Saturday, November 10, 2012

Ancient Historians in Bactria (400 BC)

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"The 6th-century Alexandrian traveler Cosmas Indicopleustes states that the Hephthalites in India reached the zenith of its power under Mihirakula. "The Record of the Western Regions" by the 7th-century Chinese traveler Hsüan-tsang describes Mihirakula as:He was of quick tallent and naturally brave. He subdued all the neighboring provinces without exception.".....http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mihirakula

The early Greek historian Ctesias c. 400 BCE (followed by Diodorus Siculus) alleged that the legendary Assyrian king Ninus had defeated a Bactrian king named Oxyartes in ca. 2140 BC, or some 1000 years before the Trojan War.

"The earliest references to Kapisa appear in the writings of fifth century BCE Indian scholar Pāṇini. Pāṇini refers to the city of Kapiśi, a city of the Kapisa kingdom, modern Bagram. Pāṇini also refers to Kapiśayana, a famous wine from Kapisa. The city of Kapiśi also appeared as Kaviśiye on Graeco-Indian coins of Apollodotus I and Eucratides."

According to the scholar Pliny, the city of Kapiśi (also referred to as Kaphusa by Pliny's copyist Solinus and Kapisene by other classical chroniclers) was destroyed in the sixth century BCE by the Achaemenid emperor Cyrus (Kurush) (559-530 BC).

Based on the account of the Chinese pilgrim Hiuen Tsang, who visited in AD 644, it seems that in later times Kapisa was part of a kingdom ruled by a Buddhist kshatriya king holding sway over ten neighboring states, including Lampaka, Nagarahara, Gandhara, and Banu. Hiuen Tsang notes the Shen breed of horses from the area, and also notes the production of many types of cereals and fruits, as well as a scented root called Yu-kin.

Click on the map to enlarge.

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 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. Daxia 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.

Before the Balkh region fell to Alexander the Great in 330 BC, it was part of the Achaemenid Empire and prior to that it was occupied by the Medes. Following Alexander's brief occupation, the successor state of the Seleucid Empire controlled the area until 305 BCE when they gave south of the Hindu Kush to the Indian Maurya Empire as part of an alliance treaty...."Alexander took these away from the Aryans and established settlements of his own, but Seleucus Nicator gave them to Sandrocottus (Chandragupta), upon terms of intermarriage and of receiving in exchange 500 elephants." —Strabo, 64 BC – 24 AD

Procopius of Caesarea (Latin: Procopius Caesarensis, Greek: Προκόπιος ὁ Καισαρεύς; c. AD 500 – c. AD 565) was a prominent Byzantine scholar from Palaestina Prima. Accompanying the general Belisarius in the wars of the Emperor Justinian I, he became the principal historian of the 6th century, writing the Wars of Justinian, the Buildings of Justinian and the celebrated Secret History. He is commonly held to be the last major historian of the ancient world.

450 BC...Herodotus ( /hɨˈrɒdətəs/; Ancient Greek: Ἡρόδοτος Hēródotos) was an ancient Greek historian who was born in Halicarnassus, Caria (modern day Bodrum, Turkey) and lived in the fifth century BC (c.484 – 425 BC). He has been called the "Father of History"....According to the Histories of the Greek researcher Herodotus ....Ecbatana was founded by one Deioces, the legendary first king of the Medes. Herodotus writes: He built large and strong walls, those which are now called Ecbatana, standing in circles one within the other. ... the circles are in all seven in number. And within the last circle are the royal palace and the treasure-houses. The largest of these walls is in size about equal to the circuit of the wall round Athens; and of the first circle the battlements are white, of the second black, of the third crimson, of the fourth blue, of the fifth red: thus are the battlements of all the circles colored with various tints, and the two last have their battlements one of them overlaid with silver and the other with gold.

400 BC...The early Greek historian Ctesias c. 400 BCE (followed by Diodorus Siculus) alleged that the legendary Assyrian king Ninus had defeated a Bactrian king named Oxyartes in ca. 2140 BC, or some 1000 years before the Trojan War.

