Episode T8 – The City

Synopsis: The rediscovery of Ai Khanoum testified to the wealth and power of the Bactrian Kingdom.  Mithridates’ conquest of Babylonia is countered by an unlikely coalition.

“The cities of Bactria were Bactra, which they also call Zariaspa and through which flows a river of the same name that empties into the Oxus, plus the city of Darapsa, and others more. Among these was a city called Eucratideia, named after its ruler… (The Greeks) also controlled Sogdiana, which lies above and to the east of Bactria between the Oxus River – demarcating Bactrians from Sogdians – and the Jaxartes River, likewise separating the Sogdians from the nomads.” – Strabo, Geography, 11.11.2
“These wise sayings of earlier men, the words of well-known men, are enshrined in the holy Pytho.  There Clearchus copied them faithfully, and set them up here in the sanctuary of Kineas, blazing from afar.
               As a child, be well-behaved.
               As a youth, be self-controlled.
               As an adult, be just.
               As an elder, be wise.
               As one dying, be without pain.”
 – Inscription at the Heroon (hero’s tomb) of Kineas, oikistes (founder) of the city of Ai Khanoum, Afghanistan, dated 300 – 250 BC 
Map of Ai Khanoum and Ashoka Rock Edicts

9 thoughts on “Episode T8 – The City

  1. Last two episodes were magisterial. I've always wanted to know more about parthians and iran+afghanistan in the hellenistic period. Thanks, Scott..
    I also wonder about armenians, sophene, kommagene, osrohene, adiabene etc.. All these strange greek-aramean-iranian-armenian mixtures, which have very little written history…

  2. Thanks! I'm glad you enjoyed the last couple episodes. I'm obviously very interested in Bactria and Indo-Greece, so they were very fun to research and write. And yes, I agree that this region and period are full of small Anatolian/Near Eastern kingdoms, and I wish I had time to go into them all, because they're all very interesting. You may be happy to hear that I'll be (briefly) covering Armenia, Sophene, Kommagene and (mainly) Osrhoene in upcoming Episode T10. I covered Adiabene a bit back in the "Bloodline" series, particularly in the episodes covering Trajan's eastern campaigns. Thanks for listening, take care! – Scott C.

  3. Scott,

    Thank you for posting the maps. I knew just after complaining, I would see the items I was looking for.

    Keep up the great work.


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