Khorasan, also written as Khurasan, (Persian: خراسان بزرگ or خراسان کهن) is a historical region lying in the northeast of Persia that has been mentioned in various sources in the past. "In pre-Islamic and early Islamic times, the term "Khurassan" frequently had a much wider denotation, covering also parts of Central Asia and Afghanistan; early Islamic usage often regarded everywhere east of western Persia, sc. Djibal or what was subsequently termed 'Irak 'Adjami, as being included in a vast and ill-defined region of Khurasan, which might even extend to the Indus Valley and Sind." Before Islamization of the region, the inhabitants of Khorasan had mostly practiced Zoroastrianism but at different stages there were also various adherents of Manichaeism, Sun worshippers (Mithraism), Nestorianism, Paganism, Shamanism, Buddhism and a small number of Jews too....Khorasan in its proper sense comprised principally the cities of Mashhad, Nishapur, Sabzevar and Kashmar (now in Iran), Balkh and Herat (now in Afghanistan), Merv, Nisa and Abiward (now in Turkmenistan), Samarqand and Bukhara (now in Uzbekistan).
The name "Khorasan" is derived from Middle Persian khor (meaning "sun") and asan (or ayan literally meaning "to come" or "coming" or "about to come"), hence meaning "land where the sun rises". The Persian word Khāvar-zamīn (Persian: خاور زمین), meaning "the eastern land", has also been used as an equivalent term.
Bactria, by some writers, is called "the pride of Ariana". The ancient local citizen called it "Bactria the beautiful". Bactria was popular for its fertility. Besides Oxus, the Arius [modern Hari-rud] and a few other smaller river irrigate it. A large variety of fruits and vegetables grows here and excellent breed of sheep were raised in green Hindu Kush slopes.
It was from Bactria that came prophet Zarathustra (Zardasht). Another source of spiritual home that made Bactria sacred was a great temple of the ancient goddess Anahid, or Anailtis- Tanata in Persian and Ananita in the Avesta hymns. The temple was so rich that often it attracted the needy Syrian kings who sat out to plunder it. In her name and honor, in Armemia, girls prostituted themselves. Anaitis was a Scythian goddess, but she is identified also as Assyrian Mylitta, the Arabian Alytta and the Greek Venus Urania. Artaxerxes Mnemon of the Sassanids was among her devotees. She is also associated with the Persian Mithra. Her association with Zoroaster adds to her popularity.
The once well watered land of Bactria and its fair climate has generally changed. The courses of the rivers have shifted, thus Bactria is not as glorious as it had been during the Macedonian occupation. The river Oxus once poured into the Caspian Sea, but now it flows into the Aral Sea. The modern city of Balkh [the old Bactrus], stood on the banks of this river, but now the city is a few miles away from the mighty Oxus.
The Aryans and the Iranians of Bactria, had a lot in common. They spoke the same language, worshiped the forces of nature, such as: Varuna, the shining Vault of Heaven; Mithra, the friendly light of the sun; Vayu; the wind that pushes aside the storms and clears the heaven; Yama, the primeval man, reigning over the blessed souls in paradise. The powers of nature, to them, were the signs of something far more deeply interfused. In their ceremonies they also drunk the sacred Juice, Soma.These two races slowly drifted apart as time went on, for not known reasons.
A trip around the northern province of Balkh is like an odyssey through the centuries, spanning the ancient Persian empire, the conquests of Alexander the Great and the arrival of Islam.The French mission has mapped 135 sites of archaeological interest in the region, best known for the ancient trove found by a Soviet archaeologist in the 1970s.The Bactrian Hoard consisted of exquisite gold jewelry and ornaments from graves of wealthy nomads, dated to the 1st century. It was hidden from the Taliban regime, concealed by its keepers in the vaults of the presidential palace in Kabul, and finally unlocked after the militia's ouster.