Alexander the Great (356 – 323 BC)..."the most important biography of Alexander is the Pseudo-Calliethenes which dates from 300 AD. Alexander was said to have seen the sun rise in both the East and the West." (Curtis: 1993..pg 58)...

126 BC...ZHANG QIAN...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. Daxia 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.....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 Bactria by the time of the visit of the Chinese envoy Zhang Qian (circa 127 BCE), who had been sent by the Han emperor to investigate lands to the west of China

100 BC... Apollodorus (c. 130–87 BCE) 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 Bactria and beyond, but also of India, as Apollodorus of Artemita says: and more tribes were subdued by them than by Alexander...Menander ( ruler of the Indo-Greek Kingdom from either 165 or 155 BC to 130 BC) is one of the few Bactrian kings mentioned by Greek authors, among them Apollodorus of Artemita, quoted by Strabo, who claims that the Greeks from Bactria were even greater conquerors than Alexander the Great, and that Menander was one of the two Bactrian kings, with Demetrius, who extended their power farthest into India:

Plutarch ...c. 46 – 120 AD....

Lucius Cornelius Alexander Polyhistor (Ancient Greek: Ἀλέξανδρος ὁ Πολυΐστωρ; flourished in the first half of the 1st century B.C.; also called Alexander of Miletus) was a Greek scholar....During the first century Balkh was famous throughout the region for its Buddhist temples and the Greek scholar Alexander Polyhistor mentions Buddhism's relationship with Iran and refers to Balkh and its temples specifically.

175 AD...By about 380 BC Persian hold on the region weakened. Many small kingdoms sprang up in Gandhara. In 327 BC Alexander the Great conquered Gandhara and the Indian Satrapies of the Persian Empire. The expeditions of Alexander were recorded by his court historians and by Arrian (around AD 175) in his Anabasis Alexandri and other chroniclers many centuries after the event.

400 AD.....The chinese pilgrim Fa-Hein (c.400) found the Hinayana prevalent in Shan Shan , Kucha , Kashgar, Osh, Udayana and Gandhara. Hsuan-tsang also notices that Buddhism was widely practiced by the Huns rulers of Balkh who claimed descent from Indian royalties. In literature, Balkh has been described as Balhika, Valhika or Bahlika. Balkh town became popular to other Buddhist countries because of two great Buddhist monks of Afghanistan-Tapassu and Bhallika.

10th century Arab geographer Al-Muqaddasi, refers to the Kumiji (=Kamoji/Kamboja) tribesmen of Buttaman mountains (Tajikstan), on upper Oxus, and calls them of Turkic race.

Song Yun, the Chinese Ambassador to the Huna kingdom of Gandhara, in AD 520 writes that the Yethas (Hephthalites) had invaded Gandhara two generations prior to him and had completely destroyed this country. The then Yetha ruler was extremely cruel, vindictive, and anti-Buddhist and had engaged in a three years border war with the king of Ki-pin (Cophene or Kapisa), disputing the boundaries of that country

400 AD...The travel records of many Chinese Buddhists pilgrims record that Gandhara was going through a transformation during these centuries. Buddhism was declining and Hinduism was rising. Fa-Xian travelled around 400, when Prakrit was the language of the people and Buddhism was flourishing.

520 AD...100 years later, when Song-Yun visited in 520, a different picture was described: the area had been destroyed by Huns and was ruled by Lae-Lih who did not practice laws of the Buddha.

644 AD...Xuan-Zang visited India around 644 and found Buddhism on the wane in Gandhara and Hinduism in the ascendant. Gandhara was ruled by a king from Kabul, who respected Buddha's law, but Taxila was in ruins and Buddhist monasteries were deserted. Instead, Hindu temples were numerous and Hinduism was popular....However, by the seventh century, a Chinese pilgrim Xuan Zang visited the area and reported that "very few" of the inhabitants of Laghman followed Buddhism,while some followed Hinduism. Laghman was a centre of Mahayanist Buddhism, and Xuan Zang records: In the country of Lampa (Laghman) there were about 10 Buddhist monasteries.

