Davan State in the History of Kyrgyzstan and Central Asia (2nd century BC-6th century AD).
Davan State (II BC – V CE)
In the II-I century BC on the territory of the Fergana valley a new state was established. The name of the state was mentioned in Chinese chronicles. It was Davan state.
The inhabitants of Davan were of European origin belonging to Iranian languages.
The capital was Ershi city. There were 70 large and small cities with a numerous population of about 300000 people. That is, Davan state was the union of smaller city-states ruled by local dynasties.
The political system included the central ruler, the Council of Elders, army. The Council of Elders that included all nobles of the state was much stronger compared to that of Wu-sun state. The council made important political decisions on the issues of war and peace and could even displace or kill the ruler in some cases. The army consisted of 60000 warriors armed with bow and arrows.
Davan was a strong state with agriculture as the basis of its economy. They planted crops, produced a good wine of grapes. Davan was also very famous for its beautiful horses. Various crafts were developed in Davan: pottery, textile, jewelry.
In order to get those horses, the Han dynasty sent a special embassy to Davan. However, the main reason of the embassy was the control over the Silk Road, on which Davan was located.
The Council of Elders refused to sell its horses to Chinese and even killed the ambassador who appeared to be arrogant and impudent. The Chinese emperor announced the war against Davan and sent its troops led by Li Guanli.
Several military campaigns were initiated against Davan during four years. During the first the Chinese army reached the eastern city Yu, occupied it but could not penetrated further. During the second they reached the capital – Ershi, besieged it for 40 days but could not subdue it.
Pastoralist and settled people were in great need of the each other’s goods. First, the exchange was made by force. Tributes were paid by farmers subordinated to nomadic pastoralists. Later trade became very important source of exchange. Trade connected nomads, agriculturalists, hunters and craftsmen.
Trade also bound the Mediterranean region with China through the territory of Central Asia. The Mediterranean region exported their olive oil, wine, amphora, vases, metalwork. Chinese brought their silk, textile, bronze articles. Pastoralists of Central Asia exported their furs, fish, livestock, honey, wax, slaves (who were of little use for nomads) to the Mediterranean and China.
6. The Rise and Fall of Turks: Eastern and Western Turkic, Turgesh and Karluk Dynasties (6-9th centuries).
Turkic Empire (552-744)
Turgesh khaganate (704-766)
Qarluk khaganate (8-9 centuries)
Since the 6th century a new period took place in the history of Kyrgyzstan and Central Asia, the Turkic era - the period of Turkic states and dynasties which ruled on the vast territories of Central Asia. Gradually Turks Turkified the previously Iranian population of Central Asia, European look was replaced by Mongolian racial features and Iranian languages were substituted by Turkic languages.
Turkic khaganate (552-744)
The Turks established their khanate in the middle of the 6th century. The territory of Turkic state covered the territory of South Siberia, Kazakhstan and Central Asia. It existed for more than two centuries till 744.
The name Turks was first mentioned in the Chinese chronicle of the 6th century. The name was used by Sogdians, Persians and Byzantians for the new nomads of the steppes. It meant “strong, stable, courageous”. First the term probably had a social but not an ethnic meaning; it was used for the nobility. Later it became the name of all tribes.
Turkic tribes descended from the Hsiung-nu tribes in the 4-5th centuries. They spoke Turkic languages and were of Mongolian racial type.
The capital of Turkic state was Orkhon in northern Mongolia.
The founder of the Turkic state was Bumin. His successors were his son Muqan and his younger brother Istemi. Muqan became the ruler of eastern branch, while Istemi ruled the western branch (the territory of present-day Kyrgyzstan).
By economy the Turks were nomadic and semi-nomadic pastoralists. Turkic state also included the region of Transoxania that was Iranian-speaking and agriculturalist.
In 603 the Turkic state split into two khaganates: the Eastern located in the east of the Altai Mountains, the Orkhon Valley of northwestern Mongolia, and the Western located in Western Tianshan Mountains and Semirechye.
The capital of the Western Turkic khaganate became Suyab (near present Tokmok city). The most prominent ruler of the Western Turks was Ton Jabgu Khagan who carried out a number of reforms. He was a clever politician and military leader.
In the external politics he could pursue the anti-Iranian policy and formed an alliance with Byzantium against Iran, its main enemy. He captured former Iranian territories of Toharistan, Afghanistan, Transcaucasia.
