More Persianized/Central Asianized Indus Valley

What would the culture of this region look like if the movement from Iran during the Neolithic was grater, the Persian empires spent more energy expanding east and there was massive Scythian/Kushan settlements in the region?
 
Are you asking to see Persian become the common language of the Indus Valley?

Scythians or Yuezhi will not however become the main population of the Indus or spread their tongue. If you study the way in which such peoples operated, including the Arsacids. They operated along the lines of castes, hierarchies and clear lines of lineage and lifestyles. To them, to spread their customs unto lower peoples or sedentary peoples, was in bad taste. Ultimately, the Arsacids ruled Eranshahr under this principle to a large degree. A ruling elite that was ever outside of its people that it ruled and over nearly 500 years, never fully assimilated into the sedentary lifestyles of the people it ruled. Over the 900 years that the Scytho-Dahae nobles ruled Iran, they never fully integrated or assimilated to Iran. This is a lesson for you in this case.
 
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Are you asking to see Persian become the common language of the Indus Valley?

Scythians or Yuezhi will not however become the main population of the Indus or spread their tongue. If you study the way in which such peoples operated, including the Arsacids. They operated along the lines of castes, hierarchies and clear lines of lineage and lifestyles. To them, to spread their customs unto lower peoples or sedentary peoples, was in bad taste. Ultimately, the Arsacids ruled Eranshahr under this principle to a large degree. A ruling elite that was ever outside of its people that it ruled and over nearly 500 years, never fully assimilated into the sedentary lifestyles of the people it ruled. Over the 900 years that the Scytho-Dahae nobles ruled Iran, they never fully integrated or assimilated to Iran. This is a lesson for you in this case.
What about a slow linguistic takeover? I mean it's not like people consciously went around to spread their language, but if their language was prestigious and they have been the uncontested rulers for so long, it seems strange that the language wouldn't spread to people they are in contact with.

To be honest it seems hard to make any statement on the topic without actually knowing how linguistic borders changed historically, for example what did the Balochi language replace and did it push into Indo-Aryan speaking regions? And did the border between Pashtun and Indo-Aryan change and when and how? Did lingustic borders between Indo-Aryan language change to begin with?
 
What about a slow linguistic takeover? I mean it's not like people consciously went around to spread their language, but if their language was prestigious and they have been the uncontested rulers for so long, it seems strange that the language wouldn't spread to people they are in contact with.

To be honest it seems hard to make any statement on the topic without actually knowing how linguistic borders changed historically, for example what did the Balochi language replace and did it push into Indo-Aryan speaking regions? And did the border between Pashtun and Indo-Aryan change and when and how? Did lingustic borders between Indo-Aryan language change to begin with?
Well some peoples do actively spread a particular language in this region. The Sassanid empire actively revived and enforced the spread and dissemination of Persian and Avestan, Abbasid authorities did the same with Arabic and the Samanids did so with Persian. Meanwhile, the Arsacids and their succeeding Great Houses went to enormous lengths just to avoid spreading their tongue. The languages with which the Arsacids utilized for inscriptions, were entirely not their own native tongues. Greek, Akkadian, Aramaic, Elamite, Pahlavi-Median, Persian and Elamite remained the only tongues used.

Unlike too what we might imagine from this, such as integration, we find none of this. In other words, when a ruling people begin using the native tongues, we expect that it is because they have assimilated to the new people. What we find is the opposite for the Arsacids and their successors. They, despite their vast sedentary underlings, remained overtly nomadic, both in their coinage, lifestyles and their military. For instance, coinage from the the Arsacid era, almost invariably contains overt reference to their nomadic nature and a refusal to adopt Persian standards in coinage, the only major exception is Mithridates I whose coinage depicts him as a Macedonian king. Otherwise, we see the 'Scythian' cap remaining consistent in Arsacid coinage, continued reference to their lineage of Arsaka and of the steppes to the north and the depiction of images and artwork from outside of their realm.

The why is a difficult point. What we know from Roman and Arab sources on the matter, is that the Arsacids ruled a vast collection of vassals who were pre-Arsacid. These were rulers who were either Persians, Macedonians, Akkadians, Kassites, Armenians, Medians or Macedo-Elamites. These realms when combined, formed the majority of the Arsacid empire. In otherwords, the much greater part of the empire, was ruled directly by non Arsacid royalty or by the Dahae nobility. From what is inferred by what little we have, the Arsacids took no part in ruling these realms, they only moved in every so often and collected a tribute of sorts in precious items, but never seemingly in terms of soldiery. This is why all of these realms minted coinage in their own name and made their own inscriptions.

We find the military evidence of this lack of interference in ruling the vassal realms and of the free cities (Seleucid mandated free cities in Iran and Iraq; these remained a legal constancy under Arsacid and Sassanid empires, until it was abolished effectively under Umayyad rule) when the Arsacids went to war. Their armies seem to have always been composed of entirely cavalry that carried themselves like any other steppe nomad army of the era, except with vast resources acquired to feed its war machine from the sedentary vassals and peoples that it commanded. There is also the clue in their name or titles. Arsacid rulers were called 'King of Kings,' whilst this was originally an Akkadian title referencing the domination of Assyria unto other lords, it was only so in the Akkadian language. In the Pahlavi rendering and in the context of the Arsacid and later Sassanid period, the title King of Kings refers to the literal meaning, a king who is surrounded by equals... Arsacid noble houses such as House Suren were called Kings and were equal in rank tot eh Arsacid royal house. Later the Sassanid monarchs admitted to and assented to the custom, wherein the noble Great Houses were equally kings to the Sassanid royalty.

