The Alchon Huns known as the Alchono, Alkhon, Alkhan and Walxon, were a nomadic people who established states in Central Asia and South Asia during the 4th and 6th centuries CE. They were first mentioned as being located in Paropamisus, expanded south-east, into the Punjab and central India, as far as Eran and Kausambi; the Alchon invasion of the Indian subcontinent contributed to the fall of the Gupta Empire. The invasion of India by the Huna peoples follows invasions of the subcontinent in the preceding centuries by the Yavana, the Saka, the Palava, the Kushana; the Alchon Empire was the third of four major Huna states established in South Asia. The Alchon were preceded by the Kidarites and the Hephthalites, succeeded by the Nezak Huns; the names of the Alchon kings are known from their extensive coinage, Buddhist accounts, a number of commemorative inscriptions throughout the Indian subcontinent. To contemporaneous observers in India, the Alchon were one of the Hūṇa peoples, whose origins are controversial.
A seal from Kausambi associated with Toramana, bears the title Hūnarāja. The Hunas appear to have been the peoples known in contemporaneous Iranian sources as Xwn and similar names, which were Romanised as Xionites or Chionites; the Hunas are linked to the Huns that invaded Europe from Central Asia during the same period. The word Hun has three different meanings, depending on the context in which it is used: 1) the Huns of Europe; the Alchon have been labelled "Huns", with the second meaning, as well as elements of the third. The name "Alchon" given to them comes from the Bactrian legend of their early coinage, where they imitated Sassanian coins to which they added the name "alchono" in Bactrian script and the tamgha symbol of their clan. Several original coins such as those of Khingila bear the mention "alchono" together with the Tamgha symbol. Philologically, "alchono" may be a combination of al- for Aryan and -xono for Huns, although this remains hypothetical. Another ethymology could be al-, Turkish for scarlet, -xono for Huns, meaning "Red Huns", red being a symbol of the south among steppe nomads.
Early confrontations between the Sasanian Empire of Shapur II with the nomadic hordes from Central Asia called the "Chionites" were described by Ammianus Marcellinus: he reports that in 356 CE, Shapur II was taking his winter quarters on his eastern borders, "repelling the hostilities of the bordering tribes" of the Chionites and the Euseni making a treaty of alliance with the Chionites and the Gelani, "the most warlike and indefatigable of all tribes", in 358 CE. After concluding this alliance, the Chionites under their King Grumbates accompanied Shapur II in the war against the Romans at the Siege of Amida in 359 CE. Victories of the Xionites during their campaigns in the Eastern Caspian lands were witnesses and described by Ammianus Marcellinus. Around 370 CE, still during the reign of Shapur II, the Sasanian Empire and the Kushano-Sasanians lost the control of Bactria to these invaders from Central Asia, first the Kidarites the Hephthalites and the Alchon Huns, who would follow up with the invasion of India.
The Alchon Huns emerged in Kapisa around 380, taking over Kabulistan from the Sassanian Persians, at the same time the Kidarites ruled in Bactria and Ghandara. They are said to have taken control of Kabul in 388; the Alchon Huns issued anonymous coins based on Sasanian designs. Several types of these coins are known minted in Bactria, using Sasanian coinage designs with busts imitating Sasanian kings Shapur II and Shapur III, adding the Alchon Tamgha and the name "Alchono" in Bactrian script on the obverse, with attendants to a fire altar, a standard Sasanian design, on the reverse. Around 430 King Khingila, the most notable Alchon ruler, the first one to be named and represented on his coins and took control of the routes across the Hindu Kush from the Kidarites; as the Alchons took control, diplomatic missions were established in 457 with China. In 460, the Alchons conquered Taxila. Between 460 and 470 CE, as they took over Gandhara and the Punjab, they undertook the mass destruction of Buddhist monasteries and stupas at Taxila, a high center of learning, which never recovered from the destruction.
