Showing posts with label Afghan. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Afghan. Show all posts

Who is Diodotus - Greek Myth

Diodotus, Seleucid satrap of Bactria, rebelled against Antiochus II (about 255 BC) and became the founder of the Graeco-Bactrian kingdom (Trogus, Prol. 41; Justin xli. 4, 5, where he is called Theodotus; Strabo xi. 515). His power seems to have extended over the neighbouring provinces. Diodotus was a contemporary, a neighbour, and probably an ally of Andragoras, the satrap of Parthia, who at about the same time also proclaimed independence from the Seleucid Empire.

Now let us find out who is Diodotus, Is he a Greek King or Mauryan Emperor Ashoka.

Diodotus according to Greeks
Diodotus wrestled independence for his territory from the Seleucid ruler Antiochus II, who was embroiled in a war against Ptolemaic Egypt:
Diodotus, the governor of the thousand cities of Bactria (Latin: "Theodotus, mille urbium Bactrianarum praefectus"), defected and proclaimed himself king; all the other people of the Orient followed his example and seceded from the Macedonians. (Justin, XLI,4 )
Arsaces, the chieftain of the nomadic (Dahan) tribe of the Parni(east Parthia), fled before him into Parthia and there eliminated Andragoras, the former satrap and self-proclaimed king of Parthia, and became the founder of the Parthian Empire (Strabo l.c.).

"Soon after, relieved by the death of Diodotus I, Arsaces made peace and concluded an alliance with his son, also by the name of Diodotus; some time later he fought against Seleucos who came to punish the rebels, but he prevailed: the Parthians celebrated this day as the one that marked the beginning of their freedom" (Justin, XLI,4).

Diodotus I Issued Gold and bronze coins, some of which are struck in the name of Antiochos. Diodotus Soter appears also on coins struck in his memory by the later Graeco-Bactrian kings Agathocles and Antimachus.

Ashoka is Diodotus
  • We can see both are same by the following points
  • Same Era -Both lived in the same era. Both died at the same date.
  • While we have no inscriptions for Diodotus , we have no coins from Ashoka.
  • Being Neibhours both don't acknowledge each other.
  • Both called themselves the Emperor's of the orient.
  • Ashoka started as the governer of some provinces of his father Bindusara(Amitrochates or Allitrochades), Who was friendly with Antiochus I and entertained by ambassadors from Syria and Egypt.
  • During Bindusara period, there was revolt in Taxila(same place of Arsaces), was put down by Bindusara and subsequently another revolt was putdown by Asoka after he ascended the Mauryan throne.
  • In The Nittur Edict Ashoka Calls Himself The Ruler Of Parthavi(Parthia)Lion is as much Royal symbol of Macedonians as Mauryans
  • Stupa's are similar to West Asian Stupas
  • The Kandahar Edict clearly shows Ashoka as the master of Arachosia, whereas the numerous coins of Diodotus-I found from this area indicate that Diodotus was the sovereign of this region.
  • Ashoka has many names, Priyadarsin(Piodasses),Devanapriya, Devadutta, the last term should be seen as Diodotus to greco-Romans, like Sandracuttas (chandragupta Maruya)
  • Ashoka mentions his nearby kingdoms in Girinar inscription as coda, pida, satyaputo(Mysore Jains), ketaleputo, Tambapanni(ceylon), Antiyoka(seleucid-syria), , ptolemy(Egypt), Gongakenos(Gonatus-Macedone), Magas(cyrene-libya),Alexander II(Epirus-Alabania,Greece). So his Empire extended into West Asia. In short he acknowledges kingdoms all west Asia ,but not Diodotus
So Ashoka is Diodotus and Diodotus is Ashoka , the emphasis on the name priyadarsin after the conquests has made him different ruler to the contemproary historians. Maybe the western historians dont want to acknowledge that an Indian Empire stretched to Greece.

Who are White Huns

During the 5th century, the Gupta dynasty in India reigned in the Ganges basin with the Kushan empire occupied the area along the Indus. Huns invaded India. This is the saying that goes on in History, let us analyse the facts.

White Huns
The paucity of record in Hephthalites or Ephthalites provides us fragmentary picture of their civilization and empire. Their background is uncertain. They probably stemmed from a combination of the Tarim basin peoples and the Yueh-chih. There is a striking resemblance in the deformed heads of the early Yueh-chih and Hephthalite kings on their coinage. According to Procopius's History of the Wars, written in the mid 6th century - the Hephthalites "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...."
Ephthalites was the name given by Byzantine historians and Hayathelaites by the Persian historian Mirkhond, and sometimes Ye-tai or Hua by Chinese historians. They are also known as the White Huns, different from the Hun who led by Attila invading the Roman Empire. They are described as a kindred steppe people originally occupied the pasture-lands in the Altai mountain of southwestern Mongolia.

