What was the social structure of the stock-raising tribes on the territory of Kazakhstan during earlier Iron Age?
Analysis of archaeological findings and comparison of various burials suggested that during the earlier Iron Age strong wealth gaps could be seen. Production of different types of military equipment increased rapidly. It is clear that military campaigns were common in nomadic society. This period was the time of the collapse of primitive social relations and existence of military-democratic structure which was transitional stage to the class society.
Major tribal unions appeared, violent intergeneric and intertribal struggle was carried out. One may judge about this not both by archaeological material and written resources.
Tribes inhabited Kazakhstan’s lands by the middle of the 1st millennium B.C. came in view of Greek, Persian and Chinese authors. Texts composed by the order of Darius and Xerxes in ancient Persian and Acadian languages are of the special interest among those written resources passed down through the ages. They mentioned a number of names of tribes on the territory of Central Asian and Kazakhstan. Much useful information can be found in the books of Zoroastrian religion of ancient Iranians — the Avesta.
Antique resources predominantly in Greek and partly in Latin languages have a significant meaning. Among Latin-language resources works of Aristeas of Proconnesus, Herodotus, Strabo, Ptolemy, Pliny the Elder and many others are of great importance.
These resources supported by archaeological data demonstrated that the main part of the territory of Kazakhstan in 7th — 4th centuries was inhabited by the population which was the part of Saka tribe. Besides Sakas settled on the area of Semirechie and bordering lands on the West and the South, according to one of the scientific hypothesis, the Central part of region was inhabited by Issedones tribe while to the North and to the East — the Arimaspi. Territory of Western Kazakhstan was the part of zone of related tribal union of Savromat tribes.
As ancient authors testified existence of many other small and huge tribes. They also were included in the sphere of social, political and cultural events of that time. However, the territory of settlement of most of them as well as concrete history is unclear. Written materials are abstract and fragmentary while archaeological material is poor. Therefore, investigation of such tribes as Massageteans, Dahae, Kangju and others played the significant role in ancient history of Kazakhstan is still in the phase of guesses and hypotheses.
Agapov P., Kadyrbayev M. (1979) Treasure of ancient Kazakhstan, Alma-Ata: Zhalyn. 252 p. (in Russian)