Balkh (Bactria)....The Old Iranian name of Paktra, which the classical writers named it Bactria and their language was known as Bactrian, and after invasion of Iran by Arabs in 7th century CE it has come to be called Balkh;
BACTRIA.... (Bactra/Tukharistan)...semi mythical empire about 1000 BC....South of Lake Balkash. West of Pamirs....ruled by Greek Seleucids after Alexander..."Bactria was the center of the Kushan Kingdom. Walled palace cities existed in 900 BC near the present sites of Termez, Merv (Gyaur-Kala), Samarkand, Afrasiab and Bactra (Balk) in southern Bactria." (Gafurov:1968)......
Bactria, also called Bactriana or Zariaspa, ancient country lying between the mountains of the Hindu Kush and the Amu Darya (ancient Oxus River) in what is now part of Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan. Bactria was especially important between about 600 bc and about ad 600, serving for much of that time as a meeting place not only for overland trade between East and West but also for the crosscurrents of religious and artistic ideas. Bactria’s capital was Bactra, also called Bactra-Zariaspa (modern Balkh, Afghanistan). Bactria was a fertile country, and a profusion of mounds and abandoned....
The Bon religion traces itself from Shenrab (gShen-rab), a teacher from the fabled land of Olmo-lungring (‘Ol-mo lung-ring) on the eastern edge of Tagzig (sTag-gzig), who brought it to Zhang-zhung (Zhang-zhung) in the remote, distant past. Zhang-zhung was an ancient kingdom with its capital in western Tibet near the sacred Mount Kailash. Some modern Russian scholars, basing themselves on linguistic analysis, identify Olmo-lungring with Elam in ancient western Iran and Tagzig with Tajik, referring to Bactria.
The Greco-Bactrian Kingdom was another major force in the development of the region. "Perhaps the best parallel to the Greek settlement in Bactria would be the British to India in the 19th century" (Frye 1996). The eventual demise of the Maurya dynasty was followed by the weak rule of the Sunga and Kanva respectively. The Greek king of Bactria exploited this period of weak rule and managed to take Gandhara, the Punjab and the Indus valley while his General Menander conquered Pataliputra in Northern India....During his reign there, Menander adopted a policy of religious tolerance and treated Buddhist communities under his command with benevolence. He was immortalized by a grateful Buddhist monk, in a treatise called the "Milindapanha" or the questions of Menander. There was then the reign of the nomadic Sakas who absorbed some of the Buddhist religion as can be seen by the discovery of Buddhist inscriptions they left behind. The nomadic people known as the Parni, later to become widely known as the Parthians then came to power around 75 AD but were defeated by the Kushana Dynasty.
The first Indo-European speakers entered central Europe about 2300 BC.
Indo-Europeans....Cold forced them to leave Aryan em Vaejo. They moved to Sughda (Soghdiana) and Muru (Margiana). Hostile forces made them go to Balkdhi (Balkh), 'the country of lofty banners'.
Just to the west of Zhang-zhung there once existed the vast Kushana empire ....... an area in which Indian Buddhism and the Bon teachings interacted with various strands of the great Iranian and Central Asian religions-- Zoroastrian, Zurvanist, Mithraist, Manichean, as well as Indian Shaivism and Nestorian Christianity.......
the country of Olmo Lungring where Tonpa Shenrab descended from the celestial spheres and took up incarnation among human beings as an Iranian prince. The mysterious land of Olmo Lungring (`ol-mo lung-rings) or Olmoling (`ol-mo`i gling) is said to be part of a larger geographical region to the northwest of Tibet called Tazig (stag-gzig, var. rtag-gzigs), which scholars identify with Iran or, more properly, Central Asia where in ancient times Iranian languages such as Avestan and later Sogdian were spoken. According to the “gZer-mig” the traditional etymology of the name Olmo Lungring is as follows: “`ol” means “unborn”, “mo” “undermined”, “lung” “the prophetic words of Shenrab”, and “rings” “everlasting compassion”. According to the “gZi-brjid”, Olmo Lungring was also known as Shambhala in Sanskrit and it continues to be known by this name among Tibetan Buddhists even today. Moreover, it is said that in ancient times it encompassed fully one-third of the known world a statement which could apply to the historical Persian empire.
