History of China
The earliest known written records of the history of China date from as early as 1250 BC, from the Shang dynasty, during the king Wu Ding's reign, recorded as the twenty-first Shang king by the written records of Shang dynasty unearthed. Ancient historical texts such as the Records of the Grand Historian and the Bamboo Annals describe a Xia dynasty before the Shang, but no writing is known from the period, Shang writings do not indicate the existence of the Xia; the Shang ruled in the Yellow River valley, held to be the cradle of Chinese civilization. However, Neolithic civilizations originated at various cultural centers along both the Yellow River and Yangtze River; these Yellow River and Yangtze civilizations arose millennia before the Shang. With thousands of years of continuous history, China is one of the world's oldest civilizations, is regarded as one of the cradles of civilization; the Zhou dynasty supplanted the Shang, introduced the concept of the Mandate of Heaven to justify their rule.
The central Zhou government began to weaken due to external and internal pressures in the 8th century BC, the country splintered into smaller states during the Spring and Autumn period. These states became warred with one another in the following Warring States period. Much of traditional Chinese culture and philosophy first developed during those troubled times. In 221 BC, Qin Shi Huang conquered the various warring states and created for himself the title of Huangdi or "emperor" of the Qin, marking the beginning of imperial China. However, the oppressive government fell soon after his death, was supplanted by the longer-lived Han dynasty. Successive dynasties developed bureaucratic systems that enabled the emperor to control vast territories directly. In the 21 centuries from 206 BC until AD 1912, routine administrative tasks were handled by a special elite of scholar-officials. Young men, well-versed in calligraphy, history and philosophy, were selected through difficult government examinations.
China's last dynasty was the Qing, replaced by the Republic of China in 1912, in the mainland by the People's Republic of China in 1949, resulting in two de facto states claiming to be the legitimate government of all China. Chinese history has alternated between periods of political unity and peace, periods of war and failed statehood – the most recent being the Chinese Civil War. China was dominated by steppe peoples, most of whom were assimilated into the Han Chinese culture and population. Between eras of multiple kingdoms and warlordism, Chinese dynasties have ruled parts or all of China. Traditional culture, influences from other parts of Asia and the Western world, form the basis of the modern culture of China. What is now China was inhabited by Homo erectus more than a million years ago. Recent study shows that the stone tools found at Xiaochangliang site are magnetostratigraphically dated to 1.36 million years ago. The archaeological site of Xihoudu in Shanxi Province has evidence of use of fire by Homo erectus, dated 1.27 million years ago, Homo erectus fossils in China include the Yuanmou Man, the Lantian Man and the Peking Man.
Fossilised teeth of Homo sapiens dating to 125,000–80,000 BC have been discovered in Fuyan Cave in Dao County in Hunan. Evidence of Middle Palaeolithic Levallois technology has been found in the lithic assemblage of Guanyindong Cave site in southwest China, dated to 170,000–80,000 years ago; the Neolithic age in China can be traced back to about 10,000 BC. The earliest evidence of cultivated rice, found by the Yangtze River, is carbon-dated to 8,000 years ago. Early evidence for proto-Chinese millet agriculture is radiocarbon-dated to about 7000 BC. Farming gave rise to the Jiahu culture. At Damaidi in Ningxia, 3,172 cliff carvings dating to 6000–5000 BC have been discovered, "featuring 8,453 individual characters such as the sun, stars and scenes of hunting or grazing"; these pictographs are reputed to be similar to the earliest characters confirmed to be written Chinese. Chinese proto-writing existed in Jiahu around 7000 BC, Dadiwan from 5800 BC to 5400 BC, Damaidi around 6000 BC and Banpo dating from the 5th millennium BC.
