The Silk Road was an ancient network of trade routes that connected the East and West. It was central to cultural interaction between the regions for many centuries; the Silk Road refers to the terrestrial routes connecting East Asia and Southeast Asia with East Africa, West Asia and Southern Europe. The Silk Road derives its name from the lucrative trade in silk carried out along its length, beginning in the Han dynasty; the Han dynasty expanded the Central Asian section of the trade routes around 114 BCE through the missions and explorations of the Chinese imperial envoy Zhang Qian. The Chinese took great interest in the safety of their trade products and extended the Great Wall of China to ensure the protection of the trade route. Trade on the Road played a significant role in the development of the civilizations of China, Japan, the Indian subcontinent, Iran/Persia, the Horn of Africa and Arabia, opening long-distance political and economic relations between the civilizations. Though silk was the major trade item exported from China, many other goods were traded, as well as religions, syncretic philosophies and technologies.
Diseases, most notably plague spread along the Silk Road. In addition to economic trade, the Silk Road was a route for cultural trade among the civilizations along its network. In June 2014, UNESCO designated the Chang'an-Tianshan corridor of the Silk Road as a World Heritage Site; the Indian portion is on the tentative site list. The Silk Road derives its name from the lucrative Asian silk, a major reason for the connection of trade routes into an extensive transcontinental network; the German terms Seidenstraße and Seidenstraßen were coined by Ferdinand von Richthofen, who made seven expeditions to China from 1868 to 1872. The term Silk Route is used. Although the term was coined in the 19th century, it did not gain widespread acceptance in academia or popularity among the public until the 20th century; the first book entitled The Silk Road was by Swedish geographer Sven Hedin in 1938. Use of the term'Silk Road' is not without its detractors. For instance, Warwick Ball contends that the maritime spice trade with India and Arabia was far more consequential for the economy of the Roman Empire than the silk trade with China, which at sea was conducted through India and on land was handled by numerous intermediaries such as the Sogdians.
Going as far as to call the whole thing a "myth" of modern academia, Ball argues that there was no coherent overland trade system and no free movement of goods from East Asia to the West until the period of the Mongol Empire. He notes that traditional authors discussing East-West trade such as Marco Polo and Edward Gibbon never labelled any route a "silk" one in particular; the southern stretches of the Silk Road, from Khotan to China, were first used for jade and not silk, as long as 5000 BCE, is still in use for this purpose. The term "Jade Road" would have been more appropriate than "Silk Road" had it not been for the far larger and geographically wider nature of the silk trade. Central Eurasia has been known from ancient times for its horse riding and horse breeding communities, the overland Steppe Route across the northern steppes of Central Eurasia was in use long before that of the Silk Road. Archeological sites such as the Berel burial ground in Kazakhstan, confirmed that the nomadic Arimaspians were not only breeding horses for trade but great craftsmen able to propagate exquisite art pieces along the Silk Road.
From the 2nd millennium BCE, nephrite jade was being traded from mines in the region of Yarkand and Khotan to China. These mines were not far from the lapis lazuli and spinel mines in Badakhshan, although separated by the formidable Pamir Mountains, routes across them were in use from early times; some remnants of what was Chinese silk dating from 1070 BCE have been found in Ancient Egypt. The Great Oasis cities of Central Asia played a crucial role in the effective functioning of the Silk Road trade; the originating source seems sufficiently reliable, but silk degrades rapidly, so it cannot be verified whether it was cultivated silk or a type of wild silk, which might have come from the Mediterranean or Middle East. Following contacts between Metropolitan China and nomadic western border territories in the 8th century BCE, gold was introduced from Central Asia, Chinese jade carvers began to make imitation designs of the steppes, adopting the Scythian-style animal art of the steppes; this style is reflected in the rectangular belt plaques made of gold and bronze, with other versions in jade and steatite.
