachms of Antiochus I, with a horse's head on the reverse side." [6]

♠ Supra-polity relations ♣ ♥

Supra-cultural relations

♠ preceding (quasi)polity ♣ Sakas ♥ "Around 100 BCE the Yueh-chih conquered Bactria and drove the Scythians southwards to Gandhara."[7]
♠ relationship to preceding (quasi)polity ♣ elite migration ♥ "The Yueh-chih, as the ancestors of the Kushans were known, were settled in the Tarim Basin in the 3rd century BCE."[8] "After being driven out of the Tarim Basin the Yueh-chih settled on either side of the Amu Darya, in a region called collectively in ancient times Bactria."[9]
♠ succeeding (quasi)polity ♣ Kushan Empire ♥ Hou Han Shu said: "When the Yeuh-chih were destroyed by the Hsiung-nu, they migrated to Ta-Hsia [Bactria] and divided the country into five Hsi-hou [Chiefdoms] ... Then 100 years later Chiu-chiu-chu'ueh [Kujula Kadphises] hsi-hou [Chief] of Kuei-shuang having attacked and destroyed [the other] four hsi-hou became independent and set himself on the throne."[10]
♠ Supracultural entity ♣ Greco-Persian ♥ "... in this period all the Yeuh-chih tribes had an opportunity to adjust themselves to the environment prevailing in the Bactrian region."[11] "By the time Kajula Kadphrises ... established the Kingdom of the Kushans in Bactria, the Kushans had adopted Bactrian as their spoken language and started worshipping a number of Iranian and Mesopotamian deities."[12]
♠ scale of supra-cultural interaction ♣ 4,000,000 ♥ km squared. Greco-Persian area corresponding to Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and Transoxania.

♠ Capital ♣ Chien-shih ♥ Chinese sources called the Yueh-chih capital 'Chien-shih'. [13]


♠ Language ♣ Tocharian; Bactrian ♥ There is still no consensus on the language of the Yuezhi: 'Some authors believe they originally spoke a "Tocharian" language, and others that they spoke an eastern Iranic or proto-Turkic language'.[14] Benjamin describes Tocharian as 'the Indo-European language spoken by the core Yuezhi'.[15] However, 'By the time Kajula Kadphrises ... established the Kingdom of the Kushans in Bactria, the Kushans had adopted Bactrian as their spoken language".[16]

General Description

The period of Sogdian and Bactrian history between the disintegration of the Greco-Bactrian kingdom in the late 2nd century BCE and the rise of the Kushan Empire in the 1st century CE is poorly understood. The region was politically fragmented and the local settled populations were subjected to nomadic invasions, notably by a group of pastoralists and traders known to us by their Chinese name, Yuezhi.[17][18] The Yuezhi are also sometimes referred to as 'Tochari' by scholars who believe they spoke a Tocharian language, part of an extinct Indo-European language group.[19] (Others argue that their original language was eastern Iranic or proto-Turkic.)[20]

In the mid-1st millennium BCE and perhaps even earlier, the Yuezhi were living on the steppes to the north of China.[21] However, after coming into conflict with other nomadic groups, the Xiongnu and Wusun, they migrated towards Sogdiana.[22] By 129 BCE, when the Han Chinese diplomat Zhang Qian visited the Yuezhi court on the Oxus river, they were ruling over a region that included parts of the old Hellenistic Greco-Bactrian kingdom.[23]

In the early 1st century CE, the first Kushan king, Kujula Kadphises, seized power and began ruling over south-eastern Sogdiana, marking the end of our Yuezhi period.[24] Kujula Kadphises was probably a member of one of five Yuezhi factions or subtribes, which he succeeded in unifying through military conquest,[25] but even this is disputed.

Population and political organization

The Yuezhi in Bactria and Sogdiana seem to have been organized into a federation of five tribes that competed for political supremacy in the new territory.[26] There is no written or numismatic evidence of a centralized Yuezhi state with a single paramount ruler before the rise of Kujula Kadphises.[27] Historian Craig Benjamin has characterized Yuezhi control over the sedentary population of northern Bactria and Sogdia as that of a militarily superior ruling dynasty of nomads, 'pastoralist conquerors' whose 'nominal sovereignty' was acknowledged by the locals because they feared violence if they refused to submit.[28]

Secure estimates for the combined population of the ruling Yuezhi and the settled population under their control in this period are lacking.

Social Complexity variables

♠ RA ♣ Agathe Dupeyron; Edward A L Turner ♥

Social Scale

♠ Polity territory ♣ [10,000-20,000] ♥ in squared kilometers

If we divide the Zarafshan valley between two realms we get about 15,000 km2 for each of them.

