The Origin of the Sogdian Civic Communities (naf)

Michael Shenkar*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The article discusses when, how and why oligarchic, self-governed civic communities (naf) 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.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)357-388
Number of pages32
JournalJournal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient
Issue number3
StatePublished - 13 Apr 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Copyright 2020 by Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands.


  • Kultobe
  • Sogdian
  • city-state
  • civic communities
  • čakar


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