The Durrani Empire at its maximum extent encompassed present-day Afghanistan, northeastern Iran, eastern Turkmenistan, most of Pakistan, and northwestern India, including the Kashmir region. The Afghan army began their conquests by capturing Ghazni and Kabul from the local rulers, in 1749 the Mughal ruler had ceded sovereignty over what is now Pakistan and northwestern Punjab to the Afghans. Ahmad Shah set out westward to take possession of Herat and he next sent an army to subdue the areas north of the Hindu Kush and in short order all the different tribes began joining his cause. Ahmad Shah and his forces invaded India four times, taking control of the Kashmir, early in 1757, he sacked Delhi, but permitted the Mughal dynasty to remain in nominal control as long as the ruler acknowledged Ahmad Shahs suzerainty over the Punjab and Kashmir. Additionally, among the Durranis other military conquests, the Pashtun instigated the Vaḍḍā Ghallūghārā when they killed thousands of Sikhs in the Punjab, the Durrani Empire is considered the foundation of the modern state of Afghanistan, with Ahmad Shah Durrani being credited as Father of the Nation.
In 1709 Mir Wais Hotak, chief of the Ghilji tribe of Kandahar Province, from 1722 to 1725, his son Mahmud Hotak briefly ruled large parts of Iran and declared himself as Shah of Persia. However, the Hotak dynasty came to a end in 1738 after being toppled and banished by the Afsharids who were led by Nader Shah Afshar of Persia. The year 1747 marks the appearance of an Afghan political entity independent of both the Persian and Mughal empires. In October 1747 a loya jirga concluded near the city of Kandahar with Ahmad Shah Durrani being selected as the new leader of the Afghans, despite being younger than the other contenders, Ahmad Shah had several overriding factors in his favor. He belonged to a family of political background, especially since his father served as Governor of Herat who died in a battle defending the Afghans. He had a larger army and possessed a substantial part of Nadir Shahs treasury, including the Koh-i-Noor diamond. One of Ahmad Shahs first military action was the capture Ghazni from the Ghiljis, in 1749, the Mughal ruler was induced to cede Sindh, the Punjab region and the important trans Indus River to Ahmad Shah in order to save his capital from Afghan attack.
Having thus gained substantial territories to the east without a fight, Ahmad Shah turned westward to take possession of Herat, Ahmad Shah next sent an army to subdue the areas north of the Hindu Kush mountains. In short order, the army brought under its control the Tajik, Uzbek, Turkmen. Ahmad Shah invaded the remnants of the Mughal Empire a third time and he sacked Delhi in 1757, but permitted the Mughal dynasty to remain in nominal control of the city as long as the ruler acknowledged Ahmad Shahs suzerainty over Punjab and Kashmir. Leaving his second son Timur Shah to safeguard his interests, Ahmad Shah left India to return to Afghanistan, Ahmad Shah halted trade with Qing China and dispatched troops to Kokand. Through this treaty, the Marathas controlled virtually the whole of India from their capital at Pune, Marathas were now straining to expand their area of control towards the Northwest of India. Ahmad Shah sacked the Mughal capital and withdrew with the booty he coveted, to counter the Afghans, Peshwa Balaji Bajirao sent Raghunathrao
It roughly corresponds to the territory on the Iranian plateau and its bordering plains. It is referred to as Greater Persia, while the Encyclopædia Iranica uses the term Iranian Cultural Continent. The term Iran is not limited to the state of Iran. The concept of Greater Iran has its source in the history of the Achaemenid Empire in Persis, the Treaty of Gulistan in 1813 resulted in Iran ceding Dagestan and most of Azerbaijan to Russia. After the Russo-Persian War, the Turkmanchey Treaty of 1828 ended centuries of Iranian control of its Caucasian provinces, in 1935, the endonym Iran was adopted as the official international name of Persia by its ruler Reza Shah. The name “Irān“, meaning “land of the Aryans”, is the New Persian continuation of the old genitive plural aryānām, the Avestan evidence is confirmed by Greek sources, Arianē is spoken of as being between Persia and the Indian subcontinent. However, this is a Greek pronunciation of the name Haroyum/Haraiva, a land listed separately from the homeland of the Aryans.