When Zoroaster died, his sperm was miraculously preserved in Iran’s Lake Kansaoya. When the time arrives, the sperm will impregnate a girl who is swimming there, and she will give birth to three sons.
In 624 AD, a Moslem invasion weakened the Kingdom of Shambhala."(Roerich: 1974..pg 753) (Geoffrey Hopkins: 1985..pg 60)... In 624 AD the Sassian Shah Yazdigird is defeated by the Arabs at the battle of Nahavand...In Iran, the great Sassanian dynasty collapsed in the 7th century under the Arab onslaught...."in the era of the Mlecchas, the starting year of the Kalacakra chronology is the first year of the Hijra, calculated from the year 624 AD."..(Roerich:1949...pg 753)....624 AD...'the Emperor Heraclkes captures the Persian residence of Ganzaca (Ganjak) with its cosmic throne room." (Sacral Kingship: 1959..pg 484)
A glimpse into ancient Persian cosmology is the royal city of Hagmatan (Hamadan, Agbatana, Ekbatana)[50E 32N] built in 800 BC by King Deioces (Daiukku) of the Medes....... This city was just south of Calah........Seven concentric circles within walls, each higher than the preceding wall as one passed toward the center hill where the palace stood. The 7th and highest wall was painted gold (sun)...the 6th was painted silver (moon)...the 5th wall was painted orange...the fourth was painted blue...the third was painted red...the second black...and the outermost wall was painted white. Orange was the fiery morning 'asman', blue the noonday 'asman', red for the evening asman. The array of colors chosen for the encircling walls of the royal city was similar to that of the robe of warriorhood and sovereignty described in the Denkart." (Campbell: 1968...pg 97)..
In Shambhala the central pericarp is elevated a bit above the surrounding lotus petals, and on it stands Kalapa. Its palaces are made of gold, silver, turquoise, coral, pearl, emerald, moon crystal, and other precious stones. In front of the thrones are crystal looking glasses that allow one to see far into the distance. North of Kalapa are wooded, craggy, crystalline peaks. On the faces of the peaks are depictions of the Buddhas and the Gods. In the center of the grove is the mandala circle of Kalachakra made by King Sucandra. East of the grove is a miniature Manasa lake. To the west is a white lotus lake. ....The Kalki (the lineage king of Shambhala) and his queens possess the four aims of life: sensual pleasure, wealth, ethics, and liberation. They never become sick or old, and although they always enjoy sensual pleasure, their virtue never decreases. The Kalki does not have more than one or two heirs, but he has many daughters who are given as vajra ladies during the initiations held on the full moon of the Caitra each year....The houses in the villages of Shambhala are two storied. The people have fine bodies and appearances and they are very wealthy. The men of Shambhala wear caps, and white or red cotton clothes. Women wear white or blue garments pleated and patterned with beautiful designs." (John R. Newman....1985)
BALKH...(Bactra)...(67E..36N)..."Mother of Cities'. A beautiful city in northeastern Persia. Four leagues to the mountains called Jabal Ku. Had 7 gates. Destroyed by the Turks in 1155 AD. Rebuilt. Destroyed by Mongols in 1220. Great Fire Temple. Shrine to rival the Ka'abah in Mecca. Castle was called Kal'ah Hinduwan. (Castle of the Hindus). Balkh is currently a town in modern Afghanistan." (Le Strange: 1966..pg 423)..."Balkh is a large and magnificent city. It was here that Alexander married the daughter of Darius." (Marco Polo in Waugh: 1984..pg 42).."the Saka rulers left India and returned to Balkh"..(Soucek..pg 19)..
Chogyam Trungpa once said that the Shambhala teachings most likely had 'Iranian origins'....(1980).
In the Bon myth, Olmolungring was northwest of My Kailas, twice as far from it as the peak is from Shigatse, a major town in central Tibet. (Newman, 1985)
HIRAQLA....(34E..37N)...(Eregli)..."Persian circular city Harun al-Rashids." Aerial photo of the ruins. (Sacral Kingship: 1959..pg 483)..."32 miles from the Tamarisk Valley is Hiraklah (later: Arakliyah, the Greek Heraclia), the town which Harun-ar-Rashid took by storm. Near Tarsus and the Cilician Gates." (Le Strange: 1966..pg 134)...
