Sunday, November 15, 2015

Hephthalites, Tibetans and White Huns (408 - 670 AD)

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"Central Asia and the neighbouring countries have a very old and rich history......A poorly studied and complex period of this region is the early medieval one (4th-6th century AD)...In the 5th - 6th centuries AD the Hephthalites founded a great empire on the later territory of the modern states of Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and China....Some researchers see descendants of the Yuezhi in the Hephthalites...others derive them from ancient Mongols or Huns assimilated by Central Asian people....Yet another theory considers an Iranian language of the Hephthalites and their Iranian origin.....V. de Saint-Martin was among the first to suppose that the Hephthalites were descendants of the Yuezhi and had a Tibetan origin....Enoki suggests that two centres of the Hephthalite Empire were on the Upper Amudarya..... Another centre was in Ghur (south of Kunduz) and is the Hua of Chinese sources and Gorgo of Procopius. According to Enoki, this argument also supports the theory that the origin of the Hephthalites was eastern Tokharistan on the upper Amudarya or in the Hindukush mountains and therefore it could explain why the Hephthalites did not establish their centre near the Altai mountains as noted in Chinese sources as their place of origin....Enoki in his later work (1959, 27-37) adds another two centres: Balkh and Warwaliz (to the north of Kunduz). ".......THE HEPHTHALITES: ARCHAEOLOGICAL AND HISTORICAL ANALYSIS Written by AYDOGDY KURBANOV.....PhD thesis submitted to the Department of History and Cultural Studies of the Free University, Berlin 2010.....http://www.diss.fu-berlin.de/diss/servlets/MCRFileNodeServlet/FUDISS_derivate_000000007165/01_Text.pdf

"Although the Hephthalites dominated much of Central Asia and Northern India at the height of their power (approximately 460 to 570), little information about their civilization is available to us. Their name derives from the Byzantine "Ephthalites," and they were alternatively known as Ye-Ta to the Wei dynasty and Hunas to the Gupta Empire. They are also referred to as "White Huns" in some histories, a term derived from a quotation from Procopius' History of the Wars, in which he writes, "The Ephthalites are of the stock of the Huns in fact as well as in name; however they do not mingle with any of the Huns known to us.... They are the only ones among the Huns who have white bodies and countenances which are not ugly." We do not know what name these people used to refer to themselves. "....https://depts.washington.edu/silkroad/exhibit/hephthalites/hephthalite.html

Hephthalite Empire.....408–670 AD
Capitals: Kunduz (Badian), Balkh (Baktra), Sialkot (Sakala)
Official language: Bactrian
Regional languages: Gandhari (Gandhara), Sogdian (Sogdiana), Chorasmian, Tocharian, Turkic, Saka dialects
Liturgical language: Sanskrit
Religion: Buddhism and Hinduism....Nestorianism, Manichaeism, Zoroastrianism
Political structure: Nomadic confederation

Click on the Map to enlarge.

Tridu Songtsen (Tibetan: ཁྲི་འདུས་སྲོང་བཙན་, Wylie: Khri 'dus-srong btsan), Tridu Songtsän or Dusong Mangban, (670–704; r. 676–704 AD) was an emperor of the Tibetan Empire from 676 to 704 AD.

"The stronghold of the Hephthalites was Tokharistan on the northern slopes of the Hindu Kush, in what is present-day northeastern Afghanistan. By 479 AD, the Hephthalites had conquered Sogdia and driven the Kidarites westwards, and by 493 AD they had captured parts of present-day Dzungaria and the Tarim Basin in what is now Northwest China.....Following the settlement of the Yuezhi (referred to by the Greeks as Tókharoi), the general area of Bactria came to be called Tokharistan. The territory of Tokharistan was identical with Kushan Bactria, including the areas of Surkhandarya, Southern Tajikistan and Northern Afghanistan."

"White Huns or Hephthalites , people of obscure origins, possibly of Tibetan or Turkish stock. They were called Ephthalites by the Greeks, and Hunas by the Indians. There is no definite evidence that they are related to the Huns. The White Huns were an agricultural people with a developed set of laws. They were first mentioned by the Chinese, who described them (A.D. 125) as living in Dzungaria. They displaced the Scythians and conquered Sogdiana and Khorasan before 425. They crossed (425) the Syr Darya (Jaxartes) River and invaded Persia. Held off at first by Bahram Gur, they later (483–85) succeeded in making Persia tributary. After a series of wars (503–13) they were driven out of Persia, permanently lost the offensive, and were finally (557) defeated by Khosru I. The White Huns also invaded India and succeeded in extending their domain to include the Ganges valley. They temporarily overthrew the Gupta empire but were eventually driven out of India in 528 by a Hindu coalition. Although in Persia they had little effect, in India the White Huns influenced society by altering the caste system and disrupting the hierarchy of the ruling families. Some of the White Huns remained in India as a distinct group.".....The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press.