Once more we must request a why? We do not find a clear why other than they must have preferred this formula, until the Sassanid period. From the literature produced from the Pahlavi speaking part of the empire and the supposed opinions of the nobility, we find that the noble houses descended from noble Dahae tribal elites, felt themselves superior and of higher stock to the people of the Iranian plateau and also above the Sassanid Persian royalty. They also felt themselves to be the 'ideal masters' of Iran by right of conquest and of bloodline. As such, we find a possible postulate as to why the Arsacids affected the region very little in terms of linguistics, they felt that the peoples of the region were lesser, by extrapolating the disdain they held in the Sassanid era.
 
I don't want Persian to become the language of the INdus Valley just for a Persian migration(maybe after the Arab invasion) to the Indus Valley and this to lead to persian influence on native language. I don't want the Scythian or Tocharian language to spread just Scythian/Tocharian loan words in the local Indus Valley languages as well as the proliferation of Scythian/TOcharian ancestry/culture.
 
I don't want Persian to become the language of the INdus Valley just for a Persian migration(maybe after the Arab invasion) to the Indus Valley and this to lead to persian influence on native language. I don't want the Scythian or Tocharian language to spread just Scythian/Tocharian loan words in the local Indus Valley languages as well as the proliferation of Scythian/TOcharian ancestry/culture.
Ok well we might have had something like it if the Achaemenids were great city builders and colonizers like the Alexander or and GreecoBactrians did during there conquest of the Indus River region. But otherwise it's not easy to say the Achaemenids didn't leave a great cultural first print anywhere they were.
 
Ok well we might have had something like it if the Achaemenids were great city builders and colonizers like the Alexander or and GreecoBactrians did during there conquest of the Indus River region. But otherwise it's not easy to say the Achaemenids didn't leave a great cultural first print anywhere they were.
This is a good point. Despite the fame of the Achaemenid Empire, their rule was almost a flash in the pan. Arsacid rule took more from the Seleucid empire and from its own customs and certainly from the ancient Babylonian realm than it did from the Achaemenids. The most important perhaps contribution unique to the Achaemenids is its patronage of Aramaic as an exchange language, which remained to some degree under Arsacid rule.

Even linguistically, the Achaemenid role was ephemeral, the Sassanid and later Muslim eras did more to propagate the Persian language and court culture than the famed Achaemenid Persian empire.
 
To be honest it seems hard to make any statement on the topic without actually knowing how linguistic borders changed historically, for example what did the Balochi language replace and did it push into Indo-Aryan speaking regions?
Based on linguistic evidence and Sistan provincial records, the Baloch seem to have been a pastoralist group that migrated from Central Iran's deserts to Gedrosia in the 900s or 1000s, possibly squeezed out of their niche by the Daylamites and Turks. The language is indeed Western Iranian, not Eastern Iranian like Pashto. And they certainly have influenced Sindhi, given how often Baloch dynasties have ruled Sindh.

So instead of having the Achaemenids build cities in the region, have them violently push a group out and away toward Gedrosia. It probably leads to a smaller and less stable empire but the OP's condition of "partially Iranize the Indus" is fulfilled.
 
Well Mauryan kingship in general owes much of its imagery and formulation to the Achaemenids via Alexander- it’s difficult to tell because of the lack of archeological evidence but from what we do have, Persepolis was a major influence in the design of palaces in Pataliputra, at least in its 80 pillared hypostyle hall. Thus, the Achaemenids were at least fairly influential for the development of states in Bihar so I can only imagine it would be even more influential in the indus itself.
 
Based on linguistic evidence and Sistan provincial records, the Baloch seem to have been a pastoralist group that migrated from Central Iran's deserts to Gedrosia in the 900s or 1000s, possibly squeezed out of their niche by the Daylamites and Turks. The language is indeed Western Iranian, not Eastern Iranian like Pashto. And they certainly have influenced Sindhi, given how often Baloch dynasties have ruled Sindh.

So instead of having the Achaemenids build cities in the region, have them violently push a group out and away toward Gedrosia. It probably leads to a smaller and less stable empire but the OP's condition of "partially Iranize the Indus" is fulfilled.
Do we know what language was spoken there before the Baloch arrived from Central Iran?

There's no prestige associated with the Balochi. My scenario has the Persian language,Persian architecture, Persian gardens, Persian food, Persian script and Persian ancestry in the Indus Valley. Tocharian/Scythian loan words and culture spread there would also be cool but Baloch culture? Meh.
 
Well some peoples do actively spread a particular language in this region. The Sassanid empire actively revived and enforced the spread and dissemination of Persian and Avestan, Abbasid authorities did the same with Arabic and the Samanids did so with Persian. Meanwhile, the Arsacids and their succeeding Great Houses went to enormous lengths just to avoid spreading their tongue. The languages with which the Arsacids utilized for inscriptions, were entirely not their own native tongues. Greek, Akkadian, Aramaic, Elamite, Pahlavi-Median, Persian and Elamite remained the only tongues used.
You explained the attitude behind the Arsacids but what about those other states? What motivated them to spread their language/culture/ethnos(which of the 3?)?

