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Countries of Hindus

Countries of Hindus

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Published by: مرتزآ بهرامی on Oct 16, 2012
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02/28/2014

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Colloque
L’archéologie de l’empire achéménide 
Paris, Collège de France, 21-22 novembre 2003
Countries of Hindus
1.
Definition of the area 
.With the term of “Countries of Hindus” one generally intends todeal with the easternmost part of the Achaemenid Empire, located aroundthe Hindus river valley, from the counter forts of the Karakoram, to Northand to the Arabic Sea to South. The eastern limit of this area is easilyidentifiable and definable, because almost coincident with that of theAchaemenid Empire, from Panjab to Sind; the western is, on the contrary,badly definable, as well as the limit between the Iranian Plateau and theIndian sub-continent. The geographic limit between those two areas is, infact, very well defined for the most part bordered by the mountainouscounter forts limiting, to west, the Hindus river valley; from the point of view of the cultural history, the term should be seen as an ample (
alsohundreds of kilometers)
area, including an entire region, which can bedefinable as “Indo-Iranian frontier”. The whole eastern area of the IranianPlateau is, as is very well known, deeply involved with Indian culturaltraits, and can be more easily located within the “Countries of Hindus”than in those of Iran and Central Asia.2.
Historical Outline 
 
Bruno Genito Ne pas citer
 Not to be quoted 
 
 
The conquest of the territories of the Indian sub-continent to west of the Hindus by Darius I, according to the Bisotun inscription, can be datedback to around 518 B.C. (Vogelsang 1987: 187-188; Briant 1996: 153); aslow penetration in different steps, starting from north to south (Fussman1993: 84) had been proposed and confirmed by the fact that the toponymof Hindus appears only in the later inscriptions, whilst the Gandhariansare already mentioned in Bisotun. As regards as to the chronologicalextent of the Achaemenid domination, at least to north-west of the Indiansub-continent, different opinion exist amongst scholars: that the regionwas again independent (Chattopadhyaya 1974: 25-26), already from theend of the Darius I’s kingdom or during that of Artaxerses II, does notseem to be confirmed by Ctesias, who mentioned gifts of the Kings of India, and however also Darius III had, amongst his army, Indianscontingents (Briant 1996: 699, 774). That officers of the Great King werenot explicitly nominated at the moment of the arrival in the area of theMacedonian army (327-26 B.C.), cannot be interpreted as an absence of the Achaemenid power, as still recently has been proposed (Dittmann1984: 185); a large amount of other set of data give indication, instead,that in different forms from those of the epoch of Darius I, the Persianpower still had a control there (Briant 1996: 776-778).3.
The sources 
 
Bruno Genito Ne pas citer
 Not to be quoted 
 
 
The political interest of the Achaemenid dynasty for the easternfrontier has been demonstrated not only by their inscriptions, wheredifferent peoples from the area are mentioned, but also by the sculpturalrepresentations. One can find those peoples either amongst the ones(
dahyu 
) supporting the throne of the King, or the “delegations” of gifts or tribute bearers. In the first case, on the fa
ç
ade of the grave of Darius I atNaqs-e Rostam and, then, on those of the successive sovereigns, includingthe graves of Persepolis, amongst the thirty personages supporting theplatform of the throne of the king. Identified by short trilingualinscriptions one can find mentioned there Gandharians, Sattagydians,Indians, all represented with similar costumes (Tourovets 2001: 226). Inthe second, twenty three delegations represented on the staircases of theApadana of Persepolis seem to refer, amongst the others, also toSattagydians, Gandharians, Indians, while other representations of thesame peoples were depicted on the staircase of the Palace of Artaxerses I,partially reconstructed by Tilia. Amongst the countries represented by theimages of gifts bearers on the base of the Egyptian statue of Darius I fromSusa, one can find Arachosia, Sattagydia and India easily identified byhieroglyphic inscription (Roaf 1974). The frequency with which the listsand the representations disagree each other in number and order, let one,nonetheless, to understand that they were aimed only at emphasizing theideology of the supranational Empire and cannot be considered as a real
Bruno Genito Ne pas citer
 Not to be quoted 
 

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