"In Chinese chronicles, the Hephthalites are called Yanda or Ye-ti-i-li-do, while older Chinese sources of c. 125 AD call them Hoa or Hoa-tun and describe them as a tribe living beyond the Great Wall in Dzungaria. Elsewhere they were called the "White Huns", known to the Greeks as Ephthalite, Abdel or Avdel, to the Indians as Sveta Huna ("white Huns"), Chionite or Turushka, to the Armenians as Haital, and to the Persians and Arabs as Haytal or Hayatila, while their Bactrian name is ηβοδαλο (Ebodalo)..... According to most specialist scholars, the spoken language of the Hephthalites was an East Iranian language but different from the Bactrian language that was utilized as the "official language" and minted on coins..... They may be the eponymous ancestors of the modern Pashtun tribal union of the Abdali, the largest tribal union in Afghanistan."....http://www.self.gutenberg.org/articles/hephthalites

"The origin of the Gurjars is uncertain....The Gurjar clan appeared in northern India about the time of the Huna invasions of northern India (c 470 AD)..... Some scholars, such as V. A. Smith, believed that the Gurjars were foreign immigrants, possibly a branch of Hephthalites ("White Huns"). Mr. Devadatta Ramakrishna Bhandarkar (D. B. Bhandarkar) (1875–1950) believed that Gurjars came into India with the Hunas, and their name "Gujar" was sanskritized to "Gurjara" or "Gūrjara".He also believed that several places in Central Asia, such as "Gurjistan", are named after the Gurjars and that the reminiscences of Gojar migration is preserved in these names. General Cunningham identified the Gurjars with Yuezhi or Tocharians.....General Cunningham and A. H. Bingley consider the Gurjars as descendants of Kushan/Yueh-chi or Tocharians of Indo-Scythian stock".....http://www.mapsofindia.com/history/battles/huna-invasions-of-india.html

"The Gujars, who may represent the Gurjara tribe (Rose 1883, 2: 306), still practice their nomadic life, including vertical transhumance (nomadic pastoralism )...... Baines writes about the Gujars: Next to the Jat in rank, and probably akin in ongm, comes the Gujar … [which] … is now generally affliated to the Gurjara, a tribe which was settled in the neighborhood of the Caspian, and entered India either in company with or at the same time as, the Yetha or White Huna, of whom they are said to have been it branch. (Baines 1912, 44).".....https://aleximreh.wordpress.com/2014/12/15/excerpts-from-the-getes-by-sundeep-s-jhutti-2003/

Click on the map to enlarge

".... During the Buddhist period of the Gandhara Kingdom to which Takht-i-bahi belongs (c 2nd c AD to c 7th c AD), the area of what is now NW Pakistan and SW Afghanistan contained significant numbers (I have read of “thousands”) of such complexes....Among the complexes at Taxila, that of Jaulian is particularly similar to Takht-i-bahi in terms of its location and lay-out, being situated on a hill side. Apparently the larger Sangharamas were deliberately located a “convenient distance” away from urban centres in secluded locations with hills/forests and running water.....Regarding relative timescales, the Taxila complex of Dharamajika is the earliest, going back to Ashoka and the 3rd C BCE. Takht-i-bahi was founded from 1st C BCE - although it is said to have earlier Zoroastrian roots, there didn’t seem to be anything “on show” to demonstrate this. Jaulian dates from around the 2nd C CE. Both Dharamjika and Jaulian were destroyed by the “White Huns” in 455. Takht-i-bahi avoided this fate and “prayed on” for another 200 years or so and the last dated construction is from the 7th C CE – this avoidance of destruction was important for preserving the remains on view today. It is said that it escaped the depredations of the Huns because it was off the main road from Swat and “hidden”! The AB evaluation also says “if fell into disuse through the discontinuation of charitable endowments in modern times” without specifying what it meant by “modern times”. In fact it seems an inappropriate word - the Chinese traveller Xuanzang reported the decline of Buddhism in the area in 644. The remnants of Gandhara thereafter, under various conquests, reverted significantly to Hinduism and, in around 1020, became Islamic. .....http://www.worldheritagesite.org/sites/takhtibahi.html

