A stupa is a mound-like or hemispherical structure containing relics, used as a place of meditation. A related architectural term is a chaitya, a prayer hall or temple containing a stupa. In Buddhism, circumambulation or pradakhshina has been an important ritual and devotional practice since the earliest times, stupas always have a pradakhshina path around them. Stupas may have originated as pre-Buddhist tumuli in which śramaṇas were buried in a seated position called chaitya; some authors have suggested that stupas were derived from a wider cultural tradition from the Mediterranean to the Indus valley, can be related to the conical mounds on circular bases from the 8th century BCE that can be found in Phrygia, Lydia, or in Phoenicia. Religious buildings in the form of the Buddhist stupa, a dome shaped monument, started to be used in India as commemorative monuments associated with storing sacred relics of the Buddha. After the parinirvana of the Buddha, his remains were cremated and the ashes divided and buried under eight mounds with two further mounds encasing the urn and the embers.
The relics of the Buddha were spread between eight stupas, in Rajagriha, Kapilavastu, Ramagrama, Pava and Vethapida. The Piprahwa stupa seems to have been one of the first to be built. Guard rails —consisting of posts, a coping— became a feature of safety surrounding a stupa; the Buddha had left instructions about how to pay homage to the stupas: "And whoever lays wreaths or puts sweet perfumes and colours there with a devout heart, will reap benefits for a long time". This practice would lead to the decoration of the stupas with stone sculptures of flower garlands in the Classical period. According to Buddhist tradition, Emperor Ashoka recovered the relics of the Buddha from the earlier stupas, erected 84.000 stupas to distribute the relics across India. In effect, many stupas are thought to date from the time of Ashoka, such as Sanchi or Kesariya, where he erected pillars with his inscriptions, Bharhut, Amaravati or Dharmarajika in Gandhara. Ashoka established the Pillars of Ashoka throughout his realm next to Buddhist stupas.
The first known appearance of the word "Stupa" is from an inscribed dedication by Ashoka on the Nigali Sagar pillar. Stupas were soon to be richly decorated with sculptural reliefs, following the first attempts at Sanchi Stupa No.2. Full-fledged sculptural decorations and scenes of the life of the Buddha would soon follow at Bharhut, Bodh Gaya, again at Sanchi for the elevation of the toranas and Amaravati; the decorative embellishment of stupas had a considerable development in the northwest in the area of Gandhara, with decorated stupas such as the Butkara Stupa or the Loriyan Tangai stupas. The stupa underwent major evolutions in the area of Gandhara. Since Buddhism spread to Central Asia and Korea and Japan through Gandhara, the stylistic evolution of the Gandharan stupa was influential in the development of the stupa in these areas; the Gandhara stupa followed several steps moving towards more and more elevation and addition of decorative element, leading to the development of the pagoda tower.
The main stupa type are, in choronological order: 1) The Dharmarajika Stupa with a near-Indian design of a semi-hemispheric stupa directly on the ground surface dated to the 3rd century BCE. Similar stupas are the Manikyala stupa or the Chakpat stupa. 2) The Saidu Sharif Stupa and quincunxial, with a flight of stairs to a dome elevated on a square platform. Many Gandhara minutiures represent this spectacular type. 3) The Loriyan Tangai Stupa, with a elongated shape and many narrative reliefs, in many way the Classical Gandharan stupa. 4) The near-pyramidal Jaulian stupa. 5) The cruciform type, as in the Bhamala Stupa, with flights of stairs in the four cardinal directions. 6) The towering design of the second Kanishka stupa. It is thought that the temple in the shape of a truncated pyramid may have derived from the design of the stepped stupas which developed in Gandhara; the Mahabodhi Temple in Bodh Gaya is one such example, formed of a succession of steps with niches containing Buddha images, alternating with Greco-Roman pillars.