Some scholars have suggested. Excavation of a Peiligang culture site in Xinzheng county, found a community that flourished in 5,500 to 4,900 BC, with evidence of agriculture, constructed buildings and burial of the dead. With agriculture came increased population, the ability to store and redistribute crops, the potential to support specialist craftsmen and administrators. In late Neolithic times, the Yellow River valley began to establish itself as a center of Yangshao culture, the first villages were founded. Yangshao culture was superseded by the Longshan culture, centered on the Yellow River from about 3000 BC to 2000 BC. Bronze artifacts have been found at the Majiayao culture site, The Bronze Age is represented at the Lower Xiajiadian culture site in northeast China. Sanxingdui located in what is now Sichuan province is believed to be the site of a major ancient city, of a unknown Bronze Age culture; the site was first discovered in 1929 and re-dis
The Byzantine economy was among the most robust economies in the Mediterranean for many centuries. Constantinople was a prime hub in a trading network that at various times extended across nearly all of Eurasia and North Africa; some scholars argue that, up until the arrival of the Arabs in the 7th century, the Eastern Roman Empire had the most powerful economy in the world. The Arab conquests, would represent a substantial reversal of fortunes contributing to a period of decline and stagnation. Constantine V's reforms marked the beginning of a revival that continued until 1204. From the 10th century until the end of the 12th, the Byzantine Empire projected an image of luxury, the travelers were impressed by the wealth accumulated in the capital. All this changed with the arrival of the Fourth Crusade, an economic catastrophe; the Palaiologoi tried to revive the economy, but the late Byzantine state would not gain full control of either the foreign or domestic economic forces. One of the economic foundations of the empire was trade.
The state controlled both the internal and the international trade, retained the monopoly of issuing coinage. Constantinople remained the single most important commercial centre of Europe for much of the Medieval era, which it held until the Republic of Venice began to overtake Byzantine merchants in trade; the Eastern Roman economy suffered less from the Barbarian raids that plagued the Western Roman Empire. Under Diocletian's reign, the Eastern Roman Empire's annual revenue was at 9,400,000 solidi, out of a total of 18,000,000 solidi for the entire Roman Empire; these estimates can be compared to the AD 150 annual revenue of 14,500,000 solidi and the AD 215 of 22,000,000 solidi. By the end of Marcian's reign, the annual revenue for the Eastern empire was 7,800,000 solidi, thus allowing him to amass about 100,000 pounds of gold or 7,200,000 solidi for the imperial treasury. Warren Treadgold estimates that during the period from Diocletian to Marcian, the Eastern Empire's population and agriculture declined a bit, but not much.
The few preserved figures show that the largest eastern cities grew somewhat between the 3rd and 5th centuries. By Marcian's reign the Eastern Empire's difficulties seem to have been easing, the population had begun growing for the first time in centuries; the wealth of Constantinople can be seen by how Justin I used 3,700 pounds of gold just for celebrating his own consulship. By the end of his reign, Anastasius I had managed to collect for the treasury an amount of 23,000,000 solidi or 320,000 pounds of gold. At the start of Justinian I's reign, the Emperor had inherited a surplus 28,800,000 from Anastasius I and Justin I. Before Justinian I's reconquests the state had an annual revenue of 5,000,000 solidi, which further increased after his reconquests in 550. Justinian I had little money left towards the end of his reign because of the Justinian Plague, the Roman–Persian Wars, which both harmed the economy. In addition to these expenses, the rebuilding of Hagia Sophia cost 20,000 pounds of gold.
Subsidies to enemy states were paid by Justinian's successors: Justin II was forced to pay 80,000 silver coins to the Avars for peace. Since Emperor Heraclius changed the empire's official language from Latin to Greek in around 620, the solidus would thereafter be known by its Greek name, the nomisma; the Byzantine-Arab Wars reduced the territory of the Empire to a third in the 7th century and the economy slumped. From the 8th century onward the Empire's economy improved dramatically; this was a blessing for Byzantium in more than one way. Since Byzantium was in a constant state of warfare with her neighbours the military required weapons to be manufactured by the bigger cities whilst the smaller towns were subject to grain and biscuit requisitions by Imperial officers. Though the soldiers' pay was minimal, large armies were a considerable strain on Byzantium; as gold coins were spent on soldiers to serve in the army, these would in time spend their money acquiring their own goods and much revenue would return to the state in the form of taxation.
