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Kushan were not Yehzhi- based on New Discoveries and

Reinterpretation from Chinese Sources:

Bipin Shah
In my earlier article on Hunnic Invaders of Central Asia that occurred during the beginning of Common
era, I made the following observation: (see Reference section for link)
The literary sources that are used are from various writers mainly from the Qin dynasty historians as
well western sources that included Shiji chronicle from China assumed to be dated to late 2nd to early
1st centuries BC (Translated by Sima Qian 1959), the Hanshu compiled in the late 1st to early 2nd
centuries AD (Translated by Ban Gu 1962), and the Hou Hanshu compiled in the 5th century AD
(Translated by Fan Ye 1965). The former two sources are contemporary observations while later one was
a collection of various written sources and observations made after the events took place. Last write-up
by the Hou Hanshu loses some of its relevance since it is written very late when the events and peoples
of the Xiongnu Empire have gone through significant Genetic mixing and ethnographic changes and did
not reflect the original nomads of Xiongnu Empire. However, it gives important details on lives, culture
and movements of nomads while reconstructing the social, economic, and political history of the
Xiongnu Empire.
Most of the western sources have relied on old Chinese and Grecian sources but with language
difficulties of reading Chinese heliographs, the labeling of clans and their affinities to each others have
been misapplied and wrong interpretations and conclusions were derived. This was the most turbulent
period of the history of central Asia and there were not many historians on the ground to inform us what
took place, so lots of assumptions and conjectures were applied to remote part of the world. As China
integrates with the modern world, we are evidencing the spread of English language among Chinese
historians who now gets the opportunities to correct mistranslation of the heliographic Chinese
characters and the meanings and worlds that also helps correcting related geography and tribal
movements. They also bring up to date and validate their history with new archeology, modern genetics
and discovery of new texts on Bamboo strips. Much of the updates are provided to us by Mr. Ah Xiang
through his web sites and links from scholarly sources of China that have done an incredible job of
resolving glaring inconsistencies of colonial era historians in capturing ancient Chinese history through
series of publications. The revision from these updates that affects the Kushan history that ruled
subcontinent is presented here along with additional corroborative evidence from Indian literary
sources. With the advance of genetic science that takes into account the data collection and analysis by
National Geographic Genome project, we may have improved clarity in identifying various warrior and
pastoralist steppe nomads and their interrelationship that traveled through central Asia. The most
daunting problem is the identification of various Chinese names assigned to the various tribes and how
they were interpreted by classical historians. Our research suggests that Yuezhi people may or may not
equate to Tocharian and but Kushan were the native to ancient India. We will demonstrate our sources
where we derived our information and point out some of the questions and contradiction still may exist.

Modern Human Migration Theory through National Genome Project:

To get a clear picture as to how mongoloid people may have evolved in the east, we need to rely on new
research in the field of genetic. The world genome project has offered surprisingly different conclusions
and findings than what was assumed and written in ancient history. From this study, we can say that the
first African migration occurred over 100,000 years ago with a small groups of hunter-gatherers along the
costal routes and passed through various regions of Persian Guelph and Middle East to reach west coast
of India and part of that left from the Indian subcontinent perhaps as early as 50,000 years ago through
eastern coastal routes to southeast Asia and China. The migrants along the way stayed at various places
for centuries or millennia while other moved on and dispersed through various routes to rest of the
world. Along the way, the phenomenon of genetic mutations, yet not clearly well understood in terms of
the effects of ecological and biological variables may have or assumed to have taken place during earths
variable climates that ultimately altered the physical characteristics of modern human to survive or
increase their adoptability to climatic changes. We observe the evidence in other species such as white
fur animal that only exists in the extreme polar region due to lower availability of sun light required
being absorbed to maximum level for vitamin D composition. We also find blue and green eyed penguins
exclusively in Arctic Circle. These climatic variations may have led to alteration of physical characteristics
for survival and increasing the adoptability to adjust the biology of the species affected. We observe the
animal species that follows the same rules and we have white, brown and black bears and also tigers. If
everything being same, the humans residing near equator with dark skin must get sun burn but it does
not. In modern human, these changes have resulted into classification of ethnicities and races. As
humans dispersed, they also formed various verbal communication methods (speaking tongues) to form
the language group. This obvious evolution of all species remains a controversial and emotional subject
for some and to dwell further into it is out of the scope of this paper. The schematic chart prepared by
National Geographic Society to broadly illustrate this general pattern of migration based on captured
genetics data of millions of participants throughout the world is displayed below. The fact that Indian
DNA is most diversified DNA and contains many prehistoric genes that lend the credence to their findings
that subcontinent must have acted as a staging point for further dispersal of modern humans. However,
this should not be mixed up with another controversial and passionate subject of Aryan migration of the
recent history.

Pre-historic East Asia:

Dr. Li Hui from Fudan University of China reanalyzed the DNA of the east Asians to derive a conclusion
that the ancestors of the Mongoloid Asians possessed a distinctive Haplogroup M89 when they reached
south East Asia, perhaps leaving from Subcontinent. After spending time (usually in centuries) in Tibetan
plateau of Himalayan region around 30,000 years ago, they proceeded again through coastal routes. This
group of people became Proto Indo-Burmese-Tibetan (Sintic group) who went through series of genetic
mutations, probably derived from living in colder climate of mountains to morph into haplogroup M122
as well as cross breeding with other hominine species. The exact mechanism and timing of this process is
not determined. Professor Li Hui claimed that the further mutations made them Proto-Mongoloid who

were the early migrants to the Chinese continent and may have taken at least three routes via two
entries of today's Yunnan and Guangxi-Guangdong provinces. Li Hui theory when projected to migration
to Liao-he River would be the non-stop migration of one branch of people dating back to 20,000 years or
earlier and ending up in Chinese Manchuria. They probably were the ancestor of Mongol. Other
theoretical assumptions are not in conformity of National geographic studies, so they were not discussed
here but the chart is present here.

National Geographic Genomic studies and chart of human migration

The statement such as claiming that Tibetan people originated from Proto-Mongoloid is not consistent
with universal human migration model but it is in conformity of Chinese Political policy of claiming that
all Tibetans are Chinese. Instead all Chinese can be considered early Tibetans. The real science
reveals us that latter is most probably a true outcome. Altai man must have come through northern
route and may have created Proto Indo-European and Proto-Turks (Turanic) people, while interacting
with mongoloid people. The recent DNA studies showed that there were two separate paths taken by
the haplogroup O-N people towards East Asia and by the Q-R people towards the Caucasus, with the
later cross-mixing among the N and R people to form the ancestral group of Proto-Indo-Europeans. See
charts below for early haplogroup distributions.

M Haplogroup Map distribution shows huge concentration of mutation from India

Scythians-Saka, Sacai and allied tribes:

The physical analyses based on forensic archeology have unanimously discovered that the Scythians,
even those from the east to west (North of subcontinent), possessed distinctly Caucasoid features. This
has been supplemented and refined by analysis of ancient DNA. In a 2009 study, the Haplogroups of 26
ancient human specimens from the Krasnoyarsk area in Siberia dated from between the middle of the
second millennium BC to the 4th century AD, nearly all subjects belonged to haplogroup R-M17. The
study authors suggest that their data shows that between Bronze and Iron Ages, the constellation of
populations known generically as Scythians, Andronovians, Indo-Iranians etc. were blue (or green)-eyed,
fair-skinned and light-haired people who might have played a role in the early development of the Tarim
Basin civilization. Moreover, this study found that they were genetically more closely related to modern
populations of Eastern Europe than modern population of central and southern Asian subcontinent (See
maps below). The Asians, especially Persians, knew the Scythians in Asia as Sacai. The Indo-Saka had the
name Saka in South Asia. Herodotus (7.64) applied a generic label and called them Scythians. Indian
epic of Mahabharata accurately defined them by their proper tribal designation as Saka, Kamboja,
Pahlva, Paradas, Prishaka, Rishikas, Bhoja, Madrasa etc. etc. These people of steppe had similar cultures
and habits and were expert horsemen. The east of Amu Darya, the people were under Indic (Vedic)
influence while west of Amu Darya were under Iranian (Persian) influence. These Sakas, Sacai, Scythe, or
any tribal name given by Indian, Persian or Chinese historians were for the same group of people who
were clad in trousers, and had on their heads tall stiff caps rising to a point. They bore the bow of their
country and the dagger; besides which they carried the battle-axe, or sagaris. Indo-Saka had settled in
ancient Bactria, Sogdiana, Arachosia and Gandhara. See below Haplogroup R-M17 map. The Sacai of
west were settled on western corridor of Amu Darya.

