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Author:Laxman Burdak, IFS (R)

Ethnic map of the Caucasus in the 5th and 4th centuries BC.

Caspians (कैस्पियन) were a people of antiquity who dwelt along the southwestern shores of the Caspian Sea, in the region known as Caspiane.[1] Caspian is the English version of the Greek ethnonym Kaspioi, mentioned twice by Herodotus among the Achaemenid satrapies of Darius the Great[2] and applied by Strabo.[3] The name is not attested in Old Iranian.[4]


Jat Gotras Namesake


The Caspians have generally been regarded as a pre-Indo-European people. They have been identified by Ernst Herzfeld with the Kassites,[8] who spoke a language not identified with any other known language group and whose origins have long been the subject of debate. However, onomastic evidence bearing on this point has been discovered in Aramaic papyri from Egypt published by P. Grelot,[9] in which several of the Caspian names that are mentioned—and identified under the gentilic כספי kaspai—are, in part, etymologically Iranian. The Caspians of the Egyptian papyri are therefore generally considered as either an Iranian people or strongly under Iranian cultural influence.[10]

In the 5th century BC, during the Persian rule in Egypt, a regiment (Aramaic degel) of Caspians was stationed in Elephantine, as attested in the Elephantine papyri. They are called kspy in Aramaic and shared their regiment with Khwarezmians, Bactrians and other Iranian peoples. They were not the only garrison on Elephantine. There was also a regiment of Jews.[11]

The Caspians are called Caspiani in Mela's De situ orbis, Caspi in Pliny's Natural History, and Caspiadae in Valerius Flaccus' Argonautica. In the last work, the Caspians are allies of King Perses of Colchis and appear amongst the Scythian peoples. They are said to have fighting dogs that they take to their graves. This might in fact reflect a variant of the Zoroastrian custom of sky burial, one in which the deceased is left for the dogs to devour.[12]

The Caspiadeans reappear in the medieval Historia de via Hierosolymitana among the people arrayed against the forces of the First Crusade (1096–1099). The anonymous poet, drawing on Flaccus, probably sought to connect the Seljuk Turks, the Crusaders' actual enemy, with the ancient Scythians.[13]

Mention by Pliny

Pliny[14] mentions 'The Caspian Sea and Hyrcanian Sea.'....The rivers which run through Albania in their course to the sea are the Casius13 and the Albanus14, and then the Cambyses15, which rises in the Caucasian mountains, and next to it the Cyrus, rising in those of the Coraxici, as already mentioned.16 Agrippa states that the whole of this coast, inaccessible from rocks of an immense height, is four hundred and twenty-five miles in length, beginning from the river Casius. After we pass the mouth of the Cyrus, it begins to be called the Caspian Sea; the Caspii being a people who dwell upon its shores.

13 The Cæsius of Ptolemy, and the Koisou of modern times.

14 Probably the modern river Samour.

15 It is difficult to determine the exact locality of this river, but it would seem to have been near the Amardus, the modern Sefid-Rúd.

16 In c. 10.

Mention by Pliny

Pliny[15] mentions 'Media and the Caspian Gates'.... After leaving these gates we find the nation of the Caspii, extending as far as the shores of the Caspian, a race which has given its name to these gates as well as to the sea: on the left there is a mountainous district. Turning back14 from this nation to the river Cyrus, the distance is said to be two hundred and twenty miles; but if we go from that river as far down as the Caspian Gates, the distance is seven hundreds15 miles. In the itineraries of Alexander the Great these gates were made the central or turning point in his expeditions; the distance from the Caspian Gates to the frontier of India being there set down as fifteen thousand six hundred and eighty16 stadia, to the city of Bactra,17 commonly called Zariaspa, three thousand seven hundred, and thence to the river Jaxartes18 five thousand stadia.

14 In a northern direction, along the western shores of the Caspian.

15 According to Hardouin, Eratosthenes, as quoted by Strabo, makes the distance 5060 stadia, or about 633 miles. He has, however, mistranslated the passage, which gives 5600 stadia, or 700 miles exactly, as stated by Pliny.

16 Or 1960 miles.

17 Bactra, Bactrum, or Bactrium, was one of the chief cities, if not the capital, of the province of Bactriana. It was one of the most ancient cities in the world, and the modern Balkh is generally supposed to occupy its site. Strabo, as well as Pliny, evidently considers that Bactra and Zareispa were the same place, while Appian distinguishes between the two, though he does not clearly state their relative positions.

18 The modern Syr-Daria, mentioned in c. 15. See p. 25.

Mention by Pliny

Pliny[16] mentions 'Nations situated around the Hyrcanian Sea'....Lying to the east of the Caspii is the region known as Apavortene,1 in which there is a place noted for its singular fertility, called Dareium.2

1 By some writers called Apavareticene, in the south-eastern part of Parthia. Ansart says that it is now known as Asterabad and Ghilan.

2 Or Dara. A strongly fortified place, built by Arsaces I., and situate on the mountains of the Zapaorteni.

Mention by Pliny

Pliny[17] mentions Nations situated around the Hyrcanian Sea....We then come to the nations of the Tapyri,3 the Anariaci, the Staures, and the Hyrcani, past whose shores and beyond the river Sideris4 the Caspian begins to take the name of the Hyrcanian Sea: on this side of that stream are also the rivers Maxeras and Strato: all of them take their rise in the Caucasian chain.

3 According to Ansart, the district now known as Tabaristan, or Mazanderan, derives the first of those names from the Tapyri.

4 D'Anville remarks that this river still retains its "starry" name, being the modern Aster or Ester, on which Asterabad is situate.

