The Origin of the Sogdian Civic Communities (nāf)

In: Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient
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  • 1 The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

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Abstract

The article discusses when, how and why oligarchic, self-governed civic communities (nāf) emerged in Sogdiana. On the basis of primary sources, such as the Kultobe inscriptions, and on comparative material from the two best-known city-state cultures—the Greek poleis and the medieval north Italian republics—it is argued that the development of the Sogdian civic communities occurred during the first century BCE-second century CE, when Sogdiana was part of the nomad-ruled Kangju state. This process is linked to Sogdian colonial expansion and the growth in the volume and complexity of trade.

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