Baluchitherum, an extinct gigantic, hornless rhinoceros (18 feet tall at the shoulder, body length of 28 feet), the largest known land mammal, ranged across central and western Asia 35-23 million years ago. A few bones were initially discovered in Baluchistan region of India in 1911; a complete skeleton was unearthed in Mongolia. Baluchitherum is a direct ancestor of modern rhinoceros. Woolly rhinoceros existed in northern latitudes until the last Ice Age; the rhinoceros is found in India and Java (one-horned), and Africa (two-horned).

Fossils of elephant ancestors indicate they once lived on every continent except Australia and Antarctica, restricted to areas with ample vegetation and adequate water. Deinotheriodea evolved 54-38 million years ago, and lived in parts of Asia, Europe, and Africa, dying out ca 8000 BC. Mastodontoidea evolved ca 38 million years ago; they had elephant-like trunks and four tusks (one set forward and upward, one set backward and downward). The two-tusk Mastodon, evolved from this group, spread to N America, Asia, Europe, and Africa, living during the last great Ice Age; after 38 million years (the last 2 million concurrent with humanoids), humans contributed to their extinction ca 8000 BC. Elephantoidea evolved 10-8 million years ago, and includes the mammoth and Stegolophodon. Mammoths first appeared in Africa about 5 million years ago. The first North American mammoths, during a period of low sea level, migrated from Asia across the Bering Strait into Alaska about 2 million years ago. (Russian mammot, mamant > English mammoth).

Woolly elephants (mammoths) existed in northern latitudes until the last Ice Age, and dwarf mammoths still existed ca 1700 BC; elephants are found in India and Africa. Elephants are matriarchal, headed by the oldest female. When she dies, the next eldest becomes the leader. Families are composed of sisters, cousins, aunts, and nieces, and their young offspring; families range in size from 2 to 29 individuals, remaining together for life. If a family becomes too large, a few females leave to start a new herd. When young males become sexually mature, generally around age six, they are driven away by older females, roaming on their own or joining other males to form bachelor herds. Asian elephants are smaller than African, have smaller ears, and four toes on each hind foot, while African elephants have three. Asian elephants can be domesticated.

Rice cultivation, according to the most widely accepted theory, originated as early as 10,000 BC in Asia (long before grain cultivation).

Fermentation - chemical changes in organic substances. Fruit left on trees naturally ferments, and creates an intoxicating product (animals around the world get drunk by eating it; early humans probably did as well, long before the practice was applied to beer, wine and distilled beverages). Beer is believed to be over 10,000 years old. Some agricultural historians believe the first beer may have been produced accidentally when a stash of grain was soaked by rain, warmed by the sun, and fermented by wild, airborne yeast.

The use of flax fibre for cloth originated almost 10,000 years ago. Flax still grows wild in regions around the Persian Gulf, Caspian Sea, and Black Sea. Remnants of fishing nets, clothing, and un-worked flax have been found in Switzerland in remains of Stone Age lake dwellings. Ancient Egyptians used linen shrouds, and pictures of flax cultivation adorn walls of various Egyptian tombs. Annual flax was cultivated in Mesopotamia, Assyria, and Egypt for about 5000 years (flax fibres were used to make linen, its use so ancient no history is possible; used by Egyptians, it passed to Greece and then Italy, next door to Switzerland).

Grape (Greek oinos, Latin vinum 'wine'; Russian vinogradina 'grape'; OHG chrapfo 'hook' > Old French grape, crape 'hook'; grapin 'kind of hook' > Middle English grapenel 'hook' > English grape 'bunch of grapes') - common name of an edible fruit in the buckthorn family, and of vines that produce the fruit. Botanists believe the Caspian Sea region was the original home of the European grape, used for food since prehistoric times. Wine origin is unknown; archaeological evidence suggests wine was being made by 6,000 BC. (Grape seeds have been found in remains of Bronze Age lake dwellings of Switzerland, in Italy, and tombs of ancient Egypt. Ancient Greeks cultivated grapes, and use of the fruit was later adopted by Rome and its tributary territories).

Zebu (Tibetan mdzopo > French zebu 'humped cattle domesticated in India and China') cattle were domesticated in S Asia ca 6000-5000 BC. Zebu cattle were used extensively in Asia and Africa as beasts of burden, and for milk and flesh. (White bulls are regarded as sacred in certain sects of Hindus, hence known as Brahman cattle).

It is almost impossible to determine the original habitats of various species of cotton. Fibre and boll fragments from the Tehuacan Valley of Mexico are about 7000 years old; the plant has been grown and used in India for at least 5000 years. Cotton was used by ancient North and South Americans, Chinese, Indians, and Egyptians.

Rice was grown in Thailand as early as 4,000 BC, and over the centuries spread to China, Japan, and Indonesia.

4th millennium BC

Urban settlements in Ghaggar Valley date before 3000 BC; the area that is now Haryana (Hindi 'Dwelling Place of God') is one of the oldest known areas of settlement in India. There are indications the viticulture (cultivation of grapevines) was carried on in China, Mesopotamia (Iraq and E Syria) and Egypt 3,000 BC.

The llama and camel belongs to the family Camelidae. Llama, domesticated from the guanaco, have been used as beasts of burden in the Peruvian and Bolivian Andes Mountains of South America for more than 4000 years (pre-2000 BC). When weary or overloaded, llamas lie down and refuse to move, often spitting at their driver. Females are raised for flesh and milk; meat of males is tough and rarely eaten. Camel, (indigenous to the Americas) large ruminant, native to desert regions of Asia and N Africa; both types have been domesticated since ancient times. The 6.5-foot Bactrian camel has two humps and is better adapted to a rocky and cooler region, by virtue of its smaller size and heavier build, harder and more cloven feet, longer and finer wool, and other qualities. The 7-foot Arabian dromedary has one hump, and is adapted to subsistence in the desert by its structural qualities and ability to consume thorny plants that grow there. Thick, broad sole pads and thick callosities on the joints of legs and on the chest enable it to withstand heat of the desert sand; its nostrils may be closed against flying dust, and its eyes are shielded by very long eyelashes.

3rd millennium BC

Samarkand (ancient Marcanda, Sogdiana), Uzbekistan was founded 3rd millennium BC.

Indus River flows 1700 miles from the Himalayas through Pakistan into the Arabian Sea. It abounds with fish of excellent quality, and is infested with crocodiles.

India's civilization dates to 2500 BC, when Dravidians flourished in the region. Pakistan has a long history of human settlement as the cradle of the Indus Valley civilization, the earliest known in S Asia. This Bronze Age culture flourished in the area of the Indus River Valley ca 2500-1700 BC. Sind - province of SE Pakistan, traversed by lower reaches of the Indus River; capital Karachi. Sind's recorded history dates to the Indus Valley civilization. Major archaeological sites are at Mohenjo-Daro (Sindhi 'Mound of the Dead'; largest Indus Valley settlement south of Larkana, Sind province, Pakistan), Amre, and Kot Diji. Harappa - ancient city of the Indus valley civilization in N Pakistan; ruins were discovered 1920 AD. Pottery here was stylistically different in the earliest occupied areas; discoveries at nearby Kot Diji established that early pottery at Harappa belonged to the early Bronze Age KOT DIJI culture. Several additional early Bronze Age cultures have been found at Goth Amri, Sothi, Gumla, and other sites in Pakistan, each of which have some traits in common, and contributed to formation of the Indus Valley civilization.

INDUS VALLEY CIVILIZATION ca 2500-1700 BC, earliest known civilization of S Asia, corresponding to Bronze Age cultures of Mesopotamia, Egypt, and Minoan Crete. The Indus Valley civilization encompassed one of the largest geographical areas covered by a single Bronze Age culture. Remains of settlements have been found throughout the Indus River valley in Pakistan, westward along the coast to the Iranian border, on the Oxus River in N Afghanistan, and in India's north-western states as far east as New Delhi. Excavated settlement revealed blocks of mud-brick buildings separated by streets; cities, such as Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa (in Punjab province), are dominated by large public buildings (once supposed to be colleges, temples, granaries, and palaces). Cities were usually divided into two distinctive groups of buildings, one of which may be enclosed by a wall. The work of Indus Valley artisans shows a high degree of craft specialization. Characteristic artefacts include distinctive black-on-red pottery, ceramic toys and figurines (male sculptures are rare), etched carnelian beads, metal (bronze, gold, and silver) ornaments and tools, and stamp seals with an undeciphered script. Social organization evades interpretation. A ceramic figure found at Mohenjo-Daro depicts two oxen pulling, with a T-shaped yoke, a solid-wheel cart (like a bowl-shaped chariot) in which stands a woman holding what appears to be a large shallow basket. Sculptural remains of Mohenjo-Daro include alabaster and marble figures, terra-cotta figurines of nude goddesses, terra-cotta and faience animals, and numerous square seals of ivory or faience, showing animals and pictographs. Similarity of these to Mesopotamian work in subject matter and stylized form indicates an interrelationship of the two cultures. Sophistication of construction at Mohenjo-Daro, 400 miles SW of Harappa, rivals that of contemporary Babylonian and Egyptian. Trade was carried on in flat-bottom boats, still in use. Although Indus people exported goods to Mesopotamia, none were imported (none leaving evidence). Solid-wheel carts were drawn by oxen, drivers still straddle a central beam; Zebu cattle were raised in both Indus culture, and in Egypt. Rhino was hunted, probably for its thick hide. There is no evidence to suggest classes existed; no evidence of rulers, no elite burials, temples, or palaces. "Writing" (pictograph) was invented in parallel in at least four places: Egypt, Mesopotamia, Indus, China, and Mesoamerica (South America).

The most extensive cemetery discovered in western Central Asia lies near Gonur-depe in the Karakum desert. Thousands of tombs dating from ca 2000 BC have been excavated, and objects buried with bodies have demonstrated links with the Indus Valley, Bactria, Iran, the Arabian Gulf, and Egypt. They testify to the region as a major crossroad for caravan routes linking western Central Asia with the Mediterranean.

Ur in Sumer was one of the first great cities to arise (ca 4000 BC), and one of the first to be destroyed, ca 2000 BC. Sometime after 2000 BC, complex ecological changes occurred in the Indus Valley area, forcing abandonment of many settlements, and altering basic characteristics of the civilization. Late Indus Valley culture is known mainly from excavating small farming villages. Artefacts associated with these sites are stylistically similar to earlier types, but show more regional variation.

2nd millennium BC

The Code of Hammurabi 18th c BC stipulated conditions of purchase and sale of wine in Babylonia, and described punishment inflicted on any wine merchant caught cheating a customer.

1750 BC Kassites invade Babylon. In the Indus Valley, the great city of Mohenjo-Daro was destroyed ca 1700 BC by chariot armies from the north. (In Sri Lanka, horses are associated with illness, elephants are revered).

By 1,500 BC, wine was a popular beverage and sacred drink in Mycenaean Greece. 