R-M17 Maps of Haplogroups

Saka, Sacai, scythe, Scythian warriors, on the right is an archeological exhibits excavated from tomb

Spread of Buddhism in central Asia

Chinese historians records of ancient people of east:

In addition to western historians like Herodotus and Strabo who may not have travelled into those
hostile territories but they gathered and compiled enough data through secondary sources like travelers
and soldiers accounts who may have witnessed. However, most important eye witness account is
preserved in Chinese account that is extremely useful. The Records of the Grand Historian now usually
known as the Hansu-Shiji is the source, also called "The Scribe's Records". This book is an epic history
of ancient China comparable to other world epics covering Chinese history to 3rd millennia. This work
was finished around 94 BC by the Qin dynastys official named Sima Qian. He was a historian, an
astrologer and a philosopher, a royal scribe and was highly respected Qin official like his father Sima Tan,
Grand Vizier and astrologer to the imperial court of China. Their work covers the geography and history
of the world as it was known to the Chinese and particularly Chinas prior history of 3000 years before
their time, beginning with the myths of legendary Yellow Emperors reign to then contemporary reign of
Emperor Wu of Han (known as Huangdi) who flourished during the author's life.
A number of 1st century AD Chinese scholars like Chu Shaosun (327 BC), added interpolations to these
Records, and may have had to reconstruct portions of the lost chapters numbering approximately 10 of
the original 130 chapters that were accidently lost during warring period during the Eastern Han period
(25220 BC). So, those reconstructions of missing paper were mere recollection derived from multiple
sources, so its originalities may have been compromised. The Chinese language is made up of
heliographic characters and symbols and sometimes carries more than one meaning that can easily lead
to misinterpretations, if not translated in proper context. WIKI describes those characters as a group of
related but in many cases mutually unintelligible language varieties, forming a branch of the Sino-Tibetan
language family. The preceding and succeeding context is very important in understanding the meaning.
Zhang Qian was a Chinese official and diplomat who served as an imperial envoy to the world outside of
China during 2nd century BC (Qin dynasty period). He was the first official diplomat to bring back reliable
eye witness account of turbulent period of Central Asia to the Chinese imperial court, then under
Emperor Wu of Han. Zhang Qian thus unwittingly played an important pioneering role for Chinese
colonization and conquest of the region now known as Xinjiang province. Qin dynasty emperor Shi
Huang also called (Huangdi), meaning the First Emperor of Qin. Huangdi had conquered all Warring
States and unified all of China in 221 BC. He self-invented his title of "emperor" (not uncommon on those
days) and called himself Huangdi, as indicated by his use of the word "First". During his time, the entire
central Asia was habitated by various nomadic warrior tribes from outer reaches of Mongolia to Kaspian
Sea. They were the decedents of Proto Mogoloid, Proto Indo-European and Proto Turkic groups of
people. They were nomadic, pastoralist and warriors class of people and possessed excellent skills in
riding horses and covering the great distance at impressive speed. They were Pastoralist to certain extent
but war like nomads and at times competed for grazing land that was their sole sustenance. Zang Qian
followed Xiongnu and Yehzhi tribe movements during great struggle for either for establishing
supremacy for grazing land or control of trades. Due to unknown climatic changes, the grassland was
declining due to lower precipitation and rainfall in Northeast China and Xiongnu were looking at fertile
region of south where civilization existed. During the bad times of seasons, Xiongnus activities increased
and they started stealing from settled agriculturalist communities. In response to these harassments,
Xiongnu were attacked and pushed back by the Chinese. The dislodged Xiongnu started to look for
alternatives and they found area where Yuezhi were settled that still had rich grassland due to nearby

Rivers. Xiongnu then attacked Yuezhi who had numerical superiority but Yuezhi decided to flee than take
a stand and headed towards west to Ili River region but were surprised that Wusun along with simran
(Saka) tribes had already taken over the area. Their attack on Wusun was not successful, so they headed
south west. These started a chain reaction and massive movements of peoples and tribes that lived in
Central Asia with relative peace but one tribe dislodged the other tribes that affecting Indian
subcontinent who witnessed massive influx of the refugees. Craig Benjamin suggests another scenario
that counters the Chineses version: He says and this author agrees that in spite of numerically superior
force of 100,000 horse mounted archers and the fact that the migration seems to have been conducted in
an orderly fashion suggests something of a planned strategic relocation rather than a rout. Moreover,
Yuezhi choose not to fight Xiongnu Hun in spite of their previous historical success as per Chinese
chronicle but choose to fight Wusun He speculates with reasonable logic that The Yuezhi's original
intention was to move some 2000 kilometers to the northwest and resettle in the valley of the Ili River, a
region occupied by a group of Sakas called Wusun (Chinese text) that had fertility and water resources.
They had no intention, nor any idea, that this journey would only be the first stage of a migration that
ultimately would take them half away across Central Asia, until thirty years later they would find
themselves in relatively secure occupation of the fertile river valleys north of the Amu Darya, and
influential tribe in the former Greek kingdom of Bactria. This author questions the sentence used by
Benjamin as the Master of the Bactria, because they were not.

Zhang Qian-establishing the First Silk Road:

The side benefit of Zhang Qian's travels is now considered as the opening of first Silk Road and route of
transcontinental trade. In essence, his missions opened up the China to the world and vice a versa.
Various kingdoms located west of China and their commercial products unknown to the eastern Chinese
became known through this ancient Silk Road that he discovered. Zhang Qian's accounts of his
explorations of Central Asia are detailed by the Early Qin historical chronicles- Records of the Grand
Historian, compiled by Sima Qian in the 1st century BC. He credits Zhang for his observations and record
that proved to be very valuable. According to Chinese history, the Central Asian sections of the Silk Road
routes were expanded around 114 BC largely through his missions and explorations. Today Zhang Qian is
considered a national hero and revered for the key role he played in opening China to the rest of world.
Huangdi was also credited for completing missing section of Great walls connecting his empire and
building a canal.

Sima Qian

Emperor Huangdi

Zang Qian

Zang Qians exploit and adventure

First Silk Road trading spots

Early nomadic tribes of east and central Asia-barbarians per Chinese records:
The Xiongnu or Hsiung-nu was a confederation of nomadic tribes, as was Saka (Simran to Chinese),
who, according to ancient Chinese sources, inhabited the eastern Asian Steppe from the 3000 BC to the
late 1st century AD. Chinese sources report that Modu Chanyu, the supreme leader of this Hunnic group
founded the Xiongnu Empire in 209 BC. These Hunnic confederation can be traced to the ancient Yun
also called Xian-Yun, the barbarians for short. Yun is designated as a clan name living as a Barbarian
life. Chinese sources report that those Xian-Yun groups were forced into exile to the western Corridor of
China along with San-Miao people by ancient overlord Shun in the 3rd millennium BC. San-Miao people
are believed to the ancestors of present Tibeto-Burmese group. These nomadic groups comingled within
themselves, as well as with other groups to evolve into what ancient Chinese historians collectively
describe as the tribes of Jiang-Rong but retained Yun as an epithet. It is possible that Chinese named
them as such because of their prior knowledge of their cultures of roaming; wondering and attacking
settled sedentary communities. These sedentary communities of southern china south of the yellow river
were agriculturalist with urbanized civilization of cities with material culture and prosperous life as
compared to wondering nomadic group. Similar cases were noted with Fertile Crescent civilization of
Indus, Euphrates and Niles.
We never would have a very clear idea of what some of these ancient people look like that Chinese
historians had described, but with the recent archeological finds in China and elsewhere, we can
conclude that differences that evolved in physical characteristic were gradual and shuttle over long
period of time. We are showing below the archeological finds of prehistoric Hunnic and Turanic people. It
appears that differentiations were sharpened in last two millennia due to cross breeding and maturity of
gene mutations.

Xiongnu Huns

Mongolian Prince

Statue from Gonur Tepe (Depe)

There are clues that more northerly branch that evolved had more Caucasoid features than southerly
branch. Gonur Tepe is an archaeological site of about 55 hectares in Turkmenistan that was inhabited by
Scythian and other tribes of Indo-Iranians dating back to 2500 BC. The site was discovered by GreekRussian archaeologist Viktor Sarianidi. Sarianidi discovered a palace, a fortified mud-brick enclosure, and
temples with fire altars which he believes were dedicated to the Zoroastrian religion. He also found what
appears to be the boiler for the ritual drink soma, which is mentioned in the Rigveda and also in the
Avesta as Hoama. Sarianidi says he also found dishes with traces of cannabis, poppy and ephedrine.
According to Sarianidi, this discovery strengthens the theory that these were the ingredients of soma, an
elixir of offering to various Indo-Iranian Aryan Gods. Rigveda and sister Avesta have devoted number of
hymns to Soma.
According to new research published in China, Chinese have undergone the same experience as Indians
regarding distortion of their ancient history. These mistakes were made either due to ignorance of the
native language, misinterpretation of evidence or outright distortion through forgery just to acquire
publication rights for knowledge thirsty public of the west. There is enough blame to go around and
makes no sense in lamenting over the issues. On one hand they ruled the countries and made us aware
of our past not known to us through archeology (e.g. Harrapan cities). We ignored these ruins for
centuries and while professional archeologists still perform archeology in other part of world and fund
the expeditions. The events that took place in 18th century AD may have biased tone to twist the
conclusion in favor of one civilization at the expense of the others civilization but they can be corrected
and amended with sufficient research. Most of these incidents can be attributed to select few who

forged the history to make the names for them for commercial purposes and publishing. During 18th and
19th century AD, the colonial historians were in rush to bring this buried unknown knowledge that was
usually confined to Royal bards of the world like Grand historians of china and not available to general
public or institution of learning. Being ignorant of the local languages, they relied on local experts, who
turned out to be equally ignorant. In India, the creation of multiple eras by victorious kings added to the
confusion of chronology and names. The required archeological knowledge or numismatic evidence that
was lacking have now surfaced through new discoveries. The foreign travelers accounts that were
difficult to understand is now translated and placed in the public domain and phonetic difficulties are
resolved in most cases. The privileged Royal bards who were the custodians of the records of the history
often relied on information gathered without secondary verification from other sources. Early Indologists
and sinologists produced a distorted picture that was later debunked by new archeological discoveries
and genetic studies both in India and China. In case of China, the fallacious claims include the link of the
Rouran to Mongolian chief Genghis Khan and the link of Tuoba or Topa people to the Modern Turks. The
jade links to Yehzhi and Lulian mummies link to Tocharian that are all proven wrong.

