Who were the tribes that the ancient Persians called the Saks, the Chinese - the Se,
and the Greeks - the Scythians?
Not all the Saks were nomads, many of them led a settled way of
life and engaged in farming.
The Saks were excellent riders. They were first in the world to learn
to shoot arrows riding a galloping horse.
It was the Scythian horseman who became a prototype of a fearless centaur - half-man and
half-horse. Mobile troops of steppe riders from the mountainous and steppe areas of Eurasia,
in the first instance from the territory of the present-day Kazakhstan, invaded Western Asian
countries in the 7th century BC.
Being gravely concerned at their successful advance,
the Assyrian king Assargadon (680-669 BC) sought to enter into alliance with them and had to
marry his daughter to the Scythian leader Partatua.Now the Sakian cavalry appeared in Urartu,
then flooded into Palestine, then rushed to Egypt. It was the Saks who destroyed the Urartian
The biblical prophet Jeremiah cried: "Here come people from the northern
country... carrying bows and short spears... Their voices roar like sea, they gallop on their
steeds lining up as one man... As soon as we hear of them, our hands fall down, grief and woe
envelop us... enemy swords from all sides inspire terror ". Only in the end of the 6ch century
BC the Saks returned to their native steppes carrying away with them not only plunder but also
knowledge about the cultures of Media, Urartu and Assyria. The Saks waged bloody wars with the
Persians. It was in a battle with the Saks in 530 BC that the powerful Cyrus, the king of Iran
of the Achaemenian family, was killed. Later the Saks in alliance with the Persians fought against
Ancient Greece and won glory in the battle of Thermopylae.
They successfully resisted the troops of Alexander the Great, king of Macedonia, conqueror
of the world, halting his advance to the
east beyond the Yaksart river (Syrdarya). In the 6th-3rd centuries BC the Saks founded their
first state in the territory of Kazakhstan. Its center was located in Zhetysu (Semirechye).
The Sakian kings acted at the same time as high priests.
The Saks had their own original culture, written language, legends and mythology.
remarkable art of making jewelry is part of the world treasury as the "animal style art".
Ancient masters employed various subjects involving struggle between predatory and herbivorous
Today little masterpieces created by ancient masters from gold and bronze do credit to
the collections of various museums throughout the world.
When burying their kings, noble warriors,
priests and sometimes even ordinary tribesmen, the Saks usually put into the graves with them a
lot of golden decorations, weapons, clay and wooden tableware, domestic paraphernalia.
In 1969 the ancient Sakian mound Issyk was excavated not far away from Almaty.
Now it is widely known throughout the world. Under the mound, in a grave edged with fir logs,
on a wooden floor they found remains of a Sakian king dressed in clothes covered entirely with
golden plates. The king's head was crowned with a high pointed hat decorated with images of
winged steeds symbolizing the god of the sun. His arms were a long sword and a short dagger.
Also found in the grave were clay jars with koumiss, wooden trays with pieces of meat, precious
jugs made of silver and bronze. The burial place dates back to the 5-4lh centuries BC.
The Saks were descendants of the Andronovo-culture tribes and ancestors of the Kazakhs,
and the name of the Usuns, who replaced the Saks and lived in the 3rd century BC - 3rd century AD,
is still alive in the name of one of the Kazakh largest clans - the Usuns.