It is thought that the Kanishka stupa, one of the most famous and tallest buildings in antiquity, was destroyed by them during their invasion of the area in the 460s CE. The rest of the 5th century marks a period of territorial expansion and eponymous kings, several of which appear to have overlapped and ruled jointly. In the First Hunnic War, the Alchon reached their maximum territorial extent, with King Toramana pushing deep into Indian territory, reaching Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh in Central India, contributing to the downfall of the Gupta Empire. To the south, the Sanjeli inscriptions indicate that Toramana penetrated at least as far as northern Gujarat, to the port of Bharukaccha. To the east, far into Central India, the city of Kausambi, where seals with Toramana's name were found, was sacked by the Alkhons in 497–500, before they moved to occupy Malwa. In p
Xionites, Chionites, or Chionitae are Romanisations of the ethnonym of a nomadic people who were prominent in Transoxania and Iran during the 4th and 7th centuries CE. The Xionites appear to be synonymous with the Huna peoples of classical/medieval India, also the Huns of European late antiquity, it is unclear whether the Xionites were connected to a people named in Ancient China as the Xunyu, Xianyun 猃狁 and Xiongnu. They were first described by the Roman historian, Ammianus Marcellinus, in Bactria during 356-57 CE. Ammianus indicates that the Xionites had lived in Transoxiana and, after entering Bactria, became vassals of the Kushans, were influenced culturally by them and had adopted the Bactrian language, they had attacked the Sassanid Empire, but served as mercenaries in the Sassanian army. Within the Xionites, there seem to have been two main subgroups, which were known in the Iranian languages by names such as Karmir Xyon and Spet Xyon; the prefixes karmir and speta refer to Central Asian traditions in which particular colours symbolised the cardinal points.
The Karmir Xyon were known in European sources as the Kermichiones or "Red Huns", some scholars have identified them with the Kidarites and/or Alchon. The Spet Xyon or "White Huns" appear to have been the known in India by the cognate name Sveta-huna, are identified, with the Hephtalites; the original culture of the Xionites and their geographical urheimat are uncertain. They appear to have followed animist religious beliefs, which mixed with varieties of Buddhism and Shaivism, it is difficult to determine their ethnic composition. Ancient Greek and Roman sources, such as Simocatta and Priscus, appear to distinguish between the Xionites and the Hephthalites. However, some modern scholars, such as Richard Nelson Frye, believe that the Hepthalites were a prominent subgroup of Xionites; the theory that the Xionites were a proto-Turkic or para-Turkic people was expressed by Sir Harold Walter Bailey. Bailey wrote that the "Xyon" mentioned in "Pahlavi and Avestan texts... would appear to be... an enemy of the Iranian people in Avestan times, transferred to the Huns owing to similarity of sound, as Tur was adapted to Turk in Pahlavi".
Bailey suggested that "three divisions" of the "Xyon... seem to be recognized", namely "the Turks, the Karmir Xyon, the White Xyon."Differences between the Xionites, the Huns who invaded Europe in the 4th century, the Turks were emphasised by Carlile Aylmer Macartney, who suggested that the name "Chyon" that of an unrelated people, was "transferred to the Huns owing to the similarity of sound". The Chyon who appeared in the 4th century, in the steppes on the northeastern frontier of Persia were a branch of the Huns that appeared shortly afterwards in Europe; the Huns appear to have attacked and conquered the Alans living between the Urals and the Volga about 360 AD, the first mention of the Chyon was in 356 AD. Macartney considered that the name Chyon was "replaced by that of the... Kidarite Huns". Macartney considered the question of the identity of the Karmir Xyon or Kermichiones, saying that that they could not have been "the true Turks" (the Gokturks, who appear to have entered history on the western steppe, when "their embassy reached Constantinople... in 568".
Macartney adds that the Khagan of the Turks at the time was Silzabul, Dizabul or Istämi, but the ruler of the Karmir Xyon was Askílt. "Neither can they have been the Juan Juan... nor the Epthalites, who were well known to the Byzantines and would not have been described in this way. Moreover, the Epthalites were known as White Huns, and... Karmir Xyon, meaning Red Chyon, occurs in a Pahlavi text in juxtaposition with Spet Xyon, White Chyon". At least some Turkic tribes were involved in the formation of the Xionites, despite their character as an Eastern Iranian people, according to Richard Nelson Frye: "Just as nomadic empires were confederations of many peoples, we may tentatively propose that the ruling groups of these invaders were, or at least included, Turkic-speaking tribesmen from the east and north, although most the bulk of the people in the confederation of Chionites... spoke an Iranian language.... This was the last time in the history of Central Asia; the proposition that the Xionites originated as an Iranian tribe was put forward by Wolfgang Felix in Encyclopedia Iranica.
