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Social stratification of the Kimaks society

28 October 2014
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The name of these people served as the basis for the name of the state, which was well-known to Muslim authors (the state, the country and cities of Kimaks, etc.)

Indirect data of medieval sources describe the division of the society into wealthy and poor people. Only the representatives of the Kimak power were entitled to wear clothes of red and yellow silk. According to al-Idrisi, Kimak cities had both cavalries and infantries [1]. Infantries were composed of broke nomads and captives. The differences in the value and volume of inventories can also be seen from the archeological material obtained from burials of Kimak tribes.

The land of Kimaks was coveted by Karakhanids who organized military raids and sometimes gained victory, thus spreading the territory of Karakhanids up to the River Irtysh.

Numerous trade routes leading to Kimaks from the land of Bulgars in the Volga region, the Samanids of Central Asia, Oguzes, Karluks, Tokuzoguzes and Kyrgyz, suggest that the border of the Kimak state was stabilized at the beginning of the 10th century. By this time, the mutual military raids of Kimaks and their neighbors were increasingly substituted with peaceful dialogues. During this period, trade relations were actively developing. The Great Silk Road had a extensive network of caravan routes that led to the headquarters of the Kimak Kagan Kimekia (Imekia) on the Irtysh River.

Wealth inequality greatly intensified the development of trade, craft and agriculture. Some nomads that lost cattle were forced to become settled (yatuks or zhataks) [2].

Part of gold collected by Turks along the shoreline of the Kimak Sea was taken by the King, which was a form of tax collection. Kimaks had a writing system as evidenced by Arab researchers (in particular, traveler Abu Dalafa) and by the findings in the Trans-Irtysh regions and Tarbagatai mountains: bronze mirrors had ancient Turkic inscriptions dated 9th-10th centuries.

A common form of religion of Kimaks was shamanism. The cult of Tengri and the worship of ancestors occupied a prominent place as well. Some groups worshiped the river, the mountains, the sun, the stars, or the fire. Some groups of Kimaks were adherents of Manichaeism — a Christian type religion. Possibly, a lot of noble Kimak confessed Islam. This is evidenced by the name of Janah ibn Hakan al-Kimeki, his book that he wrote in Arabic and certain features of Kimak burials that had elements of Islam.



1. Al-Idrisi, Nuzhat Al-mushtak, 68.

2. Mahmud al-Kashgari. Divan lugat at-Turk, Stambul, 1917, p.11.

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