Indo-Scythians

Indo-Scythians

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Indo-Scythians is a term used to refer to Sakas (or Scythians), who migrated into Bactria
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...

, Sogdiana
Sogdiana
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...

, Arachosia
Arachosia
Arachosia is the Latinized form of the Greek name of an Achaemenid and Seleucid governorate in the eastern part of their respective empires, around modern-day southern Afghanistan. The Greek term "Arachosia" corresponds to the Iranian land of Harauti which was between Kandahar in Afghanistan and...

, Gandhara
Gandhara
Gandhāra , is the name of an ancient kingdom , located in northern Pakistan and eastern Afghanistan. Gandhara was located mainly in the vale of Peshawar, the Potohar plateau and on the Kabul River...

, Kashmir
Kashmir
Kashmir is the northwestern region of the Indian subcontinent. Until the mid-19th century, the term Kashmir geographically denoted only the valley between the Great Himalayas and the Pir Panjal mountain range...

, Punjab
Punjab region
The Punjab , also spelled Panjab |water]]s"), is a geographical region straddling the border between Pakistan and India which includes Punjab province in Pakistan and the states of the Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Chandigarh and some northern parts of the National Capital Territory of Delhi...

, Haryana
Haryana
Haryana is a state in India. Historically, it has been a part of the Kuru region in North India. The name Haryana is found mentioned in the 12th century AD by the apabhramsha writer Vibudh Shridhar . It is bordered by Punjab and Himachal Pradesh to the north, and by Rajasthan to the west and south...

, Uttar Pradesh
Uttar Pradesh
Uttar Pradesh abbreviation U.P. , is a state located in the northern part of India. With a population of over 200 million people, it is India's most populous state, as well as the world's most populous sub-national entity...

, Gujarat, Maharashtra
Maharashtra
Maharashtra is a state located in India. It is the second most populous after Uttar Pradesh and third largest state by area in India...

 and Rajasthan
Rajasthan
Rājasthān the land of Rajasthanis, , is the largest state of the Republic of India by area. It is located in the northwest of India. It encompasses most of the area of the large, inhospitable Great Indian Desert , which has an edge paralleling the Sutlej-Indus river valley along its border with...

, from the middle of the 2nd century BCE to the 4th century CE
Common Era
Common Era ,abbreviated as CE, is an alternative designation for the calendar era originally introduced by Dionysius Exiguus in the 6th century, traditionally identified with Anno Domini .Dates before the year 1 CE are indicated by the usage of BCE, short for Before the Common Era Common Era...

.

It has been claimed that ancient historians including Arrian
Arrian
Lucius Flavius Arrianus 'Xenophon , known in English as Arrian , and Arrian of Nicomedia, was a Roman historian, public servant, a military commander and a philosopher of the 2nd-century Roman period...

  and Ptolemy
Ptolemy
Claudius Ptolemy , was a Roman citizen of Egypt who wrote in Greek. He was a mathematician, astronomer, geographer, astrologer, and poet of a single epigram in the Greek Anthology. He lived in Egypt under Roman rule, and is believed to have been born in the town of Ptolemais Hermiou in the...

 have mentioned that the ancient Sakas ('Sakai') were basically nomads. However, Italo Ronca, in his detailed study of Ptolemy's chapter vi, marks the statement: "The land of the Sakai belongs to nomads, they have no towns but dwell in forests and caves" as spurious.

The first Saka king in India was Maues
Maues
Maues was an Indo-Scythian king who invaded the Indo-Greek territories.-Conqueror of Gandhara:...

 or Moga who established Saka power in Gandhara and gradually extended supremacy over north-western India. Indo-Scythian rule in India ended with the last Western Satrap Rudrasimha III
Rudrasimha III
Rudrasimha III was the last ruler of the Western Satraps in India, in the 4th century CE.A fragment from the Natya-darpana mentions the Gupta king Ramagupta, the elder brother of Chandragupta II, decided to expand his kingdom by attacking the Western Satraps in Gujarat. The campaign soon took a...

 in 395 CE.

The invasion of India by Scythian tribes from 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...

, often referred to as the Indo-Scythian invasion, played a significant part in the history of South Asia
History of South Asia
The term South Asia refers to the contemporary political entities of the Indian subcontinent and associated island. These are the states of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan and the island nations of Sri Lanka and the Maldives....

 as well as nearby countries. In fact, the Indo-Scythian war is just one chapter in the events triggered by the nomadic flight of Central Asians from conflict with tribe
Tribe
A tribe, viewed historically or developmentally, consists of a social group existing before the development of, or outside of, states.Many anthropologists use the term tribal society to refer to societies organized largely on the basis of kinship, especially corporate descent groups .Some theorists...

s such as the Xiongnu
Xiongnu
The Xiongnu were ancient nomadic-based people that formed a state or confederation north of the agriculture-based empire of the Han Dynasty. Most of the information on the Xiongnu comes from Chinese sources...

 in the 2nd century CE, which had lasting effects on Bactria
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...

, Kabul
Kabul
Kabul , spelt Caubul in some classic literatures, is the capital and largest city of Afghanistan. It is also the capital of the Kabul Province, located in the eastern section of Afghanistan...

, Parthia
Parthia
Parthia is a region of north-eastern Iran, best known for having been the political and cultural base of the Arsacid dynasty, rulers of the Parthian Empire....

 and India as well as far-off Rome
Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

 in the west.

Origins






The ancestors of the Indo-Scythians are thought to be Sakas (Scythian) tribes.
"One group of Indo-European speakers that makes an early appearance on the Xinjiang
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...

 stage is the Saka (Ch. Sai). Saka is more a generic term than a name for a specific state or ethnic group; Saka tribes were part of a cultural continuum of early nomads across Siberia and the Central Eurasian steppe lands from Xinjiang to the Black Sea. Like the Scythians whom Herodotus
Herodotus
Herodotus was an ancient Greek historian who was born in Halicarnassus, Caria and lived in the 5th century BC . He has been called the "Father of History", and was the first historian known to collect his materials systematically, test their accuracy to a certain extent and arrange them in a...

 describes in book four of his History (Saka is an Iranian word equivalent to the Greek Scythos, and many scholars refer to them together as Saka-Scythian), Sakas were Iranian-speaking horse nomads who deployed chariots in battle, sacrificed horses, and buried their dead in barrows or mound tombs called kurgans."
.

Yuezhi expansion


In the 2nd century BCE, a fresh nomad
Nomad
Nomadic people , commonly known as itinerants in modern-day contexts, are communities of people who move from one place to another, rather than settling permanently in one location. There are an estimated 30-40 million nomads in the world. Many cultures have traditionally been nomadic, but...

ic movement started among the 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...

n tribe
Tribe
A tribe, viewed historically or developmentally, consists of a social group existing before the development of, or outside of, states.Many anthropologists use the term tribal society to refer to societies organized largely on the basis of kinship, especially corporate descent groups .Some theorists...

s, producing lasting effects on the history of Rome
Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

 in Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

 and Bactria
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...

, Kabul
Kabul
Kabul , spelt Caubul in some classic literatures, is the capital and largest city of Afghanistan. It is also the capital of the Kabul Province, located in the eastern section of Afghanistan...

, Parthia
Parthia
Parthia is a region of north-eastern Iran, best known for having been the political and cultural base of the Arsacid dynasty, rulers of the Parthian Empire....

 and India in the east. Recorded in the annals of the Han
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...

 dynasty
Dynasty
A dynasty is a sequence of rulers considered members of the same family. Historians traditionally consider many sovereign states' history within a framework of successive dynasties, e.g., China, Ancient Egypt and the Persian Empire...

 and other Chinese
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...

 records, this great tribal movement began after the Yuezhi
Yuezhi
The Yuezhi, or Rouzhi , also known as the Da Yuezhi or Da Rouzhi , were an ancient Central Asian people....

 tribe was defeated by the Xiongnu
Xiongnu
The Xiongnu were ancient nomadic-based people that formed a state or confederation north of the agriculture-based empire of the Han Dynasty. Most of the information on the Xiongnu comes from Chinese sources...

, fleeing westwards after their defeat and creating a domino effect
Domino effect
The domino effect is a chain reaction that occurs when a small change causes a similar change nearby, which then will cause another similar change, and so on in linear sequence. The term is best known as a mechanical effect, and is used as an analogy to a falling row of dominoes...

 as they displaced other central Asian tribes in their path.

According to these ancient sources Modu Shanyu
Modu Shanyu
Modu Chanyu was born c. 234 BCE was the fourth known emperor and founder of the Xiongnu Empire after he killed his father in 209 BCE. The years of his rule were 209 BCE to 174 BCE...

of the Xiongnu tribe of Mongolia
Mongolia
Mongolia is a landlocked country in East and Central Asia. It is bordered by Russia to the north and China to the south, east and west. Although Mongolia does not share a border with Kazakhstan, its western-most point is only from Kazakhstan's eastern tip. Ulan Bator, the capital and largest...

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

 and evicted them from their homeland between the Qilian Shan and Dunhuang
Dunhuang
Dunhuang is a city in northwestern Gansu province, Western China. It was a major stop on the ancient Silk Road. It was also known at times as Shāzhōu , or 'City of Sands', a name still used today...

. Leaving behind a remnant of their number, most of the population moved westwards.

Early Indian literature records military alliances between the Sakas, Kambojas, Pahlavas and Paradas. Ancient Puranic traditions mention several joint invasions of India by Scythians. The conflict between the Bahu-Sagara of India and the Haihaya-Kamboja-Saka-Pahlava-Parada is well known as the war fought by "five hordes" (pāňca-ganha). The Sakas, Yavanas, Tusharas and Kambojas also fought the Kurukshetra war
Kurukshetra war
According to the Indian epic poem Mahābhārata, a dynastic succession struggle between two groups of cousins of an Indo-Aryan kingdom called Kuru, the Kauravas and Pandavas, for the throne of Hastinapura resulted in the Kurukshetra War in which a number of ancient kingdoms participated as allies of...

 under the command of Sudakshina Kamboja
Sudakshina Kamboja
Sudakshina was a king of the Kambojas, mentioned in theMahābhārata as fighting on the side of the Kauravas and being slain by Arjuna....

. The Valmiki
Valmiki
Valmiki is celebrated as the poet harbinger in Sanskrit literature. He is the author of the epic Ramayana, based on the attribution in the text of the epic itself. He is revered as the Adi Kavi, which means First Poet, for he discovered the first śloka i.e...

 Ramayana
Ramayana
The Ramayana is an ancient Sanskrit epic. It is ascribed to the Hindu sage Valmiki and forms an important part of the Hindu canon , considered to be itihāsa. The Ramayana is one of the two great epics of India and Nepal, the other being the Mahabharata...

 also attests that the Sakas, Kambojas, Pahlavas and Yavanas fought together against the Vedic, Hindu
Hindu
Hindu refers to an identity associated with the philosophical, religious and cultural systems that are indigenous to the Indian subcontinent. As used in the Constitution of India, the word "Hindu" is also attributed to all persons professing any Indian religion...

 king Vishwamitra of Kanauj.

Around 175 BCE, the Yuezhi
Yuezhi
The Yuezhi, or Rouzhi , also known as the Da Yuezhi or Da Rouzhi , were an ancient Central Asian people....

 tribes (possibly related to the Tocharians
Tocharians
The Tocharians were the Tocharian-speaking inhabitants of the Tarim Basin, making them the easternmost speakers of Indo-European languages in antiquity. They were known as, or at least closely related to, the Yuezhi of Chinese sources...

 who lived in eastern 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...

 area), were defeated by the Xiongnu
Xiongnu
The Xiongnu were ancient nomadic-based people that formed a state or confederation north of the agriculture-based empire of the Han Dynasty. Most of the information on the Xiongnu comes from Chinese sources...

 tribes, and fled west into the Ili river
Ili River
thumb|right|300px|Map of the Lake Balkhash drainage basin showing the Ili River and its tributariesThe Ili River is a river in northwestern China and southeastern Kazakhstan .It is long, of which is in Kazakhstan...

 area. There, they displaced the Sakas, who migrated south into Ferghana and Sogdiana
Sogdiana
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...

