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Encyclopedia > Transoxania

Transoxiana (sometimes also spelled Transoxania) is the now-largely obsolete name used for the portion of Central Asia corresponding approximately with modern-day Uzbekistan and southwest Kazakhstan. Geographically, it means the region between the Amu Darya and Syr Darya rivers. When used in the present, it usually implies that one is talking about that region in the time prior to about the 8th century, although the term continued to remain in use for several centuries after. This dividing line is used, as this was the point at which Islam came to dominate the region, after a century-long power struggle with Tang Dynasty China.

The name, however, is Greek, and literally means "Beyond the Oxus River", - an older name for the Amu Darya - which describes the region perfectly from the viewpoint of an ancient Greek. The name stuck in Western consciousness because of the exploits of Alexander the Great, who extended Greek culture into the region with his conquests of the 4th century BC; Transoxiana represented the uttermost northeastern point of the Hellenistic culture, and in fact kept a hybrid Greek/Indian/Chinese Buddhist culture, dubbed Serindian, until the Islamic conquest. During this time, when Transoxiana was cut off from the rest of Western culture by the Sassanid Empire, it is often called Sogdiana - a provincial name taken from early Persian, and used to distinguish it from nearby Bactria.

Transoxiana's major city and cultural center was Samarkand, while another was Bokhara. Both were on the southern fringes of Transoxiana, however (literally on the Oxus itself), and the majority of the region was dry but fertile plains.

Following the Arab conquest of this area, it became known as Ma Wara'a n-Nahr ("what is beyond the river").

Genghis Khan invaded Transoxiana in 1219 during his conquest of Khwarazm. After his death in 1227 it was assigned to his son Chagatai, and it became part of the Chagatai Khanate. In 1364 Timur the Lame began his empire by expelling the Chagatai from Transoxiana, and Samarkand became the core of his empire.

  Results from FactBites:
Transoxania and central and eastern Iran as well as in K¨úa@razm, 596-617/1200-20.
This blunder may possibly be excused by the sultan's lack of control over a subordinate on the fringes of his empire, but it was followed by a senseless act of provocation by Moháammad himself when he put to death three envoys from Ùingiz.
Defeating Kü±lüg and the tribe of the Merkit, Ùingiz's main army advanced westwards in 616/1219, and in 616-17/1220 overran most of Transoxania, sacking Bokhara and Samarkand, whilst the sultan abandoned the defense of the province at a stroke and retreated, first to Balkò and then westwards into Iran.
Tamerlane - MSN Encarta (305 words)
Tamerlane was born on April 10, 1336, into a Mongol sub-group settled at Kesh in Transoxania (present-day Shakhrisyabz, Uzbekistan), and rose to prominence in the service of the Jagataid khan Tughluq Timur.
Between 1364 and 1370 he won control of Transoxania, overwhelming former superiors and allies, and in the latter year declared the restoration of the empire of Genghis Khan, whom he falsely claimed as his ancestor.
His dynasty, the Timurids, which ruled Transoxania and Iran until the early 16th century, was noted for its patronage of Turkish and Persian literature.
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