While up until the end of the Parthian period in the 3rd century CE, the idea of “Irān“ had an ethnic, the idea of an “Iranian“ empire or kingdom in a political sense is a purely Sasanian one. It was the result of a convergence of interests between the new dynasty and the Zoroastrian clergy, as we can deduce from the available evidence and this convergence gave rise to the idea of an Ērān-šahr “Kingdom of the Iranians, ” which was “ēr“. Richard Nelson Frye defines Greater Iran as including much of the Caucasus, Afghanistan and Central Asia, with influences extending to China. According to Frye, Iran means all lands and peoples where Iranian languages were and are spoken, and this view, even though common among serious scholars, is almost certainly overstated. To the Ancient Greeks, Greater Iran ended at the Indus, according to J. P. Mallory and Douglas Q. Adams most of Western greater Iran spoke Southwestern Iranian languages in the Achaemenid era while the Eastern territory spoke Eastern Iranian languages related to Avestan.
In the words of Richard Nelson Frye, Only in modern times did western colonial intervention, as Patrick Clawson states, ethnic nationalism is largely a nineteenth century phenomenon, even if it is fashionable to retroactively extend it. Greater Iran however has more of a cultural super-state, rather than a political one to begin with. A detailed list of these follows in this article. Greater Iran is called Iranzamin which means The Land of Iran, Iranzamin was in the mythical times opposed to the Turanzamin the Land of Turan, which was located in the upper part of Central Asia. In the pre-Islamic period, Iranians distinguished two main regions in the territory they ruled, one Iran and the other Aniran, by Iran they meant all the regions inhabited by ancient Iranian peoples, this region was more extensive in the past
The Ilkhanate, spelled Il-khanate, was established as a khanate that formed the southwestern sector of the Mongol Empire, ruled by the Mongol House of Hulagu. It was founded in the 13th century and was based primarily in Iran as well as neighboring territories, such as present-day Azerbaijan and the central and eastern parts of present-day Turkey. The Ilkhanate was originally based on the campaigns of Genghis Khan in the Khwarazmian Empire in 1219–24 and was founded by Hulagu Khan, with the fragmentation of the Mongol Empire after 1259 it became a functionally separate khanate. At its greatest extent, the state expanded into territories that comprise most of Iran, Armenia, Georgia, Turkey, western Afghanistan. Later Ilkhanate rulers, beginning with Ghazan in 1295, would convert to Islam, according to the historian Rashid-al-Din Hamadani, Kublai Khan granted Hulagu the title of Ilkhan after his defeat of Ariq Böke. The term il-Khan means subordinate khan and refers to their initial deference to Möngke Khan, the title Ilkhan, borne by the descendants of Hulagu and other Borjigin princes in Persia, does not materialize in the sources until after 1260.
When Muhammad II of Khwarezm executed a contingent of merchants dispatched by the Mongols, the Mongols overran the empire, occupying the major cities and population centers between 1219 and 1221. Persian Iraq was ravaged by the Mongol detachment under Jebe and Subedei, Transoxiana came under Mongol control after the invasion. The undivided area west of the Transoxiana was the inheritance of Genghis Khans Borjigin family, the families of the latters four sons appointed their officials under the Great Khans governors, Chin-Temür, and Korguz, in that region. Muhammads son Jalal ad-Din Mingburnu returned to Iran in c.1224 after his exile in India, the rival Turkic states, which were all that remained of his fathers empire, quickly declared their allegiance to Jalal. He repulsed the first Mongol attempt to take Central Persia, Jalal ad-Din was overwhelmed and crushed by Chormaqans army sent by the Great Khan Ögedei in 1231. During the Mongol expedition and the southern Persian dynasties in Fars and Kerman voluntarily submitted to the Mongols, to the west and the rest of Persia was secured by Chormaqan.
The Mongols invaded Armenia and Georgia in 1234 or 1236, completing the conquest of the Kingdom of Georgia in 1238 and they began to attack the western parts of Greater Armenia, which was under the Seljuks, the following year. In 1236 Ögedei was commanded to raise up Khorassan and proceeded to populate Herat, the Mongol military governors mostly made camp in the Mughan plain in what is now Azerbaijan. Realizing the danger posed by the Mongols, the rulers of Mosul, Chormaqan divided the Transcaucasia region into three districts based on the Mongol military hierarchy. In Georgia, the population was divided into eight tumens. By 1237 the Mongol Empire had subjugated most of Persia, Georgia, as well as all of Afghanistan and Kashmir. After the battle of Köse Dağ in 1243, the Mongols under Baiju occupied Anatolia, while the Seljuk Sultanate of Rûm and the Empire of Trebizond became vassals of the Mongols
Xionites, Chionites, or Chionitae, or Hunni, Yun or Xūn, were probably an Iranian-speaking people who were prominent in Transoxania and Bactria. The Xionites are first mentioned with Kushans by Ammianus Marcellinus who spent the winter of 356-57 CE in their Balkh territory and they arrived with the wave of immigration from Central Asia into Iran in late antiquity. They were influenced by the Kushan and Bactrian cultures, while patronizing the Eastern Iranian languages and it is difficult to determine the ethnic composition of the Xionites. They followed their versions of Buddhism and Shaivism mixed with animism, the Xionites were a Hunnic people who by the early 4th century had mixed with north Iranian elements in Transoxiana, adopted the Kushan-Bactrian language, and threatened Persia. Xionite campaigns are better documented in connection with the history of Central Asia and they organised themselves into Northern Black, Kidarites or Southern Red, Eastern Blue, and Western Hephthalites or White hordes.