Toward the middle of the 5th century, they expanded westward probably because of the pressure from the Juan-juan, a powerful nomadic tribe in Mongolia. Within decades, they became a great power in the Oxus basin and the most serious enemy of the Persian empire.

The Westward Expansion and War with Sassanian Empire
At the time when the Hephthalites gained power, Kushan and Gandhara were ruled by the Kidarites, a local dynisty of Hun or Chionites tribe. The Hephthalites entered Kabul and overthrew Kushan. The last Kidarites fled to Gandhara and settled at Peshawar. Around 440 the Hephthalites further took Sogdian (Samarkand) and then Balkh and Bactria.
The Hephthalites moved closer and closer toward Persian territory. In 484 the Hephthalite chief Akhshunwar led his army attacked the Sassanian King Peroz (459-484) and the king was defeated and killed in Khurasan. After the victory, the Hephthalite empire extended to Merv and Herat, which had been the regions of the Sassanid Empire.

The Hephthalites, at the time, became the superpower of the Middle Asia. They not only destroyed part of Sassanian Empire in Iran but also intervened in their dynastic struggles when the Sassanid royal, Kavad (488-496), was fighting for the throne with Balash, brother of Peroz. Kavad married the niece of the Hephthalites chief and the Hephthalites aided him to regain his crown in 498AD.

The Eastward Expansion to the Tarim Basin
With the stabilization at the western border, the Hephthalites extended their influence to the northwest into the Tarim Basin. From 493 to 556 A.D., they invaded Khotan, Kashgar, Kocho, and Karashahr. The relationship with Juan-juan and China were tightened. The Chinese record indicated that between 507 and 531, the Hephthalites sent thirteen embassies to Northern Wei (439-534) by the king named Ye-dai-yi-li-tuo.

Invasion to India
During the 5th century, the Gupta dynasty in India reigned in the Ganges basin with the Kushan empire occupied the area along the Indus.

Huna in Sanskrit
India knew the Hephthalite as Huna by the Sanskrit name. The Hephthaltes or Hunas waited till 470 rigth after the death of Gupta ruler, Skandagupta (455-470), and entered the Inda from the Kabul valley after the conquest of Kushan. They kept on invading India until skandagupta repulsed them. After their defeat they assimilated into indian population without any trace, which show they are not very different from the local population.
Pahua, Hua , Hun?
Japanese researcher Kazuo Enoki takes on the theories of both the ancient and the modern writers, including the redoubtable Stein, knocking the legs out from one after another. Theories which are based on coincidence of name, e.g. Pahua and Hua, are unlikely in this part of the world which exhibits so many languages and so much linguistic adaptation and orthographic variation, he points out, and should not be upheld if other sorts of evidence do not support the reasoning. Stein's contention that the Ephthalites were of the Hunnish tribe and therefore of Turkish origin is dismissed largely on this basis. On the other hand, J. Marquart finds similarities between the terms for the Ephthalites in India and words in the Mongolian language, but this theory requires so many leaps between tongues that it remains quite unconvincing. Finally, there is a whole school of researchers attempting to prove this tribe a Turkish, albeit non-Hun, one. These too must rely only on flimsy name evidence. Instead, Enoki makes a convincing case that the Ephthalites are actually an Iranian group. His theory, it must be admitted, does not explain all, but there seems little against it. More importantly, it relies first on data which is generally agreed upon, namely, ancient observations of Ephthalite geographical movements and culture.
For Enoki, Ephthalite origins may be determined by considering where they were not, as well as by where their conquests drove their enemies. They were not previously north of the Tien Shan, thus they did not stem from that region. They drove the Kidarites out of Balkh to the west, thus they came originally from the east. By such reasoning, the Ephthalites are thought to have originated at Hsi-mo-ta-lo (southwest of Badakhshan and near the Hindu Kush), which tantalizingly, stands for Himtala, "snow plain", which may be the Sanskritized form of Hephthal.

