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the name of Iranian-speaking tribes, mostly nomadic, that lived from the first millennium B.C. to the first centuries A.D. The name “Saka” is used in cuneiform inscriptions, by classical authors, in Chinese chronicles, and in Indian sources to denote various tribes; classical sources generally use the term to refer to the Scythians. Ancient Persian inscriptions distinguish three groups of Saka: Saka-Haumavarga (“god-fearing,” called Ami-urgii in classical sources), Saka-Tigrahauda (“with pointed hats”), and Saka “who live beyond the sea” (Black Sea Scythians). In modern scholarly literature, Saka is the name given to the ancient tribes of the northern and eastern regions of middle Asia, Kazakhstan, and East Turkestan to distinguish these tribes from the related Massagetae of the Aral and Caspian regions and the Scythians of the Northern Black Sea Shore.

In the late sixth century B.C. and the early fifth century, some of the Saka were conquered by the Persian kings of the Achae-menid dynasty; they paid the Persians tribute and sent men to serve in the Persian army. As part of the Persian army, Saka fought in the wars between Greece and Persia (500–449 B.C.) and served in garrisons in various parts of the Achaemenid state.

The Saka were predominantly nomadic cattle breeders, with only individual groups becoming sedentary. A class society developed among the Saka of Middle Asia. There was sharp social and property stratification, and the aristocracy had great wealth concentrated in its hands, although an important role was still played by clan-tribal relations. In approximately the mid-third century B.C., a group of Saka tribes invaded Parthia and contributed substantially to the formation of the Parthian kingdom. Later these tribes penetrated into Drangiana, where they settled, giving Drangiana the name Sakastan (“the land of the Saka”; modern Sistan, or Seistan). In the late second century and the first half of the first century, the Saka penetrated into North India. By the first centuries of the Common Era, they were evidently already assimilated by local peoples and newly arrived nomadic tribes in what is now Middle Asia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and North India. In East Turkestan (Kho-tan) their language was preserved until the tenth century A.D. The Saka played an important role in the ethnogenesis of the peoples of Middle Asia, Afghanistan, and northern Hindustan.

Remains of Saka culture have been discovered by Soviet archaeologists in the southern regions of the Kazakh SSR and the Uzbek SSR, as well as in the Kirghiz SSR and the Tadzhik SSR. Religion was in large measure bound up with a supreme deity and sun worship. Saka art was characterized by art objects executed in what is called the Scythian animal style. The epic literature of the Saka is one of the sources of Middle Asian epic literature.


Bernshtam, A. N. Istoriko-arkheologicheskie ocherki Tsentral’nogo Tian’-Shania i Pamiro-Alaia. Moscow-Leningrad, 1952.
Gafurov, B. G. Tadzhiki. Moscow, 1972.
Litvinskii, B. A. Drevnie kochevniki “Kryshi mira.” Moscow, 1972.
Artamonov, M. I. Sokrovishcha sakov. Moscow, 1973.
Vishnevskaia, O. A. Kul’tura sakskikh plemen nizov’ev Syrdar’i v VII-V vv. do n. e. Moscow, 1973.
Junge, J. Saka-Studien. Leipzig, 1939.
Bailey, H. W. “Languages of the Saka.” In Handbuch der Orientalistik, vol. 4: Iranistik, part 1: Linguistik. Leiden-Cologne, 1958.


References in periodicals archive ?
Although Saka made the pilgrimage to Mecca four times, for a long time he followed the example of his father--to the regret of his mother, who introduced herself to me as a dedicated NASFAT member--and worked as a herbalist.
Most of the Turks are quite knowledgeable," explained Saka.
Even Saka and other accused were allowed to appeal for review of the verdict and for mercy to the honorable president of republic.
The paintings in Tal Saka, he told SANA, bear resemblance to those which were discovered in the royal palace of Zimri-Lim, king of Mari (modern Tell Hariri), an ancient kingdom located 11 km north-west of al-Bukamal city on the Euphrates river's western bank, eastern Syria.
The kidnappers released Jam Saka Dashti after the law enforcement agencies conducted raids in border areas and other localities," he added.
Saka said with the completion of the thermal power plant project, residents of Balkh, Jawzjan, Sar-i-Pul and Faryab would be extended electricity.
A key figure in the history as reconstructed by Saka (history, Sul Ross State U.
Ex-gov't official Saka becomes new Japan Post Holdings president
The self-immolations at one of Lhasa's major cultural spots come as Tibetans from across China flock to the Tibetan capital to mark the Buddhist month Saka Dawa commemorating the birth, enlightenment, and death of Buddha.
One study (Granger, Bevis, Saka, & Southerland, 2010) is a randomized controlled trial that meets WWC evidence standards without reservations.
The transesterification of vegetal oils using an alcohol at supercritical conditions comprises a method used to produce biodiesel and has gained growing interest due to the benefits related to the environment and quality of the fuel generated (DEMIRBAS, 2002; KUSDIANA; SAKA, 2001; MADRAS et al.
At saka sobra sobra talaga akong nagtiwala sobra, (It's my fault because I fought for it.