Daxia

This page is currently protected from editing until disputes have been resolved.
Protection is not an endorsement of the current [ version] ([ protection log]). Please discuss changes on the talk page or request unprotection. You may use {{}} on the talk page to ask for an administrator to make an edit for you.
"Bactrian" redirects here. For the camel, see Bactrian camel. For the language, see Bactrian language.
Enlarge picture
Map of Bactria
Bactria (Bactriana, Bākhtar in Persian, also Bhalika in Arabic and Indian languages, and Ta-Hia in Chinese) was the ancient Greek name of the country between the range of the Hindu Kush and the Amu Darya (Oxus); its capital, Bactra or Balhika or Bokhdi (now Balkh), was located in what is northern Afghanistan.

Bactria was bounded on the east by the ancient region of Gandhara. The Bactrian language is an Iranian language of the Indo-Iranian sub-family of the Indo-European family.

The Bactrians are one of the main ancestral lines of the modern-day Tajiks of northern Afghanistan, Tajikistan, and southern Uzbekistan.[1]

Geography

Enlarge picture
Ancient cities of Bactria.
Bactria is basically what is now northern Afghanistan. It is a mountainous region with a moderate climate. Water is abundant and the land is very fertile. Bactria was the home of one of the Iranian tribes. Modern authors have often used the name in a wider sense, as the designation of all the countries of Central Asia.

History

According to some writers, Bactria was the homeland of Aryan tribes who moved south-west into Iran and into North-Western India around 2500-2000 BC Later it became the north province of the Persian Empire in Central Asia.(Cotterell, 59) It was in these regions, where the fertile soil of the mountainous country is surrounded by the Turanian desert, that the prophet Zarathushtra (Zoroaster) was said to have been born and gained his first adherents. Avestan, the language of the oldest portions of the Zoroastrian Avesta, was once called "old-iranic" which is related to Sanskrit. Today some scholars believe the Avestan-Language was the western dialect of the Sanskrit because both languages are the oldest Indo-Iranian language of Aryans we know. With the time the Avestan-Language became developed by own western style.

Cyrus and Alexander

See main article: Bactria (satrapy)
It is not known whether Bactria formed part of the Median Empire, but it was subjugated by Cyrus the Great, and from then formed one of the satrapies of the Persian empire. After Darius III of Persia had been defeated by Alexander the Great and killed in the ensuing chaos, his murderer Bessus, the satrap of Bactria, tried to organize a national resistance based on his satrapy.

Alexander conquered Sogdiana and Iran without much difficulty; it was only in to the south, beyond the Oxus, that he met strong resistance. After two years of bloody war Bactria became a province of the Macedonian empire, but Alexander never successfully subdued the people. After Alexander's death the Macedonian empire was eventually divided up between generals in Alexander's army. Bactria became a part of the Seleucid empire, named after its founder, Seleucus I.

Seleucid Empire

The Macedonians (and especially Seleucus I and his son Antiochus I) established the Seleucid Empire, and founded a great many Greek towns in eastern Iran, and the Greek language became dominant for some time there.

The paradox that Greek presence was more prominent in Bactria than in areas far more adjacent to Greece could possibly be explained by the supposed policy of Persian kings to deport unreliable Greeks to this the most remote province of their huge empire.

Greco-Bactrian Kingdom

Enlarge picture
Gold stater of the Greco-Bactrian king Eucratides, the largest gold coin of Antiquity.
Main article: Greco-Bactrian Kingdom


The many difficulties against which the Seleucid kings had to fight and the attacks of Ptolemy II of Egypt, gave Diodotus, satrap of Bactria, the opportunity to declare independence (about 255 BC) and conquer Sogdiana. He was the founder of the Greco-Bactrian kingdom. Diodotus and his successors were able to maintain themselves against the attacks of the Seleucids - particularly from Antiochus III the Great, who was ultimately defeated by the Romans (190 BC).

The Greco-Bactrians were so powerful that they were able to expand their territory as far as India:
"As for Bactria, a part of it lies alongside Aria towards the north, though most of it lies above Aria and to the east of it. And much of it produces everything except oil. The Greeks who caused Bactria to revolt grew so powerful on account of the fertility of the country that they became masters, not only of Ariana, but also of India, as Apollodorus of Artemita says: and more tribes were subdued by them than by Alexander...." (Strabo, 11.11.1)

Indo-Greek Kingdom

Main article: Indo-Greek Kingdom
Enlarge picture
The founder of the Indo-Greek Kingdom Demetrius I (205-171 BC), wearing the scalp of an elephant, symbol of his conquest of India.


The Bactrian king Euthydemus and his son Demetrius crossed the Hindu Kush and began the conquest of Northern Afghanistan and the Indus valley. For a short time they wielded great power; a great Greek empire seemed to have arisen far in the East. But this empire was torn by internal dissensions and continual usurpations. When Demetrius advanced far into India one of his generals, Eucratides, made himself king of Bactria, and soon in every province there arose new usurpers, who proclaimed themselves kings and fought one against the other.