Unlike too what we might imagine from this, such as integration, we find none of this. In other words, when a ruling people begin using the native tongues, we expect that it is because they have assimilated to the new people. What we find is the opposite for the Arsacids and their successors. They, despite their vast sedentary underlings, remained overtly nomadic, both in their coinage, lifestyles and their military. For instance, coinage from the the Arsacid era, almost invariably contains overt reference to their nomadic nature and a refusal to adopt Persian standards in coinage, the only major exception is Mithridates I whose coinage depicts him as a Macedonian king. Otherwise, we see the 'Scythian' cap remaining consistent in Arsacid coinage, continued reference to their lineage of Arsaka and of the steppes to the north and the depiction of images and artwork from outside of their realm.
Did they keep speaking their native tongue until the Arab invasion?


Once more we must request a why? We do not find a clear why other than they must have preferred this formula, until the Sassanid period. From the literature produced from the Pahlavi speaking part of the empire and the supposed opinions of the nobility, we find that the noble houses descended from noble Dahae tribal elites, felt themselves superior and of higher stock to the people of the Iranian plateau and also above the Sassanid Persian royalty. They also felt themselves to be the 'ideal masters' of Iran by right of conquest and of bloodline. As such, we find a possible postulate as to why the Arsacids affected the region very little in terms of linguistics, they felt that the peoples of the region were lesser, by extrapolating the disdain they held in the Sassanid era.
What was the size of the Dahae population within the Iranian speaking region of the empire? Outside the nobility what was the Dahae community like and where did it live?


In any case when talking about India, did nomad derived states like Sakastan/Indo-Scythia(and later the Western Satraps), the Eastern Parthian breakaway and the Kushans differ in any significant way from the Parthian attitude? Plus did none of those populations amass enough of a localized demographic impact to change the linguistic and ethnic situation without massive assimilation?
 
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You explained the attitude behind the Arsacids but what about those other states? What motivated them to spread their language/culture/ethnos(which of the 3?)?


Did they keep speaking their native tongue until the Arab invasion?



What was the size of the Dahae population within the Iranian speaking region of the empire? Outside the nobility what was the Dahae community like and where did it live?


In any case when talking about India, did nomad derived states like Sakastan/Indo-Scythia(and later the Western Satraps), the Eastern Parthian breakaway and the Kushans differ in any significant way from the Parthian attitude? Plus did none of those populations amass enough of a localized demographic impact to change the linguistic and ethnic situation without massive assimilation?
1. The Sassanids were a true Persianate state. They attempted to assert Persian culture, religion and modes of life in opposition to the Great Houses who were ultimately a collection of nomadic tribal notables who refused to assimilate or adopt Persianate modes of life. Persian and Avestan were promoted by the Sassanids to counter the Great Houses; ultimately the Sassanids failed in many regards to disseminate the Persian language and Zoroastrianism outside of Fars. It would not be until the Islamic period under the Saffarid, Samanid, Buyid, Ghaznavid, Ghurid and Safavid periods that Persian would truly expand, but by that point, the Great Houses had finally disappeared.

Arab was spread via the power of Islamic teaching and instruction as a second tongue. As a native language, it was the language of conquest and the Arab ruling elite by the Abbasid period came to thoroughly seek to create a scenario wherein Arab and Islamic culture was inclusive to people regardless of lineage. The Scytho-Dahae that conquered the majority of the Seleucid empire was in total different, affirming caste, superiority and exceptionalism of their lineages and people. As I mentioned, even into the eve of Islam, the Great Houses were claiming a certain superior lineage that was 'pure' while the Persians and other Iranians were some sort of lowly caste.

The Samanids were an autonomous vassal of the Abbasid state in a diverse and polyglot realm in Sogdia. The majority of its populace were Buddhists, Polytheists or Manichaens, the only Muslim inhabitants were Persians and Arabs, peoples distributed northward by the success of the Islamic conquest. In order to bind these disparate populaces the Samanids promoted the Persian tongue and Persianate customs in imitation of its southern neighbor, the Saffarid sultanate and of the trends in the Abbasid court to an almost Arabo-Persian culture in Fars.

2. Presumably yes. The Great Houses utilized a modified Pahlavi tongue and script until the Islamic era, the most important works of Persian literature from that period were often originally composed in Pahlavi and then translated into Persian in the succeeding Islamic eras, especially the later Abbasid period. Though, what the nobles themselves spoke, this is a difficult topic, I am not sure exactly what that would be. Most likely, a combination of an ancient Dahae-Central Asian tongue with that of Pahlavi, the language of Parthia.