In the internal politics he implemented an administrative reform providing the equal rights for nomadic and settled aristocracy. However, his reform was not complete. He was killed by one of the feudals who did not like his reform.
The new threat came from China. In 630 the Chinese army conquered the Eastern Turks and 656 they defeated the Western Turks on the Ili River. In 704 the Turgesh killed the last Turkic khagan and became the last date of the Western Turkic state.
In 679 Eastern Turks rebelled against the Tang Empire and could restore the Second Turkic state for a while. It became a strong state under the rule of Kapagan Khagan who initiated a few military campaigns to restore the Great Turkic Khaganate of his predecessors. In 744, the Second Turkic Khaganate was crashed by unified forces of Uighurs, Qarluks and Basmyls.
Turgesh Khaganate (704-766)
On the territory of former Western Turkic Empire in the 8th century the Turgesh tribes established another state - Turgesh state that also recognized the Chinese suzerainty.
The Turgesh was also Turkic speaking tribes. They had two main lines: yellow and black Turgesh who always fought with each other.
Their capital was the same – Suyab city.
The founder of the ruling dynasty became Uch Ilig Khagan – the ruler of the Yellow Turgesh. His successor was his son Sakal Khagan.
The situation in the state was very complicated. It was threatened by China in the south, Second Turkic Khaganate in the east and the Arabs in the west. The main threat was represented by Second Turkic Khaganate.
In 710, a tripartite alliance of Turgesh, China and the Yenisei Kyrgyzs was formed against the Second Turkic Khaganate. However, the ruler of Turks Kapagan Khagan predicted it and defeated them separately. First he destroyed the Yenisei Kyrgyz, then Turgesh army and finally Chinese.
Sakal Khagan was captured and killed.
Qarluk State (8-10 centuries)
Qarluks were the Turks who replaced Turgesh. Qarluks were tribes that roamed from Mongolia till the Balkhash Lake.
In 744, the unified forces of Qarluks, Uighurs and Basmyls crashed the Second Turkic Khaganate. The new state emerged was the Uighur Khaganate (744-840). It ruled the territory from Altai Mountains to Manchuria.
In 746, the Qarluks oppressed by Uighurs had to migrate to Semirechye, where they had to play a significant role in the struggle against Chinese. The Chinese army invaded the territory of Chui valley, captured the Suyab city and destroyed it. The Arabs who were also interested in conquering that region could not allow Chinese to interfere in the domestic affairs of Central Asia and came out against.
Two armies met in 751 on the Talas River. None could attack. During the fifth day Qarluks suddenly attacked the back (rear) part of Chinese that brought victory to the Arabs.
The Arabs victory had more lasting and far-reaching consequences. China did not appear on the territory of Central Asia for more than 1000 years. The region became the new center of Islamic culture. Turks became the third main people after the Arabs and Persians who converted to Islam and contributed a lot to the development and prosperity of the Muslim culture in the 9-12 century. Turkic became the third main language of the Islamic civilization.
In 893, the first Muslim dynasty in Central Asia, the Samanid state, conquered the territory of Qarluks and extended its power over them.
7. The Qarakhanids in the History of Kyrgyzstan and Central Asia (9-12th centuries). Qarakhanid Khaganate (10-12 centuries)
The Qarakhanid State is the most prosperous period in the history and culture of the Turks. During that time Islamic literature, science and art flourished. The most prominent Muslim poets and scholars such Rudaki, Firdawsi, Kashgari, Balasaguni, ibn Sina, Biruni lived and created their masterpieces during that period of time.
The Qarakhanids were Turks whose origin can be traced to Qarluks. The term Qarakhanid was introduced by Russian scholars of the 19th century. Qarakhan means Great Khan, Great Ruler.
The territory of Qarakhanid state included Semirechye, Tienshan, Fergana, Eastern Turkestan. The capital was Balasagun city.
The founder of Qarakhanid dynasty was Satuk Bughra Khan who converted to Islam and made it the state religion of the state. The state flourished under the ruling of Ibrahim Tamgach Khan who built many mosques, madrasas, hospitals.
At the cultural level, Iranian people of Central Asia still played a dominant role. Famous poets Rudaki, Firdausi, Omar Hayam, Hafiz, Ibn Sina, a famous doctor, wrote in Arabic and Persian.
The first works in Turkic was the Divan Lugat at-Turk (Dictionary of Turkic Languages) of Mahmud Kashgari and the Qutadghu Bilig (the Wisdom of Felicity) by Yusuf Balasaguni written in 11 century.
