ARACHOSIA /ærəˈkoʊsiə/ is the Hellenized name of an ancient
satrapy in the eastern part of the
Achaemenid , Seleucid , Parthian ,
Greco-Bactrian , and Indo-Scythian empires.
Arachosia was centred on
the Arghandab valley in modern-day southern
Afghanistan , although its
influence extended east to as far as the
Indus River in modern-day
Pakistan . The main river of
Arachosia was called Arachōtós, now
known as the
Arghandab River , a tributary of the
Helmand River . The
Greek term "Arachosia" corresponds to the Aryan land of Harauti which
was around modern-day Helmand . The Arachosian capital or metropolis
Alexandria Arachosia or Alexandropolis and lay in what is
Kandahar in Afghanistan.
Arachosia was a part of the region of
* 1 Name
* 2 Geography
* 3 Peoples
* 4 History
* 5 Religion
* 6 Theory of Croatian Iranian origin
* 7 See also
* 8 Notes
* 9 References
* 10 External links
"Arachosia" is the Latinized form of Greek Ἀραχωσία -
Arachōsíā. "The same region appears in the
(1.12) under the indigenous dialect form Haraxvaitī- (whose -axva- is
typical non-Avestan)." In
Old Persian inscriptions, the region is
referred to as 𐏃𐎼𐎢𐎺𐎫𐎡𐏁, written
h(a)-r(a)-u-v(a)-t-i. This form is the "etymological equivalent" of
Vedic Sanskrit Sarasvatī- , the name of a (mythological) river
literally meaning "rich in waters/lakes" and derived from sáras-
"lake, pond." (cf.
Aredvi Sura Anahita
Aredvi Sura Anahita ).
"Arachosia" was named after the name of a river that runs through it,
in Greek Arachōtós, today known as the Arghandab , a left bank
tributary of the Helmand .
A 15th century reconstruction (by
Nicolaus Germanus ) of a
2nd-century map (by
Drangiana to the west,
Gandahara ) to the north, a part of ancient India to the east, and
Gedrosia (or Dexendrusi ) to the south. Isidore and
each provide a list of cities in Arachosia, among them (yet another)
Alexandria , which lay on the river Arachotus. This city is frequently
mis-identified with present-day
Kandahar in Afghanistan, the name of
which was thought to be derived (via "Iskanderiya") from "Alexandria",
reflecting a connection to
Alexander the Great
Alexander the Great 's visit to the city
on his campaign towards India . But a recent discovery of an
inscription on a clay tablet has provided proof that 'Kandahar' was
already a city that traded actively with Persia well before
Alexander's time. Isidore,
Strabo (11.8.9) and Pliny (6.61) also refer
to the city as "metropolis of Arachosia."
In his list,
Ptolemy also refers to a city named Arachotus (English:
Arachote /ˈærəkoʊt/ ; Greek : Ἀραχωτός) or Arachoti (acc.
Strabo ), which was the earlier capital of the land. Pliny the
Stephen of Byzantium
Stephen of Byzantium mention that its original name was
Cophen (Κωφήν). Hsuan Tsang refers to the name as Kaofu. This
city is identified today with Arghandab which lies northwest of
The inhabitants of
Iranian peoples , referred to as
Arachosians or Arachoti. It is assumed that they were called Paktyans
by ethnicity, and that name may have been in reference to the ethnic
Paṣtun (Pashtun) tribes .
Isidorus of Charax in his 1st century CE "Parthian stations"
itinerary described an "Alexandropolis, the metropolis of Arachosia",
which he said was still Greek even at such a late time:
"Beyond is Arachosia. And the Parthians call this White India; there
are the city of Biyt and the city of Pharsana and the city of
Chorochoad and the city of Demetrias; then Alexandropolis, the
metropolis of Arachosia; it is Greek, and by it flows the river
Arachotus. As far as this place the land is under the rule of the
Parthians." — "Parthians stations", 1st century CE. Original text
in paragraph 19 of Parthian stations
Ptolemy (6.20.3) mentions several tribes of
Arachosia by name, the
Pargyetae (Greek : Παρ(γ)υῆται), and, to the south, the
Sidri (Greek : Σίδροι), Rhoplutae (Ῥωπλοῦται), and
Eoritae (Ἐωρῖται). Despite attempts to connect the Eoritae
with the "Arattas" of the
Mahabharata or with present-day
Aroras , who
populated this land and migrated to India after partition , the
identity of these tribes is unknown, and even Ptolemy's orthography is
disputed ("Pargyetae" is sometimes rewritten "Parsyetae" or
Further information: History of
The region is first referred to in the
Achaemenid -era Elamite
Persepolis fortification tablets. It appears again in the Old Persian
Aramaic inscriptions of
Darius I and
Xerxes I among
lists of subject peoples and countries. It is subsequently also
identified as the source of the ivory used in Darius' palace at Susa.