"In AD 701-703 the Hephthalites, together with the Turks and Tibetans, took part in the siege of Termez, when its governor Musa ibn Abdallah ibn Khazim rebelled against the regent of Khorasan. The siege ended with the defeat of the attacking troops."......http://www.diss.fu-berlin.de/diss/servlets/MCRFileNodeServlet/FUDISS_derivate_000000007165/01_Text.pdf

"Professor Paul Harrison of Stanford University, deciphered a copper scroll from Afghanistan in 2007.... The scroll is dated from 492-93 AD and is from the period of the Hephthalites. It apparently mentions that they were Buddhists and had Iranian names and includes about a dozen names including that of their overlord or King. Where their general name is concerned, they have been variously known as Sveta Hunas or Khidaritas in Sanskrit, Ephtalites or Hephthalites in Greek, Haitals in Armenian, Heaitels in Arabic and Persian, Abdeles by the Byzantine historian Theophylactos Simocattes, while the Chinese name them the Ye-ta-li-to, after their first major ruler Ye-tha or Hephtal.".....http://www.ancient.eu/White_Huns_(Hephthalites)/

"...the various Hunnic tribes had long ago divided themselves into four groups along the cardinal points, each with a specific colour. The Northern Huns hence became the "Black" Huns, the "White" Huns were the western tribes, the "Green" or "Blue" were the southern and the "Red" Huns occupied the Eastern territories. So despite being identified as fair skinned, the name itself has less to do with physical appearance and more to do with their self-devised methods of tribal affiliation."....http://www.ancient.eu/White_Huns_(Hephthalites)/

"Procopius of Caesarea (6th cent CE) is quoted multiple times across publications as giving the first physical descriptions of these people and their society in the following words: “The Ephthalitae are of the stock of the Huns in fact as well as in name; however, they do not mingle with any of the Huns known to us, for they occupy a land neither adjoining nor even very near to them; but their territory lies immediately to the north of Persia; indeed their city, called Gorgo, is located over against the Persian frontier, and is consequently the centre of frequent contests concerning boundary lines between the two peoples. For they are not nomads like the other Hunnic peoples, but for a long time have been established in a goodly land. As a result of this they have never made any incursion into the Roman territory except in company with the Median army. They are the only ones among the Huns who have white bodies and countenances which are not ugly. It is also true that their manner of living is unlike that of their kinsmen, nor do they live a savage life as they do; but they are ruled by one king, and since they possess a lawful constitution, they observe right and justice in their dealings both with one another and with their neighbours, in no degree less than the Romans and the Persians.”......- Procopius of Caesarea (Book I. ch. 3)..........http://www.ancient.eu/White_Huns_(Hephthalites)/

"That the Ephthalites practiced sun worship has been suggested by Enoki, who says, “[That] the Ephthalites built their tents with their entrances facing to the east would also imply the practice of sun-worship among them (Enoki O.N.E. 1988, 175). He also adds, “We may also recall the practice of sun-worship among the Massagetae (Herodotus I, 212) and the Kushanians [Ta Yuezhi]” (Enoki O.N .E. 1998, 175). Now the implied practice of sun worship still exists today in the structure of the modem Panjabi villages. .....Further, Enoki suggests that the Yetha worshipped the Fire-god (Mithra) and the God of Heaven (Daeva-Worship), thereby remaining consistent with his idea of the Iranian origin of the Yetha (Enoki O.N.E. 1998, 177). Based on the coins of the Ephthalites, namely the coins of Khingila (father of Toramana Jauvla),."....https://aleximreh.wordpress.com/2014/12/15/excerpts-from-the-getes-by-sundeep-s-jhutti-2003/

"Bernshtam, in one of his article, wrote that the Hephthalites continued the work of the Kushans and supported Buddhism, but in another study he states that the Hephtalites were shamanists..... Such contradictions are also found in the work by Gafurov. In his opinion, amongst a certain part of the Hephthalites Christianity was a wide-spread, and priests were directed in the 6th century AD by the ruler of the Hephthalites to the Sasanian capital by Mar Aba I (patriarch of Christian-Nestorians in the Sasanian Empire) with a request to put this bishop above all Hephthalite Christians. Later Gafurov says the Hephthalites did not believe in Buddhism (though he adds that under influence of subordinated population, which confessed the Buddhism, in the Hephthalite context adherents of this religion appeared), but honoured their own god. “Each morning they came out of their own tents and prayed. Possibly, they honoured the sun”.......Page 233.....http://www.diss.fu-berlin.de/diss/servlets/MCRFileNodeServlet/FUDISS_derivate_000000007165/01_Text.pdf

