Saka

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Issyk's Golden Cataphract Warrior.jpg
Issyk's Gold Cataphract Warrior (from Kazakhstan), a parade gold scale armour from Issyk's thoimb of Sakas King
Total population
Unknown
Regions with significant populations
Eastern Europe
Central Asia
Northeast Asia
Languages
Scythian languages
Religion
Animism
Related ethnic groups

The Sakas[1] are a collective term for nomadic Iranian[2][3][4] peoples who lived in the plains of Eurasia from Eastern Europe to China, from the Old Iranian Period to the Middle Iranian Period. Later on, migrations and invasions caused Turkic language speakers to take their place.[source?]

The ancient Greeks called the Sakas the Scythians.[source?]

Indo-Scythians[change | change source]

A group of Sakas crossed the river Indus and overran Sind and Saurashtra (near Gujarat). They finally settled down in Kathiawar and Malwa, and became the Indo-Scythians. They were often in war with the Satavahanas. Rudradaman, one of their best known king was the one who stopped the expansion of Satavahana power to the north of river Narmada. The Indo-Scythians themselves could not expand to the north as they would have liked to, because Kushans held them back.

Appearance[change | change source]

An envoy from Han China, Zhang Qian, wrote that the Sai (Saka) had yellow eyes, which he probably meant green or blue. Ancient Greek and Roman historians wrote that the Seres, possibly talking about either Saka or Tocharian people, had red hair, blue eyes, and were very tall.[5]

References[change | change source]

  1. English form of Old Iranian Sakā, nominative plural masculine case; ancient Greek Σάκαι, Sakai; Sanskrit Śaka
  2. Andrew Dalby, Dictionary of Languages: the definitive reference to more than 400 languages, Columbia University Press, 2004, pg 278
  3. Sarah Iles Johnston, Religions of the Ancient World: A Guide, Harvard University Press, 2004. pg 197
  4. Edward A Allworth,Central Asia: A Historical Overview,Duke University Press, 1994. pp 86.
  5. Pliny 1855, Book VI, Chap. 24 ". These people, they said, exceeded the ordinary human height, had flaxen hair, and blue eyes [...]"

Books and Articles[change | change source]

  • ""Prothetic h-" in Khotanese and the reconstruction of Proto-Iranic" (PDF). Martin Kummel. Script and Reconstruction in Linguistic History―Univerzita Karlova v Praze, March 2020.
  • Davis-Kimball, Jeannine. 2002. Warrior Women: An Archaeologist's Search for History's Hidden Heroines. Warner Books, New York. 1st Trade printing, 2003. ISBN 0-446-67983-6 (pbk).
  • Lebedynsky, Iaroslav. (2006). Les Saces: Les <<Scythes>> d'Asie, VIIIe av. J.-C.-IVe siècle apr. J.-C. Editions Errance, Paris. ISBN 2-87772-337-2 (in French).

Other websites[change | change source]