The structure is crowned by the shape of an hemispherical stupa topped by finials, forming a logical elongation of the stepped Gandharan stupas such as those seen in Jaulian. Although the current structure of the Mahabdhodi Temple dates to the Gupta period, the "Plaque of Mahabhodi Temple", discovered in Kumrahar and dated to 150-200 CE based on its dated Kharoshthi inscriptions and combined finds of Huvishka coins, suggests that the pyramidal structure existed in the 2nd century CE; this is confirmed by archaeological excavations in Bodh Gaya. This truncated pyramid design marked the evolution from the aniconic stupa dedicated to the cult of relics, to the iconic temple with multiple images of the Buddha and Bodhisattvas; this design was influential in the development of Hindu temples. Stupa architecture was adopted in Southeast and East Asia, where it became prominent as a Buddh
A reliquary is a container for relics. These may be the purported or actual physical remains of saints, such as bones, pieces of clothing, or some object associated with saints or other religious figures; the authenticity of any given relic is a matter of debate. Relics have long been important to Buddhists, Christians and many other religions. In these cultures, reliquaries are presented in shrines, churches, or temples to which the faithful make pilgrimages in order to gain blessings; the term is sometimes used loosely of containers for the body parts of non-religious figures. The use of reliquaries became an important part of Christian practices from at least the 4th century in the Eastern Churches, which adopted the practice of moving and dividing the bodies of saints much earlier than the West in part because the new capital of Constantinople, unlike Rome, lacked buried saints. Relics are venerated in the Oriental Orthodox, Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic and some Anglican Churches. Reliquaries provide a means of displaying relics.
While taking the form of caskets, they range in size from simple pendants or rings to elaborate ossuaries. Since the relics themselves were considered "more valuable than precious stones and more to be esteemed than gold," it was only appropriate that they be enshrined in containers crafted of or covered with gold, silver and enamel. Ivory was used in the Middle Ages for reliquaries; these objects constituted a major form of artistic production across Europe and Byzantium throughout the Middle Ages. Many were designed with portability in mind being exhibited in public or carried in procession on the saint's feast day or on other holy days. Pilgrimages centered on the veneration of relics; the faithful venerate relics by bowing before the reliquary or kissing it. Those churches which observe the veneration of relics make a clear distinction between the honor given to the saints and the worship, due to God alone; the feretrum was a medieval form of reliquary or shrine containing the sacred effigies and relics of a saint.
The most magnificent example is that known as the Shrine of the Three Kings in Cologne Cathedral. After the storming of Milan in 1162 the supposed relics of the Magi were carried off and brought to Cologne, where a magnificent silver casket, nearly 6 feet long, 4.5 feet high was constructed for them. This superb piece of silversmith's work resembles in outward form a church with a nave and two aisles. In the late Middle Ages the craze for relics, many now fraudulent, became extreme, was criticized by many otherwise conventional churchmen. 16th-century reformers such as Martin Luther opposed the use of relics since many had no proof of historic authenticity, they objected to the cult of saints. Many reliquaries in northern Europe, were destroyed by Calvinists or Calvinist sympathizers during the Reformation, being melted down or pulled apart to recover precious metals and gems. Nonetheless, the use and manufacture of reliquaries continues to this day in Roman Catholic and Orthodox Christian countries.
Post-Reformation reliquaries have tended to take the form of glass-sided caskets to display relics such as the bodies of saints. The earliest reliquaries were boxes, either box-shaped or based on an architectural design, taking the form of a model of a church with a pitched roof; these latter are known by the French term chasse, typical examples from the 12th to 14th century have wooden frameworks with gilt-copper plaques nailed on, decorated in champlevé enamel. Limoges was the largest centre of production. Relics of the True Cross became popular from the 9th century onwards and were housed in magnificent gold and silver cross-shaped reliquaries, decorated with enamels and precious stones. From about the end of the 10th century, reliquaries in the shape of the relics they housed became popular; the bones of saints were housed in reliquaries that recalled the shape of the original body part, such as an arm or a foot. Many Eastern Orthodox reliquaries housing tiny pieces of relics have circular or cylindrical slots in which small disks of wax-mastic in which the actual relic is embedded.