An elite burial near Stuttgart, dated to the 6th century BCE, was excavated and found to have not only Greek bronzes but Chinese silks. Similar animal-shaped pieces of art and wrestler motifs on belts have been found in Scythian grave sites stretching from the Black Sea region all the way to Warring States era archaeological sites in Inner Mongolia and Shaanxi in China; the expansion of Scythian cultures, stretching from the Hungarian plain and the Carpathian Mountains to the Chinese Kansu Corridor, linking the Middle East with Northern India and the Punjab, undoubtedly played an important role in the development of the Silk Road. Scythians accompanied the Assyrian Esarhaddon on his invasion of Egypt, their distinctive triangular arrowheads have been found as far south as Aswan; these nomadic peoples were dependent upon neighbouring settled populations for a number of important technologies, in addition to raiding vulnerable settlements for these commod
Khosrow I. He was the successor of his father Kavadh I. Khosrow I was the twenty-second Sasanian Emperor of Persia, one of its most celebrated emperors, he laid the foundations of many cities and opulent palaces, oversaw the repair of trade roads as well as the building of numerous bridges and dams. His reign is furthermore marked by the numerous wars fought against the Sassanid's neighboring archrivals, the Roman-Byzantine Empire, as part of the centuries-long lasting Roman–Persian Wars; the most important wars under his reign were the Lazic War, fought over Colchis and the Byzantine–Sasanian War of 572–591. During Khosrow's ambitious reign and science flourished in Persia and the Sasanian Empire reached its peak of glory and prosperity, his rule was preceded by his father's and succeeded by Hormizd IV. Khosrow Anushiruwan is one of the most popular emperors in Iranian culture and literature and, outside of Iran, his name became, like that of Caesar in the history of Rome, a designation of the Sasanian kings.
He introduced a rational system of taxation, based upon a survey of landed possessions, which his father had begun, tried in every way to increase the welfare and the revenues of his empire. His army was in discipline decidedly superior to the Byzantines, was well paid, he was interested in literature and philosophical discussions. Under his reign chess was introduced from India, the famous book of Kalilah and Dimnah was translated, he thus became renowned as a wise king. Khosrow I was born in Ardestan, an ancient town, built by the Achaemenids, close to the major city of Spahan, he was the third son of Kavadh I, had three brothers named Xerxes and Kawus. Khosrow's mother was the sister of Bawi, making Khosrow I related to the Parthian House of Ispahbudhan, his father was involved with a group of Zoroastrians called the Mazdakites. The Mazdakites believed in an egalitarian society and many lower class peasants supported the Mazdakite revolution. Kavadh, wanting to centralize power by taking power away from the great noble families, supported this movement.
In 531, while on his death-bed, appointed Khosrow as his successor. However, upon Kavadh's death, the Mazdakites gave their loyalty to Kavadh's eldest son, while the noble families and the Zoroastrian Magi gave their support to Khosrow I. Khosrow presented himself as an anti-Mazdakite supporter. He, much like his father, believed in a strong centralized government. Khosrow defeated him as well as his Mazdakite followers. Subsequently, Mazdak, as well as a majority of his followers, were executed for his heretical beliefs and Khosrow took the Sasanian throne. At Khosrow's succession and Sasanian Persia were in open conflict with each other. Neither empire was able to get an advantage of the other, causing Emperor Justinian and King Khosrow to agree on a peace treaty in 531. However, in 531, along with other members of the Persian aristocracy became involved in a conspiracy in which they tried to overthrow Khosrow I and make Kavadh, the son of Kavadh I's second eldest son Djamasp, the king of the Sasanian Empire.
