Dr Aydogdy Kurbanov | Dehistan (South-West Turkmenistan) in the first half of the 1st Millennium CE

Tuesday 7th May

Dr Aydogdy Kurbanov (Ashgabat, Turkmenistan/ONGC)

Dehistan (South-West Turkmenistan) in the first half of the 1st Millennium CE

The territory of south-western Turkmenistan (Balkan welayat, or province, of Turkmenistan) encompassed a cultural and occasional administrative entity known in the historical periods as Vehrkana (Hyrcania in the Greco-Roman West). The Gorgan plain constituted its southern part, and the plain of Misrian, or Dehistan, its northern. In Parthian times, the Arsacids did not fully control Hyrcania, which was, in addition, seriously threatened by nomadic populations. These nomads proved to be so serious a menace that the Parthians were forced to split Hyrcania in two parts: Gorgan remained attached to the Arsacid Empire, while Dehistan was isolated. This situation probably continued into the Sasanian period as well. Several Sasanian rulers made use of the Gorgan plain as a staging post for launching military expeditions against the Chionites, Hephthalites and Kidarites. They also constructed walls there to protect their northeastern domains from these nomads. During this time, sites appeared in the north-west of Dehistan and were mostly established along irrigation canals. In most cases there were heavily fortified fortresses and farms with an obvious military aspect.


TOSCCA/ONGC Seminar series on the History and Culture of Central Asia and the Caucasus

Tuesdays, weeks 2-8, 5pm in Lecture Room 6, New College.