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An extract from Armies of the Dark Ages 600-1066
by Ian Heath


The Sogdians, with their capital at Samarkand, were to all intents and purposes a Sassanid successor state. They continued to dress, arm and fight exactly like the Sassanids down to 737, when they were in turn subjugated by the Arabs. Their principal difference was the adoption of the stirrup under Asiatic influence. Likewise some substituted the sabre for the straight sword in the early-8th century.

They also employed large numbers of Turk auxiliary horse-archers.

It was 'Arabs' settled in Sogdia and the old Iranian state of Khwarizm (conquered c. 712) who were generally known to contemporaries as Khwarizmians. These feature as a major element in Khazar armies of the 8th-10th centuries. Since the main part of their strength lay in horse-archers they can be assumed to have adopted much in the way of military practices from the defeated Iranians and Sogdians.
[Based on the 'Pur-i Vahman' plate with a Horsearcher Hunting, Khurisani or Soghdian, c.8th Century]

Next: 96. ARAB INFANTRYMAN in Armies of the Dark Ages 600-1066 by Ian Heath

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