"Thus, both the written sources and the numismatic data show that Transoxiana in the 2nd and 1st centuries B.C.lacked internal political unity. Even Sughd (the basin of the river Zarafshan) was divided between at least two realms, this corresponding more or less to the later partition of the Zarafshan valley into "Bukharan Sughd" and "Samarkandian Sughd"; accordingly we have imitations of tetradrachms of Euthydemus and imitations of drachms of Antiochus I, with a horse's head on the reverse side." [29]

"The five hsi-hou or regions where the five tribes established their presence were located on either side of the Amu Darya - approximately the territory included in modern Bactria, Southern Tajikistan and Southern Uzbekistan (Sogdiana). The Kabul region (Kao-fu) and Parthia were initially not occupied by any of the Yueh-chih tribes."[30]

On the area of southeastern Sogdiana which came under Yuezhi domination in this period: 'The next five hundred years of Sogdian history [after the Graeco-Bactrian period] are extremely obscure. There is basically no information on Sogdiana concerning this period other than what is related in the Chinese sources [...] Around 160-130 BCE, the region was crisscrossed by various waves of migratory nomads from the north, whether they were Iranian-speaking Saka or the Yuezhi from within China. Beginning in the first century BCE, most of Sogdiana was included in a larger nomadic state, centered on the middle Syr Darya, namely Kangju. On the other hand, the Yuezhi principalities and then the Kushan empire incorporated the southeast part of Sogdiana (south of the Hissar mountains), which thereafter left the Sogdian sphere and was attached to Bactria.'[31]

♠ Polity Population ♣ [100,000-225,000] ♥ People. [225,000; 105,000], coded as a range 100,000-225,000. AD. This is a rough estimate that needs to be checked by an expert.

If there were at least two realms within the Zarafshan basin then the population estimate should be divided between them (200,000). Another source suggests a federation of five tribes - so the estimate could also be divided between five (80,000). These figures presumably refer to the migrant population: how many inhabitants were there already living in the locales (if the invasion was not accompanied by genocide)? (JR: Woodcock said that 'there is no evidence of any general or even local massacre of the ordinary Greek population [in Bactria] after the nomad victories'.[32]) Given the relatively small size of these polities, this latter estimate could be directly added to the total. The largest settlement size for Greco-Bactria 200 BCE currently is estimated about 25,000.


According to Chinese sources, the Yueh-chih had a total population of 400,000 including 100,000 warriors. [33] This number would correspond to the federation of five tribes, not to each separate polity.

"Thus, both the written sources and the numismatic data show that Transoxiana in the 2nd and 1st centuries B.C.lacked internal political unity. Even Sughd (the basin of the river Zarafshan) was divided between at least two realms, this corresponding more or less to the later partition of the Zarafshan valley into "Bukharan Sughd" and "Samarkandian Sughd"; accordingly we have imitations of tetradrachms of Euthydemus and imitations of drachms of Antiochus I, with a horse's head on the reverse side." [34]


♠ Population of the largest settlement ♣ ♥ Inhabitants.


Hierarchical Complexity

♠ Settlement hierarchy ♣ 2 ♥ levels.

1. City or town

2. Village

Three cities are mentioned by Chinese chronicles: [35]

Chien-shih, the capital
Hu-Tsao, belonging to the principalty of Kuei-shuang
Lan-Chih, capital of the Ta Hsia kingdom (Bactria)


♠ Administrative levels ♣ [3-4] ♥ levels.


1. Governor

Governor's residence in the capital city mentioned by Abdoullaev in his review of Chinese chronicles. [36]
2.
3.
4.

Five chiefdoms.

Hou Han Shu said: "When the Yeuh-chih were destroyed by the Hsiung-nu, they migrated to Ta-Hsia [Bactria] and divided the country into five Hsi-hou [Chiefdoms] ... Then 100 years later Chiu-chiu-chu'ueh [Kujula Kadphises] hsi-hou [Chief] of Kuei-shuang having attacked and destroyed [the other] four hsi-hou became independent and set himself on the throne."[37]

♠ Religious levels ♣ [1-2] ♥ levels.

Buddhism

♠ Military levels ♣ [3-4] ♥ levels.

1. Ruler

2.
3.
4.


Professions

♠ Professional military officers ♣ suspected unknown ♥ present for Greco-Bactrians in 200 BCE but the invading Tocharian tribes may not have been, at least not initially.s

♠ Professional soldiers ♣ suspected unknown ♥ present for Greco-Bactrians in 200 BCE but the invading Tocharian tribes may not have been, at least not initially.

♠ Professional priesthood ♣ inferred present ♥ Buddhism

Bureaucracy characteristics

♠ Full-time bureaucrats ♣ suspected unknown ♥ present for Greco-Bactrians in 200 BCE

♠ Examination system ♣ suspected unknown ♥

♠ Merit promotion ♣ suspected unknown ♥

♠ Specialized government buildings ♣ inferred present ♥ Governor's residence in the capital city mentioned by Abdoullaev in his review of Chinese chronicles. [38] Presence of governor in a residence in the city would suggest some inheritance of centralized institutions from earlier Greco-Bactrians, which might also included specialised governmental buildings.

Law

♠ Formal legal code ♣ ♥ present under Greco-Bactrians but possibly unknown for this period.