In 2005, AS Shahbazi suggested that they were a Hunnish people who had mixed with Iranian tribes in Transoxiana and Bactria, where they adopted the Kushan-Bactrian language. The Xionites may have originated as a confederation of Proto-Turkic and/or Proto-Mongolian tribes that collectively adopted Eastern Iranian languages and cultural practices, according to Peter B. Golden; the defeat of the Xiongnu in 89 CE by Chinese forces at the Battle of Ikh Bayan and subsequent Chinese campaigns against them, led by Ban Chao may have been a factor in the ethnogenesis of the Xionites and t
The Nezak Huns were one of the four groups of Huna people in the area of the Hindu Kush. The Nezak kings, with their characteristic gold bull's - head crown, ruled from Kapisa. While their history is obscured, the Nezak's left significant coinage documenting their polity's prosperity, they are called Nezak because of the inscriptions on their coins, which bear the mention "Nezak Shah". They were the last of the four major "Hunic" states known collectively as Xionites or "Hunas", their predecessors being, in chronological order, the Kidarites, the Hephthalites, the Alchon; the term'Hun' may cause confusion. The word has three basic meanings: 1) the Huns proper, that is, Attila's people. Here the word has the second meaning with elements of the third; the Nezaks enter the historical record in the late 5th century, with their minting of coins in Ghazni, controlled by the Sassanian Persians, the Indo-Sasanians. Their emergence may have been a consequence of the weakening of Persian influence in the region after the defeat of the Persian king Peroz by the Hephthalites, in Bactria in 484 CE.
From that point, the Nezaks consolidated their power in Zabulistan and in the 6th century expanded into Kabulistan, deposing the Alchon Huns from Kapisa. Nezak coins with the bull's crown appear well into the 8th century, at which time it appears that a confederacy emerges between the Nezaks and the Alchons against Turkic invaders. Around the middle of the 6th century CE, the Alchons, after having extensively invaded the heartland of India, had withdrawn from Kashmir and Gandhara, going back west across the Khyber pass they resettled in Kabulistan. There, their coinage suggests; the Nezak-Alchons were replaced by the Turk shahi dynasty, first in Zabulistan and in Kabulistan. The last Nezak king known by name was Ghar-ilchi, confirmed by the Chinese emperor. Between 661 and 665, Chinese and Arab sources indicate. Having lost Ghazni and Kabul, the Nezak dynasty declined as indicated by the progressive elimination of Nezak symbols from the historical coin record. Napki Malka. Shri Shahi, circa 560-620 CE.
Ghar-ilchi, 653-665 Xionites Kidarites Hephthalites Alchon Huns Iranian Huns http://pro.geo.univie.ac.at/projects/khm/showcases/showcase11?language=en http://grifterrec.rasmir.com/huns/huns2.html
The Hephthalites were a people of Central Asia who were militarily important circa 450–560. They were based in Bactria and expanded east to the Tarim Basin, west to Sogdia and south through Afghanistan to northern India, they included both nomadic and settled urban communities. They were part of the four major states known collectively as Xyon or Huna, being preceded by the Kidarites, succeeded by the Alkhon and lastly the Nezak. All of these peoples have been linked to the Huns who invaded Eastern Europe during the same period, and/or have been referred to as "Huns", but there is no consensus among scholars about such a connection; the Sveta Huna who invaded northern India are the Hephthalites, but the exact relation is not clear. The stronghold of the Hephthalites was Tokharistan on the northern slopes of the Hindu Kush, in what is present-day northeastern Afghanistan. By 479, the Hephthalites had conquered Sogdia and driven the Kidarites westwards, by 493 they had captured parts of present-day Dzungaria and the Tarim Basin in what is now Northwest China.
They expanded into northwestern India as well. The sources for Hephthalite history are poor and historians' opinions differ. There is no king-list and historians are not sure how they arose or what language they spoke, they seem to have called themselves Ebodalo abbreviated Eb, a name they wrote in the Bactrian script on some of their coins. The origin of the name "Hephthalites" is unknown from either a Khotanese word *Hitala meaning "Strong" or from postulated Middle Persian *haft āl "the Seven"; the Hephthalites formed in Bactria around 450, or sometime before. In 442 their tribes were fighting the Persians. Around 451 they pushed southeast to Gandhara. In 456 a Hephthalite embassy arrived in China. By 458 they were strong enough to intervene in Persia. Around 466 they took Transoxianan lands from the Kidarites with Persian help but soon took from Persia the area of Balkh and eastern Kushanshahr. In the second half of the fifth century they controlled the deserts of Turkmenistan as far as the Caspian Sea and Merv.