. According to the Chinese historical chronicles (who call the Sakas, "Sai" 塞):

"The Yuezhi attacked the king of the Sai who moved a considerable distance to the south and the Yuezhi then occupied his lands" (Hanshu 61 4B).

Sometime after 155 BCE, the Yuezhi were again defeated by an alliance of the Wusun
Wusun
The Wūsūn were a nomadic steppe people who, according to the Chinese histories, originally lived in western Gansu in northwest China west of the Yuezhi people...

 and the Xiongnu
Xiongnu
The Xiongnu were ancient nomadic-based people that formed a state or confederation north of the agriculture-based empire of the Han Dynasty. Most of the information on the Xiongnu comes from Chinese sources...

, and were forced to move south, again displacing the Scythians, who migrated south towards Bactria
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 south-west towards Parthia
Parthia
Parthia is a region of north-eastern Iran, best known for having been the political and cultural base of the Arsacid dynasty, rulers of the Parthian Empire....

 and Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

.

The Sakas seem to have entered the territory of 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...

 around 145 BCE, where they burnt to the ground the Greek city of Alexandria on the Oxus. The Yuezhi remained in Sogdiana on the northern bank of the Oxus, but they became suzerains of the Sakas in Bactrian territory, as described by the Chinese ambassador 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...

 who visited the region around 126 BCE.

In Parthia, between 138–124 BCE, the Sakas tribes of the Massagetae
Massagetae
The Massageteans or Massagetaeans were an Iranian nomadic confederation in antiquity known primarily from the writings of Herodotus. Their name was probably akin to Thyssagetae.-Name:...

 and Sacaraucae came into conflict with the Parthian Empire
Parthian Empire
The Parthian Empire , also known as the Arsacid Empire , was a major Iranian political and cultural power in ancient Persia...

, winning several battles, and killing successively King Phraates II and King Artabanus I
Artabanus I of Parthia
Artabanus I of Parthia ruled the Parthian Empire from c. 128 to 124 BC. He succeeded his nephew Phraates II and died, just like his predecessor, in battle against the Tochari - a name commonly identified with the Yuezhi of the Chinese sources, who had fled from Gansu in northwest China, via the Ili...

.

The Parthian king Mithridates II
Mithridates II of Parthia
Mithridates II the Great was king of Parthian Empire from 123 to 88 BC. His name invokes the protection of Mithra. He adopted the title Epiphanes, "god manifest" and introduced new designs on his extensive coinage....

 finally retook control of Central Asia, first by defeating the Yuezhi in Sogdiana in 115 BCE, and then defeating the Scythians in Parthia and Seistan around 100 BCE.

After their defeat, the Yuezhi tribes migrated into Bactria, which they were to control for several centuries, and from which they later conquered northern India to found the Kushan Empire
Kushan Empire
The Kushan Empire originally formed in the early 1st century AD under Kujula Kadphises in the territories of ancient Bactria on either side of the middle course of the Oxus in what is now northern Afghanistan, Pakistan, and southern Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.During the 1st and early 2nd centuries...

.

Settlement in Sakastan



The Sakas settled in areas of eastern Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

, still called after them Sistan
Sistan
Sīstān is a border region in eastern Iran , southwestern Afghanistan and northern tip of Southwestern Pakistan .-Etymology:...

. From there, they progressively expanded into the Indian subcontinent, where they established various kingdoms, and where they are known as "Indo-Scythians".

The Arsacid emperor Mithridates II
Mithridates II of Parthia
Mithridates II the Great was king of Parthian Empire from 123 to 88 BC. His name invokes the protection of Mithra. He adopted the title Epiphanes, "god manifest" and introduced new designs on his extensive coinage....

 (c 123–88/87 BCE) had scored many successes against the Scythians and added many provinces to the Parthia
Parthia
Parthia is a region of north-eastern Iran, best known for having been the political and cultural base of the Arsacid dynasty, rulers of the Parthian Empire....

n empire
Empire
The term empire derives from the Latin imperium . Politically, an empire is a geographically extensive group of states and peoples united and ruled either by a monarch or an oligarchy....

, and apparently the Scythian hordes that came from Bactria were also conquered by him. A section of these people moved from Bactria
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...

 to Lake Helmond in the wake of Yue-chi pressure and settled about Drangiana
Drangiana
Drangiana or Zarangiana was a historical region of the Achaemenid Empire. This region comprises territory around lake Hâmûn, wetlands in endorheic Sīstān basin on the Irano-Afghan-Pakistan border, and its primary watershed Helmand river in nowadays southwestern Afghanistan and the "Nok Kondi" of...

 (Sigal
Sigal
Sigal was a city of the Helmund valley in south-west Afghanistan .The presence of the Sakas in Sakastan in the 1st century BCE, with their capital at Sigal, is mentioned by Isidore of Charax in his "Parthian stations"...

), a region which later came to be called "Sakistana of the Skythian (Scythian) Sakai", towards the end of 1st century BCE. The region is still known as Seistan.

Sakistan or Seistan of Drangiana may not only have been the habitat of the Saka alone but may also have contained population of the Pahlavas and the Kambojas
Kambojas
The Kambojas were a kshatriya tribe of Iron Age India, frequently mentioned in Sanskrit and Pali literature.They were an Indo-Iranian tribe situated at the boundary of the Indo-Aryans and the Iranians, and appear to have moved from the Iranian into the Indo-Aryan sphere over time.The Kambojas...

. The Rock Edicts of King Ashoka
Ashoka
Ashok Maurya or Ashoka , popularly known as Ashoka the Great, was an Indian emperor of the Maurya Dynasty who ruled almost all of the Indian subcontinent from ca. 269 BC to 232 BC. One of India's greatest emperors, Ashoka reigned over most of present-day India after a number of military conquests...

 only refer to the Yavanas, Kambojas
Kambojas
The Kambojas were a kshatriya tribe of Iron Age India, frequently mentioned in Sanskrit and Pali literature.They were an Indo-Iranian tribe situated at the boundary of the Indo-Aryans and the Iranians, and appear to have moved from the Iranian into the Indo-Aryan sphere over time.The Kambojas...

 and the Gandhara
Gandhara
Gandhāra , is the name of an ancient kingdom , located in northern Pakistan and eastern Afghanistan. Gandhara was located mainly in the vale of Peshawar, the Potohar plateau and on the Kabul River...

s in the northwest, but no mention is made of the Sakas, who immigrated in the region more than a century later. It is thus likely that the immigrant Saka populations who settled in Afghanistan did so among or near the Kambojas and nearby Greek cities. Numerous scholars believe that during centuries immediately preceding Christian
Christian
A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament...

 era
Era
An era is a commonly used word for long period of time. When used in science, for example geology, eras denote clearly defined periods of time of arbitrary but well defined length, such as for example the Mesozoic era from 252 Ma–66 Ma, delimited by a start event and an end event. When used in...

, there had occurred extensive social and cultural admixture among the Kambojas
Kambojas
The Kambojas were a kshatriya tribe of Iron Age India, frequently mentioned in Sanskrit and Pali literature.They were an Indo-Iranian tribe situated at the boundary of the Indo-Aryans and the Iranians, and appear to have moved from the Iranian into the Indo-Aryan sphere over time.The Kambojas...

 and Yavanas; the Sakas and Pahlavas; and the Kambojas, Sakas, and Pahlavas etc.... such that their cultures and social customs had become almost identical.

The presence of the Sakas in Sakastan in the 1st century BCE is mentioned by Isidore of Charax
Isidore of Charax
Isidorus Characenus , commonly translated Isidore of Charax, was a geographer of the 1st century BC/1st century AD about whom nothing is known but his name and that he wrote at least one work....

 in his "Parthian stations". He explained that they were bordered at that time by Greek cities to the east (Alexandria of the Caucasus
Alexandria of the Caucasus
Alexandria on the Caucasus was a colony of Alexander the Great...

 and Alexandria of the Arachosians), and the Parthian-controlled territory of Arachosia
Arachosia
Arachosia is the Latinized form of the Greek name of an Achaemenid and Seleucid governorate in the eastern part of their respective empires, around modern-day southern Afghanistan. The Greek term "Arachosia" corresponds to the Iranian land of Harauti which was between Kandahar in Afghanistan and...

 to the south:
"Beyond is Sacastana of the Scythian Sacae, which is also Paraetacena, 63 schoeni. There are the city of Barda and the city of Min and the city of Palacenti
Palacenti
Palacenti was an ancient town of Drangiana in southwest Afghanistan. It is located above Tazarene on the Etymandrus river.-References:*...

 and the city of Sigal
Sigal
Sigal was a city of the Helmund valley in south-west Afghanistan .The presence of the Sakas in Sakastan in the 1st century BCE, with their capital at Sigal, is mentioned by Isidore of Charax in his "Parthian stations"...

; in that place is the royal residence of the Sacae; and nearby is the city of Alexandria (Alexandria Arachosia), and six villages." Parthian stations, 18.

Abhira to Surastrene


The first Indo-Scythian kingdom in the Indian subcontinent occupied the southern part of what is now modern day Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

 (which they accessed from southern Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

), in the areas from Abiria
Abiria
Abiria was a region in Sindh, Pakistan described by Classical authors, mainly Ptolemy. It covers the area east of the Indus River Delta and is apparently named for the Abhira people, presumably in residence of the region....

 (Sindh
Sindh
Sindh historically referred to as Ba'ab-ul-Islam , is one of the four provinces of Pakistan and historically is home to the Sindhi people. It is also locally known as the "Mehran". Though Muslims form the largest religious group in Sindh, a good number of Christians, Zoroastrians and Hindus can...

) to Surastrene (Gujarat), from around 110 to 80 BCE. They progressively further moved north into Indo-Greek territory until the conquests of Maues
Maues
Maues was an Indo-Scythian king who invaded the Indo-Greek territories.-Conqueror of Gandhara:...

, c 80 BCE.

The 1st century CE Periplus of the Erythraean Sea
Periplus of the Erythraean Sea
The Periplus of the Erythraean Sea or Periplus of the Red Sea is a Greco-Roman periplus, written in Greek, describing navigation and trading opportunities from Roman Egyptian ports like Berenice along the coast of the Red Sea, and others along Northeast Africa and India...

 describes the Scythian territories there:
"Beyond this region (Gedrosia
Gedrosia
Gedrosia from Pashto Gwadar-khua is the hellenized name of an area that corresponds to today's Balochistan. Eastern Balochistan is southwestern province of Pakistan and parts of southwestern and south-central Afghanistan and western Balochistan is divided between Iranian provinces of Hormozgan and...

), the continent making a wide curve from the east across the depths of the bays, there follows the coast district of Scythia, which lies above toward the north; the whole marshy; from which flows down the river Sinthus, the greatest of all the rivers that flow into the Erythraean Sea, bringing down an enormous volume of water (...) This river has seven mouths, very shallow and marshy, so that they are not navigable, except the one in the middle; at which by the shore, is the market-town, Barbaricum. Before it there lies a small island, and inland behind it is the metropolis of Scythia, Minnagara
Minnagara
Minnagara was an ancient port located in what is now the modern city of Karachi, in the Sindh province of Pakistan. Minnagara was a city of the Indo-Scythian kingdom, located on the Indus river in modern Pakistan, north of the coastal city of Barbaricum, or along the Narmada river, upstream of...