♠ Judges ♣ ♥

♠ Courts ♣ ♥

♠ Professional Lawyers ♣ ♥

Specialized Buildings: polity owned

♠ irrigation systems ♣ present ♥ In the Khwarazm region. [39] "In Sogdiana, as in Bactria, only irrigated oases were fertile, "but a large part of this territory consists of uninhabited desert; owing to its aridity these cheerless regions are without inhabitants and produce nothing".1 Large settlements provided with walls (the site at Afrasiyab = Maracanda, and the Kyuzeligyr site in Chorasmia), apparently lacked continuous built-up areas and were (like the "cliffs" mentioned in connection with Alexander's campaigns) places of refuge for the whole population of an oasis (comparable to the refugia of the European "barbarians") rather than towns. Only about the beginning of theChristian era and in the first centuries of it do archaeological data give evidence of the appearance of trunk-canals of great length for irrigation purposes, and the rise of urban life in the full sense of the word." [40]
♠ drinking water supply systems ♣ suspected unknown ♥ public-fountains were present under Greco-Batrians in 200 BCE.
♠ markets ♣ present ♥ "While recognizing the supremacy of the Great Yueh-chih, who remained in Transoxiana, Bactria still retained its independence (Chang-Ch'ien went there as to another country), and normal life went on without any obvious effects of"nomad invasions": there were cities and settlements of permanent inhabitants, surrounded by walls; in the capital there was a market with a great variety of goods; trade flourished, including international trade (merchants from Bactria travelled on business to India). This situation probably continued into the first century B.C., if we accept the account given in the Han shu." [41]
♠ food storage sites ♣ suspected unknown ♥

Transport infrastructure

♠ Roads ♣ inferred present ♥ Greco-Bactrians had streets.
♠ Bridges ♣ suspected unknown ♥ Possibly bridges over the Zarastran but unsure.
♠ Canals ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Ports ♣ absent ♥ landlocked

Special purpose sites

♠ Mines or quarries ♣ suspected unknown ♥

Information

Writing System

♠ Mnemonic devices ♣ ♥
♠ Nonwritten records ♣ present ♥
♠ Written records ♣ inferred present ♥ 'It is thought that prior to entering Bactria [the Da Yuezhi] were not literate. By the time they invaded northern India in the first century CE, they had become capable administrators, traders and scholars'.[42]
♠ Script ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Phonetic alphabetic writing ♣ present ♥ Bactrian, Indo-European

Kinds of Written Documents

♠ Lists, tables, and classifications ♣ inferred present ♥ e.g. used in governor's administration
♠ Calendar ♣ inferred present ♥ Khwarazm region: "The Khwarazmian solar calendar, related to the Zoroastrian system, is known to us thanks to Biruni, who argued that it was in advance of most other ancient systems for measuring time." [43]
♠ Sacred Texts ♣ inferred present ♥ Buddhist scriptures.
♠ Religious literature ♣ inferred present ♥ Ghosaka: "Buddhist theologian and author from Balkh who played an important role in the deliberations at the Fourth Buddhist Council in Kashmir in the first century AD."[44]
♠ Practical literature ♣ inferred present ♥ e.g. used in governor's administration
♠ History ♣ inferred present ♥ present or inferred present for Greco-Bactrians in 200 BCE
♠ Philosophy ♣ inferred present ♥ present or inferred present for Greco-Bactrians in 200 BCE
♠ Scientific literature ♣ inferred present ♥ present or inferred present for Greco-Bactrians in 200 BCE
♠ Fiction ♣ suspected unknown ♥

Money

♠ Articles ♣ present ♥
♠ Tokens ♣ ♥
♠ Precious metals ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Foreign coins ♣ present ♥ Roman and Parthian coins were found in a burial dating from the early 1st century CE at Tillya Tepe, apparently 'the family cemetery of the rulers of one of the larger Kushan princedoms'.[45] Roman coins: "coins of the second and third centuries B.C. from towns on the Black Sea, such as Pantiapaion and Olbia, have been found in Western Zungaria; and in the Chinese province of Shen-si copper coins of Roman Emperors from Tiberius to Aurelian have turned up. Roman coins were also very common in Sogdiana. Thus the portrayal of the young Romulus and Remus with the wolf appearing on coins minted by Constantine, was copied on Sogdian brakteati."[46]
♠ Indigenous coins ♣ present ♥ 'In the 1st centuries B.C. and A.D. many countries and peoples situated on the periphery of the Hellenistic and Roman civilization passed through the stage of striking "barbarous imitations". Perhaps the closest analogy as regards both the external phenomena and the essential processes underlying them is provided by a comparison between the"barbarous imitations" of Transoxiana and those of the western European tribes and peoples. In both cases there occurred a penetration of foreign coins into regions which were still without their own currency and ignorant of the circulation of money - and with these coins there arrived the idea itself of using for commercial dealings metal tokens of a certain shape and appearance. Subsequently the foreign coins were "reproduced" by local craftsmen - usually at a lower artistic and technical level.' [47] Heraus was a 'Central Asian clan chief of the Kushans, one of the five constituent tribes of the Yuezhi confederacy in the early first century C.E. He struck tetradrachms and obols in relatively good silver'.[48]
♠ Paper currency ♣ absent ♥

