Abbildungen der Seite

of government which the conqueror had time to organize was military; the commandant of each district was the satrap, who exercised local authority. While Alexander lived, these satraps were held in check, but this controlling power ceased on his death. The military commandants soon armed against each other. Eumenes, governor of Cappadocia (B.C. 322), defeated and slew Craterus, and was in turn driven out of Asia Minor (B.C. 318-17) by Antigonus, with whom, however, he maintained a struggle for two years till (B.C. 315) he was delivered up to his rival by his own troops, and Antigonus, becoming the sovereign of Asia, assumed the regal title. Seleucus, governor of Babylon, was soon after dispossessed by him (B.C. 314), and fled to Ptolemy, whom he instigated to oppose Antigonus. The two invaded Syria and Phænicia from Egypt (B.C. 312), and Seleucus recovered Babylon, and expelled the governors for Antigonus in Media and Persia. In B.C. 305, Seleucus added to his government, by a great victory over Nicanor, one of the lieutenants of Seleucus, the whole of Media, Hyrcania, Parthia, Bactria, and Aria, and all the countries as far as the Indus. In B.C. 303, he crossed that river to make war on Sandrocottus (Chundra Goopta), who had expelled the Grecian garrisons from the Punjab; but he was recalled by his rival Antigonus, whom he drove into Phrygia and slew in 301.

From this period till B.C. 280, the whole of Asia to the Indus and Jaxartes was under the Syrian king. In that year,

Seleucus Nicator was assassinated; his son, Antiochus Soter, reigned undisturbed over the same territory till 261, leaving it to his son, Antiochus Theus. He neglected his Eastern possessions, and Bactria, consequently, became independent, under Theodotus, or Diodotus, B.C. 256. Parthia followed about 250, the revolt of this province being ascribed to the conduct of the local governor towards Tiridates, which his brother Arsaces resented by slaying the governor. To secure himself, he seized the government, and B.C. 241 was able to add Hyrcania to Parthia, which lay between Herat and the Caspian. Arsaces is said to have been a native of Balkh, and Moses Chorenensis declares that his dynasty was thence called Balhavenses, or Pahlaveean. Whatever may have been his origin, he used Greek only on his coins and in his correspondence : there is no other language or character found on any coin of known Parthian mintage

and type.

Mr. H. T. Prinsep (whose narrative we have closely followed) then gives a historical catalogue of the dynasty of Arsacidan kings of Parthia, comprehending such circumstances in respect to each as are to be gleaned from Greek and Roman authors. The list begins with Arsaces I., B.C. 254, and ends with Arsaces Artabanus, A.D. 235, the dynasty being subverted that year by Artaxerxes, or Ardeshur Babakan, who established the Sassanian dynasty. Thus closed the Greco-Parthian dominion in Central Asia. The capital, in the time of the Cæsars, was at Seleucia, on the Tigris ; its removal from Toos and Meshed must have weakened the hold of the Arcasidä upon their Eastern provinces. Their system of government had become purely Asiatic.

Mr. Prinsep proceeds, after this summary of the history of Parthia during its transition back from Hellenism to Orientalism,which, he observes, is essential to the understanding of the condition of Bactria, Aria, and Cabool,—to put together what has been extracted by Western authors from the ancients, and recent discoveries respecting those more distant regions, especially Professor Lassen and Professor Wilson. We subjoin an abridgment of Mr. Prinsep's catalogue, retaining only so much of the notices of the sovereigns, as present any thing of historical interest, omitting all merely numismatical matter.

B.C. 256.—The first Theodotus, or Diodotus, was known to the Greek and Latin historians, who state that he asserted his independence about the time that Arsaces revolted in Parthia.

B.C. 240.—Theodotus II. This prince was the son of the former, but the coins afford no means of distinguishing between them. The extent of their dominions is also uncertain. The character, actions, and fate of this king, are unknown.