By 500 they held parts of Afghanistan. In the late fifth century they took the western Tarim Basin and in 479 they took the east end. In 497–509, they pushed north of Turfan to the Urumchi region. In 509 they took'Sughd'. Around 557 their empire was destroyed by an alliance of the Göktürks and the Sasanians, but some of them remained as local rulers in the Afghan region for the next 150 years; the most reliable information comes from Persian sources: from 442, Yazdegerd II fought'tribes of the Hephthalites', according to the Armenian Elisee Vardaped. In 453, Yazdegerd moved his court east to deal with related groups. Support of Peroz I warIn 458, a Hephthalite king called Khushnavaz helped Sasanian Emperor Peroz I gain the Persian throne from his brother; the Hephthalites may have helped the Sasanians eliminate another Hunnic tribe, the Kidarites: by 467, Peroz I, with Hephthalite aid managed to capture Balaam and put an end to Kidarite rule in Transoxiana once and for all. The Kidarites, had to take refuge in the area of Gandhara.
However, Peroz I fought three wars with his former allies the Hephthalites. In the first two he was ransomed himself. In the third, at the Battle of Herat, he was killed, for the next two years the Hephthalites plundered parts of Persia. With the Sasanian Empire paying tribute to the Hephthalites, from 474, the Hephthalites themselves adopted the winged, triple-crescent crown of Peroz I to crown their effigy in their own coinage, they thus expressed symbolically. Support of Kavadh IFrom 484 until the middle of the sixth century, Persia paid tribute to the Hephthalites. In 488, Kavadh I made himself king of Persia with Hephthalite help.. In 496–498, he was overthrown by the nobles and clergy and restored himself with a Hephthalite army. Hephthalite troops helped Kavadh at a siege of Edessa; the period c. 498–555 is blank in the standard English sources. In 552, the Göktürks took over Mongolia, by 558 reached the Volga. By 581 or before, the western part became the Western Turkic Khaganate. Circa 555–567, the Turks and the Persians allied against the Hephthalites and defeated them after an eight-day battle near Qarshi, the Battle of Bukhara in 557.
The allies fought each other and c. 571 drew a border along the Oxus. After the battle, the Hephthalites withdrew to Bactria and replaced king Gatfar with Faghanish, the ruler of Chaghaniyan. What happened in the Tarim Basin is not clear. Circa 600, the Hephthalites were raiding the Sasanian Empire as far as Spahan in central Iran; the Hephthalites issued numerous coins imitating the coinage of Khosrow II, adding on the obverse a Hephthalite signature in Sogdian and Tamgha symbol. In ca. 606/607, Khosrow recalled Smbat IV Bagratuni from Persian Armenia and sent him to Iran to repel the Hephthalites. Smbat, with the aid of a Persian prince named Datoyean, repelled the Hephthalites from Persia, plundered their domains in eastern Khorasan, where Smbat is said to have killed their king in single combat. Khosrow gave Smbat the honorific title Khosrow Shun, while his son Varaztirots II Bagratuni received the honorific name Javitean Khosrow. Small Hephthalite states remained, paying tribute either to the Persians.
They are reported in the Zarafshan valley, Chaghani
The Gupta Empire was an ancient Indian empire existing from the mid-to-late 3rd century CE to 543 CE. At its zenith, from 319 to 543 CE, it covered much of the Indian subcontinent; this period is called the Golden Age of India by some historians. The ruling dynasty of the empire was founded by the king Sri Gupta; the 5th-century CE Sanskrit poet Kalidasa credits the Guptas with having conquered about twenty-one kingdoms, both in and outside India, including the kingdoms of Parasikas, the Hunas, the Kambojas, tribes located in the west and east Oxus valleys, the Kinnaras and others. The high points of this period are the great cultural developments which took place during the reigns of Samudragupta I, Chandragupta II and Kumaragupta I. Many of the literary sources, such as Mahabharata and Ramayana, were canonised during this period; the Gupta period produced scholars such as Kalidasa, Aryabhata and Vatsyayana who made great advancements in many academic fields. Science and political administration reached new heights during the Gupta era.
