Sunday, November 18, 2012

The Europoid Yuezhi in Bactria (200 BC)


Click Here to View the Main Index


The Yuezhi, or Rouzhi (Chinese: 月氏; pinyin: Yuèzhī or Ròuzhī) were an ancient Indo-European people often identified with the Tókharoi (Τοχάριοι) of Classical sources. They were originally settled in the arid grasslands of the eastern Tarim Basin area, in what is today Xinjiang and western Gansu, in China, before they migrated to Transoxiana, Bactria and then northern South Asia, where one branch of the Yuezhi founded the Kushan Empire."....

Click on the Map to enlarge

The Yuezhi are often identified with the Tókharoi (Τοχάριοι), named by Greek historians among the conquerors of the Greco-Bactrian Kingdom in the 2nd century BCE. Christopher Beckwith claims that the character 月, usually read as Old Chinese *ŋʷjat > Mod. yuè, could have been pronounced in an archaic northwestern dialect as *tokwar or *togwar, a form that resembles the Bactrian name Toχοαρ (Toχwar ~ Tuχwar) and the medieval form Toχar ~ Toχâr. At the beginning of the 20th century, manuscripts were discovered in the northern Tarim Basin written in two hitherto-unknown Indo-European languages dating from the 6th to 8th centuries CE. Believing the authors to be the Tókharoi, Friedrich W. K. Müller called these languages the Tocharian languages. Although few scholars now accept Müller's identification, "Tocharian" remains the standard term for the languages of the Tarim Basin manuscripts and for the people who produced them. Christopher Beckwith has argued that the Yuezhi were originally Tocharian-speakers who switched to the local Iranian language on entering Bactria."......

" In the middle of the 2nd century BCE, the Yuezhi conquered Bactria, and the Ancient Greek authors inform us that the conquerors of Bactria were the Asii and Tochari tribes. In the Chinese chronicles Bactria then began to be called the country of Daxia, i.e., Tocharistan... the 2nd-1st century BCE Records of the Great Historian, or Shiji, by Sima Qian. According to these accounts: The Yuezhi originally lived in the area between the Qilian or Heavenly Mountains (Tian Shan) and Dunhuang, but after they were defeated by the Xiongnu they moved far away to the west, beyond Dayuan, where they attacked and conquered the people of Daxia and set up the court of their king on the northern bank of the Gui [= Oxus] River..".....

"The Yuezhi may have been a Europoid people, as indicated by the portraits of their kings on the coins they struck following their exodus to Transoxiana (2nd–1st century BCE), some old place names in Gansu explainable in Tocharian languages, and especially the coins they struck in India as Kushans (1st–3rd century CE).....Ancient Chinese sources do describe the existence of "white people with long hair" (the Bai people of the Shan Hai Jing) beyond their northwestern border. Very well preserved Tarim mummies with Europoid features (light hair and eyes) and dominated by Haplogroup R1a1a (Y-DNA), today displayed at the Ürümqi Museum and dated to the 3rd century BCE, were found at the ancient oasis on the Silk Road, Niya."......A Companion to World History edited by Douglas Northrop

"Should the term Europoid replace the term Caucasian?"

A Companion to World History....edited by Douglas Northrop...Page 253

".....a large group of the Yuezhi fled from the Tarim Basin towards the Northwest, first settling in the Ili valley, immediately north of the Tian Shan mountains, where they confronted and defeated the Sai (Sakas or Scythians): "The Yuezhi attacked the king of the Sai who moved a considerable distance to the south and the Yuezhi then occupied his lands" (Han Shu 61 4B). The Sai then undertook their own migration, which was to lead them as far as Kashmir, after travelling through a "Suspended Crossing" (probably the Khunjerab Pass between present-day Xinjiang and northern Pakistan). The Sakas ultimately established an Indo-Scythian kingdom in northern India...In the year 132 BCE, the Wusun, in alliance with the Xiongnu and out of revenge from an earlier conflict, managed to dislodge the Yuezhi, forcing them to move south. The Yuezhi crossed the neighbouring urban civilization of the Dayuan in Ferghana and settled on the northern bank of the Oxus, in the region of Transoxiana, in modern-day Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, just north of the Hellenistic Greco-Bactrian kingdom. The Greek city of Alexandria on the Oxus was apparently burnt to the ground by the Yuezhi around 145 BCE.."......

"They are bordered on the south by Daxia (Bactria), on the west by Anxi (Parthia), and on the north by Kangju (beyond the middle Jaxartes). They are a nation of nomads, moving from place to place with their herds, and their customs are like those of the Xiongnu. They have some 100,000 or 200,000 archer warriors."....Watson, Burton. Trans. 1993. Records of the Grand Historian of China: Han Dynasty II. Translated from the Shiji of Sima Qian. Chapter 123: "The Account of Dayuan," Columbia University Press. Revised Edition. ISBN 0-231-08166-9; ISBN 0-231-08167-7 (pbk.), p. 234.

"The Yuezhi were organized into five major tribes, each led by a yabgu, or tribal chief, and known to the Chinese as Xiūmì (休密) in Western Wakhān and Zibak, Guishuang (貴霜) in Badakhshan and the adjoining territories north of the Oxus, Shuangmi (雙靡) in the region of Shughnan, Xidun (肸頓) in the region of Balkh, and Dūmì (都密) in the region of Termez."......

" A description of the Greco-Bactrian kingdom was made by Zhang Qian (an imperial envoy to the world outside of China in the 2nd century BCE) after the conquest by Yuezhi:: 'After the Great Yuezhi moved west and attacked the lands, the entire country came under their sway. The population of the country is large, numbering some 1,000,000 or more persons. The capital is called the city of Lanshi (Bactra) (modern Balkh) and has a market where all sorts of goods are bought and sold."....


John Hopkins.....Northern New Mexico….November 2012


No comments:

Post a Comment