Chinese Account
To the Chinese, they were the Ye-ti-i-li-do or Yeda, even though the Chinese chroniclers seem to realize that the people called themselves the people of Hua (the similarity to Hun may help explain the origin of "White Hun") and that the Chinese terms came actually from the name of the Hua leader. Like Procopius, contemporary Chinese chroniclers had their own theories about Ephthalite origins. One thought that were related in some way to the Visha (Indo-Europeans known to the Chinese as the "Yueh Chih" (Yuezhi)), another, a branch of the Kao-ch`ê, a third, descendants of the general Pahua, a fourth descendants of Kang Chu and a fifth admits that he cannot make clear their origins at all.
Iranian Decent
Turning to the elements of Ephthalite culture, Enoki notes that Procopius' comments on their appearance while not decisive, are in favor of an Iranian theory. Similarly, the seventh century travels of Hsuan Chwang show that he found no physical difference between the descendants of the Ephthalites and their known Iranian neighbors. As for their language, commentators made clear that it was neither Turkish nor Mongol, which also seems to support an Iranian origin.
Iranian customs also are common in the Ephthalite world. For example, the practice of several husbands to one wife, or polyandry, was always the rule, which is agreed on by all commentators. That this was plain was evidenced by the custom among the women of wearing a hat containing a number of horns, one for each of the subsequent husbands, all of whom were also brothers to the husband. Indeed, if a husband had no natural brothers, he would adopt another man to be his brother so that he would be allowed to marry. Conjugal rights were traded off and children were assigned in turn with the oldest husband receiving the first and so on. Tellingly, polyandry has never been associated with any Hun tribe, but is known of several Central Asian ones.
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.
As part of their religious observance, the Ephthalites did not cremate, but as is reported by all commentators including Procopius, always buried their dead, either by constructing a tomb or under the ground. This is not consistent with the Zoroastrian practice of leaving the body in the open, but is clearly at odds with Turkish nomadic groups. The practice of inhumation then may simply indicate an Iranian group which had been sundered from the main branch at an early date and had adopted local Central Asian burial customs.

Arabic persian Accounts
Arabic/Persian name for the Hephtalites/Ephtalites was Haytal or Hayatila, and they are so mentioned by Firdausi in his Shahnameh. In his commentary on the Hudud al Alam, the late Russian Professor Minorsky quotes two early passages from Arab chroniclers that link the Khalaj with the Hayatilas aka Ephtalites.
  • From the Mafatih al Ulum of Al-Khwarezmi written in 975 AD (H. 365): The Hayatila are a tribe of men who had enjoyed grandeur and possessed the country of Tukharistan; the Turks called Khalukh, or Khalaj, are their descendants.
  • From the Kitab al Masalik of Istakhri, written in 933 AD (H. 321): The Khalaj are a kind of Turks who in the days of old came to the country between Hind and the districts of Sijistan (Sakastan/Sistan) behind Ghor. They are catle-breeders of Turkish apperance, dress, language.
Takharistan is what is now north-eastern Afghansitan, around Baghlan. Takharistan was actually one of the major strongholds of the Hephtalites during their dominant period in history, so it correlates well to the 2 passages above. Both passages take the Khalaj back some five centuries before the Ghuzz migrations, making their ancestors the White Huns.
As their empire shows, the central focal spot of their empire is the Hindu Kush. Regardless of their origins, by the end of the 6th century AD, there emerges a group of tribes with an Iranian background and language, but not fire worshippers, rather sun worshippers, made up of successive hordes overlaid at the last by a Hunnish conquest, and with a centre of historical attraction towards the Gandhara Valley.

So white Huns are of Decendents of Iranian and Central Asian tribe ,and they are noway connected with Huns of Attila fame. Probably they are just Indian tribe on the periphery in Afghanisthan

Let us see other Huns
European Huns
In 370, nomads arrived nroth of the Black Sea. These nomads were given the name "Huns" by Greco-Roman historians. One theory for the origin of these people is that in 160, Fragments of the Xiong Nu settle around the Ural sea for 200 years, before moving west. However, association of the Xiong Nu and the Huns is now more of a "classic speculation" without enough evidence. Most realistically, the Huns in Europe could've contained some fragments of the Xiong Nu, but also fragments of other steppe groups, along with more local european barbarians. In any case, the Huns moved and destroyed the cultures north of the Pontus including the Sarmatians and the Goths. The Goths then migrated into the Eastern Roman empire, who after rebelling against the Empire, defeated the Romans at Adrianople. The Hun gradually expanded their realms incorporating many local barbarian groups. The height of the empire marked the Reign of Attila, who made repeated invasion against the Romans. Although the Huns did not penetrate very deeply compared to other barbarians, they were instrumental in causing migrations of other barbarians against Rome. After Attila died, the empire rapidly fell apart. Germanic tribes rebelled and defeated Attila's sons, forcing whatever was of the Huns to move back into the steppes, where they faced away.

Red Huns (Chionites)
In 350, the Chionites came to power in Sogdia and invaded the Sassanid Empire of Persia. Latin sources relate them to "Huns" but ethnical relations is far beyond what names can say. Most probable, they were driven out of the Mongolian Steppes by the Juan Juan. (this pattern of groups migrating away from strong nomadic empires is a constant theme in history) The Chionites declined with the Invasion of the White Huns. The last record of Chionites was in 558 AD, when their last remnant was destroyed by the Western Turks.

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Origin of Name Afghan

Origin of Name Afghan has been much debate, not in public domain ,but in schloarly circles, Let us see the theries of etymology of the word Afghan and how it came to represent todays Afghanisthan.