The period gave rise to achievements in architecture and painting that "set standards of form and taste determined the whole subsequent course of art, not only in India but far beyond her borders". Strong trade ties made the region an important cultural centre and established the region as a base that would influence nearby kingdoms and regions in Burma, Sri Lanka, Southeast Asia; the Puranas, earlier long poems on a variety of subjects, are thought to have been committed to written texts around this period. The empire died out because of many factors such as substantial loss of territory and imperial authority caused by their own erstwhile feudatories, as well as the invasion by the Huna peoples from Central Asia. After the collapse of the Gupta Empire in the 6th century, India was again ruled by numerous regional kingdoms. Many theories debating the homeland of the early Guptas were put forth by scholars and it was assumed to be uncertain. According to one theory, they originated in the present-day eastern Uttar Pradesh, where most of the inscriptions and coins of the early Gupta kings have been discovered.
The proponents of this theory argue that according to the Puranas, the territory of the early Gupta kings included Prayaga and other areas in the Ganges basin. Another prominent theory locates the Gupta homeland in the present-day Bengal region, based on the account of the 7th century Chinese Buddhist monk Yijing. According to Yijing, king Che-li-ki-to built a temple for Chinese pilgrims near Mi-li-kia-si-kia-po-no. Yijing states that this temple was located more than 40 yojanas east of Nalanda, which would mean it was situated somewhere in the modern Bengal region. Another proposal is that the early Gupta kingdom extended from Prayaga in the west to northern Bengal in the east.. Latest research confirms that the Gupta Empire originated in the Kannauj district of U. P; the earliest gold coins of the King and Queen on Couch Type are only found in this district. The Gupta records do not mention the dynasty's varna; some historians, such as A. S. Altekar, have theorized that they were of Vaishya origin, as some ancient Indian texts prescribe the name "Gupta" for the members of the Vaishya varna.
Critics of this theory point out that the suffix Gupta features in the names of several non-Vaishyas before as well as during the Gupta period, the dynastic name "Gupta" may have derived from the name of the family's first king Gupta. Some scholars, such as S. R. Goyal, theorize that the Guptas were Brahmanas, because they had matrimonial relations with Brahmanas, but others reject this evidence as inconclusive. Based on the Pune and Riddhapur inscriptions of the Gupta princess Prabhavati-gupta, some scholars believe that the name of her paternal gotra was "Dharana", but an alternative reading of these inscriptions suggests that Dharana was the gotra of her mother Kuberanaga.. Dr. Chhabra pointed to the presence of the crescent standard on these early Gupta coins as an indication that the Gupta kings may have been Chandravamśa Kshatriya — who traced their origins from the moon or Soma or Chandra; the Gupta royal inscriptions do not list any caste affiliations for the Gupta kings, however on the coins of the Archer-Quiver Type, we can see the king with the yajñopavītam, the sacred thread across his chest as it flows from over the left shoulder.
This Upanayana thread ceremony was performed within the Brahmin and the Kshatriya castes and is considered a rite of passage for the start of the education process for the young student at the feet of his guru This sacred thread can be seen draped across the left shoulder of the King Chandragupta I in the coin below. It is important to note here that thisyajñopavītam thread is not seen on any coins struck after Chandragupta I. Gupta is the earliest known king of the dynasty: different historians variously date the beginning of his reign from mid-to-late 3rd century CE. "Che-li-ki-to", the name of a king mentioned by the 7th century Chinese Buddhist monk Yijing, is believed to be a transcription of "Shri-Gupta", "Shri" being an honorific prefix. According to Yijing, this king built a temple for Chinese Buddhist pilgrims near "Mi-li-kia-si-kia-po-no". In the Allahabad Pillar inscription and his successor Ghatotkacha are described as Maharaja, while the next king Chandragupta I is called a Mahar
Brahmi, developed in the mid-1st millennium BCE, is the oldest known writing system of Ancient India, with the possible exception of the undeciphered Indus script. Brahmi is an abugida that thrived in the Indian subcontinent and uses a system of diacritical marks to associate vowels with consonant symbols, it evolved into a host of other scripts, called the Brahmic scripts, that continue to be in use today in South and Central Asia. The Brahmi script has been dated to the beginning of the 4th century BCE from sherds inscribed with the script found at Anuradhapura; some of the earliest and best-known Brahmi inscriptions are the rock-cut edicts of Ashoka in north-central India, dating to 250–232 BCE. The first successful attempts at deciphering Brahmi were made in 1836 by Norwegian scholar Christian Lassen, who used the bilingual Greek-Brahmi coins of Indo-Greek kings Agathocles and Pantaleon to identify several Brahmi letters; the script was deciphered in 1837 by James Prinsep, an archaeologist and official of the East India Company, with the help of Alexander Cunningham.
