If a nation does not know its history, if the country loses its history, then its citizens have nowhere to go.
Mirzhakyp Dulatuly

Political history of Sakas

Political history of Sakas  - e-history.kz
There were wars of Sakas against Persians. Some sources tell about the joust of Cyrus against tsarina Tomiris. Also other tsars of Akhmenids fought against Sakas.

There were wars of Sakas against Persians. Some sources tell about the joust of Cyrus against tsarina Tomiris. Also other tsars of Akhmenids fought against Sakas. In 519—518 yy. BC Darius acted a campaign against Sakas. Antique author Polien writes on that Darius with numerous battels stepped to the territory of Sakas. In the waterless desert Darius managed to save his troops, but their campaign was unsuccessful. Nevertheless, in the end Darius was able to keep Sakas under his command and forced them to pay a tribute, to take their troops for the Persian wars. As a part of Persia Sakas fought in Egypt, Greece, were remarked in the Phermopilah battles, demonstrated outstanding bravery  in the Plateyah battles.

Another historical sources are about Sakas struggle against the Alexandr Makedonskiy’s conquering, who defeated Akhmenids and began conquering the Central Asia. In 330—327 BC Alexandr Makedonskiy occupied the capital of Sogdiana(Sogdy) Maracandu and turned his way to Syr Darya, that was the border between settlers and nomads. Alexandr also occupied the towns on the left coast of Syr Darya, and settled his troops.

 On the other side of the river Sakas were waiting for the effective moment to start the joust against the Greeks. Cruel Greek-macedon wars served as the key-reason of the Central Asian uprisings, that was finally dreadfully defeated. Near Syr Darya lake the town was built.

 On Alexandr’s order, that was called Alexandria Askhata. The town was supposed to be a hold on the north-east border. The Sakas worried about it. They bowed Greeks from the other side of the river. But Alexandr ordered to attack nomads with springalds, made nomads go back, and more over began to chase them. But the follow-up was not successful, and Greece troops returned to their place. Alexandr during the pursuit was injured or he was ill and the effort to beat and conquer Sakas tribes who lived over Yaksart was failed.

And then Sakas tribes played powerful key-role in the Central Asia and Middle East. Actually, they played a main role in building-up of the Parfian commonwealth, in defeating Greeco-Baktrian empire and originating of Kushan Empire, who played a big role in the history in III century BC and III century AD. 

Archaeological monuments of Sakas.

The material and spiritual culture of Sakas, the archaeological sites - mounds, rock paintings, Sakas’ treasures are the most important source of the Sakas tribes’ history. Studies have allowed archaeologists discover a bright, distinctive culture of the Sakas in different regions of Kazakhstan

Central Kazakhstan.

In the I—III centuries BC in the territory of central Kazakhstan arised Tasmola culture, where was Andronovo culture in the Bronze era. The Tasmola culture took it’s name because of the well explored  mounds of Tasmola’s natural boundaries. Researches were held by H.margulan and M.K.Kadyrbayev.

The peculiarities of burial mounds are existence of stone ridges, or existence of beards. Such kind of mounds have difficult funeral complex made of stone items in different variety. Usually a small mound adjoin to the main mound from the east side. From this small mound two cambered ridges deviate with width 5-2 m. and length from 20 to 200 m. and more.  In a big barrow under an embankment there is a burial of the person in a soil hole, in a small barrow under an embankment the horse with wooden ware is buried.

In an arrangement of barrows on the relation to each other there are options: the small barrow sometimes is located to the south, costs at top big or at all is absent. The device of ridges up to the end isn't found out. In one case it there were put one to another stone boxes, in other — rings, in the third — bridge-shaped item. However obviously this shows ritual actions. The bigger mounds are situated in the Bugyly,Kyzylaray, karkara, Bayan Auyl, Kyzyltas, Kent, Ortau, Arganata foothills.

 There are three stages of development of Tasmola culture. The period of first stage is VII—VI centuries BC : Tasmola, Karamuryn and Nurmambet mounds.  Barrows have earth or earth, mixed with a stone, embankments.

 At the second stage, in the V—III centuries BC  tradition in a funeral ceremony remains, but the custom of burial of horses disappears.

 At the third stage — the III—I centuries BC — remains the former device and a form of barrows, but in graves there are clay spherical vessels with the flattened bottom.

Western and Northern Kazakhstan.

On steppe and forest-steppe there are tens burial grounds belonging, according to one version,to savromat tribes Aorsy and Roxolans, on another — belonging to Issedons are located.

In Volga-Uralsk interfluve the congestion of burial grounds is noted on coast Big and Small Uzenya, near Kamysh-Samarsky lakes on coast of the rivers Ilek, Chagan, Utva, Or, Emba. In the northern regions of Kazakhstan burial grounds are concentrated in Tobol and Ishim. The majority of barrows has earth embankments, and the largests are surrounded with a ditch. Less often barrows  are stone embankment or mixed of the earth and stones. Under an embankment the sepulchral hole was arranged, and, under one embankment buried several dead, or buried the dead man in an embankment of more ancient barrow.Rich barrows were allocated with the sizes, had embankments with a diameter of 50 — 60 m, height of 3-4 m.