Behistun inscription (DB 3.54-76), the King recounts that a
Persian was thrice defeated by the
Achaemenid governor of Arachosia,
Vivana, who so ensured that the province remained under Darius'
control. It has been suggested that this "strategically unintelligible
engagement" was ventured by the rebel because "there were close
relations between Persia and
Arachosia concerning the Zoroastrian
The chronologically next reference to
Arachosia comes from the Greeks
and Romans, who record that under
Darius III the Arachosians and
Drangians were under the command of a governor who, together with the
army of the Bactrian governor, contrived a plot of the Arachosians
against Alexander (
Curtius Rufus 8.13.3). Following Alexander's
conquest of the Achaemenids, the Macedonian appointed his generals as
Arrian 3.28.1, 5.6.2;
Curtius Rufus 7.3.5; Plutarch,
Eumenes 19.3; Polyaenus 4.6.15; Diodorus 18.3.3; Orosius 3.23.1 3;
Justin 13.4.22). According to
Megasthenes lived in
Arachosia and travelled to
Pataliputra , to the court of Chandragupta
Partition of Babylon
Partition of Babylon , the region became part of the
Seleucid Empire , which traded it to the
Mauryan Empire in 305 BCE as
part of an alliance. The
Shunga dynasty overthrew the Mauryans in 185
BC, but shortly afterwards lost
Arachosia to the Greco-Bactrian
Kingdom . It then became part of the break-away
Indo-Greek Kingdom in
the mid 2nd century BCE.
Indo-Scythians expelled the Indo-Greeks by
the mid 1st century BCE, but lost the region to the Arsacids and
Indo-Parthians . At what time (and in what form) Parthian rule over
Arachosia was reestablished cannot be determined with any
authenticity. From Isidore 19 it is certain that a part (perhaps only
a little) of the region was under Arsacid rule in the 1st century CE,
and that the Parthians called it Indikē Leukē, "White India."
The Kushans captured
Arachosia from the
Indo-Parthians and ruled the
region until around 230 CE, when they were defeated by the Sassanids ,
the second Persian Empire, after which the Kushans were replaced by
Sassanid vassals known as the
Indo-Sassanids . In 420 CE
Kushanshas were driven out of present
Afghanistan by the Chionites
, who established the
Kidarite Kingdom . The
Kidarites were replaced
in the 460s CE by the
Hephthalites , who were defeated in 565 CE by a
coalition of Persian and Turkish armies.
Arachosia became part of the
Kushano-Hephthalite Kingdoms of
Kapisa , then
Kabul , before
coming under attack from the Moslem Arabs. These kingdoms were at
first vassals of Sassanids. Around 870 CE the Kushano-Hephthalites
(aka Turkshahi Dynasty) was replaced by the
Hindu Shahi dynasty, which
fell to the Muslim Turkish
Ghaznavids in the early 11th century CE.
Arab geographers referred to the region (or parts of it) as
'Arokhaj', 'Rokhaj', 'Rohkaj' or simply 'Roh'.
Zoroastrian religious and cultural influence until
the advent of
Islam in the 7th century. Much of the country remained
Zoroastrian even while in Arab hands, but within a few centuries Islam
became the region's dominant religion. See
Sistan for information on
the religion of the area after the Arab conquest.
THEORY OF CROATIAN IRANIAN ORIGIN
The theory of Croatian origin traces the origin of the
Croats to the
area of Arachosia. This connection was at first drawn due to the
similarity of Croatian (
Croatia - Croatian : Hrvatska,
Croatian: Hrvati /
Čakavian dialect : Harvati /
Kajkavian dialect :
Horvati) and Arachosian name, but other researches indicate that
there are also linguistic, cultural, agrobiological and genetic ties.
Croatia became an independent state in 1991, the Iranian theory
gained more popularity, and many scientific papers and books have been
* ^ A B C D E F G H Schmitt, Rüdiger (August 10, 2011).
"Arachosia". United States: Encyclopædia Iranica.