The origin of the script is still much debated, with some scholars stating that Brahmi was derived from or at least influenced by one or more contemporary Semitic scripts, while others favor the idea of an indigenous origin or connection to the much older and as-yet undeciphered Indus script of the Indus Valley Civilization. Brahmi was at one time referred to in English as the "pin-man" script, "stick figure" script, it was known by a variety of other names until the 1880s when Albert Étienne Jean Baptiste Terrien de Lacouperie, based on an observation by Gabriel Devéria, associated it with the Brahmi script, the first in a list of scripts mentioned in the Lalitavistara Sūtra. Thence the name was adopted in the influential work of Georg Bühler, albeit in the variant form "Brahma"; the Gupta script of the fifth century is sometimes called "Late Brahmi". The Brahmi script diversified into numerous local variants classified together as the Brahmic scripts. Dozens of modern scripts used across South Asia have descended from Brahmi, making it one of the world's most influential writing traditions.
One survey found 198 scripts that derive from it. The script was associated with its own Brahmi numerals, which provided the graphic forms for the Hindu–Arabic numeral system now used through most of the world; the Brahmi script is mentioned in the ancient Indian texts of Hinduism and Buddhism, as well as their Chinese translations. For example, the Lipisala samdarshana parivarta lists 64 lipi, with the Brahmi script starting the list; the Lalitavistara Sūtra states that young Siddhartha, the future Gautama Buddha, mastered philology and other scripts from the Brahmin Lipikāra and Deva Vidyāiṃha at a school. A shorter list of eighteen ancient scripts is found in the texts of Jainism, such as the Pannavana Sutra and the Samavayanga Sutra; these Jaina script lists include Brahmi at number 1 and Kharoṣṭhi at number 4 but Javanaliya and others not found in the Buddhist lists. While the contemporary Kharoṣṭhī script is accepted to be a derivation of the Aramaic alphabet, the genesis of the Brahmi script is less straightforward.
Salomon reviewed existing theories in 1998, while Falk provided an overview in 1993. Early theories proposed a pictographic-acrophonic origin for the Brahmi script, on the model of the Egyptian hieroglyphic script; these ideas however have lost credence, as they are "purely imaginative and speculative". Similar ideas have tried to connect the Brahmi script with the Indus script, but they remain unproven, suffer from the fact that the Indus script is as yet undeciphered. An origin in Semitic scripts has been proposed by some scholars since the publications by Albrecht Weber and Georg Bühler's On the origin of the Indian Brahma alphabet. Bühler's ideas have been influential, though by the 1895 date of his opus on the subject, he could identify no less than five competing theories of the origin, one positing an indigenous origin and the others deriving it from various Semitic models; the most disputed point about the origin of the Brahmi script has long been whether it was a purely indigenous development or was borrowed or derived from scripts that originated outside India.
Goyal noted that most proponents of the indigenous view are Indian scholars, whereas the theory of Semitic origin is held by "nearly all" Western scholars, Salomon agrees with Goyal that there has been "nationalist bias" and "imperialist bias" on the two respective sides of the debate. In spite of this, the view of indigenous development had been prevalent among British scholars writing prior to Bühler: A passage by Alexander Cunningham, one of the earliest indigenous origin proponents, suggests that, in his time, the indigenous origin was a preference of British scholars in opposition to the "unknown Western" origin preferred by continental scholars. Cunningham in the seminal Corpus Inscriptionum Indicarum of 1877 speculated that Brahmi characters were derived from, among other things, a pictographic principle based on the human body, but Bühler noted that by 1891, Cunningham considered the origins of the script uncertain. Most scholars believe that Brahmi was derived from or influenced by a Semitic script model, with Aramaic being a leading candidate.
