Tocharians

Tocharians

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The Tocharians were the Tocharian-speaking inhabitants of the Tarim Basin
Tarim Basin
The Tarim Basin is a large endorheic basin occupying an area of about . It is located in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in China's far west. Its northern boundary is the Tian Shan mountain range and its southern is the Kunlun Mountains on the northern edge of the Tibetan Plateau. The...

, making them the easternmost speakers of Indo-European languages in antiquity. They were known as, or at least closely related to, the Yuezhi
Yuezhi
The Yuezhi, or Rouzhi , also known as the Da Yuezhi or Da Rouzhi , were an ancient Central Asian people....

 of Chinese sources. After wars against the northern Xiongnu, the Tocharians migrated out of the Tarim Basin, and the Indo-European
Indo-European
Indo-European may refer to:* Indo-European languages** Aryan race, a 19th century and early 20th century term for those peoples who are the native speakers of Indo-European languages...

 language of the Tocharians became supplanted by the Turkic languages
Turkic languages
The Turkic languages constitute a language family of at least thirty five languages, spoken by Turkic peoples across a vast area from Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean to Siberia and Western China, and are considered to be part of the proposed Altaic language family.Turkic languages are spoken...

 of the Uighur tribes about 800 CE.

The Afanasevo culture
Afanasevo culture
The Afanasevo culture, traditionally dated to 2500–2000 BC , is an archaeological culture of the late copper and early Bronze Age of southern Siberia....

 is a strong candidate for being the earliest attested representative for speakers of the Tocharian languages
Tocharian languages
Tocharian or Tokharian is an extinct branch of the Indo-European language family. The name is taken from the people known to the Greeks as the Tocharians . These are sometimes identified with the Yuezhi and the Kushans. The term Tokharistan usually refers to 1st millennium Bactria, which the...

. The Takhar province
Takhar Province
Takhār is one of the thirty-four provinces of Afghanistan. It was established in 1964 when Qataghan Province was divided into three provinces: Baghlan, Kunduz and Takhar. It is in the north-east of the country. Its capital is Taloqan. Its salt mines are one of Afghanistan's major mineral resources...

 of 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...

 is named after the Tocharians.

Name


The term Tocharian or Tokharian (Ch. Tu-huo-luo 吐火罗) has a complex history. It is based on the ethnonym Tokharoi (Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

: Τοχάροι or Τόχαροι) used by Greek historians (e.g. 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...

 VI, 11, 6). The first Greek mention of the Tocharians appeared in the 1st century BC, when Strabo
Strabo
Strabo, also written Strabon was a Greek historian, geographer and philosopher.-Life:Strabo was born to an affluent family from Amaseia in Pontus , a city which he said was situated the approximate equivalent of 75 km from the Black Sea...

 presented them as a Scythian tribe, and explained that the Tocharians – together with the Assianis, Passianis and Sakaraulis – took part in the destruction 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...

 (present day Afghanistan-Pakistan) in the second half of the 2nd century BC.

These Tocharians have frequently been identified with the Yuezhi
Yuezhi
The Yuezhi, or Rouzhi , also known as the Da Yuezhi or Da Rouzhi , were an ancient Central Asian people....

 and the later (and probably related) Kushan peoples. Many scholars believe the Yuezhi originally spoke a Tocharian language. However, the debate about the origins and original language(s) of the Yuezhi and the Kushan continues, and there is no general consensus. The geographical term Tokharistan usually refers to 1st millennium
1st millennium
File:1st millennium montage.png|From left, clockwise: Depiction of Jesus, the central figure in Christianity; The Colosseum, a landmark of the once Roman Empire; Gunpowder is invented during the latter part of the millennium, in China; Chess, a new board game, takes on popularity across the globe;...

 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...

 (Chinese Daxia
Daxia
Daxia, Ta-Hsia, or Ta-Hia is the name given in antiquity by the Han Chinese to the territory of Bactria....

大夏). Some accounts describe them the Tocharians as having red hair and blue eyes
Blue eyes
Blue eyes may refer to:*Blue eye color*Blue-eyes or Pseudomugilidae, a family of fish*Blue Eyes , a hentai manga by Tohru Nishimaki*Blue Eyes White Dragon, a fictional monster from the Yu-Gi-Oh! universe...

.

Today, the term is associated with those Indo-European languages
Indo-European languages
The Indo-European languages are a family of several hundred related languages and dialects, including most major current languages of Europe, the Iranian plateau, and South Asia and also historically predominant in Anatolia...

 known as "Tocharian". Tocharian A is also known as East Tocharian, or Turfanian (of the city of Turpan), and Tocharian B is also known as West Tocharian, or Kuchean (of the city of Kucha
Kucha
Kuchaor Kuche Uyghur , Chinese Simplified: 库车; Traditional: 庫車; pinyin Kùchē; also romanized as Qiuzi, Qiuci, Chiu-tzu, Kiu-che, Kuei-tzu from the traditional Chinese forms 屈支 屈茨; 龜玆; 龟兹, 丘玆, also Po ; Sanskrit: Kueina, Standard Tibetan: Kutsahiyui was an ancient Buddhist kingdom...

)

Based on a Turkic reference to Tocharian A as twqry, these languages were associated with the Kushan ruling class, but the exact relation of the speakers of these languages and the Kushan Tokharoi is uncertain, and some consider "Tocharian languages" a misnomer. The term is so widely used, however, that this question is somewhat academic. Tocharians in the modern sense are, then, defined as the speakers of the Tocharian languages. These were originally 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...

s, and lived in the Tarim basin
Tarim Basin
The Tarim Basin is a large endorheic basin occupying an area of about . It is located in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in China's far west. Its northern boundary is the Tian Shan mountain range and its southern is the Kunlun Mountains on the northern edge of the Tibetan Plateau. The...

 of today's Xinjiang before the arrival of the Xiongnu.

