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The Parni



Before the rampages of the Mongol and Turkic peoples into Central Asia, much of the land below the Jaxartes river was inhabited by Iranian nomads. Much about the history of Central Asia during this time period is still unknown. In all likelihood after the development of the Aryan peoples, some groups had migrated and settled down in Iran while others had moved north into Central Asia. Some moved into the Khorassan/Afghanistan/Turkmenistan region which was called Parthava by the Achaemenids. Others roamed the plains and deserts between the Jaxartes and Oxus rivers. The Achaemenids fought these Iranids under Kuroush and Darayavaush while expanding into Central Asia. They termed these peoples Daha, meaning thieves or robbers, as they often raided settled inhabitations for loot. After the Achaemenid empire collapsed, the Daha branched into multiple groups, one the Parni, eventually settled in Parthava, or Parthia, situated in modern day Khorassan.

When Alexander invaded the Parni and other Central Asian Iranian tribes fought loyally on the side of the Persians. Artakhshathra V (Bessus) proclaimed himself king of Persia and lead a loosely connected network of renegades that fought Alexander. His base of operations was Bactria, but his guerilla campaign extended into Sogdiana, Parthia, and Media. Although Artakhshathra was eventually betrayed by his own general and mutilated, the general resistance did not die down. Many local governors who were appointed were assasinated. After Alexander's death, the empire was divided among his generals; Iran and most of Central Asia became territories in the Seleucid empire. But by 250BC the unruly Parthians had established their independent sovereignty from the Seleucids, and the Parthians would eventually come to conquer their empire.

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