From ca 1500 BC, Aryan tribes became the first of many groups to invade the region of Haryana, in NW India. The Vedic period of architecture is represented by burial mounds at Lariya-Nandangarh and rock-cut tombs in Malabar. Connections with Near Eastern culture are not evident. An example of the earlier phase of this period is a 9th c BC gold figurine of a goddess, found at Lariya-Nandangarh. From 600 BC to historical times, common examples include finely polished and ornamented stone discs, and coins representing many kinds of animals and religious symbols. Hittite is the oldest recorded Indo-European language; Early Sanskrit is the second oldest of any Indo-European literature. Aryan invaders developed Vedic religion, an early form of Hinduism; Vedic, language of the Vedas, is an older form of Sanskrit. Vedic ca 1500 - 200 BC  > Sanskrit (Sanskrit samskrta 'adorned, cultivated, perfected') ca 400 BC > Avestan (and Old Persian) > Hindu.

India Ink was used in China 1200 BC.

1st millennium BC

Two major families of languages, Indo-European and Dravidian, represent the speech of most of the population of India. The Indic branch of Indo-European covers a period extending from at least 1,000 BC to the present, divided into three periods: Old Indian, comprising the earliest Vedic dialect, and dead tongue Sanskrit; Middle Indian embraces Prakrit and Pali; and New Indian, comprising modern Sanskritic languages of northern and central parts of India. Dravidian languages are confined mainly to the southern parts of India, and include Telugu, Tamil, Kanarese, and Malayalam, and numerous dialects spoken by central India's hill tribes.

9th century BC 899-800

Hinduism 800-400 BC Composition of the sacred texts of 'Upanishads' (Sanskrit upa 'near', ni-sad 'sit down').

8th century BC 799-700

Bactria - ancient country in Central Asia, between the Hindu Kush Mts. and the Oxus River (Amu Darya) in part of Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan. Its capital was Bactra (formerly Balkh, now Wazirabad), N Afghanistan. Iranian peoples probably inhabited Bactria as early as 8th c BC.

Brahmanas, sacred prose literature of India, were composed ca 800-600 BC (era of Mede Empire in Persia). Brahmanism (Brahminism) - system of religious belief and practice introduced and propagated by the Brahmans. This greatly varied with the lapse of ages, but the name may be applied to every successive form. Sutras, exegetical compositions which follow, make Brahmanas as well as Mantras divine. Sanskrit sutra, sutram 'thread'; Latin sutor 'cobbler' (Dutch zoetelaar 'sutler, camp cook, scullion'). 

Swastika (Sanskrit su 'good, well' asti 'being, good fortune', svasti 'well-being', svastika) - ancient cross with each of four arms bent at right angles, usually clockwise. Origin of the symbol is unknown; swastikas have been found on relics unearthed at Troy, Asia Minor, on "Dorian" Greek vases ca 8th c BC, in catacombs of Rome, and on textiles of the South American Inca period (began 13th c AD). For thousands of years, it has been used as a decorative motif in the Americas (similar devices of ancient Mexicans, Peruvians & prehistoric burial mounds of the USA), China, Greece, and Egypt, as well as a symbol of the revolving sun, fire, infinity, continuing re-creation. (The swastika to Buddhists represents resignation, to Jains their seventh saint, and to Hindus night, magic, and destructive goddess Kali 'black', goddess of death).

Grape culture, practiced in Palestine, was introduced in the Mediterranean region by seagoing Phoenicians. Greeks were the first to cultivate wine for commercial purposes, and market it abroad. Greek wine was very different from modern - storage vessels were lined with resin, which imbued the wine with a turpentine-like taste; Greeks flavoured their wine with spices, herbs, flowers, and perfume, and always diluted it with water before consumption (given all the flavor-masking ingredients, it still tasted like piss).

7th century BC 699-600

HAKHAMANISH (Greek Achaemenes, Latin Achaemenius), who lived ca 681 BC, was a warrior chief, the first prominent leader of the Persians. (The next prominent leader was 130 years later).

KHSHATHRITA (Sanskrit kshatra 'rule', Kshatriya 'warrior & ruler'; Greek PHRAORTES), re ca 675-653 BC, united Mede tribes.

Ethiopia, 'land of the Burnt-Face Men', was a name usually applied by Greeks to any region in the far south (but north of the Equator). Homer distinguished between Western and Eastern Ethiopians, Aeschylus made Ethiopians extend to India, and Herodotus distinguished between wooly-haired Ethiopians (Negros) and straight-haired Ethiopians (Indians). From Herodotus on, Ethiopia designated especially lands south of Egypt, this country visited since 665 BC by Greeks, some of whom penetrated, in the wake of Persian king Cambyses 525 BC, as far as Korosko. Libya was the Greek name for Africa.

Pataliputra (Patna, Bengal, India) on the Ganges was founded ca 600 BC. 

6th century BC 599-500

Century of religious change in India, Babylon, Syria, and Palestine, including numerous breakaway sects (Magi, Buddhism, Jainism, and Ahura Mazda all introduced 6th c BC, and, after the Babylonian exile, Jewish biblical history; Romans began to create statues of their gods, based on Etruscan and Greek statues, which began to appear in the 650s BC).

Madurai (Mathurai), formerly Madura, Tamil Nadu, India; the city first came to prominence 6th c BC. According to legend, Madurai marks the site where drops of nectar fell to earth from Shiva's hair, hence its original name Madhuram 'Nectar City."

A terra-cotta figure of a Gorgon once decorated the Temple of Athena in Syracuse, Sicily; it dates 570-550 BC, and is now in the Museo Archaeologico in Syracuse. (The gorgon has wings, no snakes in her hair, and wears a short-sleeve, short dress with calf-high boots. She has a big nose, upper and lower tusks, and her tongue sticks out. Her face is characteristic of Indian and Japanese art. Kali (Sanskrit 'dark'), another name for Durga, wife of Siva; she is depicted four-armed and red-handed, with bloody, protruding teeth and tongue, blood-stained bosom, and unkempt hair; a necklace of skulls hangs around her throat, and she is girdled with snakes. Greek Iacchus, Bacchus, 'Dionysus' illustrated with vine wreath on his head, is the only Greek god (of Thracian origin) wearing an animal skin shirt, calf-high boots and billowy pants. All other gods and goddesses wear robes. Chinese ca 800 BC, Scythians 7th c BC and Kushanas 1st c BC wore pants. A Chinese princess was buried in pants 2nd c BC. Persians, Greeks and Romans still wore skirts.

CYRUS the ELDER, king 550-530 BC, founder of the Persian monarchy, son of CAMBYSES a Persian noble, and MANDANE, daughter of king ASTYAGES of Media. Principal exploits attributed to him are incitement to a revolt of Persians, and consequent defeat of Astyages and the Medes, when he became king 550-530 BC; conquest of Lydia and capture of CROESUS; siege and capture of Babylon in 538, and invasion of Scythia, where he was defeated and slain by TOMYRIS, queen of the Massagetae in 529. He was interred at Psargardae. OROETES, Persian satrap of Sardis, Lydia; contemporary of POLYCRATES ca 536-522 BC, king of Samos during the Greek Age of Tyrants. (Old Persian khsatra 'province', pa 'protect, guard' > khsatrapavan 'protector, ruler' > Greek satrapes > English satrap). Gandhara (historic region just east of the Khyber Pass in NW India, now NW Pakistan) was a Persian satrapy of the Achaemenid dynasty under Cyrus the Great. Gandhara was a cultural and trading centre for India, Persia, and Greece that flourished 6th c BC to 5th c AD (right through the Parthian era). Bactria, eastern province of the Persian Empire, was subjugated by Cyrus the Great 6th c BC.

According to legends still current in the region, SEMIRAMIS, queen of Assyria (late 9th c BC), and Cyrus the Great lost armies in deserts of Baluchistan, W Pakistan.

Sanskrit Sindu 'river', specifically Indus River > Old Persian Hindu 'land on the river Indus' > Persian Hind > Greek Indos 'Indus River' > Greek Indikos, Latin Indicus 'Indian'. "Hindu" is derived from the river Sindhu (Indus), and was a geographical term that referred to India or a region of India near the Sindhu as early as 6th c BC. Sind province, SE Pakistan is named after the Sind River, called Sindhu in Pakistan.

INDIAN DYNASTIES and RULERS: 6th c BC - Saisunaga dynasty (Magadhan ascendancy, N India): BIMBISARA (SRENIKA) r ca 543-491 BC; first great king of the Kingdom of Magadha, centred in the Ganges Plain of Bihar (Sanskrit Bihar 'Buddhist Monastery'; Bihar state in NE India is considered the cradle of Buddhism). The Kingdom of Magadha rose to a position of dominance, central power of India 6th c BC - 6th c AD. HAR-DWAR 'Hari's gate' or GANGA-DWARA 'Ganges gate'.

SIDDHARTHA GAUTAMA (Sanskrit gau 'cow'; Tibetan gyak 'yak'), ca 563 - 480 BC, born in Lumbini, Nepal, son of the (unnamed) head of the Sakya warrior caste; known in later life as SAKYAMUNI 'Sage of the Sakyas.' All surviving accounts of his life were written many years after his death, none by objective historians. Yielding to his father's wishes, who wanted him to be a warrior and ruler rather than religious philosopher, he married young and participated in the court. According to tradition, ca 534 or 533, he began wandering over N India; he experienced the Great Enlightenment ca 528, preaching his first sermon near Benares (Varanasi). (Siddhartha was later known as Gautama BUDDHA 'Enlightened One'; Sanskrit budh 'know'; title given to successive teachers). Sanskrit Dharma Chakra 'wheel of law', Buddhist symbol representing Sanskrit Catvari-Arya-Satyani 'Four Noble Truths' (Sanskrit arya 'noble'; Latin ginobilis 'to know') and Sanskrit Astangika-Marga 'Eightfold Path' - teachings preached by Gautama Buddha in his first sermon, known as "The Turning of the Wheel of Law." Siddhartha died in Kusinagara, Nepal. (He is called Shaka in Japan. He lived during the reign of Persian kings Cyrus, Cambyses, Darius I, and Xerxes I. Persians were the first to mention Sakas).

SAKA HAUMAVARGA, a Scythian people, are mentioned as conquests in the Behistun inscription of Darius I 6th c BC. Soma (haoma) - intoxicating drink made from fermented sap of the soma plant, used in Hindu religious ritual as a sacrifice to the gods; it was the central rite in Zoroastrian ritual. An entire book of the Rig-Veda is devoted to soma, a plant whose juice produced ecstatic experiences. Greek somaatos 'body' (as opposed to the mind); Sanskrit soma 'intoxicating drink used in Vedic ritual'; a narcotic drug which produces euphoria and hallucination. (Shakuntala - 5th c AD Indian dramatist; Yakut (call themselves Sakha) of E Siberia speak Turkic Yakut).

Vedas (Sanskrit veda 'knowledge'): Rig-Veda, Sama-Veda, Yajur-Veda and Atharva-Veda (Sanskrit atharvan 'priest'). Rig-Veda contains no allusions to writing or writing materials; it may have been transmitted orally from generation to generation. It consists of 1,017 short lyrical poems, with 10,580 verses OR includes 1,028 hymns of Aryan priests. Women held a high position, and some hymns were composed by them. Rig Veda does not recognize the institution of caste. Beef was eaten. The rite of suttee was unknown (wife throwing herself on the funeral pyre of her deceased husband). The Hindu triad had not arisen; conquest of god Indra had only begun, and the Ganges River, incidentally mentioned, had not become a sacred stream. India's history, dating from the Aryan invasion 1,000 BC, is represented by a long series of invasions, each contributing a different element, and each complicating social structure of the whole.