Postal System

♠ Couriers ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Postal stations ♣ ♥
♠ General postal service ♣ suspected unknown ♥

Warfare variables

♠ RA ♣ Agathe Dupeyron ♥

Military Technologies

Military use of Metals

♠ Copper ♣ inferred present ♥ In bronze
♠ Bronze ♣ present ♥ Bronze had been used on the central steppes from 1500 BCE. [49]
♠ Iron ♣ present ♥ Iron had been used in by the steppe nomads from 330 BCE - 200 BCE. [50]
♠ Steel ♣ [absent; present] ♥ At this time in Central Asia if high-quality steel was used it would have been imported. The following sources suggest later dates for fine steel. However, note that northern India (a location repeatedly associated with fine steel) as early as 1st CE was exporting iron and steel as far as East Africa.[51] Reference for high quality of the steel (no beginning date provided): “In the context of this work, it is important to note that crucible steel of fine quality was made at Herat, in Bukhara and in northern India.”[52] Reference for high quality of the steel (this one dates from 900 CE): "Further east from Merv along the Silk Road is a region praised for its iron and steel production by Greek, Islamic, and Chinese writers. The Sogdian state of Ustrushana, a mountainous region east of Samarkand, and the Ferghana basin ... material related to the medieval iron and steel industry has been uncovered here. Most relevant ... is a workshop excavated at a city-site of the +9th-13th centuries in Feghana, at Eski Achsy, Uzbekistan. ..” Crucible fragments ”The excavators consider that the process used here was direct production of steel from ore, just as He Tangkun argues for the Luoyang crucibles. It is quite possible, however, that they were (also) used in co-fusion steel production as suggested by the Merv excavators."[53] Fine steel swords may have been produced at an earlier time than 900 CE with the technology coming from northern India or from this region via Persia: In Tibet c700 CE "steel swords were certainly available through trade with Sogdia and Fergana ... and many steel blades are known from Central Asia from the late first millennium until the arrival of Genghis Khan in the early thirteenth century."[54] "The Sogdian cities of Samarqand and Bukhara probably also manufactured iron and steel weapons that were exported to Tibet. We know that by the early eighth century, the Sogdians, having probably borrowed the technology from the Sasanians, were manufacturing mail armor and offered suits of the material as gifts to the Tang court in 718. ... The Sasasnians may themselves have developed knowledge of steelmaking from contacts with northern India."[55] "The principal centres for the manufacture of steel weapons in Central Asia were Khwarazm, Ferghana and northern India.”[56]

Projectiles

♠ Javelins ♣ inferred present ♥ "There are a number of artistic depictions, from different eras, that show steppe warriors on horseback and armed with a javelin". [57] ET: Whilst searching for data for the Hephthalites I found this late 19th century quote from an encyclopaedia. I cannot confirm it refers to the Hephthalites but it mentions horsemen. Did the horse backed warriors also carry a javelin? Bone-tipped javelins are less likely to leave finds for archaeologists. "Like the Mongols they were a race of horsemen. They fought with bone-tipped javelins, with sabers, and with slings or lassoes. They ate herbs and half- raw meat, which they first used as saddles ; and they clothed themselves with the skins of wild animals”.
♠ Atlatl ♣ absent ♥ Weapon of the Americas, extremely unlikely to have been in use here
♠ Slings ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Self bow ♣ inferred absent ♥ Likely made obsolete by composite bow.
♠ Composite bow ♣ present ♥ Parthian king Artabanus II killed in battle 124-125 BCE "in the region of Bactria against the 'Tochai' perhaps the Yueh-chi of the Chinese records, he received a wound in the forearm, possibly from a poisoned weapon, which almost immediately caused his death."[58] "Among their weapons we find the compound bow, bronze and bone arrowheads (their arrows also contained beads that gave them a whistling effect), broadswords, short swords, lances, and maces." [59]
♠ Crossbow ♣ present ♥ Present due to the following in contemporary Chinese sources, which are relevant for gaining insight on the weapons and armor of Steppe Nomads. "Even with strong crossbows that shoot far, and long halberds that hit at a distance, the Hsiung-nu would not be able to ward them off. If the armors are sturdy and the weapons sharp, if the repetition crossbows shot far, and the platoons advance together, the Hsiung-nu will not be able to withstand. If specially trained troops are quick to release (their bows) and the arrows in a single stream hit the target together, then the leather outfit and wooden shields of the Hsiung-nu will not be able to protect them. If they dismount and fight on foot, when swords and halberds clash as [the soldiers] come into close quarters, the Hsiung-nu, who lack infantry training, will not be able to cope." [60]
♠ Tension siege engines ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Sling siege engines ♣ absent ♥ First use of the counter-weight trebuchet 1165 CE at Byzantine siege of Zevgminon.[61]
♠ Gunpowder siege artillery ♣ absent ♥ absent before the gunpowder era
♠ Handheld firearms ♣ absent ♥ absent before the gunpowder era