Artefacts found from the area they inhabited dating from their period indicate their totem animal seems to have been the deer, an inscription on the walls of the royal palace in Persepolis about Dariuss empire calls them Hunae. It appears that a combination of both the Battle of Ikh Bayan and Ban Chaos efforts are responsible for their first appearance in the West, according to the Armenian sources their capital was at Balkh. Their most famous rulers were called the Kidarites, at the end of the 4th century AD, a new wave of Hunnic tribes invaded Bactria, pushing the Kidarites into Gandhara. Alchon or Alχon became the new name of the Xionites in 460 when Khingila I united the Uar with the Xionites under his Hephthalite ruling élite, at the end of the 5th century the Alchon invaded northern India where they became known as the Huna. In India the Alchon were not distinguished from their immediate Hephthalite predecessors, perhaps complimenting this term, Procopius wrote that they were white skinned, had an organized kingship, and that their life was not wild/nomadic but that they lived in cities.
The Alchon were called Varkhon or Varkunites by Menander Protector literally referring to the Uar, around 630, Theophylact Simocatta wrote that the European Avars were initially composed of two nations, the Uar and the Hunnoi tribes. He wrote that. the Barsilt, the Unogurs and the Sabirs were struck with horror, and honoured the newcomers with brilliant gifts. When the Avars first arrived in their lands in 555AD, Alchon Huns refers to a tribe which minted coins in Bactria in the 5th and 6th centuries. They imitated the style of their Hephthalite predecessors, the Kidarite Hun successors to the Kushans. In particular the Alchon style imitates the coins of Kidarite Varhran I, in the Avestan tradition the Xiiaona were characterized as enemies of Vishtaspa, the patron of Zoroaster. In the Pahlavi tradition, the Red Huns and White Huns are mentioned, the Red Huns of the Pahlavi tradition have been identified by Harold Walter Bailey as the Kermichiones or Ermechiones. According to Bailey the Hara Huna of Indian sources are to be identified with the Karmir Xyon of the Avesta, similarly he identifies the Sveta Huna of Indian sources with the Spet Xyon of the Avesta.
Bailey argues that the name Xyon was transferred to the Huna owing to similarity of sound, the Armenian Patriarch John mentions an ancient town of Hunors foundation in the Utik region, suggesting a connection to the Utigur
The Umayyad Caliphate, spelled Omayyad, was the second of the four major caliphates established after the death of Muhammad. This caliphate was centred on the Umayyad dynasty, hailing from Mecca, Syria remained the Umayyads main power base thereafter, and Damascus was their capital. The Umayyads continued the Muslim conquests, incorporating the Caucasus, Sindh, the Maghreb and the Iberian Peninsula into the Muslim world. At its greatest extent, the Umayyad Caliphate covered 11,100,000 km2 and 62 million people, the Umayyad Caliphate was secular by nature. At the time, the Umayyad taxation and administrative practice were perceived as unjust by some Muslims, Muhammad had stated explicitly during his lifetime that Abrahamic religious groups, should be allowed to practice their own religion, provided that they paid the jizya taxation. The welfare state of both the Muslim and the poor started by Umar ibn al Khattab had continued, financed by the zakat tax levied only on Muslims. Muawiyas wife Maysum was a Christian, the relations between the Muslims and the Christians in the state were stable in this time.
Prominent positions were held by Christians, some of whom belonged to families that had served in Byzantine governments, the employment of Christians was part of a broader policy of religious assimilation that was necessitated by the presence of large Christian populations in the conquered provinces, as in Syria. This policy boosted Muawiyas popularity and solidified Syria as his power base, the rivalries between the Arab tribes had caused unrest in the provinces outside Syria, most notably in the Second Muslim Civil War of AD 680–692 and the Berber Revolt of 740–743. During the Second Civil War, leadership of the Umayyad clan shifted from the Sufyanid branch of the family to the Marwanid branch. A branch of the family fled across North Africa to Al-Andalus, where they established the Caliphate of Córdoba, according to tradition, the Umayyad family and Muhammad both descended from a common ancestor, Abd Manaf ibn Qusai, and they originally came from the city of Mecca. Muhammad descended from Abd Manāf via his son Hashim, while the Umayyads descended from Abd Manaf via a different son, Abd-Shams, the two families are therefore considered to be different clans of the same tribe.