B.C. 220.-Euthydemus. This king was on the throne at the time of the expedition of Antiochus the Great (B.C. 212); he does not appear to have assisted in that monarch's war with Arsaces, but after the peace between them, he was defeated by the united Syrian and Parthian forces, and fled to Ariaspe. His appeal from that place is said to have had great weight with Antiochus; it was urged by the son of Euthydemus, Demetrius, a handsome youth, who found grace. Euthydemus, obtaining favourable terms, led the Syrian army through Bactria, by the route north of the mountains to the Cabool valley, and across the Indus, in B.C. 206. There Antiochus made the peace with Sophagasenus (Asoka) which we find referred to in the edicts of that sovereign, inscribed on rocks and pillars in various parts of India, in characters exactly resembling those on the coins of Agathocles. In B.C. 205, Antiochus returned by Arachotia and Karamania.

B.C. 190.-Demetrius, son of Euthydemus, is mentioned by Justin and other Western historians, who state that, after his father's death, he contended with Eucratides for the dominion of Bactria, but without success. Upon some of his coins he is represented with a strange headdress,—a cap formed like an elephant's head, with trunk, &c.

B.C. 178.—Eucratides. He is mentioned by Justin as a great king, contemporary with Mithridates I. of Parthia. Strabo adds, that he ceded some provinces of Western Bactria to Mithridates. He made an expedition into India ; upon his return from which, he was murdered by his son. The coins of Eucratides, discovered in Bactria and Affghanistan, are very numerous, and the types and devices are various, betokening a long and eventful reign. Mr. Prinsep deduces the following circumstances from these coins :—First, that Eucratides ruled originally in Bactria, succeeding Euthydemus there ; secondly, that the title given to him on the coins, of “Great king,” Baolaevs peyas in Greek, and Maharajasa mahatasa in Arian, can only have been assumed after, and perhaps consequent upon, conquests in and south of the Paropamisus, or in Cabool; thirdly, that Eucratides first of all the Greeks coined with the bilingual Arian inscription. Professor Lassen, indeed, supposes Agathocles to have been his contemporary, and to have risen with him on the death of Euthydemus, establishing himself in Cabool, and across the Hindoo Koosh as far as the Oxus, until overpowered and expelled by Eucratides; in which case, the priority of bilingual coinage in this region must be assigned to Agathocles. But the second language of Agathocles was Sanscrit, of the character used by Asoka, not Arian, as on the coins of Eucratides. He is considered to have been at one time sole king over the entire territory from Parthia to the Indus, including the Punjab and Scinde.

B.C. 155.—Heliocles. This is supposed to be the parricide successor of Eucratides. The legends on his coins are both pure Greek and bilingual. His short reign extended over Bactria and the Paropamisus, where the Arian language was vernacular.

B.C. 150.-Antimachus. The precise date of this king is uncertain. He is placed amongst the Bactrian successors of Eucratides on account of the devices, names, and titles on his coins being pure Greek.

B.C. 190.-Agathocles. This king is considered by Professor Lassen to have been ruler of Caboolistan to the Indus and to the Oxus till conquered by Eucratides. Mr. Prinsep supposes him to have been the governor left by Antiochus in Cabool, after his treaty with Asoka.

B.C. 195.—Pantaleon. This and the preceding king used the simple title of Baoilevc, without epithet or addition of any kind, which, with the perfect form of the Greek letters, Mr. Prinsep considers an evidence of antiquity. In the Sanscrit, on their coins, they have the names only, without any title ; viz. Agathoklayaja and Pantalawanta.

Leaving, for the present, the kings of Bactria, Cabool, and Aria, Mr. Prinsep brings forward the long list of Greek kings, whose coinage has been brought to light, of pure Greek device, with an Arian inscription on the reverse, generally round some deity or object derived from the Grecian mythology.