"There is a paradisal land known by various names. The Indians call it Shambhala, the people of Oddiyana call it Sukhavati. The Kasmiris call it Indestructible Vajra Continent. In the Gesar tradition it is Land of the Turquoise-Winged Cuckoos. Tibetans call it Ol mo lung ring. The Chinese call it Treasure Continent." (Brauen: 1997..pg 50)
PAMIRS or Hindu Kush: Numerous city-states and fortresses with names beginning with 'Kala' ('Quallah'), all traces of which seem to have 'completely disappeared'...A extremely rich mixture of Shambhalians of all spiritual and cultural traditions....The entire region was considered a "Pagan Enclave" by the Arab mapmakers. Tremendous silk route influences. Crossroads between the Indian Tantric traditions moving northward and the Vedic Mithraic traditions of Persia. Tazik. Bon moved into Tibet via this region. Swat Valley of Padmasambhava. Early teachings of Dzogchen in the Bon and Nyingma traditions appeared here in the 8th century AD.
PERSIA (Tazik)..."The ancient Persian conception of the sun (hvar) was that of a ruling power." (Campbell: 1968..pg 209)...Cyrus the Great, Achaemenid Ruler, conquered Asia Minor and in 539 BC occupied Babylon together with the Fertile Crescent. Susa was his capital.Cyrus I was also known as Kura-as Sar.....[The lotus blossom on the tomb of Cyrus dated to 540 BC seems identical to the ring of petals in the Shambhala cosmology. One of the gardens surronding the tomb was a lotus garden.]..(Acta: 1984..pg 68)(Bryant: 1992..pg 65)...
TAJIK...."between Urgyan and Khache near Chilas." (Vitali: 1996).....the 'dKar nag bkra gsal' Temple in sTag gzig means: "The White, Black, Parti-Coloured and the Clear"...(Karmay: 1972...pg 78)....
'OL MO LUNG RING: river Gyim-shan-nag-po; the province of Hos Mo; Yung drun dgu brtsegs mountain.(Francke: 1950..pg 164)..." Ol: because there is no rebirth, it is called 'Ol...mo: because no concupiscence finds a place it is called Mo...lun: because in lun (valley) prophecies (lun) are uttered...Rin: because compassion extends far, it is called rin (long)" (Francke: 1950..pg 183)..."Ol: unborn..mo: undiminishing..lung:prophetic words..ring: everlasting compassion" (Wangyal: 1993..pg 30)..." a King of the region of Olmo Lungring called Gyalag Odmai Ling." (Norbu: 1995)..."Traditional maps of Olmo lung ring show resemblance to the Persian empire of Cyrus the Great. Names of places and palaces are transcriptions of words of Persian origin."..(Karmay: 1975..pg 175)...
BAR-PO-SO-BRGYAD.....(PASARGADAE?)..(54E-30N) (Photo of ruins in Frye:1963)...was one of the capitals of the Persian Empire: Pasargadae (Greek) or Parsogard (Persian). In 550 BC this city became the capital of the 1st two Persian emperors." (Kuznetsov: 1970..pg 565)...."Contained the tomb of the great Persian King Cyrus. The tomb was on a Swastika Hill (representing the sun). Nine stories tall. Crystal columns. Four sacred gardens: Lotus, Wheel, Yungdrung, and Precious." (Kuznetsov: 1970..pg 570)..."born in a palace south of Mount Yungdrung Gutseg in 1857 B.C." (Wangyal: 1993..pg 29)..."Shen rab was born in Sam bha la (sTag gzigs) in the west in the town called Yans pa can, in the dwelling place of the 33 Gods, the palace called Barpo so brgyad". (Kvaerne: 1971..pg 220)....."Shenrab Miwo was born in the Barpo Sogye Palace to the south of Mount Yungdrung." (Wangyal)..."To the south of Mount gYung drung dgu brtsegs is the palace Bar-po so-brgyad, the birthplace of Shenrab." (Karmay: 1975..pg 173)...