However Muslim Shia historians suspect that Umayya was a son of Abd Shams so he was not a blood relative of Abd Manaf ibn Qusai. Umayya was discarded from the noble family, Sunni historians disagree with this and view Shia claims as nothing more than outright polemics due to their hostility to the Umayyad family in general. While the Umayyads and the Hashimites may have had bitterness between the two clans before Muhammad, the rivalry turned into a case of tribal animosity after the Battle of Badr. The battle saw three top leaders of the Umayyad clan killed by Hashimites in a three-on-three melee and this fueled the opposition of Abu Sufyan ibn Harb, the grandson of Umayya, to Muhammad and to Islam. Abu Sufyan sought to exterminate the adherents of the new religion by waging another battle with Muslims based in Medina only a year after the Battle of Badr and he did this to avenge the defeat at Badr. The Battle of Uhud is generally believed by scholars to be the first defeat for the Muslims, as they had incurred greater losses than the Meccans
The Ghurids or Ghorids were a dynasty of Eastern Iranian descent, from the Ghor region of present-day central Afghanistan. The dynasty converted to Sunni Islam from Buddhism, after the conquest of Ghor by the Ghaznavid emperor Mahmud of Ghazni in 1011, abu Ali ibn Muhammad was the first Muslim king of the Ghurid dynasty to construct mosques and Islamic schools in Ghor. The dynasty overthrew the Ghaznavid Empire in 1186, when Sultan Muizz ad-Din Muhammad of Ghor conquered the last Ghaznavid capital of Lahore, at their zenith, the Ghurid empire encompassed Khorasan in the west and reached northern India as far as Bengal in the east. Their first capital was Firozkoh in Mandesh, which was replaced by Herat, while Ghazni and Lahore were used as additional capitals. The Ghurids were patrons of Persian culture and heritage, the Ghurids were succeeded in Khorasan and Persia by the Khwarezmian dynasty, and in northern India by the Mamluk dynasty of the Delhi Sultanate. Instead, the consensus in modern scholarship holds that the dynasty was most likely of Tajik origin, bosworth further points out that the actual name of the Ghurid family, Āl-e Šansab, is the Arabic pronunciation of the originally Middle Persian name Wišnasp, hinting at a Persian origin.
The Ghuristan region remained primarily populated by Hindus and Buddhists till the 12th century and it was Islamised and gave rise to the Ghurids. The rise to power of the Ghurids at Ghur, an isolated area located in the mountain vastness between the Ghaznavid empire and the Seljukids, was an unusual and unexpected development. The area was so remote that till the 11th century, it had remained a Hindu enclave surrounded by Muslim principalities. It was converted to Islam in the part of the 12th century after Mahmud raided it. Even it is believed that paganism, i. e. a variety of Mahayana Buddhism persisted in the till the end of the century. The language of the Ghurids is subject to some controversy, what is known with certainty is that it was considerably different from the Persian used as literary language at the Ghaznavid court. Nevertheless, like the Samanids and Ghaznavids, the Ghurids were great patrons of Persian literature and culture, there is nothing to confirm the recent surmise that the Ghurids were Pashto-speaking, and there is no evidence that the inhabitants of Ghor were originally Pashto-speaking.
Contemporary book writers refer to them as the Persianized Ghurids, a certain Ghori prince named Amir Banji, was the ruler of Ghori and ancestor of the medieval Ghori rulers. His rule was legitimized by the Abbasid caliph Harun al-Rashid, before the mid-12th century, the Ghoris had been bound to the Ghaznavids and Seljuks for about 150 years. Beginning in the century, Ghor expressed its independence from the Ghaznavid Empire. In revenge, Sayf marched towards Ghazni and defeated Bahram-Shah, one year, Bahram returned and scored a decisive victory against Sayf, who was shortly captured and crucified at Pul-i Yak Taq. Baha al-Din Sam I, another brother of Sayf, set out to avenge the death of his two brothers, but died of natural causes before he could reach Ghazni
The Kushan Empire was a syncretic empire, formed by Yuezhi, in the Bactrian territories in the early 1st century. Emperor Kanishka was a patron of Buddhism, however, as Kushans expanded southward. The Kushans were one of five branches of the Yuezhi confederation, the Kushans possibly used the Greek language initially for administrative purposes, but soon began to use Bactrian language. Kanishka sent his armies north of the Karakoram mountains, capturing territories as far as Kashgar and Yarkant, in the Tarim Basin of modern-day Xinjiang, China. A direct road from Gandhara to China remained under Kushan control for more than a century, encouraging travel across the Karakoram, the Kushan dynasty had diplomatic contacts with the Roman Empire, Sasanian Persia, Aksumite Empire and Han China. The Kushan empire fragmented into semi-independent kingdoms in the 3rd century AD, in the 4th century, the Guptas, an Indian dynasty pressed from the east. The last of the Kushan and Sasanian kingdoms were overwhelmed by invaders from the north.