Xuanzang, world-famous for his sixteen-year pilgrimage to India and career as a translator of Buddhist scriptures, is one of the most illustrious figures in the history of scholastic Chinese Buddhism. Born into a scholarly family at the outset of the Tang (T’ang) Dynasty, he enjoyed a classical Confucian education. Under the influence of his elder brother, a Buddhist monk, however, he developed a keen interest in Buddhist subjects and soon became a monk himself at the age of thirteen. Upon his return to Chang’an in 645, Xuanzang brought back with him a great number of Sanskrit texts, of which he was able to translate only a small portion during the remainder of his lifetime.

1030 AD...Gandhara was ruled from Kabul by Turkshahi for next 200 years. Sometime in the 9th century the Hindushahi replaced the Turkishahi. Based on various Muslim records the estimated date for this is 870. According to Al-Biruni (973–1048), Kallar, a Brahmin minister of the Turkshahi, founded the Hindushahi dynasty in 843. ...1030 AD....Al Biruni writing c. 1030 CE, reported on the devastation caused during the conquest of Gandhara and much of northwest India by Mahmud of Ghazni

Inscriptions in Aramaic dating from the Mauryan Dynasty were found in Laghman which discussed the conversion of Ashoka to Buddhism.

1151 AD...By the time Gandhara had been absorbed into the empire of Mahmud of Ghazni, Buddhist buildings were already in ruins and Gandhara art had been forgotten. After Al-Biruni, the Kashmiri writer Kalhaṇa wrote his book Rajatarangini in 1151. He recorded some events that took place in Gandhara, and gave details about its last royal dynasty and capital Udabhandapura.

1650 AD...A Jesuit missionary, Father Stephen Casella, who died in Tibet in 1650, was told about Shambhala. It was known also to Csoma de Körös, a nineteenth-century Hungarian orientalist. Neither, however, discovered where it was.

MARCO POLO.....BADAKHSHAN...(71E...37N)..."ruled by a hereditary dynasty descended from Alexander the Great and the daughter of Darius." (Marco Polo in Waugh: 1984..pg 35)..

The influence of Marco Polo on geographic exploration was enormous and he was also a major influence on Christopher Columbus. Columbus owned a copy of Travels and made annotations in the margins.

..Interesting Maps in "Hermann: An Historical Atlas of China...(1935/1966)....

1035 AD...The Dunhuang period was from approximately the 5th until the early 11th-century AD. It takes its name from a locality called Dunhuang in Central Asia, which possessed a library contained within a cave. The cave, which was discovered in the early 20th-century, contained thousands of manuscripts written in various languages. Stein (2003b, p. 591) has proposed that the cave was closed in 1035 AD, while Rong (2000, p. 274) argues that it was closed in 1002 AD. The documents discovered in the cave are now kept in various libraries and museums around the world.