."


The Indo-Scythians ultimately established a kingdom in the northwest, based in Taxila
Taxila
Taxila is a Tehsil in the Rawalpindi District of Punjab province of Pakistan. It is an important archaeological site.Taxila is situated about northwest of Islamabad Capital Territory and Rawalpindi in Panjab; just off the Grand Trunk Road...

, with two Great Satraps, one in Mathura in the east, and one in Surastrene (Gujarat) in the southwest.

In the southeast, the Indo-Scythians invaded the area of Ujjain
Ujjain
Ujjain , is an ancient city of Malwa region in central India, on the eastern bank of the Kshipra River , today part of the state of Madhya Pradesh. It is the administrative centre of Ujjain District and Ujjain Division.In ancient times the city was called Ujjayini...

, but were subsequently repelled in 57 BCE by the Malwa king Vikramaditya
Vikramaditya
Vikramaditya was a legendary emperor of Ujjain, India, famed for his wisdom, valour and magnanimity. The title "Vikramaditya" was later assumed by many other kings in Indian history, notably the Gupta King Chandragupta II and Samrat Hem Chandra Vikramaditya .The name King Vikramaditya is a...

. To commemorate the event Vikramaditya
Vikramaditya
Vikramaditya was a legendary emperor of Ujjain, India, famed for his wisdom, valour and magnanimity. The title "Vikramaditya" was later assumed by many other kings in Indian history, notably the Gupta King Chandragupta II and Samrat Hem Chandra Vikramaditya .The name King Vikramaditya is a...

 established the Vikrama era, a specific Indian calendar starting in 57 BCE. More than a century later, in 78 CE the Sakas would again invade Ujjain and establish the Saka era, marking the beginning of the long-lived Saka Western Satraps kingdom.

Gandhara and Punjab



The presence of the Scythians in north-western India during the 1st century BCE was contemporary with that of the Indo-Greek Kingdom
Indo-Greek Kingdom
The Indo-Greek Kingdom or Graeco-Indian Kingdom covered various parts of the northwest regions of the Indian subcontinent during the last two centuries BC, and was ruled by more than 30 Hellenistic kings, often in conflict with each other...

s there, and it seems they initially recognized the power of the local Greek rulers.

Maues
Maues
Maues was an Indo-Scythian king who invaded the Indo-Greek territories.-Conqueror of Gandhara:...

 first conquered Gandhara
Gandhara
Gandhāra , is the name of an ancient kingdom , located in northern Pakistan and eastern Afghanistan. Gandhara was located mainly in the vale of Peshawar, the Potohar plateau and on the Kabul River...

 and Taxila
Taxila
Taxila is a Tehsil in the Rawalpindi District of Punjab province of Pakistan. It is an important archaeological site.Taxila is situated about northwest of Islamabad Capital Territory and Rawalpindi in Panjab; just off the Grand Trunk Road...

 around 80 BCE, but his kingdom disintegrated after his death. In the east, the Indian king Vikrama retook Ujjain
Ujjain
Ujjain , is an ancient city of Malwa region in central India, on the eastern bank of the Kshipra River , today part of the state of Madhya Pradesh. It is the administrative centre of Ujjain District and Ujjain Division.In ancient times the city was called Ujjayini...

 from the Indo-Scythians, celebrating his victory by the creation of the Vikrama Era (starting 58 BCE). Indo-Greek kings again ruled after Maues, and prospered, as indicated by the profusion of coins from Kings Apollodotus II
Apollodotus II
Apollodotus II , was an Indo-Greek king who ruled in the western and eastern parts of Punjab. Bopearachchi dates him to circa 80-65 BCE, and RC Senior to circa 85-65 BCE. Apollodotos II was an important ruler who seems to have re-established the Indo-Greek kingdom to some extent of its former glory...

 and Hippostratos
Hippostratos
Hippostratos was an Indo-Greek king who ruled central and north-western Punjab and Pushkalavati. Bopearachchi dates Hippostratos to 65 to 55 BCE whereas R.C...

. Not until Azes I
Azes I
Azes I was an Indo-Scythian ruler who completed the domination of the Scythians in northern India.-History:Although Maues and his successors had conquered the areas of Gandhara, as well as the area of Mathura from 85 BCE, they were unsuccessful against the Indo-Greek kings remaining behind the...

, in 55 BCE, did the Indo-Scythians take final control of northwestern India, with his victory over Hippostratos.

Sculpture



Several stone sculptures have been found in the Early Saka layer (Layer No4, corresponding to the period of Azes I, in which numerous coins of the latter were found) in the ruins of Sirkap
Sirkap
Sirkap is the name of an archaeological site on the bank opposite to the city of Taxila, Punjab, Pakistan.The city of Sirkap was built by the Greco-Bactrian king Demetrius after he invaded ancient India around 180 BC. Demetrius founded in the northern and northwestern Indian subcontinent an...

, during the excavations organized by John Marshall
John Marshall (archaeologist)
Sir John Hubert Marshall was the Director-General of the Archaeological Survey of India from 1902 to 1928...

.

Several of them are toilet trays (also called Stone palette
Stone palette
Stone palettes, also called toilet trays, are round trays commonly found in the areas of Bactria and Gandhara, which usually represent Greek mythological scenes...

s) roughly imitative of earlier, and finer, Hellenistic ones found in the earlier layers. Marshall comments that "we have a praiseworthy effort to copy a Hellenistic original but obviously without the appreciation of form and skill which were necessary for the task". From the same layer, several statuettes in the round are also known, in very rigid and frontal style.

Bimaran casket



Azes is connected to the Bimaran casket
Bimaran casket
The Bimaran casket is a small gold reliquary for Buddhist relics that was found inside the stupa no.2 at Bimaran, near Jalalabad in eastern Afghanistan....

, one of the earliest representations of the Buddha
Gautama Buddha
Siddhārtha Gautama was a spiritual teacher from the Indian subcontinent, on whose teachings Buddhism was founded. In most Buddhist traditions, he is regarded as the Supreme Buddha Siddhārtha Gautama (Sanskrit: सिद्धार्थ गौतम; Pali: Siddhattha Gotama) was a spiritual teacher from the Indian...

. The casket was used for the dedication of a stupa
Stupa
A stupa is a mound-like structure containing Buddhist relics, typically the remains of Buddha, used by Buddhists as a place of worship....

 in Bamiran, near Jalalabad
Jalalabad
Jalalabad , formerly called Adinapour, as documented by the 7th century Hsüan-tsang, is a city in eastern Afghanistan. Located at the junction of the Kabul River and Kunar River near the Laghman valley, Jalalabad is the capital of Nangarhar province. It is linked by approximately of highway with...

 in Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

, and placed inside the stupa with several coins of Azes. This event may have happened during the reign of Azes (60–20 BCE), or slightly later. The Indo-Scythians are otherwise connected with Buddhism (see Mathura lion capital
Mathura lion capital
The Mathura lion capital is an Indo-Scythian sandstone capital from Mathura in Central India, dated to the 1st century CE.The capital is covered with Prakrit inscriptions in the kharoshthi script of northwestern India...

), and it is indeed possible they would have commended the work.

Mathura area ("Northern Satraps")




In central India, the Indo-Scythians conquered the area of Mathura over Indian kings around 60 BCE. Some of their satrap
Satrap
Satrap was the name given to the governors of the provinces of the ancient Median and Achaemenid Empires and in several of their successors, such as the Sassanid Empire and the Hellenistic empires....

s were Hagamasha and Hagana, who were in turn followed by the Saca Great Satrap Rajuvula
Rajuvula
Rajuvula was an Indo-Scythian Great Satrap who ruled in the area of Mathura in northern India in the years around 10 CE. In central India, the Indo-Scythians conquered the area of Mathura over Indian kings around 60 BCE...

.

The Mathura lion capital
Mathura lion capital
The Mathura lion capital is an Indo-Scythian sandstone capital from Mathura in Central India, dated to the 1st century CE.The capital is covered with Prakrit inscriptions in the kharoshthi script of northwestern India...

, an Indo-Scythian sandstone capital in crude style, from Mathura in Central India, and dated to the 1st century CE, describes in kharoshthi the gift of a stupa
Stupa
A stupa is a mound-like structure containing Buddhist relics, typically the remains of Buddha, used by Buddhists as a place of worship....

 with a relic of the Buddha, by Queen Nadasi Kasa
Nadasi Kasa
Nadasi Kasa was a queen of the Saka Mahakshatrapa Rajuvula, daughter of Aiyasi Kamuia.. She finds mention in inscription no A-5 of the Mathura Lion Capital.F. W...

, the wife of the Indo-Scythian ruler of Mathura, Rajuvula
Rajuvula
Rajuvula was an Indo-Scythian Great Satrap who ruled in the area of Mathura in northern India in the years around 10 CE. In central India, the Indo-Scythians conquered the area of Mathura over Indian kings around 60 BCE...

. The capital also mentions the genealogy of several Indo-Scythian satraps of Mathura.

Rajuvula apparently eliminated the last of the Indo-Greek kings Strato II
Strato II
Strato II "Soter" was an Indo-Greek king. He ruled circa 25 BCE to 10CE according to Bopearachchi. RC Senior suggests that his reign ended perhaps a decade earlier.-Rule:...

 around 10 CE, and took his capital city, Sagala
Sagala
Sagala or Sangala, the ancient Greek name for the modern city of Sialkot in present day Pakistan, was a city of located in northern Punjab, Pakistan...

.

The coinage of the period, such as that of Rajuvula, tends to become very crude and barbarized in style. It is also very much debased, the silver content becoming lower and lower, in exchange for a higher proportion of bronze, an alloying technique (billon
Billon (alloy)
Billon is an alloy of a precious metal with a majority base metal content . It is used chiefly for making coins, medals, and token coins.The word comes from the French bille....

) suggesting less than wealthy finances.

The Mathura Lion Capital
Mathura lion capital
The Mathura lion capital is an Indo-Scythian sandstone capital from Mathura in Central India, dated to the 1st century CE.The capital is covered with Prakrit inscriptions in the kharoshthi script of northwestern India...

 inscriptions attest that Mathura fell under the control of the Sakas. The inscriptions contain references to Kharaosta Kamuio and Aiyasi Kamuia. Yuvaraja Kharostes (Kshatrapa) was the son of Arta as is attested by his own coins. Arta is stated to be brother of King Moga or Maues. Princess Aiyasi Kambojaka, also called Kambojika
Kamboja (name)
Kamboja or Kambuja is the name of an ancient Indo-Iranian kingdom.They are believed to have been located originally in Pamirs and Badakshan in Central Asia.The name has a long history of attestation, both in the Iranian and the Indo-Aryan spheres....

, was the chief queen of Shaka
Shaka
Shaka kaSenzangakhona , also known as Shaka Zulu , was the most influential leader of the Zulu Kingdom....

 Mahakshatrapa Rajuvula
Rajuvula
Rajuvula was an Indo-Scythian Great Satrap who ruled in the area of Mathura in northern India in the years around 10 CE. In central India, the Indo-Scythians conquered the area of Mathura over Indian kings around 60 BCE...

. Kamboja presence in Mathura is also verified from some verses of epic
Indian epic poetry
Indian epic poetry is the epic poetry written in the Indian subcontinent, traditionally called Kavya . The Ramayana and Mahabharata, originally composed in Sanskrit and translated thereafter into many other Indian languages, are some of the oldest surviving epic poems on earth and form part of...