Horseman Origin
Numerous noted scholars say that the name Afghan evidently derives from Sanskrit Ashvaka or Ashvakan, the Assakenoi of Arrian. This view was propounded by scholars like Dr Christian Lassen, Dr J. W. McCrindle, M. V. de Saint Martin, Élisée Reclus etc. In Sanskrit, word ashva (Iranian aspa, Prakrit assa) means "horse", and ashvaka (Prakrit assaka) means "horseman" , "horse people" as well as "horse breeders". Pre-Christian times knew the people of eastern Afghanistan as Ashvakas (horsemen), since they raised a fine breed of horses and had a reputation for providing expert cavalrymen.

The fifth-century-BCE Indian grammarian Panini calls them Ashvakayana and Ashvayana respectively . By the time of Indian astronomer Varāha Mihira (6th century A.D), Ashvakayana of Panini or the Ashvaka(na) of Mahabharata got transmuted to Avagānā , the 0-po-kien or A-po-kien of Yuan Chwang which term Alexander Cunningham and other sholars identify with name of Afghan . Classical writers, however, use the respective equivalents Aspasioi (or Aspasii, Hippasii) and Assakenoi (or Assaceni/Assacani, Asscenus) etc. From the 3rd century, when the Kushano-Sassanian civilization rose, we meet on the term Abagân. Persian Abagan is same as Sanskrit Avagan (Avagana) referred to in the Brhat Samhita by Varaha Mihira.

One of the most ancient names, according to historians and scholars, was Ariana - the Greek pronunciation of the ancient Avestan Aryānām Vaejā, Old Persian Aryānām or the Sanskrit "Aryavarta"(which included Whole of India and Afghanisthan) Realm of the Aryans. Today this Old-Persian, and Avestan expression is preserved in the name Iran and it is noted in the name of the Afghan national airlines, Ariana Airlines. The term Aryānā Afghānistān is still popular amongst Persian speakers in the country.

Large parts of the region were known as Khorasan, and hence present-day Afghanistan along with regions centered around Merv and Neishabur was recognized with the name Persian: خrs: Xorâsân which in Pahlavi means "Land of the Rising Sun". In the Persian literature modern Afghanistan is mentioned as well as Erân-e Xorâsâni or Xorâsân-e Erâni or Xorâsân-e Kabir (Greater Khorasan) or Xâvar-e Erân (East of Iran).

Pashtun or Afghan
The Greek historian Herodotus mentioned a people called Pactyans, living on the eastern frontier of the Persian Satrapy Arachosia as early as the 1st century BCE, but it remains unknown as to what connection they have with Pashtuns. Similarly, the Rig-Veda mentions a tribe called the Pakthas inhabiting eastern Afghanistan and some academics have proposed a connection with modern Pashtuns, but this too remains speculative. Another ancient people proposed as ancestors of the Pashtuns are the Bactrians who spoke a similar Middle Iranian language. Pashtuns are also historically referred to as ethnic Afghans, as the terms Pashtun and Afghan were synonymous until the advent of modern Afghanistan and the division of the Pashtuns by the Durand Line which is a border drawn by the British in the late 19th century. According to V. Minorsky, W.K. Frazier Tyler, M.C. Gillet and several other scholars, "The word Afghan first appears in history in the Hudud-al-Alam in 982 CE."It was used by the Pashtuns and refers to a common legendary ancestor known as Afghana.17th century Pashto poet Khushal Khan Khattak
“ Pull out your sword and slay any one, that says Pashton and Afghan are not one! Arabs know this and so do Romans: Afghans are Pashtons, Pashtons are Afghans“

Other Legends
  1. On hearing about the new faith of Islam, Qais from Aryana travelled to Medina to see Muhammad, and returned to Aryana as a Muslim. Qais Abdur Rashid purportedly had many sons, one of whom was Afghana. Afghana, in turn, had four sons who set out to the east to establish their separate lineages. The first son went to Swat, the second to Lahore , the third to Multan, and the last one to Quetta. This legend is one of many traditional tales amongst the Pashtuns regarding their disparate origins. Again, it was this legendary Afghana who is stated to have given the Pushtuns their current name. It is notable that the Afghan of this legend is separated from the Afghana of Solomon's times by at least 11 centuries.
  2. The "Makhzan-e Afghān" by Nematullah, written in 1612 CE at the Mughal court in India, traces the Afghan or Pakhtun origin from Abraham. It states that King Saul had a son Irmia (Jeremia), who had a son called Afghana. Upon the death of King Saul, Afghana was raised up by King David, and was later promoted to the chief command of the army during the reign of King Solomon. The progeny of this Afghana multiplied numerously, and came to be called Bani-Israel. In the sixth century BCE, Bakhtunnasar, or Nebuchadnezzar king of Babil, attacked Judah and exiled the progeny of Afghana to Ghor located in the center of what is now Afghanistan. In course of time, the exiled community came to be addressed as Afghan after the name of their ancestor, and the country got its name as Afghanistan. This view however has no historical records.
  3. H. W. Bellew, in his book An Enquiry into the Ethnography of Afghanistan, believes that the name Afghan derives from the Latin term Alban, used by Armenians as Alvan or Alwan, which refers to mountaineers, and in the case of transliterated Armenian characters, would be pronounced as Aghvan or Aghwan. To the Persians, this would further be altered to Aoghan, Avghan, and Afghan as a reference to the highlanders or "mountaineers" of the eastern Iranian plateau.
  4. There are also a few people who tend to link "Afghan" to an Uzbek word "Avagan" said to mean "original".
  5. By another authority, the name Afghan is said to mean wailing which the Persians are said to have contemptuously used for their plaintive eastern neighbors.
Present Afghanistan
The Taliban used the phrase "Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan" to refer to their country. Between the fall of the Taliban after the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan and the 2003 Loya jirga, Afghanistan was referred to by the Government of the United States as the Transitional Islamic State of Afghanistan. Under its new constitution, the country is now officially named the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.