Cyrus had ruled at Pasargadae (Old Persian Pathragada; Greek Pasargadae); Darius I transferred the capital to Parsa (as it was known by ancient Persians, Greek Persepolis) constructed 518-516 BC.

Aryans brought with them a primitive pastoral civilization, a language consisting essentially of a dialect of the tongue spoken in Iran, and religious beliefs exhibiting close affinity with ancient Persian religion. All Vedic literature is religious; the Rig-Veda, oldest and most important of the four Vedas, is a collection of hymns addressed to Vedic gods during sacrifice. Among the chief divinities are AGNI, god of the sacrificial altar fire (called "smoke-bannered", deva of domestic hearth and public fire; the life-force, god of fire and sacrifice; Sanskrit agni, Latin ignis, Slavic ogon 'fire'; Greek aitho 'burn, shine' > aither > ether); INDRA, god of the thunderbolt and rain, rewarder of faithful men ('the Cloud-compeller', king of devas, deva of atmosphere, storms, rain, and battle; god of war, storm and fertility; Sanskrit indu 'drop or sap'); MARUT, god of the storm; MITRA, a god of the sun; SOMA, god of the intoxicating beverage (made from East Indian soma vine); SURYA, a sun goddess or another sun god (Persian AHURA; one of several solar deities in Vedic religion, Sanskrit 'sun' god of later Hindu myth); USHAS, goddess of the dawn (Hindu Ahana, Greek Eos, Latin Aurora); VAYA, god of the wind; and YAMA, a deified mortal, first of the race of men to die, ruler and judge of the dead. ADITI 'the unbound', mother of all gods, goddess of the open sky. VARUNA, Sanskrit varunas 'god of the evening sky'; sovereign lord of the universe and guardian of cosmic law (Greek ouranios 'heavenly, feminine ourania, Latin Uranus, feminine Urania; in later Hinduism god of the waters). RUDRA (Sanskrit rud 'howl, roar') minor god associated with the storm, father of the MARUTS. PRAJAPATI, creator of the world and all life forms (later a title for Brahma; integrated with Greek Iapetus, Hebrew Japhet). APSARAS (Sanskrit 'moving in the water') appear to have been water nymphs associated with rivers and seas, who had superhuman powers and could change shape at will. In early Hindu sculptures, apsarases are frequently depicted with Indra's musicians, the gandharvas, their heavenly consorts; apsarases also appear in Buddhist art, such as the frescoes at the Ajanta caves in central India. In some parts of India, apsarases were worshiped as part of Mother-Goddess cults. In Hindu myth, Apsaras was a heavenly nymph of great beauty, often represented as a dancer at the court of Indra's SVARGA 'heavenly kingdom' (SVAROG, the sky, supreme deity of ancient Slavs; Svarog's sons were SVAROZHICH, personification of fire, and Dazhbog 'day or sun god'). Hindu deities have names and natures akin to those of the West: Sanskrit Dyaus-pitar 'father of light', Greek Zeus pater, Latin Dies-piter > Diu-piter > Iupiter, Jupiter; Sanskrit Sarameyas, Greek Hermes (Greek S = Latin H; helios = sol 'sun').

DEVI (Sanskrit 'goddess'), the supreme goddess. Rig-Veda contains hymns of praise to various devas 'deities'. Deva (Sanskrit 'god)', member of a class of beings in the Vedic period, benevolent in Indian myth (as opposed to the asuras) evil in Zoroastrianism (founded ca 500 BC). Devas (Sanskrit 'deity') and Asuras (Sanskrit 'air of life') - in Vedic tradition (based on the Veda, most ancient Hindu holy literature) two classes of gods (later diverged into two groups: deities and demons). 33 Devas governed three regions: heaven, air, and earth, assisting mankind with their beneficent powers. In the cosmic struggle between forces of order and chaos, Devas are opposed by the Asuras (Persian Ahuras), a class of titans that were enemies of humans. Conflict between Devas and Asuras is dramatized in the myth of the "Churning Of The Ocean", in which the high gods uproot Mount Mandara, wrap the serpent VASULI (Greek basileos 'king'; basiliskos 'kinglet, serpent'; Polish waz 'serpent'; Sanskrit naga 'serpent') about it, and set it in the ocean. Devas and Asuras pull on both ends of the serpent, churning the ocean into butter (Greek bouturon > Latin butyrum > Old English butere; the earliest historical reference is by Herodotus, describing a food of Scythians. Butter is made by vigorous sustained shaking of milk, which separates cream fat from liquid; butter is the solids of milk). After more churning, the sun and moon rise from the ocean, followed by DHANVANTARI, physician of the gods, bearing the elixir of immortality. This is given to the Devas, sparking a battle in which Asuras are defeated. Sanskrit Asuras became Ahuras in Zoroastrian religion of Iran, forces of good under AHURA MAZDA 'wise lord' (first worshipped by Darius I 522-486 BC; Middle Persian Ohrmazd), while Devas or Daevas (led by Indra) were associated with evil spirit Angra Mainyu. The greatest apostle of Magi religion was Zarathustra (Zoroaster), who received a vision from Ahura Mazda, dismissed astrology and magic, and began to preach about the spirit of light and the spirit of evil.

In the late 500's BC, the Sind region of Pakistan was annexed to the Persian Empire. 

VARDHAMANA JNATIPUTRA or NATAPUTTA MAHAVIRA (ca 599-527 OR ca 540-468 BC), known as Mahavira the Jain 'great hero' OR Jina 'Spiritual Conquerer'; Sanskrit jhna 'victorious', jainas 'victor, saint', founder of Jain religion ca 500 BC. Classical Sanskrit, a later variety of Vedic Sanskrit, was a language of literary and technical works from ca 500 BC. Hindu religion Jainism rejected the Vedas. Pakriti 'nature'; Middle Indo-Aryan Prakrits existed in many region varieties, which eventually developed literatures of their own. Several dialects of Sanskrit known as Prakrit 'natural language' emerged with Buddhism and Jainism 6th c BC. (Jain sects: Digambara , Svetambara , Dhundia, Lunka).

Quetta, Baluchistan, W Pakistan - Over the centuries, many cultures had contact with the region. Archaeological sites are abundant, many not yet examined. The Pishin Valley around Quetta is referred to in the Avesta (Zoroastrian book of scripture). Avestan - ancient E Iranian language of the Avesta, closely related to Vedic Sanskrit. 

Vedic (older form of Sanskrit), Vedas 'sacred knowledge' (Greek hieroglyphs 'sacred writing'): Rig, Sama, Yajur, Atharva > Brahmanism (great wave of Indo-European migration into India) > Hinduism (Mahabharata; Ramayana; Laws of Manu) ca 500 BC.

5th century BC 499-400

The Behistun inscription of Persian king Darius mentions the Maka. Greek historian Herodotus 5th c BC first mentioned the Mykians, inhabitants of a province of the Achaemenid Persian Empire. Both Maka and Mykian have been indentified with Makran (probably 'land of the Maka'; Mekran west of the Indus, on the Arabian Sea) in western Baluchistan. Alexander the Great and his admiral Nearchus thoroughly explored the coastal regions. Baluchistan later formed part of the Hellenistic (Macedonian) kingdom of Bactria. (It is now politically divided between Iran and Pakistan).

AJATASATRU or AJASHATRU (KUNIKA) r ca 491-461 or 459 BC, son of Bimbisara, further expanded the Kingdom of Magadha. Pataliputra (Sanskrit putra 'son'; Patna), NE India, settled 5th c BC, was capital 5th - 1st c BC of the Magadha kingdom.

Sanskrit jati means 'caste'; Sanskrit varna denotes a group of jati. According to ancient sacred literature of India, Aryan priests divided society into a caste system (one of the terms derives from the name of a Mede king 7th c BC). Orthodox Brahmin teachers devised the four 'ashramas', and four 'varna.' Four castes are instituted: Brahmin 'priest' (Brahmani, Brahminee - a female Brahman, Brahmin, Bramin, Brachman); Kshatriya (Kshatryas; Sanskrit kshatra 'rule') 'warriors and ruler'; Vaisya (Sanskrit vaisya ' settler, peasant' from vis- 'to dwell'; 3rd Hindu caste) 'skilled traders, merchant, minor official'; Sanskrit Sudra - lowest of four great Hindu castes; Sudras (Cudras) 'unskilled worker' (laborers); (later additions are Pariah 'Outcastes', Untouchables).

Gandhara was noted by Herodotus as one of the wealthiest territories, and as a provider of forces for Persian king Xerxes I (r. 486- 465 BC) in his battles against mainland Greeks; capital Taxila (near Islamabad, Pakistan).

Vedic Hinduism, flourishing throughout India, was challenged by Upanishad, Buddhist, and Jain followers. Shortly after Siddhartha's death (ca 480 BC), a first council was held to agree on Buddha's teachings, presided over by monk MAHA KASYAPA. 

ANAHITA - mother goddess and river goddess in creation legends. In the 'Aresta' (Zoroastrian sacred text) she is one of the helpers of Ahura-Mazda. ARTAXERXES II 404-359 BC inscriptions honoured Anahita (goddess of water, fertility and kingship - who merged with Aphrodite) and Ahura Mazda (god of contracts, later of fire, merged with Zeus under Macedonian Seleucid rulers of W Iran 312-175 BC). The great Greek-style Temple of Anahita at Kangavar, destroyed by a severe earthquake in antiquity, was excavated by the Archaeological Service of Iran. Anath - chief western Semitic goddess (known only from 13th c BC Ugarit, Phoenicia), sister and wife of Baal, whom she retrieved from the land of the dead. In Syria-Palestine, she wore a necklace of severed human heads. (Anath was gradually displaced by Phoenician Astarte, goddess of fertility and reproduction, sometimes portrayed naked on horseback. Astarte, in the Hellenistic Age 4th-1st c BC, gave way to Macedonian-Syrian goddess Atargatis). Old Slav staru 'old'; Sanskrit star-, Greek aster, asteron, Latin stella 'star'.

By 400 BC, rice was cultivated in the Middle East and Africa.

ARJUNA (Sanskrit 'white, shining'; rajata 'silver') - Indian prince, one of two main characters in the Mahabharata (Sanskrit "the great history of the Bharata Dynasty"), a Hindu epic composed 400 BC - 400 AD relating a dynastic feud between two great related families, the Pandavas and Kauravas. Haryana, NW India, was home to the legendary Bharata dynasty, which gave India its Hindi name, Bharat. (Nepali panda 'a bear-like animal'; Malay pandan 'a tropical tree').

PANNI, an Indian grammarian who lived ca 400 BC, produced the earliest work of etymology, describing the rules of Sanskrit, ancient language of India.

4th century BC 399-300

By 4th c BC, the Kingdom of Magadha included most of N India. Vedic Hinduism appeared in all of India, assimilating and absorbing local religious beliefs and practices.

A second great council was held to define Buddhism; scholars trace origins of the first major split in Buddhism to this event. (Authoritarians have yet to learn that telling people what to think, believe, feel or do is the most effective way of dividing them).