Upon learning the plot, Khosrow I executed all his brothers, their offsprings, along with Bawi and the other "Persian notables" who were involved. Khosrow I ordered the execution of Kavadh, still a child, was away from the court, being raised by Adergoudounbades. Khosrow sent orders to kill Kavadh, but Adergoudounbades disobeyed and brought him up in secret, until he was betrayed to the shah in 541 by his own son, Bahram. Khosrow had him executed, but Kavadh, or someone claiming to be him, managed to flee to the Byzantine Empire. In 532, Khosrow and Justinian, emperor of the Eastern Roman/Byzantine Empire concluded Pax Perpetuum, or the Eternal Peace in hopes of settling all land disputes between the Romans and Sasanians. Khosrow I represents the epitome of the philosopher king in the Sasanian Empire. Upon his ascent to the throne, Khosrow did not restore power to the feudal nobility or the magi, but centralized his government. Khosrow's reign is considered to be one of the most successful within the Sasanian Empire.
The peace agreement between Rome and Persia in 531 gave Khosrow the chance to consolidate power and focus his attention on internal improvement. His reforms and military campaigns marked a renaissance of the Sasanian Empire, which spread philosophic beliefs as well as trade goods from the far east to the far west; the internal reforms under Khosrow were much more important than those on the exterior frontier. The subsequent reforms resulted in the rise of a bureaucratic state at the expense of the great noble families, strengthening the central government and the power of the Shahanshah; the army too was reorganized and tied to the central government rather than local nobility allowing greater organization, faster mobilization and a far greater cavalry corps. Reforms in taxation provided the empire with stability and a much stronger economy, allowing prolonged military campaigns as well as greater revenues for the bureaucracy. Khosrow's tax reforms have been praised by several scholars; the tax reforms, which were started under Kavadh I and implemented by Khosrow, strengthened the royal court by a great deal.
Prior to Khosrow and Kavadh's reigns, a majority of the land was owned by seven Parthian families: Suren, Karen, Spandiy
Dara or Daras was an important East Roman fortress city in northern Mesopotamia on the border with the Sassanid Empire. Because of its great strategic importance, it featured prominently in the Roman-Persian conflicts of the 6th century, with the famous Battle of Dara taking place before its walls in 530; the former bishopric remains. Today Mardin Province, occupies its location. During the Anastasian War in 502–506, the Roman armies fared badly against the Sassanid Persians. According to the Syriac Chronicle of Zacharias of Mytilene, the Roman generals blamed their difficulties on the lack of a strong base in the area, as opposed to the Persians, who held the great city of Nisibis. Therefore, in 505, while the Persian King Kavadh I was distracted in the East, Emperor Anastasius I decided to rebuild the village of Dara, only 18 kilometres westwards from Nisibis and just 5 km from the actual border with Persia, to be "a refuge for the army in which they might rest, for the preparation of weapons, to guard the country of the Arabs from the inroads of the Persians and Saracens".
Masons and workers from all over Mesopotamia were worked with great haste. The new city was built on three hills, on the highest of which stood the citadel, endowed with great storehouses, a public bath and water cisterns, it took the name became the seat of the Roman dux Mesopotamiae. According to Procopius, the hasty construction of the original walls resulted in poor quality, the severe weather conditions of the region exacerbated the problem, ruining some sections, thus Byzantine Emperor Justinian I was compelled to undertake extensive repairs to the city, afterwards renaming it Iustiniana Nova. The walls were rebuilt and the inner wall raised by a new storey, doubling its height to about 20 m; the towers were strengthened and raised to three stories high, a moat dug out and filled with water. Justinian's engineers diverted the nearby river Cordes towards the city by digging a canal; the river now flowed through the city. At the same time, by means of diverting its flow to an underground channel which exited 65 km to the north, the garrison was able to deny water to a besieging enemy, a fact which saved the city on several occasions.
To avert the danger of flooding, which had once wrecked large parts of the city, an elaborate arch dam was built to contain it, one of the earliest known of its kind. In addition, barracks were built for the garrison, two new churches were constructed, the "Great Church", one dedicated to St Bartholomew; the city was besieged and captured by the Persians under Khosrau I in 573-574, but was returned to the Romans by Khosrau II after the Roman-Persian treaty in 590. It was taken again by Khosrau II in 604-05 after a nine-month siege, recovered again for the Roman Empire by Heraclius. Captured in 639 by the Arab Muslims, the city lost its military significance and was abandoned. Dara became the site of massacre during the Armenian Genocide. According to some reports, the cisterns were filled with the bodies of slaughtered Armenians from Diyarbakır, Erzurum in the spring and summer of 1915; the new city became the seat of a Christian bishop and was at first a Metropolitan see, with three suffragans: Rhesaina and Nasala.