The term "Afghanistan", meaning the "Land of Afghans", was mentioned by the sixteenth century Mughal Emperor Babur in his memoirs, referring to the territories of Peshawar-Valley (Kohistan) that were inhabited by Pashtuns (called "Afghans" by Babur). ...“Don't call it Kohistan, but Afghanistan; for there is nothing there but Afghans and dis­turbances.” Thus it is clear that for this reason the people of the country call their home in their own language Afghanistan, and themselves Afghans. The people of India call them Pathān; but the reason for this is not known.

Date of Kanishka Era

Kanishka is the most famous of the Kushan kings, he is preserved in Bhuddist tradition as the king responsible for calling the second great Bhuddist council. His series of coins is also magnificent. His war exploits and the strength of his kingdom are remarkable indeed, and it is felt by most historians that his reign marked the height of Kushan dominance in central Asia.

Unfortunately it has proved beyond the grasp of all those who have studied Kushan history to actually decide when Kanishka came to power, in which year did he become King of the Kushans. Dates have varied hugely, 57BC, 78AD, 115AD, 128AD, 134AD, 144AD, 230AD, and others. The reason it matters, is that inscriptions in India and Central Asia are date for a hundred years in the era that Kanishka founded. Fixing that era would provide a chronological assistance to art and political historians interested in the history of North India and Central Asia. The problem in Kushan studies is not that we lack of evidence for Kanishka's era, but that we have too many compelling pieces of evidence.

Sometime in the reign of Kanishka II, or very shortly afterwards the Kushan kings lose political control of Bactria and Central Asia. We know this because their coins cease to circulate in that region, and the assumption has always been that the region was conquered by the Sasanians.
Since this event takes place between 98 and 129 years after Kanishka it would seem a very powerful tool for dating him. However, we do not know when the Sasanian conquest took place. The earliest possible date would be in the reign of Ardashir I (the first Sasanian king, 226 - 239), whom the Arab writer Al-Tabari tells us made extensive conquests in the east and received tribute from the Kushans. The era of the Bactrian letters, 233AD might be referred to Ardashir's conquest.
The same applies to Shapur I (240-273AD) who is widely seen as the most likely candidate to have conquered the Kushan empire. However, if above statement is correct that the Kushan-Sasanians are ruling by the 4th century then the region must have fallen under Sasanian control by 300AD.
The range of possible dates is shown between a possible conquest in 233AD, and the end of the reign of Shapur. 272AD. With the most likely date considered to be the first decade of Shapur's rule, 250AD.
Kushano -Sassanian rulers.
Piruz I - Hormizd I with Kabad - Hormizd I with Meze - Hormizd II - Piruz II - Unknown King - Shapur II with Kabad - Shapur IIOf these, Piruz I is ruling in AD 242. Hormizd II proceeds 302AD. So Hormizd I with Kabad coins were circulated sometime from AD243 to 301AD, Cribb suggests c. AD276 but any time from AD250 to 280 would seem reasonable. Now it therefore follows that Vasudeva must have overstruck the coins after this period. Since there are eight coins, and no overstrikes of Hormizd I with Meze, it is reasonable to suggest that Vasudeva's overstrike was made at this time and therefore the two kings are contemporaries. But we do not see Hormizd overstriking vasudeva coins. It is intriguing to note that this tends to indicate a lower date than that indicated by examining the invasion theory.

GuptasThe Gupta kings of Eastern India founded an era that begins in 319AD. During the reigns of the early Gupta kings they conquered large parts of Northwest India, and so like the Sasanians they provide a limit on how late we can place Kanishka.
The Gupta king Samudragupta (whose dates are uncertain but must be between 320AD and 375AD) claims on an inscription at Allahabad to have a subordinate Kushan king, named as Shaka. His successor, Chandragupta II, actually has an inscription at the city of Mathura (dated 380AD), which we know was still under Kushan control as late as king Vasishka and possibly as late as Vasudeva II. Chandragupta also mimics the coinage of Vasudeva II which further implies that his take-over of Mathura follows very late Kushan rule there.
I should be noted that the Guptas do not seize Mathura from the Kushans. They may well seize the Kushans eastern domains from Shaka, but the Puranas, and coin finds strongly indicate that a group of local kings ruled at Mathura before the arrival of the Guptas and after the later Kushan kings.
The upshot of this is to imply that there must be at least 200 years between Kanishka and the commencement of Gupta rule at Mathura, certainly at least 150 (which would require it was lost in the reign of Vasishka). Since we can also link Shaka with Samudragupta, he must have begun his rule post-320AD (certainly post 290AD). Linking Shaka to Kanishka is very difficult but it seems implausible, based on the sequence of Kushan kings that he could be more than 200 years later.