INDIAN DYNASTIES and RULERS: Nandas dynasty: MAHAPADMA and eight sons ca 362-334 BC. (Sanskrit Mahadeva 'great god', title given to Hindu god Shiva; Greek megas 'great'; Ionian Greek omega 'great O').

 Hindu sarangi, sarangis - stringed instrument played with a bow; sarangi - classical music of N India. (Saransk, Russia - capital of Mordvinia, south of Nizhni Novgorod).

ALEXANDER the Great, king of Macedonia, conquered the Baluchistan, W Pakistan region in 330 BC. Marcanda (Samarkand; Samarqand), capital of Sogdania (Uzbekistan) was taken and destroyed by Alexander the Great. He conquered Gandhara in 326, establishing the region's ties with Greece. In 325, the Sind region of Pakistan was conquered by Alexander the Great, and subsequently incorporated into various empires, including those of Parthians, Scythians (Sakas), and Kushanas. After his famous last battle with Indian king PORUS at the Hydaspes (Jhelum) River, Alexander left India in 325, dying two years later. Invading armies of Alexander introduced rice to Greece and nearby Mediterranean countries. Sake (saki) fermented rice beer (also called rice wine because of its high alcoholic content) native to Japan, usually consumed hot or warm. The brewing process, many centuries old, lasts about six weeks. The most valuable varieties of pearl (Greek margaron) originate in the pearl oyster of the Persian Gulf. 

OMPHIS or AMBHI TAXILES ("king Taxila"), king of the country between the Indus and the Jhelum (Jehlam; Bitasta; ancient Hydaspes), with his capital at Taxila. From fear of his neighbour Porus, he welcomed Alexander; Taxila became Alexander's advanced base, and Taxiles fought for him against Porus. Taxiles was subjected to Macedonian satrap PHILIPPUS; after Philippus' murder, he ruled nominally as Alexander's governor but soon in complete independence. By 312 BC, the Taxila kingdom had become part of Chandragupta's empire.

'Mahabharata' (attributed to legendary Vyasa - Sanskrit 'arranger' or 'collector') and 'Ramayana' (330 BC-200 AD) describe how Aryans established control over India, and depict Aryan-Hindu life in N India. Bhagavad-Gita (Sanskrit 'song of the Lord'), most famous religious text of Hinduism, an independent devotional work incorporated into Mahabharata.


Bactria was part of the Seleucid Empire 328-256 BC (one of the Hellenistic states founded by successors of Alexander the Great).

SELEUCUS I NIKATOR (NICATOR) 'the conqueror', 37-year old (satrap of Babylonia 321 BC, king of Babylonia 312-280), king of Syria 312-280, and after 302, emperor of a great part of Asia Minor. Son of Antiochus (presumably a Macedonian noble), Seleucus I accompanied Alexander to Asia, and though probably a close associate, was never among his most prominent generals. He married APAMA of Bactria (or Sogdiana) in 324. After Alexander's death he obtained the satrapy of Babylonia (321-316, 312-280), where he supported Antigonus I against Eumenes, but lost his satrapy and fled to Egypt (316). He regained Babylon by a spectacular exploit, and gained Media and Susiana in 312 (from this year the Seleucid Era begins). In the East, he ceded Indian provinces to Chandragupta, ca 304. Seleucus joined the coalition of separatist generals against Antigonus. Victory of Ipsus (301) gave his kingdom access to the Mediterranean through Syria. His policy had a predominantly western bias, illustrated by the founding of Antioch (300) to balance Seleuceia, his marriage in 298 to STRATONICE, daughter of DEMETRIUS, and avenues for expansion which he sought in Syria and Asia Minor. Access to the Mediterranean through Cilicia was gained in 296. He won Asia Minor with the victory of Corupedium over LYSIMACHUS (281), which gave him hopes of seizing the vacant throne of Macedonia. He invaded Europe, but was murdered (at age 62) by PTOLEMY KERAUNOS, who wanted Macedonia for himself. The achievement of Seleucus was second only to that of Alexander, for he reassembled most of Alexander's empire in Asia. The dual character of his dominion, Mediterranean and continental, was implicit in his two capitals and his two wives (he never repudiated Apama, his wife since 324). Unlike Alexander, he built his army, bureaucracy, and new cities primarily on Graeco-Macedonian immigrants as a foundation. In character he was the most humane, and one of the ablest, of the Successors. (Seleucid dynasty founded by Seleucus Nicator, ruling Syria and a great part of W Asia 311-65 BC. Its eastern capital was Seleucia on the Tigris; the western capital was at Antioch).

Erythraean Sea - in ancient geography, name given to the Indian Ocean, but included Persian and Arabian gulfs. The name was afterward restricted to the Red Sea. Falling briefly under the sway of Alexander the Great and his Macedonian successors, the Kingdom of Magadha (Bihar and Jharkhand) was conquered 321 BC by CHANDRAGUPTA MAURYA, who made it the centre of his Maurya Empire.

CHANDRA-GUPTA MAURYA (phonetic Greek SANDRO-COTTUS) ca 321-298 BC. Indian emperor, founder of Maurya dynasty, which ruled N India 321-184 BC. In 321, Chandragupta Maurya led a successful rebellion against the empire's local rule, creating the Maurya dynasty, with the capital at Pataliputra (Patna, Bengal, India), on the Ganges River in NE India. Gandhara became part of a major trade route from India to Persia and Greece. Chandragupta Maurya introduced a centralized government and script, and developed a highway network, which led to Mauryan control of most of the Indian subcontinent. From Pataliputra, he expanded westwards, annexing provinces deep into Afghanistan from Alexander's Greek successors. Chandragupta began to issue edicts in the 12th year of his reign (309); they were written in Prakrit (a group of ancient Indian dialects) for the Indian population, in Greek for Hellenistic Greeks and in Aramaic for Iranians (Persians). Chandragupta, ca 305, with a huge army, defeated Macedonian SELEUCUS I (NICATOR) who invaded NW India in an attempt to regain Alexander's Indian provinces. Seleucus yielded parts of Afghanistan to Chandragupta, and a marriage alliance followed. Pataliputra on the Ganges was visited by MEGASTHENES (Seleucid envoy at the court of Chandragupta; Greek historian, little original writing exists) ca 300, who called it Palibothra. Chandragupta dwelt in an enormous, ornate palace at Pataliputra and administered a highly bureaucratic government. He was advised by KAUTILYA (CHANAKYA), an unscrupulous Brahman, to whom is attributed the Arthasastra (Sanskrit sastra 'sacred ordinance'), a guide to statecraft. Chandragupta established a vast secret service and, fearing assassination, rarely left his palace. (Jain tradition says he abdicated his throne, became a Jain monk, and fasted to death). The empire continued to expand after his death. The Maurya dynasty ca 321-180 BC facilitated trade by building a major road between Taxila, Pakistan and their capital Pataliputra, NE India.

PATROCLES, Greek commander at Babylon after 312 BC, under Seleucus I, whom he assisted against Demetrius. Under Seleucus I (321-280) and Antiochus I (280-261), he governed lands from the Caspian towards India, gathering reliable geographical material including northwest India. He was sent to explore the Caspian Sea ca 285, voyaged up its western and eastern sides, learned about Indian trade down the Oxus, but asserted that the Oxus and Jaxartes (Sihun; Syr Darya) flowed into the Caspian. His reports confirmed the belief that the Caspian opened into the "nearby" Northern Ocean.

 3rd century BC 299-200

Vedic Hinduism was followed by Classical Hinduism 3rd c BC - 7th c AD. Rama or Ramachandra (husband of Sita) heroic prince of the Ramayana epic (probably begun 3rd c BC), worshipped as seventh incarnation of Vishnu. Archangel (ecclesiastical Greek arkhos 'chief', arkhe 'rule', arkhaggelos 'arch + angel') - 8th order of nine ranks of heavenly beings. Sita (Sanskrit 'furrow'), wife of Rama in the Ramayana, is the Hindu model of an ideal woman, an incarnation of Lakshmi (Sanskrit 'prosperity'), consort of Vishnu. Vishnu, a minor Vedic god, one of the major gods of Hinduism, preserver of the cosmos in Hindu triad with Siva and Brahma. He is considered to have descended to earth 9 times in various 'avatars' (incarnations) as Rama, Krishna, and Buddha.

Stupa (Russian stapa 'foot, measure'; also tope or dagoba) hemispherical or bell-shaped masonry monument designed as a Buddhist (occasionally Jain) shrine or reliquary. Stupas range in size from small, rudimentary structures to massive, ornately decorated monuments such as the stupa at Sanchi, India 3rd to 1st c BC.

BINDUSARA AMITRAGHATA, ruler ca 298-272 BC of the Maurya dynasty; succeeded by son Ashoka-Vardhana.

DIODOTUS I, Seleucid satrap ca 256-235 BC, established Bactria as a separate kingdom. Bactria, corresponding to N Afghanistan, was the seat of a powerful Indo-Greek kingdom 3rd and 2nd c BC.

ASOKA (ASHOKA-VARDHANA) ca 272/265-238/232 BC, (grandson of Chandragupta), Indian emperor who made Buddhism a national religion. Ashoka, king of the Maurya dynasty, was for a time governor of Gandhara. A convert to Buddhism, it may have been in Gadhara that Mahayana Buddhism (in contrast to earlier Theravada Buddhism) began to emerge. Pataliputra (Patna) became the imperial capital. Asoka issued a succession of edicts to subjects in every part of his empire; these were inscribed on rock surfaces and on specially polished columns with handsomely sculpted capitals. They were written in Prakrit for the Indian population, in Greek (for Hellenistic Greeks) and Aramaic (for Parthians and Iranians) in the north-western part of the empire. The extent of his empire has been established by location of these edicts; in one, Ashoka named as his contemporaries five Hellenistic kings, with some of whom he had diplomatic contacts, providing a chronological cross-reference for his reign. Buddhist texts depict him as concerned closely with the spread of Buddhism, a relatively new religion. Brahminic revival occurred after his death. (Ashoka is largely ignored in Hindu sources). The Great Stupa in Sanchi, India, constructed by Asoka and further developed until 1st c AD, is decorated with notable images of yakshis. Yakshas (male) and Yakshis (female) - earth spirits; Yakshas were depicted as handsome men or as black dwarves; yakshis appeared as large-breasted women with broad hips, often clinging to trees in full bloom.

Indo-Aryan language is divided into three main stages: Old Indo-Aryan, comprising Vedic and Classical Sanskrit; Middle Indo-Aryan (from ca 3rd c BC) embraces vernacular dialects of Sanskrit called Pakrits, including Pali (Indic language used in canonical books of Buddhists; pali 'line, canon', bhasa 'language'). Two main sects of Jainism, DIGAMBARA ('air clad', space-clad, or naked; Greek F 'digamma') and SVETAMBARA (white-clad, wearers of white cloth; Sanskrit cvetas 'white, light'; Old Slav svetu 'light', Slavic svetu 'holy') produced a vast body of secular and religious literature in Prakrit and Sanskrit languages. Girnar Mountain, in India, sacred place of Jainism.