Historian H. G. Rawlinson states that the Kushana Period is a prelude to the age of Guptas. Chinese sources describe the Guishuang, i. e, as the historian John E. Hill has put it, For well over a century. There have been arguments about the ethnic and linguistic origins of the Da Yuezhi and the Tochari. The five tribes constituting the Yuezhi are known in Chinese history as Xiūmì, Guìshuāng, Shuāngmǐ, Xìdùn, the Yuezhi reached the Hellenic kingdom of Greco-Bactria around 135 BC. The displaced Greek dynasties resettled to the southeast in areas of the Hindu Kush, some traces remain of the presence of the Kushans in the area of Bactria and Sogdiana. Archaeological structures are known in Takht-I-Sangin, Surkh Kotal, and in the palace of Khalchayan, various sculptures and friezes are known, representing horse-riding archers, and significantly men with artificially deformed skulls, such as the Kushan prince of Khalchayan. The Chinese first referred to people as the Yuezhi and said they established the Kushan Empire.
On the ruins of ancient Hellenistic cities such as Ai-Khanoum, the Kushans are known to have built fortresses, the earliest documented ruler, and the first one to proclaim himself as a Kushan ruler, was Heraios. He calls himself a tyrant on his coins, and exhibits skull deformation and he may have been an ally of the Greeks, and he shared the same style of coinage. Heraios may have been the father of the first Kushan emperor Kujula Kadphises, Ban Gus Book of Han tells us the Kushans divided up Bactria in 128 BC. He invaded Anxi, and took the Gaofu region and he defeated the whole of the kingdoms of Puda and Jibin
The Samanid Empire, known as the Samanid dynasty, Samanid Emirate, or simply Samanids, was a Sunni Iranian empire, ruling from 819 to 999. The Samanid state was founded by four brothers, Ahmad, Yahya, in 892, Ismail ibn Ahmad united the Samanid state under one ruler, thus effectively putting an end to the feudal system used by the Samanids. It was under him that the Samanids became independent of Abbasid authority, the Samanid Empire is part of the Iranian Intermezzo, which saw the creation of a Persianate culture and identity that brought Iranian speech and traditions into the fold of the Islamic world. This would lead to the formation of the Turko-Persian culture, the Samanids promoted the arts, giving rise to the advancement of science and literature, and thus attracted scholars such as Rudaki and Avicenna. While under Samanid control, Bukhara was a rival to Baghdad in its glory, scholars note that the Samanids revived Persian more than the Buyids and the Saffarids, while continuing to patronize Arabic to a smaller degree.
In a famous edict, Samanid authorities declared that here, in region, the language is Persian. The eponymous ancestor of the Samanid dynasty was Saman Khuda, a Persian noble who belonged to a dehqan family, the latter is more probable since the earliest appearance of the Samanid family appears to be in Khorasan rather than Transoxiana. Originally a Zoroastrian, Saman Khuda converted to Islam during the governorship of Asad ibn Abdallah al-Qasri in Khorasan and this marked the beginning of the Samanid dynasty. He was defeated at a battle near Pushang in 857, and fled to Nishapur, the Tahirids thereafter assumed direct control over Herat. In 839/40, Nuh seized Isfijab from the nomadic pagan Turks living in the steppe and he thereafter had a wall constructed around the city to protect it from their attacks. He died in 841/2—his two brothers Yahya and Ahmad, were appointed as the joint rulers of the city by the Tahirid governor of Khorasan. After Yahyas death in 855, Ahmad took control over Shash and he died in 864/5, his son Nasr I received Farghana and Samarkand, while his other son Yaqub received Shash.
