ARIANA, the Latinized form of the
Ancient Greek Ἀρ(ε)ιανή
Ar(e)ianē (inhabitants: Ariani; Ἀρ(ε)ιανοί Ar(e)ianoi), was
a general geographical term used by some Greek and Roman authors of
the ancient period for a district of wide extent between
Indus River , comprehending the eastern provinces of the
Achaemenid Empire that covered the whole country of modern day
Afghanistan , and a few parts of
Turkmenistan , and
At various times, various parts of the region were governed by the
Persians (the Achaemenids from 550 to 330 BC, the Sasanians from 275
to 650 AD and the Indo-Sasanians from 345 to 450 AD), the Macedonians
(the Seleucids from 330 to 250 BC, the Greco-
Bactrians from 250 to 110
BC and the Indo-
Greeks from 155 to 90 BC),
Iranian peoples from Persia
Central Asia (the
Parthians from 160 BC to 225 AD, the
Indo-Scythians from 90 BC to 20 AD, the Indo-
Parthians from 20 to 225
AD and the Kushans from 110 BC to 225 AD), the
Xionites (the Kidarites
from 360 to 465 AD and the Hephthalites from 450 to 565 AD) and Indian
empires (the Mauryans from 275 to 185 BC).
* 1 Etymology
* 2 Extent of
* 2.1 Inhabitants of
* 3 See also
* 4 References
* 5 Further reading
* 6 External links
The Greek term Arianē (Latin: Ariana) is based on
Ayran , a term
found in Iranian
Avestan Airiiana- (especially in
Airyanem Vaejah ,
the name of the
Iranian peoples ' mother country). The modern name
Iran represents a different form of the ancient name
Airyanem Vaejah and implies that
Iran is “the” Ariana
itself – a word of
Sanskrit origin found in
Old Persian –
a view supported by the traditions of the country preserved in the
Muslim writers of the ninth and tenth centuries. The
referred to Haroyum/Haraiva (
Herat ) as 'Aria', which is one of the
many provinces found in Ariana.
Ariana and Aria, and many other ancient titles of which
Aria is a component element, are connected with the
Aryan , the
Avestan term Airya-, and the
Old Persian term Ariya-, a
self designation of the peoples of
Ancient India and Ancient
meaning "noble", "excellent" and "honourable".
EXTENT OF ARIANA
The exact limits of
Ariana are laid down with little accuracy in
classical sources. It seems to have been often confused (as in Pliny ,
Naturalis Historia , book vi, chapter 23) with the small province of
As a geographical term,
Ariana was introduced by the Greek
Eratosthenes (c. 276 BC – c. 195 BC), and was fully
described by the Greek geographer
Strabo (64/63 BC – ca. AD 24).
Per Eratosthenes' definition, the borders of
Ariana were defined by
Indus River in the east, the sea in the south, a line from
Carmania to the Caspian Gates in the west, and the so-called Taurus
Mountains in the north. This large region included almost all of the
countries east of Media and ancient
Persia , including south of the
great mountain ranges up to the deserts of
Gedrosia and Carmania,
i.e. the provinces of Carmania, Gedrosia,
Arachosia , Aria
Paropamisadae ; also
Bactria was reckoned to
Ariana and was
called "the ornament of
Ariana as a whole" by Apollodorus of Artemita
After having described the boundaries of Ariana,
Strabo writes that
the name Αρειανή could also be extended to part of the Persians
Medes and also to the northwards
Bactrians and the
A detailed description of that region is to be found in Strabo's
Geographica , Book XV – "Persia, Ariana, the Indian subcontinent",
chapter 2, sections 1–9.
Ariana is not mentioned, nor is it included in the
geographical description of
Stephanus of Byzantium
Stephanus of Byzantium and
Ptolemy , or in
the narrative of
Having considered these various sources,
Ariana includes modern-day
Arachosia , Aria , Drangiana
Paropamisadae ), east and southeast
Iran (Carmania and
Gedrosia ), most of
Sogdiana ), most of Turkmenistan
Margiana ), south
Uzbekistan (parts of
Sogdiana ) and extending to
Indus River in
INHABITANTS OF ARIANA
The tribes by whom
Ariana was inhabited, as enumerated by Strabo
* Arii ;
Pliny (vi. 25) specifies the following tribes:
* Arii ;
* the inhabitants of Daritis;
* Gedrussi ;
* Zarangae .