Its first known bishop was Eutychianus, who took possession in 506. His successor, was deposed in 519 for his opposition to the Council of Chalcedon and died in 540. Mamas was removed in 537. Stephanus took part in the Second Council of Constantinople in 553. After the 7th-century Arab conquest, Dara again became the seat of Jacobite bishops. In the 10th century, Syriac Orthodox Diocese of Dara lost its Metropolitan rank, which passed to its former suffragan Rhesaina. No longer a residential bishopric, Dara is now listed by the Catholic Church as a titular see, both Latin and in particular for the Syriac Catholic Church, though of the West Syriac Rite, is in full communion with the Holy See; the diocese was nominally restored in the 15th century as the Latin Catholic titular bishopric of Dara. As such, it has the following incumbents, all of the lowest rank: Hubert Léonard, Carmelite Order and again Blasius de Aguinaga Nicolás de Ulloa y Hurtado de Mendoza, Augustinian Order Francisco Zapata Vera y Morales Franz Engelbert Barbo von Waxenstein In 1925 it was renamed and Promoted as Metropolitan Titular archbishopric of Dara.
It is vacant since decades, having had the following incumbents of that rank: Alfonso Archi Joseph-Marie Le Gouaze Luigi Fantozzi Torquato Dini Antonio Riberi, as papal diplomat: Apostolic Delegate to Africa for Missions, Apostolic Internuncio to PR China, Apostolic Nuncio to Ireland, Apostolic Nuncio to Spain. It has had the following incumbents, o
The Sasanian Empire known as the Sassanian, Sassanid or Neo-Persian Empire, was the last kingdom of the Persian Empire before the rise of Islam. Named after the House of Sasan, it ruled from 224 to 651 AD; the Sasanian Empire succeeded the Parthian Empire and was recognised as one of the leading world powers alongside its neighbouring arch-rival the Roman-Byzantine Empire for a period of more than 400 years. The Sasanian Empire was founded by Ardashir I, after the fall of the Parthian Empire and the defeat of the last Arsacid king, Artabanus V. At its greatest extent, the Sasanian Empire encompassed all of today's Iran, Eastern Arabia, the Levant, the Caucasus, large parts of Turkey, much of Central Asia and Pakistan. According to a legend, the vexilloid of the Sasanian Empire was the Derafsh Kaviani; the Sasanian Empire during Late Antiquity is considered to have been one of Iran's most important, influential historical periods and constituted the last great Iranian empire before the Muslim conquest and the adoption of Islam.
In many ways, the Sasanian period witnessed the peak of ancient Iranian civilisation. The Sasanians' cultural influence extended far beyond the empire's territorial borders, reaching as far as Western Europe, Africa and India, it played a prominent role in the formation of both Asian medieval art. Much of what became known as Islamic culture in art, architecture and other subject matter was transferred from the Sasanians throughout the Muslim world. Conflicting accounts shroud the details of the fall of the Parthian Empire and subsequent rise of the Sassanian Empire in mystery; the Sassanian Empire was established in Estakhr by Ardashir I. Papak was the ruler of a region called Khir. However, by the year 200 he had managed to overthrow Gochihr and appoint himself the new ruler of the Bazrangids, his mother, was the daughter of the provincial governor of Pars. Papak and his eldest son Shapur managed to expand their power over all of Pars; the subsequent events are due to the elusive nature of the sources.