Nasr I used this opportunity to strengthen his authority by sending his brother Ismail to Bukhara, when Ismail reached the city, he was warmly received by its inhabitants, who saw him as one who could restore order. Although the Bukhar Khudahs continued to rule in Bukhara for a few more years. After not so long, disagreement over where tax money should be distributed, started a conflict between the brothers, Ismail was eventually victorious in the dynastic struggle, and took control of the Samanid state. However, Nasr had been the one who had invested with Transoxiana. Because of this, Ismail continued to recognize his brother as well, but Nasr was completely powerless and he thereafter forced the Abbasid caliph to recognize him as the ruler of those territories, which they did. In the spring of 900, he clashed with Ismail near Balkh, Ismail thereafter sent him Baghdad, where he was executed
Seleucus received Babylonia and, from there, expanded his dominions to include much of Alexanders near eastern territories. At the height of its power, it included central Anatolia, the Levant and what is now Kuwait and parts of Pakistan and Turkmenistan. The Seleucid Empire was a center of Hellenistic culture that maintained the preeminence of Greek customs where a Greek political elite dominated. The Greek population of the cities who formed the dominant elite were reinforced by immigration from Greece, Seleucid expansion into Anatolia and Greece was abruptly halted after decisive defeats at the hands of the Roman army. Their attempts to defeat their old enemy Ptolemaic Egypt were frustrated by Roman demands, contemporary sources, such as a loyalist degree from Ilium, in Greek language define the Seleucid state both as an empire and as a kingdom. Similarly, Seleucid rulers were described as kings in Babylonia and he refers to either Alexander Balas or Alexander II Zabinas as a ruler. Alexander, who conquered the Persian Empire under its last Achaemenid dynast, Darius III, died young in 323 BC.
Alexanders generals jostled for supremacy over parts of his empire, Ptolemy, a former general and the satrap of Egypt, was the first to challenge the new system, this led to the demise of Perdiccas. Ptolemys revolt led to a new subdivision of the empire with the Partition of Triparadisus in 320 BC, who had been Commander-in-Chief of the Companion cavalry and appointed first or court chiliarch received Babylonia and, from that point, continued to expand his dominions ruthlessly. Seleucus established himself in Babylon in 312 BC, the used as the foundation date of the Seleucid Empire. The whole region from Phrygia to the Indus was subject to Seleucus, but Seleucus Nicator gave them to Sandrocottus in consequence of a marriage contract, and received in return five hundred elephants. Following his and Lysimachus victory over Antigonus Monophthalmus at the decisive Battle of Ipsus in 301 BC, Seleucus took control over eastern Anatolia, in the latter area, he founded a new capital at Antioch on the Orontes, a city he named after his father.
An alternative capital was established at Seleucia on the Tigris, north of Babylon, Seleucuss empire reached its greatest extent following his defeat of his erstwhile ally, Lysimachus, at Corupedion in 281 BC, after which Seleucus expanded his control to encompass western Anatolia. He hoped further to take control of Lysimachuss lands in Europe – primarily Thrace and even Macedonia itself, even before Seleucus death, it was difficult to assert control over the vast eastern domains of the Seleucids. Seleucus invaded the Punjab region of India in 305 BC, confronting Chandragupta Maurya and it is said that Chandragupta fielded an army of 600,000 men and 9,000 war elephants. Archaeologically, concrete indications of Mauryan rule, such as the inscriptions of the Edicts of Ashoka, are known as far as Kandahar in southern Afghanistan and it is generally thought that Chandragupta married Seleucuss daughter, or a Macedonian princess, a gift from Seleucus to formalize an alliance. In a return gesture, Chandragupta sent 500 war elephants, an asset which would play a decisive role at the Battle of Ipsus in 301 BC.
In addition to this treaty, Seleucus dispatched an ambassador, Megasthenes, to Chandragupta, Megasthenes wrote detailed descriptions of India and Chandraguptas reign, which have been partly preserved to us through Diodorus Siculus
The Maurya Empire was a geographically extensive Iron Age historical power founded by Chandragupta Maurya which dominated ancient India between c. 322 and 187 BCE. Originating from the kingdom of Magadha in the Indo-Gangetic Plain in the side of the Indian subcontinent. The empire was the largest to have existed in the Indian subcontinent. By 316 BCE the empire had fully occupied Northwestern India and conquering the satraps left by Alexander, Chandragupta defeated the invasion led by Seleucus I, a Macedonian general from Alexanders army, gaining additional territory west of the Indus River. The Maurya Empire was one of the largest empires of the world in its time and it declined for about 50 years after Ashokas rule ended, and it dissolved in 185 BCE with the foundation of the Shunga dynasty in Magadha. After the Kalinga War, the Empire experienced nearly half a century of peace, Mauryan India enjoyed an era of social harmony, religious transformation, and expansion of the sciences and of knowledge.