The native name of the historical Tocharians of the 6th to 8th centuries was, according to J. P. Mallory, possibly kuśiññe "Kuchean" (Tocharian B), "of the kingdom of Kucha and Agni", and ārśi (Tocharian A); one of the Tocharian A texts has ārśi-käntwā, "In the tongue of Arsi" (ārśi is probably cognate to argenteus, i.e. "shining, brilliant"). According to Douglas Q. Adams
Douglas Q. Adams
Douglas Q. Adams is a professor of English at the University of Idaho and an Indo-European comparativist. Adams studied at the University of Chicago, taking his PhD in 1972. He is an expert on Tocharian and a contributor on this subject to the Encyclopædia Britannica.He has also co-authored two...

, the Tocharians may have called themselves ākñi, meaning "borderers, marchers".

Archaeology



The Tarim mummies
Tarim mummies
The Tarim mummies are a series of mummies discovered in the Tarim Basin in present-day Xinjiang, China, which date from 1900 BC to 200 AD. Some of the mummies are frequently associated with the presence of the Indo-European Tocharian languages in the Tarim Basin, although the evidence is not...

 suggest that precursors of these easternmost speakers of an Indo-European language may have lived in the region of the Tarim Basin
Tarim Basin
The Tarim Basin is a large endorheic basin occupying an area of about . It is located in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in China's far west. Its northern boundary is the Tian Shan mountain range and its southern is the Kunlun Mountains on the northern edge of the Tibetan Plateau. The...

 from around 1800 BC until 2nd century BC, when they were largely driven out by the proto-Turkic Xiongnu. Any Tocharian speakers that remained were assimilated by the arrival of the Uyghur
Uyghur people
The Uyghur are a Turkic ethnic group living in Eastern and Central Asia. Today, Uyghurs live primarily in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in the People's Republic of China...

 Turks in the 9th century AD. This is evidenced by both the mummies and Chinese writings on the exodus.

A later group of Tocharians were the Kushans and maybe some Iranian tribes of the Hephthalite
Hephthalite
The Hephthalites or Hephthalite is a pre-Islamic Greek term for local Abdali Afghans, who's famous ruler was Nazak Abdali . Hephthalites were a Central Asian nomadic confederation of the AD 5th-6th centuries whose precise origins and composition remain obscure...

s whose Iranian population also settled in modern Afghanistan, North-Eastern Iran, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Turkestan, whereas the nomadic Turkic tribes were defeated by Bahram Gur and the Gokturks
Göktürks
The Göktürks or Kök Türks, were a nomadic confederation of peoples in medieval Inner Asia. Known in Chinese sources as 突厥 , the Göktürks under the leadership of Bumin Qaghan The Göktürks or Kök Türks, (Old Turkic: Türük or Kök Türük or Türük; Celestial Turks) were a nomadic confederation of...

, who pushed them over the Hindukush mountains to 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...

 and North-West India.

The Tarim Basin mummies
Tarim mummies
The Tarim mummies are a series of mummies discovered in the Tarim Basin in present-day Xinjiang, China, which date from 1900 BC to 200 AD. Some of the mummies are frequently associated with the presence of the Indo-European Tocharian languages in the Tarim Basin, although the evidence is not...

 (1800 BC) and the Tocharian
Tocharian languages
Tocharian or Tokharian is an extinct branch of the Indo-European language family. The name is taken from the people known to the Greeks as the Tocharians . These are sometimes identified with the Yuezhi and the Kushans. The term Tokharistan usually refers to 1st millennium Bactria, which the...

 texts and frescoes from the Tarim Basin (AD 800
800
Year 800 was a leap year starting on Wednesday of the Julian calendar. It was around this time that the Anno Domini calendar era became the prevalent method in Europe for naming years, so from this time on, the years began being known as 800 and onwards.- Europe :* December 25 - Pope Leo III...

) have been found in the same general geographical area, and are both connected to an Indo-European origin. The mummies and the frescoes both point to Caucasoid types with light eyes and hair color
Blond
Blond or blonde or fair-hair is a hair color characterized by low levels of the dark pigment eumelanin. The resultant visible hue depends on various factors, but always has some sort of yellowish color...

. However it is unknown if the frescos and mummies are directly connected.

argue that the Tocharian languages were introduced to the Tarim and Turpan basins from the Afanasevo culture
Afanasevo culture
The Afanasevo culture, traditionally dated to 2500–2000 BC , is an archaeological culture of the late copper and early Bronze Age of southern Siberia....

 to their immediate north. The Afanasevo culture (c. 3500–2500 BC) displays cultural and genetic connections with the Indo-European-associated cultures of the Central Asian steppe yet predates the specifically Indo-Iranian
Indo-Iranians
Indo-Iranian peoples are a linguistic group consisting of the Indo-Aryan, Iranian, Dardic and Nuristani peoples; that is, speakers of Indo-Iranian languages, a major branch of the Indo-European language family....

-associated Andronovo culture
Andronovo culture
The Andronovo culture, is a collection of similar local Bronze Age cultures that flourished ca. 21200–1400 BCE in western Siberia and the west Asiatic steppe. It is probably better termed an archaeological complex or archaeological horizon...

 (c. 2000–900 BC) enough to isolate the Tocharian languages from Indo-Iranian
Indo-Iranian languages
The Indo-Iranian language group constitutes the easternmost extant branch of the Indo-European family of languages. It consists of three language groups: the Indo-Aryan, Iranian and Nuristani...

 linguistic innovations like satemization.
The Tocharians were the Tocharian-speaking inhabitants of the Tarim Basin
Tarim Basin
The Tarim Basin is a large endorheic basin occupying an area of about . It is located in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in China's far west. Its northern boundary is the Tian Shan mountain range and its southern is the Kunlun Mountains on the northern edge of the Tibetan Plateau. The...