Most of them we know only by their coins, a great many of which are found in Afghanistan, Pakistan and India. By these wars the dominant position of the Greeks was undermined even more quickly than would otherwise have been the case. After Demetrius and Eucratides, the kings abandoned the Attic standard of coinage and introduced a native standard, no doubt to gain support from outside the Greek minority. In India, this went even further. Indo-Greek King Menander I (known as Milinda in India), recognized as a great conqueror, converted to Buddhism. His successors managed to cling to power somewhat longer, but around AD 10 all of the Greek kings were gone.

Sakas and Yuezhis

Enlarge picture
The treasure of the royal burial Tillia tepe is attributed to 1st century BCE Sakas in Bactria.
There is no evidence that the Sakas were related to the Buddha's original clan, Shakya.

The weakness of the Greco-Bactrian empire was shown by its sudden and complete overthrow, first by the Sakas, and then by the Yuezhi (who later became known as Kushans), who had conquered Daxia (= Bactria) by the time of the visit of the Chinese envoy Zhang Qian, c. 126 BC.

But then its emergence, isolated thousands of miles from Greece, could only be described as a paradox. However, its cultural influences were not completely undone; an artistic style mixing western and eastern elements known as the Gandhara culture survived the empire for hundreds of years.

Contacts with China

Enlarge picture
Zhang Qian taking leave from emperor Han Wudi, for his expedition to Central Asia from 138 to 126 BCE, Mogao Caves mural, 618-712 CE.
The name Daxia appears in Chinese from the 3rd century BCE to designate a mythical kingdom to the West, possibly a consequence of the first contacts with the expansion of the Greco-Bactrian Kingdom, and then is used by the explorer Zhang Qian in 126 BCE to designate Bactria.

The reports of Zhang Qian were put in writing in the Shiji ("Records of the Grand Historian") by Sima Qian in the 1st century BCE. They describe an important urban civilization of about one million people, living in walled cities under small city kings or magistrates. Ta-Hsia was an affluent country with rich markets, trading in an incredible variety of objects, coming as far as Southern China. By the time Zhang Qian visited Daxia, there was no longer a major king, and the Bactrian were suzerains to the nomadic Yuezhi, who were settled to the north of their territory beyond the Oxus (Amu Darya). Overall Zhang Qian depicted a rather sophisticated but demoralized people who were afraid of war.

Following these reports, the Chinese emperor Wu Di was informed of the level of sophistication of the urban civilizations of Ferghana, Bactria and Parthia, and became interested in developing commercial relationship them:

"The Son of Heaven on hearing all this reasoned thus: Ferghana (Dayuan) and the possessions of Bactria (Daxia) and Parthia (Anxi) are large countries, full of rare things, with a population living in fixed abodes and given to occupations somewhat identical with those of the Chinese people, but with weak armies, and placing great value on the rich produce of China" (Hanshu, Former Han History).


These contacts immediately led to the dispatch of multiple embassies from the Chinese, which helped to develop the Silk Road.

Tokharistan

Following the settlement of the Yuezhi (described in the West as "Tocharians"), the general area of Bactria came to be called Tokharistan. From the 1st century CE to the 3rd century CE, Tokharistan was under the rule of the Kushans. They were followed by Sassanides (Indo-Sassanids). Later, in the 5th century, it was controlled by the Khionits and the Hephthalites. In the 7th century, after a brief rule under the Turkish Khaganats, it was conquered by the Arabs.

Notes and references

1. ^ Library of Congress, "Tajikistan - Historical & Ethnic Backround", (LINK): "Contemporary Tajiks are the descendants of ancient Eastern Iranian inhabitants of Central Asia, in particular the Soghdians and the Bactrians, and possibly other groups, with an admixture of Western Iranian Persians and non-Iranian peoples."

See also

Archaeological sites

External links

C. bactrianus

Binomial name
Camelus bactrianus
Linnaeus, 1758

Bactrian Camel range


The Bactrian camel (Camelus bactrianus
..... Click the link for more information.
Bactrian language is an extinct Middle Iranian language which was spoken in the Central Asian region of Bactria, also called Tocharistan, in northern Afghanistan. Linguistically, it is classified as belonging to the Northeastern Iranian branch.
..... Click the link for more information.
fɒːɾˈsiː in Perso-Arabic script (Nasta`liq style):  
Pronunciation: [fɒːɾˈsiː]
Spoken in: Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and areas of Uzbekistan and Pakistan.
..... Click the link for more information.
Ta-Hsia, or Daxia (Chinese:大夏) is the name given in antiquity by the Chinese to the territory of Bactria.