"In 1959, Japanese researcher Kazuo Enoki proposed that the Hephthalites were probably Indo-European (East) Iranians as some sources indicated that they were originally from Bactria, which is known to have been inhabited by Indo-Iranian people in antiquity. Richard Frye is cautiously accepting of Enoki's hypothesis, while at the same time stressing that the Hephthalites "were probably a mixed horde". More recently Xavier Tremblay's detailed examination of surviving Hephthalite personal names has indicated that Enoki's hypothesis that they were East Iranian may well be correct, but the matter remains unresolved in academic circles.".....http://www.self.gutenberg.org/articles/hephthalites

"Another source which shows that the Hephthalites did not persecute the followers of Buddism is the copper inscription in the Schøyen collection and which was inscribed to mark the consecration of a stupa, a Buddhist sanctuary in the region around modern Talaqan, situated east of Kunduz (north-east Afghanistan). In the list of donors are the name of Hephthalite kings.".....Page 234....http://www.diss.fu-berlin.de/diss/servlets/MCRFileNodeServlet/FUDISS_derivate_000000007165/01_Text.pdf

"According to the Encyclopaedia Iranica and Encyclopaedia of Islam, the Hephthalites possibly originated in what is today eastern Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan. They apparently had no direct connection with the European Huns, but may have been causally related with their movement. It is noteworthy that the tribes in question deliberately called themselves Huns in order to frighten their enemies."....http://www.self.gutenberg.org/articles/hephthalites

"The last Hephthalite King, Yudhishthira, ruled until about 670 AD, when he was replaced by the Kabul Shahi dynasty."

"In their religious beliefs, the Ephthalites are said to have worshipped fire and sun gods. While either one is not unusual in any early culture around the world, both together is likely to indicate a Persian origin. In Persia, such beliefs were later to culminate in Zoroastrianism.".....http://rick-heli.info/silkroad/eph.html

"The Bahman yašt is the most important apocalyptic work in Zoroastrian literature…Chapters 4 and 5 tell how calamities which will befall Iran at the end of the tenth millennium when enemy nations—Arabs, Byzantines, Turks, Chionites, Hephthalites(?), Tibetans, Chinese (see H. W. Bailey, “Iranian Studies,” BSOS 6, 1932, pp. 945-53), and others, will push almost as far as Padašxwārgar and conquer Iran, causing decay of religion, breakdown of social order, debasement of law and morality, and degeneration of nature"...http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/bahman-yast-middle-persian-apocalyptical-text

"One of the coins included in this exhibit was found along with thirteen other Hephthalite examples among the relics found in the Tope Kulan stupa, located in what is now Hadda, Afghanistan.. If the Hephthalite rulers were hostile to Buddhism, it seems doubtful that believers would have interred coins bearing portraits of their rulers. It is more probably that, once their power base had been secured, they at least tolerated Buddhist practice within their realm. They may even have offered the religion a degree of royal patronage; one inscription records donations to a Buddhist monastery in the name of the Hephthalite ruler Toramana. "......https://depts.washington.edu/silkroad/exhibit/hephthalites/hephthalite.html

"Mihirakula (Chinese: 大族王) was one of the most important Hephthalite emperors, whose empire was in the present-day territories of Afghanistan, Pakistan and northern and central India. Mihirakula was a son of Toramana who was a tegin (secondary prince) of the Indian part of the Hephthalite Empire. Mihirakula ruled his empire from 502 to 530.....The "Mihirakula" was a Central Asian Huna origin and may have the meaning "Mithra's Begotten", as translated by Janos Harmatta. Cognates are also known from Sanskrit sources, though these are most likely borrowed from the neighbouring East Iranian languages. Mihira in Sanskrit is Sun and Kula is Clan. He was thus a Syryavanshi and followed Lord Shiva....The 6th-century Alexandrian traveler Cosmas Indicopleustes states that the Hephthalites in India reached the zenith of its power under Mihirakula."......https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mihirakula

Enoki, Kazuo, Memoirs of the Research Department of the Toyo Bunko, 1955, No. 18, "On the Nationality of the Ephthalites"
Hambly, Gavin, Central Asia, 1966, Chapter 3: "Sassanians and Turks in Central Asia"
McGovern, William, The Early Empires of Central Asia, 1939, Chap. 18: "The Huns in Persia and India,"
Procopius, History of the Wars, Books I and II, Loeb Classical Library,

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Email....okarresearch@gmail.com

November 2015

John Hopkins....Northern New Mexico

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