As a result, the Byzantine economy was self-sufficient. The success of the Byzantine army was in no small part due to the success of her economy. Around 775, the land and head taxes yielded an estimated 1,600,000 nomismata annually for the empire. Commerce during this period slumped; the expenditures of the period were quite large. 600,000 nomismata went to the payroll of the army annually while other military costs took another 600,000 nomismata annually. Supporting the Byzantine bureaucracy needed 400,000 nomismata. Imperial largess cost the treasury 100,000 nomismata every year. All of these expenses meant that the Byzantine government had only about 100,000 nomismata in surplus revenue each year for treaties, bribes, or gifts. Expenses again soared, when a massive Muslim army invaded the empire in 806, forcing Nikephoros I to pay a ransom of 50,000 gold coins and a yearly tribute of 30,000 gold coins. I
The Turkic Khaganate or Göktürk Khaganate was a khaganate established by the Ashina clan of the Göktürks in medieval Inner Asia. Under the leadership of Bumin Qaghan and his sons, the Ashina succeeded the Rouran Khaganate as the hegemonic power of the Mongolian Plateau and expanded their territories in Central Asia; the Khaganate would use Sogdian in official and numismatic functions. It was the first Turkic state to use the name Türk politically and is known for the first written record of any Turkic language in history; the first Turkic Khaganate collapsed in 581, after which followed a series of conflicts and civil wars which separated the polity into the Eastern Turkic Khaganate and Western Turkic Khaganate. The Tang Empire conquered the Eastern Turkic Khaganate in 630 and the Western Turkic Khaganate in 657; the Second Turkic Khaganate emerged in 682 and lasted until 744 when it was overthrown by the Uyghurs, a different Turkic group. The origins of the Turkic Khanate trace back to 546, when Bumin Qaghan made a preemptive strike against the Uyghur and Tiele groups planning a revolt against their overlords, the Rouran Khanate.
For this service he expected to be rewarded with a Rouran princess, thus marrying into the royal family. However, the Rouran khagan, Yujiulü Anagui, sent an emissary to Bumin to rebuke him, saying, "You are my blacksmith slave. How dare you utter these words?" As Anagui's "blacksmith slave" comment was recorded in Chinese chronicles, some claim that the Göktürks were indeed blacksmith servants for the Rouran elite, that "blacksmith slavery" may have indicated a form of vassalage within Rouran society. According to Denis Sinor, this reference indicates that the Türks specialized in metallurgy, although it is unclear if they were miners or, blacksmiths. Whatever the case, that the Turks were "slaves" need not be taken but represented a form of vassalage, or unequal alliance. A disappointed Bumin allied with the Western Wei against their common enemy. In 552, Bumin defeated his forces north of Huaihuang. Having excelled both in battle and diplomacy, Bumin declared himself Illig Khagan of the new khanate at Otukan, but died a year later.
His son, Muqan Qaghan, defeated the Hephthalite Empire and Kyrgyz. Bumin's brother Istämi bore the title "Yabgu of the West" and collaborated with the Sassanid Empire of Iran to defeat and destroy the Hephthalites, who were allies of the Rouran; this war tightened the Ashina clan's grip on the Silk Road. The appearance of the Pannonian Avars in the West has been interpreted as a nomadic faction fleeing the westward expansion of the Göktürks, although the specifics are a matter of irreconcilable debate given the lack of clear sources and chronology. Rene Grousset links the Avars with the downfall of the Hephthalites rather than the Rouran, while Denis Sinor argues that Rouran-Avar identification is "repeated from article to article, from book to book with no shred of evidence to support it". Istämi's policy of western expansion brought the Göktürks into Europe. In 576 the Göktürks crossed the Kerch Strait into the Crimea. Five years they laid siege to Chersonesus; as for the southern borders, they were drawn south of the Amu Darya, bringing the Ashina into conflict with their former allies, the Sasanian Empire.