A philatory is a transparent reliquary designed to contain and exhibit the bones and relics of saints. This style of reliquary has a viewing portal by. During the Middle Ages, the monstrance form used for consecrated hosts, was sometimes used for reliquaries; these housed the relic in a rock crystal or glass capsule mounted on a column above a base, enabling the relic to be displayed to the faithful. Reliquaries in the form of large pieces of metalwork jewellery appeared around this time, housing tiny relics such as pieces of the Holy Thorn, notably the Holy Thorn Reliquary now in the British Museum. In Buddhism, stupa are an important form of reliquary, may be included in a larger complex known as a chaitya. In China and throughout East and Southeast Asia, these take the form of a pagoda. In Theravada Buddhism, relics are known as cetiya.
An uttariya is a scarf-like piece of cloth from India. It is like a shawl and descends from the back of the neck to curl around both arms, can be used to drape the top half of the body, it was made of fine cotton or silk, but can fine leather. Carvings that feature this garment date back a long way but there are few examples of this garment surviving so fashion historians study the reliefs; the dupatta is an evolved form of the uttariya. It is still worn throughout Indian subcontinent and is traditionally worn over kurta, achkan or sherwani since classical age, it was used in combination with the antriya, an ancient version of the dhoti, held with a sash or kayabandh. The uttariya could be used as a turban, by both men and women. Lay brothers of the Buddhist community would be dressed with the antriya, accompanied by an uttariya and a larger chadder, all colored in saffron
Mujatria read Hajatria, is the name of an Indo-Scythian ruler, the son of Kharahostes as mentioned on his coins. The archaeologists had discovered coins issued by a "son of Kharahostes," but the actual name of the person had been missing on these coins; the name of the ruler on the coins has been read as "Mujatria". His father Kharahostes is known through epigraphical evidence from inscribed reliquaries to have been a king when the Indravarman Silver Reliquary was dedicated, itself positioned with certainty before the 5-6 CE Bajaur casket; therefore the rule of Kharahostes is estimated to 10 BCE- 10CE, which suggests Mujatria would have ruled circa 10 CE- 30 CE. According to Sten Konow's study of the Mathura lion capital, this person may have been Hayuara, the brother-in-law of Rajuvula, he ruled from around 10 CE as a satrap of the Mathura area. He is only known through his coins. According to Joe Cribb however, the actual Mujiatria was located in the region of Jalalabad in eastern Afghanistan and lived in the part of the 1st century CE.
A recent study by Joe Cribb suggests that the round debased silver coins with three-pellet symbols in the name of Azes attributed to his father Kharahostes, should be attributed to Mujatria. The Bimaran casket may therefore have been dedicated during the reign of Mujatria. Overstrikes of the Kushan ruler Wima Takto on Mujatria coins are known. This, together with various hoard finds, suggests the contemporaneity of Mujatria with the Kushan ruler Kujula Kadphises, predecessor of Wima Takto, the Indo-Scythian ruler Sasan. Yuezhi Greco-Bactrian Kingdom Indo-Greek Kingdom Indo-Parthian Kingdom Kushan Empire
The Hellenistic period covers the period of Mediterranean history between the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC and the emergence of the Roman Empire as signified by the Battle of Actium in 31 BC and the subsequent conquest of Ptolemaic Egypt the following year. The Ancient Greek word Hellas is the original word for Greece, from which the word Hellenistic was derived. At this time, Greek cultural influence and power was at its peak in Europe, North Africa and Western Asia, experiencing prosperity and progress in the arts, literature, architecture, mathematics and science, it is considered a period of transition, sometimes of decadence or degeneration, compared to the enlightenment of the Greek Classical era. The Hellenistic period saw the rise of New Comedy, Alexandrian poetry, the Septuagint and the philosophies of Stoicism and Epicureanism. Greek science was advanced by the works of the polymath Archimedes; the religious sphere expanded to include new gods such as the Greco-Egyptian Serapis, eastern deities such as Attis and Cybele and a syncretism between Hellenistic culture and Buddhism in Bactria and Northwest India.
