Persian Empire > Khwarezm

Khwarezm

Background

Like Soghdiana, Khwarezm was an expansion of the BMAC culture during the Bronze Age which later fused with Indo-Iranians during their migrations around 1000 BC. Early Iron Age states arose from this cultural exchange. List of successive cultures in Khwarezm region 3000–500 BC:[12] Keltiminar Culture c. 3000 BC Suyargan Culture c 2000 BC Tazabag’yab Culture c. 1500 BC Amirabad Culture c 1000 BC Saka c. 500 BC During the final Saka phase, there were about 400 settlements in Khwarezm.[13] Ruled by the native Afrighid Dynasty. It was at this point that Khwarezm entered the historical record with the Achamenid expansion.[citation needed] Sometime before the Achaemenid king Cyrus the Great's death in 530 BC, he had conquered Khwarezm. While he was dying, he appointed his son Smerdis/Bardiya as the governor of the region, along with Bactriana, Carmania, and the other eastern provinces of the empire.[21] And the Persian poet Ferdowsi mentions Persian cities like Afrasiab and Chach in abundance in his epic Shahnama. When the king of Khwarezm offered friendship to Alexander the Great in 328 BC, Alexander's Greek and Roman biographers imagined the nomad king of a desert waste, but 20th-century Russian archeologists revealed the region as a stable and centralized kingdom, a land of agriculture to the east of the Aral Sea, surrounded by the nomads of Central Asia, protected by its army of mailed horsemen, in the most powerful kingdom northwest of the Amu Darya (the Oxus River of antiquity). The king's emissary offered to lead Alexander's armies against his own enemies, west over the Caspian towards the Black Sea (e.g. Kingdom of Iberia and Colchis). Alexander politely refused. Although largely independent during the Seleucid, Bactrian and Arsacid dynasties, it is known that Khwarezm and neighboring Bactriana were part of the Sassanid empire during the time of Bahram II. Yaqut al-Hamawi verifies that Khwarezm was a regional capital of the Sassanid empire. When speaking of the pre-Islamic "khosrau of Khwarezm" (خسرو خوارزم), the Islamic "amir of Khwarezm" (امیر خوارزم), or even the Khwarezmid Empire, sources such as Al-Biruni and Ibn Khordadbeh and others clearly refer to Khwarezm as being part of the Iranian (Persian) empire.[22] The fact that Pahlavi script which was used by the Persian bureaucracy alongside Old Persian, passed into use in Khwarezmia where it served as the first local alphabet about the AD 2nd century, as well as evidence that Khwarezm-Shahs such as ʿAlā al-Dīn Tekish (1172–1200) issued all their orders (both administrative and public) in Persian language,[23] corroborates Al-Biruni's claims. It was also vassal kingdom during periods of Kushans, Hephthalites and Gokturks before coming of Arabs.

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Sources

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