Pliny (vi. 23) says that some add to
India four satrapies to the west
of the river, – the Gedrosii, Arachosii, Arii, and Paropamisadae, as
far as the river Cophes (the river Kabul ). Pliny therefore agrees on
the whole with Strabo.
Dionysius Periegetes (1097) agrees with Strabo
in extending the northern boundary of the Ariani to the
and (714) speaks of them as inhabiting the shores of the Erythraean
Sea . It is probable, from
Strabo (xv. p.724), that the term was
extended to include the east Persians, Bactrians, and Sogdians, with
the people of
Ariana below the mountains, because they were for the
most part of one speech.
Rüdiger Schmitt, the German scholar of Iranian Studies, also
Ariana should have included other
Iranian people . He
writes in the
Encyclopædia Iranica :
Eratosthenes’ use of this term (followed by
Diodorus 2.37.6) is
obviously due to a mistake, since, firstly, not all inhabitants of
these lands belonged to the same tribe and, secondly, the term "Aryan
" originally was an ethnical one and only later a political one as the
name of the Iranian empire (for all North Indians and Iranians
designated themselves as "Aryan"; See
Aryan ), thus comprising still
other Iranian tribes outside of
Ariana proper, like Medes, Persians or
Sogdians (so possibly in
Diodorus 1.94.2, where
Zarathushtra is said
to have preached Ahura Mazdā 's laws "among the Arianoi"). — R.
* ^ Pliny ,
Naturalis Historia , book vi, page 23
* ^ A B C D E Smith, William (1980). "Ariana". Dictionary of Greek
and Roman Geography. Boston: Little, Brown, and Co. pp. 210–211.
* ^ A B C Schmitt, R. (1986). "Aria". Encyclopaedia Iranica.
* ^ Lewis, Charlton T.; Short, Charles. "Ărĭāna". A Latin
Dictionary. Perseus Digital Library. Retrieved 2013-05-10.
* ^ A B The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition, 2008
* ^ Sagar, Krishna Chandra (1 January 1992). Foreign Influence on
Ancient India. Northern Book Centre. p. 91. ISBN 9788172110284 .
Strabo (c. 54 B.C., A.D. 24), who refers to the authority
of Apollodorus of Artemia, the
Bactria became masters of
Ariana, a vague term roughly indicating the eastern districts of the
Persian empire, and of India.
* ^ Gnoli, G. (2006). "Iranian identity ii. Pre-Islamic Period".
Encyclopaedia Iranica. Retrieved 2013-05-10.
* ^ Ashraf, A. (2006). "Iranian identity iii. Medieval Islamic
Period". Encyclopaedia Iranica. Retrieved 2013-05-10.
* ^ Ed Eduljee. "Haroyu, Aria / Airan,
Herat & Zoroastrianism".
Heritageinstitute.com. Retrieved 2016-10-21.
* ^ Ed Eduljee. "
Aryan Homeland, Airyana Vaeja, Location. Aryans
and Zoroastrianism". Heritageinstitute.com. Retrieved 2016-10-21.
* ^ Ed Eduljee. "
Aryan Homeland, Airyana Vaeja, in the Avesta.
Aryan lands and Zoroastrianism". Heritageinstitute.com. Retrieved
* ^ Schmitt, R. (1987). "Aryans". Encyclopaedia Iranica. Retrieved
* ^ Gnoli, Gherardo (2002). The "Aryan" Language. Roma: Instituto
Italiano per l'Africa e l'Oriente. p. 86.
* ^ "
Strabo Geography, Book XV, Chapter 2". Penelope.uchicago.edu.
* Horace Hayman Wilson, Charles Masson,
Ariana Antiqua: a
Descriptive Account of the Antiquities and Coins of Afghanistan, 1841
* Henry Walter Bellew, An inquiry into the ethnography of
* Tomaschek in Pauly-Wissowa, II/1, cols. 619f., and 813f.
* G. Gnoli, Postilla ad Ariyō šayana, RSO 41, 1966, pp. 329–34.
* P. Calmeyer, AMI 15, 1982, pp. 135ff.
* Encyclopaedia Iranica Aria region in the