Xiongnu Hun Vs Yehzhi struggle

The name Xiongnu may be cognate with that of the Huns or Huna, but their comparison still remains
controversial. Chinese sources do not supply any physical description of these ancient people to make
any clear judgment except the discovered statues housed in the museum. We cannot be absolutely sure,
if these people were either the ancestors or successors of Proto-Turks, Proto-Mongol, Proto-Huns or
Proto-Altai people of the east for any period of the ancient history.
According to the ancient Chinese sources, Xiongnu people inhabited the eastern Asian Steppe from the
4th century BC to the late 1st century AD from the time Chinese historians started keeping records.
However, they were there Millennia before. Chinese sources report that Modu Chanyu, the supreme
leader of Xiongnu people founded the Xiongnu Empire from 209 BC. After chief Modus death, later
leaders formed a dualistic system of political organization with divided geographies. These types of
division were there during Zhou dynasty of 9th century BC. One region near Long chang contains the
Orkhon inscription of Turkish people and Long chang became a meeting place for all Xiongnu people of
ancient history. That certainly suggests the link between Turkic and Xiongnu people somewhere. The
name 'Hun', however, could be just a categorical designation of the early Asian nomadic people like
generic term used by Herodotus for Scythian. However, within this general designation, there were many
different tribes and clans that had similar cultures and habits. They may be hybrids race of mixed
ethnicities like red Huns (more mongoloid type) and white Huns (More Indo-European type). Grand
historians tells us , that Huns of China included Eastern Hu nomads who constantly preyed on the
Chinese farmers of the south and other tribal states of western China. The historian Sima Qian described
Xiongnu Hun as 'Chunwei', son of the last Xia Dynasty of Lord Jie and their descendent. According to
Bamboo classic of Chinese history, barbarians to the west and north of the Qin people were called Yiqurong who existed since Shang Dynasty. In Zhou Dynasty time period( 2nd millennium), Zhou King
Muwang resettled the barbarians at the origin of the Jingshui River, among them, Yiqu, Yuzhi, Wuzhi,
Xuyan and Penglu, named as the five Rongs as recorded in Chinese history. What this suggests that

Yuezhi may or may not 100 percent Indo-European or Tocharians as assumed by the earlier writers. See
the maps below- reconstructed based on Chinese accounts.

Marked the location of Xiongnu (Huns), Yuezhi small Yuezhi & direction of migration as per Chinese history

We dont know for sure that Tocharian people were the same as Turanic people. Mahabharata mentions
Turanic people closer to north of Hindukush mountains. As per the classical historians, the Yuezhi were
more or less equated to Tocharians based on Lulian Mummies that Stein discovered. The new map
above suggests that Big Yuezhi and Little Yuezhi probably may be of mixed ethnicities of mongoloid
tribes and IE people like white Epthalites or they may be of mixed mongoloid and Turkic origin. They
lived side by side with Xiongnu Huns for millennia without any conflicts or troubles. They also
intermarried with each others. As per the story documented in Chinese annals, Modu, the King of
Xiongnu, married Yuezhi princess and lived with them and was adopted as a son by Yuezhi chief. How
this could be possible, if there was not a close and trusting affinity?
We are not absolutely sure the reasons for the conflict between two tribes other than what is mentioned
in the Grand Historians chronicles. Early part of Yellow emperor story is more fictional but the history
become more definitive during Zhou dynasty period. The fight for the land grab for pastures and water
resources were the common disputes in the ancient history. In Prior history, Xiongnu were under Yuezhi
control and Yehzhi were numerically and militarily superior. Whatever the reasons were, or stories given
in the annals, the Yehzhi were attacked and father-in-law of Modu (Yehzhi chief) was killed who had
previously given him asylum. The motive behind power struggle is not given by the Chinese. The Yuezhi
had a formidable force of more than 100,000 bow-horsemen with prior experience of defeating the
Xiongnu tribes. They fled in a heft as per Grand historians of china or was it a planned strategy? Some
details are contradictory in the accounts given by Grand historians and definitely raise the question for

the real reason for the migration. Dr. Benjamin raises the same question and suggests that it was a pre
planned move to move away from the area they had occupied for centuries. Yehzhi thought that they
can move to Ili River valley where the plenty of water resources are available but when they moved
there, they found the tribe of Wusun occupying the same area. We are also told that Chinese
ambassador Zang Qian was asked to follow Yuezhis movements due to concerns by the Han emperor.
Yuezhi were thought to be as supplier of the Jades to Chinese emperor that is now established as a fake
story by the Chinese archeologists. Chinese ambassador was held captive by Xiongnu for 10 years and
fled with his Xiongnu wife to escape the captivity in search of Yehzhi tribe. He did not turn back but
continue going west. What was his real mission? Why spend time searching for so called barbarians? So,
entire gamut of relationships and motivation requires reexamination for the reasons cited above.
According to Grand Historian Sima Quin: "The Yuezhi originally lived in the area between the Qilian or
Heavenly Mountains (Tian Shan) and Dunhuang, but after they were defeated by the Xiongnu they
moved far away to the west, beyond Dayuan, where they attacked and conquered the people of Daxia
and set up the court of their king on the northern bank of the Gui River. A small number of their people
who were unable to make the journey west sought refuge among the Qiang barbarians in the Southern
Mountains, where they are known as the Lesser Yuezhi." There is something that does not make sense
in this account. Gui River is located in China and not in Bactria. The province name Daxia or Dacia existed
on Dane river further North West to Bactria, China. There were three Daxia. So, the question is what the
Chinese word Daxia means? Daxia was the equivalent to habitat of Yuezhi regardless of the
geography or it was a scribal error in Chinese records or translation. Daxia cannot be equated to Bactria,
if Gui River is mentioned along with it. So, if we assume Chinese Daxia for Yehzhi was their settlement
then there were three Daxia(homeland), One was the original at Gui River in china as per annals, second
was Bactria on Amu Darya and third one would be Daxia on River Dane which was later called Roman
Dacia. This may have impact on chronology as well as identification. Were Yuezhi mentioned by Chinese
were white Epthalites Huns of Gupta period?

Gui River of china and Daxia of ancient Chinese


Line of movement to west as per historians

Bactria before Common Era


BAMBOO Annals:
Ma Feibai is a US based Chinese historian who has analyzed and studied The Records of the Grand
Historian and other related texts during the reign of the first emperor Qin Shi Huang better known as
Emperor Huangdi. Using Ma Feibai's analysis, she brought out discrepancy in the Grand historian version
when compared with other texts called Bamboo annals, that also details the history of legendary Yellow
emperor to prior dynasty of Zhou emperors (1050 B.C. - 256 B.C). One of the key reference books is "YiZhou-shu" old and new version, they are collectively called BAMBOO ANNALS. According to Ma Feibai,
these BAMBOOS annals differ from Grand historian accounts. The Bamboo Annals are also known as the
Ji Tomb Annals, as they were found there. BAMBOO begins with the legendary Yellow Emperor and
extends up to 299 BC, with the later centuries focusing on the history of the State of Wei during the
period of Warring States. It thus covers a similar period as Sima Qian's Records of the Grand Historian (91
BC) then comparison of history is made. The original may have been lost during the Song dynasty, but it
could have been the source material for Sima Qian of Qin dynasty.
The Guanzi is yet another Chinese history and philosophical text that is named for and traditionally
attributed to the 7th century BC philosopher, Guan Zong who served as Prime Minister to Duke Huan of
Qi. During his time, it is assumed that some volumes of Bamboo texts were lost, so he tried to improvise
it from others sources and memories. The mention of Jade trade by Yuezhi was one of story that was
repeated in Grand historian text. This fabled story has been proven inaccurate (assumed or forged) and
led to erroneous conclusion that Yuezhi controlled the Jade trades. This may have distorted their
historical geographical positions. This jade trade should have been credited to another tribe called YuShi people and not Yehzhi people. These are two different distinct clans living within so called
barbarian zone or later Xiongnus empire. This may also give rise to the false hypotheses of AryanTocharian civilization that had lived close to border of china near Tarim basins. The Lulian mummies with
red hair falsely strengthened that hypothesis. Other serial assumptions followed that suggested that
Tocharian Aryans probably transferred the iron technology and construction of chariots to the Chinese.
This is what earlier historians including Aurel Stein thought, reported and wrote and now Chinese
archeologist have proven that conclusions were erroneous.