Hsüan-tsang (writing in 629) describes Po-ho (Balkh) as the Hephthalite capital, with a circumference of approximately 20 li......PO-HO [BALKH]. .....This country is about 800 li from east to west, and 400 li from north to south; on the north it borders on the Oxus. The capital is about 20 li in circuit. It is //[p.44] called generally the little Pajariha. This city, though well (strongly) fortified, is thinly populated. The products of the soil are extremely varied, and the flowers, both on the land and water, would be difficult to enumerate. There are about 100 convents and 3000 monks, who all study the religious teaching of the Little Vehicle. Outside the city, towards the south-west, there is a convent called Navasangharama, which was built by a former king of this country. The Masters (of Buddhism), who dwell to the north of the great Snowy Mountains, and are authors of Sastras, occupy this convent only, and continue their estimable labours in it. There is a figure of Buddha here, which is lustrous with (reflects the glory-of) noted gems, and the hall in which it stands is also adorned with precious substances of rare value. This is the reason why it has often been robbed by chieftains of neighbouring countries, covetous of pain.......This convent also contains (possesses) a statue of //[p.45] Pi-sha-men (Vaisravana) Deva, by whose spiritual influence, in unexpected ways, there is protection afforded to the pre- cincts of the convent. Lately the son of the Khan Yeh-hu (or She-hu), belonging to the Turks, becoming rebellious, Yeh-hu Khan broke up his camping ground; and marched at the head of his horde to make a foray against this convent, desiring to obtain the jewels and precious things with which it was enriched. Having encamped his army in the open ground, not far from the convent, in the night he had a dream. He saw Vaisravana Deva, who addressed him thus: "What power do you possess that you dare (to intend) to overthrow this convent?" and then hurling his lance, he transfixed him with it. The Khan, affrighted, awoke, and his heart penetrated with sorrow, he told his dream to his followers, and then, to atone somewhat for his fault, he hastened to the convent to ask permission to confess his crime to the priests; but before he received an answer he died.......Within the convent, in the southern hall of Buddha, there is the washing-basin which Buddha used. It contains about a peck [=approx. 10 pints] and is of various colours, which dazzle the eyes. It is difficult to name the Gold and stone of which it is made. Again, there is a tooth of Buddha about an inch long, and about eight or nine tenths of an inch in breadth. Its colour is yellowish white; it is pure and shining. Again, there is the sweeping brush of Buddha, made of the //[p.46] plant "Ka-she" (kasa). It is about two feet long and about seven inches round. Its handle is ornamented with various gems. These three relics are presented with offerings on each of the six fast-days by the assembly of lay and cleric believers. Those who have the greatest faith in worship see the objects emitting a radiance of glory......To the north of the convent is a stupa, in height about 200 feet, which is covered with a plaster hard as the diamond, and ornamented with a variety of precious substances. It encloses a sacred relic (she-li), and at times this also reflects a divine splendour......To the south-west of the convent there is a Vihdra. Many years have elapsed since its foundation was laid. It is the resort (of people) from distant quarters. There are also a large number of men of conspicuous talent. As it would be difficult for the several possessors of the four different degrees (fruits) of holiness to explain accurately their condition of saintship, therefore the Arhats (Lo-han), when about to die, exhibit their spiritual capabilities (miramdous powers), and those who witness such an exhibition found stupas in honour of. the deceased saints. These are closely crowded together here, to the number of several hundreds. Besides these there are some thousand others, who, although they had reached the fruit of holiness (i.e., Arhatship), yet having exhibited no spiritual changes at the end of life, have no memorial erected to them......At present the number of priests is about 100; so irregular are they morning and night in their duties that it is hard to tell saints from sinners.......To the north-west of the capital about 50 li or so we arrive at the town of Ti-wei; 40 li to the north of this //[p.47] town is the town of Po-li. In each of these towns there is a stupa about three chang (30 feet) in height. In old days, when Buddha first attained enlightenment after advancing to the tree of knowledge, he went to the garden of deer; at this time two householders meeting him, and beholding the brilliant appearance of his person, offered him from their store of provisions for their journey some cakes and honey. The lord of the world, for their sakes, preached concerning the happiness of men and Devas, and delivered to them, his very first disciples, the five rules of moral conduct and the ten good qualities (shen, virtuous rules). When they had heard the sermon, they humbly asked for some object to worship (offer gifts). On this Tathagata delivered to them some of his hair and nailcuttings. Taking these, the merchants were about to return to their own country, when they asked of Buddha the right way of venerating these relics. Tathagata forthwith spreading out his Sanghati on the around as a square napkin, next laid down his Uttarasanga and then his Sankakshika; again over these he placed as a cover his begging-pot, on which he erected his mendicant's staff. Thus he placed them in order, making thereby //[p.48] (the figure of) a stupa. The two men taking the order, each went to his own town, and then, according to the model which the holy one had prescribed, they prepared to build a monument, and thus was the very first stupa of the Buddhist religion erected.....Some 70 li to the west of this town is a stupa about two chang (20 feet) in height. This was erected in the time of Kasyapa Buddha. Leaving the capital and going south- west, entering the declivities of the Snowy Mountains, there is the country of Jui-mo-to (Jumadh?).

