, Strab. ii. p.73
, xi. p. 516; Ptol. 6.12
, &c., Eth. Σογδιανός
), a widely extending district of Central Asia, the boundaries of which are not consistently laid down by ancient authors. Generally, it may be stated that Sogdiana lay between the Oxus and the Jaxartes, as its N. and S. limits, the former separating it from Bactriana and Ariana, the latter from the nomad populations of Scythia. (Strab. xi. pp. 511, 514; Ptol. 6.12.1
.) To the W. the province was extended in the direction of the Caspian sea, but, in early times at least, not to it; to the E. were the Sacae and the Seres.
The district comprehended the greater part of the present Turkestan,
with the kingdom of Bokhara,
which bears to this day the name of Sogd.
The character of the country was very diversified; some part of it being very mountainous, and some part, as the valley of Bokhara,
very fertile and productive.
The larger extent would seem to have been, as at present, a great waste. (Arrian, Arr. Anab. 4.16
; Curt. 7.10.1
At the time when Alexander visited the country, there appear to have been extensive forests, filled with all manner of game, and surrounded, at least in some parts, with walls, as preserves. Alexander is said to have hunted down 4000 wild beasts. (Curt. 8.1.19
The principal mountain chains are those called the Montes Oxii to the N. (at present the Pamer Mountains,
) the Comedarum Montes (probably the range of the Ak-tagh
or White Mountains
) to the S., and the Montes Sogdii (the modern name of which is not certain, there being a doubt whether they comprehend the Belur-tagh
as well as the Kara-tagh
The two great rivers of the country were those which formed its boundaries; the Oxus (Gihon
) and the Jaxartes (Sihon
There are, also, besides these main streams, several smaller ones, feeders of the great rivers, as the Demus, Bascatis, and the Polytimetus, the latter, doubtless, the stream which flows beside the town of Sogd.
The generic name of the inhabitants of Sogdiana is Sogdii or Sogdiani (Arrian, 4.16, 18; Plin. Nat. 6.16
; Curt. 3.2.9
, &c.), a race who, as is stated by Strabo (xi. p.517
), appear, in character at least, to have borne a great resemblance to their neighbours of Bactriana. Besides these, Ptolemy and other writers have given a list of other names,--those, probably, of local tribes, [p. 2.1019]
who occupied different parts of the province. Many of these show by the form of their name that if not directly of Indian descent, they are clearly connected with that country. Thus we have the Pasicae, near the Montes Oxii; the Thacori (Takurs
) on the Jaxartes; the Oxydrancae, Drybactae, and Gandari (Gandháras
), under the mountains; the Mardyeni (Madras
), Chorasmii (Khwaresmians
), near the Oxus; and the Cirrodes (Kirátas
) near the same river. (Wilson, Ariana,
The historians of Alexander's march leave us to suppose that Sogdiana abounded with large towns; but many of these, as Professor Wilson has remarked (l.c.
), were probably little more than forts erected along the lines of the great rivers to defend the country from the incursions of the barbarous tribes to its N. and E. Yet these writers must have had good opportunity of estimating the force of these places, as Alexander appears to have been the best part of three years in this and the adjoining province of Bactriana.
The principal towns of which the names have been handed down to us, were Cyreschata or Cyropolis, on the Jaxartes (Steph. B. sub voce Curt. 6.6
); Gaza (Ghaz
Ibn Haukíl, p. 270); Alexandreia Ultima (Arrian, 3.30; Curt. l.c.; Amm. Marc. 23.6
), doubtless in the neighbourhood of, if not on the site of the present Khojend;
Alexandreia Oxiana (Ptol. 6.12.5
; Steph. B. sub voce
Nautaca (Arrian, 3.28, 4.18), in the neighbourhood of Karshi
Branchidae (Strab. xi. p.518
), a place traditionally said to have been colonised by a Greek population; and Marginia (Curt. 7.10.15
), probably the present Marghinan.
(Droysen, Rhein. Mus.
2 Jahr. p. 86; Mannert, iv. p. 452; Burnes, Travels,
i. p. 350; Memoirs of Báber,
p. 12; De Sacy, Notices et Extraits,
iv. p. 354; Thirlwall, Hist. of Greece,
vi. p. 284.)