There was another body of Greek exiles recorded to have been settled, by Xerxes after his flight from Greece, in much the same part of this Baktrian country ; namely, the Brankhidai of Milesia on the Hellespont. According to Arrian's account, their posterity settled in Sogdia, were exterminated, and their village there levelled with the ground and effaced altogether by Alexander, in punishment, it is alleged, of the crime committed by their grandsires at Didymus. It is probable, however, that this punishment only involved the people of one particular village ; many of their kinsmen residing elsewhere escaping the fury of Alexander. Anyhow it seems that traces of the posterity of these Brankhidai are still to be found in Afghanistan ; where, indeed, formerly they seem to have been a numerous and widely-distributed tribe, to judge from the several different places bearing their name.
The original settlement of the Brankhidai, when trans- ported into Baktria, appears to have been in the modern Indarab district, north of Hindu Kush ; where there still exists, in the hills to the east of Khost and bordering on Badakhshan territory, a canton called Barang or Farang, inhabited by a people called Barangi, and classed among the Tajik population. They may represent the ancient Brankhidai or Brankhoi, and perhaps in their original settlement in Baktria. There is another place not far distant referable to the same people, and situated to the west of Indarab, and on the south slope of Hindu Kush ; namely, Barangan, or Farang, a cluster of villages in the Ghorband district ; the name is the plural form of Barang, and a native of the place would be naturally called Barangi. A few miles from this place, is a very ancient lead mine, unused for ages, and its existence apparently unknown to the people of the neighbourhood till its discovery by Dr. Lord in 1839-40; to judge from his description of it, the mine might well have been the work of Greeks, perhaps of the
[Page-12]: Brankhoi, our Barangi, of the vicinity. The shaft, it is stated, descended one hundred feet perpendicular before it reached the ore ; and the galleries had been run and the shafts sunk with a degree of skill that showed an acquaintance with the lie of the mineral, and an engineering knowledge that could scarcely be exceeded in the present day.
Besides the above-mentioned, there is another district called Barang in the Nawagai division of Bajaur on the Indus border ; probably so named after its former settlers, of whom traces might possibly be brought to light by local inquiry. There is also a village called Farangi in the Koh-daman of Kabul, and another called Farangabad or Piringabad in the Mastung Valley, south of Quetta in Balochistan ; both names are different pronunciations of Barangi, which is the same as the Greek Brankhoi, of which Brankhidai is a derivative. But besides these traces of Barangi occupancy, we have a clan of that name forming a division of the Syini branch of the Lodi-Afghan, and comprising numerous sections as shown in our "Inquiry."
Back to Jat gotras