The Kushans wrested Gandhara and North west India from the dynasty of Gondophares. Unfortunately, like the Kushan-Sasanians, the Indo-Parthian dynasty has been the subject of heated debates surrounding the order and dates of its kings.
The first, theory assumes is based upon the Azes era of 57/8 AD. This is used in a series of inscriptions of the Indo-Parthians, and the date of the era is widely accepted. If we assume that the three inscriptions of an unknown Kushana (probably Kajula Kadphises) are dated to the Azes era this gives us 45 to 78AD. This cannot happen as we have no Kushan inscriptions in this region until that of Wima Kadphises, dated either 184 or 187. If this is also dated in the Azes era then Kadphises is still in power 126 or 129AD. Unfortunately, while the Azes era is the most popular candidate for these inscriptions it is not the only one, some Kharoshti inscriptions probably belong to a Greek/Yavana era and in 1960 Narian dissented from the Azes interpretation, taking the years mentioned to be in the Pahlava era. Despite these reservations we will take it to imply a date in the 130s.

The second theory is based on the numismatic evidence for the Indo-Parthian to Kushan transition. The key fixed date is Gondophares, who is dated by the Takht-i-Bahi inscription from 23 to 46AD. This date is also supported by other evidence, and is the majority view but others place Gondophares nearly 50 years earlier.
Gondophares is followed by Abdagases, Sarpadnaes, and Sases (and possibly others). Kajula Kadphises overstrikes on the coins of Gondophares, and his successor Vima Taktu follows Sases in Northern India. There is also some evidence that Kajula's coinage briefly follows Sases , which makes his rule contemporary with the period from Gondophares to Sases, the period 46AD to 78AD. If we could be confident of the period of rule from Gondophares to Sases, and the length of the rule of the two Vimas, then Kanishka's era could be confidently dated. If Vima Takpiso ruled for at least 20 years, and then if combined rule shorter than 30 years, or longer than 60 (the reign of Huvishka-Vasudeva). If this is appended to a rough date of 80AD then the period 110-119 looks most promising, but unfortunately the uncertainties allow a considerable period either side.

The first source is from the city of Khotan. This was the subject of Kushan political domination during the period 107AD to 127AD. In particular the Hou Han Shu states that they imposed a new ruler on the city in AD115 . But we do not know which king did this. Buddhist chronicle that names Kanishka, and Cribb fits the Kushan coins, all of Kanishka, into this period. If both are correct then Kanishka must have come to power between 105 and 116AD.
We know Ban Chao activity up to the last decade of the first century, talks about only two Kushan probably Kajula and Vima Takpiso. This excludes Kanishka before 96AD, and implies that Vima Takpiso must have come to power after 96AD, so unless his and Vima Kadphises rule exceeds 50 years, very unlikely, Kanishka must have come to power before 146AD. Buddhist records are unreliable, coins can move around for trade for many reasons and we do not know who the two kings mentioned in the Hou Han Shu are. A report of an embassy from the Kushans (Ta Yu-Chi) in the third century. The San-Kuo Chih reports "On the day Kuei-mao (26 Jan 230AD) the king of the Great Yueh-chih, Po-t'iao, sent an envoy with tribute. (Po-)t'iao was made "King of the Great Yueh-Chih Affectionate Towards the Wei". The problem is identifying the king in question from this chinese writing.