* ^ Lendering, Jona. "Alexandria in Arachosia". Amsterdam:
* ^ Mookerji, Radhakumud (1966).
Chandragupta Maurya and his times
(4 ed.). Motilal Banarsidass Publ. p. 173. ISBN 978-81-208-0405-0 .
* ^ Houtsma, Martijn Theodoor (1987). E.J. Brill\'s first
encyclopaedia of Islam, 1913-1936. 2. BRILL. p. 150. ISBN
90-04-08265-4 . Retrieved 2010-09-24.
* ^ The Greeks in Bactria and India. Cambridge University Press.
2010-06-24. ISBN 978-1-108-00941-6 . Retrieved 2007-12-31.
* ^ "Identity of Croatians in Ancient Afghanistan". iranchamber.com
* ^ Kalyanaraman, Srinivasan. "Sarasvati Civilization Volume 1".
Bangalore: Babasaheb (Umakanta Keshav) Apte Smarak Samiti .
* ^ Budimir/Rac, Stipan/Mladen. "Anthropogenic and agrobiological
arguments of the scientific origin of Croats". Zagreb: Staroiransko
podrijetlo Hrvata : zbornik simpozija / Lovrić, Andrija-Željko (ed).
- Teheran : Iranian Cultural Center .
* ^ Abbas, Samar. "Common Origin of Croats, Serbs and Jats".
Bhubaneshwar: iranchamber.com .
* ^ Beshevliev 1967: "Iranian elements in the Proto-Bulgarians" by
V. Beshevliev (in Bulgarian)(Antichnoe Obschestvo, Trudy Konferencii
po izucheniyu problem antichnosti, str. 237-247, Izdatel'stvo "Nauka",
Moskva 1967, AN SSSR, Otdelenie Istorii)
* ^ Dvornik 1956: "The Slavs. Their Early History and
Civilization." by F. Dvornik, American Academy of Arts and Sciences,
Boston, USA., 1956.
* ^ Hina 2000: "Scholars assert
Croats are Descendants of Iranian
Tribes", Hina News Agency, Zagreb, Oct 15, 2000 (http://www.hina.hr)
* ^ Sakac 1949: "Iranisehe Herkunft des kroatischen Volksnamens",
("Iranian origin of the Croatian Ethnonym") S. Sakac, Orientalia
Christiana Periodica. XV (1949), 813-340.
* ^ Sakac 1955: "The Iranian origin of the Croatians according to
Constantine Porphyrogenitus", by S. Sakac, in "The Croatian nation in
its struggle for freedom and independence" (Chicago, 1955); for other
works by Sakac, cf. "Prof. Dr. Stjepan Krizin Sakac - In memoriam" by
* ^ Schmitt 1985: "Iranica Proto-Bulgarica" (in German), Academie
Bulgare des Sciences, Linguistique Balkanique, XXVIII (1985), l,
* ^ Tomicic 1998: "The old-Iranian origin of Croats", Symposium
proceedings, Zagreb 24.6.1998, ed. Prof. Zlatko Tomicic ">(PDF).
Archived from the original (PDF) on 2006-12-12. Retrieved 2011-06-13.
* ^ Vernadsky 1952: "Der sarmatische Hintergrund der germanischen
Voelkerwanderung," (Sarmatian background of the Germanic Migrations),
G. Vernadsky, Saeculum, II (1952), 340-347.
* Frye, Richard N. (1963). The Heritage of Persia. World Publishing
company, Cleveland, Ohio. Mentor Book edition, 1966.
* Hill, John E. 2004. The Western Regions according to the Hou
Hanshu. Draft annotated English translation.
* Hill, John E. 2004. The Peoples of the West from the Weilue 魏略
by Yu Huan 魚豢: A Third Century Chinese Account Composed between
239 and 265 CE. Draft annotated English translation.
* Hill, John E. (2009) Through the Jade Gate to Rome: A Study of the
Silk Routes during the Later Han Dynasty, 1st to 2nd Centuries CE.
BookSurge, Charleston, South Carolina. ISBN 978-1-4392-2134-1 .
* Toynbee, Arnold J. (1961). Between Oxus and Jumna. London. Oxford
* Vogelsang, W. (1985). "Early historical
Arachosia in South-east
Afghanistan; Meeting-place between East and West." Iranica antiqua, 20
(1985), pp. 55–99.
* Alexandria in Arachosia
* ARACHOSIA, province (satrapy)