After Alexander the Great's invasion of the Achaemenid Empire in 330 BC and its disintegration shortly after, the Hellenistic kingdoms were established throughout south-west Asia, north-east Africa and South Asia. The Hellenistic period was characterized by a new wave of Greek colonization which established Greek cities and kingdoms in Asia and Africa; this resulted in the export of Greek culture and language to these new realms, spanning as far as modern-day India. However, these new kingdoms were influenced by the indigenous cultures, adopting local practices where beneficial, necessary, or convenient. Hellenistic culture thus represents a fusion of the Ancient Greek world with that of the Near East, Middle East, Southwest Asia; this mixture gave rise to a common Attic-based Greek dialect, known as Koine Greek, which became the lingua franca through the Hellenistic world. Scholars and historians are divided as to; the Hellenistic period may be seen to end either with the final conquest of the Greek heartlands by Rome in 146 BC following the Achean War, with the final defeat of the Ptolemaic Kingdom at the Battle of Actium in 31 BC, or the move by Roman emperor Constantine the Great of the capital of the Roman Empire to Constantinople in 330 AD.
"Hellenistic" is distinguished from "Hellenic" in that the first encompasses the entire sphere of direct ancient Greek influence, while the latter refers to Greece itself. The word originated from the German term hellenistisch, from Ancient Greek Ἑλληνιστής, from Ἑλλάς. "Hellenistic" is a 19th-century concept. Although words related in form or meaning, e.g. Hellenist, have been attested since ancient times, it was Johann Gustav Droysen in the mid-19th century, who in his classic work Geschichte des Hellenismus, coined the term Hellenistic to refer to and define the period when Greek culture spread in the non-Greek world after Alexander's conquest. Following Droysen and related terms, e.g. Hellenism, have been used in various contexts; the major issue with the term Hellenistic lies in its convenience, as the spread of Greek culture was not the generalized phenomenon that the term implies. Some areas of the conquered world were more affected by Greek influences than others; the term Hellenistic implies that the Greek populations were of majority in the areas in which they settled, but in many cases, the Greek settlers were the minority among the native populations.
The Greek population and the native population did not always mix. While a few fragments exist, there is no complete surviving historical work which dates to the hundred years following Alexander's death; the works of the major Hellenistic historians Hieronymus of Cardia, Duris of Samos and Phylarchus which were used by surviving sources are all lost. The earliest and most credible surviving source for the Hellenistic period is Polybius of Megalopolis, a statesman of the Achaean League until 168 BC when he was forced to go to Rome as a hostage, his Histories grew to a length of forty books, covering the years 220 to 167 BC. The most important source after Polybius is Diodorus Siculus who wrote his Bibliotheca historica between 60 and 30 BC and reproduced some important earlier sources such as Hieronymus, but his account of the Hellenistic period breaks off after the battle of Ipsus. Another important source, Plutarch's Parallel Lives although more preoccupied with issues of personal character and morality, outlines the history of important Hellenistic figures.
Appian of Alexandria wrote a history of the Roman empire that includes information of some Hellenistic kingdoms. Other sources include Justin's epitome of Pompeius Trogus' Historiae Philipicae and a summary of Arrian's Events after Alexander, by Photios I of Constantinople. Lesser supplementary sources include Curtius Rufus, Pausanias and the Byzantine encyclopedia the Suda. In the field of philosophy, Diogenes Laër
Indo-Scythians were a group of nomadic Iranian peoples of Saka and Scythian origin who migrated southward into western and northern South Asia from the middle of the 2nd century BC to the 4th century AD. The first Saka king in South Asia was Maues/Moga who established Saka power in Gandhara, Indus Valley; the Indo-Scythians extended their supremacy over north-western India, conquering the Indo-Greeks and other local kingdoms. The Indo-Scythians were subjugated by the Kushan Empire, by either Kujula Kadphises or Kanishka, yet the Saka continued forming the Northern Satraps and Western Satraps. The power of the Saka rulers started to decline in the 2nd century CE after the Indo-Scythians were defeated by the Satavahana emperor Gautamiputra Satakarni. Indo-Scythian rule in the northwestern Indian subcontinent ceased when the last Western Satrap Rudrasimha III was defeated by the Gupta emperor Chandragupta II in 395 CE; the invasion of northern regions of the Indian subcontinent by Scythian tribes from Central Asia referred to as the Indo-Scythian invasion, played a significant part in the history of the Indian subcontinent as well as nearby countries.