Roman coins
let us examine two finds of Roman coins from the Kushan region. The first is at Manikyala, inside a Tope, one Kajula, two Vima Kadphises, and seven Kanishka coins (all copper) were found. Along with four Kanishka gold quarter dinars, and seven Roman Republican Silver Dinars. We know that Roman coins like this were in circulation for a long period of time, well into the third century. We also know that they were exported to India after 64 AD. The reason being that in 64 AD the emperor Nero reforms the coinage, reducing the amount of gold and silver in the coin. This creates a discrepancy, inside the Roman Empire all coins are worth the same (enforced by the central authority) but outside the empire coins are simply pieces of gold and silver. So it became profitable to export pre-reform pieces.
The second find is at Jalalabad, where seventeen dinars were found, ten of Vima Kadphises, six of Kanishka, one of Huvishka. Also present were three Roman aurei, Domitian, Trajan, Hadrian (in the name of his wife Sabina). The last of these coins can be dated between AD 128 and AD 137.
These coins cannot have been buried prior to AD65, and whenever they were buried Kanishka is likely to have been ruling. In the second case they cannot have been buried prior to AD 129 and this seems likely to represent the early reign of Huvishka. Our most likely period is prior to AD 138 (if the coins had been exported later, we would expect a later coin present).
The Western Ksatraps ruled India in the regions of Madhya Pradesh, Gujurat, and perhaps the southern Indus. They dated both their inscriptions and their coins according to an era beginning in 78AD and usually known as the Saka era.
Considering that they shared a border they do not provide more evidence. There are in fact only two sites which are helpful, Sui Vihar where the Sutlej River joins the Indus, and Eastern Malwa, the region that contains Vidisa and Sanchi.
There are two contradictions. First, Rudraman claims in his inscription of 150AD to have control of the southern Indus valley and to have conquered peoples as far north as the Sutlej River. Yet there is an inscription of Kanishka dated to year 11 from Sui Vihar Secondly, the later inscription of Sridharavarman in year 200 (278AD) is inscribed at Sanchi, but we have two inscriptions of Vasishka of years 22 and 28 from Sanchi, and Rudraman claims Eastern Malwa within his domains. It is possible that Rudraman is simply not telling the truth about the extent of his domains, or that border towns changed hands often and quickly, or that the Kanishka inscription is an inscription of Kanishka II. Due to the uncertainty in the Kushan sequence of kings the second conflict is of little use. But if we assume that Kanishka's rule could not have coincided with the Rudraman's conquest (on the assumption it must have taken place in Wima Kadphises or Huvishka's reign) that rules out the period from 127AD to 150AD.
let us arrive some probable dates, But this is also highly disputed.
King Length of Reign Dates of Inscriptions
Kajula Kadphises min.23 years 103-136
Vima Takpiso min.20 years 279-299
Vima Kadphises 184(7)
Kanishka 23-27 years 1-23
Huvishka 32-40 years 28-60
Vasudeva 34-40 years 64-98
Kanishka II aprox.19 years
Vasishka 8 - 20 years 20-28
Kanishka III unknown 41
Vasudeva II unknown 170 (disputed)
Shaka unknown
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Myth of Alexander Victory in India

Scholars say alexander never won instead he lost to porus

by Kamesh Aiyer

Many years ago I came across a comment in a Usenet posting (to those who don’t remember Usenet, it was the blog of the pre-web world), that said that there was no proof that Alexander won any victories in India and that it might be more appropriate to call him “Alexander the Merely Mediocre”.The comment amused and intrigued me and much later I had an opportunity to read Alexander’s biography by Plutarch. I was surprised to find out that Plutarch wrote his biography over two hundred years after Alexander’s death using oral legends as his source. It is possible that he may also have had access to a personal diary kept by Alexander’s physician, but that is about it. Plutarch wrote the biography of Alexander as part of a series of biographies that contrasted the different styles of great Greek leaders, and in his view, Alexander was possibly the greatest of the greats, flawed only by youthful indiscretions. But otherwise, the tale came from legends spread by Alexander’s friends after he came back from India and died.So the story of how Alexander met and defeated the Puru king (“Porus” to the Greeks) and released him because Puru asked to be “treated like a king” in defeat did not come from any documented source. It was a legend.
The story, then, of Alexander’s triumphant march into India, finally only giving up at the urging of his soldiers who were tired after years of fighting and who wanted to return to their loved ones (in Persia?); the odyssey down the Indus, defeating various kingdoms but sustaining a deadly wound; and, finally splitting his army in two so that they would have a better chance of returning with the news in case of further conflicts; returning with a fraction of his army to the seat of his empire in Persepolis and his death from his wounds; all based on legend. No documents, no sources, just myth.So did Alexander really venture successfully into India and turn back at the urging of his men? Or was it all spin?
I’ve searched what I can access of Usenet now and looked elsewhere for any follow-up to the original comment. I did not find any, so I thought I should follow up, if only with a comment on Boloji!
Alexander’s defeat of the Persian empire and his victory over Egypt are well documented by non-Greek sources. So, I am not saying anything about these. After Alexander’s death the empire was divided into three, corresponding roughly to Greater Greece, Egypt, and Greater Persia, with tributaries to the east commanded by generals, such as Seleucus. No lands east of the Indus were part of this division; and subsequently, under the Mauryas, an Indian empire extended all the way into modern Afghanistan (ancient Gandhara) and modern Baluchistan (ancient Gedrosia). So Alexander did not even leave behind successors who would acknowledge his rule.