Much of Bactria remained a dependency of the Ashina until the end of the century. The Turkic Khanate split in two after the death of the fourth ruler, Taspar Qaghan, c. 584. He had willed the title of khagan to Muqan's son Apa Qaghan, but the high council appointed Ishbara Qaghan instead. Factions formed around both leaders. Before long, four rivals claimed the title, they were played off against each other by Sui and Tang China. The most serious contender was the western one, Istämi's son Tardu, a violent and ambitious man who had declared himself independent from the Qaghan after his father's death, he now led an army east to claim the seat of imperial power, Otukan. In order to buttress his position, Ishbara of the Eastern Khaganate applied to Emperor Yang of Sui for protection. Tardu attacked Chang'an, the Sui capital, around 600, demanding Emperor Yangdi end his interference in the civil war. In retaliation, Chinese diplomacy incited a revolt of Tardu's Tiele vassals, which led to the end of Tardu's reign in 603.
Among the dissident tribes were the Uyghurs and Xueyantuo. The civil war left the empire divided into western parts; the eastern part, still ruled from Otukan, remained in the orbit of the Sui and retained the name Göktürk. The Shibi Khan and Illig Qaghan attacked China at its weakest moment during the transition between the Sui and Tang. Shibi Khan's surprise attack against Yanmen Commandery during an imperial tour of the northern frontier captured Emperor Yang, but his Chinese wife Princess Yicheng—who had been well treated by Empress Xiao during an earlier visit—sent a warning ahead, allowing the emperor and empress time to flee to the commandery seat at present-day Daixian in Shanxi; this was besieged by the Turkish army on September 11, 615, but Chinese reinforcements and a false report from Princess Yicheng to her husband about a northern attack on the khaganate caused him to lift the siege before its completion. In 626, Illig Qaghan drove on to Chang ` an. On September 23, 626 Illig Qaghan and his iron cavalry reached the bank of the Wei River north of Bian Bridge.
On September 25, 626, Li Shimin and I
The Silk Road was an ancient network of trade routes that connected the East and West. It was central to cultural interaction between the regions for many centuries; the Silk Road refers to the terrestrial routes connecting East Asia and Southeast Asia with East Africa, West Asia and Southern Europe. The Silk Road derives its name from the lucrative trade in silk carried out along its length, beginning in the Han dynasty; the Han dynasty expanded the Central Asian section of the trade routes around 114 BCE through the missions and explorations of the Chinese imperial envoy Zhang Qian. The Chinese took great interest in the safety of their trade products and extended the Great Wall of China to ensure the protection of the trade route. Trade on the Road played a significant role in the development of the civilizations of China, Japan, the Indian subcontinent, Iran/Persia, the Horn of Africa and Arabia, opening long-distance political and economic relations between the civilizations. Though silk was the major trade item exported from China, many other goods were traded, as well as religions, syncretic philosophies and technologies.
Diseases, most notably plague spread along the Silk Road. In addition to economic trade, the Silk Road was a route for cultural trade among the civilizations along its network. In June 2014, UNESCO designated the Chang'an-Tianshan corridor of the Silk Road as a World Heritage Site; the Indian portion is on the tentative site list. The Silk Road derives its name from the lucrative Asian silk, a major reason for the connection of trade routes into an extensive transcontinental network; the German terms Seidenstraße and Seidenstraßen were coined by Ferdinand von Richthofen, who made seven expeditions to China from 1868 to 1872. The term Silk Route is used. Although the term was coined in the 19th century, it did not gain widespread acceptance in academia or popularity among the public until the 20th century; the first book entitled The Silk Road was by Swedish geographer Sven Hedin in 1938. Use of the term'Silk Road' is not without its detractors. For instance, Warwick Ball contends that the maritime spice trade with India and Arabia was far more consequential for the economy of the Roman Empire than the silk trade with China, which at sea was conducted through India and on land was handled by numerous intermediaries such as the Sogdians.
