Of Coins of Greek and Scythic Kings of Bactria and India, Brit.
In Asia Alexander learnt that Bessus had taken the diadem as Darius' successor in Bactria, but so soon as he marched against him Aria rose in his rear, and Alexander had to return in all haste to bring the revolt under.
Nor did he, when this was accomplished, again strike directly at Bactria, but made a wide turning movement through Seistan over Kandahar into the Kabul valley.
In the spring of 328 Alexander crossed the Hindu Kush into Bactria and followed the retreat of Bessus across the Oxus and into Sogdiana (Bokhara).
Till the spring of 327 Alexander was moving to and fro in Bactria and Sogdiana, beating down the recurrent rebellions and planting Greek cities.
A satrap of Bactria, who revolted against Artaxerxes I., but was defeated in two battles (Ctes.
In Asia they held Asia Minor and Syria, had sent expeditions into Arabia, and were acquainted with the more distant countries formerly invaded by Alexander, including Persia, Scythia, Bactria and India.
As Zoroaster probably preached his religion in eastern Iran, Vishtaspa must have been a dynast in Bactria or Sogdiana.
Bactria soon became independent under an IndoGreek dynasty, and the blending of Greek, Persian, central Asiatic and Hindu influences had an important effect on the art and religion of India, and through India on all eastern Asia.
When about 255 B.C. Diodotus had made himself king of Bactria and tried to expand his dominions, the chieftain of a tribe of Iranian nomads (Dahan Scyths) east of the Caspian, the Parni or Aparni, who bore the Persian name Arsaces, fled before him into Parthia.
And his own brother Antiochus Hierax, enabled him not only to maintain himself in Parthia, but also to conquer Hyrcania; but he was constantly threatened by Diodotus of Bactria (Justin xli.
(c. 170-138) had to fight hard with the Greeks of Bactria, especially with Eucratides; at last he was able to conquer a great part of eastern Iran.
The Taurus and Iran, (8) Cilicia, (9) Syria, (io) Mesopotamia, (11) Babylonia, (12) Susiana; in Africa, (13) Egypt; in Iran, (4) Persis, (15) Media, (16) Parthia and Hyrcania, (17) Bactria and Sogdiana, (18) Areia and Drangiana, (19) Carmania, (20) Arachosia and Gedrosia; lastly the Indian provinces, (21) the Paropanisidae (the Kabul valley), and (22) the province assigned to Pithon, the son of Agenor, upon the Indus (J.
Alexander had at first trusted Persian grandees more freely in this capacity; in Babylonia, Bactria, Carmania, Susiana he had set Persian governors, till the ingrained Oriental tradition of misgovernment so declared itself that to the three latter provinces certainly Macedonians had been appointed before his death.
The eastern provinces of Iran went in 240 or thereabouts, when the Greek Diodotus made himself an independent king in Bactria(q.v.) and Sogdiana, and Tiridates, brother of Arsaces, a " Scythian " chieftain, conquered Parthia (so Arrian, but see Parthia).
The Balkan hill-peoples of Illyrian or Thracian stock, the hill-peoples of Asia Minor and Iran, the chivalry of Media and Bactria, the mounted bowmen of the Caspian steppes, the camel-riders of the Arabian desert, could all be turned to account.
The Great, king of Parthia (c. 120-88 B.C.), saved the kingdom from the Mongolian Sacae (Tochari), who had occupied Bactria and eastern Iran, and is said to have extended the limits of the empire (Justin 42, 2, where he is afterwards confused with Mithradates III.).
Badakshan, part of the Greek Bactria, was visited by Hsiian Tsang in 630 and 644.
(Arsaces VI.), successor of his brother, Phraates I., came to the Parthian throne about 175 B.C. The first event of his reign was a war with Eucratides of Bactria, who tried to create a great Greek empire in the East.
Alexander, after building an Alexandria at its foot (probably at Hupian near Charikar), crossed into Bactria, first reaching Drapsaca, or Adrapsa.
Chosroes united with them and conquered Bactria, while he left the country north of the Oxus to the Turks.
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.
The Yue-Chi then occupied Bactria, and little is heard of them for a hundred years.
Bactria about this time was said to contain a thousand cities, and though this may be an exaggeration it was probably a meeting-place of Persian and Hellenic culture: its kings Demetrius and Eucratides had invaded India.
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.
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.).
At the very beginning the satrap Artabanus raised a rebellion in Bactria, but was defeated in two battles.
Of Bactria (Afghanistan), the Hindu kush, and so on into China.
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.
It may be remarked that Gregory's own family was a cadet branch of the Arsacid kin which had occupied the thrones of Persia, Bactria, Armenia and Georgia.
