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).
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).
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
cultivation, according to the most widely accepted theory,
originated as early as 10,000 BC in Asia (long before grain cultivation).
- 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.
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).
(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).
(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).
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.
was grown in Thailand as early as 4,000 BC, and over the centuries
spread to China, Japan, and Indonesia.
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.
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.
(ancient Marcanda, Sogdiana), Uzbekistan was founded 3rd millennium BC.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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).
1,500 BC, wine was a popular beverage and sacred drink in Mycenaean Greece.
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.
Ink was used in China 1200 BC.
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.
century BC 899-800
800-400 BC Composition of the sacred texts of 'Upanishads' (Sanskrit
upa 'near', ni-sad 'sit down').
century BC 799-700
- 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.
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').
(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
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
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).
century BC 699-600
(Greek Achaemenes, Latin Achaemenius), who lived ca 681 BC, was a
warrior chief, the first prominent leader of the Persians. (The next
was 130 years later).
(Sanskrit kshatra 'rule', Kshatriya 'warrior & ruler'; Greek
PHRAORTES), re ca 675-653 BC, united Mede tribes.
'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.
(Patna, Bengal, India) on the Ganges was founded ca 600 BC.
century BC 599-500
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).
(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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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'.
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
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;
(call themselves Sakha) of E Siberia speak Turkic Yakut).
(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.
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.
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').
(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.
the late 500's BC, the Sind region of Pakistan was annexed to the
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).
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.
(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.
century BC 499-400
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).
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.
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')
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
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).
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.
- 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'.
400 BC, rice was cultivated in the Middle East and Africa.
(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').
an Indian grammarian who lived ca 400 BC, produced the earliest work
of etymology, describing the rules of Sanskrit, ancient language of India.
century BC 399-300
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.
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).
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').
sarangi, sarangis - stringed instrument played with a bow; sarangi -
classical music of N India. (Saransk, Russia - capital of Mordvinia,
south of Nizhni Novgorod).
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.
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.
(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.
DYNASTIES and RULERS: Mauryan empire: CHANDRAGUPTA MAURYA ca 321-298
BC; BINDUSARA AMITRAGHATA ca 298-272 BC; ASOKA (-VARDHANA) ca 272-232
BC; MAURYAS ca 232-185 BC.
was part of the Seleucid Empire 328-256 BC (one of the Hellenistic
states founded by successors of Alexander the Great).
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).
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.
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.
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.
century BC 299-200
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.
(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.
AMITRAGHATA, ruler ca 298-272 BC of the Maurya dynasty; succeeded by
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.
(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.
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.
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).
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.
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).
ruler of the Maura dynasty ca 232-185 BC.
or Satavahana dynasty, ca 230 BC-230 AD, Indian ruling house
originating in Andhra Pradesh region.
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.
in their present form are believed to date from late 3rd c BC.
century BC 199-100
Kingdom of Magadha declined after the Mauryan dynasty died out 185 BC.
DYNASTIES and RULERS: 2nd c BC - Shungas (Ganges Valley and part of
Central India): PUSHYAMITRA (PUSHPAMITRA) ca 185-173 BC.
(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
(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.
(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.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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).
century BC 99-01
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).
DYNASTIES and RULERS: 1st c BC - KANVAS (N India) ca 73-28 BC; the
shrunken kingdom was defeated by the Andhara dynasty, invading from
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'.
Empire ca 48 BC-230 AD.
Yue-chi king, between 27 and 2 BC, brought Kushanas together into a
single confederation, and established a ruling dynasty.
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
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.
ca 63 BC -24 AD, Greek geographer who knew the region as Gedrosia,
mentioned Baluchistan, W Pakistan in his writings.
century AD 01-99
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.
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.
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.
traders figure in Tamil literature as residents of many of the
inland centres 70-140 AD.
