By the Kabul valley route, which includes at its head the group of passes across the Hindu Kush which extend from the Khawak to the Kaoshan, all those central Asian hordes, be they Sacae, Yue-chi, Jats, Goths or Huns, who were driven towards the rich plains of the south, entered the Punjab.
300) India was invaded from the north by tribes partly of Parthian and partly of Turki (Yue-chi, &c.) origin.
Our earliest information about the Ephthalites comes from the Chinese chronicles, in which it is stated that they were originally a tribe of the great Yue-Chi, living to the north of the Great Wall, and in subjection to the Jwen-Jwen, as were also the Turks at one time.
The Chinese statement that the Hoa or Ye-tha were a section of the great Yue-Chi, and that their customs resembled those of the Turks (Tu-Kiue), is probably correct, but does not amount to much, for the relationship did not prevent them from fighting with the Yue-Chi and Turks, and means little more than that they belonged to the warlike and energetic section of central Asian nomads, which is in any case certain.
This may, however, be due to the fact that their contact with civilization was so short; the Yue-Chi and Turks had had some commerce with more advanced races before they played any part in political history, but the Ephthalites appear as raw barbarians, and were annihilated as a nation in little more than a hundred years.
Like the Yue-Chi they have probably contributed to form some of the physical types of the Indian population, and it is noticeable that polyandry is a recognized institution among many Himalayan tribes, and is also said to be practised secretly by the Jats and other races of the plains.
YUE-CHI (or YuEH-Chih), the Chinese name of a central Asiatic tribe who ruled in Bactria and India, are also known as Kushans (from one of their subdivisions) and Indo-Scythians.
For about twenty years it would seem that the Yue-Chi were settled in the country between the rivers Chu and Syr-Darya, but here they were attacked again by the Hiung-nu, their old enemies, with whom was the son of the defeated Wusun chieftain.
The Yue-Chi then occupied Bactria, and little is heard of them for a hundred years.
It is therefore not surprising to find the warlike and mobile Yue-Chi following the same road and taking fragments of Persian and Greek civilization with them.
Here, according to Chinese authorities, their royal family was supplanted by a dynasty called Ki-to-lo (Kidara), who were also of Yue-Chi stock, but belonged to one of the tribes who had remained in Bactria when the Kushans marched to India.
In any case the invasion of the Yue-Chi cannot have been very long before or very long after the Christian era, and had an important influence on Indian civilization.
The Yue-Chi were probably the principal means of disseminating it in India, though all movements 'which kept open the communications between Bactria and Persia and India must have contributed, and the first introduction was' due to the short-lived Graeco-Bactrian conquest (180-130 B.C.).
It is also probable that the Yue-Chi not only acted as intermediaries for the introduction of Greek and Persian ideas into India, and of Indian ideas into China, but left behind them an important element in the population of N.
It is hard to say whether the Yue-Chi should be included in any of the recognized divisions of Turanian tribes such as Turks or Huns.
Hence, as far as any physical characters can be formulated for the various tribes (and their validity is very doubtful) the Yue-Chi type is Turkish rather than Mongol or Ugro-Finnic. In such points of temperament as military ability and power of assimilating Indian and Persian civilization, the YueChi also resemble the Turks, and some authorities think that the name Turushka or Turukha sometimes applied to them by Indian writers is another evidence of the connexion.
The Yue-Chi and Turks, however, may both represent parallel developments of similar or even originally identical tribes.
The Mahommedan writer Alberuni states that in former times the kings of the Hindus (among whom he mentions Kanik or Kanishka) were Turks by race, and this may represent a native tradition as to the affinities of the Yue-Chi.
Some authors consider that the Yue-Chi are the same as the Getae and that the original form of the name was Ytit or Get, which is also supposed to appear in the Indian Jat.
Somewhat later the nomad Yue-chi began to move into the valley of the Oxus from the east, and gradually became a settled territorial power in Bactria and Sogdiana, and the dominions of their king, Kadphises I.
About 160 B.C. they were driven southward by the advance of the Yue-Chi from the east.
They can be traced to the neighbourhood of Kashgar, but not like the Yue-Chi to the frontiers of China.
Then " Scythian " peoples from central Asia, Sakas and Yue-chi, having conquered Bactria, gradually squeezed within ever-narrowing limits the Greek power in India.
In the middle of the 3rd century B.C. Bactria and Sogdiana broke away from the Seleucid empire; independent Greek kings reigned there till the country was conquered by nomads from Central Asia (Sacae and Yue-chi) a kingdoms. century later.
But in the north a new race appeared, Mongolian tribes, called Seythians by the Greeks, amongst which the Tochari, identical with the Yue-chi of the Chinese, were the most important.
The Graeco-Bactrian dominion was overwhelmed entirely about 126 B.C. by the Yue-chi, a numerous people who had been driven westwards from their settlements on the borders of China by the Hiungnu (q.v.).
From the Yue-chi arose, about the Christian era, the great Indo-Scythian dominion which extended across the Hindu Kush southwards, over Afghanistan and Sind.
In 571 the Haiathalah (Ephthalites, q.v.) of the Oxus, who are supposed to be descendants of the Yue-chi, were shattered by an invasion of the Turkish khakan; and in the following century the Chinese pilgrim Hsuen Tsang found the former empire of the Haiathalah broken up into a great number of small states, all acknowledging the supremacy of the Turkish khakan, and several having names identical with those which still exist.
The chief nation among these, called by the Chinese Yue-Chi, about 126 B.C. established themselves in Sogdiana and on the Oxus in five hordes.
(See YUE-CHI.) Buddhism had already acquired influence over the people of the Kabul basin, and some of the barbaric invaders adopted that system.
Foreigners from the old Indo-Greek kingdoms of the north west frontier, all of whom had been driven southwards by the Yue-chi.
Meanwhile, the Yue-chi had themselves crossed the Hindu Kush to the invasion of north-western India (see YuE-Cm).
For other forms see YuE-Cm.
2 A 2.3 One effect of the Yue-chi conquests was to open up a channel of commerce with the Roman empire by the northern trade routes; and the Indian embassy which, according to Dion.
One body remained in Transoxiana and, after resting for a time, pushed their way through the mountains into Afghanistan and India, exactly as the Yue-Chi had done before them.
They comprise the Sakas, the Yue-Chi or Kushans and the Ephthalites or Hunas.
In 159 Mongolian tribes, whom the Chinese call Yue-chi Mithra- and the Greeks Scythians, forced their way into dates ii.
Formed part of the ancient kingdom of Bolor, itself a survival of the yet more ancient empire of the Yue-chi, Tokharistan; and across it, in spite of its bleak inhospitality, there have been one or two recognized trade routes from east to west throughout all ages.