Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Surkh Kotal & The Kushan Empire (127 AD)

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Surkh Kotal (Persian: سرخ‌کوتل‎), also called Chashma-i Shir or Sar-i Chashma, is an ancient archaeological site located in the southern part of the region of Bactria, about 18 km north of the city of Puli Khumri, the capital of Baghlan Province of Afghanistan.....It is the location of monumental constructions made during the rule of the Kushans. Huge temples, statues of Kushan rulers and the Surkh Kotal inscription, which revealed part of the chronology (another fragment of that chronology was found on the Rabatak inscription found nearby) of early Kushan emperors (also called Great Kushans) were all found there.... The most famous artifacts of this site are the Surkh Kotal inscriptions, the statue of King Kanishka and the fire altar.".....http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Surkh_Kotal

"The Kushan Empire (Sanskrit: कुषाण राजवंश, Kuṣāṇ Rājavaṃśa; BHS: Guṣāṇa-vaṃśa; Parthian: Kušanxšaθr) was an empire in Central Asia originally formed in the early 1st century CE under Kujula Kadphises in the territories of ancient Bactria around the Oxus River (Amu Darya), and later based near Kabul, Afghanistan. The Kushans spread from the Kabul River Valley to defeat other Central Asian tribes that had previously conquered parts of the northern central Iranian Plateau once ruled by the Parthians, and reached their peak under the Buddhist emperor Kanishka (127–151), whose realm stretched from Turfan in the Tarim Basin to Pataliputra on the Gangetic Plain.".....Afghanistan: Central Asian and Sassanian Rule, ca. 150 B.C.-700 A.D.". United States: Library of Congress Country Studies. 1997

"..... translations of the inscriptions from Surkh Kotal by J. Harmatta. They were originally in the Bactrian language and written in Greek script.....'Era-year 299, on the 9th [day] of [month] Dios, King of Kings Ooëmo Takpiso, the majesty, the Kuṣāṇa, had the canal d[ug here]."......Languages and literature of the Kushan Empire" János Harmatta. (1994). In: History of civilizations of Central Asia, Volume II, pp. 427-432. UNESCO Publishing. Paris. ISBN 92-3-102846-4.

"Tepe Fullol (also known as Khush Tepe) is a village in northern Afghanistan where the treasure of Fullol was found, consisting of twenty vessels in gold and silver dated to the Bronze Age. It was accidentally discovered in 1965 by Afghan farmers in a grave cache and provided the first evidence of the Oxus civilisation (also known as BMAC) in northern Afghanistan.....Tepe Fullol is situated in Baghlan Province at the junction of the Khost and Sai valleys. On the basis of iconographic comparisons, the treasure has been dated to between 2600 and 1700 BC. There is also a mound, covering an area 14 by 18 metres (46 by 59 ft) and 20 metres (66 ft) high.....The area's wealth probably derived from precious materials extracted from the nearby mountains , in particular lapis lazuli from Badakshan, which were widely traded. The vessel's designs include animal imagery, such as a boar, a stag, snakes and bearded bulls (the latter derived from distant Mesopotamia), indicating that at this early date Afghanistan was already part of an extensive network of trade and cultural exchanges.".....http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tepe_Fullol

"...Tepe Fullol: a gold bowl from 2500-2000 BC...... Sarianidi considers the site to be part of the large Baktria-Margiana-Archeological-Complex........Hastinapur is one of the chief sites of the Painted Grey Ware culture (PGW) an Iron Age culture in the Gangetic plain, lasting from roughly 1200 BC to 600 BC. It is contemporary to, and a successor of the Black and Red ware culture. It is succeeded by Northern Black Polished Ware from ca. 500 BC. ...The Gandhara (or Swat) grave culture emerged ca. 1600 BC, and flourished in Gandhara, Pakistan from 1500 BC to 500 BC. Simply made terracotta figurines were buried with the pottery, and other items are decorated with simple dot designs. Horse remains were found in at least one burial......

"The Rabatak inscription is an inscription written on a rock in the Bactrian language and the Greek script, which was found in 1993 at the site of Rabatak, near Surkh Kotal in Afghanistan. The inscription relates to the rule of the Kushan emperor Kanishka, and gives remarkable clues on the genealogy of the Kushan dynasty."

"The Rabatak inscription.....(Translation by Nicholas Sims-Williams) [1] . . . of the great salvation, Kanishka the Kushan, the righteous, the just, the autocrat, the god [2] worthy of worship, who has obtained the kingship from Nana and from all the gods, who has inaugurated the year one as the gods pleased. And he *issued a Greek *edict (and) then he put it into Aryan. [4] In the year one it has been proclaimed unto India, unto the *whole of the realm of the *kshatriyas, that (as for) [5] them - both the (city of) . . . and the (city of) Saketa, and the (city of) Kausambi, and the (city of) Pataliputra, as far as the (city of) Sri-Campa [6] - whatever rulers and other *important persons (they might have) he had submitted to (his) will, and he had submitted all [7] India to (his) will. Then King Kanishka gave orders to Shafar the karalrang [8] *at this . . . to make the sanctuary which is called B . . . ab, in the *plain of Ka . . ., for these [9] gods, (of) whom the . . . *glorious Umma leads the *service here, (namely:) the *lady Nana and the [10] lady Umma, Aurmuzd, the gracious one, Sroshard, Narasa, (and) Mihr. [interlinear text: . . . and he is called Maaseno, and he is called Bizago] And he likewise [11] gave orders to make images of these gods who are written above, and [12] he gave orders to make (them) for these kings: for King Kujula Kadphises (his) great [13] grandfather, and for King Vima Taktu, (his) grandfather, and for King Vima Kadphises [14] (his) father, and *also for himself, King Kanishka. Then, as the king of kings, the devaputra [15] . . . had given orders to do, Shafar the karalrang made this sanctuary. [16] [Then . . .] the karalrang, and Shafar the karalrang, and Nukunzuk [led] the worship [17] [according to] the (king's) command. (As for) *these gods who are written here - may they [keep] the [18] king of kings, Kanishka the Kushan, for ever healthy, *secure, (and) victorious. [19] And [when] the devaputra, the *ruler of all India from the year one to the year *one *thousand, [20] had *founded the sanctuary in the year one, then *also to the . . . year. . . [21] according to the king's command . . . (and) it was given also to the . . ., (and) it was given also to the . . ., (and) also to [22] . . . the king gave an *endowment to the gods, and . . ."...http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rabatak_inscription