 Mahabharata
Mahabharata
The Mahabharata is one of the two major Sanskrit epics of ancient India and Nepal, the other being the Ramayana. The epic is part of itihasa....

 which are believed to have been composed around this period. This may suggest that Sakas and Kambojas may have jointly ruled over Mathura/Uttara Pradesh. It is revealing that Mahabharata
Mahabharata
The Mahabharata is one of the two major Sanskrit epics of ancient India and Nepal, the other being the Ramayana. The epic is part of itihasa....

 verses only attest the Kambojas
Kambojas
The Kambojas were a kshatriya tribe of Iron Age India, frequently mentioned in Sanskrit and Pali literature.They were an Indo-Iranian tribe situated at the boundary of the Indo-Aryans and the Iranians, and appear to have moved from the Iranian into the Indo-Aryan sphere over time.The Kambojas...

 and Yavanas as the inhabitants of Mathura, but do not make any reference to the Sakas. Probably, the epic has reckoned the Sakas of Mathura among the Kambojas or else have addressed them as Yavanas, unless the Mahabharata verses refer to the previous period of invasion occupation by the Yavanas around 150 BCE.

The Indo-Scythian satraps of Mathura are sometimes called the "Northern Satraps", in opposition to the "Western Satraps" ruling in Gujarat and Malwa. After Rajuvula, several successors are known to have ruled as vassals to the Kushans, such as the "Great Satrap" Kharapallana and the "Satrap" Vanaspara, who are known from an inscription discovered in Sarnath
Sarnath
Sarnath or Sārnātha is the deer park where Gautama Buddha first taught the Dharma, and where the Buddhist Sangha came into existence through the enlightenment of Kondanna. Sarnath is located 13 kilometres north-east of Varanasi, in Uttar Pradesh, India...

, and dated to the 3rd year of Kanishka
Kanishka
Kanishka ) was an emperor of the Kushan Empire, ruling an empire extending from Bactria to large parts of northern India in the 2nd century of the common era, and famous for his military, political, and spiritual achievements...

 (c 130 CE), in which they were paying allegiance to the Kushans.

Pataliputra




The text of the Yuga Purana
Yuga Purana
The Yuga Purana is an ancient Indian text, part of the larger Puranic literature. It is considered as one of the oldest Purana, written around 250 CE. The Yuga Purana consists two chapters, within the larger text of the Gargi Samhita, also called Vriddha Gargiya Jyotisha...

 describes an invasion of Pataliputra by the Scythians sometimes during the 1st century BCE, after seven great kings had ruled in succession in Saketa following the retreat of the Yavanas. The Yuga Purana explains that the king of the Saka
Saka
The Saka were a Scythian tribe or group of tribes....

s killed one fourth of the population, before he was himself slain by the Kalinga
Kalinga (India)
Kalinga was an early state in central-eastern India, which comprised most of the modern state of Orissa/Utkal , as well as the Andhra region of the bordering state of Andhra Pradesh. It was a rich and fertile land that extended from the river Damodar/Ganges to Godavari and from Bay of Bengal to...

 king Shata and a group of Sabalas (Sabaras or Bhillas).

Kushan and Indo-Parthian conquests


After the death of Azes, the rule of the Indo-Scythians in northwestern India was shattered with the rise of the Indo-Parthian ruler Gondophares
Gondophares
Gondophares I a Seistani representative of the house of Suren as well as founder and first king of the Indo-Parthian Kingdom. He seems to have ruled c...

 in the last years of the 1st century BCE. For the following decades, a number of minor Scythian leaders maintained themselves in local strongholds on the fringes of the loosely assembled Indo-Parthian empire,some of them paying formal allegiance to Gondophares I and his successors.

During the latter part of the 1st century CE, the Indo-Parthian overlordship was gradually replaced with that of the Kushans, one of the five tribes of the Yuezhi
Yuezhi
The Yuezhi, or Rouzhi , also known as the Da Yuezhi or Da Rouzhi , were an ancient Central Asian people....

 who had lived in Bactria for more than a century, and were now expanding into India to create a Kushan Empire. The Kushans ultimately regained northwestern India from around 75 CE, and the area of Mathura from around 100 CE, where they were to prosper for several centuries.

Western Kshatrapas legacy


Indo-Scythians continued to hold the area of Seistan until the reign of Bahram II
Bahram II
Bahram II was the fifth Sassanid King of Persia in 276–293. He was the son of Bahram I .Bahram II is said to have ruled at first tyrannically, and to have greatly disgusted all his principal nobles, who went so far as to form a conspiracy against him, and intended to put him to death...

 (276–293 CE), and held several areas of India well into the 1st millennium: Kathiawar
Kathiawar
Kathiawar or Kathiawad is a peninsula in western India, which is part of the Saurashtra region on the Arabian Sea coast of Gujarat state. It is bounded on the north by the great wetland of the Rann of Kutch, on the northwest by the Gulf of Kutch, on the west and south by the Arabian Sea, and on...

 and Gujarat were under their rule until the 5th century under the designation of Western Kshatrapas
Western Kshatrapas
The Western Satraps, Western Kshatrapas, or Kshaharatas were Saka rulers of the western and central part of India...

, until they were eventually conquered by the Gupta
Gupta Empire
The Gupta Empire was an ancient Indian empire which existed approximately from 320 to 550 CE and covered much of the Indian Subcontinent. Founded by Maharaja Sri-Gupta, the dynasty was the model of a classical civilization. The peace and prosperity created under leadership of Guptas enabled the...

 emperor Chandragupta II
Chandragupta II
Chandragupta II the Great, very often referred to as Vikramaditya or Chandragupta Vikramaditya in Sanskrit; was one of the most powerful emperors of the Gupta empire in northern India. His rule spanned c...

 (also called Vikramaditya).

The Brihat-Katha-Manjari of the Kshmendra (10/1/285-86) informs us that around 400 CE the Gupta
Gupta Empire
The Gupta Empire was an ancient Indian empire which existed approximately from 320 to 550 CE and covered much of the Indian Subcontinent. Founded by Maharaja Sri-Gupta, the dynasty was the model of a classical civilization. The peace and prosperity created under leadership of Guptas enabled the...

 king Vikramaditya (Chandragupta II
Chandragupta II
Chandragupta II the Great, very often referred to as Vikramaditya or Chandragupta Vikramaditya in Sanskrit; was one of the most powerful emperors of the Gupta empire in northern India. His rule spanned c...

) had unburdened the sacred earth of the Barbarian
Barbarian
Barbarian and savage are terms used to refer to a person who is perceived to be uncivilized. The word is often used either in a general reference to a member of a nation or ethnos, typically a tribal society as seen by an urban civilization either viewed as inferior, or admired as a noble savage...

s like the Shakas, Mlecchas, Kambojas, Yavanas, Tusharas, Parasikas, Hunas, etc. by annihilating these sinners completely.

The 10th century CE Kavyamimamsa of Raj Shekhar (Ch 17) still lists the Shakas, Tusharas, Vokanas, Hunas, Kambojas, Bahlikas, Pahlavas, Tangana, Turukshas, etc. together and states them as the tribes located in the Uttarapatha division.

Indo-Scythian coinage



Indo-Scythian coinage is generally of a high artistic quality, although it clearly deteriorates towards the disintegration of Indo-Scythian rule around 20 CE (coins of Rajuvula
Rajuvula
Rajuvula was an Indo-Scythian Great Satrap who ruled in the area of Mathura in northern India in the years around 10 CE. In central India, the Indo-Scythians conquered the area of Mathura over Indian kings around 60 BCE...

). A fairly high-quality but rather stereotypical coinage would continue in the Western Satraps until the 4th century CE.

Indo-Scythian coinage is generally quite realistic, artistically somewhere between Indo-Greek and Kushan coinage. It is often suggested Indo-Scythian coinage benefited from the help of Greek celators (Boppearachchi).

Indo-Scythian coins essentially continue the Indo-Greek tradition, by using the Greek language on the obverse and the Kharoshthi language on the reverse. The portrait of the king is never shown however, and is replaced by depictions of the king on horse (and sometimes on camel), or sometimes sitting cross-legged on a cushion. The reverse of their coins typically show Greek divinities.

Buddhist symbolism is present throughout Indo-Scythian coinage. In particular, they adopted the Indo-Greek practice since Menander I
Menander I
Menander I Soter "The Saviour" was one of the rulers of the Indo-Greek Kingdom from either 165 or 155 BC to 130 BC ....

 of showing divinities forming the vitarka mudra
Mudra
A mudrā is a symbolic or ritual gesture in Hinduism and Buddhism. While some mudrās involve the entire body, most are performed with the hands and fingers...

 with their right hand (as for the mudra-forming Zeus
Zeus
In the ancient Greek religion, Zeus was the "Father of Gods and men" who ruled the Olympians of Mount Olympus as a father ruled the family. He was the god of sky and thunder in Greek mythology. His Roman counterpart is Jupiter and his Etruscan counterpart is Tinia.Zeus was the child of Cronus...

 on the coins of Maues
Maues
Maues was an Indo-Scythian king who invaded the Indo-Greek territories.-Conqueror of Gandhara:...

 or Azes II
Azes II
Azes II , may have been the last Indo-Scythian king in northern Indian subcontinent . After the death of Azes II, the rule of the Indo-Scythians in northwestern India and Pakistan finally crumbled with the conquest of the Kushans, one of the five tribes of the Yuezhi who had lived in Bactria for...

), or the presence of the Buddhist lion on the coins of the same two kings, or the triratana symbol on the coins of Zeionises
Zeionises
Zeionises was an Indo-Scythian satrap of the area of southern Chach for king Azes II.He then became king, and ruled in parts of the Indian subcontinent around 10 BCE – 10 CE, but apparently lost his territory to the invasion of the Indo-Parthians....

.

Depiction of Indo-Scythians



Besides coinage, few works of art are known to indisputably represent Indo-Scythians. Indo-Scythians rulers are usually depicted on horseback in armour, but the coins of Azilises
Azilises
Azilises was an Indo-Scythian king who ruled in the area of Gandhara.-Coinage:Azilises issued some joint coins with Azes, where Azes is presented as king on the obverse , and Azilises is introduced as king on the obverse in kharoshthi .-See...

 show the king in a simple, undecorated, tunic.

Several Gandharan sculptures also show foreigner in soft tunics, sometimes wearing the typical Scythian cap. They stand in contrast to representations of Kushan men, who seem to wear thicks, rigid, tunics, and who are generally represented in a much more simplistic manner.

Buner reliefs


Indo-Scythian soldiers in military attire are sometimes represented in Buddhist friezes in the art of Gandhara (particularly in Buner reliefs
Buner reliefs
The Buner reliefs are a series of frieze reliefs that lie in Buner District, from the area of the Peshawar valley in Pakistan. They are also near the Swat Valley.-Hellenistic scenes:...

). They are depicted in ample tunics with trousers, and have heavy straight sword as a weapon. They wear a pointed hood (the Scythian cap or bashlyk
Bashlyk
A bashlyk, also spelled Bashlik / "-lık" - derivative suffix), is a traditional Iranian, Turkic and Cossack cone-shaped headdress hood, usually of leather, felt or wool, an ancient round topped felt bonnet with lappets for wrapping around the neck. Local versions of determine the trim, which may...