Parthia, ancient kingdom 250 BC - 230 AD southeast of the Caspian Sea in Persia (Iran), with Ecbatana as its capital, the centre of the empire stretching from the Euphrates River in Mesopotamia to the Indus River in Pakistan. Culture contained a mix of Greek and Persian elements. (Parthian coins originally used Greek; they later degraded to a mixture of Greek and Aramaic).

Buddha's presence was dominant in India ca 250 BC - 750 AD. Bo tree, common name for a fig tree (ficus religiosa) of India, also known as bodhi ('Enlightment'; Sinhalese bogaha 'tree of knowledge'), papal (Hindu papal from Sanskrit pippala 'pepper'), or peepul; Buddha is said to have received his bodhi while sitting under one at the site of Buddh Gaya, India; the Bo is sacred to followers of Buddhism. In ruins of Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka is a Bo tree, according to tradition planted 3rd c BC, grown from a branch of the tree at Buddh Gaya. Bo trees grow to a great age, and a height of about 100 feet.

Hindu Kush (Indian Caucasus); continuation of Himalayas, which it adjoins at the Indus River, stretches west and unites with Ghur Mts. in N Afghanistan. The Hindu Kush is destitute of forests. (Hindustani khash 'pleasant' > Anglo-Indian Cushy). Kashmir is an ancient area, deriving its name, according to tradition, from the Khasi, a people who lived in the northern mountains. Buddhism was introduced ca 245 BC. The middle Nile valley kingdom of Kush moved its capital from Napata to Meroe ca 300 BC; Macedonian Ptolemies in Egypt at this time).

MAURYAS, ruler of the Maura dynasty ca 232-185 BC.

Andhra or Satavahana dynasty, ca 230 BC-230 AD, Indian ruling house originating in Andhra Pradesh region.

Pandya Dynasty ca 200's BC - 1378 AD, rulers of southernmost India (Tamil Nadu State). Its capital was at Madurai, and Pandyas participated in an international trade system linking India with China and the Roman world.

Vedas in their present form are believed to date from late 3rd c BC.

2nd century BC 199-100

The Kingdom of Magadha declined after the Mauryan dynasty died out 185 BC. 

INDIAN DYNASTIES and RULERS: 2nd c BC - Shungas (Ganges Valley and part of Central India): PUSHYAMITRA (PUSHPAMITRA) ca 185-173 BC.

Indo-Greek (NW India): DEMETRIUS II ca 180-165 BC, Greek ruler of Bactria. The invasions of N India came in several waves from Central Asia; Indo-Greeks conquered the northwest portion of the empire ca 180 BC.

Indo-Greek (NW India): MENANDER (Indian MILINDA) ca 155-130 BC, Greek ruler of Bactria (E Afghanistan). Menander, general of Demetrius of Bactria, married his daughter AGATHOCLEA after his death, successfully withstood EUCRATIDES, and to his own death (ca 150-145 BC) ruled all Greek India, except the Paropamisadae, from Mathura to Kathiawar. He carried on Demetrius' policy, and in Indian eyes was Chakravertiu 'supreme ruler'. Menander conquered much of the remainder of northern India. He was the only successor of Alexander, except Cleopatra VII, who acquired a legend; Buddhists transferred to him stories told of Buddha and Asoka, and the Milindapanha made him a great Buddhist monarch. His discourses with Buddhist monk NAGASENA are recorded in the Milindapanha (2nd c AD), an important text in Theravada Buddhism.

MANU (Sanskrit 'man') - archetypal first man of Hindu myth, survivor of the great flood, and father of the human race. He is also the legendary author of one of the most famous codes of Hindu religious law, the Manusmriti 'The Laws of Manus' composed in Sanskrit and dating in its present form from 1st c BC. Manu Smriti (Law of Manu) was written 200 BC - 100 AD; in it, Aryan priest-lawmakers created  four great hereditary divisions of society still surviving today, placing their priestly class at the head, with the title of earthly gods, or Brahmans. Next were Kshatriyas (warriors); then Vaisyas (farmers and merchants); and Sudras, laborers born to be servants to the other castes, especially the Brahman. Entirely outside the social order were Dravidians, aboriginal inhabitants of India, people of no caste, formerly Untouchables.

Malabars - an ancient Dravidian people. Tamil (Portuguese and Dutch Tamul; Prakrit Damila, Davila) - modern language of Dravidian people inhabiting the S Indian subcontinent and parts of Sri Lanka. Dravida (Sanskrit Dramida, Dravida), a province of S India. Dravidians - dark-skinned aboriginal people of S India and Sri Lanka, including Tamils and Kanarese. Dravidian - name applied to a linguistically related people in India, composed mainly of traditionally lower caste members of Indian society, such as the Tamil, and more isolated highland tribes such as the Ghats and Todas. Dravidian language, fourth largest linguistic group in the world, has remained relatively intact despite considerable contact and intermarriage with other peoples of the Indian subcontinent. Contemporary Dravidian culture is diverse, with some groups maintaining more traditional customs (such as totemism and tracing kinship through the female line).

Matrilineage - in sociology and anthropology, a system of social organization in which descent is traced through the female line (continued in modern scientific fields with Mitochondrial DNA), and all children belong to the mother's clan. The system is occasionally associated with inheritance in the female line of material goods and social prerogatives. Matrilineage is practiced in cultures throughout the world. It is found in varying forms among original inhabitants of Australia, Sumatra, Micronesia, Melanesia, and Taiwan; in India in Assam and along the Malabar Coast; in many regions of Africa; and in North America among a number of indigenous tribes.

Caste - hereditary class of society in India. It sprang primarily from distinction of ethnological race and conquest. Aborigines of India seem to have been Turanians (Persian name for Turks and related people). In pre-historic times, a second influx of Turanians appears to have taken place, newcomers conquering old inhabitants or driving them to the hills and jungles. Thus were produced two classes, called Turanian caste people and Turanian outcastes. The tradition caste system of India developed ca 1500 BC, when Aryan-speaking nomadic groups migrated from the north to India. Aryan people from Central Asia (or Asia Minor, i.e. Hittites) invaded and after a struggle continued for many centuries, became dominant nearly everywhere. Long before this conquest was effected, three occupations among them hardened into castes, Brahmans (priests), Kshatriyas (warriors), and Vaisyas (merchants). The fourth Hindu caste, Sudras (artisans and laborers) was constituted mainly of the Turanian caste, while Pariahs, other outcastes, and wild tribes of the hills and jungles were older Turanian aborigines.

Wine was important to ancient Romans, who looked to BACCHUS (Latin bacca 'berry'), Roman god of wine, to oversee all wine matters. Viticulture was centred in Spain, France, Italy, Germany, and Greece; some of the finest vineyards in France and Germany have been under cultivation since Roman times. As the Roman Empire declined, so did wine trade, sustained largely in W Europe by the Catholic church.

Khyber Pass, in the Hindu Kush, on the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan; a mountain pass at a height of 3520 ft, it was of great commercial and strategic importance, the route by which successive invaders entered India. A branch of the Hindu Kush Mts (Indian Caucasus) separated Indo-Greek Bactria (N Afghanistan) from territories of Indo-Scythian Shakas. Bactria was overrun by Shakas (Sakas; Sacae - Iranian nomads who ruled parts of SW Asia and India 1st c BC; name associated with various Scythian kingdoms) ca 130 BC (and five years later by Yue-Chi Kushanas). Yue-chi, a semi-nomadic people of NW China, overran the area from Kyrgyzstan to Pakistan by ca 125 BC, but were not united under a single ruler. Kushanas were one of the Yue-chi tribes of Central Asia, who had moved west from Mongolia after their failure against the Han dynasty in China. Kushana (named for the Hindu Kush Mts) Dynasty ca 1st c BC - 230 AD, rulers of an empire stretching from Central Asia to N India. Like Shakas, Kushanas were a nomad warrior confederation of tribes originating from Central Asia (Shakas favored the bow and arrow, Kushanas favored the axe).

1st century BC 99-01

INDIAN DYNASTIES and RULERS: Shakas (Sacae) (W India) 1st c BC - 3rd c AD, contemporary with (Andhra) Satavahanas (N Deccan) 1st c BC - 3rd c AD and Kushanas (N India and Central Asia).

INDIAN DYNASTIES and RULERS: 1st c BC - KANVAS (N India) ca 73-28 BC; the shrunken kingdom was defeated by the Andhara dynasty, invading from the south.

Andhras ruled much of southern and central India, conquering Sungas of Magadha 27 BC, and vying with Sakas for control of Deccan.Scriptural traditions of Buddha, transmitted orally for four hundred years, were finally committed to writing about 1st c BC.  Saka's  Khotanese dialect (in E Turkistan) was the vehicle of an important Buddhist literature. No complete canon in Sanskrit survives;  the full canon of Theravada Buddhism survives in Pali, a dialect derived from Sanskrit; Sanskrit Tripitaka, Pali Tipitaka 'Three Baskets'.

Kushan Empire ca 48 BC-230 AD.

KADPHISES, Yue-chi king, between 27 and 2 BC, brought Kushanas together into a single confederation, and established a ruling dynasty.

Although not from the earliest Vedic period, by late 1st c BC, Brahma (masculine of neutral Brahman 'priest'), is the Hindu creator god in a trinity (Trimurti or triad of principal Hindu deities) with Vishnu (Vishna; Chu Ta; ranked with lesser gods in the Veda, usually associated with major Vedic god Indra) and cowherd god Krishna ('black') or Siva (Sanskrit 'asupicious one'; Sanskrit sivas 'propitious, gracious' > Hindu Shiva), destroyer of the universe, inspiration for good and evil (also shown as Natarjee 'Lord of the Dance') represented wearing a necklace of skulls. Sati, first wife of Siva, began the practice of suttee in which widows burned themselves alive on their husband's funeral pyres. Suttee (Sanskrit sati 'faithful wife; 'the good wife'), a form of widow sacrifice in Brahamic India.

AUGUSTUS, Roman Emperor 27 BC-14 AD, received Indian envoys; in his day, 120 ships sailed to India every year. Principle imports were perfumes, spices (especially pepper; Sanskrit pippali 'pepper'), gems, ivory, pearls, and Chinese silk. Roman exports included linen, coral, glass, base metals, and gold, silver (and later bronze) coins; large hoards have been found in S India.

STRABO ca 63 BC -24 AD, Greek geographer who knew the region as Gedrosia, mentioned Baluchistan, W Pakistan in his writings.

 1st century AD 01-99

Megalithic monuments date to 5th millennium BC in W Europe; those of India date from the first centuries AD. Areas of the greatest abundance of megalithic monuments include the British Isles, W France, Belgium, Spain, Portugal, islands of the W Mediterranean, Scandinavia, N Africa, Crimea, the Caucasus, the Middle East, Iranian uplands, Deccan Plateau and Assam in India, Japan, and Myanmar (formerly Burma). Those of Easter Island are contemporary with medieval Europe.

SATAKARNI I, 1st c AD, greatest ruler of the Andhar (Satavahana) dynasty, extended the Andhra kingdom over NW Deccan, establishing his capital at Paithan, Maharashtra State, subsequently forced out of the area by Sakas.