Handheld weapons

♠ War clubs ♣ present ♥ "Among their weapons we find the compound bow, bronze and bone arrowheads (their arrows also contained beads that gave them a whistling effect), broadswords, short swords, lances, and maces." [62]
♠ Battle axes ♣ present ♥ "During the seventh and sixth centuries B.C. several nomadic states of northern Iranian tribes came into being in Central Asia. In the west some Saka tribal confederations are mentioned in ancient Greek literature and Old Persian inscriptions, while in the east the Hsien-yün, and later the Yüeh-chih and the Hsiung-nu, tribal confederations are attested by the Chinese sources. ... Lively contacts and easy communications promoted the rise and spread of a fairly uniform nomadic culture in the steppe zone. The same types of horse-harness (bridle, bit, cheek-piece, saddle, trappings), arms (bow, bow-case, arrow and quiver, sword, battle-axe, mail) and garments (trousers, caftan, waist-girdle, boots, pointed cap) were used in the steppe zone from Central Europe to Korea."[63]
♠ Daggers ♣ present ♥ "Among the steppe riders a dagger was typically carried in all periods, and a number of dagger designs are encountered in the archaeological and artistic record." [64]
♠ Swords ♣ present ♥ "During the seventh and sixth centuries B.C. several nomadic states of northern Iranian tribes came into being in Central Asia. In the west some Saka tribal confederations are mentioned in ancient Greek literature and Old Persian inscriptions, while in the east the Hsien-yün, and later the Yüeh-chih and the Hsiung-nu, tribal confederations are attested by the Chinese sources. ... Lively contacts and easy communications promoted the rise and spread of a fairly uniform nomadic culture in the steppe zone. The same types of horse-harness (bridle, bit, cheek-piece, saddle, trappings), arms (bow, bow-case, arrow and quiver, sword, battle-axe, mail) and garments (trousers, caftan, waist-girdle, boots, pointed cap) were used in the steppe zone from Central Europe to Korea."[65]
♠ Spears ♣ present ♥ "Among their weapons we find the compound bow, bronze and bone arrowheads (their arrows also contained beads that gave them a whistling effect), broadswords, short swords, lances, and maces." [66]
♠ Polearms ♣ inferred present ♥ Present due to the following in contemporary Chinese sources, which are relevant for gaining insight on the weapons and armor of Steppe Nomads. "Even with strong crossbows that shoot far, and long halberds that hit at a distance, the Hsiung-nu would not be able to ward them off. If the armors are sturdy and the weapons sharp, if the repetition crossbows shot far, and the platoons advance together, the Hsiung-nu will not be able to withstand. If specially trained troops are quick to release (their bows) and the arrows in a single stream hit the target together, then the leather outfit and wooden shields of the Hsiung-nu will not be able to protect them. If they dismount and fight on foot, when swords and halberds clash as [the soldiers] come into close quarters, the Hsiung-nu, who lack infantry training, will not be able to cope." [67]

Animals used in warfare

♠ Dogs ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Donkeys ♣ present ♥ "Donkeys were among the key pack animals used to carry silk from the Pacific Ocean to the Mediterranean" [68]
♠ Horses ♣ present ♥ "During the seventh and sixth centuries B.C. several nomadic states of northern Iranian tribes came into being in Central Asia. In the west some Saka tribal confederations are mentioned in ancient Greek literature and Old Persian inscriptions, while in the east the Hsien-yün, and later the Yüeh-chih and the Hsiung-nu, tribal confederations are attested by the Chinese sources. ... Lively contacts and easy communications promoted the rise and spread of a fairly uniform nomadic culture in the steppe zone. The same types of horse-harness (bridle, bit, cheek-piece, saddle, trappings), arms (bow, bow-case, arrow and quiver, sword, battle-axe, mail) and garments (trousers, caftan, waist-girdle, boots, pointed cap) were used in the steppe zone from Central Europe to Korea."[69]
♠ Camels ♣ present ♥ Coded as present, due to all the domestic animals being owned by a household, in which all males were nomadic warriors and would very likely have used domestic animals as pack animals. It may be a Chinese account about Steppe Nomads along the silk road, but this is close to Sogdiana and camels are indigenous to the area: Sima's records state " Most of their domestic animals are horses, cows, sheep, and they also have rare animals such as camels, donkeys, mules, hinnies and other equines known as t’ao-t’u and tien-hsi.53 They move about according to the availability of water and pasture, have no walled towns or fixed residences, nor any agricultural activities, but each of them has a portion of land.54 " [70]
♠ Elephants ♣ suspected unknown ♥

