Bactria or Bactriana was the name of a historical region in Central Asia. Bactria was located between the Hindu Kush mountain range and the Amu Darya river, covering the region that straddles modern-day Afghanistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. The English name Bactria is derived from the Ancient Greek, Βακτριανή, analogous names include the Pashto and Persian, باختر, translit. Bākhtar, Uzbek, Балх, Tajik, Бохтар, Chinese, 大夏, pinyin, Dàxià and this region played a major role in Central Asian history. At certain times the political limits of Bactria stretched far beyond the frame of the Bactrian plain. The Bactria–Margiana Archaeological Complex is the modern designation for a Bronze Age culture of Central Asia. 2200–1700 BC, located in present-day eastern Turkmenistan, northern Afghanistan, southern Uzbekistan and western Tajikistan, centred on the upper Amu Darya and its sites were discovered and named by the Soviet archaeologist Viktor Sarianidi. The early Greek historian Ctesias, c.400 BC, alleged that the legendary Assyrian king Ninus had defeated a Bactrian king named Oxyartes in ca.2140 BC, or some 1000 years before the Trojan War. Since the decipherment of cuneiform in the 19th century, however, according to some writers, Bactria was the homeland of Indo-Iranian tribes who moved south-west into Iran and into north-western India around 2500–2000 BC. Later, it became the province of the Persian Empire in Central Asia. It was in these regions, where the soil of the mountainous country is surrounded by the Turanian desert. After Darius III had been defeated by Alexander the Great, the satrap of Bactria, Bessus attempted to organise a resistance but was captured by other warlords. He was then tortured and killed, however, in the south, beyond the Oxus, he met strong resistance. After two years of war and an insurgency campaign, Alexander managed to establish little control over Bactria. After Alexanders death, Diodorus Siculus tells us that Philip received dominion over Bactria, at the Treaty of Triparadisus, both Diodorus Siculus and Arrian agree that the satrap Stasanor gained control over Bactria. Eventually, Alexanders empire was divided up among the generals in Alexanders army, Bactria became a part of the Seleucid Empire, named after its founder, Seleucus I. The Macedonians, especially Seleucus I and his son Antiochus I, established the Seleucid Empire, the Greek language became dominant for some time there. The paradox that Greek presence was more prominent in Bactria than in areas far closer to Greece can possibly be explained by past deportations of Greeks to Bactria
Ancient cities of Bactria
Bactria between the Hindu Kush (south), Pamirs (east), south branch of the Tian Shan (north). Ferghana Valley to the north; western Tarim Basin to the east.