KADPHISES I, Kushana king ca 48-78 AD. In 1st c AD, Kushanas took over Kashmir and most of NW India. In mid-1st c AD, Kushanas settled in Gandhara after forcing nomadic Shakas (Scythians) to retreat from the region. Kadphises established the Kushana dynasty, which maintained contacts with the Roman Empire.

Greek traders figure in Tamil literature as residents of many of the inland centres 70-140 AD.

KANISHKA (KADPHISES II) Kushana king ca 78-100 AD. Kushanas reached their greatest strength under Kanishka, most famous emperor of the Kushana dynasty. Kanishka ruled much of N India, Bactria (Afghanistan), and other lands of Central Asia, and brought the great Kushana culture of Gandhara to its peak. An influential school of art blossomed at Kushana capital Mathura (south of Delhi), where art of Gandhara blended Indian and Greco-Roman styles. A remarkable statue from Mathura depicts Kanishka wearing typical clothing of Iranian horsemen of the Central Asian steppes: baggy trousers, heavy quilted boots, long coat, and buckled cloak. Kushanas extended as far south as Gujarat in the west, the Narmada River in central India, and Bihar in the east. Kanishka's armies campaigned in Bengal to the east, and Parthia to the west. Kushanas pacified Central Asia trade routes, enabling commercial and cultural contacts. Cities flourished, and the Silk Road linking Rome to China thrived. Kanishka controlled the overland Silk Road between China and Rome through trade center Taxila (Takshasila), Gandhara (Pakistan). Splendid gold coinage of Kanishka used the Roman weight standard, and featured deities from contemporary cults, especially Zoroastrianism. Kanishka, founder of a Buddhist monastery and great stupa at Peshawar (capital of Gandhara region; Persian peshwa 'chief'), was given the dynastic name Kanishkapura. Under Kushana rulers, Mahayana Buddhism spread rapidly from India across Central Asia to China. Buddhism migrated from India to China along the trade routes, and Kushana kings exchanged ambassadors with emperors of Rome. After Kanishka's death, the Indian part of the empire lasted about 70 years, disintegrating into several principalities. It was during the Kushana period - especially under the reign of Kanishka - that a style of Buddhist art known as Gandharan developed in the region. Blending Hellenistic (Greek) and Indian influences, the style depicted Buddha in human form for the first time, often with features resembling Greek god Apollo and a Persian solar disk, or halo. Gandhara became renowned as a center for Buddhism under the patronage of Kanishka, and for centuries after his reign it drew both Indian and Chinese pilgrims.

2nd century AD 100-199

KANISHKA, Kushana king ca 120-162 AD

GAUTAMIPUTRA SATAKARNI (d ca 128 AD), a great champion of Hinduism. Under him, Andhras (Satavahana dynasty) surged back into N Deccan.

HUVISHKA, Kushana king ca 162-182 AD.

YAJNA SRI SATAKARNI, late 2nd c AD, again asserted Andhra authority over Sakas of W India. The dynasty declined when the kingdom broke into smaller units 3rd c AD.

VASUDEVA, Kushana king ca 182-220 AD.

Taxila, Gandhara was invaded by the Persian Sassanid dynasty (it survived the invasion).

3rd century AD 200-299

From 200 AD, direct Graeco-Roman trade declined, communications with India passed into the hands of intermediaries (Sassanid Persians, Axumites, Arabians), and India again became a land of fable to the Mediterranean world. (Founders of Christian settlements in India were mostly Persians).

Madurai or Mathurai (formerly Madura; originally Madhuram) - its PANDYAN kings were mentioned by ancient Greek geographers; by 3rd c AD, Pandya and other southern kingdoms of India were dominated by India's northern kingdoms.

KANISHKA, Kushan king ca 232-260 AD (his coins show him sacrificing over a low altar). The 300-year old Kushana empire of Central Asia was "overwhelmed" by Persian Sassanids ca 230 AD. In 3rd c AD, Sind was reincorporated into the Persian Empire. (Arabic sind'a 'art').

SHAPUR I (SAPOR or SHAHPUR) Persian king 241-272 AD. Peshawar (ancient Purushapure), a trading centre near the entrance to the Kyber Pass, was a target for invaders of the Indian subcontinent. (Latin purus 'pure')

MANI (MANICHAEUS) ca 216-274 AD, Persian prophet and founder of Manichaeisim. (Latin manus 'hand' > Germanic > Old English mann, pl menn, mannian > English "man"). Manichaeism was a cult introduced into Western Europe 3rd c AD by Mani. In the 3rd and 4th centuries this cult, influenced by Mithraism, became somewhat widely spread in Western Europe and won distinguished convert AUGUSTINE 354-430, who later became bishop of Hippo, Africa, and outstanding Catholic writer of his time. Manichaeism died out in two centuries, but revived 12th c AD. Inquisitions scarcely occurred 6th – 11th c AD, but the rise of Catharism and Albigensiansim, medieval versions of Manichaeism, led to more definite ecclesiastical measures (Inquisitions of 13th c AD, and the papal Inquisition during the Protestant revolution 16th c AD).

4th century AD 300-399

Sanskrit kama 'love'; Kamasutra, a work on sexuality written 4th c AD. The changing role of apsarases, from immortal women with remarkable sexual freedom, to seductresses sent by Indra to distract "holy" men, has been the subject of analysis; association is apparent in early Hindu myth between apsarases and 'hierodules' (Medieval Latin from Greek hieros 'sacred'; temple slaves in Babylonian religion, temple prostitutes in this reference; Latin prostituere prostitut- 'offer for sale', pro 'profession', statuere 'set up, place').

From 4th-11th c AD, Madurai or Mathurai (Madura; Madhuram) was the capital of the Pandya Kingdom (Pandya Dynasty ca 200s BC-1378 AD), interrupted by a period of rule by Chola emperors.

INDIAN DYNASTIES and RULERS: 4th c AD - Guptas (N India): 



Sama-Veda (Sanskrit saman 'chant', veda 'knowledge') - originating outside Vedic society, but called third Veda. Tungus saman > Russian shaman > German schamane > English shaman. Altaic languages subfamily TUNGUSIC - 1. Manchu (once most prominent and widely spoken in China, now extinct); 2. Evenki or Tungus (central Siberia and Mongolia); 3. Even or Lamut (E Siberia); 4. Nanai (E Siberia); 5. Udehe (SE Siberia).

KUMARAJIVA, ca 343-413 AD. Of aristocratic Indian-Kuchan parentage, seven-year old Kumarajiva, with his (unnamed) mother, traveled through India and Kashmir, studying Theravada Buddhism at Kashgar, NW China. Captured by Chinese raiders along the Silk Road in Kucha (where he lived), Kumarajiva was taken prisoner to capital Chang-an (Xi'an) in 401, where he won the favor and patronage of the imperial court, established a famous school of translators, and translated many core religious texts into Chinese. Power of state ideology Confucianism was weakening, allowing Kumarajiva to introduce Buddhist texts, and establish Buddhism as a viable religion alongside indigenous Chinese religion of Daoism (Taoism). He later converted to Mahayana Buddhism. (Kumarbi - father of the gods in Hittite myth; Hindu goddess Kanya Kumari, guardian of the shoreline, revered as an incarnation of goddess Parvati, consort of Shiva; Kanniyakumari or Kanyakumari, Tamil Nadu, S India is named after Kanya Kumari).


Kushan power in Afghanistan was destroyed at the end of 4th c AD by nomadic Indo-European speaking Turkic Ephthalites, also called "White Huns" (because they had lighter skin than other Huns), from Central Asia. Chinese records indicate Ephthalites first settled in Dzungaria (now in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region of China).

5th century AD 400-499

FA-HSIEN (FAXIAN), born in Shaanxi, China, a Chinese Buddhist pilgrim whose three-year journey across Central Asia brought him to India in 402. He settled in Pataliputra, and subsequently spent two years in Ceylon (Sri Lanka). His 'Fo-kuo-Chi' (A Record of the Buddhist Countries) testify to the vigour of Buddhist art, which included spectacular cave temples in W India, and numerous free-standing sculptures.

Tibet (native Bod or Bodyul), country of Central Asia between China and India. Loftiest region on the planet, its tablelands vary from 17,000 - 10,000 feet; Brahmaputra, Hwang Ho (Yellow River of China), Indus (of Pakistan) and Yangtze-kiang rivers have their source in Tibet. Brahmaputra (Sanskrit 'son of Brahma'; ancient Dyardanes or Oedanes) river of S Asia flows 1800 miles, from Tibet into Bangladesh. The first information of Tibet is 5th c AD, when capital Lhasa was founded, and Buddhism introduced in India. Polyandry is rare, associated with extremely impoverished environments, or areas with a shortage of women in comparison to men. In certain areas of Tibet, a woman may marry the eldest son and take his brothers as husbands. This reduces competition among heirs, and ensures transmission of land with minimal fragmentation.

KALIDASA (ca 375-415 AD), Indian dramatist; in his play, apsaras MENAKA, mother of SHAKUNTALA (Sanskrit tala 'hand clapping'), is sent from heaven to seduce sage VISVAMIRTA, who is gaining alarming levels of yogic power through concentrated meditation. He also wrote 'Vikramorvasi' (Urvasi Won by Valor), 'Malavikagnimitra' (Malavik Agni Mitra), 'Raghuvamsa' (Dynasty of Raghu) and 'Kumarasambhava' (Birth of the War God).

KUMARA GUPTA I 415-455 AD; Kumaragupta maintained the empire, but during his later years, neighbouring rulers expressed growing hostility. In addition, a new threat arose from nomadic Huns of N Asia, who had overrun much of central Asia and were penetrating India from the northwest (Huns invaded ca 450 AD). (Kuma river in the Caspian depression). Early 5th c AD, Ephthalites moved south and west, where they came into contact with the Gupta Empire of N India, and Sassanian Empire of Persia.

SKANDA GUPTA 455-467 AD. Skandagupta was able to revive the fortunes of the dynasty. Skanda - Hindu war god, son of Siva (Shiva) "the auspicious one" and PARAVATI "daughter of the mountain", brother of Ganesha. 

PURU GUPTA 467-469 AD, brother of Skandagupta. Disappearance of Gupta silver coinage after his reign indicates most of western India had slipped from the Gupta's control. Competing claims to the Gupta throne further weakened the dynasty.

Taxila, Gandhara was invaded and seriously damaged by the onslaught of Ephtalites (White Huns) in the late 400s AD.

FIRUZ II: barbaric Ephthalites "White Huns" attacked Persia, defeated Persian king Firuz II in 483 AD, and for some years thereafter exacted heavy tribute. (In the same year, Nestorianism was made the official faith of Persian Christians).

INDIAN DYNASTIES and RULERS: 5th - 6th c AD - Hunas (NW India and Central Asia). 

BUDDHA GUPTA 476-495 or 499 AD. By the time of his reign, power of the dynasty was increasingly restricted to the Magadha and Bengal regions.

6th century AD 500-599

Statues of Buddha built ca 500 AD wore Greek attire (they were destroyed by the Taliban of Afghanistan 21st c AD).

KAVADH I favored "communistic" teachings of Zoroastrian high priest MAZDAK, and was deposed in 498 AD by orthodox brother ZAMASP. With the aid of Ephthalites, Kavadh I was restored to the throne in 501. He fought two inconclusive wars against "Rome" (Byzantium), and in 523 withdrew support of Mazdak and caused a great massacre of his followers.