All monuments belong to two chronological stages. The first is dated the VII—V centuries BC and covers time of existence of Savromat culture; the second — according to the IV—II centuries BC also is compared with Sarmatians.

 Savromats researchers connect an origin with srubny and Andronov cultures as in it many traditional lines of last era, such as custom of a firing the dead body, existence in an embankment over graves of rings from stones, an ornament on pottery remain.

Characteristic feature of all monuments of the Western and Northern Kazakhstan was that graves are focused to the west from the East, and the dead became buried not in graves, and on specially prepared platforms under a barrow embankment. Archeologists often find stone little tables in female burials on the legs, ornate by a carving. It were figurative shrines of fire.

 High perfection at Savromats reached applied art. From gold, silver and bronze skillful masters cast and stamped metal plates for decoration of a horse harness, man's belts and clothes.

Among Western Kazakhkstan's dug-out Savromat’s monuments the brightest materials were received from kurgans necropolises of upper courses of river Ilek where there were burials of breeding leaders, the military aristocracy and priests of early nomads of the Western Kazakhstan and SouthUral region.

East Kazakhstan.

 Numerous Sakas’ burial grounds are located in Altai in a valley of Irtysh and its inflows, on northern and southern slopes of Kalbinsky ridge, in Chingiztau's foothills and Tarbagatay, big, or "imperial", barrows focused in the Chiliktinsky valley. In the mountain areas arises an embankment of barrows stone, in valleys of the top Irtysh region for embankments the earth with pebble, served in flat regions of an average of Irtysh — an embankment of barrows earth. Probably, Arimaspy tribes lived in East Kazakhstan.

The culture of Sakas tribes of East Kazakhstan passed three stages of the development: mayemir (the VII—VI centuries BC), berel (the V—IV centuries BC) and kulazhurgin (the III—I centuries BC).

At the end of the mayemir period there are burials of a horseman with a horse. In Chiliktas valley the well-known Chiliktian barrow which was a part of a big mound burial ground was dug out. All barrows of a burial ground belong to "imperial". Thirteen have embankments with a diameter up to 100 m and height of 8 — 10 m, others — respectively from 20 to 60 - m and height to 5 m. It was a cemetery patrimonial, or breeding leaders on which buried not one century.

 The dug-out barrow (Chilikti barrow), investigated by known archeologist S. S. Tchernikov, gave the most interesting material on culture and art of of East Kazakhstan

Diameter of a barrow was 66, and height of 6 m Barrow was robbed in the ancient time, therefore a picture of its construction, underground designs, a burial ceremony not full.

Under an embankment in the center of a barrow there was a hole of 7, 10 x 8,30 m in size, depth near 1m. The wooden design (camera) 4,8 x 4,6 m in size is let in a sepulchral hole and 1,2 m high, put of two rows of larches and blocked from above by one row. On a floor remains two buried lays.

There were many findings,

among them 13 bronze tips of arrows, doublefeathered with the plug. Slices of a quiver, that made from deer’s skin or a horse removed from a foot remained. Skins are sewed by sinews, quivers are decorated with gold plaques in the form of deer. Deer were represented with the crossed to a belly and overthrowed horns on a back. Ears and eyes are decorated with turquoise inserts.

Many plaques were found, that decorated clothes as the form of an eagle that was curtailed into panther’s ring.Figures of a boar are cut out from a gold foil. Plaques in a bird species with open wings are interesting, lots of plaques of a geometrical form, in a look diamonds, triangles, narrow strips.

The Chilikti barrow dated to VII—VI centuries BC in Semirechye and the Southern Kazakhstan. It is the largest region of  Sakas’ tribes location — Tigrakhaudas in Semirechye and Massagetaes in Ural region on Syr-Darya.

The Iliy valley was one of the centers of moving. Exactly there were necropolises Besshatyr, Issyk, Turgen, Kegen and Alekseevskiy.

The Saka’s culture of Semirechya passed two stages of development: early (the VIII—VI centuries BC) and late (the V—III centuries BC) . The Besshatyr burial ground relating to the middle of the I millennium BC, and barrow Issyk give the most complete ideas of imperial monuments of a late stage. The burial ground Besshatyr is on the right coast of river. Or, in the natural boundary Shilbyr also consists of 31 barrows. All barrows of a burial ground share on two groups: the big — with a diameter from 45 to 105 m, 6 — 18 m high, average — respectively 25 — 40 m, - 5 — 6 m high and small — 6 — 20, up to 2 m high. The big Besshatyrsky barrow and now strikes with the sizes: diameter of its embankment 104, height — 17 m. Under an embankment of the First Besshatyrsky barrow there was a wooden construction, made of logs of a tyan-shan fir-tree.  It consists of the funeral camera and a corridor-dromosa. Walls made of the hundred-wife from 15 rows of the logs from above blocked by a setup from the same logs.  Even higher the cane mats connected by ropes were put.  After burial commission, the corridor was put by a stone.