3. The Dahae populace must have been extremely small. In the Sassanid period the population must have been between 25-35 million inhabitants, the Arsacid period was perhaps 15-25 million depending upon the era. Among that, I would assume that no more than 800k were of Dahae origin at any one time, maybe 3% of the population give or take. They had become a plurality in the region of Parthia and a tiny minority in Media, Persia and rare elsewhere. When the Arsacid realm ruled more northern areas, namely when they ruled the Kwarezm and similar areas, presumably this would have increased the Dahae populace. However, the Dahae homelands were conquered by the Yuezhi, Scythians and Wusun confederates in 127 BCE and the region would become an area of firm Kushan rule until the year 230 CE under Sassanid rule. After the reconquest, the Great Houses annexed all of the steppe region as their 'homelands' and the Sassanid royalty oddly received no holdings in the east (it was a return to its original owners).

The Dahae nobility of the Great Houses were under the Arsacids rulers in Media, Hyrcania, Parthia and around 1/2 of Persia proper. Arsacid rule directly seems to have been the capitols of Ectbatana and Cteshipon, Assyria, Armenia and modern Azerbayjan (hence the Arsacid cadet branch, the Mihrans were rulers of these lands excluding Ectbatana and Cteshipon,, during the Sassanid period). The other lands would have been the other Dahae notables often mentioned by Roman sources as the kings who sit on the council with the King of Kings. From Arsacid sources alone, we only know of the few Arsacid cadet branches in Azerbayjan and one in Ectbatana and the illustrious House Suren and House Karen (Suren ruling Hormuz, Gedrosia and the famed Indo-Parthian sub-kingdom and the Karens, the kings Hyrcania and Media).

The Dahae populace would have been nomadic and horse raising folk, utilizing a semi-nomadic life in Iran. Archaeological evidences point to Dahae commoners living directly outside of Iranian cities in camps of sorts (note, this is the same manner in which the Yuezhi interacted with the populaces of Bactria) and journeying to and fro between locations, raising animals and riding horses. According to Sassanid era customs and its precedents, these people would acquire regular tribute from the sedentary Iranian peoples of Parthia, Media, Mesopotamia, Armenia and Persia. In exchange, none of the sedentary people were raised to wage war and their religious customs and ways of life were preserved. In general, it would seem that the Dahae notables and probably their own commoners, felt the sedentary peoples of the region to have been almost akin to a servant caste that provided resources for their war machine and worked as they could not battle on horseback; meanwhile the Dahae populace were warriors and herders who felt themselves free from the work of sedentary peoples.

In the Sassanid era, the early Sassanid armies worked upon a notion that the Great Houses will bring their 'people' in reference to their Dahae tribal levies who were entirely on horseback, both lightly armored horse archers and the famed cataphractori. Meanwhile, the Sassanid royalty provided an army of infantry, cavalry (no horse archers), archers and exotic items to the Dahae, siege equipment, elephants and camel riders. However, the prior Arsacid armies were entirely drawn from the Dahae populace, contributing to the skilled nature of its horseman, but also to its low flexibility in wars with Rome. Meanwhile, the Sassanids due to their inclusion as a Persianate addition, provided a more flexible and diverse army, but with the inclusion of what was still a fully steppe nomad army. The result of such infusion was an extremely fearsome army to say the least, that had as its greatest foe, itself (in that competition between these two opposing doctrines and questions of authority would sap the power of the empire considerably). Over time, the noble armies simply began to not attend wars and the Sassanids went to war with their Persian or Mesopotamian armies and maybe a few noble additions.

When the Arabo-Islamic threat arose, the Sassanids engaged the enemy with a Persian-Mesopotamian army led by meritocratic generals. By this point, the nobles were so thoroughly bled dry and enraged at the Sassanids, that the empire was essentially nonexistent east of the Zagros mountains. The nobles only assisted Yazdegerd III after he had lost Cteshipon and presented himself to a few of the clans in total submission. The nobles very nearly recovered the throne fro Yazdgerd III at Nahavand, the most fearsome battle that the early Caliphate engaged in during the reign of Umar ibn al-Khattab.

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4. Yes, some did change. The region of Sogdiana was existing during the Seleucid and Achaemenid period, however in a different form than what we imagine. According to Greek sources, Sogdia was a land of wild tribal mountain farming folk who were fearsome in battle and detested the 'Scythians' and other nomads. They served as the Achaemenid northern shield against the steppe region. However, after the beginning of the Xiongnu empire and the flight of different sorts of Scythian and Wusun into the region, the area of Sogdia was changed immensely. Under the Scythian Kangju confederate rule over Sogdia, the Sogdian language and the Scythian tongue of the Kangju seem to have molded to some degree. The lines between Sogdian and the Scythian tongue spoken by the Kangju remains a hot topic in Silk Road and Kushan studies.

Scythian also became the primary language of the old city of Khotan in Tocharia during the period of Scythian adventurism. Presumably the city and kingdom of Khotan originally spoke a version of Tocharian, but by the Middle Ages, the Khotanese dialect of 'Scythian' was the language of literature and life in the city and kingdom until it was destroyed by the Muslim Turkic Qhara-Qhanids in 1006, the final Scythian realm and the last true remnant of the Kushan empire. The Khotan kingdom was once part of the Kushan realm and was ruled by a supposed unbroken line of kings according to the Chinese under a clan called the Visha, withim we find their taking of Tocharian and Sanskrit names, alongside Scythian names and insignia upon coinage. The Khotanese Scythian populace also interestingly had an important Greek component, as the DNA and other archaeological evidences point to a fair amount of Southern European lineages found in the city in the later Kushan period. A very interesting discussion, surely.