It is certain, that following the death of Papak, who at the time was the governor of Darabgerd, became involved in a power struggle of his own with his elder brother Shapur. Sources reveal that Shapur, leaving for a meeting with his brother, was killed when the roof of a building collapsed on him. By the year 208, over the protests of his other brothers who were put to death, Ardashir declared himself ruler of Pars. Once Ardashir was appointed shah, he moved his capital further to the south of Pars and founded Ardashir-Khwarrah; the city, well protected by high mountains and defensible due to the narrow passes that approached it, became the centre of Ardashir's efforts to gain more power. It was surrounded by a high, circular wall copied from that of Darabgird. Ardashir's palace was on the north side of the city. After establishing his rule over Pars, Ardashir extended his territory, demanding fealty from the local princes of Fars, gaining control over the neighbouring provinces of Kerman, Isfahan and Mesene.
This expansion came to the attention of Artabanus V, the Parthian king, who ordered the governor of Khuzestan to wage war against Ardashir in 224, but Ardashir was victorious in the ensuing battles. In a second attempt to destroy Ardashir, Artabanus himself met Ardashir in battle at Hormozgan, where the former met his death. Following the death of the Parthian ruler, Ardashir went on to invade the western provinces of the now defunct Parthian Empire. At that time the Arsacid dynasty was divided between supporters of Artabanus V and Vologases VI, which allowed Ardashir to consolidate his authority in the south with little or no interference from the Parthians. Ardashir was aided by the geography of the province of Fars, separated from the rest of Iran. Crowned in 224 at Ctesiphon as the sole ruler of Persia, Ardashir took the title shahanshah, or "King of Kings", bringing the 400-year-old Parthian Empire to an end, beginning four centuries of Sassanid rule. In the next few years, local rebellions occurred throughout the empire.
Nonetheless, Ardashir I further expanded his new empire to the east and northwest, conquering the provinces of Sistan, Khorasan, Margiana and Chorasmia. He added Bahrain and Mosul to Sassanid's possessions. Sassanid inscriptions claim the submission of the Kings of Kushan and Mekran to Ardashir, although based on numismatic evidence it is more that these submitted to Ardashir's son, the future Shapur I. In the west, assaults against Hatra and Adiabene met with less success. In 230, Ardashir raided deep into Roman territory, a Roman counter-offensive two years ended inconclusively, although the Roman emperor, Alexander Severus, celebrated a triumph in Rome. Ardashir I's son Shapur I continued the expansion of the empire, conquering Bactria and the western portion of the Kushan Empire, while leading several campaigns against Rome. Invading Roman Mesopotamia, Shapur I captured Carrhae and Nisibis, but in 243 the Roman general Timesitheus defeated the Persians at Rhesaina and regained the lost territories.
The emperor Gordian III's subsequent advance down the Euphrates was defea
Hippodrome of Constantinople
The Hippodrome of Constantinople was a circus, the sporting and social centre of Constantinople, capital of the Byzantine Empire. Today it is a square named Sultanahmet Meydanı in the Turkish city of Istanbul, with a few fragments of the original structure surviving; the word hippodrome comes from the Greek hippos and dromos, path or way. For this reason, it is sometimes called Atmeydanı in Turkish. Horse racing and chariot racing were popular pastimes in the ancient world and hippodromes were common features of Greek cities in the Hellenistic and Byzantine era. Although the Hippodrome is associated with Constantinople's days of glory as an imperial capital, it predates that era; the first Hippodrome was built when the city was called Byzantium, was a provincial town of moderate importance. In AD 203 the Emperor Septimius Severus rebuilt the city and expanded its walls, endowing it with a hippodrome, an arena for chariot races and other entertainment. In AD 324, the Emperor Constantine the Great decided to move the seat of the government from Rome to Byzantium, which he renamed Nova Roma.