In the late 11-early 12 centuries the Qarakhanid Khaganate was undergoing a serious crisis. The Seljuks subordinated the Qarakhanids to their rule but did not interfere in their internal affairs. In the 12th century the Seljuks were defeated by Qarakhitay, nomads of Mongolian origin. In 1218, the Qarakhanids and the Qarakhitay were overthrown by the Naymans, another Mongolian tribe.
8. The Great Silk Road on the territory of Kyrgyzstan and Central Asia in the 2nd century BC-15th century AD: Exchange of Trades, Religions and Ideas.
Great Silk Road (IIBC-XVI)
o International overland trade route across the Asian continent (network of routes)
o 7000 km
o 3 years
o First discovered by Chang Tan, a Chinese traveler and spy
o The Central Asian region was a bridge connecting the West and East
o Declined because of the Sea Route
o Commercial, cultural and technological exchange
o Exchange between traders, merchants, pilgrims, soldiers, nomads and urban dwellers
o A significant factor in the development of the great civilizations
o Laid the foundations to the modern world
Great Silk Road in Kyrgyzstan
o Southern branch (Alay Mountains)
o Fergana branch (the Fergana Valley: Osh, Uzgend; Central Tienshan)
o Northern branch (Chui Valley, Boom George, Issyk-Kul Lake), in Barskon spitted into to: Yenisei Kyrgyz in Southern Siberia and Eatern Turkestan
o Horses, sheep, camels, skins, wool, fur, slaves from nomads
o Silver vessels, weaponry, gold, silver, mercury from the settled
o Herbs, walnuts, glue from the Fergana Valley
o Silk, bronze mirrors, porcelain, faience from China
o Sogdian, Chinese, Turgesh, Qarakhanid coins (dinar, dirhem, fels)
Architecture and Art
Burana Tower (XI century)
A Minaret near Tokmok city
Height – 24 m (40 m)
Made of mud bricks
Uzgen Minaret (XI century)
• the lower part is an octahedron
• the middle part is a tapering cylinder
• the upper part is a lantern with a cupola and arched windows
Height - 27.5 m (44.7m)
Made of mud bricks
11 ornamented belts
Uzgen Mausoleums (XI-XII centuries)
• Middle (height 13 m)
Made of mud bricks
Decorated with a geometrical and vegetation pattern, terracotta tiles and carved Arabic inscriptions
Koshoi Korgon (VII-XIII centuries)
o Fortified settlement
o Naryn region
o Headquarters of
o Nomadic rulers
o Walls height – 5-8 m
o (10 m)
Shakh Fazil Mausoleum (XI century)
A rectangular building with a domed roof
o Height - 15 m
Tash Rabat Caravansary (XV century)
A medieval inn for
merchants and travelers
on the Great Silk Road
Balbals – stone sculptures (VI-X)
Round sculptures with clear proportions and details (clothes, jewelry, weapons)
Flat sculptures with face and facial features
Male of Mongoloid origin,
a vessel in the right hand
and a knife or sabre on the waist
9. The Material Culture of Turks in the 6-12th centuries: housing, clothing and food.
Yurt – portable house
o Vertical sticks – kerege
o A smoke duct - tyunduk
o Wooden poles – uuk
o Hearth - kolomto
o Threshold - bosogo
o Rugs, carpets - shyrdak and ala kiyiz
o Right side (epñhi jak) - female section
o Left side (er jak) - male section
o The most honorable place (tyor) - opposite to the entrance
o Long shirt– koynek
o Trousers - shym
o Males outerwear – ton
o Fur coat – ichik
o Cloak - chepken
o Headdress– kalpaks, tebetei
o Skirt – beldemchi
o Turban - elechek
o Divan Lugat at-Turk (Dictionary of Turkic Languages) of Makhmud Kashgari
o Kutadgu Bilig (Blessed Knowledge) of Yusuf Balasaghuni
Food: due to sedentary culture, Kyrgyz began horticulture: growing potato, tomato and etc.
o Jarma (drink)
o Kimiz (drink)
o Kurut (dried-source…)
o Horse meat is eaten at ritual ceremonies
Music: in 19thc Kyrgyz music had different genres, were for different purposes:
o Begbeke (sung for protecting cattle)
o Uz Kumuz
10. The Spiritual Culture of Turks in the 6-12th centuries: writing system, literature and science. Mahmud Kashgari, Yusuf Balasaghun, Ibn Sina, Firdawsi and others.