Going as far as to call the whole thing a "myth" of modern academia, Ball argues that there was no coherent overland trade system and no free movement of goods from East Asia to the West until the period of the Mongol Empire. He notes that traditional authors discussing East-West trade such as Marco Polo and Edward Gibbon never labelled any route a "silk" one in particular; the southern stretches of the Silk Road, from Khotan to China, were first used for jade and not silk, as long as 5000 BCE, is still in use for this purpose. The term "Jade Road" would have been more appropriate than "Silk Road" had it not been for the far larger and geographically wider nature of the silk trade. Central Eurasia has been known from ancient times for its horse riding and horse breeding communities, the overland Steppe Route across the northern steppes of Central Eurasia was in use long before that of the Silk Road. Archeological sites such as the Berel burial ground in Kazakhstan, confirmed that the nomadic Arimaspians were not only breeding horses for trade but great craftsmen able to propagate exquisite art pieces along the Silk Road.
From the 2nd millennium BCE, nephrite jade was being traded from mines in the region of Yarkand and Khotan to China. These mines were not far from the lapis lazuli and spinel mines in Badakhshan, although separated by the formidable Pamir Mountains, routes across them were in use from early times; some remnants of what was Chinese silk dating from 1070 BCE have been found in Ancient Egypt. The Great Oasis cities of Central Asia played a crucial role in the effective functioning of the Silk Road trade; the originating source seems sufficiently reliable, but silk degrades rapidly, so it cannot be verified whether it was cultivated silk or a type of wild silk, which might have come from the Mediterranean or Middle East. Following contacts between Metropolitan China and nomadic western border territories in the 8th century BCE, gold was introduced from Central Asia, Chinese jade carvers began to make imitation designs of the steppes, adopting the Scythian-style animal art of the steppes; this style is reflected in the rectangular belt plaques made of gold and bronze, with other versions in jade and steatite.
An elite burial near Stuttgart, dated to the 6th century BCE, was excavated and found to have not only Greek bronzes but Chinese silks. Similar animal-shaped pieces of art and wrestler motifs on belts have been found in Scythian grave sites stretching from the Black Sea region all the way to Warring States era archaeological sites in Inner Mongolia and Shaanxi in China; the expansion of Scythian cultures, stretching from the Hungarian plain and the Carpathian Mountains to the Chinese Kansu Corridor, linking the Middle East with Northern India and the Punjab, undoubtedly played an important role in the development of the Silk Road. Scythians accompanied the Assyrian Esarhaddon on his invasion of Egypt, their distinctive triangular arrowheads have been found as far south as Aswan; these nomadic peoples were dependent upon neighbouring settled populations for a number of important technologies, in addition to raiding vulnerable settlements for these commod
Early Middle Ages
Historians regard the Early Middle Ages or Early Medieval Period, sometimes referred to as the Dark Ages, as lasting from the 5th or 6th century to the 10th century CE. They marked the start of the Middle Ages of European history; the alternative term "Late Antiquity" emphasizes elements of continuity with the Roman Empire, while "Early Middle Ages" is used to emphasize developments characteristic of the earlier medieval period. As such the concept overlaps with Late Antiquity, following the decline of the Western Roman Empire, precedes the High Middle Ages; the period saw a continuation of trends evident since late classical antiquity, including population decline in urban centres, a decline of trade, a small rise in global warming and increased migration. In the 19th century the Early Middle Ages were labelled the "Dark Ages", a characterization based on the relative scarcity of literary and cultural output from this time. However, the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantine Empire, continued to survive, though in the 7th century the Rashidun Caliphate and the Umayyad Caliphate conquered swathes of Roman territory.
Many of the listed trends reversed in the period. In 800 the title of "Emperor" was revived in Western Europe with Charlemagne, whose Carolingian Empire affected European social structure and history. Europe experienced a return to systematic agriculture in the form of the feudal system, which adopted such innovations as three-field planting and the heavy plough. Barbarian migration stabilized in much of Europe, although the Viking expansion affected Northern Europe. Starting in the 2nd century, various indicators of Roman civilization began to decline, including urbanization, seaborne commerce, population. Archaeologists have identified only 40 per cent as many Mediterranean shipwrecks from the 3rd century as from the first. Estimates of the population of the Roman Empire during the period from 150 to 400 suggest a fall from 65 million to 50 million, a decline of more than 20 per cent; some scholars have connected this de-population to the Dark Ages Cold Period, when a decrease in global temperatures impaired agricultural yields.