Armor

♠ Wood, bark, etc ♣ present ♥ Coded present due to the following in contemporary Chinese sources, which are relevant for gaining insight on the weapons and armor of Steppe Nomads: "Even with strong crossbows that shoot far, and long halberds that hit at a distance, the Hsiung-nu would not be able to ward them off. If the armors are sturdy and the weapons sharp, if the repetition crossbows shot far, and the platoons advance together, the Hsiung-nu will not be able to withstand. If specially trained troops are quick to release (their bows) and the arrows in a single stream hit the target together, then the leather outfit and wooden shields of the Hsiung-nu will not be able to protect them. If they dismount and fight on foot, when swords and halberds clash as [the soldiers] come into close quarters, the Hsiung-nu, who lack infantry training, will not be able to cope." [71]
♠ Leather, cloth ♣ present ♥ Coded present due to the following in contemporary Chinese sources, which are relevant for gaining insight on the weapons and armor of Steppe Nomads: "Even with strong crossbows that shoot far, and long halberds that hit at a distance, the Hsiung-nu would not be able to ward them off. If the armors are sturdy and the weapons sharp, if the repetition crossbows shot far, and the platoons advance together, the Hsiung-nu will not be able to withstand. If specially trained troops are quick to release (their bows) and the arrows in a single stream hit the target together, then the leather outfit and wooden shields of the Hsiung-nu will not be able to protect them. If they dismount and fight on foot, when swords and halberds clash as [the soldiers] come into close quarters, the Hsiung-nu, who lack infantry training, will not be able to cope." [72]
♠ Shields ♣ present ♥ As far as the Persian tradition, "cavalry, it would appear, did not always carry shields, and it is not until Sassanian times that warriors, particularly the heavily armed horsemen, are shown carrying small convex circular shields."[73] Coded present due to the following in contemporary Chinese sources, which are relevant for gaining insight on the weapons and armor of Steppe Nomads: "Even with strong crossbows that shoot far, and long halberds that hit at a distance, the Hsiung-nu would not be able to ward them off. If the armors are sturdy and the weapons sharp, if the repetition crossbows shot far, and the platoons advance together, the Hsiung-nu will not be able to withstand. If specially trained troops are quick to release (their bows) and the arrows in a single stream hit the target together, then the leather outfit and wooden shields of the Hsiung-nu will not be able to protect them. If they dismount and fight on foot, when swords and halberds clash as [the soldiers] come into close quarters, the Hsiung-nu, who lack infantry training, will not be able to cope." [74]
♠ Helmets ♣ present ♥ Bronze helmets from Iran appear to have been used by Steppe Nomads. Also Steppe Nomads in other polities have been found to use leather or other helmets, therefore I have coded this as present. "Sauromatian bronze helmets and scale or plate armor not of local production appear in the Volga River region and southern Ural Steppes in the fifth-fourth century b.c., showing an increase in the exchange economy among neighboring communities." [75]
♠ Breastplates ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Limb protection ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Chainmail ♣ inferred present ♥ "During the seventh and sixth centuries B.C. several nomadic states of northern Iranian tribes came into being in Central Asia. In the west some Saka tribal confederations are mentioned in ancient Greek literature and Old Persian inscriptions, while in the east the Hsien-yün, and later the Yüeh-chih and the Hsiung-nu, tribal confederations are attested by the Chinese sources. ... Lively contacts and easy communications promoted the rise and spread of a fairly uniform nomadic culture in the steppe zone. The same types of horse-harness (bridle, bit, cheek-piece, saddle, trappings), arms (bow, bow-case, arrow and quiver, sword, battle-axe, mail) and garments (trousers, caftan, waist-girdle, boots, pointed cap) were used in the steppe zone from Central Europe to Korea."[76]
♠ Scaled armor ♣ present ♥ Scaled armor from Iran appears to have been used by Steppe Nomads and has been coded present in other Steppe polities for different reasons. "Sauromatian bronze helmets and scale or plate armor not of local production appear in the Volga River region and southern Ural Steppes in the fifth-fourth century b.c., showing an increase in the exchange economy among neighboring communities." [77] "Scale armor of leather protected his body. He carried a twig-woven quiver for a bow and sometimes more than 200 arrows, covered with leather and decorated with an umbor, an arms belt with a buckle for crossing the belts; a richly decorated quiver hook; a long spear with a massive head and spike; a short iron akinakes sword; and iron axe. This complete image recalls a picture from a novel featuring medieval western European knights; these Sarmatian 'proto-types,' however, are 2,000 years older.”[78]
♠ Laminar armor ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Plate armor ♣ present ♥ Plate armor from Iran appears to have been used by Steppe Nomads and has been coded present in other Steppe polities for different reasons. "Sauromatian bronze helmets and scale or plate armor not of local production appear in the Volga River region and southern Ural Steppes in the fifth-fourth century b.c., showing an increase in the exchange economy among neighboring communities." [79]

Naval technology

♠ Small vessels (canoes, etc) ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Merchant ships pressed into service ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Specialized military vessels ♣ suspected unknown ♥

Fortifications

♠ Settlements in a defensive position ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Wooden palisades ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Earth ramparts ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Ditch ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Moat ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Stone walls (non-mortared) ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Stone walls (mortared) ♣ inferred present ♥ "While recognizing the supremacy of the Great Yueh-chih, who remained in Transoxiana, Bactria still retained its independence (Chang-Ch'ien went there as to another country), and normal life went on without any obvious effects of"nomad invasions": there were cities and settlements of permanent inhabitants, surrounded by walls; in the capital there was a market with a great variety of goods; trade flourished, including international trade (merchants from Bactria travelled on business to India). This situation probably continued into the first century B.C., if we accept the account given in the Han shu." [80]
♠ Fortified camps ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Complex fortifications ♣ inferred present ♥ The site of Kalai Zakhoki Maron is composed of three concentric terraces separated by walls. However, its identification as Tocharian has not been confirmed. It could however be characteristic of nomadic cities in the region. [81]
♠ Long walls ♣ ♥ km.
♠ Modern fortifications ♣ absent ♥ absent before the gunpowder era