(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.
century AD 100-199
Kushana king ca 120-162 AD
SATAKARNI (d ca 128 AD), a great champion of Hinduism. Under him,
Andhras (Satavahana dynasty) surged back into N Deccan.
Kushana king ca 162-182 AD.
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.
Kushana king ca 182-220 AD.
Gandhara was invaded by the Persian Sassanid dynasty (it survived
century AD 200-299
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).
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
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').
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
(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).
century AD 300-399
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').
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.
DYNASTIES and RULERS: 4th c AD - Guptas (N India):
GUPTA I 320-330 AD.
GUPTA 330-375 AD.
(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).
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).
GUPTA II VIKRAMADITYA 375-415 AD.
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).
century AD 400-499
(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
(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.
(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).
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.
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.
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.
Gandhara was invaded and seriously damaged by the onslaught of
Ephtalites (White Huns) in the late 400s AD.
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).
DYNASTIES and RULERS: 5th - 6th c AD - Hunas (NW India and Central Asia).
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.
century AD 500-599
of Buddha built ca 500 AD wore Greek attire (they were destroyed
by the Taliban of Afghanistan 21st c AD).
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.
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.
GUPTA (undated) was able to compete with Huns for dominance in north
central India early 6th c AD.
became known in Japan 522 AD.
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
(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.
(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.
seres 'oriental'; silkworm moth, native to China, was introduced to
W Asia and Europe 6th c AD.
century AD 600-699
(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').
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.
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.
invaded India 7th -8th c AD. (Bactria, since 7th c AD under
heavy Islamic influence, was known in medieval times as Balkh).
century AD 700-799
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.
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.
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.
- east of the Indus River; Hindustan - west of the Indus River (ca
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).
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.
century AD 800-899
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'.
pente, Sanskrit pancha, Slavic pyat 'five' > Hindu Panchayat
(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.
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.
century AD 900-999
or Modern Indo-Aryan language dates from ca 10th c AD.
Afghanistan - capital of the Ghaznevids 10th - 12th c AD.
century AD 1000-1099
INVASION 1001 AD.
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.
Musulman (Persian musulman 'muslim') conquest began to break the
power of caste.
century AD 1100-1199
Gurkhas ancestors came from Rajputana 12th c AD (Gurkha - Hindu
religion, and Indo-European language).
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).
II, Khmer king, completed the temple at Angkor Thum.
(originally one of several solar deities in Vedic religion, Sanskrit
'sun' god of later Hindu myth); Indra's daughter Surya is female.
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).
century AD 1200-1299
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
'Chinese, of China'.
century AD 1300-1399
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.
(Marcanda, Sogdania; Samarqand, Uzbekistan) was Timur's capital.
Mongols under Timur invaded India in 1398.
(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.
(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').
century AD 1400-1499
N India, founded 15th c AD, named after Yogi Gorakhnath. (Russian
gora 'mountain'(f) gorets 'mountaineer', probably from Greek oros).
century AD 1500-1599
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.
(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.
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.
(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).
(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).
of Nepal have a military tradition dating from 16th c AD; they are
known for carrying razor-sharp knives called kukris (Greek kuklos 'circle').
century AD 1600-1699
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).
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).
century AD 1700-1799
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)
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).
century AD 1800-1899
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
Pass in the Hindu Kush was garrisoned by the British 1839 - 1947 AD.
British annexed the Sind region of Pakistan in 1843.
- 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).
(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.
was restored to the Sindhas 1886 AD.
century AD 1900-1999
(Samarqand) ancient Marcanda, Sogdania; part of Uzbekistan since
GANDHI, Indian nationalist leader, applied the term Harijans
"children of God" to Untouchables in the 1930's AD.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
MIRZA, first president of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, created
BHUTTO, b 1953, first woman prime minister of a Muslim country, Pakistan.
monkey of India, named after mythical king Rhesos of Thrace.
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.'
- 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
of India - indigenous, Bengali, Telugu, Hindi, and English.