, making them the easternmost speakers of Indo-European languages in antiquity. They were known as, or at least closely related to, the Yuezhi
Yuezhi
The Yuezhi, or Rouzhi , also known as the Da Yuezhi or Da Rouzhi , were an ancient Central Asian people....

 of Chinese sources. After wars against the northern Xiongnu, the Tocharians migrated out of the Tarim Basin, and the Indo-European
Indo-European
Indo-European may refer to:* Indo-European languages** Aryan race, a 19th century and early 20th century term for those peoples who are the native speakers of Indo-European languages...

 language of the Tocharians became supplanted by the Turkic languages
Turkic languages
The Turkic languages constitute a language family of at least thirty five languages, spoken by Turkic peoples across a vast area from Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean to Siberia and Western China, and are considered to be part of the proposed Altaic language family.Turkic languages are spoken...

 of the Uighur tribes about 800 CE.

The Afanasevo culture
Afanasevo culture
The Afanasevo culture, traditionally dated to 2500–2000 BC , is an archaeological culture of the late copper and early Bronze Age of southern Siberia....

 is a strong candidate for being the earliest attested representative for speakers of the Tocharian languages
Tocharian languages
Tocharian or Tokharian is an extinct branch of the Indo-European language family. The name is taken from the people known to the Greeks as the Tocharians . These are sometimes identified with the Yuezhi and the Kushans. The term Tokharistan usually refers to 1st millennium Bactria, which the...

. The Takhar province
Takhar Province
Takhār is one of the thirty-four provinces of Afghanistan. It was established in 1964 when Qataghan Province was divided into three provinces: Baghlan, Kunduz and Takhar. It is in the north-east of the country. Its capital is Taloqan. Its salt mines are one of Afghanistan's major mineral resources...

 of 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...

 is named after the Tocharians.

Name


The term Tocharian or Tokharian (Ch. Tu-huo-luo 吐火罗) has a complex history. It is based on the ethnonym Tokharoi (Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

: Τοχάροι or Τόχαροι) used by Greek historians (e.g. 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...

 VI, 11, 6). The first Greek mention of the Tocharians appeared in the 1st century BC, when Strabo
Strabo
Strabo, also written Strabon was a Greek historian, geographer and philosopher.-Life:Strabo was born to an affluent family from Amaseia in Pontus , a city which he said was situated the approximate equivalent of 75 km from the Black Sea...

 presented them as a Scythian tribe, and explained that the Tocharians – together with the Assianis, Passianis and Sakaraulis – took part in the destruction 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...

 (present day Afghanistan-Pakistan) in the second half of the 2nd century BC.

These Tocharians have frequently been identified with the Yuezhi
Yuezhi
The Yuezhi, or Rouzhi , also known as the Da Yuezhi or Da Rouzhi , were an ancient Central Asian people....

 and the later (and probably related) Kushan peoples. Many scholars believe the Yuezhi originally spoke a Tocharian language. However, the debate about the origins and original language(s) of the Yuezhi and the Kushan continues, and there is no general consensus. The geographical term Tokharistan usually refers to 1st millennium
1st millennium
File:1st millennium montage.png|From left, clockwise: Depiction of Jesus, the central figure in Christianity; The Colosseum, a landmark of the once Roman Empire; Gunpowder is invented during the latter part of the millennium, in China; Chess, a new board game, takes on popularity across the globe;...

 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...

 (Chinese Daxia
Daxia
Daxia, Ta-Hsia, or Ta-Hia is the name given in antiquity by the Han Chinese to the territory of Bactria....

大夏). Some accounts describe them the Tocharians as having red hair and blue eyes
Blue eyes
Blue eyes may refer to:*Blue eye color*Blue-eyes or Pseudomugilidae, a family of fish*Blue Eyes , a hentai manga by Tohru Nishimaki*Blue Eyes White Dragon, a fictional monster from the Yu-Gi-Oh! universe...

.

Today, the term is associated with those Indo-European languages
Indo-European languages
The Indo-European languages are a family of several hundred related languages and dialects, including most major current languages of Europe, the Iranian plateau, and South Asia and also historically predominant in Anatolia...

 known as "Tocharian". Tocharian A is also known as East Tocharian, or Turfanian (of the city of Turpan), and Tocharian B is also known as West Tocharian, or Kuchean (of the city of Kucha
Kucha
Kuchaor Kuche Uyghur , Chinese Simplified: 库车; Traditional: 庫車; pinyin Kùchē; also romanized as Qiuzi, Qiuci, Chiu-tzu, Kiu-che, Kuei-tzu from the traditional Chinese forms 屈支 屈茨; 龜玆; 龟兹, 丘玆, also Po ; Sanskrit: Kueina, Standard Tibetan: Kutsahiyui was an ancient Buddhist kingdom...

)

Based on a Turkic reference to Tocharian A as twqry, these languages were associated with the Kushan ruling class, but the exact relation of the speakers of these languages and the Kushan Tokharoi is uncertain, and some consider "Tocharian languages" a misnomer. The term is so widely used, however, that this question is somewhat academic. Tocharians in the modern sense are, then, defined as the speakers of the Tocharian languages. These were originally 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...

s, and lived in the Tarim basin
Tarim Basin
The Tarim Basin is a large endorheic basin occupying an area of about . It is located in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in China's far west. Its northern boundary is the Tian Shan mountain range and its southern is the Kunlun Mountains on the northern edge of the Tibetan Plateau. The...

 of today's Xinjiang before the arrival of the Xiongnu.

The native name of the historical Tocharians of the 6th to 8th centuries was, according to J. P. Mallory, possibly kuśiññe "Kuchean" (Tocharian B), "of the kingdom of Kucha and Agni", and ārśi (Tocharian A); one of the Tocharian A texts has ārśi-käntwā, "In the tongue of Arsi" (ārśi is probably cognate to argenteus, i.e. "shining, brilliant"). According to Douglas Q. Adams
Douglas Q. Adams
Douglas Q. Adams is a professor of English at the University of Idaho and an Indo-European comparativist. Adams studied at the University of Chicago, taking his PhD in 1972. He is an expert on Tocharian and a contributor on this subject to the Encyclopædia Britannica.He has also co-authored two...

