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Hunas or Huna was the name given by the ancient Indians to a group of Central Asian tribes who, via the Khyber Pass, entered India
India
at the end of the 5th or early 6th century. They occupied areas as far as Eran
Eran
and Kausambi, greatly weakening the Gupta Empire. The Hunas were ultimately defeated by the Indian Gupta Empire
Gupta Empire
and the Indian king Yasodharman.[2] The Hunas are thought to have included the Xionite and/or Hephthalite, the Kidarites, the Alchon Huns
Alchon Huns
(also known as the Alxon, Alakhana, Walxon etc) and the Nezak Huns. Such names, along with that of the Harahunas (also known as the Halahunas or Harahuras) mentioned in Hindu texts, have sometimes been used for the Hunas in general; while these groups appear to have been a component of the Hunas, such names were not necessarily synonymous. The relationship, if any, of the Hunas to the Huns, a Central Asian people who invaded Europe during the same period, is also unclear. In its farthest geographical extent in India, the territories controlled by the Hunas covered the region up to Malwa
Malwa
in central India.[3] Their repeated invasions and war losses were the main reason for the decline of the Gupta Empire.[4]

Contents

1 History 2 Religion 3 Gallery 4 See also 5 Notes 6 References

History[edit] The Mongolian-Tibetan historian de:Sumpa Yeshe Peljor (writing in the 18th century) lists the Hunas alongside other peoples found in Central Asia since antiquity, including the Yavanas
Yavanas
(Greeks), Kambojas, Tukharas, Khasas
Khasas
and Daradas.[5][6] Chinese sources link the Central Asian tribes comprising the Hunas to both the Xiongnu
Xiongnu
of north east Asia and the Huns
Huns
who later invaded and settled in Europe.[7] Similarly, Gerald Larson suggests that the Hunas were a Turkic-Mongolian grouping from Central Asia.[4] The works of Ptolemy
Ptolemy
(2nd century) are among the first European texts to mention the Huns, followed by the texts by Marcellinus and Priscus. They too suggest that the Huns
Huns
were an inner Asian people.[8]

Hephthalite
Hephthalite
horseman on British Museum
British Museum
bowl, 460–479 CE.[9] According to Procopius
Procopius
of Caesarea, they were of the same stock as European Huns
Huns
"in fact as well as in name", but sedentary and white-skinned.

The 6th-century Roman historian Procopius
Procopius
of Caesarea (Book I. ch. 3), related the Huns
Huns
of Europe with the Hephthalites
Hephthalites
or "White Huns" who subjugated the Sassanids and invaded northwestern India, stating that they were of the same stock, "in fact as well as in name", although he contrasted the Huns
Huns
with the Hephthalites, in that the Hephthalites were sedentary, white-skinned, and possessed "not ugly" features:[10][11]

The Ephthalitae Huns, who are called White Huns
Huns
[...] The Ephthalitae are of the stock of the Huns
Huns
in fact as well as in name, however they do not mingle with any of the Huns
Huns
known to us, for they occupy a land neither adjoining nor even very near to them; but their territory lies immediately to the north of Persia [...] They are not nomads like the other Hunnic peoples, but for a long period have been established in a goodly land... They are the only ones among the Huns
Huns
who have white bodies and countenances which are not ugly. It is also true that their manner of living is unlike that of their kinsmen, nor do they live a savage life as they do; but they are ruled by one king, and since they possess a lawful constitution, they observe right and justice in their dealings both with one another and with their neighbours, in no degree less than the Romans and the Persians[12]

The Kidarites, who invaded Bactria in the second half of the 4th century,[13] are generally regarded as the first wave of Hunas to enter South Asia. Religion[edit] The religious beliefs of the Hunas is unknown, and believed to be a combination of ancestor worship, totemism and animism.[14] Song Yun
Song Yun
and Hui Zheng, who visited the chief of the Hephthalite nomads at his summer residence in Badakshan
Badakshan
and later in Gandhara, observed that they had no belief in the Buddhist
Buddhist
law and served a large number of divinities."[15] Gallery[edit]

Victory pillar of Yashodharman
Yashodharman
at Sondani, Mandsaur
Mandsaur
claiming victory over the Huns.

Asia in 500 AD, showing the Huna domain at its greatest extent.

Alchon Huns
Alchon Huns
king Khingila.[16]

Nezak Huns
Nezak Huns
king Napki Malka.

The " Hephthalite
Hephthalite
bowl", NFP Pakistan, 5th or 6th century CE. British Museum.[17]

See also[edit]

Kushan Empire 36 royal races Ancient India
India
and Central Asia Hon Huna Kingdom

Notes[edit]

^ Hans Bakker
Hans Bakker
24th Gonda lecture ^ India: A History by John Keay p.158 ^ Kurbanov, Aydogdy (2010). "The Hephthalites: Archaeological and Historical Analysis" (PDF). p. 24. Retrieved 17 January 2013. The Hūnas controlled an area that extended from Malwa
Malwa
in central India
India
to Kashmir.  ^ a b Gerald James Larson (1995). India's Agony Over Religion. State University of New York Press. pp. 78–79. ISBN 978-1-4384-1014-2.  ^ Sumpa Yeshe Peljor's 18th century work Dpag-bsam-ljon-bzah (Tibetan title) may be translated as "The Excellent Kalpavriksha"): "Tho-gar yul dań yabana dań Kambodza dań Khasa [sic] dań Huna dań Darta dań..." ^ Pag-Sam-Jon-Zang (1908), I.9, Sarat Chandra Das; Ancient Kamboja, 1971, p 66, H. W. Bailey. ^ Hyun Jin Kim, The Huns, Abingdon, Routledge, passim. ^ Joseph Kitagawa (2013). The Religious Traditions of Asia: Religion, History, and Culture. Routledge. p. 229. ISBN 978-1-136-87597-7.  ^ British Museum
British Museum
notice ^ Procopius
Procopius
of Caesarea: Tyranny, History, and Philosophy at the End of Antiquity, Anthony Kaldellis, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2012, p.70 ^ Staying Roman: Conquest and Identity in Africa and the Mediterranean, 439–700, Jonathan Conant Cambridge University Press, 2012 p.259 ^ Procopius, History of the Wars. Book I, Ch. III, "The Persian War" ^ History of Civilizations of Central Asia, Ahmad Hasan Dani, B. A. Litvinsky, Unesco
Unesco
p.119 sq ^ Mircea Eliade; Charles J. Adams (1987). The Encyclopedia of religion. Macmillan. pp. 530–532. ISBN 978-0-02-909750-2.  ^ "The White Huns
Huns
- The Hephthalites". Silkroad Foundation. Retrieved 11 January 2013.  ^ CNG Coins [1] ^ Iaroslav Lebedynsky, "Les Nomades", p172.

References[edit]

Iaroslav Lebedynsky, "Les Nomades", Paris 2007, ISBN 

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