Barrows of a burial ground are plundered, but robbers couldn't take away everything.  Short iron daggers-akinaki, the remains of quivers with bronze tips of arrows are found.  Burial grounds of the V century BC are dated. One of remarkable sakas  monuments of  Semirechya is the barrow Issyk who was a part of a burial ground Issyk, being in 50 km to the east of Alma-Ata, in the foothills of Zailiysky Ala-Tau.  Diameter of a barrow 60, height is 6 m. Under an earth embankment two burials — central and lateral. The central is plundered, lateral remained not disturbed. Grave where the wooden felling from the squared logs of a tyan-shan fir-tree, by the sizes of 2,9 x 1,5 m and 1,5 m in depth was put. The floor is laid from 10 well adjusted boards.  As it was succeeded to establish, the part of a floor on which the dead man lay, was laid by a laying made of cloth decorated with small gold plaques. On it the corpse on a back, the head to the west, in full smart vestments, with the weapon once the dead lay. By definition of anthropologists, the dead was 17 — 18 years old, height of 165 cm.

The southern wall had a wooden ware: four rectangular dishes, scoop and bowl.  The western wall had a clay red slip jug and bowls.  Right there lay a silver spoon with the curved handle which end is made in the form of the heron head, a silver bowl  with the eight-petal socket at the bottom, a tiny silver cup with two lines of an inscription of 26 signs. Behind the head of the dead there was one more gilded bowl in which gold metal plates in the form of a claw and a beak of a bird of prey — magic talismans lay.  At the left hand of the buried the arrow with a gilded staff and a gold tip lay. Nearby — the lash, which handle is wrapped up by a gold tape, and in the toilet leather handbag sheathed by gold the bronze mirror and an ochre slice lay.

The dead man was dressed in a suede red jacket from which the small slices, entirely sheathed by the gold triangular plaques imitating a lamellar armor remained. Leather, filled in boots, trousers are decorated with the edging from gold plaques, tops of leather boots are sheathed by triangular plaques, jacket boards — a number of metal plates in the form of a leopard muzzle, and the waist was pulled together with a leather belt with the sewed massive metal plates. In total their thirteen — three in the form of a fantastic being with a horse-olenegrifonom and 10 metal plates — in the form of the head of an elk. 

The head of the buried the high leather cap with golden  figures of animals and birds, feathers and arrows, which shows decorated mountains on which trees grow, and on branches birds sit. The top cap crowned tiny figure of mountain sheep - argali.

On the neck of the deceased - the hryvnia, the ends of which are decorated with leopard head, on ear were earring turquoise beading and pendants.  On two fingers rings — one with a smooth guard, another with the image of the head of the person in a nimbus from beams are put on.

On a belt the long sword in the wooden sheath painted in red color on the right hung. Sword iron, it has crescent navershy handles. At the left the dagger-akinak is suspended. On its iron blade in the middle the image of coiling snakes is executed from gold. Sheath of a dagger is decorated with the laid on plates, one with the image of a horse, another — a deer. The barrow Issyk IV is dated century BC. Sources of culture of juice of Priaralya lie in culture of the late bronze known on excavation of a burial ground of Tegisken. Excavation of saksky burial grounds Uygarak and Southern Tegisken testifies that they were built in the VII—V centuries BC. Embankments of barrows sandy, under them were two types of funeral constructions: burial on an earth surface on cane laying, in easy wooden frame construction or a tent. In burial the ceremony of burning of a corpse is noted. The second type is presented by burials in soil holes.

Buried in a burial ground Uygarak belonged to a top sakov-massagetov. At excavation the numerous funeral stock is found: modelled pottery and the ceramics made on a potter's wheel of the southern origin, stone altars and oselka — grinding stones. In one burial the iron sword in the wooden sheath decorated with metal plates in the form of wolves, the remains of a horse bridle — a bit with psaliya is found. It is a lot of products of applied art: images of animals, gold plaques with the image of a deer, a saiga, a horse, a mountain goat, a lion, a leopard, birds of prey.

The culture of  Aral area Sakas held as though intermediate position between two cultural areas — European and Siberian.

The culture massagets reached the blossoming in the middle of the I millennium BC. It was formation time in Cisural area of the Horezmiysky state. Economic and cultural ties between settled oases and the steppe reached at this time high level. Under the influence of settled culture juice had settled settlements and the cities. The ancient settlements opened by archeologists belong to their number Chirik-Rabad and the settlement Babish mulla on Zhanadarya and the settlement on Inkardarya. Near it the remains of an ancient irrigation are found. In planning, fortifications of these settlements are traced traditions of settled culture of ancient Khoresm.