, the Tocharians may have called themselves ākñi, meaning "borderers, marchers".

Archaeology



The Tarim mummies
Tarim mummies
The Tarim mummies are a series of mummies discovered in the Tarim Basin in present-day Xinjiang, China, which date from 1900 BC to 200 AD. Some of the mummies are frequently associated with the presence of the Indo-European Tocharian languages in the Tarim Basin, although the evidence is not...

 suggest that precursors of these easternmost speakers of an Indo-European language may have lived in the region of the Tarim Basin
Tarim Basin
The Tarim Basin is a large endorheic basin occupying an area of about . It is located in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in China's far west. Its northern boundary is the Tian Shan mountain range and its southern is the Kunlun Mountains on the northern edge of the Tibetan Plateau. The...

 from around 1800 BC until 2nd century BC, when they were largely driven out by the proto-Turkic Xiongnu. Any Tocharian speakers that remained were assimilated by the arrival of the Uyghur
Uyghur people
The Uyghur are a Turkic ethnic group living in Eastern and Central Asia. Today, Uyghurs live primarily in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in the People's Republic of China...

 Turks in the 9th century AD. This is evidenced by both the mummies and Chinese writings on the exodus.

A later group of Tocharians were the Kushans and maybe some Iranian tribes of the Hephthalite
Hephthalite
The Hephthalites or Hephthalite is a pre-Islamic Greek term for local Abdali Afghans, who's famous ruler was Nazak Abdali . Hephthalites were a Central Asian nomadic confederation of the AD 5th-6th centuries whose precise origins and composition remain obscure...

s whose Iranian population also settled in modern Afghanistan, North-Eastern Iran, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Turkestan, whereas the nomadic Turkic tribes were defeated by Bahram Gur and the Gokturks
Göktürks
The Göktürks or Kök Türks, were a nomadic confederation of peoples in medieval Inner Asia. Known in Chinese sources as 突厥 , the Göktürks under the leadership of Bumin Qaghan The Göktürks or Kök Türks, (Old Turkic: Türük or Kök Türük or Türük; Celestial Turks) were a nomadic confederation of...

, who pushed them over the Hindukush mountains to 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...

 and North-West India.

The Tarim Basin mummies
Tarim mummies
The Tarim mummies are a series of mummies discovered in the Tarim Basin in present-day Xinjiang, China, which date from 1900 BC to 200 AD. Some of the mummies are frequently associated with the presence of the Indo-European Tocharian languages in the Tarim Basin, although the evidence is not...

 (1800 BC) and the Tocharian
Tocharian languages
Tocharian or Tokharian is an extinct branch of the Indo-European language family. The name is taken from the people known to the Greeks as the Tocharians . These are sometimes identified with the Yuezhi and the Kushans. The term Tokharistan usually refers to 1st millennium Bactria, which the...

 texts and frescoes from the Tarim Basin (AD 800
800
Year 800 was a leap year starting on Wednesday of the Julian calendar. It was around this time that the Anno Domini calendar era became the prevalent method in Europe for naming years, so from this time on, the years began being known as 800 and onwards.- Europe :* December 25 - Pope Leo III...

) have been found in the same general geographical area, and are both connected to an Indo-European origin. The mummies and the frescoes both point to Caucasoid types with light eyes and hair color
Blond
Blond or blonde or fair-hair is a hair color characterized by low levels of the dark pigment eumelanin. The resultant visible hue depends on various factors, but always has some sort of yellowish color...

. However it is unknown if the frescos and mummies are directly connected.

argue that the Tocharian languages were introduced to the Tarim and Turpan basins from the Afanasevo culture
Afanasevo culture
The Afanasevo culture, traditionally dated to 2500–2000 BC , is an archaeological culture of the late copper and early Bronze Age of southern Siberia....

 to their immediate north. The Afanasevo culture (c. 3500–2500 BC) displays cultural and genetic connections with the Indo-European-associated cultures of the Central Asian steppe yet predates the specifically Indo-Iranian
Indo-Iranians
Indo-Iranian peoples are a linguistic group consisting of the Indo-Aryan, Iranian, Dardic and Nuristani peoples; that is, speakers of Indo-Iranian languages, a major branch of the Indo-European language family....

-associated Andronovo culture
Andronovo culture
The Andronovo culture, is a collection of similar local Bronze Age cultures that flourished ca. 21200–1400 BCE in western Siberia and the west Asiatic steppe. It is probably better termed an archaeological complex or archaeological horizon...

 (c. 2000–900 BC) enough to isolate the Tocharian languages from Indo-Iranian
Indo-Iranian languages
The Indo-Iranian language group constitutes the easternmost extant branch of the Indo-European family of languages. It consists of three language groups: the Indo-Aryan, Iranian and Nuristani...

 linguistic innovations like satemization.
The Tocharians were the Tocharian-speaking inhabitants of the Tarim Basin
Tarim Basin
The Tarim Basin is a large endorheic basin occupying an area of about . It is located in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in China's far west. Its northern boundary is the Tian Shan mountain range and its southern is the Kunlun Mountains on the northern edge of the Tibetan Plateau. The...

, making them the easternmost speakers of Indo-European languages in antiquity. They were known as, or at least closely related to, the Yuezhi
Yuezhi
The Yuezhi, or Rouzhi , also known as the Da Yuezhi or Da Rouzhi , were an ancient Central Asian people....

 of Chinese sources. After wars against the northern Xiongnu, the Tocharians migrated out of the Tarim Basin, and the Indo-European
Indo-European
Indo-European may refer to:* Indo-European languages** Aryan race, a 19th century and early 20th century term for those peoples who are the native speakers of Indo-European languages...

 language of the Tocharians became supplanted by the Turkic languages
Turkic languages
The Turkic languages constitute a language family of at least thirty five languages, spoken by Turkic peoples across a vast area from Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean to Siberia and Western China, and are considered to be part of the proposed Altaic language family.Turkic languages are spoken...

 of the Uighur tribes about 800 CE.