The Yuezhi seem to have been similar to the Dahae within Bactria, but more importantly seem to have developed a more close relation to the Greco-Bactrian populace of the region and later to that of the Hindu populace of Hindustan. But, otherwise, the Kushan empire still operated as an empire that combined an overwhelming sedentary population and a tiny minority of Scythian, Wusun and Dahae nomads alongside a semi-Nomadic Yuezhi and Tocharian urban populace. The Western Satraps and the other Scythian realms are much the same, as far as we know, their armies after 400 years in the Hindu subcontinent, remained almost an entirely nomadic style.

That being said, the Kushan though it differed in some aspects to the Arsacids and may have built upon more of the prior Greco-Bactrian and Greco-Indian realms than the Arsacids built from the Seleucids (or definitely the Achaemenids, who for all intents, might as well have not existed for the Arsacids), the realms were ultimately similar. Both built from an Indo-European populace from the north or the east that was nomadic and held caste systems (though the Dahae and Scythian seemed to have more thoroughly lived within a world formed by caste than the Yuezhi did when they arrived) that perhaps permitted the maintenance of their unique cultural and societal traits despite an overwhelming sedentary majority populace. Each guarded jealously their exceptionalism and their supposed steppe lineage.

Indo-Pahlavi or the Surenid realm was a sub-kingdom of the Arsacid realm. They were permitted to invade these lands and the two had little issues otherwise. Chinese sources claim that the two were the same realm and that when Kujula of the Kushan waged war against the House Suren, he was battling the Anxi, or the Arsacid realm in general. This would make sense as the Arsacid and the Surenid were both making gains in the east, slowly pushing back the Yuezhi confederates, the Scythian kings and the Wusun tribes. It would seem that the Arsacid and Karens took lands due north while the Surens took lands to the south. It was not long prior to this, that the Arsacids for instance retook the ancient city of Arsaka-Nisa and returned the bodies of their ancestors which had been looted and exposed by the Yuezhi during the reign of Artabanus I.

Why did this occur? That is a difficult answer, one would expect a people to assimilate to the local culture and people that outnumbered them. My theory and the theory oft-held in Kushan studies, is that the reason this was not as easy of an affair, is that the incoming peoples into the Iranian plateau, Bactria, Hindustan , etc.. believed in extremely powerful systems of caste, lineage, tribal nobility and of certain forms of honor that precluded the idea of 'working' and becoming sedentary. Once upon the sedentary folk, they simply placed their existing tribal caste system on top of the sedentary people and thus to remain a nomadic herder meant a greater status, no need to pay tributes/dues or work and the simple aspect that the steppe warriors were superior in many aspects of warfare. As Chinese sources attest, the sedentary people of Bactria were servile farmers who worked on behalf of the supposedly superior nomadic warriors who camped outside of their city or whose royal caste lived in the palace meant for the prior Greco-Bactrian king.
 
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1. The Sassanids were a true Persianate state. They attempted to assert Persian culture, religion and modes of life in opposition to the Great Houses who were ultimately a collection of nomadic tribal notables who refused to assimilate or adopt Persianate modes of life. Persian and Avestan were promoted by the Sassanids to counter the Great Houses; ultimately the Sassanids failed in many regards to disseminate the Persian language and Zoroastrianism outside of Fars. It would not be until the Islamic period under the Saffarid, Samanid, Buyid, Ghaznavid, Ghurid and Safavid periods that Persian would truly expand, but by that point, the Great Houses had finally disappeared.
Talking about those Great Houses, do you have any good maps to visualize the territory of the great houses and other internal states?

For example this:
Shows vassals but it doesn't seem to be the actual or at least not all of the Great Houses and it shows them disappearing with the Sassanids takeover, which directly contrary to their survival.

Off topic, but I wonder how power was shared between the 2 houses residing in Ray, Mihran and Spandiyadh.

Arab was spread via the power of Islamic teaching and instruction as a second tongue. As a native language, it was the language of conquest and the Arab ruling elite by the Abbasid period came to thoroughly seek to create a scenario wherein Arab and Islamic culture was inclusive to people regardless of lineage. The Scytho-Dahae that conquered the majority of the Seleucid empire was in total different, affirming caste, superiority and exceptionalism of their lineages and people. As I mentioned, even into the eve of Islam, the Great Houses were claiming a certain superior lineage that was 'pure' while the Persians and other Iranians were some sort of lowly caste.
I believe the Arabs at the start also self-segregated in garrison cities and discriminated non-Arab Muslims, and from what I know of the Abbassid revolution in Khorasan(coincidentally) the local Arabs intermixed with the locals and this was also the region that spearheaded anti-Umayyad revolts.
Is there a chance for something similar to happen? Obviously a lot of things are different but I'm curious if such an event could cause a shift in the inter-ethnic relations.

2. Presumably yes. The Great Houses utilized a modified Pahlavi tongue and script until the Islamic era, the most important works of Persian literature from that period were often originally composed in Pahlavi and then translated into Persian in the succeeding Islamic eras, especially the later Abbasid period. Though, what the nobles themselves spoke, this is a difficult topic, I am not sure exactly what that would be. Most likely, a combination of an ancient Dahae-Central Asian tongue with that of Pahlavi, the language of Parthia.
So linguistically they did assimilate to some extent. Were they more open to interact and intermarry with the local Parthians compared to other local Iranians?