Early in the 3rd century Germanic peoples migrated south from Scandinavia and reached the Black Sea, creating formidable confederations which opposed the local Sarmatians. In Dacia and on the steppes north of the Black Sea the Goths, a Germanic people, established at least two kingdoms: Therving and Greuthung; the arrival of the Huns in 372–375 ended the history of these kingdoms. The Huns, a confederation of central Asian tribes, founded an empire, they had mastered the difficult art of shooting composite recurve bows from horseback. The Goths sought refuge in Roman territory; however many bribed the Danube border-guards into allowing them to bring their weapons. The discipline and organization of a Roman legion made it a superb fighting unit; the Romans preferred infantry to cavalry because infantry could be trained to retain the formation in combat, while cavalry tended to scatter when faced with opposition. While a barbarian army could be raised and inspired by the promise of plunder, the legions required a central government and taxation to pay for salaries, constant training and food.
The decline in agricultural and economic activity reduced the empire's taxable income and thus its ability to maintain a professional army to defend itself from external threats. In the Gothic War, the Goths revolted and confronted the main Roman army in the Battle of Adrianople. By this time, the distinction in the Roman army between Roman regulars and barbarian auxiliaries had broken down, the Roman army comprised barbarians and soldiers recruited for a single campaign; the general decline in discipline led to the use of smaller shields and lighter weaponry. Not wanting to share the glory, Eastern Emperor Valens ordered an attack on the Therving infantry under Fritigern without waiting for Western Emperor Gratian, on the way with reinforcements. While the Romans were engaged, the Greuthung cavalry arrived. Only one-third of the Roman army managed to escape; this represented the most shattering defeat that the Romans had suffered since the Battle of Cannae, according to the Roman military writer Ammianus Marcellinus.
The core army of the Eastern Roman Empire was destroyed, Valens was killed, the Goths were freed to lay waste to the Balkans, including the armories along the Danube. As Edward Gibbon comments, "The Romans, who so coolly and so concisely mention the acts of justice which were exercised by the legions, reserve their compassion and their eloquence for their own sufferings, when the provinces were invaded and desolated by the arms of the successful Barbarians."The empire lacked the resources, the will, to reconstruct the professional mobile army destroyed at Adrianople, so it had to rely on barbarian armies to fight for it. The Eastern Roman Empire succeeded in buying off the Goths with tribute; the Western Roman Empire proved less fortunate. Stilicho, the western empire's half-Vandal military commander, stripped the Rhine frontier of troops to fend off invasions of Italy by the Visigoths in 402–03 and by other Goths in 406–07. Fleeing before the advance of the Huns, the Vandals and Alans launched an attack across the frozen Rhine near Mainz.
There soon followed the bands of the Alamanni. In the fit of anti-barbarian hysteria which followed, the Western Roman Emperor Honorius had Stilicho summarily beheaded. Stilicho submitted his neck, "with a firmness not unworthy of t
Sogdia or Sogdiana was an ancient Iranian civilization that at different times included territory located in present-day Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan such as: Samarkand, Khujand and Shahrisabz. Sogdiana was a province of the Achaemenid Empire, eighteenth in the list on the Behistun Inscription of Darius the Great. In the Avesta, Sogdiana is listed as the second best land that the supreme deity Ahura Mazda had created, it comes second, after Airyanem Vaejah, "homeland of the Aryans", in the Zoroastrian book of Vendidad, indicating the importance of this region from ancient times. Sogdiana was first conquered by the founder of the Achaemenid Empire; the region would be annexed by the Macedonian ruler Alexander the Great in 328 BC. The region would continue to change hands under the Seleucid Empire, Greco-Bactrian Kingdom, Kushan Empire, Hephthalite Empire, Sasanian Empire; the Sogdian states, although never politically united, were centred on the main city of Samarkand. Sogdiana lay north of Bactria, east of Khwarezm, southeast of Kangju between the Oxus and the Jaxartes, embracing the fertile valley of the Zeravshan.