The Afanasevo culture
Afanasevo culture
The Afanasevo culture, traditionally dated to 2500–2000 BC , is an archaeological culture of the late copper and early Bronze Age of southern Siberia....

 is a strong candidate for being the earliest attested representative for speakers of the Tocharian languages
Tocharian languages
Tocharian or Tokharian is an extinct branch of the Indo-European language family. The name is taken from the people known to the Greeks as the Tocharians . These are sometimes identified with the Yuezhi and the Kushans. The term Tokharistan usually refers to 1st millennium Bactria, which the...

. The Takhar province
Takhar Province
Takhār is one of the thirty-four provinces of Afghanistan. It was established in 1964 when Qataghan Province was divided into three provinces: Baghlan, Kunduz and Takhar. It is in the north-east of the country. Its capital is Taloqan. Its salt mines are one of Afghanistan's major mineral resources...

 of 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...

 is named after the Tocharians.

Name


The term Tocharian or Tokharian (Ch. Tu-huo-luo 吐火罗) has a complex history. It is based on the ethnonym Tokharoi (Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

: Τοχάροι or Τόχαροι) used by Greek historians (e.g. 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...

 VI, 11, 6). The first Greek mention of the Tocharians appeared in the 1st century BC, when Strabo
Strabo
Strabo, also written Strabon was a Greek historian, geographer and philosopher.-Life:Strabo was born to an affluent family from Amaseia in Pontus , a city which he said was situated the approximate equivalent of 75 km from the Black Sea...

 presented them as a Scythian tribe, and explained that the Tocharians – together with the Assianis, Passianis and Sakaraulis – took part in the destruction 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...

 (present day Afghanistan-Pakistan) in the second half of the 2nd century BC.

These Tocharians have frequently been identified with the Yuezhi
Yuezhi
The Yuezhi, or Rouzhi , also known as the Da Yuezhi or Da Rouzhi , were an ancient Central Asian people....

 and the later (and probably related) Kushan peoples. Many scholars believe the Yuezhi originally spoke a Tocharian language. However, the debate about the origins and original language(s) of the Yuezhi and the Kushan continues, and there is no general consensus. The geographical term Tokharistan usually refers to 1st millennium
1st millennium
File:1st millennium montage.png|From left, clockwise: Depiction of Jesus, the central figure in Christianity; The Colosseum, a landmark of the once Roman Empire; Gunpowder is invented during the latter part of the millennium, in China; Chess, a new board game, takes on popularity across the globe;...

 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...

 (Chinese Daxia
Daxia
Daxia, Ta-Hsia, or Ta-Hia is the name given in antiquity by the Han Chinese to the territory of Bactria....

大夏). Some accounts describe them the Tocharians as having red hair and blue eyes
Blue eyes
Blue eyes may refer to:*Blue eye color*Blue-eyes or Pseudomugilidae, a family of fish*Blue Eyes , a hentai manga by Tohru Nishimaki*Blue Eyes White Dragon, a fictional monster from the Yu-Gi-Oh! universe...

.

Today, the term is associated with those Indo-European languages
Indo-European languages
The Indo-European languages are a family of several hundred related languages and dialects, including most major current languages of Europe, the Iranian plateau, and South Asia and also historically predominant in Anatolia...

 known as "Tocharian". Tocharian A is also known as East Tocharian, or Turfanian (of the city of Turpan), and Tocharian B is also known as West Tocharian, or Kuchean (of the city of Kucha
Kucha
Kuchaor Kuche Uyghur , Chinese Simplified: 库车; Traditional: 庫車; pinyin Kùchē; also romanized as Qiuzi, Qiuci, Chiu-tzu, Kiu-che, Kuei-tzu from the traditional Chinese forms 屈支 屈茨; 龜玆; 龟兹, 丘玆, also Po ; Sanskrit: Kueina, Standard Tibetan: Kutsahiyui was an ancient Buddhist kingdom...

)

Based on a Turkic reference to Tocharian A as twqry, these languages were associated with the Kushan ruling class, but the exact relation of the speakers of these languages and the Kushan Tokharoi is uncertain, and some consider "Tocharian languages" a misnomer. The term is so widely used, however, that this question is somewhat academic. Tocharians in the modern sense are, then, defined as the speakers of the Tocharian languages. These were originally 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...

s, and lived in the Tarim basin
Tarim Basin
The Tarim Basin is a large endorheic basin occupying an area of about . It is located in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in China's far west. Its northern boundary is the Tian Shan mountain range and its southern is the Kunlun Mountains on the northern edge of the Tibetan Plateau. The...

 of today's Xinjiang before the arrival of the Xiongnu.

The native name of the historical Tocharians of the 6th to 8th centuries was, according to J. P. Mallory, possibly kuśiññe "Kuchean" (Tocharian B), "of the kingdom of Kucha and Agni", and ārśi (Tocharian A); one of the Tocharian A texts has ārśi-käntwā, "In the tongue of Arsi" (ārśi is probably cognate to argenteus, i.e. "shining, brilliant"). According to Douglas Q. Adams
Douglas Q. Adams
Douglas Q. Adams is a professor of English at the University of Idaho and an Indo-European comparativist. Adams studied at the University of Chicago, taking his PhD in 1972. He is an expert on Tocharian and a contributor on this subject to the Encyclopædia Britannica.He has also co-authored two...

, the Tocharians may have called themselves ākñi, meaning "borderers, marchers".