3. The Dahae populace must have been extremely small. In the Sassanid period the population must have been between 25-35 million inhabitants, the Arsacid period was perhaps 15-25 million depending upon the era. Among that, I would assume that no more than 800k were of Dahae origin at any one time, maybe 3% of the population give or take. They had become a plurality in the region of Parthia and a tiny minority in Media, Persia and rare elsewhere. When the Arsacid realm ruled more northern areas, namely when they ruled the Kwarezm and similar areas, presumably this would have increased the Dahae populace. However, the Dahae homelands were conquered by the Yuezhi, Scythians and Wusun confederates in 127 BCE and the region would become an area of firm Kushan rule until the year 230 CE under Sassanid rule. After the reconquest, the Great Houses annexed all of the steppe region as their 'homelands' and the Sassanid royalty oddly received no holdings in the east (it was a return to its original owners).
Considering the examples of the Turkification of southernmost Central Asia, Azerbaijan(NW Iran too) and Anatolia, the size of the migratory groups or at least their eventual growth seems to be a potential differing factor, ancestry genetics tells us that all Turks in the regions involved have plenty of Turkic ancestry, this ancestry being something you have to define in context, given Turkic groups had different genetics and later events were driven by people that themselves were Turkified in relative recent history.
Even regions with least Turkic ancestry(outside small exceptions) would have had surely more than 10% but even in the extreme case it's not more than 50%, so it's still involves assimilation, be it through intermarriage or contact and I'm not sure how it would have played out with the Iranian caste system.
As a "counterexample" to the demographic factor, the Hazara people despite having the most Eastern Asian ancestry out of their neighbours(apparently Turkic Uzbeks included) are Iranian speaking still.

The Dahae populace would have been nomadic and horse raising folk, utilizing a semi-nomadic life in Iran. Archaeological evidences point to Dahae commoners living directly outside of Iranian cities in camps of sorts (note, this is the same manner in which the Yuezhi interacted with the populaces of Bactria) and journeying to and fro between locations, raising animals and riding horses.

According to Sassanid era customs and its precedents, these people would acquire regular tribute from the sedentary Iranian peoples of Parthia, Media, Mesopotamia, Armenia and Persia. In exchange, none of the sedentary people were raised to wage war and their religious customs and ways of life were preserved. In general, it would seem that the Dahae notables and probably their own commoners, felt the sedentary peoples of the region to have been almost akin to a servant caste that provided resources for their war machine and worked as they could not battle on horseback; meanwhile the Dahae populace were warriors and herders who felt themselves free from the work of sedentary peoples.
So even if we restrain them to their pastoral, semi-nomadic livestock/horse-raising niche, can't they still grow and displace/fill local pastoralist environments in the Indus? Or even significantly shift the land usage towards pastoralism and more nomadic lifestyle?I believe this is what happened in late medieval and early modern Anatolia and Iraq, although the latter case didn't have any major linguistic shift.

4. Yes, some did change. The region of Sogdiana was existing during the Seleucid and Achaemenid period, however in a different form than what we imagine. According to Greek sources, Sogdia was a land of wild tribal mountain farming folk who were fearsome in battle and detested the 'Scythians' and other nomads. They served as the Achaemenid northern shield against the steppe region. However, after the beginning of the Xiongnu empire and the flight of different sorts of Scythian and Wusun into the region, the area of Sogdia was changed immensely. Under the Scythian Kangju confederate rule over Sogdia, the Sogdian language and the Scythian tongue of the Kangju seem to have molded to some degree. The lines between Sogdian and the Scythian tongue spoken by the Kangju remains a hot topic in Silk Road and Kushan studies.

Scythian also became the primary language of the old city of Khotan in Tocharia during the period of Scythian adventurism. Presumably the city and kingdom of Khotan originally spoke a version of Tocharian, but by the Middle Ages, the Khotanese dialect of 'Scythian' was the language of literature and life in the city and kingdom until it was destroyed by the Muslim Turkic Qhara-Qhanids in 1006, the final Scythian realm and the last true remnant of the Kushan empire. The Khotan kingdom was once part of the Kushan realm and was ruled by a supposed unbroken line of kings according to the Chinese under a clan called the Visha, withim we find their taking of Tocharian and Sanskrit names, alongside Scythian names and insignia upon coinage. The Khotanese Scythian populace also interestingly had an important Greek component, as the DNA and other archaeological evidences point to a fair amount of Southern European lineages found in the city in the later Kushan period. A very interesting discussion, surely.
I'll look up the genetics, I don't recall there being a iron age sample from the Tarim basin.

Also another example I just found is Gandhara which seem to have been Indic until the start of late antiquity.

The Yuezhi seem to have been similar to the Dahae within Bactria, but more importantly seem to have developed a more close relation to the Greco-Bactrian populace of the region and later to that of the Hindu populace of Hindustan. But, otherwise, the Kushan empire still operated as an empire that combined an overwhelming sedentary population and a tiny minority of Scythian, Wusun and Dahae nomads alongside a semi-Nomadic Yuezhi and Tocharian urban populace. The Western Satraps and the other Scythian realms are much the same, as far as we know, their armies after 400 years in the Hindu subcontinent, remained almost an entirely nomadic style.