CANDRABHAGA...."At the pleasant bank of the Candrabhaga, a city named for Sambha is situated...There lies the abode of the Sun God (Arka) who is standing there in the form of Mitra with the Mitra eye." (Humbach: 1978..pg 236)....The First Rigden King of Shambhala, Dawa Zangpo (also known as King Chandrabadra) received the Kalachakra teachings. He was the first of seven Saka Kings of Shambhala. (Bryant: 1992)..."Samba left the royal residence of Dvaravati on the edge of the salt sea and journeyed to the Candrabhaga River in the Panjab to the sacred bathing place of Mitravana, named for Mitra, one of the twelve Adityas. Until this time the Sun God had been worshipped by means of holy circles (mandala). Samba invited eighteen families of the Magas of Sakadvipa to Mitravana where he established for them the city of Sambapura. (The site of Sambapura is the present day Multan...Mulasthana: basic place, base)...(Acta: 1978...pg 239)..."The Acesines in the journey of Alexander into India is the Chenab, a name derived from the more ancient Chandrabhaga which is traceable in the name Sandabala, by which the river is designated by Ptolemy."..(Bunbury: 1959..pg 502)...
gYUNG-DRUNG BKOD-GLING...."Country in which the swastika is regulated. The Iranian swastika represented the sun and in contrast to the Indian swastika, extends its arms counter-clockwise. This is evidently the region of Mithras, the Persian God of Light, whose cult later penetrated into Tibet as the Bon religion." (Kuznetsov: 1970..pg 571)
YANS PA CA...."Shen Rab Miwo was born in Sam bha la (sTag gzigs) in the west, in the town called Yans pa can in the palace Bar po so brgyad."...(Kvaerne: 1971...pg 220)....
dBAN-CHEN-SA-bDAG...."Shenrab taught the Kalachakra tantra in the palace dBan chen sa bdag." (Kvaerne: 1971..pg 221)...
KHONG-MA-NE'U-CHUNG..."Palace north of Mt Yung drung" (Karmay: 1975..pg 173)...
‘Lanshi’ referred to Bactra/Balkh......Lanshi or Jianshi as Bactra (anciently known as Vahlika or Bactra-Zariaspa and, in modern times, as Vazīrābād or Balkh).... the country was not ruled by an overall king located in Lanshì nor was there any central administration of the country from that city....Zhang Qian carefully notes that, “It [Bactria] has no great ruler but only a number of Kings ruling the various cities.”
Wei shu, chap. CII, p 8b [which covers the years 220-265 CE] states that in the kingdom of Tokharistan there is a town called Boti [Po-t’i] , which is 60 li [25 km] in circumference. Again, it is not referred to as a “capital.” To the south of the town is a big river which flows towards the west called the Hanlou [Han-lou] river. Marquart identified this town with Bactra or Balkh and it is impossible to think of another town in the region that could have been so large. This is the first use of a Chinese name which approximates the name Bactra – which is, perhaps, closer to the Old Persian name for the region of Bactria – Bākhtri – or the Avestan form: Bāxδi or ‘Bachdi’. Chinese sources transcribe the name of the city as Fohe...Interestingly, the name for the mint at Bactra / Balkh on some Kushano-Sasanian coins is given as Bahlo – Dani and Litvinsky (1996), p. 104.
“This country was above 800 li from east to west and 400 li north to south, reaching on the north to the to the Oxus. The capital, which all called “Little Rajagriha city,” was above twenty li [8.4 km] in circuit, but though it was strong it was thinly peopled.” Watters (1904-5) I, p. 108.
From Balkh, it was only 80 kilometres to the river, a four-day journey for Alexander’s main army, but a minor disaster was narrowly averted as they ran into the sand dunes beyond the oasis and suffered very badly from heat and thirst. the time was early summer – very, very hot – and what the Greeks experienced, modern travellers still experience.” Wood (2001), p. 150.
a famous crossing of the Oxus River (or Amu Darya) which led to ancient Bactra (modern Balkh).