), which distinguishes them from the Indo-Parthians who only wore a simple fillet over their bushy hair, and which is also systematically worn by Indo-Scythian rulers on their coins. With the right hand, some of them are forming the Karana mudra
Mudra
A mudrā is a symbolic or ritual gesture in Hinduism and Buddhism. While some mudrās involve the entire body, most are performed with the hands and fingers...

 against evil spirits. In Gandhara, such friezes were used as decorations on the pedestals of Buddhist stupas. They are contemporary with other friezes representing people in purely Greek attire, hinting at an intermixing of Indo-Scythians (holding military power) and Indo-Greeks (confined, under Indo-Scythian rule, to civilian life).

Another relief is known where the same type of soldiers are playing musical instruments and dancing, activities which are widely represented elsewhere in Gandharan art: Indo-Scythians are typically shown as reveling devotees.

Stone palettes


Numerous stone palette
Stone palette
Stone palettes, also called toilet trays, are round trays commonly found in the areas of Bactria and Gandhara, which usually represent Greek mythological scenes...

s found in Gandhara are considered as good representatives of Indo-Scythian art. These palettes combine Greek and Iranian influences, and are often realized in a simple, archaic style. Stone palettes have only been found in archaeological layers corresponding to Indo-Greek, Indo-Scythian and Indo-Parthian rule, and are essentially unknown the preceding Mauryan layers or the succeeding Kushan
Kushan Empire
The Kushan Empire originally formed in the early 1st century AD under Kujula Kadphises in the territories of ancient Bactria on either side of the middle course of the Oxus in what is now northern Afghanistan, Pakistan, and southern Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.During the 1st and early 2nd centuries...

 layers.

Very often these palettes represent people in Greek dress in mythological scenes, a few in Parthian dress (head-bands over bushy hair, crossed-over jacket on a bare chest, jewelry, belt, baggy trousers), and even fewer in Indo-Scythian dress (Phrygian hat, tunic and comparatively straight trousers). A palette found in Sirkap
Sirkap
Sirkap is the name of an archaeological site on the bank opposite to the city of Taxila, Punjab, Pakistan.The city of Sirkap was built by the Greco-Bactrian king Demetrius after he invaded ancient India around 180 BC. Demetrius founded in the northern and northwestern Indian subcontinent an...

 and now in the New Delhi Museum shows a winged Indo-Scythian horseman riding winged deer
Deer
Deer are the ruminant mammals forming the family Cervidae. Species in the Cervidae family include white-tailed deer, elk, moose, red deer, reindeer, fallow deer, roe deer and chital. Male deer of all species and female reindeer grow and shed new antlers each year...

, and being attacked by a lion.

The Indo-Scythians and Buddhism



The Indo-Scythians seem to have been followers of Buddhism, and many of their practices apparently continued those of the Indo-Greeks. They are known for their numerous Buddhist dedications, recorded through such epigraphic material as the Taxila copper plate
Taxila copper plate
The Taxila copper-plate, also called the Moga inscription or the Patika copper-plate is a notable archaeological artifact found in the area of Taxila, Gandhara, in modern Pakistan. It is presently in the collection of the British Museum....

 inscription or the Mathura lion capital
Mathura lion capital
The Mathura lion capital is an Indo-Scythian sandstone capital from Mathura in Central India, dated to the 1st century CE.The capital is covered with Prakrit inscriptions in the kharoshthi script of northwestern India...

 inscription.

Butkara Stupa




Excavation at the Butkara Stupa
Butkara Stupa
The Butkara Stupa is an important Buddhist stupa in the area of Swat, Pakistan. It may have been originally built by the Mauryan emperor Ashoka, but it is generally dated slightly later to the 2nd century BCE....

 in Swat by an Italian archaeological team have yielded various Buddhist sculptures thought to belong to the Indo-Scythian period. In particular, an Indo-Corinthian capital
Indo-Corinthian capital
Indo-Corinthian capitals are capitals crowning columns or pilasters, which can be found in the northwestern Indian subcontinent, and usually combine Hellenistic and Indian elements...

 representing a Buddhist devotee within foliage has been found which had a reliquary and coins of Azes buried at its base, securely dating the sculpture to around 20 BCE. A contemporary pilaster with the image of a Buddhist devotee in Greek dress has also been found at the same spot, again suggesting a mingling of the two populations. Various reliefs at the same location show Indo-Scythians with their characteristic tunics and pointed hoods within a Buddhist context, and side-by-side with reliefs of standing Buddhas.

Gandharan sculptures


Other reliefs have been found, which show Indo-Scythian men with their characteristic pointed cap pushing a cart on which is reclining the Greek god Dionysos with his consort Ariadne
Ariadne
Ariadne , in Greek mythology, was the daughter of King Minos of Crete, and his queen Pasiphaë, daughter of Helios, the Sun-titan. She aided Theseus in overcoming the Minotaur and was the bride of the god Dionysus.-Minos and Theseus:...

.

Mathura lion capital


The Mathura lion capital
Mathura lion capital
The Mathura lion capital is an Indo-Scythian sandstone capital from Mathura in Central India, dated to the 1st century CE.The capital is covered with Prakrit inscriptions in the kharoshthi script of northwestern India...

, which associates many of the Indo-Scythian rulers from Maues
Maues
Maues was an Indo-Scythian king who invaded the Indo-Greek territories.-Conqueror of Gandhara:...

 to Rajuvula
Rajuvula
Rajuvula was an Indo-Scythian Great Satrap who ruled in the area of Mathura in northern India in the years around 10 CE. In central India, the Indo-Scythians conquered the area of Mathura over Indian kings around 60 BCE...

, mentions a dedication of a relic of the Buddha in a stupa
Stupa
A stupa is a mound-like structure containing Buddhist relics, typically the remains of Buddha, used by Buddhists as a place of worship....

. It also bears centrally the Buddhist symbol of the triratana, and is also filled with mentions of the bhagavat Buddha Sakyamuni, and characteristically Buddhist phrases such as:
"sarvabudhana puya dhamasa puya saghasa puya"
"Revere all the Buddhas, revere the dharma
Dharma
Dharma means Law or Natural Law and is a concept of central importance in Indian philosophy and religion. In the context of Hinduism, it refers to one's personal obligations, calling and duties, and a Hindu's dharma is affected by the person's age, caste, class, occupation, and gender...

, revere the sangha
Sangha
Sangha is a word in Pali or Sanskrit that can be translated roughly as "association" or "assembly," "company" or "community" with common goal, vision or purpose...

"

Indo-Scythians in Western sources



The presence of Scythian territory in the area of Pakistan, and especially around the mouth of the Indus near modern day Karachi
Karachi
Karachi is the largest city, main seaport and the main financial centre of Pakistan, as well as the capital of the province of Sindh. The city has an estimated population of 13 to 15 million, while the total metropolitan area has a population of over 18 million...

 is mentioned extensively in Western maps and travel descriptions of the period. The Ptolemy world map, as well as the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea
Periplus of the Erythraean Sea
The Periplus of the Erythraean Sea or Periplus of the Red Sea is a Greco-Roman periplus, written in Greek, describing navigation and trading opportunities from Roman Egyptian ports like Berenice along the coast of the Red Sea, and others along Northeast Africa and India...

 mention prominently Scythia in the Indus area, as well as Roman Tabula Peutingeriana
Tabula Peutingeriana
The Tabula Peutingeriana is an itinerarium showing the cursus publicus, the road network in the Roman Empire. The original map of which this is a unique copy was last revised in the fourth or early fifth century. It covers Europe, parts of Asia and North Africa...

. The Periplus states that Minnagara
Minnagara
Minnagara was an ancient port located in what is now the modern city of Karachi, in the Sindh province of Pakistan. Minnagara was a city of the Indo-Scythian kingdom, located on the Indus river in modern Pakistan, north of the coastal city of Barbaricum, or along the Narmada river, upstream of...

 was the capital of Scythia, and that Parthian king were fighting for it during the 1st century CE. It also distinguishes Scythia with Ariaca
Ariaca
Ariaca was a region of Western India beyond Barigaza, mentioned in ancient geographical sources.According to the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea, Ariaca was part of the kingdom of Nambanus, though to be the Western Satrap ruler Nahapana:...

 further east (centered in Gujarat and Malwa), over which ruled the Western Satrap king Nahapana
Nahapana
Nahapana was an important ruler of the Western Kshatrapas, descendant of the Indo-Scythians, in northwestern India. According to one of his coins, he was the son of Bhumaka.-History:...

.

Indo-Scythians in Indian literature


The Indo-Scythians were named "Shaka" in India, an extension on the name Saka
Saka
The Saka were a Scythian tribe or group of tribes....

 used by the Persians to designate Scythians. From the time of the Mahabharata
Mahabharata
The Mahabharata is one of the two major Sanskrit epics of ancient India and Nepal, the other being the Ramayana. The epic is part of itihasa....

 wars (4000–1500 BCE roughly) Shakas receive numerous mentions in texts like the Puranas, the Manusmriti, the Ramayana, the Mahabharata, the Mahabhasiya of Patanjali, the Brhat Samhita of Vraha Mihira, the Kavyamimamsa, the Brihat-Katha-Manjari, the Katha-Saritsagara and several other old texts. They are described as part of an amalgam of other war-like tribes from the northwest.

Sai-Wang Scythian hordes of Chipin or Kipin



A section of the 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...

n Scythians (under Sai-Wang) is said to have taken southerly direction and after passing through the Pamir
Pamir
Pamir may refer to:* a pamir, a U-shaped grassy valley in the Pamir Mountains**Great Pamir, a high valley in the Wakhan on the border of Afghanistan and Tajikistan**Little Pamir, a high valley in the Wakhan, Afghanistan...

s it entered the Chipin or Kipin after crossing the Hasuna-tu (Hanging Pass) located above the valley of Kanda in Swat
State of Swat
Swat was a province of the Mughal Empire ruled by local rulers known as the Akhwands, then until 1947 a princely state of the British Indian Empire, which was dissolved in 1947, when the Akhwand acceded to Pakistan...

 country. Chipin has been identified by Pelliot, Bagchi, Raychaudhury and some others with Kashmir
Kashmir
Kashmir is the northwestern region of the Indian subcontinent. Until the mid-19th century, the term Kashmir geographically denoted only the valley between the Great Himalayas and the Pir Panjal mountain range...

 while other scholars identify it with Kapisha (Kafirstan). The Sai-Wang had established his kingdom
Monarchy
A monarchy is a form of government in which the office of head of state is usually held until death or abdication and is often hereditary and includes a royal house. In some cases, the monarch is elected...

 in Kipin. S. Konow interprets the Sai-Wang as Saka Murunda of Indian literature, Murunda being equal to Wang i.e. king, master or lord, but Bagchi who takes the word Wang in the sense of the king of the Scythians but he distinguishes the Sai Sakas from the Murunda Sakas. There are reasons to believe that Sai Scythians were Kamboja Scythians and therefore Sai-Wang belonged to the Scythianised Kambojas (i.e. Parama-Kambojas) of the Transoxiana
Transoxiana
Transoxiana is the ancient name used for the portion of Central Asia corresponding approximately with modern-day Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, southern Kyrgystan and southwest Kazakhstan. Geographically, it is the region between the Amu Darya and Syr Darya rivers...

 region and came back to settle among his own stock after being evicted from his ancestral land located in Scythia or Shakadvipa. King Moga
Maues
Maues was an Indo-Scythian king who invaded the Indo-Greek territories.-Conqueror of Gandhara:...

 or Maues
Maues
Maues was an Indo-Scythian king who invaded the Indo-Greek territories.-Conqueror of Gandhara:...

 could have belonged to this group of Scythians who had migrated from the Sai country (Central Asia) to Chipin. The Mathura Lion Capital
Mathura lion capital
The Mathura lion capital is an Indo-Scythian sandstone capital from Mathura in Central India, dated to the 1st century CE.The capital is covered with Prakrit inscriptions in the kharoshthi script of northwestern India...

 inscriptions attest that the members of the family of King Moga
Maues
Maues was an Indo-Scythian king who invaded the Indo-Greek territories.-Conqueror of Gandhara:...

