Herodotus

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Author:Laxman Burdak, IFS (Retd.)

Reconstruction of the Oikumene (inhabited world) Ancient Map from Herodotus circa 450 BC

Herodotus (c. 484 BC - c. 425 BC) of Halicarnassus (Sanskrit: हरिदत्त, Hindi: हिरोडोटस, Greek: Ἡρόδοτος Ἁλικαρνᾱσσεύς Hēródotos Halikarnāsseús) was a Greek historian who lived in the 5th century BC (c. 484 BC–c. 425 BC) and is regarded as the "Father of History" in Western culture. He was the first historian to collect his materials systematically, test their accuracy to a certain extent, and arrange them in a well constructed and vivid narrative.[1]

Clan of Herodotus

Herodotus has described himself as a descendant of Atre (Atreya), an ancient Jat clan.[2]

"Father of History"

Much of what is known of Herodotus' life has been gathered from his own work. Additional details have been garnered from the Suda, an 11th-century encyclopaedia of Byzantium; it seems likely that the Suda took its information from traditional accounts. Born in Halicarnassus, the Suda claims him to be the son of Lyxes and Dryo, and the brother of Theodorus, and that he was also related to Panyassis, an epic poet of the time. According to this account, after being exiled from Halicarnassus by the tyrant Lygdamis, Herodotus went to live at Samos. Later returning to Halicarnassus, Herodotus took part in the removal of Lygdamis from the city. The traditional biography also includes some time spent in Athens, and has Herodotus joining a Hellenic colony named Thurii in Southern Italy. His death and burial are placed either at Thurii or at Pella, in Macedon.

Herodotus has provided much information concerning the nature of the world and the status of the sciences during his lifetime. He was arguably the first historian, and certainly the first to methodically travel around the known world in order to write with more accuracy, although this still involved second and third hand accounts relating to his primary subject: the Persian wars.

Written between 431 BC and 425 BC, The Histories were divided by later editors into nine books, named after the nine Muses (the 'Muse of History', Clio, represented the first book).

Jat History

The ancient Jat History would have been drowned in oblivion if there had been no Herodotus who was rightly called the Father of History. This Greek luminary requires more than passing attention. All modern men of letters read his voluminous works. His whole intellectual life was spent in writing about the events of not only his own times, but also of the centuries preceding his time. The correctness of his works has been confirmed by the recent discoveries of the monuments of Babylon and Nineveh excepting one philological mistake which was not intentional and which will be described in detail later on.[3]

This wonderful man was born about 484 BC in a Greek city of Asia Minor, Halicarnassus, which was under the overlordship of the Jat empire of Manda. Here he was able to obtain and read and study manuscripts of nearly everything that had been written in the Greek language before his time. He traveled widely with freedom and comfort about the Greek archipelagos. He went to Babylon and to Susa the new capital the Persians had set up in Babylonia to the east, of the Tigris, the monuments of which are now being unearthed by Dr. Girshmann, Chief of the French Archaeological Mission in Susa. He also toured along the coast of the Black Sea and accumulated a considerable amount of knowledge about Jats called Scythian Getae, who were then distributed over south Russia. He went to the south of Italy, explored the antiquities of Tyre, coastal Palestine, landed at Gaza, and made a long stay in Egypt.[4]


As his knowledge accumulated he conceived the idea of writing a great history of the attempts of Persia to subdue Greece. But in order to introduce that history he composed an account of the past of Greece, Persia, Assyria, Babylonia, Egypt, Scythia—the original Jat country—and of the geography and peoples of these countries. It is from this wonderful historian that we learn about the most interesting Jat Empire of Manda with its capital at Ecbatana, the modern Hamadan in Persia. The succeeding Persian Empire, the most powerful in antiquity, was only an offshoot of this Jat Empire. This will be described in detail in a subsequent chapter.[5]

Six Mede (Manda) tribes by Herodotus

Six Mede Manda tribes have been described by Herodotus. Herodotus, i. 101, lists the names of six Mede (Manda) tribes: Thus Deioces collected the Medes (Manda) into a nation, and ruled over them alone. Now these are the tribes of which they consist: the Busae, the Paretaceni, the Struchates, the Arizanti ( Aryan Jats), the Budii (Budhwar), and the Magi (Manju). [6]

Here in the above description Jat gotras have been given in the bracket which may be matched with those given by Herodotus. It may be a matter of further research if Budila gotra of Jats is related with Buddi of Herodotus.