Sogdiana was invaded by Western Turks 6th c AD. Ephthalites launched a series of invasions into India; by 6th c AD, an (unnamed) Ephthalite ruled NW and central India, although the Ephthalite empire in India lasted only three decades.

BHANU GUPTA (undated) was able to compete with Huns for dominance in north central India early 6th c AD.

Buddhism became known in Japan 522 AD.

Persian KHOSRAU I (Khosrow; ANUSHIRVAN 'having an immortal soul'; CHOSROES) r. ca 531-579 AD, son of KAVADH I. In a series of wars with the Byzantine Empire 531-532, 540-545, and 571-576 with Byzantine Emperor JUSTINIAN I, Khosrau I extended his domain to the Black Sea and the Caucasus, becoming most powerful of all Sassanid kings. Other conquests extended Persia's frontier to the Indus River in the east, and from the Arabian Sea into Central Asia. He reformed administration of the empire, and restored Zoroastrianism as the state religion. "Persians under Chosroes left Antioch, Syria on the Orontes in a heap of ruins in 538."  Remaining parts of the Ephthalite kingdom in Bactria and Sogdia were destroyed ca 565 by Persian and Turk invaders. Ephthalites were gradually absorbed into the general population of NW India. In 576, forces of JUSTIN II, Byzantine emperor 565-578 AD, defeated Persians at Malatya (ancient Melitene, Armenia Minor), in SE Turkey, about 8 miles from the Euphrates River.

Pataliputra (Patna), NE India was the capital of the Gupta dynasty. The Kingdom of Magadha rose to new heights of glory under the Gupta dynasty, but after 550, Guptas disappeared as an independent political force.

Tantra (Sanskrit tan 'stretch', tantra 'loom, groundwork, doctrine') - any of a class of Hindu or Buddhist mystical and magical writings. After the Gupta age ended, Tantric tradition heavily influenced Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. Tantric literature is female oriented. Gautamiya Tantra states that tantra is open to women and members of all castes. Mahanirvana Tantra requires a man to fast for a day for talking rudely to a woman. Kubjikamata Tantra states that all houses of women should be worshipped as holy shrines. Goddess Devi is worshipped in her own right, not in relation to a male god. In the Shakta model of Hinduism, which focuses worship on the Great Goddess, all women are regarded as gurus, and may initiate others by reciting the mantra from an authoritative text; men have no authority to do so.

Greek seres 'oriental'; silkworm moth, native to China, was introduced to W Asia and Europe 6th c AD.

7th century AD 600-699

'Dashakumaracharita' (The Adventures of the Ten Princes') by DANDIN, 7th c AD (Sanskrit dash, Russian dasha, dashat, French dix, Greek deka, Latin decem, Kashmiri daeh '10').

INDIAN DYNASTIES and RULERS: 7th - 10th c AD - Pandyas of Madurai in Tamil Nadu. Dominated by India's northern kingdoms from 3rd c AD, Pandya resurgence occurred by 7th c AD.

Buddhism, introduced from Tibet into India, was reintroduced from India into Tibet 7th c AD. It evolved into four sects: Nyingma 7th c AD, Kagyu 10th and 11th c AD, Sakya 11th c AD, and Gelugpa 14th c AD. Royal Kumari, reincarnated patron goddess TALEJU of the kings of Nepal, worshiped by the Nepalese. Chosen from the Sakya caste, the girl believed to be the goddess must have perfect beauty. She is subjected to a terrifying ordeal to test her courage before she enters a life of comparative religious seclusion; at puberty, she returns to everyday life, and a successor is chosen (a process comparable to Vestal Virgins of Rome). Tibetans raise yaks for milk, meat, fur, and hides; women ride horses.

Arabs invaded India 7th -8th c AD. (Bactria, since 7th c AD under heavy Islamic influence, was known in medieval times as Balkh).

8th century AD 700-799

Arabs invaded Spain 711 AD; thousands of miles to the east, the Sind region of Pakistan was part of the Persian Sassanid empire until Arab conquest 711 AD. Samarkand, Uzbekistan (ancient Marcanda, Sogdania) was captured by Arabs 712 AD.

Arabic al-kuhul, originally denoting kohl - a fine powder of antimony used as eye makeup, alcohol originally denoted any fine powder. Alchemists of medieval Europe later applied the word alcohol to essences obtained by distillation.

Tibetan blama 'priest, superior' (Brahma). Traditional faith in Mongolia is Lamaist Buddhism, established by PADMASAMBHAVA (Sanskrit 'born of the lotus flower') 747 AD. The Hindu triad Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva are from 750 AD, when Brahmanism reasserted its sway. 

Sind - east of the Indus River; Hindustan - west of the Indus River (ca 750 AD).

BHAVABHUTI, 8th c AD, wrote the romantic Malati-Madhava (Malati and Madhava). Hindu gods Vishnu, Krishna and Indra are called MAD HAVA "nectar born ones", derived from madhu 'honey'. (Honey - Polish miod, Czech and Serb-Croat med, Russian myot, Greek meli. Old English meodu 'mead' from "Germanic" via Huns of Dacia 5th c AD, alcoholic drink of fermented honey and water; Old English wyrt 'wort', infusion of malt which after fermentation becomes beer. Madhava shares most similarities with Slavic languages).

Malay gong (imitative); metal vessel shaped like a pan or kettle, suspended from a frame, and giving a powerful note on being struck; obscure origins in the Middle East or SE Asia, established in Indonesia by 9th c AD.

9th century AD 800-899

Sanskrit pura 'formerly', purana 'ancient, ancient legend'; any of a class of Sanskrit sacred writings on Hindu mythology, folklore, etc. Purana - last great division of Hindu sacred literature; in their present form, none appears older than 9th c AD. According to the Puranas, Apsarases arose from the sea of milk when it was churned in the dawn of time to produce the magical food amrit (Latin amarus 'bitter' > Amaretto) for the Devas. Vishnu becomes prominent in the Puranas. Sanskrit tantra 'web, warp' - Hindu Tantras were written after the Puranas, usually set in a dialogue between god Shiva and consort PARVATI. Tantric ritual involves reversals of Hindu social practices; it also reverses the orthodox Hindu panchagavya 'five products of the cow' (milk, butter, curds, urine, feces) used for purification. In Tantra, these become maithuna 'intercourse', matsya 'fish', mansa 'flesh', mudra 'parched grain' and mada 'wine'.

Greek pente, Sanskrit pancha, Slavic pyat 'five' > Hindu Panchayat 'village council'.

Raja (Sanskrit rajan > Hindi raja 'king'; Finnish raja 'border'); Rajput - member of a Hindu soldier caste claiming Kshatriya descent; Sanskrit putra 'son.' Rajaputana - region of India east of the Indus River, north of Gulf of Kutch consisting of princely states which came to power 9th - 16th c AD.

Angkor Thum (Khmer 'Angkor-the-Great' or 'Great City') - royal city and Buddhist temple complex at Angkor, capital of the Khmer Empire of Cambodia 9th c - 15th c AD.

10th century AD 900-999

New or Modern Indo-Aryan language dates from ca 10th c AD.

Ghazni, Afghanistan - capital of the Ghaznevids 10th - 12th c AD.

11th century AD 1000-1099


ABU-AL-RAYHAN MUHAMMAD IBN-AHMAD AL-BIRUNI (973-1048 AD) born in the region of Khwarizm, Persia (Iran). Some time after 1000, whe he finished his great historical work 'Kitab al Athar al Bakiya', he settled in India, where he taught such subjects as mathematics and astronomy. He returned to his native country ca 1017, and spent the last years of his life in Ghazni, Afghanistan. Among his other works is an extensive account of the civilization of India, written ca 1030.

The Musulman (Persian musulman 'muslim') conquest began to break the power of caste.

12th century AD 1100-1199

Nepal's Gurkhas ancestors came from Rajputana 12th c AD (Gurkha - Hindu religion, and Indo-European language).

JAYAVARMAN VII, Khmer king (a recent convert to Mahayana Buddhism), after regaining control of the Angkor region from the Cham (Khan) army of N Cambodia, which seized it ca 1177 AD, began building the vast monument late 12th and early 13th c AD. The central temple at Angkor Thum represents Mount Meru - in Hindu symbolism, the mountain on which Hindu gods reside, regarded as centre of the universe. (Another Mt. Meru is the second largest mountain of Tanzania, Africa).

SURYAVARMAN II, Khmer king, completed the temple at Angkor Thum. 

Surya (originally one of several solar deities in Vedic religion, Sanskrit 'sun' god of later Hindu myth); Indra's daughter Surya is female.

Between 12th - 16th c AD, monastic reformers formed sects; new sacred books called Puranas 'old' were penned to advocate tenets of conflicting sects and accepted as divine, though contradicting each other. Mohammedan invasion somewhat repressed their quarrels. (At present, Brahmins worship Vishnu under the forms of Krishna and Rama, and Siva under that of Lingam with the veneration of Sukti; to these must be added adoration of Rama's friend Hunooman).

13th century AD 1200-1299

In 1275, Venetian jewel merchant and explorer MARCO POLO (1254-1324 AD), traveling with father NICCOLO and uncle MAFFEO Polo, met KUBLAI Khan at Shangdu, his summer court, about 200 miles north of Beijing. Mongols captured Song capital Hangzhou (Hang-chou) in 1276, and defeated the last Song emperor in 1279. In 1279, Mongols again invaded Japan, this time with a fleet of 4,400 ships and 140,000 soldiers. A typhoon devastated the invading armada; almost 4,000 ships were sunk, and 100,000 soldiers lost. Japanese called this divine wind 'kamikaze'. Kublai Khan extended conquests over Tibet, Pegu, Cochin China, and formed the greatest empire in history, embracing all Asia and part of Europe, from the Dneiper River, Ukraine to Japan. Marco Polo referred to Song capital Hangzhou as the "greatest city which may be found in the world". It took him nearly two decades to tell his story; the captive guests could not secure their release until 1292, when they served as escorts for a (unnamed) Mongol princess traveling by sea to marry the (unnamed) Mongol ruler of Persia (possibly Ghazan Khan). The three Polos, having left in 1260, arrived home in Venice thirty-five years later, in 1295. Turk Khitay 'China' > Medieval Latin Catay; Kathay (Cathay) name of China and regions of the Far East; used by Marco Polo 13th c AD, supposed to be the name of the Khitah, who had almost disappeared at the time of his visit; the name by which China was known to medieval Western Europe; modern Russian Kitayets 'Chinaman', Kitayski 'Chinese, of China'.

14th century AD 1300-1399

Sanskrit upalas 'precious stone'; Latin opalus, French opale, English opal; the gem was associated with bad luck during the Black Plague, when the stone would brighten as wearers got ill, and dim when they died.

Samarkand (Marcanda, Sogdania; Samarqand, Uzbekistan) was Timur's capital. Mongols under Timur invaded India in 1398.