Archeology of jade trading of Yu-shi people who were not Yuezhi:

As reported in BAMBOO annals, in earlier history of preceding Zhou King Muwang's travelogue, there
was no trace of the Yuezhi people in northwestern China during his time. Zhou King Muwang reigned
from (962-908 B.C.) as per BAMBOO annals. Chinese archeologist and scholar Yang Boda discovered the
Shang tomb of Empress Fu Hao in 1991AD. Someone speculated based on Guan-Zis book that the Jades
found in the tomb more likely came from Khotan on basis of forged book of Guan-Zi. That led to
speculation that Yuezhi traded Jade that Chinese emperor loved. Compounding this error, the Chinese
Academy of Social Sciences organized a field trip with several archaeological and geological scholars
onboard, straight to Khotan, Xinjiang, where Kunlun Mountains is located. After superficial inspection,
they shot a documentary called "The Jade Road." Those reporters, and scholars, unfortunately, do not
know what the ancient term "Kunshan meant. "Kun meant for Kunlun Mountain and Shan meant Helen
Shan Mountain that all referred to where ancient Jade mines were located."Kunlun jade" is a compound
term and all referred to the jades from the current name Qilian Mountain in Gansu and middle Helen
Shan Mountain Range on the west Ningxia riverbank of the Yellow River. This corrects the major

discrepancy related to Yuezhi. During Muwangs reign, the Zhou Dynasty was at its peak, and Mu tried to
stamp out invaders in the western part of China and ultimately expand Zhous influence to the east. In
the height of his passion for conquests, he led an immense army against the Quanrong (Barbarian), who
inhabited the western part of China. His travels allowed him to contact many tribes and swayed them to
either join under the Zhou banner or be conquered in war with his army. He was able to resettle many
barbarians at the origin of the Jingshui and Weishui Rivers and they included tribes of five Rong groups
named as Yiqu, Yuzhi, Wuzhi, Xuyan and Penglu. The naming here contained some phonetics resembling
the Yuezhi people. See maps above. The Chinese wall construction began during Zhou dynasty period
along with warring states in bits and pieces to keep barbarians out but after conquest by Chinas Huangdi
Emperor, he connected all the segments of the Great Wall of China with additional fortification.

Qilian Mountain of China

Helenshan mountain of china

The archeologists in China performed additional testing for twenty years on the jade articles from the
Xia, Shang and Zhou tombs and found that none of the artifacts originated from Khotan of Silk Road. The
number of Jade articles included articles for ritual and oblation. The test also eliminated the source of
Jades from other major known Jade mines such as the Liaoning Xiuyan Jade mine in Manchuria and the
Nanyang Dushan Jade mine in Henan Province to rule out the other possibilities. Mt Kunlun, in ancient
China, meant for Mt Qilian Shan, with Kunlun meaning magnificent and heavenly, which the later Huns
also used it in their terminology (Qilian, a word meaning 'Heaven'.) The Book of Documents (Shujing or
Shu-king) is Classic of Chinese History, also known as the Shangshu. It is a collection of rhetorical prose
attributed to figures of ancient China, and served as the foundation of Chinese political philosophy for
over 2,000 years. Guan-zi statement contained a reference which was a misnomer related to the 'Yu-shi'
tribe and not Yuezhi tribe, a term that was erroneously speculated by number of Chinese and foreign
historians. This was an additional mistake of misunderstanding. However, it is recognized that due to

difficulty of Chinese languages, it is an easy mistake to make as Wang Guowei, another modern historian
made the same error due to close phonetic.

Mystery of Lulian Mummies:

There were some studies that relied on insufficient information and impeachable sources that historians
were not aware off and they unknowingly linked the ancient Yuezhi people to the Indo-Europeans. There
were some inconclusive DNA studies that had speculated a purported link to the non-Mongoloid people
(Stein) on basis of incomplete analysis of Linzi DNA found on the remains of ancient people living on the
Shandong Peninsula 2500-3000 years ago. These were what Chinese call it as Rang-di people of
Mongoloid origin. The red color of hairs found in Lulian mummies belonged to Linzi group and not
Tocharian as speculated by early historians. Red hair characteristic is not the exclusivity bestowed to
Caucasoid Indo-European and is currently found in various ethnicities stretching from India to China. See
details more on this subject in the following links from an article from a Journal of society of molecular
Biology and Evolution.
This article claimed that "The reanalysis of two previously published ancient MtDNA population data sets
from Linzi (same province), than indicates that the ancient populations had features that are in common
with the modern populations from south China rather than any specific affinity to the European MtDNA

Book of documents or Bamboo classic


Transoxiana-Central Asia grazing lands

The above archeological and DNA studies debunk the supposed link of Tocharians or Yuezhi people to
jade and Lulian mummies. Yehzhi and Xiongnu at times were contenders as well as allies. Yehzhi people
indeed were the horse traders and brought horses from Khorasan. They traded it to Xiongnu, Zhou,
warring states and Quin Dynasties. The root of trouble appears to be Xiongnu got furious with Yehzhi
because they provided horses to Qin dynasty that enabled them to defeat Xiongnu nomads. Having
clarified these anomalies, we can now move to various central Asian tribes that resided around Bactria
and North West of India.

The Yuezhis flight to central Asia and surprise they encountered:

As per Chinese annals: Initially, the Xiongnu Huns were weak in earlier history in comparison to her
neighbors Dong-Hu to the east and the Yuezhi to the west both numerically and in the military might.
Xiongnu were restricted to the territory of Mt. Yinshan and Sheath area of the Yellow River until Chanyu
Mote (or Modu) came to power by killing his father in 209 BC. He ruled his tribe with iron fist and
expanded its domain by conquest. There are very few details available as to how, he accomplished his
mission. The Chinese history informs us that Xiongnu Huns first defeated the Eastern Hu nomads in 206
BC, and then attacked the Yuezhi nomads to the west, which triggered the Yuezhi chain reaction against
the Wusun, killing the Wusun king, and the Xiongnu took control of the Western Corridor. With Xiongnu
in pursuit, Yuezhi march towards Bactria. Mote Chanyu who followed them took custody of the Wusun
province and allocated the land in western territories back to Wusun. He adopted Wusun king as his son.
The new Wusun king when he grew up distanced himself from the Xiongnu. The Chanyu had made peace
with Han Emperor but the attacks still continued. Chanyu shifted the blame to Wusun and others and
promised to punish them. The punishment was the order to attack to the west around 176 BC, hence
defeating Loulan, Wusun and Hujie tribes, in a battle near today's Yiwu as per Yu Taishan, and taking
control of 26 provinces in west including Uyghur province (Chinese Turkistan). At the time of Junchen
Chanyu, the Yuezhi, under the attack of possibly the Wusun-Xiongnu alliance, relocated south to
today's Afghanistan. This is a revised version of Grand historian version.

Fleeing Yuezhi and other tribes due to onslaught of Hunnic tribes Xiongnu-various routes

Map from Imperial china organization of the movements during conflict


Suggested Map by author based on what Chinese Diplomat reported and Chinese historian recorded. This completes the
Chinese version of the story and recent update on archeology of Jades and DNA testing of Lulian mummies. Nova TV series
gives more details on mystery of Lulian Mummies. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/chinamum/taklamakan.html


The pictures below show the excavations of mysterious 3000-year-old mummies in China's western desert.

The last two pictures of Lulian mummies from Tarim basins clearly indicates Mongolian features

Ancient Jade articles being examined and tested for source


The dating from the Chinese prehistory, however, shows that the Qiangic San-Miao people arrived in
the Gansu Province in late Neolithic age of prehistory but were noticed by the Chinese during 7th century
BC, several centuries earlier than the Yuezhi people, irrespective of the ethnicity of Yuezhi people ( either
Indo-European or Mongoloid or mixed ancestry). In reality, the Chinese sources never found the
presence of Yuezhi people further North West in ancient China during Zhou dynasty period. Xiongnu
could have encountered the Yuezhi at the "Great Lake" ("da ze"), namely, the Juyan Lake. In the Juyan-ze
Lake area where the bamboo strips (slips) were discovered, with evidence of the existence of names of
the nine places, 80 years after the first Hunnic attack against the Yuezhi: K'ang (Samarkand), An
(Bukhara), Shih (Tashkent or Kishsh (Kassasa), Mi (Maymurgh or Penjikent), Ts'ao (Kaputana), Ho
(Kushanik, Kusanya), Mu (Murv, or Huoxun of Khwarezmia), and Su (Sudi, Bilinmemektedir). Here, the
significance of this information coming from Chinese source that the each clan was named after the place
they migrated to and records were left behind by the Chinese diplomat. No one knows who left that
information behind? If there were from Yuezhi or someone from Chinese ambassadors party who lost
these records but indicative of the names of various places that tribes took shelters.

Who were Wusun?

