Alexandria Eschate

Alexandria Eschate

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Alexandria Eschate or Alexandria Eskhata was founded by Alexander the Great in August 329 BCE as his most northerly base in Central Asia
Central Asia
Central Asia is a core region of the Asian continent from the Caspian Sea in the west, China in the east, Afghanistan in the south, and Russia in the north...

. It was established in the southwestern part of the Fergana Valley
Fergana Valley
The Fergana Valley or Farghana Valley is a region in Central Asia spreading across eastern Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. Divided across three subdivisions of the former Soviet Union, the valley is ethnically diverse, and in the early 21st century was the scene of ethnic conflict...

, on the southern bank of the river Jaxartes
Syr Darya
The Syr Darya , also transliterated Syrdarya or Sirdaryo, is a river in Central Asia, sometimes known as the Jaxartes or Yaxartes from its Ancient Greek name . The Greek name is derived from Old Persian, Yakhsha Arta , a reference to the color of the river's water...

 (modern name Syr Darya
Syr Darya
The Syr Darya , also transliterated Syrdarya or Sirdaryo, is a river in Central Asia, sometimes known as the Jaxartes or Yaxartes from its Ancient Greek name . The Greek name is derived from Old Persian, Yakhsha Arta , a reference to the color of the river's water...

), at the location of the modern city of Khujand
Khujand , also transliterated as Khudzhand, , formerly Khodjend or Khodzhent until 1936 and Leninabad until 1991, is the second-largest city of Tajikistan. It is situated on the Syr Darya River at the mouth of the Fergana Valley...

, in the state of Tajikistan
Tajikistan , officially the Republic of Tajikistan , is a mountainous landlocked country in Central Asia. Afghanistan borders it to the south, Uzbekistan to the west, Kyrgyzstan to the north, and China to the east....

. (Khujand is also written Хуҷанд, خجند, Khüjand, Khodzhent, Khudchand, Chodjend. It has also been called, since Alexander: Ispisar, Leninabad, Leninobod, Ленинобод, لنین‌آباد.)

Alexander built a 6 kilometer brick wall around the city which, according to the ancient authors, was completed in only about twenty days. As at the other cities he founded, he settled a group of his retired wounded veterans there.

A Hellenistic outpost in Central Asia

Alexandria Eschate was located around 300 km (186 mi) north of Alexandria on the Oxus
Ai-Khanoum or Ay Khanum , was founded in the 4th century BC, following the conquests of Alexander the Great and was one of the primary cities of the Greco-Bactrian kingdom...

 in Bactria
Bactria and also appears in the Zend Avesta as Bukhdi. It is the ancient name of a historical region located between south of the Amu Darya and west of the Indus River...

, and being in Sogdian
Sogdiana or Sogdia was the ancient civilization of an Iranian people and a province of the Achaemenid Empire, eighteenth in the list on the Behistun Inscription of Darius the Great . Sogdiana is "listed" as the second of the "good lands and countries" that Ahura Mazda created...

 territory had to sustain numerous conflicts with the local population. After 250 BCE, the city probably remained in contact with the Greco-Bactrian Kingdom
Greco-Bactrian Kingdom
The Greco-Bactrian Kingdom was the easternmost part of the Hellenistic world, covering Bactria and Sogdiana in Central Asia from 250 to 125 BC...

 centered on Bactria, especially when the Greco-Bactrian king Euthydemus I
Euthydemus I
Euthydemus I , Greco-Bactrian king in about 230 or 223 BCE according to Polybius., he is thought to have originally been a Satrap of Sogdiana, who overturned the dynasty of Diodotus of Bactria and became a Greco-Bactrian king. Strabo, on the other hand, correlates his accession with internal...

 extended his control to Sogdiana.

Contacts with China

The city was also located around 400 km (249 mi) west of the Tarim Basin
Tarim Basin
The Tarim Basin is a large endorheic basin occupying an area of about . It is located in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in China's far west. Its northern boundary is the Tian Shan mountain range and its southern is the Kunlun Mountains on the northern edge of the Tibetan Plateau. The...