Archaeology



The Tarim mummies
Tarim mummies
The Tarim mummies are a series of mummies discovered in the Tarim Basin in present-day Xinjiang, China, which date from 1900 BC to 200 AD. Some of the mummies are frequently associated with the presence of the Indo-European Tocharian languages in the Tarim Basin, although the evidence is not...

 suggest that precursors of these easternmost speakers of an Indo-European language may have lived in the region of the Tarim Basin
Tarim Basin
The Tarim Basin is a large endorheic basin occupying an area of about . It is located in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in China's far west. Its northern boundary is the Tian Shan mountain range and its southern is the Kunlun Mountains on the northern edge of the Tibetan Plateau. The...

 from around 1800 BC until 2nd century BC, when they were largely driven out by the proto-Turkic Xiongnu. Any Tocharian speakers that remained were assimilated by the arrival of the Uyghur
Uyghur people
The Uyghur are a Turkic ethnic group living in Eastern and Central Asia. Today, Uyghurs live primarily in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in the People's Republic of China...

 Turks in the 9th century AD. This is evidenced by both the mummies and Chinese writings on the exodus.

A later group of Tocharians were the Kushans and maybe some Iranian tribes of the Hephthalite
Hephthalite
The Hephthalites or Hephthalite is a pre-Islamic Greek term for local Abdali Afghans, who's famous ruler was Nazak Abdali . Hephthalites were a Central Asian nomadic confederation of the AD 5th-6th centuries whose precise origins and composition remain obscure...

s whose Iranian population also settled in modern Afghanistan, North-Eastern Iran, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Turkestan, whereas the nomadic Turkic tribes were defeated by Bahram Gur and the Gokturks
Göktürks
The Göktürks or Kök Türks, were a nomadic confederation of peoples in medieval Inner Asia. Known in Chinese sources as 突厥 , the Göktürks under the leadership of Bumin Qaghan The Göktürks or Kök Türks, (Old Turkic: Türük or Kök Türük or Türük; Celestial Turks) were a nomadic confederation of...

, who pushed them over the Hindukush mountains to 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...

 and North-West India.

The Tarim Basin mummies
Tarim mummies
The Tarim mummies are a series of mummies discovered in the Tarim Basin in present-day Xinjiang, China, which date from 1900 BC to 200 AD. Some of the mummies are frequently associated with the presence of the Indo-European Tocharian languages in the Tarim Basin, although the evidence is not...

 (1800 BC) and the Tocharian
Tocharian languages
Tocharian or Tokharian is an extinct branch of the Indo-European language family. The name is taken from the people known to the Greeks as the Tocharians . These are sometimes identified with the Yuezhi and the Kushans. The term Tokharistan usually refers to 1st millennium Bactria, which the...

 texts and frescoes from the Tarim Basin (AD 800
800
Year 800 was a leap year starting on Wednesday of the Julian calendar. It was around this time that the Anno Domini calendar era became the prevalent method in Europe for naming years, so from this time on, the years began being known as 800 and onwards.- Europe :* December 25 - Pope Leo III...

) have been found in the same general geographical area, and are both connected to an Indo-European origin. The mummies and the frescoes both point to Caucasoid types with light eyes and hair color
Blond
Blond or blonde or fair-hair is a hair color characterized by low levels of the dark pigment eumelanin. The resultant visible hue depends on various factors, but always has some sort of yellowish color...

. However it is unknown if the frescos and mummies are directly connected.

argue that the Tocharian languages were introduced to the Tarim and Turpan basins from the Afanasevo culture
Afanasevo culture
The Afanasevo culture, traditionally dated to 2500–2000 BC , is an archaeological culture of the late copper and early Bronze Age of southern Siberia....

 to their immediate north. The Afanasevo culture (c. 3500–2500 BC) displays cultural and genetic connections with the Indo-European-associated cultures of the Central Asian steppe yet predates the specifically Indo-Iranian
Indo-Iranians
Indo-Iranian peoples are a linguistic group consisting of the Indo-Aryan, Iranian, Dardic and Nuristani peoples; that is, speakers of Indo-Iranian languages, a major branch of the Indo-European language family....

-associated Andronovo culture
Andronovo culture
The Andronovo culture, is a collection of similar local Bronze Age cultures that flourished ca. 21200–1400 BCE in western Siberia and the west Asiatic steppe. It is probably better termed an archaeological complex or archaeological horizon...

 (c. 2000–900 BC) enough to isolate the Tocharian languages from Indo-Iranian
Indo-Iranian languages
The Indo-Iranian language group constitutes the easternmost extant branch of the Indo-European family of languages. It consists of three language groups: the Indo-Aryan, Iranian and Nuristani...

 linguistic innovations like satemization.

In 2008, the remains of another male were discovered near Turpan, China. Thought by researchers to be a member of the Gushi culture
Gushi culture
The Gushi culture , aka Jushi culture , were an ancient culture around the Turpan basin, in what is today the Xinjiang region of China.The Yanghai Tombs, a vast ancient cemetery attributed to this culture, have revealed the 2700-year-old grave of a shaman...

, the man was buried with a number of practical and ceremonial objects, including archery equipment and a harp, and 789 grams of cannabis
Cannabis
Cannabis is a genus of flowering plants that includes three putative species, Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica, and Cannabis ruderalis. These three taxa are indigenous to Central Asia, and South Asia. Cannabis has long been used for fibre , for seed and seed oils, for medicinal purposes, and as a...

. Through genetic analysis and carbon dating, the burial has been dated to roughly 700 BC. Only two of the 500 graves at the site contain cannabis, leading researchers to suggest shamanic roles for the two individuals.

In 2009, the remains of individuals found at a site in Xiaohe were analyzed for Y-DNA and mtDNA markers. They suggest that an admixed population of both west and east origin lived in the Tarim basin since the early Bronze Age
Bronze Age
The Bronze Age is a period characterized by the use of copper and its alloy bronze as the chief hard materials in the manufacture of some implements and weapons. Chronologically, it stands between the Stone Age and Iron Age...