However, the issue is not settled due to the lack of direct evidence and unexplained differences between Aramaic, Kharoṣṭhī, Brahmi. Though Brahmi and the Kharoṣṭhī script share some general features, but the differences between the Kharosthi and Brahmi scripts are "much greater than their similarities," and "th
Central Asia stretches from the Caspian Sea in the west to China in the east and from Afghanistan in the south to Russia in the north. The region consists of the former Soviet republics of Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, it is colloquially referred to as "the stans" as the countries considered to be within the region all have names ending with the Persian suffix "-stan", meaning "land of". Central Asia has a population of about 72 million, consisting of five republics: Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Afghanistan, a part of South Asia, is sometimes included in Central Asia. Central Asia has been tied to its nomadic peoples and the Silk Road, it has acted as a crossroads for the movement of people and ideas between Europe, Western Asia, South Asia, East Asia. The Silk Road connected Muslim lands with the people of Europe and China; this crossroads position has intensified the conflict between tribalism and traditionalism and modernization. In pre-Islamic and early Islamic times, Central Asia was predominantly Iranian, populated by Eastern Iranian-speaking Bactrians, Sogdians and the semi-nomadic Scythians and Dahae.
After expansion by Turkic peoples, Central Asia became the homeland for the Kazakhs, Tatars, Turkmen and Uyghurs. From the mid-19th century until the end of the 20th century, most of Central Asia was part of the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union, both Slavic-majority countries, the five former Soviet "-stans" are still home to about 7 million ethnic Russians and 500,000 Ukrainians; the idea of Central Asia as a distinct region of the world was introduced in 1843 by the geographer Alexander von Humboldt. The borders of Central Asia are subject to multiple definitions. Built political geography and geoculture are two significant parameters used in the scholarly literature about the definitions of the Central Asia; the most limited definition was the official one of the Soviet Union, which defined Middle Asia as consisting of Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Kyrgyzstan, hence omitting Kazakhstan. This definition was often used outside the USSR during this period. However, the Russian culture has two distinct terms: Средняя Азия and Центральная Азия.
Soon after independence, the leaders of the four former Soviet Central Asian Republics met in Tashkent and declared that the definition of Central Asia should include Kazakhstan as well as the original four included by the Soviets. Since this has become the most common definition of Central Asia; the UNESCO History of the Civilizations of Central Asia, published in 1992, defines the region as "Afghanistan, northeastern Iran and central Pakistan, northern India, western China and the former Soviet Central Asian republics."An alternative method is to define the region based on ethnicity, in particular, areas populated by Eastern Turkic, Eastern Iranian, or Mongolian peoples. These areas include Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, the Turkic regions of southern Siberia, the five republics, Afghan Turkestan. Afghanistan as a whole, the northern and western areas of Pakistan and the Kashmir Valley of India may be included; the Tibetans and Ladakhi are included. Insofar, most of the mentioned peoples are considered the "indigenous" peoples of the vast region.
Central Asia is sometimes referred to as Turkestan. There are several places that claim to be the geographic center of Asia, for example Kyzyl, the capital of Tuva in the Russian Federation, a village 200 miles north of Ürümqi, the capital of the Xinjiang region of China. Central Asia is an large region of varied geography, including high passes and mountains, vast deserts, treeless, grassy steppes; the vast steppe areas of Central Asia are considered together with the steppes of Eastern Europe as a homogeneous geographical zone known as the Eurasian Steppe. Much of the land of Central Asia is too rugged for farming; the Gobi desert extends from the foot of the Pamirs, 77° E, to the Great Khingan Mountains, 116°–118° E. Central Asia has the following geographic extremes: The world's northernmost desert, at Buurug Deliin Els, Mongolia, 50°18' N; the Northern Hemisphere's southernmost permafrost, at Erdenetsogt sum, Mongolia, 46°17' N. The world's shortest distance between non-frozen desert and permafrost: 770 km.
The Eurasian pole of inaccessibility. A majority of the people earn a living by herding livestock. Industrial activity centers in the region's cities. Major rivers of the region include the Amu Darya, the Syr Darya, the Hari River and the Murghab River. Major bodies of water include the Aral Sea and Lake Balkhash, both of which are part of the huge west-central Asian endorheic basin that includes the Caspian Sea. Both of these bodies of water have shrunk in recent decades due to diversion of water from rivers that feed them for irrigation and industrial purposes. Water is an valuable resource in arid Central Asia and can lead to rather significant international disputes. Central Asia is bounded on the north by the forests of Siberia; the northern half of Cent