Mention by Pliny

Pliny[18] mentions The Parthian Empire....It is requisite in this place to trace the localities of the Medi also, and to describe in succession the features of the country as far as the Persian Sea, in order that the account which follows may be the better understood. Media8 lies crosswise to the west, and so presenting itself obliquely to Parthia, closes the entrance of both kingdoms9 into which it is divided.

It has, then, on the east, the Caspii and the Parthi; on the south, Sittacene, Susiane, and Persis; on the west, Adsiabene; and on the north, Armenia.

8 Media occupied the extreme west of the great table-land of the modern Iran. It corresponded very nearly to the modern province of Irak-Ajemi.

9 The Upper and the Lower, as already mentioned.

काश्यप लोग

ठाकुर देशराज[19] ने लिखा है.... काश्यप - शिवि लोगों के वर्णन में मिस्टर क्रूक साहब के हवाले से यह बात हम बता चुके हैं कि जाटों में एक बड़ा समूह काश्यप लोगों का भी है। सूर्यवंश की प्रसिद्धि इन्हीं काश्यप से बताई जाती है। काशी के काश्य भी काश्यप हैं जो कि जाटों के अंदर काफी काशीवात कहलाते हैं। मगध के लिच्छवि शाक्य और ज्ञातृ भी काश्यप ही थे। इनके अलावा सैकड़ों काश्यिप गोत्री खानदान जाटों में मौजूद हैं। पुराणों में तो कैस्पियन सागर को कश्यप ऋषि का आश्रम बताया है। कुछ लोग श्रीनगर से 3 मील दूर हरी पर्वत पर कश्यप ऋषि का आश्रम मानते हैं।

कश्यप/काश्यप जाटवंश

कश्यप/ काश्यप - ब्रह्मा के पुत्र मरीचि से कश्यप का जन्म हुआ था। कश्यप ऋषि से ही सूर्यवंश की प्रसिद्धि बताई जाती है। इनके नाम पर कश्यप या काश्यप जाटवंश प्रचलित हुआ। पुराणों ने तो कैस्पियन सागर को कश्यप ऋषि का आश्रम बताया है। कुछ इतिहासकारों ने श्रीनगर से तीन मील दूर हरिपर्वत पर कश्यप ऋषि का आश्रम लिखा है।

“ट्राईब्स एण्ड कास्ट्स ऑफ दी नार्थ वेस्टर्न प्राविन्सेज एण्ड अवध”नामक पुस्तक में मिस्टर डब्ल्यू कुर्क साहब लिखते हैं कि दक्षिण पूर्वी प्रान्तों के जाट अपने को दो भागों में विभक्त करते हैं - शिवि गोत्री या शिवि के वंशज और कश्यप गोत्री।

मगध के लिच्छवी, शाक्य और ज्ञातृ भी काश्यप ही थे। इनके अतिरिक्त सैंकड़ों काश्यप गोत्री खानदान जाटों में विद्यमान हैं। काशी के काश्य भी काश्यप हैं जो कि जाटों के अन्दर काशीवत कहलाते हैं।[20]

कैस्पियन सागर पर कश्यप शासन

कश्यप वंश - इस वंश के जाटों का शासन प्राचीनकाल में कैस्पियन सागर पर था जिसका नाम इनके नाम पर कैस्पियन पड़ा।[21]

External links

See also


  1. "A Cyro Caspium mare vocari incipit; accolunt Caspii" (Pliny, Natural History vi.13); for a Greek ethnonym of the Aegean Sea, however, see the mythic Aegeus.
  2. Herodotus, iii.92 (with the Pausicae) and 93 (with the Sacae).
  3. Strabo (11.2.15) gives a lost work of Eratosthenes as his source.
  4. Rüdiger Schmitt, Caspians, in Encyclopedia Iranica. Accessed on 4 April 2010.
  5. Robert H. Hewsen. The Geography of Ananias of Širak: Ašxarhacʻoycʻ, the Long and the Short Recensions. — Reichert, 1992. — P. 254.
  6. Jat Itihas (Utpatti Aur Gaurav Khand)/Pancham Parichhed,p.99
  7. Jat History Dalip Singh Ahlawat/Chapter III (Page 225)
  8. Herzfeld, The Persian Empire, (Wiesbaden) 1968:195–99, noted by Rüdiger.
  9. Grelot, “Notes d'onomastique sur les textes araméens d'Egypte,” Semitica 21, 1971, esp. pp. 101–17, noted by Rüdiger.
  10. Rüdiger Schmitt, Caspians, in Encyclopedia Iranica.
  11. Karel van der Toorn (2016), "Ethnicity at Elephantine: Jews, Arameans, Caspians", Tel Aviv: Journal of the Institute of Archaeology of Tel Aviv University, 43(2), 147–164. doi:10.1080/03344355.2016.1215532
  12. Henri J. W. Wijsman (ed.), Valerius Flaccus, Argonautica, Book VI: A Commentary (Brill, 2000), p. 59.
  13. Nicholas Morton, Encountering Islam on the First Crusade (Cambridge University Press, 2016), p. 203.
  14. Natural History by Pliny Book VI/Chapter 15
  15. Natural History by Pliny Book VI/Chapter 17
  16. Natural History by Pliny Book VI/Chapter 18
  17. Natural History by Pliny Book VI/Chapter 18
  18. Natural History by Pliny Book VI/Chapter 29
  19. Jat Itihas (Utpatti Aur Gaurav Khand)/Pancham Parichhed,p.99
  20. Jat History Dalip Singh Ahlawat/Chapter III (Page 225)
  21. Jat History Dalip Singh Ahlawat/Chapter IV,p.352