 (q.v.) had last name Kamuia or Kamuio (q.v.) which Khroshthi term has been identified by scholars with Sanskrit
Sanskrit
Sanskrit , is a historical Indo-Aryan language and the primary liturgical language of Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism.Buddhism: besides Pali, see Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Today, it is listed as one of the 22 scheduled languages of India and is an official language of the state of Uttarakhand...

 Kamboja
Kambojas
The Kambojas were a kshatriya tribe of Iron Age India, frequently mentioned in Sanskrit and Pali literature.They were an Indo-Iranian tribe situated at the boundary of the Indo-Aryans and the Iranians, and appear to have moved from the Iranian into the Indo-Aryan sphere over time.The Kambojas...

 or Kambojaka. Thus, Sai-Wang and his migrant horde
Horde
Horde may refer to:* Ordo * a clan or army of steppe nomads . See Orda * the Blue and White Horde, formed 1226, 1227* the Golden Horde, a Turkic-Mongol state established in the 1240s...

s which came to settle in Kabol valley in Kapisha may indeed have been from the transoxian
Transoxiana
Transoxiana is the ancient name used for the portion of Central Asia corresponding approximately with modern-day Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, southern Kyrgystan and southwest Kazakhstan. Geographically, it is the region between the Amu Darya and Syr Darya rivers...

 Parama Kambojas living in Shakadvipa or Scythian land.

Many scholars think the Kambojas were a Royal Clan of the Sakas or Scythians. This also seems to be confirmed from Mathura Lion Capital Inscriptions
Mathura lion capital
The Mathura lion capital is an Indo-Scythian sandstone capital from Mathura in Central India, dated to the 1st century CE.The capital is covered with Prakrit inscriptions in the kharoshthi script of northwestern India...

 of Mahaksatrapa Rajuvula and the Rock Edicts V and XIII of King Aśoka.

Establishment of Mlechcha Kingdoms in Northern India



The mixed Scythian horde
Horde
Horde may refer to:* Ordo * a clan or army of steppe nomads . See Orda * the Blue and White Horde, formed 1226, 1227* the Golden Horde, a Turkic-Mongol state established in the 1240s...

s that migrated to Drangiana and surrounding regions, later spread further into north and south-west India via the lower Indus valley. Their migration spread into Sovira, Gujarat, Rajasthan and northern India, including kingdoms in the Indian mainland.

There are important references to the warring Mleccha horde
Horde
Horde may refer to:* Ordo * a clan or army of steppe nomads . See Orda * the Blue and White Horde, formed 1226, 1227* the Golden Horde, a Turkic-Mongol state established in the 1240s...

s of the Shaka
Shaka
Shaka kaSenzangakhona , also known as Shaka Zulu , was the most influential leader of the Zulu Kingdom....

s, Yavanas, Kambojas
Kambojas
The Kambojas were a kshatriya tribe of Iron Age India, frequently mentioned in Sanskrit and Pali literature.They were an Indo-Iranian tribe situated at the boundary of the Indo-Aryans and the Iranians, and appear to have moved from the Iranian into the Indo-Aryan sphere over time.The Kambojas...

 and Pahlavas in the Bala Kanda of the Valmiki
Valmiki
Valmiki is celebrated as the poet harbinger in Sanskrit literature. He is the author of the epic Ramayana, based on the attribution in the text of the epic itself. He is revered as the Adi Kavi, which means First Poet, for he discovered the first śloka i.e...

 Ramayana
Ramayana
The Ramayana is an ancient Sanskrit epic. It is ascribed to the Hindu sage Valmiki and forms an important part of the Hindu canon , considered to be itihāsa. The Ramayana is one of the two great epics of India and Nepal, the other being the Mahabharata...

 also.

H. C. Raychadhury glimpses in these verses the struggles between the Hindu
Hindu
Hindu refers to an identity associated with the philosophical, religious and cultural systems that are indigenous to the Indian subcontinent. As used in the Constitution of India, the word "Hindu" is also attributed to all persons professing any Indian religion...

s and the invading hordes of Mlechcha barbarian
Barbarian
Barbarian and savage are terms used to refer to a person who is perceived to be uncivilized. The word is often used either in a general reference to a member of a nation or ethnos, typically a tribal society as seen by an urban civilization either viewed as inferior, or admired as a noble savage...

s from the northwest. The time frame for these struggles is the 2nd century BCE onwards. Raychadhury fixes the date of the present version of the Valmiki
Valmiki
Valmiki is celebrated as the poet harbinger in Sanskrit literature. He is the author of the epic Ramayana, based on the attribution in the text of the epic itself. He is revered as the Adi Kavi, which means First Poet, for he discovered the first śloka i.e...

 Ramayana
Ramayana
The Ramayana is an ancient Sanskrit epic. It is ascribed to the Hindu sage Valmiki and forms an important part of the Hindu canon , considered to be itihāsa. The Ramayana is one of the two great epics of India and Nepal, the other being the Mahabharata...

 around or after the 2nd century CE.

This picture presented by the Ramayana
Ramayana
The Ramayana is an ancient Sanskrit epic. It is ascribed to the Hindu sage Valmiki and forms an important part of the Hindu canon , considered to be itihāsa. The Ramayana is one of the two great epics of India and Nepal, the other being the Mahabharata...

 probably refers to the political scenario that emerged when the mixed hordes descended from Sakasthan and advanced into the lower Indus valley
Valley
In geology, a valley or dale is a depression with predominant extent in one direction. A very deep river valley may be called a canyon or gorge.The terms U-shaped and V-shaped are descriptive terms of geography to characterize the form of valleys...

 via Bolan Pass
Bolan Pass
The Bolan Pass is a mountain pass through the Toba Kakar Range of Balochistan province in western Pakistan, 120 kilometres from the Afghanistan border....

 and beyond into the Indian mainland. It refers to the hordes' struggle to seize political control of Sovira, Gujarat, Rajasthan
Rajasthan
Rājasthān the land of Rajasthanis, , is the largest state of the Republic of India by area. It is located in the northwest of India. It encompasses most of the area of the large, inhospitable Great Indian Desert , which has an edge paralleling the Sutlej-Indus river valley along its border with...

, Punjab
Punjab region
The Punjab , also spelled Panjab |water]]s"), is a geographical region straddling the border between Pakistan and India which includes Punjab province in Pakistan and the states of the Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Chandigarh and some northern parts of the National Capital Territory of Delhi...

, Malwa, Maharashtra
Maharashtra
Maharashtra is a state located in India. It is the second most populous after Uttar Pradesh and third largest state by area in India...

 and further areas of eastern, central and southern India.

Mahabharata
Mahabharata
The Mahabharata is one of the two major Sanskrit epics of ancient India and Nepal, the other being the Ramayana. The epic is part of itihasa....

 too furnishes a veiled hint about the invasion of the mixed hordes from the northwest. Vanaparava by Mahabharata
Mahabharata
The Mahabharata is one of the two major Sanskrit epics of ancient India and Nepal, the other being the Ramayana. The epic is part of itihasa....

 contains verses in the form of prophecy
Prophecy
Prophecy is a process in which one or more messages that have been communicated to a prophet are then communicated to others. Such messages typically involve divine inspiration, interpretation, or revelation of conditioned events to come as well as testimonies or repeated revelations that the...

 deploring that "......the Mlechha (barbaric) kings of the Shaka
Shaka
Shaka kaSenzangakhona , also known as Shaka Zulu , was the most influential leader of the Zulu Kingdom....

s, Yavanas, Kambojas
Kambojas
The Kambojas were a kshatriya tribe of Iron Age India, frequently mentioned in Sanskrit and Pali literature.They were an Indo-Iranian tribe situated at the boundary of the Indo-Aryans and the Iranians, and appear to have moved from the Iranian into the Indo-Aryan sphere over time.The Kambojas...

, Bahlikas, etc. shall rule the earth (i.e. India) un-righteously in Kaliyuga..".

According to H. C. Ray Chaudhury, this is too clear a statement to be ignored or explained away.

Mahabharata
Mahabharata
The Mahabharata is one of the two major Sanskrit epics of ancient India and Nepal, the other being the Ramayana. The epic is part of itihasa....

's epic reference apparently alludes to the chaotic politics which followed the collapse of the Mauryan and Sunga dynasties
Dynasty
A dynasty is a sequence of rulers considered members of the same family. Historians traditionally consider many sovereign states' history within a framework of successive dynasties, e.g., China, Ancient Egypt and the Persian Empire...

 in northern India and the area's subsequent occupation by foreign horde
Horde
Horde may refer to:* Ordo * a clan or army of steppe nomads . See Orda * the Blue and White Horde, formed 1226, 1227* the Golden Horde, a Turkic-Mongol state established in the 1240s...

s of the Saka, Yavana, Kamboja
Kambojas
The Kambojas were a kshatriya tribe of Iron Age India, frequently mentioned in Sanskrit and Pali literature.They were an Indo-Iranian tribe situated at the boundary of the Indo-Aryans and the Iranians, and appear to have moved from the Iranian into the Indo-Aryan sphere over time.The Kambojas...

, Pahlavas, Bahlika, Shudra and Rishika
Rishikas
Rshikas were an ancient tribe living in the northern division of ancient India. They find references in the Mahabharata, Ramayana, Brhat Samhita, Markendeya Purana etc. Ashtadhyayi of Pāṇini does not mention the Rishikas, but Mahabhasya of Patanjali does make reference to this people. Mahabharata...

 tribes from the northwest.

Evidence about joint invasions


The Scythian groups that invaded India and set up various kingdoms
Monarchy
A monarchy is a form of government in which the office of head of state is usually held until death or abdication and is often hereditary and includes a royal house. In some cases, the monarch is elected...

, included besides the Sakas other allied tribe
Tribe
A tribe, viewed historically or developmentally, consists of a social group existing before the development of, or outside of, states.Many anthropologists use the term tribal society to refer to societies organized largely on the basis of kinship, especially corporate descent groups .Some theorists...

s, such as the Medii, Xanthii, Massagetae
Massagetae
The Massageteans or Massagetaeans were an Iranian nomadic confederation in antiquity known primarily from the writings of Herodotus. Their name was probably akin to Thyssagetae.-Name:...

. These peoples were all absorbed into the community
Community
The term community has two distinct meanings:*a group of interacting people, possibly living in close proximity, and often refers to a group that shares some common values, and is attributed with social cohesion within a shared geographical location, generally in social units larger than a household...

 of Kshatriya
Kshatriya
*For the Bollywood film of the same name see Kshatriya Kshatriya or Kashtriya, meaning warrior, is one of the four varnas in Hinduism...

s of mainstream Indian society.

The Shakas were formerly a people of trans-Hemodos region—the Shakadvipa of the Puranas or the Scythia
Scythia
In antiquity, Scythian or Scyths were terms used by the Greeks to refer to certain Iranian groups of horse-riding nomadic pastoralists who dwelt on the Pontic-Caspian steppe...

 of the classical writings. Isidor of Charax (beginning of 1st century CE) attests them in Sakastana (modern Seistan). 1st century CE Periplus of the Erythraean Sea
Periplus of the Erythraean Sea
The Periplus of the Erythraean Sea or Periplus of the Red Sea is a Greco-Roman periplus, written in Greek, describing navigation and trading opportunities from Roman Egyptian ports like Berenice along the coast of the Red Sea, and others along Northeast Africa and India...