Sogdian territory corresponds to the modern provinces of Samarkand and Bokhara in modern Uzbekistan as well as the Sughd province of modern Tajikistan. During the High Middle Ages, Sogdian cities included sites stretching towards Issyk Kul such as that at the archeological site of Suyab. Sogdian, an Eastern Iranian language, is no longer a spoken language, but its direct descendant, Yaghnobi, is still spoken by the Yaghnobis of Tajikistan, it was spoken in Central Asia as a lingua franca and served as one of the Turkic Khaganate's court languages for writing documents. Sogdians lived in Imperial China and rose to special prominence in the military and government of the Chinese Tang dynasty. Sogdian merchants and diplomats traveled as far west as the Byzantine Empire, they played an important part as middlemen in the trade route of the Silk Road. While following the faiths of Zoroastrianism, Buddhism, to a lesser extent, Nestorian Christianity from West Asia, the gradual conversion to Islam among the Sogdians and their descendants began with the Muslim conquest of Transoxiana in the 8th century.
The Sogdian conversion to Islam was complete by the end of the Samanid Empire in 999, coinciding with the decline of the Sogdian language, as it was supplanted by Persian. Oswald Szemerényi devotes a thorough discussion to the etymologies of ancient ethnic words for the Scythians in his work Four Old Iranian Ethnic Names: Scythian – Skudra – Sogdian – Saka. In it, the names provided by the Greek historian Herodotus and the names of his title, except Saka, as well as many other words for "Scythian," such as Assyrian Aškuz and Greek Skuthēs, descend from *skeud-, an ancient Indo-European root meaning "propel, shoot". *skud- is the zero-grade. The restored Scythian name is *Skuda, which among the Pontic or Royal Scythians became *Skula, in which the d has been replaced by an l. According to Szemerényi, Sogdiana was named from the Skuda form. Starting from the names of the province given in Old Persian inscriptions and Suguda, the knowledge derived from Middle Sogdian that Old Persian -gd- applied to Sogdian was pronounced as voiced fricatives, -γδ-, Szemerényi arrives at *Suγδa as an Old Sogdian endonym.
Applying sound changes apparent in other Sogdian words and inherent in Indo-European he traces the development of *Suγδa from Skuda, "archer," as follows: Skuda > *Sukuda by anaptyxis > *Sukuδa > *Sukδa > *Suγδa. Centuries before the conquest of Sogdiana by the Achaemenid Empire of Persia, Sogdiana possessed a Bronze Age urban culture, displaced by the Indo-European migrations of the Iron Age; this large-scale migration included Eastern Iranian speaking peoples such as the Sogdians. The original Bronze Age towns appear in the archaeological record beginning with the settlement at Sarazm, spanning as far back as the 4th millennium BC and at Kök Tepe, near modern-day Bulungur, from at least the 15th century BC. Achaemenid ruler Cyrus the Great conquered Sogdiana while campaigning in Central Asia in 546–539 BC, a fact mentioned by the ancient Greek historian Herodotus in his Histories. Darius I introduced the Aramaic writing system and coin currency to Central Asia, in addition to incorporating Sogdians into his standing army as regular soldiers and cavalrymen.