Phase II Variables (polity-based)

Institutional Variables

♠ RA ♣ Jenny Reddish ♥

Limits on Power of the Chief Executive

Power distributed

♠ Constraint on executive by government ♣ ♥
♠ Constraint on executive by non-government ♣ ♥
♠ Impeachment ♣ ♥

Social Mobility

Status

Elite status

♠ elite status is hereditary ♣ inferred present ♥ Enoki, Koshelenko and Haidary describe the rich burials excavated at Tillya Tepe as those of the 'upper social stratum in the period when state-like formations, headed by the descendants of leaders of the nomadic tribes, emerged in the conquered territories'.[82] This reference to the 'descendants of leaders' implies that noble status could be inherited.

Religion and Normative Ideology

♠ RA ♣ Enrico Cioni ♥

Deification of Rulers

♠ Rulers are legitimated by gods ♣ present ♥ "The Kushan kings derived their royal power from divine patrons, and so they were charismatic kings, human incarnations of divine might and power. As a consequence of their charisma, they also became objects of divine worship in dynastic sanctuaries." [83]

"the Kushan king ascribed his rise to power to Sarva (=́Siva) and Candavira (who may be the same god as Candisvara, the god of the Mahakala temple at Ujjain, probably a special form of́ Siva). Because the circle of gods around́ Siva have a warlike character, it is very likely that the phrase iazado i karisaro 'the warlike divinity' also denoted́ Siva."[84]

"it seems that originally the divine patron of the Kushan dynasty was the ancient Iranian moon god. In view of the close connection between Siva and the moon, dynastic religious ideas may have also suggested to Vima [Kadphises] the choice of Siva as his divine patron. ... the support of the Indian population of his kingdom may have been important for Vima both before and during his Indian campaign."[85]

"A colossal statue of Kaniska near Mathura with a Brahmi inscription labeling him 'Great King, King of Kings, Son of God, Kaniska' shows that he fulfilled the role of 'Universal Emperor' (cakravartin)."[86]

"The divinity of kingship seems to have been the most conspicuous element in the Kushan political system. Their kings were not only accorded the title of 'devaputra' (Son of God), corresponding to the Chinese imperial title "t'ien-tzu" (Son of Heaven), but were deified after death and their statues were set up in a devakula (god house)." [87]

♠ Rulers are gods ♣ present ♥ "The Kushan kings derived their royal power from divine patrons, and so they were charismatic kings, human incarnations of divine might and power. As a consequence of their charisma, they also became objects of divine worship in dynastic sanctuaries." [88]

"A colossal statue of Kaniska near Mathura with a Brahmi inscription labeling him 'Great King, King of Kings, Son of God, Kaniska' shows that he fulfilled the role of 'Universal Emperor' (cakravartin)."[89]

Normative Ideological Aspects of Equity and Prosociality

♠ Ideological reinforcement of equality ♣ absent ♥ "The Kushan kings derived their royal power from divine patrons, and so they were charismatic kings, human incarnations of divine might and power. As a consequence of their charisma, they also became objects of divine worship in dynastic sanctuaries." [90] Moreover, slavery was common [91].

♠ Ideological thought equates rulers and commoners ♣ absent ♥ "The Kushan kings derived their royal power from divine patrons, and so they were charismatic kings, human incarnations of divine might and power. As a consequence of their charisma, they also became objects of divine worship in dynastic sanctuaries." [92]
♠ Ideological thought equates elites and commoners ♣ inferred absent ♥ At different times during Kushan history, and in different combinations, Kushan emperors patronised Greek religion, Hinduism (specifically, Siva worship), Zoroastrianism, and Buddhism [93], as well as a number of less well-known Indo-Iranian cults. Though little can be reconstructed about the latter, Greek religion, Hinduism, Zoroastrianism and Buddhism all make a clear distinction between elites and commoners. In Greek religion and philosophy, only mystery were truly egalitarian [94]; Hinduism is well-known from its caste system [95]; Zoroastrians believed that elites were cosmologically distinct from commoners ('The omniscient Mazdean religion is likened to a mighty tree with one trunk (the mean), two main boughs (action and abstention), three branches (good thoughts, good words, and good deeds), four small branches (the estates of the priests, warriors, husbandmen, and artisans), five roots (the lord of the house, the village headman, the tribal chieftain, the ruler, and the highest religious authority, the representative of Zoroaster on earth ...), and above them all the head of all heads ... the king of kings, the ruler of the whole world.'[96]). Indeed, this fits well with what little is known about Kushan social structure" "There is some direct, and a great deal of indirect, evidence to show that the commune occupied an important place in the socio-economic life of Central Asia and in the ancient East as a whole. This seems to have continued until the Early Middle Ages, for which evidence is available. Thus, the commune in Sogdiana was known as naf; it consisted of the aristocracy (aza ̄t, azatkar), merchants (xvakar), and free peasants (who were members of the commune) and craftsmen (karikar). Of these three categories in the naf the highest status was enjoyed by the azat that is, persons of ‘high and noble birth’, the azatkar or free persons associated with the azat and the ‘children of the azat of aristocratic, noble origin’." [97]