In this account, Lanshi 藍市 [Lan-shih] must surely stand for Bactra, as Burton Watson indicates, as it was certainly the largest city and greatest trading centre in the region..... Lanshi (identified as Bactra or modern Balkh), which Burton Watson and others have identified as the country’s “capital.” In the above passage it is quite clear that 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.” The Chinese word used to describe the status of Lanshi is du 都 [tu] which can mean either the capital (of a country) or, preferably here, a large town, city or metropolis. It is clear from the context that the latter is the sense in which it should be interpreted in this context. See Dorn’eich (1999b), p. 40; GR No. 11668; CED, p. 291

Destruction of the Achaemenian Avesta by Alexander (330 BCE) Arda Viraf (see above), goes on to state in the Arda Wiraz Namag (Arda Viraf Namah) that Alexander of Macedonia, in 330 BCE, burned the Avestan manuscripts deposited at the royal library at Ishtakhr. Alexander also ordered killed several judges, dasturs, mobeds, herbads (priests) and other upholders of the religion, as well as the competent and wise of the country of Iran (in an attempt to destroy the oral tradition as well).

Bundahishn 33.14: "Then, during the reign of Darius son of Darius, the emperor Alexander came to Iranshahr, scurrying from Arum (Europe), killed king Darius, destroyed all the families of rulers, magi, and public men of Iranshahr, extinguished an immense number of sacred fires, seized the commentary (zand) of the Revelation of Mazda-worship, and sent it to Arum, burned the Avesta, and divided Iranshahr among ninety petty rulers."

Mahankard (c. 750 CE. Translated from Middle Persian to Arabic): Alexander destroyed the original ancient Persian books after having them translated into Greek. (Other accounts below state that only certain topics/books were translated and the others, e.g. religious, were destroyed without translation.)

Ibn Qutayba (d. 889 Arabic): Alexander conquered the kingdom of Iran and burned the books of their religion.

Sahristaniha-e Iran (Middle Persian): Alexander destroyed the Avesta which was stored in writing in Samarqand. (We note here that the written Avesta was stored in what may be considered the regional capital of the Eastern Iranian (Persian) Empire.

Hamza al-Isfahani, wr. 961 [Eight collated translations of the Middle Persian Khwaday Namag (Khoda Namah also used by Ferdowsi) to Arabic] & supported by the account of Musa ibn Isa al-Kisrawi: Alexander, jealous of the unparalled knowledge of the Persian nation, first translated what he needed from the Persian, then destroyed the rest, killing the Magi too. Although he destroyed their books on religion, he translated their books dealing with philosophy, astrology, medicine, and agriculture from Persian into Greek and Egyptian, which he sent to Alexandria (cf. our page on Ostanes - Persian Sage in Egypt). This account confirms that the Avesta and supporting texts were encyclopaedic in knowledge as further confirmed by the Dinkard's summary of the 21 books of the Avesta.

Tansar-Nama (Persian translated from Middle Persian): Alexander destroyed the Avesta.

The Greek philosopher Apollonius of Tyana is related by Philostratus in Life of Apollonius Tyana to have visited India, and specifically the city of Taxila around 46 CE. He describes constructions of the Greek type,[36] probably referring to Sirkap, and explains that the Indo-Parthian king of Taxila, named Phraotes, received a Greek education at the court of his father and spoke Greek fluently...

-959 King Mu (Mu Wang),. West Chou king and the earliest reputed Silk Road traveller. His travel account Mu tianzi zhuan, written in the 5th-4th century BC, is the first known travel book on the Silk Road. It tells of his journey to the Tarim basin, the Pamir mountains and further into today's Iran region, where the legendary meeting with Xiwangmu was taken place. Returned via the Southern route. The book no longer exists but is referenced in Shan Hai Zin, Leizi: Mu Wang Zhuan, and Shiji.