The Wusun means "Grandchildren of the Crow" in Chinese. This reminds us the Tatar tribe of Dagestan,
Indo- European people who kept the falcons. Wusun were a nomadic steppe people who, according to
the Chinese historians, originally lived in western Gansu in northwest China west of the Yuezhi people.
According to Chinese archaeologists the excavated skeletal remains of the presumed Wusun people are
of the short-headed Europoid Central Asian region that lived at higher elevation between two rivers.
The 7th century commentary to the Hanshu by Yan Shigu says: "Among the various alien races in the
Western Regions, the Wusun's shape was the strangest that have green eyes and red hair. Pliny the
Elder in his chapter on "Taprobane" reports a curious description of the Seres or Simran of Chinese
residing in the Northwest frontier of china. Herodotus applied the generic term of Scythian while Iranian
called the Sacai and Indians called them with various tribal names such as Rishikas and Param Rishikas
etc. Pliny also stated to Emperor Claudius, saying that these people "exceeded the ordinary human
height, had flaxen hair, and blue eyes, and made an uncouth sort of noise by way of talking", suggesting
they may be referring to the ancient Caucasian populations that resided north of Indian subcontinent.
What appears that Chinese term Wusun may apply to Uttra Kuru (Issyk-kul region) or Parasikas
(Param Saka) as per the map. All these tribal/clans were so close in proximity and engaged in the same
trade and had similar culture that generically fell into Scythian tribal culture, further north to Indian
subcontinent. Buddhism spread throughout this region and people became the followers of Buddhism.
Chinese historians described Wusuns engagement with Yuezhi as fearsome and they deflected them
little southwest but Yuezhi managed to kill the king of Wusun. The early historian believed that the
Yuezhi and the Wusun were originally two branches of the same people, the Yuezhi being the 'Moon
clan'(Tocharian Hypothesis); while the Wusun were the 'Solar clan of Issyk kul, perfectly fits the classic of
Mahabharata. This may be questionable statement in view of how Wusun responded to Yuezhis arrival.
After killing of Wusun King Kunmi (or Kunmo, Nandoumi) by Yehzhi, Nandoumi's infant son Liejiaomi
became an orphan. Wusun royal title Kunmi was probably the royal title for all kings, while the second
syllable referred to the royal family name. Mr. Beckwith specifically suggests an Indo-Aryan etymology of
the title Kunmi. The Wusun prince was subsequently adopted by the Xiongnu ruler and made a Xiongnu

general and also the leader of the Wusun country but fiduciary to Xiongnu. Wusun King won many
victories for the Xiongnu and the Wusun emerged as a powerful tribe.
Zhetysu (Kazakh) means seven rivers"; also transcribed as Zhetysu, Jetisu, Jetisu, Jati-su, Jetty-su is a
historical name of a part of Central Asia, corresponding to the South-Eastern part of modern Kazakhstan.
It owes its name, meaning "seven rivers" (literally "seven waters") in Kazakh, to the rivers which flow
from the south-east into Lake Balkhash. See maps below:

Lake Balkash or Black water lake, Ili River and valley and Gansu province of china

Victor Henry Mair is an American sinologist and professor of Chinese history at the University of
Pennsylvania. Victor Mair Compared the word Wusun with Sanskrit Asva (horse), asvin (mare) and
Lithuanian asva (mare). The name would thus mean the horse people. Hence he put forward the
hypothesis that the Wusun used a centum-like language within the Indo-European language family. The
word Wusun comes from Chinese hieroglyphs and phonetically Wusun sounded probably more like
Osun or Asvin or Asva in Sanskrit and in Greek as Asii. The Sabha Parava of the Indian epic
Mahabharata that relates to historical events refers to various northwest tribes as Bahlikas, Daradas,
Kambojas, Dasyus, Lohas, Parama Kambojas, Uttara (Northern) Kuru and Rishikas and Parama Rishikas.
The latter four tribes are by implication placed north of the Hindukush in Central Asia. In his
Mahabhasya, Patanjali refers to the Arshika which are said to be same as the Rishikas. Kasika on Paini
(IV.2.132) also mentions the Arshika and connects them with the Rishikas. The Sanskrit tribal name
Rishikas has Arshika as its adjective form, the Prakrit form is Isi and Isika or Asi and Asika. These all refers
to people involved with horse breeding, training, riding and fighting. Wusun could be Rishikas or Asika or
Uttra Kuru tribe broadly defined by Herodotus as the Scythian (generic term of for saka people). All these
central Asian tribes dwelt in the central Asian steppe in the comparatively infertile regions. Their
movements extended along with the territories south of Caspian Sea, Chorasmia, Sogdiana, Khwarizmi,
Samarkand, and Afghanistan. Around 107 BC, a Han princess married to the Usun (Wusun) Hunmo
composed a song that called the Wusun country is a Sky (Tian) country, and in China the Wusun horses
(Usun ma) were called heavenly horses (Tian ma). Ptolemy (VI, 14, 177 AD) knew one of the Osman tribe,

located east of the Volga River. They can be Turanian or Turkic tribes well documented by Nikitin
Afanasy Nikitin (See my paper on Academia)

Related geography of Yuezhi

While there was definite description about the Wusun, there were no such description of Yuezhi and any
later adoption is not accepted by the Chinese archeologist. The alternative historical accounts validate
an important characteristic of the ancient Yuezhi peoples trade profession and that was being the
supplier of horses to Quin and Zhou emperors and not Jade supplier as originally stipulated. The horse
played an important role in warfare and Yuezhi played an intermediary brokerage role in transporting
horses to Chinese emperors. They played most important role between importing horses from SakaKamboja people and selling them to Chinese and others. They became an important military supplier and
that is why Chinese diplomat were sent either to reestablish the trade contacts or find alternate supply
routes after Yehzhi moved. That seems like a plausible explanation and reason for his mission. Otherwise
why worry about two barbarians nomads fighting among themselves from Chinese perspective? It
appears that Yehzhi were more like Wusun Saka or ancestor of Tartar or Turkic people and split the clans
like Vedic people did on moon and sun worship.

Classical Historians comments on Bactria:

Now let us review the Greco-Roman historians had to say about the events that were taking place in
Bactria, Asia. Gnaeus Pompeius Trogus(1st century BC), with anglicized name as Pompey Trogue was a
Gallo-Roman historian from the Celtic Vocontii tribe in Narbonese Gaul who lived during the reign of the
emperor Augustus Cesar. His grandfather served under Great Pompey, first consul of Roman Republic
prior to Julius Cesar. Trogus like many others before him wrote the books on Natural history and world

history. In his books 41 and 42, he makes the following references regarding the Greek kingdom of
"In Bactrianis autem rebus ut a Diodoto rege constitutum imperium est: deinde quo regnante Scythicae
gentes, Saraucae et Asiani, Bactra occupavere et Sogdianos." Latin from Trogus' Prologue, Book 41
"The report on the history of the Bactrians, first speaks of king Diodotos by whom this realm was
founded. Next, under which Scythian tribes' rulers namely the Saraucae and the Asiani Baktra and the
country of the Sogdians were occupied. Which of the ruler of either of Scythian tribes of Saraucae and
Asiani occupied Bactria and the land of the Sogdians?" Trogus rhetorical question is answered in his
own words where he is suggesting indirectly, Bactria was already leveled and was defeated by one of the
Saka and Asiani tribes but not sure who was the most responsible. According to him both sides were
involved in occupying Bactria. Saraucae means Saka and Asiani means may mean sub clans of SakaKamboja known for horses. This is based on this authors interpretation taking into account Indian
sources. The two additional tribes mentioned by Strabo are not mentioned by Trogus.
The second reference comes from Strabo himself, an Ionian Greek historian (63 BC-24 AD) who mentions
the fall of Bactria in his book called Strabo's Geography 11.8.2. It reads in Greek:
A C K"
This translates literally as follows:
"But the best known of the nomads are those who took away Baktriane from the Greeks; the Asioi and
the Pasianoi, and the Tacharoi and the Sakaraukai, who originally came from the other side of the
Jaxartou [River] that adjoins that of the Sakai and the Sogdoanou and was occupied by the Saki." Here,
he implies that Bactria has already fallen but the occupiers are Asioi, Pasianoi, Tacharoi (Tocharians) and
Sakaraukai (Saka) who came from east side of Amu Darya (Jaxartou) from the direction of Sogdiana.
This is little bit more detailed but not sufficient to give us the reasons for fall. Using Indian sources we
can easily say Asioi and Pasianoi may equate to Kamboja and Param Kambojas, and they also fit into
general categorization of the term Scythians.
Here the indications are that the confederacy was formed under the leadership of Asioi of Saka but it
included Tocharians and who all came from Sogdiana and took away Bactria. The general; information
from strobe is little more specific but not precisely clear in terms of identification of various tribes except
Saka and Tocharian. The classical historians informs us that the Asii, Osii, Ossii, Asoi, Asioi, Asini or
Aseni were an ancient Indo-Iranian people of Central Asia. During the 2nd and 1st Centuries BC, using
above mentioned classical and contemporary Greek and Roman sources, they were one of the peoples
held to be responsible for the downfall of the Greco-Bactrian Kingdom. Historians are confused with their
exact identity and their clans and they equate them either with Yuezhi, Tocharians, Issedones, Wusun
and/or Alans.