Jat clans mentioned by Herodotus

Puniya - Herodotus mentions a people, Paeonia, a colony of Teucarians. [7] The paeonians were transferred from Hellespont to Asia, under the orders of Darius the great. Here we have the Pauniya and Tokhar Jats in Europe in sixth century BC.[8]

Sikarwars perhaps are the Sagartians of Herodotus and of the Behistna inscription. [9]

Tewatia - There are observations of late Dr. K P Jayaswal about Tewatias. His reading of the name, Tubathi is practically correct it should be tevathi / Tuvathi but it is not place name it is a clan name of the Jats. The symbols of water (with fish) and earth (with tree) are the tradition symbols of the Jats (Dharti-Pani in Hindi) It is perhaps, older than Mauryan times. Tabiti is the name of the fire goddess of the Scythians. If these suppositions are correct then it shows that the Tevathiya Jats came to India during Achaemenid disturbance. [10] [11]

Goths - Two ancient writers: Isidore of Seville (born around 560 A.D.) and Jordanes (himself a Goth and compiled his works around 551 A.D.) say the Goths were a Scythian people. Isidore of Seville in his book [12] entitled, "History of the Goths, Vandals, and Suevl", wrote, " Goths are a very old nation and the Goths are descended from Magog, the son of Japhet, and are shown to have spring from the same origin as the Scythians, from whom they do not differ greatly in name. Formerly, however, the learned were accustomed to call them Getae (Jats) rather than Gog and Magog". Jordanes [13] wrote In his book entitled, "Getica", "Then Cyrus, King of the Persians waged an unsuccessful war against Tomyris, queen of the Getae (Jats) the Getae and their queen defeated, conquered and overwhelmed the Parthian (probably mean Persians) and took rich plunder from them. Therefore; for the first time the race of the Goths saw silken tents". It is Interesting to note that Jordanes has the word Getae for Goths and vice-versa. Furthermore, according to Herodotus[14], Cyrus, the Persian King was defeated by Massagetae ("great" Jats), a Scythian people. It means, as per Jordanes' statements, Goths were a Scythian people. On the Issue of the word "Goth" Professor Waddell [15] of the University of London remarked, " the First Dynasty of Egypt repeatedly call themselves In their official documents and seals "Gut" And early Sumerian Dynasties In Mesopotamia (modern Iraq) called themselves Guti or Goti; and "Goti" was the regular title of the Goths In Europe the aspirated form Goth having coined by the Romans and never used by Goths themselves”.

Dabas - Perhaps they are the same as the Dropice of Herodotus and Derbice of other authors. They were settled in the south east of Caspian sea in sixth century B.C. Perhaps they are the Darvas of Indian literature. [16]

Virk - It is one of the most important clan. It is mentioned by Panini and V.S. Agrawal has identified Virk with the Jats. The same identification has been mentioned by Buddha Prakash. [17] Mahabhasya mentions Vrika and its derivative Varkenya, the Varkan of the Persians, and Hyrcan of the Greeks. The Caspian sea was once called the Sea of Vrkans (Hyrcanian). The identification of Hyrcan with Varkan has also been mentioned by Rawlinson in his History of Herodotus, he mentions that even in the thirteenth century, their country in Central Asian was mentioned as Urkanich in Yakut. According to Herodotus they fought in the battle of Thermopylae under their leader named Megapanus, who was afterwards Satrap of Babylonia. [18] They are one of the earliest clans too enter India, and up to the sixth century A.D. at least they were ruling in Malwa under their king Vishnuvardhana, Vrik. The Vriks are remembered in the Brahma, Vaman and Markandeya Puranas. Their antiquity goes very much deep in the past. A country called Uruk / Wark is mentioned in Sumeria, along with a country called Gutium. In fact, Trigan, the last Gutian King in the twenty-second century B.C. was defeated by Utu-Khegal, the ruler of Wark country. It is possible that this country has been named after them. The word Vrik in Sanskrit means a wolf the same as Russian Volka, which also means the same. The river Volga is named after [19] In the Kushana period an officer of Vima Kadphises was a Vrika, according to K.P.Jayaswa. [20]

Jutland - Quoting Herodotus Todd writes that these people 'worshipped according to Indian customs and swore on their weapons. They named their capital Asigarh. It is of interest that the ancient name of Hansi in Hissar district of Haryana was also Asigarh.

They considered the sight of certain birds as a good omen. Herodotus and Strabo agree that in about 2000 BC, the Jati community lived in Jutland. They built a temple there dedicated to their Goddess Ahilya. Her abode was in the garden and a cow drew her chariot. They also built the temple Apsala. The name of their God was Oven, which meant Budha the forefather of Chandravansh.

Gill/Gelan - Bhim Singh Dahiya[21] traces Gills to the people of Greece. They are the Aegi of Herodotus, Gelae of Strabo and others and Gili/Gille of modern Central Asia. Gelanis are mentioned in a passage of Ammianus Marcellinus. J. Marquart tried to substitute Segestian in place of Gelan perhaps to prove that Sakasthan (Sacestene of the Greeks) was independent up to 350 AD. In the heyday of Gills, the Caspian sea was called the Sea of Gilani. He[22] opines that people of this tribe came in the company of Alexander. Then settled in Kabul, Kandahar and Punjab. One of the sons of Hercules was named Gilla. It is also possible that ancestors of Gills came to Greece from Middle Asia and then to India.