The Hanshu says that it was 1,610 li (670 km) west to the Da Yuezhi from Xiuxun. This is exactly (as well as I can measure it on modern maps) the distance from modern Balkh via Dushanbe to Karakavak, adding credence to both the identification of the “capital” of the Da Yuezhi as being Bactra/Balkh, Xiuxun being in the region of Karakavak and Irkeshtam representing ancient .
Daxia 大夏 [Ta Hsia] = Bactria – derived from Old Persian Bākhtri-, an Iranian but non-Persian form of the name. Frye (1963), p. 69. The Avesta gives the form Bāxδi (or ‘Bachdi’). Negmatov (1994), p. 442.
There can be no doubt that Daxia referred to the ancient region of Bactria. It was taken over by the Da Yuezhi and other nomad hordes in the late second century BCE. The previous rulers were of Greek descent and heritage and had been there since Alexander’s conquest c. 328 BCE. It had become independent of the Seleucids about the middle of the third century CE but had retained its largely Greek ruling class and was heavily influenced by Hellenistic culture.
Bactria was not really a state but a region consisting of the fertile plains on either side of the Amu Darya or Oxus River, also known to the Persians as the Jayhun. It is usually considered to have included most of northern Afghanistan, including Badakhshān in the east, and what is now southern Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, at least as far west as the region of Termez.
“It should be emphasized that Bactria never resembled Parthia in being a unified state. Bactria is above all a historico-geographical term, rather than a political one. During these nearly five hundred years various states were formed in this area – the Graeco-Bactrian state, the empire of the Kushans (which continued to exist for a while after the fall of the Parthian state, and the various principates of the Great Yüeh-chih.” Rtveladze (1995), p. 181.
Bactria’s major city, under both the Persians and Greeks (and probably the Kushans), was Zariaspa or Bactra (modern Balkh). It was situated south of the Oxus, 84 km southwest of Termez, and about 15 km northwest of modern Mazar-e Sharif. It is a very ancient city, still known throughout the region as the ‘Mother of Cities.’
“The root of the name Aspionus [an eastern district of Bactria taken by the Parthians probably between 160 and 150 BCE] is clearly the word asp (horse), which was used to form many toponyms in Central Asia. In Bactria in particular, it was one of the main components of the name of the town Bactra-Zariaspa (golden horse), which is mentioned by Strabo and Pliny. In view of the linguistic similarities, it is a reasonable hypothesis that the satrapy of Aspionus was connected with the region of Bactra-Zariaspa. If this is true, during the reign of Mithradates I the Parthians wrested from the Graeco-Bactrian kingdom of Eucratides the western territories of Bactria, including Bactra.” Rtveladze (1995), p. 185.
Bactria was a key centre on the extensive trade routes developed to transport lapis lazuli, spinel rubies and, quite possibly, emeralds – see Giuliani et al (2000), pp. 631-633 – from the mines in the mountains. Lapis lazuli from Badhakshan was being traded to Mesopotamia, and Egypt as early as the second half of the fourth millennium BCE and to the Indus River cultures by the third millennium. These routes were later to form the basis of the so-called ‘Silk Routes.’
“Daxia (Bactria) is described as lying more than 2,000 li [838 km] southwest of Ferghana, south of the Gui (Amu Darya). Like the people of Ferghana, its occupants were a settled people living in walled towns. They lacked powerful chiefs and rather were divided into small individual towns with their own leaders. Their armies are described as insignificant and cowardly, a clear come-down from their reputation when they faced Alexander, but they excelled in commerce with enormous markets, especially in their capital Lanshicheng (Bactra). They numbered about a million people. While in Bactria, Zhang saw trade goods from Sichuan and asked how they had come there. He learned that they were obtained from a land called Shendu (i.e. Sind, the Punjab), which lay in the region of a great river (the Indus) and was occupied by a people who employed elephants in warfare.” Mallory and Mair (2000), p. 59.
“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....”
The Da Yuezhi overran and settled in Bactria in the late second century BCE. This gave them control of the main, and increasingly busy, overland trade routes between China, India and the West. This not only quickly made them rich and powerful, but their exposure to Persian, Hellenic and Indian cultures helped turn them into a more sophisticated and effective force. It is thought that before they entered Bactria they were not literate. By the time they invaded northern India in the first century CE they had become capable administrators, traders and scholars.