Grievance against Greek rule:

All the tribes described in Mahabharata valued their independence and freedom. They never want to be
subjugated to anyone. Darius found out when he tried to subjugate a Saka tribe. Alexander had a rough
going in conquering Saka territories. We know from the history that after Alexanders death, the power
struggle among Macedonian generals broke out and many wars were fought between Ptolemy of Egypt
and Seleucid of Bactria. These repeated power struggles made both of them weaker. The classical
historians mention the power struggle among Bactrian Greeks, Euthydemus and Antiochus III, who led
the siege on Bactria around 210 to 213 BC but finally negotiated peace and acknowledging that Antiochus
III deserved the credit for dethroning Diodotos II, and that he was protecting Central Asia from nomadic
invasions, thanks to his defensive efforts. Polybius, (11.34), regarding the treaty between two Greek
contenders: For, if he did not yield to this demand, neither of them would be safe: seeing that great
hordes of Nomads were close at hand, who were a danger to both; and that if they admitted them into
the country, it would certainly be utterly barbarized.
So the threat was real and Greeks realized that they were walking on thin ice and they will all perish
together, if they keep fighting among themselves as barbarians were at the gate waiting for their
Strabo, XI.XI.I wrote: Alexandria Eschate, the Greco-Bactrians king may have led expeditions as far as
Kashgar and rmqi in Xinjiang, leading to the first known contacts between China and the West around
220 BC. This will fall under Zhou dynasty.

Attack on Bactria by confederation of local tribes and dissolution of

Greek empire in central Asia:
This ancient Bactrian state was occupied from time immemorial by civilized men and its principal city was
called Zari-aspa, or Balkh that was assumed to be the birth place of Prophet Zoroaster (Zaruashtra). The
word Aspa always meant horse for Indo-Iranian people. The Balk, Bakhdi or Bactria once had thousand
of towns with over one million residents. The Kingdom of Bactria was very fertile and rich, watered by
the River Oxus (Amu Darya) that flowed from snowy mountain peaks. If there was ever a region that can
be described with differing geographical features was the country of Bactria, situated between the Hindu
Kush mountain range in the south and the River Oxus (Amu Darya) in the north, it is essentially an eastwest zone that consists of extremely fertile alluvial plains, a hot desert, and cold mountains. The contrast
between the country's fertility and desolation was already noted in antiquity by the Roman author
Quintus Curtius Rufus. The presence of differing geographical features probably explains why agriculture
and urbanism began as early as it did in and around Bactria part of central Asian steppe. This may explain
why Indo-Iranian nomads choose to settle here and at later date in history it became the birth of many
Asian religions.


Steppe Nomad warriors with their expertise using horse to fight and travel at great distance

Bactria of history was known to various civilizations with some variations. Greek called it Bactra, Persian
called it Bakhtar or Balkh, Indian called it Bakhdi and its citizens were called Bahlica while Chinese called
it Ta-Hsia or Daxia. It was located in North of Afghanistan near Mazar-I-Sheriff. It is a mountainous
region with a moderate climate. Modern authors have often used the name in a confusing ways, as the
designation of all the countries of Central Asia. All archeological evidence points towards Bactria being
the either a homeland or pass through place of various Indo-Iranian tribes of the history who either
moved south-west into Iran, or towards South in Afghanistan to North Pakistan and North-Western India
around 4000-2000 BC. The exact dates are not precise as the meaning of the word Aryans is still hotly
debated. However, you find many Indian surnames bearing the name Arya. In Behistan inscription,
Darius-1 called him a Kuru Arya. In Jainism, the first five head preachers (equivalent to Pope) bore the
title of Arya while the later ones only carried the title of Acharya (equivalent to head of priestly clan). It
appears that in early history of India, the personal names chosen were either derived from Gotra, place
of their origin or somebodys Putra with an epithet of Arya for Vedic tribes and now that have
disappeared in naming convention.
The Scythian (generic term of Herodotus) included many similar Indo-Iranian tribes such as Jats (Gete),
Maha Jats (Massagate), Druhyus, Parthians and numerous Turkish (Tatar) tribes of central Asia. Due to
their nomadic existence and horse breeding and fighting ability they remain part and parcel of IndoIranian culture and language. These central Asian tribes dwelt in the central Asian steppe in the
comparatively infertile regions. Their movements extended along with the territories to south of Caspian
Sea, Chorasmia, Sogdiana, Khwarizmi, Samarkand, and Afghanistan.
Greco-Bactrian Kingdom was the easternmost part of the Hellenistic world, covering Bactria and
Sogdiana in Central Asia from 250 to 125 BC. It was centered on the north of present-day Afghanistan.

The spacious Asiatic dominion consolidated by the genius of Macedonian and his successor appointee
Seleukios Nicator passed in the year 262 or 261 B.C. into the hands of his grandson Antiochos who is
described by classical historian as a drunken sensualist. This worthless prince occupied the throne for
fifteen or sixteen years, but toward the close of his reign his empire suffered two grievous losses by the
revolt of the Bactrians, under the leadership of Diodotos-I, and of the Parthians, under that of Arsakes.
The loss of Bactria was a grievous blow to Macedonian Greeks. Dr. Ranjit Pal, a historian, friend and a
fellow at The Bhanadarkar Oriental Research has analyzed the corresponding events and declared that
Diodotos I was none other than Asoka the Great ancient India and this author has strong suspicion that
his identification is correct for the following reasons.
1. After Antiochos Nicator ouster, Bactria fell back into Indian hands that were snatched away by
Achemenians under military pressure several centuries earlier.
2. Bimbisara Maurya then paramount ruler of India had appointed Asoka as a governor of Northwest that
covered Bactria and Afghanistan (Asoka was called by many names Dev-Dutta, Piyadasi etc.). Greek
classical historians only knew him as Deodotus-1, the governor of Greek satrapy.
3. The dates more or less coincide with Bactrian version (short and long chronology) vs. Asokas historical
dates from classical historical text.
4. Bindusara, an Indo-Greek and son of Chandra Gupta Maurya appointed Asoka as the Governor of
Northeast (Bactria, Afghanistan). His quality as a statesman and warrior General was ideal for controlling
the rogue elements of Northwest. Bindusara dispatched him with several regiments of the Mauryan
army. His elder brother felt that there was growing resentments against Greeks by the warlike saka
tribes. As the news reached that Asokas armies are coming in, the revolting Saka militias welcomed him
and the uprising ended without a fight. The province revolted once more during the rule of Asoka, but
this time the uprising was crushed with an iron fist.
5. Justinian wrote that third Syrian war with Seleucid was a disaster for Seleucid ruling Bactria Diodotos,
the governor of the thousand cities of Bactria (Latin: Theodotus, mille urbium Bactrianarum praefectus),
defected and proclaimed himself the king; all the other people of the Orient followed his example and
seceded from the Macedonians. (Justin, XLI, 4) Diodotos-I reigned Bactria from 250240 BC, at the same
time Asoka reigned. The dates in the text may overlap or vary slightly. The Greek sources like Justinian
and Strabo says that Diodotos, the satrap of Bactria (and probably the surrounding provinces) founded
the Indo-Greek-Bactrian Kingdom when he seceded from the Seleucid Empire around 250 BC and became
King Diodotos-I of Bactria. In 247 BC, the Ptolemaic empire (Egypt) captured the Seleucid capital of
Antioch in west Asia. The resulting power vacuum encouraged the satrap of Parthia to proclaim him as
an independent from the Seleucids, and declaring himself the king. Greek satrap of Bactria was defeated
and killed by Arsaces of Parthia, leading to the rise of a Parthian Empire. This cut Bactria off from contact
with the Greek world and perhaps all contact with the east as well.
6. Asoka ruled Northwestern part of India as a governor (satrap) from 277-268 BC and whole empire from
268-232 BC. This is based on traditional chronology. Justinian further wrote: Diodotos-I was succeeded
by his son, Diodotos II (Dashrath of Indian text), who allied himself with the Parthian Arsaces in his fight
against Seleucus II, At a later time, he fought against Seleucus from west Asia, who came to punish the

rebels, and but Arsaces prevailed: the Parthians celebrated this day as the one that marked the beginning
of their freedom. (Justin, XLI, 4). So Strabos comment on Pasianoi may refer to Parthian.
7. from Indian sources, after the death of Asoka, Mauryan empire fragmented and Dashrath who had the
responsibility and probably was known as Diodotos II, saw the rise of rebellion and ultimately the tribal
attack on the capitals and the kingdom succeeded resulting into five regions according Chinese sources.
Witnessing further disintegration of Mauryan Empire, Kujula Kaphdise took control of Kabul and
extended south and emerged as sovereign of ancient India.