Ashoka sponsored the spreading of Buddhist ideals into Sri Lanka, Southeast Asia, West Asia, the population of the empire has been estimated to be about 50–60 million, making the Mauryan Empire one of the most populous empires of Antiquity. Archaeologically, the period of Mauryan rule in South Asia falls into the era of Northern Black Polished Ware, the Arthashastra and the Edicts of Ashoka are the primary sources of written records of Mauryan times. The Lion Capital of Ashoka at Sarnath has been made the national emblem of India, the Maurya Empire was founded by Chandragupta Maurya, with help from Chanakya, at Takshashila. Chanakya swore revenge and vowed to destroy the Nanda Empire, the conquering armies of Alexander the Great refused to cross the Beas River and advance further eastward, deterred by the prospect of battling Magadha. Alexander returned to Babylon and re-deployed most of his troops west of the Indus River, soon after Alexander died in Babylon in 323 BCE, his empire fragmented, and local kings declared their independence, leaving several smaller disunited satraps.
Chandragupta Mauryas rise to power is shrouded in mystery and controversy, on one hand, a number of ancient Indian accounts, such as the drama Mudrarakshasa by Vishakhadatta, describe his royal ancestry and even link him with the Nanda family. A kshatriya clan known as the Mauryas are referred to in the earliest Buddhist texts, any conclusions are hard to make without further historical evidence. Chandragupta first emerges in Greek accounts as Sandrokottos, as a young man he is said to have met Alexander. He is said to have met the Nanda king, angered him, Chanakyas original intentions were to train a guerilla army under Chandraguptas command. The Mudrarakshasa of Vishakhadatta as well as the Jaina work Parishishtaparvan talk of Chandraguptas alliance with the Himalayan king Parvatka, Chanakya encouraged Chandragupta Maurya and his army to take over the throne of Magadha. These men included the general of Taxila, accomplished students of Chanakya, the representative of King Porus of Kakayee, his son Malayketu.
The Macedonians may have participated, together with other groups, the Mudrarakshasa of Visakhadutta as well as the Jaina work Parisishtaparvan talk of Chandraguptas alliance with the Himalayan king Parvatka, often identified with Porus
For most of their history, the leading Gondopharid kings held Taxila as their residence, but during their last few years of existence the capital shifted between Kabul and Peshawar. Gondophares I originally seems to have been a ruler of Seistan in what is today eastern Iran, around 20–10 BCE, he made conquests in the former Indo-Scythian kingdom, perhaps after the death of the important ruler Azes. Gondophares became the ruler of areas comprising Arachosia, Sindh and the Kabul valley and these smaller dynasts included the Apracarajas themselves, and Indo-Scythian satraps such as Zeionises and Rajuvula, as well as anonymous Scythians who struck imitations of Azes coins. The Ksaharatas held sway in Gujarat, perhaps just outside Gondophares dominions, after the death of Gondophares I, the empire started to fragment. The name or title Gondophares was adapted by Sarpedones, who become Gondophares II and was son of the first Gondophares. Even though he claimed to be the ruler, Sarpedones’ rule was shaky and he issued a fragmented coinage in Sind, eastern Punjab.
The most important successor was Abdagases, Gondophares’ nephew, who ruled in Punjab, after a short reign, Sarpedones seems to have been succeeded by Orthagnes, who became Gondophares III Gadana. Orthagnes ruled mostly in Seistan and Arachosia, with Abdagases further east, during the first decades AD, after 20 AD, a king named Sases, a nephew of the Apracaraja ruler Aspavarma, took over Abdagases’ territories and became Gondophares IV Sases. According to Senior, this is the Gondophares referred to in the Takht-i-Bahi inscription, the last king Pacores only ruled in Seistan and Kandahar. The city of Taxila is thought to have been a capital of the Indo-Parthians, large strata were excavated by Sir John Marshall with a quantity of Parthian-style artifacts. The nearby temple of Jandial is usually interpreted as a Zoroastrian fire temple from the period of the Indo-Parthians, if the account is even historical, Saint Thomas may have encountered one of the kings who bore the same title. The Greek philosopher Apollonius of Tyana is related by Philostratus in Life of Apollonius Tyana to have visited India, the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea is a surviving 1st century guide to the routes commonly being used for navigating the Arabian Sea.