That being said, the Kushan though it differed in some aspects to the Arsacids and may have built upon more of the prior Greco-Bactrian and Greco-Indian realms than the Arsacids built from the Seleucids (or definitely the Achaemenids, who for all intents, might as well have not existed for the Arsacids), the realms were ultimately similar. Both built from an Indo-European populace from the north or the east that was nomadic and held caste systems (though the Dahae and Scythian seemed to have more thoroughly lived within a world formed by caste than the Yuezhi did when they arrived) that perhaps permitted the maintenance of their unique cultural and societal traits despite an overwhelming sedentary majority populace. Each guarded jealously their exceptionalism and their supposed steppe lineage.
How did those groups deal with local dissent? In their caste system or interethnic relation did they play favorites between ethnic or religious groups? Was their patronage of Buddhism an hinderance in this context?

Why did this occur? That is a difficult answer, one would expect a people to assimilate to the local culture and people that outnumbered them. My theory and the theory oft-held in Kushan studies, is that the reason this was not as easy of an affair, is that the incoming peoples into the Iranian plateau, Bactria, Hindustan , etc.. believed in extremely powerful systems of caste, lineage, tribal nobility and of certain forms of honor that precluded the idea of 'working' and becoming sedentary. Once upon the sedentary folk, they simply placed their existing tribal caste system on top of the sedentary people and thus to remain a nomadic herder meant a greater status, no need to pay tributes/dues or work and the simple aspect that the steppe warriors were superior in many aspects of warfare. As Chinese sources attest, the sedentary people of Bactria were servile farmers who worked on behalf of the supposedly superior nomadic warriors who camped outside of their city or whose royal caste lived in the palace meant for the prior Greco-Bactrian king.
If the segregated elite won't be a motor for assimilation, can't they indirectly or unintentionally facilitate it? Maybe by facilitating a longer influx of pastoralists and nomads, would that be plausible for them to do? A policy of deportation?
 
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Also I want to indicate that if the population of South Asia during the later iron age was 75 million(seems too high and assumes millennium long complete stagnation, but for the sake of the argument let's use it) and if the ratio between Pakistan population in 1950 to the overall population was the same then Pakistan would have had between 5 and 6 million people, definitely not that much, the Iranic population was 11% in 1950 and 20% 1998.
 
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@Gloss

Discussion in order of how your topics appeared.

1. I am not very skilled with map making, but I am sure that there is at least an approximation of a map regarding this topic. There however is a tendency in history for some reason to display most Middle Eastern entities as undivided despite its existent realities.

2. Regarding the division of House Mihran and Spandiyadh, this is a topic of two types. Either they are both Arsacid cadet branches and hence ruled very similar areas. Namely, the Spandiyadh ruled the areas of Eastern Media (while southern Media were ruled by the Karens), whilst the Mihran ruled central Media. It would seem that of these groups, the House Karen may have ruled the largest percentage of area and possessed the greatest resource base ruling Nahavand and the old Arsacid capitol of Ectabtana (or Akkadian Amgana during the Arsacid period often in their Akkadian inscriptions). Mihran was the most prominent of the cadet branch of the Arsacids; though Spandiyadh was also a cadet branch. Thus, the second opinion is that they are the same family, but with split realms. I favor the first view.

It should be noted, none of the other clans were Arsacid cadet branches. There was another Arsacid cadet branch in the city of Susa, that ruled alongside the Greco-Elamite kings therein. However, the Sassanid uprising destroyed this cadet branch during the final Arsacid civil war. Suren, Karen, Ispahbudhan, Varaz and Zik seem to have been not related to the Arsacids in familial terms.

-House Mihran seems to have ruled an odd shape of lands. Its southern and western boundaries were flanked by Rey and by the Karenid realm of Media proper. Then extending in an snake like shape, it would have encompassed the ancient Albania and ended at the Caspian Gates and then westward its border into the deeper parts of Kartli. This is why the House Mihran was given the rank of 'Northern Commander.' It most likely ruled a collection of small realms across the region in the mountainous hill country of diverse ethnicity and religion.

-Zik seem to have a realm corresponding to the territorial extent of the old Media Atropatene and encompassing all of Lake Urmia and extending into Assyria and the old city of Musasir.

-House Karen ruled the remainder of Media, including Nahavand and Ectbatana. Theire northern border would have been the Zik realm and their southern border extended to the city of Susa where it met the boundary of the Sassanid royal holdings. Then House Karen extended far to the east, ending at the modern region of Yazd and not extending further than Kerman. This House held the title in the later eras as Commander of the West.

-House Suren ruled modern Sistan, Hormoz, Qeshm island, but its true holdings were far to the east, namely all of the modern regions of southern Afghanistan and Balochistan and even into the Indus Valley. This was the clan which held the privilege , in later eras, of Commander of the South. It was also the clan who always crowned the Sassanid and Arsacid royalty.