BESSUS, satrap of Bactria and Sogdiana under Darius III.
Alexandria " under the Caucasus " commanded the road from Bactria over the Hindu-Kush; it lay somewhere among the hills to the north of Kabul, perhaps at Opian near Charikar (MacCrindle, Ancient India, p. 87, note 4); that it is the city meant by " Alasadda the capital of the Yona (Greek) country " in the Buddhist Mahavanso, as is generally affirmed, seems doubtful (Tarn, loc. cit.
The Maurya dynasty broke up about 180 B.C., and at the same time the Greek rulers of Bactria began to lead expeditions across the Hindu-Kush.
Then " Scythian " peoples from central Asia, Sakas and Yue-chi, having conquered Bactria, gradually squeezed within ever-narrowing limits the Greek power in India.
It remains, of course, a question whether the tradition was transmitted by the Greek dynasties from Bactria or by intercourse with the Roman empire; the latter seems now almost certain; but the fact of the influence is equally striking on either theory.
Tarn, " Notes on Hellenism in Bactria and India " in Journ.
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.
The history of these Greek dynasties is for us almost a blank, and for estimating the amount and quality of Hellenism in Bactria during the 180 years or so of Macedonian and Greek rule, we are reduced to building hypotheses upon the scantiest data.
See works quoted in articles Greece, History; Rome, History; Ptolemies; Seleucid Dynasty; Bactria, &C.
BACTRIA (Bactriana), the ancient name of the country between the range of the Hindu Kush (Paropamisus) and the Oxus (Amu Darya), with the capital Bactra (now Balkh); in the Persian inscriptions Bakhtri.
Still less foundation exists for the belief, once widely spread, that Bactria was the cradle of the Indo-European race; it was based on the supposition that the nations of Europe had immigrated from Asia, and that the Aryan languages (Indian and Iranian) stood nearest to the original language of the Indo-Europeans.
6 ff.) narrates a war waged by Ninus and Semiram, against the king of Bactria (whom some later authors, e.g.
Whether Bactria formed part of the Median empire, we do not know; but it was subjugated by Cyrus and from then formed one of the satrapies of the Persian empire.
When Alexander had defeated Darius III., his murderer Bessus, the satrap of Bactria, tried to organize a national resistance in the east.
But Bactria was conquered by Alexander without much difficulty; it was only farther in the north, beyond the Oxus, in Sogdiana, that he met with strong resistance.
The many difficulties against which the Seleucid kings had to fight and the attacks of Ptolemy II., gave to Diodotus, satrap of Bactria, the opportunity of making himself independent (about 255 B.C.) and of conquering Sogdiana.
When Demetrius advanced far into India one of his generals, Eucratides, made himself king of Bactria, and soon in every province there arose new usurpers, who proclaimed themselves kings and fought one against the other.
In 159 B.C., according to Chinese sources, they entered Sogdiana, in 139 they conquered Bactria, and during the next generation they had made an end to the Greek rule in eastern Iran.
The principal seat of the Tochari and the Kushan dynasty seems to have been Bactria; but they always maintained the eastern parts of modern Afghanistan and Baluchistan, while the western regions (Areia, i.e.
In the 5th century a new people came from the east, the Ephthalites or "white Huns," who subjected Bactria (about 450); and they were followed by the Turks, who first appear in history about A.D.
But when the Sassanian empire was overthrown by the Arabs, the conquerors immediately advanced eastwards, and in a few years Bactria and the whole Iran to the banks of the Jaxartes had submitted to the rule of the caliph and of Islam.
Tarn, "Notes on Hellenism in Bactria and India" in Journ.
It is mainly religious and philosophical, and purports to give the discussion, extending over several days, in which a Buddhist elder named Nagasena succeeds in converting Milinda, that is Menander, the famous Greek king of Bactria, to Buddhism.
Christianity penetrated to Khorasan and Bactria at an early date; episcopal sees are said to have existed at Mer y and Samarkand in the 4th and 5th centuries, and Cosmas (c. 545) testifies to the spread of Christianity among the Bactrians and Huns.
Bactria was long a province of the empire which Alexander the Great left to his successors, but the Greek historians give very little information of the Oxus basin and its inhabitants.
About 250 B.C. Diodotus, the "governor of the thousand cities of Bactria," declared himself king, simultaneously with the revolt of Arsaces which laid the foundation of the Parthian monarchy.
Demetrius (c. 190 B.C.) is supposed to have reigned in Arachosia after being expelled from Bactria, much as, at a later date, Baber reigned in Kabul after his expulsion from Samarkand.
There is a general correspondence between classical and Chinese accounts of the time when Bactria was overrun by Scythian invaders.