Before it there lies a small island, and inland behind it is the metropolis of Scythia, Minnagara, it is subject to Parthian princes who are constantly driving each other out. Periplus of the Erythraean Sea, Chap 38 An inscription from Takht-i-Bahi bears two dates, one in the regnal year 26 of the Maharaja Guduvhara, and the year 103 of an unknown era and they are thought to have retained Zoroastrianism, being of Iranian extraction themselves. This Iranian mythological system was inherited from them by the Kushans who ruled from the Peshawar-Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa region of Pakistan, on their coins and in the art of Gandhara, Indo-Parthians are depicted with short crossover jackets and large baggy trousers, possibly supplemented by chap-like over-trousers. Their jackets are adorned with rows of decorative rings or medals and their hair is usually bushy and contained with a headband, a practise largely adopted by the Parthians from the 1st century CE. Individuals in Indo-Parthian attire are sometimes shown as actors in Buddhist devotional scenes and these archaeological researches provided a quantity of Hellenistic artifacts combined with elements of Buddhist worship.
Some other temples, such as nearby Jandial may have used as a Zoroastrian fire temple
They are split into two eras the Buddhist-Shahis and the Hindu-Shahis with the change-over occurring around 870. These Hindu kings of Kabul and Gandhara may have had links to some ruling families in neighboring Kashmir, the last Shahi emperors Jayapala and Tirlochanpala fought the Muslim Turk Ghaznavids of Ghazna and were gradually defeated. Their remaining army were eventually exiled into northern India, Xuanzang describes the ruler of Kapisa/Kabul, whom he had personally met, as a devout Buddhist and a Kshatriya. Thus the folklore accounts recorded by Alberuni connect the earlier Shahis of Kabul/Kapisa to Turkish extraction, at the same time it is claimed that their first king Barahatigin had originally come from Tibet and concealed in a narrow cave in Kabul area. One can easily see the account of Shahi origin as totally fanciful. The allegation that the first dynasty of Kabul was Turki is plainly based on the vulgar tradition, which Alberuni himself remarked was clearly absurd. The historian V. A.
Smith speculates – based on Alberuni – that the earlier Shahis were a branch of the Kushanas who ruled both over Kabul and Gandhara until the rise of the Saffarids. H. M. Elliot relates the early Kabul Shahis to the Kators, charles Frederick Oldham traces the Kabul Shahi lineage to the Kators—whom he identifies with the Kathas or Takkhas—Naga worshipping collective groups of Hinduism lineage. He further speaks of the Urasas, Daradas, Kambojas, pandey traces the affinities of the early Kabul Shahis to the Hunas. Other accounts suggest Punjabi Kshatriya origins for the Shahi dynasty, Xuanzang clearly describes the ruler of Kapisa/Kabul, whom he had personally met, as a devout Buddhist and a Kshatriya and not a Tu-kiue/Tu-kue. Neither the Kushanas, the Hunas/Hephthalites nor the Turks have ever been designated or classified as Kshatriyas in any ancient Indian tradition, the identification of the first line of Shahi kings of Kapisa/Kabul with the Kushanas, Hunas, or Turks obviously seems to be in gross error.
It is very interesting that Alberuni calls the early Shahi rulers Turks, the Shahi rulers of Kapisa/Kabul who ruled Afghanistan from the early 4th century till AD870 were Hindu Kamboj Kshatriyas. The Shahis of Afghanistan were discovered in 1874 to be connected to the Kamboja race by E. Vesey Westmacott, E. Vesey Westmacott, Bishan Singh, K. S. Dardi, et al. connect the Kabul Shahis to the ancient Indian Kshatriya clans of the Kambojas/Gandharas. George Scott Robertson writes that the Kators/Katirs of Kafiristan belong to the well known Siyaposh tribal group of the Kams, but numerous scholars now agree that the Siyaposh tribes of Hindukush are the modern representatives of the ancient Iranian cis-Hindukush Kambojas. The name of the last king of the so-called first Shahi line of Kabul/Kapisa simply reveals a trace of Tukhara cultural influence in the Kamboja region, as hinted in the above discussion. Thus, the first ruling dynasty of Kapisa and Kabul, designated as a Kshatriya dynasty by Xuanzang had been a Kamboja dynasty from India, the Kambojas and the Tukharas are mentioned as immediate neighbors in north-west as late as the 8th century AD as Rajatarangini of Kalhana demonstrates.
Evidence exists that some medieval Muslim writers have confused the Kamboja clans of Pamirs/Hindukush with the Turks, for example, 10th-century Arab geographer Al-Muqaddasi, refers to the Kumiji tribesmen of Buttaman mountains, on upper Oxus, and calls them of Turkic race. Song Yun, the Chinese Ambassador to the Huna kingdom of Gandhara, the Yetha ruler was extremely cruel and anti-Buddhist and had engaged in a three years border war with the king of Ki-pin, disputing the boundaries of that country