« PreviousContinue »
II.—Memoir on the Topes and Antiquities of Afghzinistdn. By J . G. Gerard, Esq. Surgeon, Beng. Est., addressed to the President of the
Asiatic Society, from Jelaldbdd, 4th Dec. 1833.
The topes or edifices of which Manikydla is already familiar to us by the enterprising researches of General VENTURA, had appealed to our curiosity in the journey to Turkistrin, but three only were visited en passant; viz. Manikydla itself, one at Usmdn Khdtir in the basin of the Indus, and another at Péshdwer. On my return to Kdbul, in November last, ample gratification awaited me, through the zealous
exertions of Messrs. MARTIN Honronnaonn and Masson, whoml
met in that city. _
The interest excited by the labours of these travellers (as might be supposed) was not limited to the mere inspection of their collections, which were displayed to me with an open candour that leaves me their debtor. I followed up the inquiry to which they had unfolded to me the clue ; and though unproductive of similar results to those which have crowned their exertions, I am enabled to speak to some points from actual experience, and hope to have it in my power to add more hereafter. ,'
The monuments now about to be considered, which were first introduced to our notice by Mr. Enrnmsronn, are calculated to rouse the attention of the antiquarian and the philosopher, when he surveys the relics they disclose in connexion with dynasties, of which all our knowledge is scarcely more than the faintest lineaments, and of the events to which they yielded and ceased to exist, history gives us little or no account. To have a prospect of filling up a blank in chronological annals is of itself sufiiciently interesting, but it is doubly so when these may serve to illustrate the career of one whose exploits are a theme of so much fame, and whose foot-steps have employed so many pens to trace even consistently.
These ancient edifices may perhaps present to us the sepulchral remains of the Bactrian kings, and others who succeeded to their sway ; but, whether we view them as cotemporary with the Grecian dynasty of Balkh in Turkistdn, or of those subsequent sat-rapies which emanated from the remains of that kingdom, the same thoughts recur, the same suggestions rise, Who-were those kings? and what was the extent of
their individual sway in these and other regions ? for there is no doubt,
that the whole of the Panjdb, and even a great part of the Gangetic
territory and Sind, were the seat of their dominion, whether this was
Indo-Scythic or Indo-Grecian ;—by what revolutions their reign termiT r '
nated, and they themselves became extinct P and who were their successors till the period when the frenzy of Muhammedan religion overturned the whole institutions of the country P These questions, which involve many others, may yet __be answered by these memorials.
Ancient history is sufficiently intelligible, and conducts us to the path, and even the allocation of Macedonian conquest in Afghdnistdn ,and if identity in the appellations of places is still perplexing, and even apparently inaccessible, it must be assigned rather to a deficiency in ourselves, than to a result produced by any interchange of language that may have occurred during the lapse of ages; for instance, if a person, familiar with Sanscrit, were to visit these regions, there is no doubt that things would speak to us, instead of awaiting to be interrogated.
We are indebted to C01. WILFORD for a knowledge of the fact, that the names of all the places in ALnxANDEn’s route from Bamidn to Multdn, are pure Sanscrit.
» The Persian will also assist us in the inquiry. I need scarcely mention the single word Panjrib (i. e. panj-db), five waters; or Hydaspes (Jkilam), the initial syllable of which answers to the Greek term for water, and the last to the Persian word “ asp,” a horse; and it is notorious, that the Dodb (two waters, or rather the land between them), of the Jhilam, is famed for a breed of fine horses called dkam’*, and also of fine women. It is related to us, that so many honors were reported to be paid to beauty in the country of the Cathzei under King Sornrrns, that even dogs and horses were selected for their quality; and farther, that notwithstanding their barbarism, this nation was first in wisdom, being ruled by salutary customs, one of which was, that children born with disproportions in any part of their body were to be killed; nuptials being only influenced by beauty of exterior in children: a commentary upon this will readily occur in the practice of the present day, and the usages which prevail in the territory watered by the Hydaspes. In Turkistdn, the field for etymological afiinities is equally prolific : the river Jaxartes, we are told, is read in the Mongol Iwia1‘tis; but the Turks also call it Secandrice or ALEXANDEKS river. The river Sogd retains its name, as we find from Issrr Oo1.AH’s Journal. The Sogdrians are therefore readily recognised as the people inhabiting the course of that valley. The Getae must be identified with the Jogatai, who inhabit Zataria ,- beyond the limit of Yarkand and Kashgar, and of which stock the present king of Delhi and his relative, the sovereign of China, are descendants. Balkh, I think, Colonel WILFORD designates in the Sanscrit Bahalac ,- also Ba
‘ Maha R534 Runrnsr Sm GH gets his best steeds from that district.