Bactria, a name given by the Greeks to northern Afghanistan and Uzbekistan, was known as the “land of the Tuharans” as late as the seventh century C.E., according to the Chinese pilgrim Xuanzang.
The descriptions, however, accord very well with the horse-riding Kushan who ruled a formerly Hellenistic country. The climate and location sound like Bactria; the kings of the Kushan did indeed call themselves devaputra, meaning “son of heaven” or “son of god.” They owned numerous good horses and cultivated nomadic skills and cultures. Yet they ruled a country with a population of Greeks and other immigrants from the Mediterranean, so that the architecture of the country combined Greco-Roman style with local materials and flavor. At least it looked similar to the Roman style in Chinese eyes, and the people looked fairer than Indians and some other Central Asian populations.”
the ancient ‘Mother of Cities’, Bactra (modern Balkh), which was the largest city and the major trading centre of the entire region.
Xuanzhang says about it:“This country is about 500 li from east to west, and about 1000 li from north to south. The capital is 20 li in circuit [or, roughly 6.5 km based on the Tang li equivalent to about 323 metres]. It has many mountains and river-courses. It produces excellent (shen) horses [literally: ‘divine’ or ‘Heavenly’ horses].
In 819 the whole region suffered from a massive earthquake: “Balkh-Taliqan. In Dhu’ i-Hijja 203 a catastrophic earthquake in eastern Khurasan destroyed a quarter of the city of Balkh and ruined the masjid-i jami’ there. Other places severely affected were the towns of Faryab (Daulatabad) and Taliqan (Qal`eh Vali) and the districts of Juzjan in the west and Tukharistan in the east. Many houses were destroyed, with heavy casualties in these areas. The shock was also felt in Marv and Transoxania. As a result of the earthquake the desert at Sidreh between Shaburqan and Balkh was flooded by an excessive rise of the water table, which turned the country into a fertile area. Aftershocks lasted for a long time.”
Sir H. Rawlinson, in his Monograph on the Oxus, has indicated the probability that the name Pashai may have been originally connected with Aprasin or Paresin, the Zendavestian name for the Indian Caucasus, and which occurs in the Babylonian version of the Behistun Inscription as the equivalent of Gaddra in the Persian, i.e. Gandhara, there applied to the whole country between Bactria and the Indus.
PERSIA: (rTag gzigs...sTag gzig...Tazik...Aryan=Iran) ..."In 300 BC, Persia, by virtue of its geographical position was the connecting link between the East and the West." (James:1963)... "The Persian empire of Cyrus the Great was founded in 549 B.C. The Saka peoples appear North East of Iran as mounted nomads in 530 BC. Mounted nomadism first appeared around 1000 B.C. in Central Asia." (Phillips: 1965..pg 129)..."The mounted deities of Tibet have a striking resemblance to the Iranian 'Fravashi'." (Hoffman: 1975..pg 95)... "The Greek historian Pliny the Elder (23-79 BC) wrote in the 1st Century BC that the Greeks were upset because the Persians were inviting Celtic Druid priests from the Isles of Britain to come to Persia and teach them magic." (Green: 1997..pg 41)......"Tazig refers more specifically to the area immediately west of the Pamirs, namely Sogdiana and Bactria." (Rao: 1978..pg 392)....In Iran, the great Sassanian dynasty collapsed in the 7th century under the Arab onslaught. Yazdgard fled the royal city of Cresiphon and the Arab victory of Nihavand in 622 AD marked the beginning of the dissolution of the Sassanian empire..."the spelling sTag-gzig consists of two Tibetan (Shang Shung?) words, stag (tiger) and gzig (leopard). (Snellgrove:1968)..."The ancient Persian conception of the sun (hvar) was that of a ruling power." (Campbell: 1968..pg 209)...Cyrus the Great, Achaemenid Ruler, conquered Asia Minor and in 539 BC occupied Babylon together with the Fertile Crescent. Susa was his capital.Cyrus I was also known as Kura-as Sar.....[The lotus blossom on the tomb of Cyrus dated to 540 BC seems identical to the ring of petals in the Shambhala cosmology. One of the gardens surronding the tomb was a lotus garden.]..(Acta: 1984..pg 68)(Bryant: 1992..pg 65)..."the Lotus ornament is well known in Persia in Persepolis, Susa, and at Naqsh-i-Rustam in the Tomb of Darius." (Rudenko: 1970..pg 246)..."Tazig: appears to signify Persia. 13 days horseback ride from Ling, at a place called Memoyu Thang." (David-Neel: Gesar: 1981..pg 239)