Upon the death of Eucratides, his wide dominion is supposed to have been broken into several independent kingdoms, from the numbers of “kings,” “great kings,” and “kings of kings,” revealed by the late discoveries, compared with the known date of Scythian conquest. Professor Lassen supposes three kingdoms, besides Bactria: one eastern, under Menander and Apollodotus, comprehending the Punjab and valley of the Indus; another western, at Herat and Seistan ; a third central, of the Paropamisus. For the classification and assignment to those regions there are very vague materials. The epithet of Ewrnp, or saviour,' applied to some, is supposed to denote one particular dynasty, the successors of Menander. The names of nine kings are included in this dynasty, namely, Menander, Apollodotus, Diomedes, Zoilus, Hippostratus, Straton, Dionysius, Nicias, and Hermæus. Five of these have been recently discovered by Lieut. Cunningham, of the Bengal Engineers. Professor Lassen supposes Hermæus to have been overpowered by Azes about B.C. 120. Another series of Greek sovereigns are distinguished by the epithets Νικηφορου, Ανικητου, and Nικατορος, who are assigned to Aria Proper,—that is, Herat and Southern Bactria,--also Seistan, or Drangiana. Certain known historical facts afford means of assigning dates conjecturally to these sovereigns; but the arrangement is arbitrary. Another class of Greek sovereigns took peaceful titles, implying the possession of some popular virtue : these are only three in number,-namely, Heliocles, Telephus, and a queen named Agathocleia. Their supposed dates are from B.C. 155 to 140. The Arian inscriptions on their coins mark them as having reigned south of the Paropamisus.

Some slender inferences are drawn by numismatologists, as to the mintage of the coins, from the devices. Thus, the elephant, elephant's head, and humped bull, are considered as indicating dominion in India; the wild horse and double-humped camel are supposed to refer to Bactria.

Mr. Prinsep now proceeds to the Scythian kings, who, following the Greeks, adopted their forms of money, with similar inscriptions, and in the same language, but inscribed on them their own names and titles. We subjoin a list of these :

B.C. 135.—Maues. There is a diversity in the coins of this sovereign. The name is neither Greek, Parthian, or Indian ; it is, therefore, concluded to be Scythian, and the bearer to be the head of one of the tribes that broke into Bactria between 150 and 140 B.C. His proximity to and association with Azes is proved by the correspondence of his later coins with those of that king: a coin is extant, with the name of Maues, which exactly corresponds in with one of king Azes. This coin is peculiar; it exhibits the king with a trident, a Tartar weapon

of war, setting his foot on a prostrate enemy.

B.C. 130.-Azes. This Scythian king's coins have Greek characters on one side and Arian on the other. The types are very various. Who this great "king of kings,” as he is called, was, and where he reigned, are hitherto unknown. Professor Wilson inclines to consider him an Indian Buddhist, and his date B.C. 50; Professor Lassen looks upon him as a Sacian Scythian, who conquered the Cabool valley, and finally destroyed the kingdom of Menander and Hermæus, about B.C. 120. The Professor has raised an ingenious hypothesis respecting the era and locality of Azes from the Chinese historians, who speak of a nation of Tartars (whom he identifies, from a resemblance of name, with the Sacæ) being expelled from the E-le valley by the Yuě-che. But it requires great familiarity with the Chinese proper names, and their mode of transcribing those of foreign nations, to found any conclusions upon them.

B.C. 115.-Azilizes.
85.-Spalirisus, or Ipalirisus.
70.-A nameless great Soter king.

The Soter Megas is considered to have been contemporary with Vikramaditya. His ear-rings seem to denote him Indian.

There is another series of Scythian coins, with no Arian inscription, and differing in other respects from those of the Azes dynasty. These bear the names of Kodes, Hyrkodes, and others not decypherable, and not of Greek origin, though written in corrupt Greek characters. There is nothing to shew to what race of Scythians, and to what period of time, these coins shall be assigned; but some ingenious conjectures are offered, and as the date now reaches to that of Vikramaditya, whose victory over the Scythians was the commencement of a samvat, or era, Indian history, if we could find it, would connect and verify that of the Scythian kings.

Then follows what is called the Kadphises dynasty, with barbarous names and titles in Greek and Arian. Professors Lassen and Wilson carry the dynasty of Kadphises through the whole of the first century of our era, and then consider it to have been overpowered by a fresh swarm of Scythians, under the Kanerki kings. The Undopherres dynasty begins A.D. 40, the Greek legends on whose coins are 80 corrupt as to be scarcely decypherable. This Ario-Parthian dynasty brings down the history of Cabool and the Punjab to the close of the first century of our era, when a new race of Scythian kings appears, issuing money of quite a different device and style from any before current. These bear the name of Kanerkes, at first with the title of Βασιλευς Βασιλεων, but afterwards with the Indian title of Rao Nana Rao substituted. No coin of the Kanerkis has

« ZurückWeiter »