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Sogdiana is an ancient region of Central Asia, located in the basin of rivers Zaravshan and Kashkadarya (in modern territory of Uzbekistan and partially Tajikistan).
Sogdians are one of the most ancient people of Central Asia. Their images are known from the Achaemenids reliefs. Sogdians played a large role in the Achaemenid state, along with Bactrians, Khwarezmians, Parthians, Margians and other peoples of Central Asia they comprised a large part of the Persian army.
Click Sogdiana and Parthia comprised the XVII satrapy of Achaemenid Iran. Sogdians had borrowed their written language from Iran; out of post-Achaemenid clerical Aramaic writing had emerged four ideographic writing systems: Parthian, Persian, Sogdian and Khwarezmian. These writing systems had endured in Central Asia and Iran for many centuries, until these states were conquered by the Arabs. During the Achaemenid period, the peoples of Central Asia, Sogdiana in particular, for the first time had been introduced to minted coins. Examples of gold darics and other coins of the Achaemenid monetary system have been found on the territory of Central Asia as well.
During the short period of Hellenistic domination Sogdians had been introduced to coins of Greek type. After the Seleukids had lost control over this region, their mass flow had seized, and the local rulers had organized their own coinage. However, the level of development in Sogdian society was not high enough to realize to the end either the true "economic" value, or the proclamatory potential of coins. As a result, local issues had acquired imitative character: the most popular in the marketplace Greek coins were copied. Further, each following generation of imitations as a rule would copy the previous type. With the passage of time, errors and deviations from the original prototype would accumulate, images would get cruder and lose their meaning, and inscriptions would get illegible, would ornament or would disappear altogether. Judging from the topography of coin finds in Sogdiana, there were at least three independent principalities in the last centuries B.C.: Samarkand rulers (Eastern Sogdiana) struck imitations of coins of Antiochus I, Bukharian rulers (Western Sogdiana) based their mintage on tetradrachms of the Graeco-Bactrian king Euthydemus, and at the same time began minting two types of coins with the name of Hirkodes. On obverse of each type is the head of the ruler right, on reverse forequarter of a horse or a standing solar deity with flames at the shoulders. And in the Kashkadarya valley (Southern Sogdiana) they imitated drachms of the Seleukids portraying Alexander the Great.
During the early Middle Ages Sogdiana had become the main intermediary in the world trade between East and West. Profits from it had become a foundation for fast growth of cities, which started at the end of the IV century A.D. Crafts and internal trade were developing. When in the V century the establishment of an independent monetary system had just begun, already in the VII century it had become well developed and adopted to all spheres of trade.
On early Sogdian coins, on obverse and image of a goddess with straight hair is also encountered. But starting from the middle of VII century, Rulers of Sogdiana, Ishkhids, and the masters of subordibate to them domains had started issuing cast coins with a square opening, devoid of any images of rulers or deities. On obverse, a Sogdian inscription in italics is placed, with name and title, and on reverse - a dynastic symbol, for each ruler his own.
Sogdiana had never existed as a single state, but consisted of a conglomerate of principalities and free cities, possibly united into a confederation under the supremacy of the strongest sovereign. At least Sogdiana was a part of the empire of the Hephtalites, and after 563 a part of the Turkic kaganate. After 630 AD the Sogdian confederation had become independent, although nominally it recognized the sovereignty of China, which routed the Turks. And finally, beginning with the first half of the 7th century, Sogdiana, as well as the rest of Central Asia, had finally become a part of the Arabic khaliphate.


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