-House Ispahbudhan ruled all of Mazandran and into the east, it ruled Hectampylos and some other areas in that vicinity. They were the clan whom the Sassanid royal clan married all of their children to. Ispahbudhan, seems to have both enjoyed this role and yet also loathed it, to them at times, it seems as if it was a chore to marry such lowly people. This however gave the Ispahbudhan the power as royal matchmakers and of the main authority in the palace at Cteshipon. It would seem, the second-command in the Ispahbudhan clan would become the head adviser of the Sassanid royalty .

-Varaz ruled the Khursan and the ancient Arsacid lands of Nisa and Arsaska. They were holders of the title commander of the East.

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3. If any assimilation occurred at a noticeable scale, it was with the Parthians. And yes, there was a general dislike of the people of the region, but a much more intense dislike of the Persians particularly. I have discussed this elsewhere.

4. Certainly. Even as late as 550 BCE, the Indus was a pastoralist region or at least heavily so. The region had exchanged from being an agricultural centre in the period of the Indus Valley Civilization into an Aryan pastoralist area during the Vedic era. Perhaps ask @Shahrasayr on this topic, he would know more about this transition.

5. The ruler Kanishka I was definitely a devotee of the Buddha and a practicing Buddhist, however, this does not mean all of the Kushan emperors were Buddhsits. Frankly, from my understanding, Kanishka was the sole Buddhist Kushan emperor. However, all of the Kushan emperors sponsored Buddhism to some degree with the exception of Kujula Khaphises and possibly Vima I.

Huvishka and Vasudeva I for instance, seem to have been devotees of Shiva and Katrikeya, including the gods, Winsho, Hercules, Zeus/Indra, Mithra/Surya/Apollo, Ishtar and Anahita. In fact, Vasudeva I made it a great point to outline his firm devotion to Shiva. The heir to the Kushan empire in the Southern Kingdom in the Indus and Punjab, Vashishka II, was at least a stronger advocate of Buddhism than Vasudeva I.

Regarding how the Kushans treated each group, this is mostly unknown. However, it is suspected that the groups most benefited to the relation were the Greek, Bactrian, Yuezho-Tocharian and Scythian populaces. Generally, the areas that received the most profound level of development and growth under Kushan rule, were within either Central Asia or within either the Greco-Bactrian or Greco-Hindu kingdoms. Regarding the Scythian, the majority of the Kushan satraps were Scythians, especially in Hindustan, where Scythian lords claimed to be sub-kings of the 'Great King of the Arya, King of all Kings' the Kushan empire presumably. Most likely, the Kushan were only known as the Kushan within the area of Bactria wherein Yuezhi tribal affiliation mattered, but in the grater part of the empire, the Kushan were the Lords of the Arya and 'Saviors of the World,' First Borne of the Gods and other grandiose titles.

What we do know however, is that the Kushan seemed to have done little warfare utilizing its local sedentary inhabitants. Kushan authorities were treated by the Sassanids as a Scythian empire to its east, one that was filled to the brim with steppe nomadic horse warriors, similar to the Great Houses. It can be assumed reasonably that the Kushan were drawing their armies from Scytho-Yuezhi within their realm. However, the defeat and fall of Vasudeva I in 230-232 CE and the annexation of most of the centre of the Kushan empire to the Sassanids, led to an odd situation.

In the north, the Kushan survived as a northern kingdom, originally under Kanishka II, who ruled from the Ferghana region and briefly ruled India through a corridor between Tocharia and India via the Kashmir and Pamiri mountain ranges. This northern kingdom goes into obscurity after Kanishka II and we know little of what is occurring in the old Kushan areas north of Bactria and outside of Sassanid lands. The Southern part however, rebounds under Vashishka II, Kanishka III and Vasudeva II even briefly retaking much of southern Bactria from the Sassanids before it faced an old enemy;

That enemy being the Kidarites, the so-called Neo-Kushans who claiming to be Kushan lords, invaded and attacked Sassanid and Kushan (true) alike. The Kushan lords of the Indus had already lost seemingly several wars to Samudragupta, namely, Kushan rule was firm seemingly as far south as Delhi until Samudragupta pushed the Kushan out of the area and apparently forced the Kushan lords to pay tribute. As such, the Kidara were the last straw, they crushed the Kushan in Gandhara and the Kushan state began to collapse until it was defunct except for a collection of Kushan vassals to the Kidara, Hepthalites and the Gupta in the city of Taxila. Presumably, these Kidara and possibly the other Hunnic groups, such as the Hepthalites arose from this Northern kingdom, all of whom calling themselves calling themselves Kushan or so forth.

Anyway, what I was getting at, was that the Kushan state in India after 250 CE, seems to have maintained much less of its steppe heritage than it did prior and the steppe nomadic features of its armies may have been extinguished by this point. However, as the Kidara made clear, the nomadic steppe warrior tradition was linked to the Kushan. One could speculate that the Kidara felt themselves more true to the Kushan heritage than the legitimist Kushan state of the Indus Valley.

6. It might be possible to deport, but it might be distasteful. It would be more preferred for the sedentary people to have the best land so that they may produce more land for the Yuezho-Scythian warlords. An idea is simply deporting all sedentary peoples on the western side of the Indus river to the eastern side.Though, I am not sure how feasible that this would be.
 
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