Syriac Christianity in Central Asia

Authored by: Mark Dickens

The Syriac World

Print publication date:  December  2018
Online publication date:  December  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138899018
eBook ISBN: 9781315708195
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter discusses textual and archaeological evidence for Syriac Christianity in Central Asia (late second to fifteenth centuries). After relating the early expansion of Syriac Christianity into Khorasan and Bactria, followed by Sogdian and Turkic territory, it examines Central Asian Christianity under Arab-Muslim rule (Umayyads and early ‘Abbasids), various non-Arab polities (Samanids, Qarakhanids, and Ghaznavids), and the non-Muslim Uyghur Kingdom of Qocho (Turfan). The extension of Syriac Christianity northward to the Qipchaq Steppe and eastward to the Tarim Basin under Seljük and Qarakhitai rule is followed by a discussion of Central Asian Christianity under the Mongols and Timurids, including multiple references in textual sources and archaeological evidence like gravestones in Syriac script.

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