♠ Ideology reinforces prosociality ♣ inferred present ♥ At different times during Kushan history, and in different combinations, Kushan emperors patronised Greek religion, Hinduism (specifically, Siva worship), Zoroastrianism, and Buddhism [98], as well as a number of less well-known Indo-Iranian cults. That prosociality was an important moral value in the Kushan empire may be inferred, perhaps, from the fact that it is promoted by all four of the above-mentioned world religions (not much is known about the Indo-Iranian cults, unfortunately). Buddhism: “The twofold benefit of living a morally good life is linked to a twofold motivation: ‘Protecting oneself, one protects others; protecting others, one protects oneself ’ - just as each acrobat in a balancing act protects his partner by concentrating on himself, and protects himself by concentrating on his partner (see SN 47:19). If we take care of our own spiritual development, we render a service to others; and if we develop love towards others, we thereby also help ourselves. Accordingly, it is explicitly stated, someone who pursues the path of salvation only for his or her own benefit is to be censured, while the one who follows the path for one’s own benefit and for the benefit of others is to be commended (see AN 7:64).” [99] Hinduism: “According to Hindu Dharmashastras, of the four stages of life, the person who is at the householder stage is the anchor of society. The householder’s business is the maintenance and support of those in the other three stages of life: the students who have not yet entered into the world of work, the retirees who have seen the birth of grand- children and spotted their first gray hairs, and the renunciants, those who have left behind not only the world of work and material possession but who have also left behind family and self-interest for a life focused on spiritual freedom. Householders are the ones with material wealth, and their responsibility, their dharma, is to share it with others. [...] The link between the world of the householder and the world of the renunciant is gift giving—dana. The classic image is of the renouncer with the begging bowl, making the rounds for alms. On a daily basis, in Hindu society, food is given to sannyasins and sadhus, the world renouncers who have “cast off” from the settled world of “this shore.” ” [100] “The philosophers taught various versions of the Golden Rule, whereas traditional Greek morality said it was best to help one’s friends and harm one’s enemies. The only philosopher I can think of who specifically advocates “helping people” over “living luxuriously” is the Stoic Musonius Rufus from the first century CE, but he may have been an innovator in that respect. In general the Greeks had no religious or philosophical teachings to compare with Jewish and Christian teachings about almsgiving, gleaning, or caring for “widows and orphans.” Greek cities sometimes gave stipends to orphans if their fathers had died in battle defending the city. The most important traditional religious teaching on this subject was that the gods required people to treat “strangers and suppliants” well. That is, you should assist strangers who come to your door in need (and definitely not harm them). You can see this when Odysseus disguised as a beggar receives hospitality (Homer was a basic school text in the Hellenistic period) or in the Hellenistic myth of Baucis and Philemon, a very poor elderly couple who received two strangers and gave them hospitality. The strangers turned out to be Zeus and Hermes, who rewarded the couple. The belief that the gods “tested” humans by coming down to earth was common Hellenistic Asia Minor, where Paul and Barnabas were mistaken for Zeus and Hermes in disguise (Acts 14). Hellenistic philanthropy was closely tied to piety because the benefactions were usually things like sponsoring a festival or enhancing a sanctuary. Sponsoring a festival meant entertainment and free food distribution, but the main goal was not necessarily to help the poor—it was more to enhance the public good. I think it is very likely that the teachings of philosophers encouraged these sorts of activities, but of course the donors also benefited from increased prestige.” [101] Zoroastrianism: Cantera says that 'from its very beginnings Zoroastrianism has developed an ethical imperative of assistance to the needy members of the community'.[102]

♠ production of public goods ♣ suspected unknown ♥

Moralizing Supernatural Powers

♠ Moral concern is primary ♣ present ♥
♠ Moralizing enforcement is certain ♣ present ♥
♠ Moralizing norms are broad ♣ present ♥
♠ Moralizing enforcement is targeted ♣ present ♥
♠ Moralizing enforcement of rulers ♣ absent ♥
♠ Moralizing religion adopted by elites ♣ present ♥
♠ Moralizing religion adopted by commoners ♣ absent_to_present ♥
♠ Moralizing enforcement in afterlife ♣ present ♥
♠ Moralizing enforcement in this life ♣ present ♥
♠ Moralizing enforcement is agentic ♣ present ♥

These data were reviewed by expert advisors and consultants. For a detailed description of these data, refer to the relevant Analytic Narratives, reference tables, and acknowledgements page. [103] [104] [105]

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