The name Ta-Hsia appears in Chinese from the 3rd century BCE to designate a mythical kingdom to the West, possibly a consequence of the first
..... Click the link for more information.
Greek}}} 
Writing system: Greek alphabet 
Official status
Official language of:  Greece
 Cyprus
 European Union
recognised as minority language in parts of:
 European Union
 Italy
 Turkey
Regulated by:
..... Click the link for more information.
Hindu Kush



Countries | Afghanistan,Pakistan
| Northern Areas

Highest point | Tirich Mir
 - coordinates
..... Click the link for more information.
Origin Pamir Mountains
Mouth Aral Sea
Basin countries Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan
Length 2,400 km (1,500 mi)
Source elevation ~6,000 m (15,000 ft)

Avg.
..... Click the link for more information.
Origin Pamir Mountains
Mouth Aral Sea
Basin countries Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan
Length 2,400 km (1,500 mi)
Source elevation ~6,000 m (15,000 ft)

Avg.
..... Click the link for more information.
Balkh

Coordinates:
Province Balkh
Coordinates
Population
105300
(2006 est.
..... Click the link for more information.
This page has been semi-protected from editing to deal with vandalism.
Semi-protection is not an endorsement of the current version. To see other versions, view the [ page history].
..... Click the link for more information.
Gandhāra (Sanskrit: गन्धार Urdu: گندھارا Gandḥārā; literally meaning "perfumed"; also known as Waihind in Persian)[1]
..... Click the link for more information.
Bactrian language is an extinct Middle Iranian language which was spoken in the Central Asian region of Bactria, also called Tocharistan, in northern Afghanistan. Linguistically, it is classified as belonging to the Northeastern Iranian branch.
..... Click the link for more information.
Indo-Iranian language group constitutes the easternmost extant branch of the Indo-European family of languages. It consists of four language groups: the Indo-Aryan, Iranian, Nuristani, and Dardic.
..... Click the link for more information.
Indo-Iranian language group constitutes the easternmost extant branch of the Indo-European family of languages. It consists of four language groups: the Indo-Aryan, Iranian, Nuristani, and Dardic.
..... Click the link for more information.
Indo-European languages comprise a family of several hundred related languages and dialects [1], including most of the major languages of Europe, the northern Indian subcontinent (South Asia), the Iranian plateau (Southwest Asia), and much of Central Asia.
..... Click the link for more information.
The Bactrians were an Indo-European people originally of Bactria, situated in what is now modern northern Afghanistan, Tajikistan, and southern Uzbekistan.

Several important trade routes from India and China (including the Silk Road) passed through Bactria and, as early as
..... Click the link for more information.
Tājīk (Persian: تاجيک; UniPers: Tâjik; Tajik: Тоҷик
..... Click the link for more information.
Ҷумҳурии Тоҷикистон
Jumhūrī-yi Tojīkiston

..... Click the link for more information.
Anthem
National Anthem of the Republic of Uzbekistan


Capital Tashkent

Largest city Tashkent
..... Click the link for more information.
The Iranian peoples (See[1] for local names) are a collection of ethnic groups defined by their usage of Iranian languages and their descent from ancient Iranian peoples.
..... Click the link for more information.
Editing of this page by unregistered or newly registered users is currently disabled due to vandalism.
If you are prevented from editing this page, and you wish to make a change, please discuss changes on the talk page, request unprotection, log in, or .
..... Click the link for more information.
This page is currently protected from editing until disputes have been resolved.
Protection is not an endorsement of the current [ version] ([ protection log]).
..... Click the link for more information.
BCE Zayandeh River Civilization Sialk civilization 7500–1000 Jiroft civilization (Aratta) Proto-Elamite civilization Bactria-Margiana Complex Elamite dynasties 2800–550 Kingdom of Mannai Median Empire 728–550 Achaemenid Empire Seleucid Empire Greco-Bactrian
..... Click the link for more information.
Central Asia is a vast landlocked region of Asia. Though various definitions of its exact composition exist, no one definition is universally accepted. Despite this uncertainty in defining borders, it does have some important overall characteristics.
..... Click the link for more information.
Tūrān (Persian: توران) is the ancient Iranian name[1] for Central Asia, literally meaning "the land of the Tur".
..... Click the link for more information.
Zoroaster (Greek Ζωροάστρης, Zōroastrēs) or Zarathustra (Avestan: Zaraθuštra), also referred to as Zartosht (Persian:
..... Click the link for more information.
Avestan}}} 
Writing system: Avestan alphabet
Language codes
ISO 639-1: ae
ISO 639-2: ave
ISO 639-3: ave  

Avestan
..... Click the link for more information.
Zoroastrianism is the religion and philosophy based on the teachings ascribed to the prophet Zoroaster (Zarathustra, Zartosht). Mazdaism is the religion that acknowledges the divine authority of Ahura Mazda, proclaimed by Zoroaster to be the one uncreated Creator of
..... Click the link for more information.


The Avesta is the primary collection of sacred texts of Zoroastrianism, composed in the Avestan language. The texts originate over a period spanning most of the 1st millennium BC, and notably include the Old Avestan
..... Click the link for more information.
Sanskrit}}}  | style="padding-left: 0.5em;" | Writing system: | colspan="2" style="padding-left: 0.5em;" | Devanāgarī and several other Brāhmī-based scripts  ! colspan="3" style="text-align: center; color: black; background-color: lawngreen;"|Official
..... Click the link for more information.


This article is copied from an article on Wikipedia.org - the free encyclopedia created and edited by online user community. The text was not checked or edited by anyone on our staff. Although the vast majority of the wikipedia encyclopedia articles provide accurate and timely information please do not assume the accuracy of any particular article. This article is distributed under the terms of GNU Free Documentation License.