. The maternal lineages were predominantly East Asian haplogroup C
Haplogroup C (mtDNA)
In human mitochondrial genetics, Haplogroup C is a human mitochondrial DNA haplogroup.-Origin:Haplogroup C is believed to have arisen somewhere between the Caspian Sea and Lake Baikal some 60,000 years before present. It is a descendant of the haplogroup M.-Distribution:Haplogroup C is found in...

 with smaller numbers of H
Haplogroup H (mtDNA)
In human mitochondrial genetics, Haplogroup H is a human mitochondrial DNA haplogroup that likely originated in Southwest Asia 25,000-30,000 YBP.-Origin:...

 and K
Haplogroup K (mtDNA)
In human mitochondrial genetics, Haplogroup K is a human mitochondrial DNA haplogroup, defined by HVR1 mutations 16224C and 16311C.-Origin:It is the most common subclade of haplogroup U8, and it has an estimated age of c. 12,000 years BP....

, while the paternal lines were all West Eurasian R1a1a
Haplogroup R1a (Y-DNA)
Haplogroup R1a is the phylogenetic name of a major clade of Human Y-chromosome DNA haplogroups. In other words, it is a way of grouping a significant part of all modern men according to a shared male-line ancestor. It is common in many parts of Eurasia and is frequently discussed in human...

. The geographic location of where this admixing took place is unknown, although south Siberia is likely.

Language



The Tocharians appear to have originally spoken two distinct languages of the Indo-European
Indo-European languages
The Indo-European languages are a family of several hundred related languages and dialects, including most major current languages of Europe, the Iranian plateau, and South Asia and also historically predominant in Anatolia...

 Tocharian family
Tocharian languages
Tocharian or Tokharian is an extinct branch of the Indo-European language family. The name is taken from the people known to the Greeks as the Tocharians . These are sometimes identified with the Yuezhi and the Kushans. The term Tokharistan usually refers to 1st millennium Bactria, which the...

, an Eastern ("A") form and a Western ("B") form. According to some, only the Eastern ("A") form can be properly called "Tocharian", as the native name for the Western form is referred to as Kuchean (see below). Tocharian shares of course commonalities with all other Indo-European languages, which does not help in identifying a next neighbor. However, nearly all lexicostatistical studies put it as next neighbor to Hittite, with which it e.g. shares the absence of palatalization, common among the regional neighbors as Indic and Iranian.

Tocharian A of the eastern regions seems to have declined in use as a popular language or mother tongue faster than did Tocharian B of the west. Tocharian A speakers probably yielded their original Indo-European language to the proto-Turkic languages of immigrating Turkic peoples beginning in 2nd century BC, while Tocharian B speakers were more insulated from outside linguistic influences. It appears that Tocharian A ultimately became a liturgical language, no longer a living one, at the same time that Tocharian B was still widely spoken in daily life. Among the monasteries of the lands inhabited by Tocharian B speakers, Tocharian A seems to have been used in ritual alongside the Tocharian B of daily life.

Historic role




The Tocharians, living along the Silk Road
Silk Road
The Silk Road or Silk Route refers to a historical network of interlinking trade routes across the Afro-Eurasian landmass that connected East, South, and Western Asia with the Mediterranean and European world, as well as parts of North and East Africa...

, had contacts with the Chinese, Persians, Indian and Turkic tribes. They might be the same as, or were related to, the Indo-European Yuezhi
Yuezhi
The Yuezhi, or Rouzhi , also known as the Da Yuezhi or Da Rouzhi , were an ancient Central Asian people....

 who fled from their settlements in the eastern Tarim Basin after attacks 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...

 in the 2nd century BC (Shiji Chinese historical Chronicles, Chap. 123) and expanded south to Bactria and northern India to form 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...

.

The Tocharians who remained in the Tarim Basin adopted Buddhism
Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...

, which, like their alphabet, came from northern India in the 1st century of the 1st millennium, through the proselytism of Kushan monks. The Kushans and the Tocharians seem to have played a part in the Silk Road transmission of Buddhism
Silk Road transmission of Buddhism
The Silk Road transmission of Buddhism to China is most commonly thought to have started in the late 2nd or the 1st century CE.The first documented translation efforts by Buddhist monks in China were in the 2nd century CE, possibly as a consequence of the expansion of the Kushan Empire into the...

 to China. Many apparently also practised some variant of Manichaeanism.

Protected by the Taklamakan Desert from steppe nomads, elements of Tocharian culture survived until the 7th century, with the arrival of Turkic immigrants from the collapsing Uyghur Khaganate of modern day 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...

.

The most likely outcome of the Tocharians is that they were assimilated by the Uyghur Turks and mixed, since many modern Uyghurs in what were Tocharian lands have Caucasian features.

Sanskrit literature



Sanskrit literature
Sanskrit literature
Literature in Sanskrit begins with the Vedas, and continues with the Sanskrit Epics of Iron Age India; the golden age of Classical Sanskrit literature dates to late Antiquity . Literary production saw a late bloom in the 11th century before declining after 1100 AD...

 in numerous instances refers to the Tocharians as Tukhāra
Tushara Kingdom
Tusharas were a Mleccha tribe, with their kingdom located in the north west of India as per the epic Mahabharata. An account in Mahabharata depicts Mlechchas as the descendants of Anu, one of the cursed sons of king Yayati. Yayati's eldest son Yadu, gave rise to the Yadavas and youngest son Puru...

(also Tuṣāra, Tuḥkhāra, Tukkhāra).

The Atharavaveda-Parishishta associates them with the Saka
Saka
The Saka were a Scythian tribe or group of tribes....

s, Greeks
Yona
"Yona" is a Pali word used in ancient India to designate Greek speakers. Its equivalent in Sanskrit, Malayalam, Kannada, Telugu and Tamil is the word "Yavana" and "Jobonan/Jubonan" in Bengali...

 and Bactrians. It also juxtaposes 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...

 with the Bactrians. This shows they probably were neighbors in 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...

 region. The 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...

 are said to be same people as the Yuezhi
Yuezhi
The Yuezhi, or Rouzhi , also known as the Da Yuezhi or Da Rouzhi , were an ancient Central Asian people....