(c. CE 70–80) also attests a Scythian district in lower Indus with Minnagra as its capital. Ptolemy (c. CE 140) also attests Indo-Scythia in south-western India which comprised Patalene the Surastrene (Saurashtra) territories.

The 2nd century BCE Scythian invasion of India, was in all probability carried out jointly by the Sakas, Pahlavas, Kambojas
Kambojas
The Kambojas were a kshatriya tribe of Iron Age India, frequently mentioned in Sanskrit and Pali literature.They were an Indo-Iranian tribe situated at the boundary of the Indo-Aryans and the Iranians, and appear to have moved from the Iranian into the Indo-Aryan sphere over time.The Kambojas...

, Paradas, Rishikas
Rishikas
Rshikas were an ancient tribe living in the northern division of ancient India. They find references in the Mahabharata, Ramayana, Brhat Samhita, Markendeya Purana etc. Ashtadhyayi of Pāṇini does not mention the Rishikas, but Mahabhasya of Patanjali does make reference to this people. Mahabharata...

 and other allied tribes from the northwest. As a result, groups of these people who had originally lived in the northwest before the Christian era, were also found to have lived in southwest India in post-Christian times. All these groups of north-western peoples apparently entered Indian mainland following the Scythian invasion of India.

Northwestern India

  • Maues
    Maues
    Maues was an Indo-Scythian king who invaded the Indo-Greek territories.-Conqueror of Gandhara:...

    , c 90–60 BCE
  • Vonones
    Vonones of Indo-Scythia
    Vonones was an Indo-Scythian king who reigned in areas of the North-western Indian subcontinent between around 75 to 65 BCE.His brother, Spalahores, was mentioned on his coins, as well as Spalahores' son Spalagadames...

    , c 75–65 BCE
  • Spalahores
    Spalahores
    Spalahores was an Indo-Scythian ruler, brother of king Vonones. They reigned in areas of the North-western South Asia between around 75 to 65 BCE.Spalahores was mentioned on the coins of Vonones, as his brother, together with Spalahores' son Spalagadames....

    , c 75–65 BCE, satrap
    Satrap
    Satrap was the name given to the governors of the provinces of the ancient Median and Achaemenid Empires and in several of their successors, such as the Sassanid Empire and the Hellenistic empires....

     and brother of King Vonones, and probably the later King Spalirises.
  • Spalirises
    Spalirises
    Spalirises was an Indo-Scythian "Great king" of the 1st century BCE. He was the brother of Vonones , and probably identical with Spalahores....

    , c 60–57 BCE, king and brother of King Vonones.
  • Spalagadames
    Spalagadames
    Spalagadames was an Indo-Scythian ruler, son of Spalahores , himself brother of king Vonones. He ruled in areas of the North-western South Asia between around 50 BCE....

     c 50 BCE, satrap, and son of Spalahores.
  • Azilises
    Azilises
    Azilises was an Indo-Scythian king who ruled in the area of Gandhara.-Coinage:Azilises issued some joint coins with Azes, where Azes is presented as king on the obverse , and Azilises is introduced as king on the obverse in kharoshthi .-See...

    , before 60 BCE
  • Azes I
    Azes I
    Azes I was an Indo-Scythian ruler who completed the domination of the Scythians in northern India.-History:Although Maues and his successors had conquered the areas of Gandhara, as well as the area of Mathura from 85 BCE, they were unsuccessful against the Indo-Greek kings remaining behind the...

    , c 60–20 BCE
  • Zeionises
    Zeionises
    Zeionises was an Indo-Scythian satrap of the area of southern Chach for king Azes II.He then became king, and ruled in parts of the Indian subcontinent around 10 BCE – 10 CE, but apparently lost his territory to the invasion of the Indo-Parthians....

    , c 10 BCE – 10 CE
  • Kharahostes
    Kharahostes
    Kharahostes or Kharaostasa was an Indo-Scythian ruler in the northern Indian subcontinent around 10 BCE – 10 CE. He is known from his coins, often in the name of Azes II, and from an inscription on the Mathura lion capital....

    , c 10 BCE – 10 CE
  • Hajatria
    Hajatria
    Hajatria was an Indo-Scythian ruler, and the son of the satrap Kharahostes. He ruled from around 10 CE as a satrap of the Mathura area. He is only known through his coins.-See also:*Yuezhi*Greco-Bactrian Kingdom*Indo-Greek Kingdom*Indo-Parthian Kingdom...


Kshaharatas

  • Liaka Kusuluka, satrap of Chuksa
  • Kusulaka Patika, satrap of Chuksa and son of Liaka Kusulaka
  • Bhumaka
    Bhumaka
    Bhumaka was a Western Kshatrapa ruler of the early 2nd century CE.He was the father of the great ruler Nahapana, according to one of the latter's coins. He was preceded by Abhiraka , of whom a few coins are known....

  • Nahapana
    Nahapana
    Nahapana was an important ruler of the Western Kshatrapas, descendant of the Indo-Scythians, in northwestern India. According to one of his coins, he was the son of Bhumaka.-History:...

     (founder of the Western Satraps)

Apracarajas (Bajaur area)


  • Vijayamitra
    Vijayamitra
    Vijayamitra was an Indo-Scythian king of the Apracas in modern Pakistan. He is mentioned in a recently discovered inscription in Kharoshthi on a Buddhist reliquary, which gives a relationship between several eras of the period:...

     (12 BCE – 15 CE)
  • Itravasu (c 20 CE)
  • Aspavarma
    Aspavarma
    Aspavarma was an Indo-Scythian ruler, who ruled from around 15 to 45 CE. He ruled in the Bajaur area of modern Pakistan, and is considered as one of the Apraca rulers. He is essentially known through his coins....

     (15–45 CE)

Paratarajas (Balochistan
Balochistan
Balochistan or Baluchistan is a region which covers parts of Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan. It can also refer to one of several modern and historical territories within that region:...

 area)



  • Yolamira, son of Bagareva (c. 125–150 CE)
  • Bagamira, son of Yolamira (c. 150)
  • Arjuna, a second son of Yolamira (c. 150–160)
  • Hvaramira, a third son of Yolamira (c. 160–175)
  • Mirahvara, son of Hvaramira (c. 175–185)
  • Miratakhma, another son of Hvaramira (c. 185–200)
  • Kozana, son of Bagavharna (and perhaps grandson of Bagamira?) (c. 200–220)
  • Bhimarjuna, son of Yolatakhma (and perhaps grandson of Arjuna?) (c. 220–235)
  • Koziya, son of Kozana (c. 235–265)
  • Datarvharna, son of Datayola I (and perhaps grandson of Bhimarjuna?) (c. 265–280)
  • Datayola II, son of Datarvharna (c. 280–300)

"Northern Satraps" (Mathura area)

  • Hagamasha (satrap, 1st century BCE)
  • Hagana (satrap, 1st century BCE)
  • Rajuvula
    Rajuvula
    Rajuvula was an Indo-Scythian Great Satrap who ruled in the area of Mathura in northern India in the years around 10 CE. In central India, the Indo-Scythians conquered the area of Mathura over Indian kings around 60 BCE...

    , c 10 CE (Great Satrap)
  • Sodasa
    Sodasa
    Sodasa was an Indo-Scythian, and the son of the Great Satrap of Mathura Rajuvula. He is mentioned in the Mathura lion capital.Sodasa reigned during the 1st century CE, and also took the title of Great Satrap, probably in the area of Mathura as well, but apparently under the suzerainty of the...

    , son of Rajuvula
  • "Great Satrap" Kharapallana (c 130 CE)
  • "Satrap" Vanaspara (c 130 CE)

Western Satraps


  • Nahapana
    Nahapana
    Nahapana was an important ruler of the Western Kshatrapas, descendant of the Indo-Scythians, in northwestern India. According to one of his coins, he was the son of Bhumaka.-History:...

     (119–124)
  • Chastana
    Chastana
    Chastana, or Castana, was a ruler of the Saka Western Satraps in northwestern India around 130 CE. He was satrap of Ujjain during that period....

     (c 120), son of Ghsamotika 
  • Jayadaman
    Jayadaman
    Jayadaman was a Western Kshatrapa ruler, although possibly only a Kshatrapa, rather than a Mahakshatrapa. He was the son of Chastana, and the father of Rudradaman I, but he may have pre-deceased Chastana, and never ruled as supreme ruler of the Western Kshatrapas...

    , son of Chastana
  • Rudradaman I
    Rudradaman I
    Rudradaman I was a Saka ruler from the Western Kshatrapas dynasty. He was the grandson of the celebrated Sah king Chastana. Rudradaman I was instrumental in the decline of the Satavahana Empire.- Mahakshatrapa :...

     (c 130–150), son of Jayadaman
  • Damajadasri I
    Damajadasri I
    Damajadasri I was a ruler of the Western Kshatrapas dynasty. His reign saw the decline of dynasty after his dominions were conquered by the Satavahanas and saw the rise of the Abhiras in the south and Malavas in the north....

     (170–175)
  • Jivadaman
    Jivadaman
    Jivadaman was a Saka ruler of the Western Kshatrapas in northwestern India from during the 2nd century CE. He was the son of Damajadasri I , and the brother of Satyadaman....

     (175 d 199)
  • Rudrasimha I
    Rudrasimha I
    Rudrasimha I was a Western Kshatrapa ruler, who reigned from 178 to 197 CE. From the reign of Rudrasimha I, the date of minting of each coin, reckoned in the Saka era, is usually written on the obverse behind the king's head in Brahmi numerals, allowing for a quite precise datation of the rule of...

     (175–188 d 197)
  • Isvaradatta (188–191)
  • Rudrasimha I
    Rudrasimha I
    Rudrasimha I was a Western Kshatrapa ruler, who reigned from 178 to 197 CE. From the reign of Rudrasimha I, the date of minting of each coin, reckoned in the Saka era, is usually written on the obverse behind the king's head in Brahmi numerals, allowing for a quite precise datation of the rule of...

     (restored) (191–197)
  • Jivadaman
    Jivadaman
    Jivadaman was a Saka ruler of the Western Kshatrapas in northwestern India from during the 2nd century CE. He was the son of Damajadasri I , and the brother of Satyadaman....

     (restored) (197–199)
  • Rudrasena I
    Rudrasena I
    Rudrasena I was a Saka ruler of the Western Satrap dynasty in the area of Malwa in ancient India.He is mainly known from his coins. Several have a date in Brahmi numerals on the reverse...

     (200–222)
  • Samghadaman (222–223)
  • Damasena (223–232)
  • Damajadasri II (232–239) with
  • Viradaman (234–238)
  • Yasodaman I (239)
  • Vijayasena (239–250)
  • Damajadasri III (251–255)
  • Rudrasena II (255–277)
  • Visvasimha (277–282)
  • Bhratadarman
    Bhratadarman
    Bhartrdaman was a Saka ruler of the Western Kshatrapas in northwestern India from around 278 to 295. For the first four years, his coins name him only as kshatrapa, after which time his coins name him mahakshatrapa...

     (282–295) with
  • Visvasena (293–304)
  • Rudrasimha II, son of Lord (Svami) Jivadaman
    Jivadaman
    Jivadaman was a Saka ruler of the Western Kshatrapas in northwestern India from during the 2nd century CE. He was the son of Damajadasri I , and the brother of Satyadaman....