"The Kushans were one of five branches of the Yuezhi confederation, a possibly Tocharian, Indo-European nomadic people who had migrated from the Tarim Basin and settled in ancient Bactria. They may also have been of Iranian origin. During the 1st and early 2nd centuries CE, the Kushans expanded across the northern parts of the Indian subcontinent at least as far as Saketa and Sarnath near Varanasi (Benares), where inscriptions have been found dating to the era of the Kushan emperor Kanishka, which began about 127 CE Around 152 CE, Kanishka sent his armies north of the Karakoram mountains. They captured territories as far as Kashgar, Khotan and Yarkant, in the Tarim Basin of modern-day Xinjiang, China. A direct road from Gandhara to China was opened which remained under Kushan control for more than 100 years. The security offered by the Kushans encouraged travel across the Khunjerab Pass and facilitated the spread of Mahayana Buddhism to China.".....Falk, Harry. 2001. "The yuga of Sphujiddhvaja and the era of the Kuṣāṇas." Silk Road Art and Archaeology VII, pp. 121–136.

"Some traces remain of the presence of the Kushans in the area of Bactria and Sogdiana. Archaeological structures are known in Takht-I-Sangin, Surkh Kotal (a monumental temple), and in the palace of Khalchayan. Various sculptures and friezes are known, representing horse-riding archers, and significantly men such as the Kushan prince of Khalchayan.... The Chinese first referred to these people as the Yuezhi and said they established the Kushan Empire, although the relationship between the Yuezhi and the Kushans is still unclear. On the ruins of ancient Hellenistic cities such as Ai-Khanoum, the Kushans are known to have built fortresses. The earliest documented ruler, and the first one to proclaim himself as a Kushan ruler, was Heraios. He may have been an ally of the Greeks, and he shared the same style of coinage. Heraios may have been the father of the first Kushan emperor Kujula Kadphises."....Lebedynsky, Iaroslav (2006). Les Saces. Paris: Editions Errance. ISBN 2-87772-337-2.

"The Kushans are believed to have been predominantly Zoroastrian....However, from the time of Vima Takto, many Kushans started adopting aspects of Buddhist culture. Like the Egyptians, they absorbed the strong remnants of the Greek Culture of the Hellenistic Kingdoms, becoming at least partly Hellenised. The great Kushan emperor Vima Kadphises may have embraced Saivism, as surmised by coins minted during the period. The following Kushan emperors represented a wide variety of faiths including Zoroastrianism, Buddhism, and possibly Saivism (a sect of Hinduism)."......http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kushan_Empire#cite_note-23

"The Kushans adopted elements of the Hellenistic culture of Bactria. They adopted the Greek alphabet to suit their own language (with the additional development of the letter Þ "sh", as in "Kushan") and soon began minting coinage on the Greek model. On their coins they used Greek language legends combined with Pali legends (in the Kharoshthi script), until the first few years of the reign of Kanishka. "....

"The recently discovered Rabatak inscription confirms the account of the Hou Hanshu, Weilüe, and inscriptions dated early in the Kanishka era (incept probably 127 CE), that large Kushan dominions expanded into in the heartland of northern India in the early 2nd century CE. The lines 4 to 7 of the inscription describe the cities which were under the rule of Kanishka, among which six names are identifiable: Ujjain, Kundina, Saketa, Kausambi, Pataliputra, and Champa (although the text is not clear whether Champa was a possession of Kanishka or just beyond it). Northward, in the 2nd century CE, the Kushans under Kanishka made various forays into the Tarim Basin, seemingly the original ground of their ancestors the Yuezhi, where they had various contacts with the Chinese. Both archaeological findings and literary evidence suggest Kushan rule, in Kashgar, Yarkand and Khotan. The Kushan state was bounded to the south by the Pārata state of Balochistan, western Pakistan.....As late as the 3rd century CE, decorated coins of Huvishka were dedicated at Bodh Gaya together with other gold offerings under the "Enlightenment Throne" of the Buddha, suggesting direct Kushan influence in the area during that period."....http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kushan_Empire

The Rabatak site, again visited by Robert Kluijver in March 2002, has been looted and destroyed (the looting was performed with bulldozers), reportedly by the local commander at Rabatak.

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Email....okarresearch@gmail.com

John Hopkins.....Northern New Mexico….August 2013

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