A contingent of Sogdian soldiers fought in the main army of Xerxes I during his failed invasion of Greece in 480 BC. A Persian inscription from Susa claims that the palace there was adorned with lapis lazuli and carnelian originating from Sogdiana. Given the absence of any named satraps for Sogdiana in historical records, modern scholarship has concluded that Sogdiana was governed from the satrapy of nearby Bactria; the satraps were relatives of the ruling Persian kings sons who were not designated as the heir apparent. Sogdiana remained under Persian control until 400 BC, during the reign of Artaxerxes II. Rebellious states of the Persian Empire took advantage of the weak Artaxerxes II, some, such as Egypt, were able to regain their independence. Persia's massive loss of Central Asian territory is attributed to the ruler's lack of control. However, unlike Egypt, recaptured by the Persian Empire, Sogdiana remained inde
The Western world known as the West, refers to various nations depending on the context, most including at least part of Europe and the Americas, with the status of Latin America in dispute. There are many accepted definitions, all interrelated; the Western world is known as the Occident, in contrast to the Orient, or Eastern world. Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome are considered to be the birthplaces of Western civilization: the former due to its impact on philosophy, democracy and art, building designs and proportions, architecture. Western civilization is founded upon Christianity, in turn shaped by Hellenistic philosophy and Roman culture; the ancient Hellenes had been affected by ancient Near East civilizations, including Judaism and Early Christianity. In the modern era, Western culture has been influenced by the Renaissance, the Ages of Discovery and Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolutions. Through extensive imperialism and Christianization by Western powers in the 15th to 20th centuries, much of the rest of the world has been influenced by Western culture.
The concept of the Western part of the earth has its roots in the theological and emphatical division between the Western Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches. West was literal, opposing Catholic Europe with the cultures and civilizations of Orthodox Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, Southeast Asia and the remote Far East, which early-modern Europeans saw as the East. By the mid-20th century. Worldwide export of Western culture went through the new mass media: film and television and recorded music, while the development and growth of international transport and telecommunication played a decisive role in modern globalization. In modern usage, Western world sometimes refers to Europe and to areas whose populations originate from Europe, through the Age of Discovery. Western culture was influenced by many older great civilizations of the ancient Near East, such as Phoenicia, Ancient Israel, Minoan Crete, Sumer and Ancient Egypt, it originated in its vicinity.
Over time, their associated empires grew first to the east and west to include the rest of Mediterranean and Black Sea coastal areas and absorbing. They expanded to the north of the Mediterranean Sea to include Western and Southeastern Europe. Christianization of Ireland, Christianization of Bulgaria, Christianization of Kievan Rus', Christianization of Scandinavia and Christianization of Lithuania brought the rest of present-day European territory into Western civilization. Historians, such as Carroll Quigley in "The Evolution of Civilizations", contend that Western civilization was born around AD 500, after the total collapse of the Western Roman Empire, leaving a vacuum for new ideas to flourish that were impossible in Classical societies. In either view, between the fall of the Western Roman Empire and the Renaissance, the West experienced a period of first, considerable decline, readaptation and considerable renewed material and political development; this whole period of a millennium is known as the Middle Ages, its early part forming the "Dark Ages", designations that were created during the Renaissance and reflect the perspective on history, the self-image, of the latter period.
The knowledge of the ancient Western world was preserved during this period due to the survival of the Eastern Roman Empire and the introduction of the Catholic Church. Since the Renaissance, the West evolved beyond the influence of the ancient Greeks and Romans and the Islamic world, due to the successful Second Agricultural, Commercial and Industrial revolutions peaked with the 18th century's Age of enlightenment, through the Age of exploration's expansion of peoples of Western and Central European empires the globe-spanning colonial empires of 18th and 19th centuries. Numerous times, this expansion was accompanied by Catholic missionaries, who attempted to proselytize Christianity. There is debate among some as to. Whether Russia should be categorized as "East" or "West" has been "an ongoing discussion" for centuries; the term "Western culture" is used broadly to refer to a heritage of social norms, ethical values, traditional customs, religious beliefs, political systems, specific artifacts and technologies.
Western culture may imply: a Biblical Christian cultural influence in spiritual thinking and either ethic or moral traditions, around the Post-Classical Era and after. European cultural influences concerning artistic, folkloric and oral traditions, whose themes have been further developed by Romanticism. A Graeco-Roman Classical and Renaissance cultural influence, concerning artistic, philosophic and legal themes and traditions, the cultural social effec