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Tokharistan and Gandhara under Western Türk rule (650 - 750) 3


The provinces and their rule

According to Hsüan-tsang, in the year 629 Tokharistan (Tou-ho-lo) measured approximately 1,000 li from south to north and some 3,000 li from east to west. He reports:

For many centuries past the royal race has been extinct. The several chieftains have by force depended for the security of their possessions upon the natural divisions of the country, and each held their own independently, only relying upon the naturaldivisions of the country. Thus they have constituted twenty-seven states divided by natural boundaries, yet as a whole dependent on the T'u-chüeh tribes [Türks].23

Later reports paint a somewhat different picture. From the year 718 we have another Chinese report (see page 371 above). The yabghu's younger brother ruled over Po-lü (probably Baltistan but possibly Gilgit). The capital of the 'dominion of the yabghu of Tou-ho-lo [Tokharistan]' was in the vicinity of modern Qunduz.24 T'ang chronicles report that the state of Tokharistan had a 'select host of 100,000, all expert in battle'.25 In Khuttal alone, there were reportedly 50,000 troops.26 The rulers (muluk, pl. of malik, in Arabic sources) of some provinces bore specific titles. In the state of Uddiyana (valley of Swat), 'by custom people are not killed. Serious crimes are punished by exile, while trivial offences are pardoned. There are no tributes or taxes.’27 There were reportedly 5 cities in this state and the ruler lived in the city of Chu-meng-yeh-li.28 Use was made of trial by ordeal. The ruler took decisions only after consulting the priests.29 In 745 the ruler of Kapisa was also the ruler of Uddiyana.30 Earlier, in 726, a kinsman of the ruler of Kapisa was the ruler of Zabulistan.31 Earlier still, in the time of Hsüan-tsang, 10 provinces were under his rule.32 Thus, in the seventh century, Kapisa was a very powerful state.

In the state of Bamiyan, 'the literature, customary rules and money used in commerce are the same as those of the Tukhara country [Tokharistan]. Their language is a little different.’33 The ruler of Bamiyan had a large and powerful army34 and bore the title 'sher-i Bamiyan', while the ruler of Kabul province bore that of ratbil shah.35 The capital of the state, or so al-Biruni bluntly asserts, was Kabul. Against this must be set the account of the Chinese Buddhist pilgrim Wu-k'ung, who visited these parts in the 750s and reported that 'Kapisi country had its eastern capital in Gandhara. [The] king resided in winter here and in surnmer in Kapisi.’36



23. Beal, 1969, pp. 37–8.
24. Enoki, 1977, p. 88.
25. Malyavkin, 1989, p. 68.
26. Chavannes, 1903, p. 200.
27. Malyavkin, 1989, p. 70.
28. Ibid., p. 245.
29. Bichurin, 1950, Vol. 2, p. 270; Chavannes, 1903, pp. 128–9.
30. Enoki, 1977, p. 91.
31. Fuchs, 1938, p. 448.
32. Hui-li, 1959, p. 55.
33. Beal, 1969, p. 50.
34. Fuchs, 1938, p. 448.
35. There is also a view that 'ratbil is the the result of the corrup scribe of the word Zabul’ (Pandey, 1973, pp. 73–4). In the edition of the Tarikh-i Sistan, the editor reports that the manuscript gives the word ZNBYL, supporting the reading Zunbil. See also Ibn Khoradadbeh, 1889, p. 39, Kohzad, 1950.
36. Levi and Chavannes, 1895, pp. 349–57.

Maryam Zebardast

Library:

Maryam Zebardast

Author:

B.A. Litvinsky











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