Writing. In the 6 century the Turks for state needs used Sogdian’s writting. In the 7 th century own ancient Turkic writing was created based on it. It consisted of 37 marks a very simple style, adapted for writing not only on paper, but also on stone, wood and metal. This script was used by the ancient Turks, Kyrgyz, Uighur, Turgish, Karluk. In Kyrgyzstan, the monuments of ancient Turkic writing had been found near the town of Talas, Issyk-Kul, the Alai. In the 10-11 centuries with the adoption of Islam by Karakhanids, sogdian’s ancient writing was replaced by the Arabic script. Monuments of Arabic writing of that age are found in all regions of Kyrgyzstan.
Science and literature. In the 10-12 centuries, Kyrgyzstan was the north-eastern center of Muslim culture and science. In cities Balasagun, Uzgende, Osh and Kashgar profound knowledge in mathematics, astronomy, medicine, and literature could be obtained. Among the prominent men of science people from the Turkic environment took prominent place. Al-Farabi (9-10 century) opened the philosophy of ancient Greek scholars for the Muslim world. In his writings about the man, the state ,and society, he rose up to the proclamation of the ideals of universal humanity, the uniqueness of each person regardless of its race, nationality or religion. Significant role in the development of philosophical thought of the medieval Turkic peoples, also the Kyrgyz ,played a major thinkers and eminent scientists of 11 century Mahmud Kashgar and Zhusup Balasagyn. Dictionary of Mahmud Kashgar “Dian luga tat-Türk” (Dictionary of Turkic dialects) is an encyclopedia of medieval life of the Turkic peoples. It serves as an important source for studying the history of early medieval Turkic peoples living in Middle and Central Asia. Thanks to him we now obtain a representation of material culture, tribal division, astronomy, names, characters, etc. Mahmud Kashgari’s Circular world map and information about the social structure of society, the branches of economic life, the cultural success of the Turks are presenting the great interest. Works of Zhusup Balasagyn indicate his thorough knowledge in astronomy, mathematics, medicine, literature, philosophy, history and linguistics (Turkic, Arabic, Farsi). Poem “Kutadgu Bilik”(Beneficial Knowledge) is a spiritual, moral and ethical encyclopedia, which reflects the history, culture, religious views of society of that era.
Kyrgyz continued to improve the epic "Manas", created a trilogy - "Manas", "Seytek", "Semetei. Also, small epics - "Kojo jash", "Air Toshtuk", "Olzhobayikishimzhan", "Air Tabyldy", "Zhang Mirza, etc were created. They continued to improve proverbs and sayings. During that time well-known manaschy (zhomokchu) - Balyng Ooz, Keldebek, Chongbash, Nazar, Kalmyrza, Tynybekov, Togolok Moldova, etc. During Traditional events ( toi,ash) they played national games - ulaktakysh (kozlodranie) kiz kuymak, tyyyngbey (picking up of coins from the ground), arkantarkysh, alchiks, toptash.
Ibn Sina(980 - 1037) was a polymath of Persian origin and the foremost physician and philosopher of his time. He was also an astronomer, chemist, geologist, Hafiz, Islamic psychologist, Islamic scholar, Islamic theologian, logician, paleontologist, mathematician, Maktab teacher, physicist, poet, and scientist
Ibn Sīnā studied medicine under a physician named Koushyar. He wrote almost 450 treatises on a wide range of subjects, of which around 240 have survived. In particular, 150 of his surviving treatises concentrate on philosophy and 40 of them concentrate on medicine].His most famous works are The Book of Healing, a vast philosophical and scientific encyclopaedia, and The Canon of Medicine, which was a standard medical text at many medieval universities.
Firdawsi (940–1020) is a highly revered Persian poet. He was the author of the Shāhnāmeh( The Great Book), the national epic of Persian people and of the Iranian World. The Persians regard Ferdowsi as the greatest of their poets. For nearly a thousand years they have continued to read and to listen to recitations from his masterwork, the Shah-nameh, in which the Persian national epic found its final and enduring form. Though written about 1,000 years ago, this work is as intelligible to the average, modern Iranian as the King James version of the Bible is to a modern English-speaker. The language, based as the poem is on a Dari original, is pure Persian with only the slightest admixture of Arabic.