, today's region of Xinjiang
Xinjiang is an autonomous region of the People's Republic of China. It is the largest Chinese administrative division and spans over 1.6 million km2...

 in China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

, where the Yuezhi
The Yuezhi, or Rouzhi , also known as the Da Yuezhi or Da Rouzhi , were an ancient Central Asian people....

, an Indo-European
The Proto-Indo-Europeans were the speakers of the Proto-Indo-European language , a reconstructed prehistoric language of Eurasia.Knowledge of them comes chiefly from the linguistic reconstruction, along with material evidence from archaeology and archaeogenetics...

 people were established. There are indications that Greek expeditions were led as far as Kashgar
Kashgar or Kashi is an oasis city with approximately 350,000 residents in the western part of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of the People's Republic of China. Kashgar is the administrative centre of Kashgar Prefecture which has an area of 162,000 km² and a population of approximately...

 in Xinjiang. According to the Greek historian Strabo
Strabo, also written Strabon was a Greek historian, geographer and philosopher.-Life:Strabo was born to an affluent family from Amaseia in Pontus , a city which he said was situated the approximate equivalent of 75 km from the Black Sea...

, the Greeks "extended their empire even as far as the Seres
Seres was the ancient Greek and Roman name for the inhabitants of eastern Central Asia. It meant "of silk," or people of the "land where silk comes from." The country of the Seres was Serica....

 and the Phryni
The Phryni were an ancient people of eastern Central Asia, probably located in the eastern part of the Tarim Basin, in an area connected to that of the Seres and the Tocharians.They are mentioned several times in Classical sources....

" (Strabo XI.II.I), possibly leading to the first known contacts between China and the West around 200 BCE.

The descendants of the Greeks in Ferghana may be the Dayuan
The Dayuan or Ta-Yuan were a people of Ferghana in Central Asia, described in the Chinese historical works of Records of the Grand Historian and the Book of Han. It is mentioned in the accounts of the famous Chinese explorer Zhang Qian in 130 BCE and the numerous embassies that followed him into...

 (lit. "Great Ionians") identified in the Chinese historical record of the Han Dynasty
Han Dynasty
The Han Dynasty was the second imperial dynasty of China, preceded by the Qin Dynasty and succeeded by the Three Kingdoms . It was founded by the rebel leader Liu Bang, known posthumously as Emperor Gaozu of Han. It was briefly interrupted by the Xin Dynasty of the former regent Wang Mang...

, starting with the embassies of Zhang Qian
Zhang Qian
Zhang Qian was an imperial envoy to the world outside of China in the 2nd century BCE, during the time of the Han Dynasty...

 around 130 BCE. If so, they were the actors of the first major interaction between an urbanized Indo-European culture and the Chinese civilization, which led to the opening up the Silk Road
Silk Road
The Silk Road or Silk Route refers to a historical network of interlinking trade routes across the Afro-Eurasian landmass that connected East, South, and Western Asia with the Mediterranean and European world, as well as parts of North and East Africa...

 from the 1st century BCE.

According to the Roman writer Curtius
Quintus Curtius Rufus
Quintus Curtius Rufus was a Roman historian, writing probably during the reign of the Emperor Claudius or Vespasian. His only surviving work, Historiae Alexandri Magni, is a biography of Alexander the Great in Latin in ten books, of which the first two are lost, and the remaining eight are...

, the descendants of these soldiers still retained their Hellenistic culture at the time of his writing, around 30 BCE.

In fiction

Alexandria Eschate is the final destination of Euxenus, son of Eutychides of the deme of Pallene, the protagonist of Alexander at the World's End by Tom Holt
Tom Holt
Tom Holt is a British novelist.He was born in London, the son of novelist Hazel Holt, and was educated at Westminster School, Wadham College, Oxford, and The College of Law, London....


Horses of Heaven, by Gillian Bradshaw
Gillian Bradshaw
Gillian Marucha Bradshaw is an American writer of historical fiction, historical fantasy, children's literature, science fiction, and contemporary science-based novels, who currently lives in Britain...

, is set in Alexandria Eschate, c.140 BCE.

External links