In fact, the Indo-Scythian war is just one chapter in the events triggered by the nomadic flight of Central Asians from conflict with tribes such as the Xiongnu in the 2nd century AD, which had lasting effects on Bactria and the Indian subcontinent as well as far-off Rome in the west, more nearby to the west in Parthia. Ancient Roman historians including Arrian and Claudius Ptolemy have mentioned that the ancient Sakas were nomadic people. However, Italo Ronca, in his detailed study of Ptolemy's chapter vi, states: "The land of the Sakai belongs to nomads, they have no towns but dwell in forests and caves" as spurious; the ancestors of the Indo-Scythians are thought to be Sakas tribes. "One group of Indo-European speakers that makes an early appearance on the Xinjiang stage is the Saka. Saka is more a generic term than a name for ethnic group. Like the Scythians whom Herodotus describes in book four of his History, Sakas were Iranian-speaking horse nomads who deployed chariots in battle, sacrificed horses, buried their dead in barrows or mound tombs called kurgans."
According to their own origin myths, they claimed descent from Kushtana Maurya, the exiled son of the Indian Emperor Ashokavardhana Maurya who established the Kingdom of Khotan at Tarim Basin. In the 2nd century BC, a fresh nomadic movement started among the Central Asian tribes, producing lasting effects on the history of Rome in Europe, Parthia in Western Asia, Bactria and India in the east in Southern Asia. Recorded in the annals of the Han dynasty and other Chinese records, this great tribal movement began after the Yuezhi tribe was defeated by the Xiongnu, fleeing westwards after their defeat and creating a domino effect as they displaced other central Asian tribes in their path. According to these ancient sources Modu Shanyu of the Xiongnu tribe of Mongolia attacked the Yuezhi and evicted them from their homeland between the Qilian Shan and Dunhuang around 175 BC. Leaving behind a remnant of their number, most of the population moved westwards into the Ili River area. There, they displaced the Sakas, who migrated south into Sogdiana.
According to the Chinese historical chronicles: " attacked the king of the Sai who moved a considerable distance to the south and the Yuezhi occupied his lands."Sometime after 155 BC, the Yuezhi were again defeated by an alliance of the Wusun and the Xiongnu, were forced to move south, again displacing the Scythians, who migrated south towards Bactria and present Afghanistan, south-west closer towards Parthia. The Sakas seem to have entered the territory of the Greco-Bactrian Kingdom around 145 BC, where they burnt to the ground the Greek city of Alexandria on the Oxus; the Yuezhi remained in Sogdiana on the northern bank of the Oxus, but they became suzerains of the Sakas in Bactrian territory, as described by the Chinese ambassador Zhang Qian who visited the region around 126 BC. In Parthia, between 138–124 BC, a tribe known to ancient Greek scholars as the Sacaraucae and an allied non-Saka/Scythian people, the Massagetae came into conflict with the Parthian Empire; the Sacaraucae-Massagetae alliance won several battles and killed, in succession, the Parthian kings Phraates II and Artabanus I.
The Parthian king Mithridates II retook control of parts of Central Asia, first by defeating the Yuezhi in Sogdiana in 115 BC, defeating the Scythians in Parthia and Seistan around 100 BC. After their defeat, the Yuezhi tribes migrated far to the east into Bactria, which they were to control for several centuries, from which they conquered northern India to found the Kushan Empire; the Sakas settled in Drangiana, an area of Southern Afghanistan, western Pakistan and south Iran, called after them as Sakastan or Sistan. From there, they progressively expanded into present day Iran as well as northern India, where they established various kingdoms, where they are known as "Saka"; the Arsacid emperor Mithridates II had scored many successes against the Scythia
The British Museum, in the Bloomsbury area of London, United Kingdom, is a public institution dedicated to human history and culture. Its permanent collection of some eight million works is among the largest and most comprehensive in existence, having been sourced during the era of the British Empire, it documents the story of human culture from its beginnings to the present. It was the first public national museum in the world; the British Museum was established in 1753 based on the collections of the Irish physician and scientist Sir Hans Sloane. It first opened in Montagu House, on the site of the current building, its expansion over the following 250 years was a result of expanding British colonisation and has resulted in the creation of several branch institutions, the first being the Natural History Museum in 1881. In 1973, the British Library Act 1972 detached the library department from the British Museum, but it continued to host the now separated British Library in the same Reading Room and building as the museum until 1997.
