Sunday 10 November 2019

Enemies of the Central Asian City States

Sogdia is a name that is frequently recorded in history from the 6th century BC to the 11th century AD It is not until the later part, 6th through the 11th century AD that the region becomes independent that we find a complete DBA army list  Situated along the route known as the Silk Road, their last five centuries have brought them in conflict with innumerable enemies, such as listed below.

Juan-Juan 308 – 666AD
Northern Dynasty 517 - 589AD
Hunnic 374 – 558AD
Central Asian City States 500 – 1000AD
Other Turkish 555 – 1350AD
Tibetan 560 – 1065AD
Sui 581 – 611AD. Tang 518 – 755AD
Arab Conquest 639 – 660AD, Khawarai 658 – 873AD
Umayyad 661 -750AD
Late Tang 755 – 979AD
Samanid 900 - 999AD

Following my last battle report between the Umayyad and Sogdia, I looked within the collection at what else could follow next. Referencing the above list, I moved to the Huns for which I do have more than enough figures. However, researcing information brought me to some historical anomalies.

The Hephthalites (or Ephthalites), sometimes called the White Huns, were a people who dominated Central Asia during the 5th to 8th centuries. Based in Bactria from 450 to 560, they expanded outward, east to the Tarim Basin, west to Sogdia, and south through Afghanistan to northern India. As allies of the Sassanid, they helped in the destruction of the Kidarites in the early 5th century. A century later, the Hephthalites would become victim of a similar political ploy ending their domination of the region at the Battle of Bukhara in 557AD.

There is some disagreement among historians as some suggest the Hephthalite are gradually assimilated into the Iranian culture much like the Kushans of an earlier period. Others suggest in the Chionites lands of Lower Tukhaistan, Badghis, and Herat, the principalities of the Hephthalite were able to reconstitute themselves well into the 8th century, albeit, not in their former glory, but very well present.

While not enough to substantiate revising the current enemies list for the Central Asian City States, this does offer an opportunity to experiment with two different Hunnic armies to engage Sogdia. Those battle reports will be posted in the coming week. 

Recommended Reading

The Arab Conquests in Central Asia, H.A.R. Gibb, 1923 
The Making of Turan, The Fall and Transformation of the Iranian East in Late Antiquity, R. Payne, Journal of Late Antiquity, 2016. 

Map, History Files 2.0

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