. The Kushanas or Kanishkas are also the same people.

M. A. Stein proposed that the Tukharas were the same as the Yuezhi
Yuezhi
The Yuezhi, or Rouzhi , also known as the Da Yuezhi or Da Rouzhi , were an ancient Central Asian people....

. P. C. Bagchi holds that the Yuezhi, Tocharioi and Tushara were identical.

The Parama Kambojas of the Trans-Pamirs, mentioned in 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....

 are said to be related to the 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...

  who are placed in Sakadvipa (or 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...

). B. N. Puri takes the Kambojas to be a branch of the Tukharas. Some scholars state that the Kambojas were a branch of the Yuezhi.

Sabha Parva 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....

 states that the Parama Kambojas, Lohas and the Rishikas were allied tribes. Like the "Parama Kambojas" ("most distant Kambojas"), the Rishikas of the Transoxian region are similarly styled as "most distant" or "Parama Rishikas". Based on the syntactical construction of the Mahabharata verses 5.5.15 and 2.27.25, Ishwa Mishra believes that the Rishikas were a section of the Kambojas, i.e. Parama Kambojas.

See also

  • Tocharian languages
    Tocharian languages
    Tocharian or Tokharian is an extinct branch of the Indo-European language family. The name is taken from the people known to the Greeks as the Tocharians . These are sometimes identified with the Yuezhi and the Kushans. The term Tokharistan usually refers to 1st millennium Bactria, which the...

  • Tarim mummies
    Tarim mummies
    The Tarim mummies are a series of mummies discovered in the Tarim Basin in present-day Xinjiang, China, which date from 1900 BC to 200 AD. Some of the mummies are frequently associated with the presence of the Indo-European Tocharian languages in the Tarim Basin, although the evidence is not...

  • Kizil Caves
    Kizil Caves
    The Kizil Caves are a set of 236 Buddhist rock-cut caves located near Kizil Township in Baicheng County, Xinjiang, China. The site is located on the northern bank of the Muzat River 75 kilometres northwest of Kucha...

  • Bezeklik Thousand Buddha Caves
    Bezeklik Thousand Buddha Caves
    The Bezeklik Thousand Buddha Caves are complex of Buddhist cave grottos dating from the 5th to the 9th centuries between the cities of Turpan and Shanshan at the north-east of the Taklamakan Desert near the ancient ruins of Gaochang in the Mutou Valley, a gorge in the Flaming Mountains, China...

  • Kucha
    Kucha
    Kuchaor Kuche Uyghur , Chinese Simplified: 库车; Traditional: 庫車; pinyin Kùchē; also romanized as Qiuzi, Qiuci, Chiu-tzu, Kiu-che, Kuei-tzu from the traditional Chinese forms 屈支 屈茨; 龜玆; 龟兹, 丘玆, also Po ; Sanskrit: Kueina, Standard Tibetan: Kutsahiyui was an ancient Buddhist kingdom...

  • 突厥 Tūjué
    Göktürks
    The Göktürks or Kök Türks, were a nomadic confederation of peoples in medieval Inner Asia. Known in Chinese sources as 突厥 , the Göktürks under the leadership of Bumin Qaghan The Göktürks or Kök Türks, (Old Turkic: Türük or Kök Türük or Türük; Celestial Turks) were a nomadic confederation of...

  • Hephthalite
    Hephthalite
    The Hephthalites or Hephthalite is a pre-Islamic Greek term for local Abdali Afghans, who's famous ruler was Nazak Abdali . Hephthalites were a Central Asian nomadic confederation of the AD 5th-6th centuries whose precise origins and composition remain obscure...

  • 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...

  • 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...

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

  • 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...

  • Parama Kambojas

Books and magazines


Note: Recent discoveries have rendered obsolete some of René Grousset's classic The Empire of the Steppes: A History of Central Asia, published in 1939, which, however, still provides a broad background against which to assess more modern detailed studies.
  • Baldi, Philip. 1983. An Introduction to the Indo-European Languages. Carbondale. Southern Illinois University Press.
  • Barber, Elizabeth Wayland. 1999. The Mummies of Ürümchi. London. Pan Books.
  • Beekes, Robert. 1995. Comparative Indo-European Linguistics: An Introduction. Philadelphia. John Benjamins.
  • Hemphill, Brian E. and J.P. Mallory. 2004. "Horse-mounted invaders from the Russo-Kazakh steppe or agricultural colonists from Western Central Asia? A craniometric investigation of the Bronze Age settlement of Xinjiang" in American Journal of Physical Anthropology vol. 125 pp 199ff.
  • Lane, George S. 1966. "On the Interrelationship of the Tocharian Dialects," in Ancient Indo-European Dialects, eds. Henrik Birnbaum and Jaan Puhvel
    Jaan Puhvel
    Jaan Puhvel is an Estonian-American Indo-Europeanist. As a student of Georges Dumezil, he also specializes in comparative mythology....

    . Berkeley. University of California Press..
  • Walter, Mariko Namba 1998 Tocharian Buddhism in Kucha: Buddhism of Indo-European Centum Speakers in Chinese Turkestan before the 10th Century C.E. Sino-Platonic Papers No. 85. October, 1998.
  • Xu, Wenkan 1995 "The Discovery of the Xinjiang Mummies and Studies of the Origin of the Tocharians" The Journal of Indo-European Studies, Vol. 23, Number 3 & 4, Fall/Winter 1995, pp. 357–369.
  • Xu, Wenkan 1996 "The Tokharians and Buddhism" In: Studies in Central and East Asian Religions 9, pp. 1–17.http://61.54.131.141:8010/Resource/Book/Edu/JXCKS/TS010057/0001_ts010057.htm
  • Zuev, Ü.A. 2002, Early Türks: Outline of history and ideology, Almaty, "Daik-Press" ISBN 9985-441-52-9 (In Russian)

External links