Sunday, September 15, 2013

Alexandria on the Oxus: Ai-Khanoum (280 BC)

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"Ai-Khanoum or Ay Khanum (lit. “Lady Moon” in Uzbek, possibly the historical Alexandria on the Oxus, also possibly later named اروکرتیه or Eucratidia), was founded in the 4th century BC, following the conquests of Alexander the Great and was one of the primary cities of the Greco-Bactrian kingdom. The city is located in Kunduz Province, northern Afghanistan, at the confluence of the Oxus river (today's Amu Darya) and the Kokcha river, and at the doorstep of the Indian subcontinent. Ai-Khanoum was one of the focal points of Hellenism in the East for nearly two centuries, until its annihilation by nomadic invaders around 145 BC about the time of the death of Eucratides.".....http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ai-Khanoum

"Perhaps the greatest of the "thousand cities of Bactria", known to us today as Ai Khanoum ("Lady Moon" in Uzbeki), was built at a notch where the Oxus (present-day Amu Darya) and Kokcha Rivers meet in northern Afghanistan. .....Initially the site of a fortress known as Alexandria on the Oxus built in 329-328 BC by the troops of Alexander the Great, the site later became a Greek colony where soldiers and a part of Alexander's vast entourage remained behind to settle and carve out a Greek kingdom in the wilds of Central Asia while Alexander continued his military campaign......Over the next 150 years, the fortress expanded to include a series of terrace structures along the south bank of the Oxus. The ground plan included a royal palace, a treasury, pools and fountains, a Propylaea (monumental gateway or processional with 118 columns with Corinthian capitals), a royal library, a gymnasium dedicated to Herakles (Hercules), storerooms to accommodate gold and gemstones mined from the nearby mountains and luxury goods acquired through trade or conquest, as well as a necropolis or mausoleum for attending to the dead.....The riverside terrace structures were backed by a Greek-style acropolis (the "upper city") and a massive Greek theater (the largest in the East, even larger than the theater at Babylon). .......There was also a "lower city" protected by a fearsome defensive wall (with ramparts more than 30 feet high and twenty to twenty-six feet thick) and an elite residentical district with 50 or more mansions (Greek in style with mosaic floors and many amenities, including heated water systems). ".....http://www.cemml.colostate.edu/cultural/09476/afgh02-06enl.html

"Due to the lack of proper stones for sculptural work in the area of Ai-Khanoum, unbaked clay and stucco modeled on a wooden frame were often used, a technique which would become widespread in Central Asia and the East, especially in Buddhist art. In some cases, only the hands and feet would be made in marble....".....http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ai-Khanoum

"Ai-Khanoum or Ay Khanum (lit. “Lady Moon” in Uzbek, possibly the historical Alexandria on the Oxus, also possibly later named اروکرتیه or Eucratidia) was one of the primary cities of the Greco-Bactrian kingdom. Previous scholars have argued that Ai Khanoum was founded in the late 4th century BC, following the conquests of Alexander the Great. Recent analysis now strongly suggests that the city was founded c. 280 BC by the Seleucid king Antiochus I. The city is located in Takhar Province, northern Afghanistan, at the confluence of the Oxus river (today's Amu Darya) and the Kokcha river, and at the doorstep of the Indian subcontinent. Ai-Khanoum was one of the focal points of Hellenism in the East for nearly two centuries, until its annihilation by nomadic invaders around 145 BC .".....Lyonnet, Bertille. "Questions on the Date of the Hellenistic Pottery from Central Asia (Ai Khanoum, Marakanda and Koktepe". Ancient Civilizations from Scythia to Siberia". vol. 18. 2012.

"The site was excavated through archaeological searches by a French DAFA mission under Paul Bernard between 1964 and 1978, as well as Russian scientists. The searches had to be abandoned with the onset of the Soviet war in Afghanistan, during which the site was looted and used as a battleground, leaving very little of the original material."

"A Greek city in Bactria......Numerous artifacts and structures were found, pointing to a high Hellenistic culture, combined with Eastern influences. "It has all the hallmarks of a Hellenistic city, with a Greek theatre, gymnasium and some Greek houses with colonnaded courtyards" (Boardman). Overall, Aï-Khanoum was an extremely important Greek city (1.5 sq kilometer), characteristic of the Seleucid Empire and then the Greco-Bactrian Kingdom. It seems the city was destroyed, never to be rebuilt, about the time of the death of the Greco-Bactrian king Eucratides around 145 BC.....Ai-Khanoum may have been the city in which Eucratides was besieged by Demetrius, before he successfully managed to escape to ultimately conquer India (Justin)."..Justin (Latin: Marcus Junianius (or Junianus) Justinus) was a Latin historian who lived under the Roman Empire.

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Email....okarresearch@gmail.com

September 2013

John Hopkins....Northern New Mexico

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