So what exactly happened to Alexander in India?Supposedly, Alexander first met some resistance from minor kingdoms in the Northwest, possibly from around Swat. He defeated these rulers. Then he met Ambi of Taxila who welcomed him as a fellow ruler, agreed to be his vassal, and offered him safe transit to the east. Then Alexander laid siege to a city and commited a crime against Athena by promising a safe conduct to mercenaries defending the city and massacring them after they left the city – Plutarch believes that the withdrawal of Athena’s blessing was the reason why he could not complete his victories in India. Then Alexander crosses the Indus into the Punjab and somewhere near modern-day Delhi, perhaps even in the historic battlefields of Panipat or Kurukshetra, he fought Porus and Porus lost. There is a story about how the Indian elephant brigade was winning the day when by cleverly attacking Porus’ elephant, the Greeks managed to un-elephant Porus, and the elephants in disarry retreated rough-shod over their own troops.Porus is captured and brought to Alexander in chains. Alexander looks at the tall (supposedly 6 cubits) Porus and asks him how he wanted to be treated. Porus replied, “Like a king” – his arrogance and pride aroused Alexander’s admiration.Promptly, Alexander released Porus, agreed to be his friend, restored his lost kingdom to him, and added to it lands that were part of Ambi’s Taxila.Huh?
Let’s have that again.Ambi, who fought on Alexander’s side, lost lands to Porus as a result of Porus’s defeat. Some defeat.Then, having established himself as a magnanimous victor, Alexander asked Porus what it would take to win the rest of India. He made the mistake, I guess, of asking this in public with all his generals listening in, and Porus described the entire rest of the Gangetic valley with its multiple kingdoms, and the Magadhan empire downstream. Porus described these in terms of how much bigger they were than his own little kingdom.As a result, there was no more stomach among Alexander’s generals for continuing. They had almost lost to Porus. How could they successfully confront even larger forces?And so Plutarch’s story goes that the army revolted against continuing. And Alexander decides to retreat, but he asks Porus what the best way to return would be. He is told that he should go down the Indus in boats and then go along the Makran coast in boats and ships to Arabia and thence to Persia. And Alexander does something like that – at the Indus delta he splits his force into two and sends one by sea and the other by land and they both return safely after three years.
But, uh-ho?Why couldn’t he just retreat? He had just defeated Porus and obtained his eternal friendship. He had defeated the kingdoms along the way and set up his own warlords to rule them. Ambi was his friend (well, maybe). He knew the way back.There is a simpler explanation that does not require one to strain one’s intelligence. Alexander lost to Puru. Puru imposed a separate peace on Ambi that included the surrender of some Taxilan land to Puru and a withdrawal of support for the Greeks. Alexander negotiated a safe-conduct for his own troops, provided they went down the Indus, and did not trouble Taxila or Puru again.So there’s Alexander, having suffered his first major defeat, set adrift down the Indus with a much reduced army. To get food and supplies, they have to negotiate or fight with the cities they pass. They even pick up some “philosophers” from a city populated and defended by “philosophers”, i.e., Brahmins. Plutarch has some stories about these Brahmins, some of which remind one of prescriptions in Kautilya’s Arthashastra.Along the way, Alexander suffers a wound to the side.They reach the delta of the Indus and make a decision to split – I’d like to imagine that the idea of splitting his force came from his Indian philosopher friends. It was wise advice. Alexander’s most urgent concern would have been for his family and his empire if any Persian enemies or even some fair-weather friends received the news of his defeat. The two halves of his army would be tied by bonds of friendship (and hostages in all but name retained by Alexander in his force). Whichever half returned first, it would serve to spread a different story, a story of the victory and the magnanimity of Alexander the Great.

What was left back in the Gangetic plain? Two “small” kingdoms, Taxila and Puru, that were to be swallowed up by the expanding Magadhan empire. Twenty years later, Chandragupta Maurya would take over the Magadhan empire and the true details of the encounter between these Indian kingdoms and Alexander would be lost to history for ever.Instead, Alexander’s physician and friend who had taken care of him on his deathbed had a journal to write. And his other friends had a story to tell, that would ensure that the myth of Alexander Megalos (the Great) would keep his enemies from attacking him as he lay dying.
Centuries later, Plutarch makes Alexander immortal.Why do I call the legend of Alexander “spin”. Because that is what it is. Alexander could not afford to look like a loser. His successors could not afford to look like losers. Years later, Plutarch could not afford to deflate the Alexandrian bubble.If we took the inhabited portions of all of Alexander’s verified conquests, and excluded the “Indian” provinces of Gandhara and Gedrosia, the resulting empire, “Alexander’s empire”, would be a little bit smaller than the inhabited portions of the Gangetic plain. Yes, Alexander may have been a great warrior and he was surely a lucky one when he defeated the weakened Persian empire, but it would be silly of us to accept without question the thesis that Alexander was all set to conquer the kingdoms of North India. But such is the influence of the “West” on us Indians – and by the “West” I mean the Persians, the Egyptians, the Greeks, the Arabs, the Europeans, the English, the Americans, and so on, that we accept without question that some tin-pot megalomaniac was about to do just that.