TIMUR (Turkish timur 'iron'; Persian lang 'lame'; also lenk; corrupted to TAMERLANE); born in Samarqand, Uzbekistan of the Mongol Barlas tribe; 33-year old ruler of Samarkand 1369-1405 AD. NE of Samarqand was the Jagatai khanate; NW was the Golden Horde khanate; to the SE were lands ruled by Hulagu's descendants; and to the east, on the frontiers of China, were Mongols who had broken away from the Jagatai khanate. Turkic-speaking nomads were treated as privileged by Mongol rulers, while Persian-speaking farmers paid most of the taxes. By 1361, 25-year old Timur had a following of several hundred men, when he declared allegiance to TUGHLUQ TIMUR, an invading Mongol who took over the Jagatai khanate, and made Timur ruler of part of the region around Samarqand. Tughluq died and, after a struggle between Tughluq's son, Timur, and his brother-in-law, Timur became master of Transoxiana by 1370. After 1370, the western portion of the Jagatai khanate became part of the empire of Timur, khan rule thereafter confined to the eastern region. Victory in 1380 of DMITRY DONSKOY, grand prince of Muscovy (Moscow) marked a turning point of Mongol power. Timur campaigned in Iran in 1381. TOKHTAMISH won control of the Golden Horde khanate in Russia, and began invading Timur's territory in the mid-1380s. At Esfahan, Iran, which rebelled after surrendering in 1387, Timur massacred 70,000 people and constructed a tower of their skulls. Chinese forces destroyed old Mongol capital Karakorum, Mongolia in 1388. Timur attacked Tokhtamish in 1389 and 1391, led campaigns into Armenia and Georgia in 1392, and defeated Tokhtamish 1394 or 1395. Tamerlane began conquest of the Golden Horde in 1395 (the khanate survived intact to mid-15th c AD, and ruled S Russia until 1480). Khan ABU SAID (Arabic said, sayid, sayyid 'lord') died without male heir in 1395, and the Jagatai khanate broke up into smaller states ruled mainly by Persians. Timur campaigned in India 1398 - 1399; in 1398, he razed Delhi, India and had 100,000 inhabitants slaughtered. In his last campaign, in Syria and Turkey 1400-1402, Tamerlane destroyed Sardis, Lydia, Asia Minor and defeated Ottomans near Angora (Ankara), Turkey; he took prisoner BAYAZID I, Ottoman sultan 1389-1402 AD, and captured Aleppo (Halab) and Dimasq (Damascus), Syria. Notorious for cruelty in war, and for many atrocities committed by his armies, he was a lover of scholarship and the arts. His scribes detailed his campaigns in 'Zafa Nama' (Book of Victory). Timur died ("during an invasion of China") near Otrar, Kazakhstan, and his empire began to break up "immediately". The Timurid dynasty, which ruled Transoxiana and Iran until early 16th c AD, was noted for its patronage of Turkish and Persian literature. English playwright Christopher Marlow created the poetic drama "Tamburlaine the Great" in 1587.

Urdu (official language of Pakistan) - Hindustani language of India. It is a lingua franca which became a medium of communication between Mohammedan conquerors of India and Hindu subjects. It is a Hindu language, of the Aryan family, with Persian, Arabic and Turkish words, a language largely used by Europeans in their intercourse with natives of India. "In the Ottoman Empire, only women wore trousers". Biblical Aramaic sarbalin; Syriac sharbålå; Greek sarabara; late & medieval Latin sarabara, saraballa, sarabala, saravara; Polish szarawary (worn by Polish king); Russian sharavary; Arabic sirwal, sarawil (now sharwal, sharawil); Urdu and Persian salwar; Hindi salvar (worn by the Ottoman Sultan) 'loose trousers worn by both sexes in some S Asian countries, especially by women' (1611 AD English Bible interpreted as 'coats', 'mantles' in margin; revised in 1884 AD as 'hosen').

15th century AD 1400-1499

Gorakhpur, N India, founded 15th c AD, named after Yogi Gorakhnath. (Russian gora 'mountain'(f) gorets 'mountaineer', probably from Greek oros).

16th century AD 1500-1599

Lahor, Hindustan, India - seat of the Mogul Empire. Mongols established the Mogul Empire in 1525. The Sind region of Pakistan was part of the Mughal Empire 1526-1761 AD.

Hooghly (Hugli), capital of Hooghly district in Bengal, India; first settled by the Portuguese 1540 AD. The word "caste" (Portuguese casta, denoting family strain, breed, or race) was first used by Portuguese traders 16th c AD.

AKBAR the Great, r 1556-1605 AD; under Akbar, the Mongol Mogul (Mughal) empire became one of the strongest in India's history. Urdu (official language of Pakistan) has a literature, chiefly historic, which arose under Mogul emperors, commencing with Akbar.

Khalsa (feminine of Arabic kals, kalis 'pure, free, belonging to'; Persian kalisa, kalsa > Urdu > Punjabi khalsa) - fraternity of warriors into which Sikh males are initiated at puberty. (Sanskrit simha, Hindu singh 'lion' - a Sikh title).

Kashmir (cashmir), NW Hindustan (region on northern border of India and Pakistan, former state of India); Kashmiri - Indic language of Kashmir; Kashmir goat, of a Himalaya breed, yielding fine soft wool (cashmere).

Gurkhas of Nepal have a military tradition dating from 16th c AD; they are known for carrying razor-sharp knives called kukris (Greek kuklos 'circle').

17th century AD 1600-1699

The British East India Company was established in 1600 AD. The Dutch East India Company was organized in 1602, and held a monopoly of East India trade and sovereign powers over conquered territories in India, rapidly depriving Portugal of nearly all her East Indian possessions. (East Indies: SE Asia, India, and neighboring islands).

Sanskrit bhagas 'happiness, wealth'; Old Slav bogatu 'rich'; bagatar of Alani (Ossets) 10th - 11th c AD; Bagatar 'hero' - Russian folklore; Hindu bhadur, bahadur 'hero, champion' (applied to European officers in India)

18th century AD 1700-1799

MOHAMMED AURANGZEB (Hindi AURANGZEB 'Ornament of the Throne'; ARUNGZEBE; Latin aurum 'gold'); Great Mogul emperor of Hindustan, most powerful of the Mogul emperors of India. Third and favorite son of emperor SHAH JAHAN who became ill in 1658, Aurangzeb and his younger (unnamed) brother warred against their older brothers for succession to the throne. Emerging victorious, 41-year old Aurangzeb became emperor 1659-1707 AD, and assumed the title ALAMGIR 'conquerer of the world'. His long reign over northern and central India was brilliant, marred by dissatisfaction of his Hindu subjects with his ardent support of Islam, and by incursions of Maratha chieftan SIVAJI. During an expedition against the Marathas in 1707, he died at age 89. The country passed into the hands of Portuguese, Dutch, English and French traders. (Ukrainian surname Gzebb)

Despite India's increasingly emphatic demand for self-government, The British East India Company gradually acquired undisputed control of certain sections of the country (continuing until WW1).

19th century AD 1800-1899

The word "Hinduism" entered the English language early 19th c AD to describe beliefs and practices of residents of India who had not converted to Islam or Christianity, and did not practice Judaism or Zoroastrianism.

Khyber Pass in the Hindu Kush was garrisoned by the British 1839 - 1947 AD.

The British annexed the Sind region of Pakistan in 1843. 

Himalaya - Sanskrit 'abode of snow' (German, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian himmel 'sky'), 1600-mile mountain range forming a continuous arc along northern fringes of the Indian subcontinent, from the bend of the Indus River in the west to the Brahmaputra River in the east. The Tibetan Plateau (Qing Zang Gaoyuan) lies north of the Himalaya range. Most Nepali people call the highest Himalayan mountain Sagarmatha 'Forehead in the Sky'; Tibetans call it Chomolungma 'Goddess Mother of the World'. (It was named Mt. Everest in 1856 AD, after Englishman Sir George Everest, who recorded the location and height of the mountain in 1841).

Indian (Sepoy) Mutiny, a rebellion against British authority, extending from May, 1857 to July, 1859. It began as an uprising of native troops in the Bengal army of the British East India Company, aggravated by systematic annexation of Indian territory by the Company, and failure of British civil and military officials to respect Hindu and Moslem religious customs. After two years of bloodshed, authority was transferred from the East India Company to the British crown.

Gwalior was restored to the Sindhas 1886 AD.

20th century AD 1900-1999

Samarkand (Samarqand) ancient Marcanda, Sogdania; part of Uzbekistan since 1924 AD.

MOHANDAS GANDHI, Indian nationalist leader, applied the term Harijans "children of God" to Untouchables in the 1930's AD.

PAKISTAN - name coined by C RAHMAT ALI 1933 AD, an acronym representing areas of W British India inhabited by predominantly Muslims: Punjab, Aghani border; Kashmir, Sindh, and Buluchistan; an established name from ca 1940. In 1947, Rahmat Ali expanded the list to include some territories of Iran, Afghanistan, and Tukharistan. Pakistan originally comprised East and West; the East gained independence as Bangladesh in 1971.

In 1937, Sind was made a separate province within British India; as part of independent Pakistan, Sind was incorporated into the province of W Pakistan 1955-1970, when it was re-established as a separate province.

There were in India more than 45 races speaking 200 languages, 2,400 castes and tribes, and 562 native states (1946 AD). Patna (ancient Pataliputra), Bengal, India extends 9 miles along the Ganges. It was the seventh-largest city of India in 1946, capital of the state of Bihar.

In 1947, Rajaputana formed the state of Rajasthan in NW India. Peshawar became the capital of Pakistani North-West Frontier Province. Since India's independence in 1947, Dravidian groups have actively protested attempts to make Hindi, an Indo-European language, the only official language of India.

ISKANDER MIRZA, first president of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, created 1956 AD. 

BENAZIR BHUTTO, b 1953, first woman prime minister of a Muslim country, Pakistan.

Rhesus monkey of India, named after mythical king Rhesos of Thrace. 

Hindu ekka 'unit', a small one-horse vehicle used in the Indian subcontinent; Indian lat 'stone pillar'; Hindu lathi 'long, heavy iron-bound bamboo stick used as a weapon, especially by police.'

Indic - of or relating to a group of Indo-European languages comprising Sanskrit and modern Indian languages which are its descendants. Persian language, including Sanskrit, is Indo-Aryan, a branch of Indo-European. Sanskrit (properly Samskrta, sami 'together', krta 'made'); Sanskrit language now usually called "Aryan". Aryan - people speaking Indo-European, especially Indo-Iranian, from which Sanskrit evolved (Aryan L = Sanskrit R). Sanskrit words: karoti 'makes' (Lithuanian kuriu 'to build'); kseti, ksiyati 'he dwells, abides'; ksitis 'dwelling, settlement'; parjanyas 'rain'; labhate, rabhate 'seizes', rabhas 'vehemence' (Latin rabies 'rage'); muska, Persian musk 'testicle' (Greek orkhis 'testicle, tuber' > English orchid); ruksas 'rough'; ucchalati 'rises quickly'; usra, uksan 'ox' (Turkish okuz 'ox'); Sakti 'female principle'; citraka 'speckled' (Hindu chita 'cheetah', native to Africa); sukaras, Greek hus 'boar' (Old Slav svinu 'of swine', svinija 'swine'; Ukrainian swinya 'pig').

Languages of India - indigenous, Bengali, Telugu, Hindi, and English. 




Asia Minor