"Bakhdhi: [Bakhtri in old Persian and Bactaria Greek]. It is same as Iranian Balkh and Indian Vahilka. This is the region lying between the river Oxus and the Hindukush comprises Pauranic Ketumala Varsa. The town of Bacteria, for Iranians--the mother of cities, was situated on the river Oxus.".....http://www.jatland.com/home/General_History
"The period found its expression in the ideal of 'dharanibandh' or the binding of all land in India in a common political bond. It was in the pursuit of this ideal that Samudragupta launched his conquest of all frontiers or 'Digvijay'. Chandragupta-II again carried his banner from the shores of the Bay of Bengal to the Arabian Sea in the West; perhaps even cross the Indus to 'Vahilka or Balkh'.".....http://www.preservearticles.com/2011091613480/here-is-your-essay-on-the-culture-of-the-gupta-age.html
The fact that Puranic evidence locates the Bahlikas in Uttarapatha and further the close association of the Bahlikas with the Kambojas as well as with Tusharas, Sakas and Yavanas in the Atharvaveda Parisista and in some other ancient sources suggests that the Bahlikas were located as a close neighbor to the Tusharas, Sakas, Yavanas and the Kambojas etc. Since the Kambojas were located in Badakshan and Pamirs, the Tusharas on the north of Pamirs and the Sakas on the river Jaxartes and beyond, the Bahlikas or Bahlams, as neighbors to these people should be placed in Bactria......The Brahmanda Purana attests that river Chaksu (Oxus or Amu Darya) flowed through the land of Bahlavas (Bahlikas).......So Bahlikas were original inhabitants of Bactria.....It is possible that some bactrians migrated to form settlements in Punjab region during the time of the Mahabharata. They assimilated to an extent but did not completely adopt the vedic culture, so though they were political and marital alliances, they retained part of their non vedic culture. They were ridiculed because of that. .....According to Jean Przylusky, the Bahlika (Balkh) was an Iranian settlement of the Madras who were known as Bahlika-Uttaramadras.......They intermarried with the other vedic people since the ancestors of the Kauravas and Pandavas were Bahlikas (Kuru dynasty with origins in Uttarakuru). But the Kauravas and Pandavas did not consider themselves as Bahlikas any more despite the Pandavas mother being a Bahlika princess......Ramayana testifies that the original home of the Kurus was in Bahli country. Ila, son of Parajapati Karddama was a king of Bahli, where Bahli represents Sanskrit Bahlika (Bactria). Also the kings from Aila lineage have been called Karddameyas. The Aila is also stated to be the lineage of the Kurus themselves. The Karddamas obtained their name from river Karddama in Persia/ancient Iran. Moreover, Sathapatha Brahmana attests a king named Bahlika Pratipeya as of the Kauravya lineage. Bahlika Pratipeya, as the name implies, was a prince of Bahlika (Bactria). Thus, the Bahli, Bahlika was the original home of the Kurus. Thus, Bahlika or Bactria may have constituted the Uttarakuru. Mahabharata and Sumangalavilasini also note that the people of Kuru had originally migrated from Uttarakutru. Bactria is evidently beyond the Hindukush i.e. Himalaya. In ancient literature, Himalaya is said to be extending from eastern occean to western occean and even today is not separated from it."......http://www.paklinks.com/gs/indo-pak-history/576722-western-tribes-of-mahabharata-2.html
John Hopkins.....Northern New Mexico….OCTOBER 31, 2012