|Ancient Khwarezm cultural community had formed in 7th-6th centuries B.C. on the basis of the local saco-massagetian people under strong interaction of southern agricultural
civilizations. In the last third of the 6th century B.C. Khwarezm was conquered by the Persians and
drawn into the system of cultural ties of the Achaemenid Empire. At the end of the 5th
or in the begging of the 4th century B.C. it was apportioned into a separate satrapy, but
soon, as could be judged from the ancient sources, it seized to be under the control of
the Achaemenids. Khwarezm’s de-facto independence to a large degree had defined its further cultural
history. Not being part of the Hellenistic empire Khwarezm had become a distinctive
preserve of ancient Eastern traditions of Central Asia. In the 2d century B.C. Khwarezm had suffered a military rout. On most monuments from that time signs of powerful fires were detected. Undoubtedly, these are the signs of
stormy events related to the movement of the steppe tribes, which destroyed Graeco-Bactria and put Parthia to the edge of demise. After the rout the Khwarezm culture
had retained a part of its traditions, but it got noticeably barbarized and dimmed.
However at the same time in the 2d century B.C. the Khwarezm coin production had
begun, first, though, imitative, but still attesting to the later socioeconomic community.
The first Kwarezm coins were large silver imitations of tetradrachms of Eukratides,
distinguished from its prototype by the greater distortion of inscriptions and by the
presence of a distinctive mark – tamgha on its reverse. Later on the obverse the
likeness of Eukratides is replaced by a portrait of a local ruler, and along with a
distorted Greek legend a legend in the Khwarezm language is put down, conveying the
name and title of the ruler. On the reverse of the coins an image of a rider starts to
appear. Some researchers regard that this is the god-rider Siyavush, who, according to Biruni,
was the founder of the dynasty of the Khwarezm kings, others see in him an image of a
deified king. An image of a king-rider is invariable, as is the Khwarezm tamgha, are
present on all silver coins of this region for the period of seven centuries, up until the
end of the Khwarezm coinage in the middle of the 7th century A.D. Only the style and
some details had been modified. This unique phenomenon in the numismatics of
Central Asia gives evidence to stable traditions and continuity of the Khwarezm kings,
who came from the same dynasty.
4th-8th centuries were a difficult period in Khwarezmian history. This was the time of
development of feudal relationships and the formation of the early medieval culture,
which, based on the name of the ruling dynasty, the name of Afrigids. The
political history of Khwarezm can only be reconstructed fragmentally: written sources
give good coverage only to the events of the campaigns of conquest of the beginning of
the 8th century of the Arab general Quteiba b.Muslim. Not ruled out though, that
between the 3d and 7th centuries, at the time when an interruption is detected in the
Khwarezm coinage, the country had been subjected to the Sassanian invasion, and in the
6th-7th centuries it had been a part of the Turkic Empire.
The Arab invasion in the 8th century was destructive to the Khwarezm culture: the
country was plundered, scientists were expelled, their works burned. However already
at the end of the 8th century a new resurgence is detected, which leads to the
flourishing of economy and culture in the 9th-10th centuries.
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