The museum is a non-departmental public body sponsored by the Department for Digital, Culture and Sport, as with all national museums in the UK it charges no admission fee, except for loan exhibitions. Its ownership of some of its most famous objects originating in other countries is disputed and remains the subject of international controversy, most notably in the case of the Parthenon Marbles. Although today principally a museum of cultural art objects and antiquities, the British Museum was founded as a "universal museum", its foundations lie in the will of the Irish physician and naturalist Sir Hans Sloane, a London-based doctor and scientist from Ulster. During the course of his lifetime, after he married the widow of a wealthy Jamaican planter, Sloane gathered a large collection of curiosities and, not wishing to see his collection broken up after death, he bequeathed it to King George II, for the nation, for a sum of £20,000. At that time, Sloane's collection consisted of around 71,000 objects of all kinds including some 40,000 printed books, 7,000 manuscripts, extensive natural history specimens including 337 volumes of dried plants and drawings including those by Albrecht Dürer and antiquities from Sudan, Greece, the Ancient Near and Far East and the Americas.
On 7 June 1753, King George II gave his Royal Assent to the Act of Parliament which established the British Museum. The British Museum Act 1753 added two other libraries to the Sloane collection, namely the Cottonian Library, assembled by Sir Robert Cotton, dating back to Elizabethan times, the Harleian Library, the collection of the Earls of Oxford, they were joined in 1757 by the "Old Royal Library", now the Royal manuscripts, assembled by various British monarchs. Together these four "foundation collections" included many of the most treasured books now in the British Library including the Lindisfarne Gospels and the sole surviving manuscript of Beowulf; the British Museum was the first of a new kind of museum – national, belonging to neither church nor king open to the public and aiming to collect everything. Sloane's collection, while including a vast miscellany of objects, tended to reflect his scientific interests; the addition of the Cotton and Harley manuscripts introduced a literary and antiquarian element and meant that the British Museum now became both National Museum and library.
The body of trustees decided on a converted 17th-century mansion, Montagu House, as a location for the museum, which it bought from the Montagu family for £20,000. The trustees rejected Buckingham House, on the site now occupied by Buckingham Palace, on the grounds of cost and the unsuitability of its location. With the acquisition of Montagu House, the first exhibition galleries and reading room for scholars opened on 15 January 1759. At this time, the largest parts of collection were the library, which took up the majority of the rooms on the ground floor of Montagu House and the natural history objects, which took up an entire wing on the second state storey of the building. In 1763, the trustees of the British Museum, under the influence of Peter Collinson and William Watson, employed the former student of Carl Linnaeus, Daniel Solander to reclassify the natural history collection according to the Linnaean system, thereby making the Museum a public centre of learning accessible to the full range of European natural historians.
In 1823, King George IV gave the King's Library assembled by George III, Parliament gave the right to a copy of every book published in the country, thereby ensuring that the museum's library would expand indefinitely. During the few years after its foundation the British Museum received several further gifts, including the Thomason Collection of Civil War Tracts and David Garrick's library of 1,000 printed plays; the predominance of natural history and manuscripts began to lessen when in 1772 the museum acquired for £8,410 its first significant antiquities in Sir William Hamilton's "first" collection of Greek vases. From 1778, a display of objects from the South Seas brought back from the round-the-world voyages of Captain James Cook and the travels of other explorers fascinated visitors with a glimpse of unknown lands; the bequest of a collection of books, engraved gems, coins and drawings by Clayton Mordaunt Cracherode in 1800 did much to raise the museum's reputation. The museum's first notable addition towards its collection of antiquities, since its foundation, was by Sir William Hamilton, British Ambassador to Naples, who sold his collection of Greek and Roman artefacts to