-138-116. Zhang Qian (Chang Ch'ien). Chinese general and envoy credited with opening the Silk Road after his mission from the Han Emperor Wudi to recruit the Yueh-chih people to form an alliance against the Xiongnu. First trip (138-125) skirted the Taklamakan desert via the northern route, passed the Pamir, then reached Ferghana. Returned via the southern route. His second trip (119-115), a mission to seek alliance with Wu-sun people, took him to Dunhuang, Loulan, Kucha, then the capital of Wu-sun kingdom in the Ili river. His missions to the west led to the formalization of trade, especially the silk trade, between China and Persia. Read more.... Read the bibliography.

40-70. Anonymous author of the Periplus of the Erythraen (=Red) Sea. A merchant handbook, written apparently by an Egyptian Greek, about trade routes through the Red Sea and involving both East Africa and India. One of the most important sources for Roman Eastern trade, compiled after the discovery of how to use the monsoon winds to make the round trip to India. Includes extensive information on ports and products. Read the bibliography.

73-102. Ban Chao (Pan Ch'ao). Chinese general restoring the Tarim basin under Han's power and maintaining whole control of the area as west as Kashgar during his career there. He sent out emissaries to the area west and beyond the Tarim basin, including the area of modern-day Iran and the Persian Gulf. Read the bibliography.

97 Gan Ying (Kan Ying). First Chinese envoy to Ta-Ts'in (the Roman Orient) sent by general Ban Chao from Kashgaria in 97 AD. Journeyed through the Pamir mountains, Parthia, and reached as far as the the coast of the Persian Gulf. However he was dissuaded from continuing further west. The first known Chinese visited the Middle East as west as T'iao-chih, near the present Nedjef, Iraq. Read the bibliography.

399-413. Faxian (Fa-hsien). First Chinese monk reaching Indian and returning with a knowledge of Buddhism. Traveled the southern route through Shenshen, Dunhuang, Khotan, and then over the Himalayas, to Gandhara, Peshawur then India. He journeyed most of the way on foot and was the first known traveler passing through the Taklamakan desert from Woo-e to Khoten. Returned to China via the sea route. Read more....Read the bibliography.

518-521 Song Yun (Sung Yun)/Huisheng. Sung Yun of Dunhuang went with a monk Huisheng on a mission sent by the Empress Dowager to obtain the Buddhist scriptures in India in 518. Travled through the Taklamakan desert via the southern route passing Shanshan, Charkhlik, Khotan, then further west into the Hindu Kush, Kabul, Peshawar. The most interesting account is their visit to the Ephthalites (the White Hun) kingdom, who centered in eastern Afghanistan and controlled much of the Central Asia during the 5th and 6th centuries. Both wrote a travel account but none remained.

629-645. Xuan Zang (Hsuan-tsang). Chinese Buddhist monk and translator traveling across the Tarim basin via the northern route, Turfan, Kucha, Tashkent, Samarkand, Bactria, then over the Kindu Kush to India. Returned via the southern route. He spent his remaining life translating sutras into Chinese. .His travel and story became fantastic legends which were used in plays and novels, such as Wu Ch'eng-en's famous novel in the 16th century, Journey to the West. Read more.... Read the bibliography

"Darius left a tri-lingual monumental relief on Mount Behistun which was written in Elamite, Old Persian and Babylonian between his coronation and his death. The inscription begins with a brief autobiography with his ancestry and lineage. To aid the presentation of his ancestry, Darius wrote down the sequence of events which occurred after the death of Cyrus the Great

Daxia, Ta-Hsia, or Ta-Hia (Chinese: 大夏; Pinyin: Dàxià) is the name given in antiquity by the Han Chinese to the territory of Bactria.....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 Shiji ("Records of the Great 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. Daxia 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 were 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. Overall, Zhang Qian depicted a rather sophisticated but demoralized people who were afraid of war.".....The Records of the Grand Historian. Han Dynasty II (Revised Edition), p. 236, by Sima Qian. Translated by Burton Watson. Columbia University Book. 1993. ISBN 0-231-08167-7

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Email....okarresearch@gmail.com

John Hopkins.....Northern New Mexico….November 2014

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