     (304–348) with
  • Yasodaman II (317–332)
  • Rudradaman II (332–348)
  • Rudrasena III (348–380)
  • Simhasena (380– ?)
  • Rudrasena IV (382–388)
  • Rudrasimha III
    Rudrasimha III
    Rudrasimha III was the last ruler of the Western Satraps in India, in the 4th century CE.A fragment from the Natya-darpana mentions the Gupta king Ramagupta, the elder brother of Chandragupta II, decided to expand his kingdom by attacking the Western Satraps in Gujarat. The campaign soon took a...

     (388–395)

"Degraded Kshatriyas" from the northwest


The Manusmriti, written about 200, groups the Shakas with the Yavanas, Kambojas
Kambojas
The Kambojas were a kshatriya tribe of Iron Age India, frequently mentioned in Sanskrit and Pali literature.They were an Indo-Iranian tribe situated at the boundary of the Indo-Aryans and the Iranians, and appear to have moved from the Iranian into the Indo-Aryan sphere over time.The Kambojas...

, Paradas, Pahlavas, Kiratas and the Daradas, etc., and addresses them all as "degraded warriors" or Kshatriya
Kshatriya
*For the Bollywood film of the same name see Kshatriya Kshatriya or Kashtriya, meaning warrior, is one of the four varnas in Hinduism...

s" (X/43-44). Anushasanaparva of the Mahabharata
Mahabharata
The Mahabharata is one of the two major Sanskrit epics of ancient India and Nepal, the other being the Ramayana. The epic is part of itihasa....

 also views the Shakas, Kambojas, Yavanas etc... in the same light. Patanjali
Patañjali
Patañjali is the compiler of the Yoga Sūtras, an important collection of aphorisms on Yoga practice. According to tradition, the same Patañjali was also the author of the Mahābhāṣya, a commentary on Kātyāyana's vārttikas on Pāṇini's Aṣṭādhyāyī as well as an unspecified work of medicine .In...

 in his Mahabhashya regards the Shakas and Yavanas as pure Shudra
Shudra
Shudra is the fourth Varna, as prescribed in the Purusha Sukta of the Rig veda, which constitutes society into four varnas or Chaturvarna. The other three varnas are Brahmans - priests, Kshatriya - those with governing functions, Vaishya - agriculturalists, cattle rearers and traders...

s (II.4.10).
The Vartika of the Katyayana
Katyayana
Kātyāyana was a Sanskrit grammarian, mathematician and Vedic priest who lived in ancient India.-Works:He is known for two works:...

 informs us that the kings of the Shakas and the Yavanas, like those of the Kambojas
Kambojas
The Kambojas were a kshatriya tribe of Iron Age India, frequently mentioned in Sanskrit and Pali literature.They were an Indo-Iranian tribe situated at the boundary of the Indo-Aryans and the Iranians, and appear to have moved from the Iranian into the Indo-Aryan sphere over time.The Kambojas...

, may also be addressed by their respective tribal
Tribe
A tribe, viewed historically or developmentally, consists of a social group existing before the development of, or outside of, states.Many anthropologists use the term tribal society to refer to societies organized largely on the basis of kinship, especially corporate descent groups .Some theorists...

 names.
The Mahabharata
Mahabharata
The Mahabharata is one of the two major Sanskrit epics of ancient India and Nepal, the other being the Ramayana. The epic is part of itihasa....

 also associates the Shakas with the Yavanas, Gandhara
Gandhara
Gandhāra , is the name of an ancient kingdom , located in northern Pakistan and eastern Afghanistan. Gandhara was located mainly in the vale of Peshawar, the Potohar plateau and on the Kabul River...

s, Kambojas
Kambojas
The Kambojas were a kshatriya tribe of Iron Age India, frequently mentioned in Sanskrit and Pali literature.They were an Indo-Iranian tribe situated at the boundary of the Indo-Aryans and the Iranians, and appear to have moved from the Iranian into the Indo-Aryan sphere over time.The Kambojas...

, Pahlavas, Tusharas, Sabaras, Barbaras, etc. and addresses them all as the Barbaric tribe
Tribe
A tribe, viewed historically or developmentally, consists of a social group existing before the development of, or outside of, states.Many anthropologists use the term tribal society to refer to societies organized largely on the basis of kinship, especially corporate descent groups .Some theorists...

s of Uttarapatha
Uttarapatha
Ancient Buddhist and Hindu texts use Uttarapatha as the name of the northern part of Jambudvipa, one of the "continents" in Hindu mythology.The name is derived from the Sanskrit terms uttara, for north, and patha, for road...

. In another verse, the same epic groups the Shakas and Kambojas
Kambojas
The Kambojas were a kshatriya tribe of Iron Age India, frequently mentioned in Sanskrit and Pali literature.They were an Indo-Iranian tribe situated at the boundary of the Indo-Aryans and the Iranians, and appear to have moved from the Iranian into the Indo-Aryan sphere over time.The Kambojas...

 and Khashas and addresses them as the tribes from Udichya i.e. north division (5/169/20). Also, the Kishkindha Kanda of the Ramayana
Ramayana
The Ramayana is an ancient Sanskrit epic. It is ascribed to the Hindu sage Valmiki and forms an important part of the Hindu canon , considered to be itihāsa. The Ramayana is one of the two great epics of India and Nepal, the other being the Mahabharata...

 locates the Shakas, Kambojas, Yavanas and Paradas in the extreme north-west beyond the Himavat (i.e. Hindukush) (43/12).

Military alliance with Chandragupta (c 320 BC)


The Buddhist drama Mudrarakshas by Visakhadutta and the Jaina works Parisishtaparvan refer to Chandragupta
Chandragupta Maurya
Chandragupta Maurya , was the founder of the Maurya Empire. Chandragupta succeeded in conquering most of the Indian subcontinent. Chandragupta is considered the first unifier of India and its first genuine emperor...

's alliance with Himalayan
Himalayas
The Himalaya Range or Himalaya Mountains Sanskrit: Devanagari: हिमालय, literally "abode of snow"), usually called the Himalayas or Himalaya for short, is a mountain range in Asia, separating the Indian subcontinent from the Tibetan Plateau...

 king Parvataka.

This Himalayan alliance gave Chandragupta a powerful composite army made up of the frontier martial tribes of the Shaka
Shaka
Shaka kaSenzangakhona , also known as Shaka Zulu , was the most influential leader of the Zulu Kingdom....

s, Kambojas
Kambojas
The Kambojas were a kshatriya tribe of Iron Age India, frequently mentioned in Sanskrit and Pali literature.They were an Indo-Iranian tribe situated at the boundary of the Indo-Aryans and the Iranians, and appear to have moved from the Iranian into the Indo-Aryan sphere over time.The Kambojas...

, Yavanas, Parasikas, Bahlikas etc. which he utilised to defeat the Nanda
Nanda Dynasty
The Nanda Empire originated from the region of Magadha in Ancient India during the 5th and 4th centuries BC. At its greatest extent, the Nanda Empire extended from Bengal in the east, to Punjab in the west and as far south as the Vindhya Range...

 rulers of Magadha
Magadha
Magadha formed one of the sixteen Mahājanapadas or kingdoms in ancient India. The core of the kingdom was the area of Bihar south of the Ganga; its first capital was Rajagriha then Pataliputra...

, and thus establishing his Mauryan Empire in northern India (See: Mudrarakshas, II).

Invasion of India (c 180 BC)


The Vanaparva of the Mahabharata contains verses in the form of prophecy that the kings of the Saka
Saka
The Saka were a Scythian tribe or group of tribes....

s, Yavanas, Kambojas
Kambojas
The Kambojas were a kshatriya tribe of Iron Age India, frequently mentioned in Sanskrit and Pali literature.They were an Indo-Iranian tribe situated at the boundary of the Indo-Aryans and the Iranians, and appear to have moved from the Iranian into the Indo-Aryan sphere over time.The Kambojas...

, Bahlikas, etc. shall rule unrighteously in Kaliyuga (MBH 3/188/34-36).

This reference apparently alludes to the precarious political scenario following the collapse of Mauryan and Sunga dynasties
Dynasty
A dynasty is a sequence of rulers considered members of the same family. Historians traditionally consider many sovereign states' history within a framework of successive dynasties, e.g., China, Ancient Egypt and the Persian Empire...

 in northern India and its occupation by foreign hordes of the Shakas, Yavanas, Kambojas, and Pahlavas.

Extinction


The Brihat-Katha-Manjari of the Kshemendra (10/1/285-86) relates that around 400 CE, the Gupta
Gupta Empire
The Gupta Empire was an ancient Indian empire which existed approximately from 320 to 550 CE and covered much of the Indian Subcontinent. Founded by Maharaja Sri-Gupta, the dynasty was the model of a classical civilization. The peace and prosperity created under leadership of Guptas enabled the...

 king Vikramaditya
Vikramaditya
Vikramaditya was a legendary emperor of Ujjain, India, famed for his wisdom, valour and magnanimity. The title "Vikramaditya" was later assumed by many other kings in Indian history, notably the Gupta King Chandragupta II and Samrat Hem Chandra Vikramaditya .The name King Vikramaditya is a...

 (Chandragupta II
Chandragupta II
Chandragupta II the Great, very often referred to as Vikramaditya or Chandragupta Vikramaditya in Sanskrit; was one of the most powerful emperors of the Gupta empire in northern India. His rule spanned c...

) had "unburdened the sacred earth of the barbarian
Barbarian
Barbarian and savage are terms used to refer to a person who is perceived to be uncivilized. The word is often used either in a general reference to a member of a nation or ethnos, typically a tribal society as seen by an urban civilization either viewed as inferior, or admired as a noble savage...

s" like the Shaka
Shaka
Shaka kaSenzangakhona , also known as Shaka Zulu , was the most influential leader of the Zulu Kingdom....

s, Mlecchas, Kambojas
Kambojas
The Kambojas were a kshatriya tribe of Iron Age India, frequently mentioned in Sanskrit and Pali literature.They were an Indo-Iranian tribe situated at the boundary of the Indo-Aryans and the Iranians, and appear to have moved from the Iranian into the Indo-Aryan sphere over time.The Kambojas...

, Yavanas, Tusharas, Parasikas, Hunas, etc., by annihilating these "sinners" completely.

The 10th century Kavyamimamsa of Raj Shekhar (Ch. 17) still lists the Sakas, Tusharas, Vokanas, Hunas, Kambojas, Bahlikas, Pahlavas, Tangana, Turukshas, etc. together, and states they were the tribes located in the Uttarapatha
Uttarapatha
Ancient Buddhist and Hindu texts use Uttarapatha as the name of the northern part of Jambudvipa, one of the "continents" in Hindu mythology.The name is derived from the Sanskrit terms uttara, for north, and patha, for road...

 division.

Descendants of the Indo-Scythians


It is likely that a number of communities in South Asia, mainly in the northwestern regions are descended partially from the Indo-Scythians. In southern India, Nairs of Kerala
Kerala
or Keralam is an Indian state located on the Malabar coast of south-west India. It was created on 1 November 1956 by the States Reorganisation Act by combining various Malayalam speaking regions....

 are considered to have Indo-Scythian ancestry.

British ethnographer Herbert Hope Risley
Herbert Hope Risley
Sir Herbert Hope Risley KCIE CSI was a British ethnographer and colonial administrator, a member of the Indian Civil Service who conducted extensive studies on the tribes and castes of Bengal. He is also remembered for the formal application of the caste system to the entire Hindu population of...

 believed the Maratha
Maratha
The Maratha are an Indian caste, predominantly in the state of Maharashtra. The term Marāthā has three related usages: within the Marathi speaking region it describes the dominant Maratha caste; outside Maharashtra it can refer to the entire regional population of Marathi-speaking people;...

people were of Indo-Scythian descent, but other scholars disagree with that assessment, saying there is nothing in the historical record to indicate it.

External links