This name failed to impress and the city soon became known as Constantinople, the City of Constantine. Constantine enlarged the city, one of his major undertakings was the renovation of the Hippodrome, it is estimated that the Hippodrome of Constantine was 130 m wide. Its stands were capable of holding 100,000 spectators; the race-track at the Hippodrome was U-shaped, the Kathisma was located at the eastern end of the track. The Kathisma could be accessed directly from the Great Palace through a passage which only the emperor or other members of the imperial family could use; the Hippodrome Boxes, which had four statues of horses in gilded copper on top, stood at the northern end. These four gilded horses, now called the Horses of Saint Mark, whose exact Greek or Roman ancestry has never been determined, were looted during the Fourth Crusade in 1204 and installed on the façade of St Mark's Basilica in Venice; the track was lined with other bronze statues of famous horses and chariot drivers, none of which survive.
The hippodrome was filled with statues of gods and heroes, among them some famous works, such as a Heracles by Lysippos and Remus with their wolf and the Serpent Column of the Plataean tripod. In his book De Ceremoniis, the emperor Constantine Porphyrogenitus described the decorations in the hippodrome at the occasion of the visit of Saracen or Arab visitors, mentioning the purple hangings and rare tapestries. Throughout the Byzantine period, the Hippodrome was the centre of the city's social life. Huge amounts were bet on chariot races, four teams took part in these races, each one financially sponsored and supported by a different political party within the Roman/Byzantine Senate: The Blues, the Greens, the Reds and the Whites; the Reds and the Whites weakened and were absorbed by the other two major factions. A total of up to eight chariots, powered by four horses each, competed on the racing track of the Hippodrome; these races were not simple sporting events, but provided some of the rare occasions in which the Emperor and the common citizens could come together in a single venue.
Political discussions were made at the Hippodrome, which could be directly accessed by the Emperor through a passage that connected the Kathisma with the Great Palace of Constantinople. The rivalry between the Blues and Greens became mingled with political or religious rivalries, sometimes riots, which amounted to civil wars that broke out in the city between them; the most severe of these was the Nika riots of 532, in which an estimated 30,000 people were killed and many important buildings, such as the second Hagia Sophia Church, were destroyed. The current Hagia Sophia was built by Justinian following the Nika Revolt. Constantinople never recovered from its sack during the Fourth Crusade and though the Byzantine Empire survived until 1453, by that time, the Hippodrome had fallen into ruin, pillaged by the Venetians who took the four horses now in San Marco from a monument there; the Ottoman Turks, who captured the city in 1453 and made it the capital of the Ottoman Empire, were not interested in racing and the Hippodrome was forgotten, although the site was never built over.
The hippodrome was used as a source of building stone, however. The Hippodrome was used for various occasions such as the lavish and days-long circumcision ceremony of the sons of Sultan Ahmed III. In Ottoman miniature paintings, the Hippodrome is shown with the monuments still intact. Although the structures do not exist anymore, today's Sultanahmet Square follows the ground plan and dimensions of the now vanished Hippodrome. To raise the image of his new capital and his successors Theodosius the Great, brought works of art from all over the empire to adorn it; the monuments were set up in the middle of the spina. Among these was the Tripod of Plataea, now known as the Serpent Column, cast to celebrate the victory of the Greeks over the Persians during the Persian Wars in the 5th century BC. Constantine ordered the Tripod to be moved from the Temple of Apollo at Delphi, set in middle of the Hippodrome
Alboin was king of the Lombards from about 560 until 572. During his reign the Lombards ended their migrations by settling in Italy, the northern part of which Alboin conquered between 569 and 572, he had a lasting effect on the Pannonian Basin. The period of Alboin's reign as king in Pannonia following the death of his father, was one of confrontation and conflict between the Lombards and their main neighbors, the Gepids; the Gepids gained the upper hand, but in 567, thanks to his alliance with the Avars, Alboin inflicted a decisive defeat on his enemies, whose lands the Avars subsequently occupied. The increasing power of his new neighbours caused Alboin some unease however, he therefore decided to leave Pannonia for Italy, hoping to take advantage of the Byzantine Empire's reduced ability to defend its territory in the wake of the Gothic War. After gathering a large coalition of peoples, Alboin crossed the Julian Alps in 568, entering an undefended Italy, he took control of most of Venetia and Liguria.