In Khorasan region of central Asia, Indian texts inform us that the Kambojas people were famous in
ancient history for their excellent breed of horses and also being remarkable horsemen for training,
breeding and communicating with horses to obey the commands. They were located in the Uttarapatha
or north-west of India near or above the country of Afghanistan. They formed the military (sanghas)
cavalry and formed the independent corporations to manage their commercial, political and military
affairs. The Kamboja cavalry offered their military services to other nations for monies. There are
numerous references to Kamboja, having been requisitioned as cavalry troopers in ancient wars by
outside nations including the war with Alexander, the Great. It was on account of their supreme position
in control, breeding, training of horses, they were the fore bearers of (Ashva) culture and the ancient
Kambojas were also known as Asvakas, Asii, Asiani etc, (horsemen). Their clans in the Kunar and Swat
valleys have been referred to as Assakenoi and Aspasioi in classical writings, and Ashvakayanas and
Ashvayanas in Pinis Ashtadhyayi.
K. P. Jaiswal, an Indologists wrote:
The Kambojas were famous for their horses and as cavalry-men (asva-Yuddha-Kusalah), Asvakas,
'horsemen', were the term popularly applied to them... The Asvakas inhabited Eastern Afghanistan, and
were included within the more general term of Kambojas. Etienne LaMotte wrote: Elsewhere,
Kamboja is regularly mentioned as "the country of horses" (Asvanam, Ayatanam), and it was perhaps
this well-established reputation that won for the horse breeders of Bajaur and Swat the designation
Aspasioi (from the Old Pali aspa) and Assakenoi (from the Sanskrit Asva "horse").
An Indian historian and Sanskrit scholar Vedveer Arya opines that Kambojas were the original
inhabitants on the banks of Kabul River, Called Cophes by classical historian. He also states that Kubha
was the Vedic (Sanskrit} name and those who were born on the banks of Kubha or Kumbha river were
called as Kubhaja or Kumbhoja. After MH war, Kambhoja may have become fiduciary to Yavanas. The
word Yavanas refers to ancient Ionian Greeks who aligned themselves with Achemenians in war with
Macedonians and that made Alexander very furious. Ancient Bactria then was ruled by Bahlikas who
became fiduciaries of Achemenians kings. The Yavanas (Greeks) may have followed.
It still remains a disputed matter and perhaps the bone of contention that how much and what exact
role Yuezhi themselves had played or in conjunction with others allies in leveling Bactria if the
surrounding tribes had already done the most of the job as described by contemporary Greco-Roman
sources. But, they did help out their fellow traders in return to earn their hospitality for settlement of
their people. We know from the history that all the surrounding tribes resented the dominance of the

Macedonian Greeks. The Persians the proud people were just waiting for the opportunity to strike the
blow to avenge the defeat they had suffered few centuries earlier at the hands of Macedonians and
subsequent misrules of Seleucids.

Dominant Kushan were of kamboj-Saka Origin

It appears from the earlier Chinese references of the places in Bactria that Kassasa or Kusanya or
Kassana tribe played a dominant role in establishing a Royal dynasty that may have become the Kushan
Empire of India and undoubtedly they were natives of Bactria than China. Kujula Kaphdise was probably
called in the same way what Khorasani ascetic Purana Kassapa was called in Pali language. His Indian
name was Kujula Kassasa or Kushaniya; Vima Kaphdise was Vimal Kassasa or Kushaniya. All of them
originated in a palace attached to their name that was a part of Bactrian Kingdom of central Asia.
Maenchen-helfen, an American historian disagrees and in an article published in American Oriental
society in 1945 AD and asserts that Kushans were part of Yuezhi tribes. The modern discoveries in
archeology and reinterpretation by Chinese scholars disagree with his assessment. However Maenchenhelfen acknowledges that Kushanas spoke saka, the language of their coin legend was pure khotani
YU Taishan wrote a paper on the subject of Origin of Kushan using Chinese Grand historian sources and
his paper was edited by Victor Mair, an American Professor and scholar. Surprisingly he raises the same
questions and arrives at similar conclusion as this author had done , using original Chinese texts of Grand
historians that details Chinese diplomats report. He starts out his paper by declaring that five Xihou
(provinces) already existed in Bactria as per the report filed by Chinese ambassador and recorded by
Grand historians. This author believes that Chinese ambassador travels was limited to where Yehzhi had
the presence and Grand historians conveniently prototype that based on Five Rongs that existed in
China as mentioned earlier. There could be more tribal division after disintegration of Bactria kingdom
that claimed over 1,000,000 residents. Here is the excerpt from Grand historian text.

After they destroyed the state of Bactria (Daxia) (From Hou Hanshu text-chapter 88 and
96a) based on report by Chinese ambassador Zhang Qian:
Originally, Daxia had (Bactria) no Central overlord or chief, (presumably after fragmentation of Mauryan
Empire and death of Asoka) and minor chiefs were frequently established in the major towns of kingdom
of Bactria. The Ambassador reported The inhabitants are militarily weak and afraid of fighting, with the
result that when the Yuezhi migrated there, they acted and make them look like all their subjects. They
were asked to provide supplies for Han envoys Zhang Qian and his parties. There are five major Xihou
(Provinces or major city-state). The first is entitled the Xihou of Xiumi (Wakhan) and the seat of
government is at the town of Hemo, it is distant by 2,841 li from the seat of the Protector General and
7,802 li from the Yang Barrier. The second Xihou is of Shuangmi (Chitral) and the seat of government is
at the town of Shuangmi (Chitral); it is distant by 3,741 li from the seat of the Protector General and
7,782 li from the Yang Barrier. The third is entitled the Xihou of Guishuang (Kushan or Kassana or
Kassa), and the seat of government is at the town of Huzao; it is distant by 5,940 li from the seat of the
Protector General and 7,982 li from the Yang Barrier. The fourth is entitled the Xihou of Bidun (Baidun),

and the seat of government is at the town of Bomao (Bamiyan); it is at distance by 5,962 li from the
seat of the Protector General and 8,202 li from the Yang Barrier. The fifth is entitled the Xihou of Gaofu
(Kabul), and with the seat of government is at the town of Gaofu (Kabul), it is distant by 6,041 li from the
seat of the Protector General and 9,238 li from the Yang Barrier. All the five Xihou are subject to the Da
Yuezhi. As much as possible, the author have identified some of the old Chinese names of the places in
Afghanistan as listed by the Chinese ambassador, however some names of cities have changed with
Islamic invasion or passage of history and cannot be exactly pin pointed in the map.
According to the above description, the five Xihou were in fact were not created or run by the Yuezhi
people, but they were already there in the state of (second) Daxia (Bactria) prior to their arrival. As
stated in paragraph above, there were no sovereign rulers left to run the country. Greco-Roman sources
agree with the Chinese records. It appears that Greek had already abandoned the rule and left Bactria
and tribes had taken over. After the loss of central authority, the rebellious tribes resurfaced and Bactria
became a boiling caldron. This was well before Yuezhis appearance and their arrival as allies to the local
rebellious group probably speeded the process. Yehzhi was able to provide more manpower (fighters) to
finish the job that was almost done or nearly done.
As a result, each provinces-state carried out its own affairs in its own way and was ruled by a so-called
local chief. The Yuezhi did not alter the system of local Chiefs, but made them allies, so they can
expand their area of influence and receive favors. In a situation like that, it may appear that Yuezhi were
securing influence to settle their people than looking for further conflicts or warfare. There were no
hopes to rule battle tested fearsome tribes of Saka, Kamboja, Parthians that resided in Bactria with their
expertise in hit and run Guerilla warfare tactics. Herodotus aptly described in his book, how Darius-I,
mighty Persian emperor lost his life against Saka queen. They were bound to put up a serious fight, if
they consider Yehzhi came to rule over them in the same way they felt about Greeks. There were no
signs of conflict and their earlier friendship and commercial relationship in trading of horses prevail to
receive settlement rights. As to the use of title of Xihou or province chief, it resembles too much of
Chinese model of five Rongs as described earlier. If this hypothesis is true, the statement in the Hou
Hanshu (chapter 88), that they divided their country in five Xihou is untrue. The Da Yuezhi stayed in
Balkh for a while and crossed Amu Darya and went west to find the peaceful abode.
From this, we see that the Hou Hanshu (chapter 88), repeats exactly the previous historical record in a
mistaken way or due to scribal errors when it mentions the origin of the Guishuang but the
formulation is ambiguous due to its ignorance of the facts, and therefore clarification is needed of the
statement Fan woo Xihou jie shu Da Yuezhi, means all the five Xihou are subject to the Da Yuezhi,
shu means Master. Does this mean five Xihou were in western china as per the above migration map
where they are all spread out geographically including little Yuezhi or their new distribution in new
Daxia(Bactria)? Xihou would be one of the minor chiefs of the Daxia state not the ruler of kingdom.
Since the predecessor of the Kushan Dynasty was considered to be with Chinese pronunciation of
Guishuang with Indian equivalent of Kassasa or Kassana? The so-called tale of Daxia occurs first in
the Shiji (chapter 123), in which it is recorded:


Daxia is at a distance of more than two thousand li southwest of Dayuan on the south bank of the Gui
River. The Gui River is a river in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region of China, and a tributary of the
Xi Jiang. It is formed in Pingle by the confluence of the Li River and Lipu River and flows southeast,
merging with the Xun Jiang to form the Xi at Wuzhou. This description of Daxia is in total contrast with
ambassadors account; this leads us to believe that Daxia is more equivalent to homeland or settlement.
So, the geography in Chinese text that modern historians rely on was misunderstood. Gui River is in
China and not in Bactria.
The additional details are provided by ambassador himself: The people of Daxia are expert traders. The
population of Daxia may amount to more than a million. Their capital is called Lanshi (Zariaspa, Balkh),
and it has markets for the sale of all sorts of merchandise. Southeast of this state is the state of Shendu
(Hindu, Sindhu). These were the observations of Zhang Qian during his first mission to the Western
Regions as an envoy of Han (ca. 130129 B.C.).The state of Dayuan was located in the present Ferghana.
This exactly pinpoint where state of second Chinese Daxia (Bactria) was and that was north of India in
modern day Afghanistan and Turkmenistan- the kingdom of Bactria. There were no barbarians, just
people-civilized and religious.
From here, it appears that colonial historians made a connection of Kushan to Yuezhi in error. Chinese
archeologist have proved that none of the jades come from Khotan and similar sounding tribe was
responsible for supplying Jade, Yuezhi only supplied the war horses as an intermediary broker and they
had commercial contacts with the tribes of Bactria. The red hair of Lulian mummies were also related to
different groups of nomads who called themselves Linzi, resembling Proto-Uighur people of mixed
ancestry of Mongols and Turks who have the red hairs. Indo-European Tocharian peoples language is an
extinct language and part of Centum group (Latin group) that is suggestive that they moved to far west
over the route and for reasons unknown their language was terminated. If they settled in South or
central Asia, they would be part of satem group and not centum group as shown by language tree. But if
they moved west after enjoying the hospitality and crossed Dane river then they became part of Roman
Dacia and occupied a place in Centum Language tree.
Zang Quin, Chinese ambassador also confirms that the main group of Yuezhi group travelled west of Amu
Darya to what was later Roman Dacia (Alans). This is Daxia number # 3, which leads author to believe
that perhaps Daxia meant homeland of Yuezhi people. They settled and mixed there with sarmatians and
other tribes and got absorbed as their language show no continuation to modern times and became part
of Latin group. The elderly, young (little Yuezhi) could have stayed in new Bactrian kingdom and
historians had named them perhaps Kidarites. Jaina historians suggest that King Kanishka assisted many
migrants to settle in Arbuda valley where Rajput clans sprang up. We can say also say that settled Yuezhi,
Kushan, Kamboja and Sakas also comingled. Their principality of Guishang near Kubha (Kabul) was more
powerful and they emerged as a ruling class. Indians during the medieval period called them as Tak-Sak
Rajputs of Turanian or Tocharian and Saka origin. They established their empire from Kumbha (Kabul)
and extended themselves to Vindhya Mountain. Otto Maenchen-Helfen equates Sanskrit Kubha to Kusha
town (Chinese-Kueishuangni).He also agrees with this author that Kushanas and Tocharians have long
disappeared from India and Turkestan. We believe they live in west to the present day. The two
sarmatians nations with who the Greeks on the shores of the Black sea were in relation since the middle
of 1st century BC were the Siroci and the Aorsi. The region inhabitated by Aorsi became later part of Alan

realms. Arosi, the numerous tribes could not have simply disappeared. Later only Alans were mentioned
where one would expect Aorsi, As the Alans having gradually subdued the bordering tribes by repeated
victories and united them to themselves and comprehended them under their own name.

Just after the demise of Kushan kingdoms and its fiduciaries, the Tak-Sak Rajput emerged in the Indian
history. With the collapse of Gupta, they took more prominent role during Rajput age. Anangpal Tomar
was the first ruler of Delhi. Turki-shahi dynasty ruled from Kabul. According to James Tod, Toor, Tur,
Tomar were descendants of this new Rajput clan that emerged out of turmoil and massive churning of
the population from central Asia and this created Thirty Six Royal Races of Rajput of Central Asian origin.
After disintegration of Mauryan and Gupta Empire, so called Kshatriya class had vanished from the
history. The legend of Agnikula with Brahmin help resurrected this fighting race to assume their role as
Kshatriya of Vedic age did with the condition they followed Hinduism and they did. They have fulfilled
their mission with dexterities and sincerities. During the Vedic period they were considered Vrtya
Kshatriya because they did not follow Vedic religion, so they became degraded Kshatriya.
Rabatak inscription of Kushanas was written on a rock in the Bactrian language and the Greek script,
which was found in 1993 AD at the site of Rabatak, near Surkh Kotal in Afghanistan. The inscription gives
detailed clues of the genealogy of the Kushan dynasty. Professor Nicholas Sims-Williams along with Prof.
B.N. Mukherji and another review by Mr. Veer Arya, a Sanskrit and language expert of India confirms
that ancestor of Kujula had his name as . Last two scholars agree and this author agrees with them that in
spite of difference that exists with the first reading the ancestor of Kushan was a person named
Saddakshina. That is a Vedic- kamboj name confirmed through ancient text of Mahabharata. It is not

uncommon to use the same name that found in Vedic text and therefore they were Vedic Aryans as
Nicholas-Sims suggests. In conclusion, Kushans and Yuezhi were not the same people.

The authors assessment on origin of Kushan and their Yehzhi relationship:

1. As per Chinese annals, there was always a bitterness and animosity among barbarian tribes under
Zhou dynasty. Da Yehzhi played an important role in controlling warrior horses trade to various
feuding groups of China and the use of horse sometimes determine the outcome of battles fought with
various kingdoms and frontier barbarians. That made Yuezhi very influential and became a bridge
between west and east since everyone depended on them and their source of the war horses was tribal
2. Yuezhis commercial relationships with their suppliers in Kingdom of Bactria provided incentive to
move closer to west of china than to the south of china due to climate changes induced by the lower
precipitation and rains. The horse trade was the binding glues of the relationship with Bactrian tribes and
Chinese emperor and other nomads. Chinese Emperors main purpose was to establish the direct
pathway for sources of war horses than display the concerns for Yuezhis safety. He could have
dispatched the army to protect them from Xiongnu but he did not. The Chinese ambassador was sent
there instead of army to establish new relationship for reasons of trades and that is why Silk Road was
established. In later history, the Silk Road was extensively used by Kushan to propagate Buddhism to
china and other parts of Southeast Asia.
3. It is also highly probable that dry climate was setting in the region occupied by Yehzhi and sooner or
later they will have to relocate, so enough fodders for animals are available for the supply of food chain.
Geographically, Xiongnu were less fortunate, they were in distressed situation and that is why they were
preying on farmers of south china. They also had to relocate and find a greener posture after defeat by
the Chinese and completion of Great Wall of China. Gobi and Taklimakan desserts are proof of soil
desiccation that shows the evidence of climatic change.
4. Yuezhi had planned to relocate to west near Ili River where grassland was still fertile and access to a
fresh water lake. They did not expect to run into Wusun Saka people who had also moved there. This
resulted into a conflict with Wusun. The flight towards Bactria was not planned but circumstances
altered their fate.
5. Wusun Saka fought back and deflected Yuezhis advance towards south west to Sogdiana. This sets up
the chain reaction of mass migration. By the time, Yehzhi were in Sogdiana north of Bactria, they found
out Bactria had already lost the central authority of Greek and broken up into tribal dominated
provinces. Chinese history concurs with Greco-roman history.
6. Yuezhi arrives and forms confederacy with local tribes with expectation that they will be given rights
for settlement for their people while other move on towards west towards Roman Dacia. Few centuries
later, they may have become part of Alans and other groups and another Hunnic group led by Attila rose
and attacked Rome for inflicting pain on Dacia. The recreation of Attila, the Hun as portrayed shows him
as mixed ethnicity part mongoloid and part Indo-European.

7, Kushan from the evidence supplied by Chinese and Indian sources were the native of Kabul valley,
probably originated from kamboj-saka tribe. Their religion, inscription and artifacts further reinforce
their nationality. They were Indians of ancient India. Under them, the Silk Road trade between east and
west blossomed during Kushan rules. Chinese sources do not mention the religion of Yuezhi but in
Kushan household their hereditary religion was Buddhism which they promoted along the Silk Road to
china. All these information and corroborative evidence leads author to conclude that Kushans were
Buddhist Indians from Afghanistan with little or no relationship to china.
8. In Yuezhi group, those who decided to settle in the subcontinent adapted Satem group languages and
those who crossed Amu darya to Dan River to mix with Sarmatians, Alans at Black sea became part of
Centum Group. Attila the Hun rose form one of the groups to avenge Roman attacks on Dacia and
brought Roman Empire to its knee. Kassasa, Kassana still remains the caste-gotra of Indian people. Attila,
the Hun as per sources was a leader of the Hunnic Empire, a tribal confederation consisting of Huns,
Ostrogoth, and Alans among others, on the territory of Central and Eastern Europe. The question is
where they came from originally?
9. This is one of the key reasons some Slavic groups shows many ancient genes of central Asia and
subcontinent in their DNA profile is because of great churning of people.

Attila the Hun

Kushan empire of India

Kushan coins(Bactrian-Kharoshthi)script

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