In 569, unopposed, he took Milan. Pavia offered stiff resistance however, was taken only after a siege lasting three years. During that time Alboin turned his attention to Tuscany, but signs of factionalism among his supporters and Alboin's diminishing control over his army began to manifest themselves. Alboin was assassinated on June 572, in a coup d'état instigated by the Byzantines, it was organized by the king's foster brother, with the support of Alboin's wife, daughter of the Gepid king whom Alboin had killed some years earlier. The coup failed in the face of opposition from a majority of the Lombards, who elected Cleph as Alboin's successor, forcing Helmichis and Rosamund to flee to Ravenna under imperial protection. Alboin's death deprived the Lombards of the only leader who could have kept the newborn Germanic entity together, the last in the line of hero-kings who had led the Lombards through their migrations from the vale of the Elbe to Italy. For many centuries following his death Alboin's heroism and his success in battle were celebrated in Saxon and Bavarian epic poetry.
The Lombards under King Wacho had migrated towards the east into Pannonia, taking advantage of the difficulties facing the Ostrogothic Kingdom in Italy following the death of its founder, Theodoric, in 526. Wacho's death in about 540 brought his son Walthari to the throne, but, as the latter was still a minor, the kingdom was governed in his stead by Alboin's father, Audoin, of the Gausian clan. Seven years Walthari died, giving Audoin the opportunity to crown himself and overthrow the reigning Lethings. Alboin was born in the 530s in Pannonia, the son of Audoin and his wife, Rodelinda, she may have been the niece of King Theodoric and betrothed to Audoin through the mediation of Emperor Justinian. Like his father, Alboin was raised a pagan, although Audoin had at one point attempted to gain Byzantine support against his neighbours by professing himself a Christian. Alboin took as his first wife the Christian Chlothsind, daughter of the Frankish King Chlothar; this marriage, which took place soon after the death of the Frankish ruler Theudebald in 555, is thought to reflect Audoin's decision to distance himself from the Byzantines, traditional allies of the Lombards, lukewarm when it came to supporting Audoin against the Gepids.
The new Frankish alliance was important because of the Franks' known hostility to the Byzantine empire, providing the Lombards with more than one option. However, the Prosopography of the Later Roman Empire interprets events and sources differently, believing that Alboin married Chlothsind when a king in or shortly before 561, the year of Chlothar's death. Alboin first distinguished himself on the battlefield in a clash with the Gepids. At the Battle of Asfeld, he killed Turismod, son of the Gepid king Thurisind, in a victory that resulted in the Emperor Justinian's intervention to maintain equilibrium between the rival regional powers. After the battle, according to a tradition reported by Paul the Deacon, to be granted the right to sit at his father's table, Alboin had to ask for the hospitality of a foreign king and have him donate his weapons, as was customary. For this initiation, he went to the court of Thurisind, where the Gepid king gave him Turismod's arms. Walter Goffart believes it is probable that in this narrative Paul was making use of an oral tradition, is sceptical that it can be dismissed as a typical topos of an epic poem.
Alboin came to the throne after the death of his father, sometime between 560 and 565. As was customary among the Lombards, Alboin took the crown after an election by the tribe's freemen, who traditionally selected the king from the dead sovereign's clan. Shortly afterwards, in 565, a new war erupted with the Gepids, now led by Thurisind's son; the cause of the conflict is uncertain. An account of the war by the Byzantine Theophylact Simocatta sentimentalises the reasons behind the conflict, claiming it originated with Alboin's vain courting and subsequent kidnapping of Cunimund's daughter Rosamund, that Alboin proceeded to marry; the tale is treated with scepticism by Walter Goffart, who observes that it conflicts with the Origo Gentis Langobardorum, where she was captured only after the death of her father. The Gepids obtained the support of
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