Mirdha - Mardha or Mirdha are the same as the Mardi of Herodotus and Amardi of Strabo. The word Mardi means “ Heroes”. Alexander defeated them in 330 B.C. between persepolis and the Persian Gulf. [23] [24]

Manda - The first issue of princess Mandani was Cyrus who became the emperor, after putting in prison his maternal grandfather, Ishtuvegu. Three battles were fought, as per traditions preserved by the classical writers, before Ecbatana itself fell in 550 B.C. Cyrus was emperor of persia and had inherited the empire of the Mandas., which was further extended by him. But this does not mean that efforts were not made to recover the lost empire. We hear that Cyrus himself fought wars against the Jats in Balakh and the Caspian sea. At both the places he was unsuccessful. Balakh remained under the Kangs, and the small kingdom of the Massagate ruled over by the Dahias, remained free and independent. The king of the Massagate kingdom was Armogha and his queen was simply called Tomyris which is a Scythian word, Tomuri, meaning queen. The king had died and the queen had taken the administration in her hands when Cyrus the Great asked her to marry him. [25]


The queen Tomyris gathered her force and the battle which followed was most ferocious. On both sides there were Jats, and they fought to the finish. Herodotus says that of all the wars of antiquity, this was the most bloody. The Jats gained complete and final victory. Cyrus himself was killed. His body was searched and recovered from the battlefield. [26]

Sindhu - In 600 BC a Sindhu ruler helped Babylonia against Cyrus. Later another ruler helped Darius against Alexander. After having been ruled by Sindhus for many generations, Sindhu Desh came under the rule of Mauryas. Chach, a Brahmin courtier, assasinated the Mauryan ruler in conspiracy with his corrupt queen. The Sindhu and Midh Jats of Sindhu Desh resented it and consequently helped Khalifa Al Qasim against Chach. After Chach came to power, the Sindhu Jats left Sindhu Desh in large numbers and settled in the Punjab and established a big 'Khap' there.

Bhim Singh Dahiya writes that the ancient Greeks mentioned them as Sindi (Sindicar of Herodotus) and placed them on the Basphorus. In Indian literature they are mentioned as Sindhu or Saindhava and are associated with Sauvira-of the expression Sindhu-Saurira. In Kurma Purana and Vishnu Purana, they are mentioned with the Hunas : “Sauvirah Saindhava Hunan” (सैबीरा सैंधवाहूणाः) as residents of Sakala, Sialkot .

Dara - Herodotus writes that when Alexander the Great attacked Dara, King of Iran, and the major part. of Dara's army consisted of Jat troops. Dara was very proud of these soldiers. Confidence in their bravery encouraged him to face Alexander. Todd also supports this fact and writes that the Jat contingent consisted of two hundred chariots and fifty elephants and formed the right flank of Dara's army. The Jat charioteers scattered Alexander's army. Alexander then sent for Scythian Jat troops. These were mostly Dahiya Jats and were equipped with lances. With the help of these troops Alexander defeated Dara. The Greek historian writes that these Dahiya Jats contributed a great deal to the later successes of Alexander.

Atre - Herodotus, a famous Greek historian, has described himself as a descendant of Atre (Atreya).

Utar - They are mentioned by Herodotus as Utians, along with the Sarangians (Saramgha) and the Pactyans [27].

Gussar - They are a minor clan now, but inscriptional evidence shows two persons of this clan. One is Maka, son of Saphar, and the second is the Swami Simhabala Gussar of Sanchi Vihara.[28] It is quite possible that Gussur here may stand for the Gujars, as Herodotus says that Gorgoi were the agriculturists of the Scythians. [29]

Saranh] - In an inscription found in Kashmir, relating to the seventh century A.D. there is a reference to a minister named Makar Singh, who is called a Saranha. He is stated to have constructed a city in Kashmir. In this reference we have the earliest known mention of this Jat clan. Perhaps they are the Sarangians of Herodotus who had the same areas as the Mandas in the battle of Thermopylae. ([30] [31]

Bassi - They are the same as Basae of Herodotus and Vaisi of Assyria, one of the Medians tribes. Bassis are now a Jat as well as Khatri clan. Aitereya Brahmana places them in Madhyadesa. Kausitaki Upanisad places them with Matsyas; Gopatha Brahmana Shows them with the Ushinaras (Sibiyas). [32]

Sapra - They are the same as Sapiri of Herodotus. [33]

Massagetae - The Massagetae were an Ancient Iranian peoples [34][35][36][37][38] of antiquity known primarily from the writings of Herodotus. Their name was probably akin to Getae and Thyssagetae. They have been mentioned in Mahabharata Shalya Parva in Sanskrit shloka 80 along with Tarakas as under:

महाजठर पादाङ्गास तारकाक्शाश च भारत
पारावत मुखाश चान्ये तदा वृषमुखाः परे ।। 80 ।।
  • Getae - According to Herodotus (4.93), the Getae were "the noblest as well as the most just of all the Thracian tribes." When the Persians, led by Darius I of Persia, campaigned against the Scythians, the Thracian tribes in the Balkans surrendered to Darius on his way to Scythia, and only the Getae offered resistance (Herod. 4.93).
  • Sarang (सरंग) is Gotra of Jats found in Ratlam district in Madhya Pradesh. (Herodotus III, 93)

The other clans mentioned by Herodotus may be identified as under:

हेरोडोटस

हेरोडोटस - यह यूरोप का सबसे पुराना इतिहास लेखक कहा जाता है। 480 ईसवी पूर्व यह मौजूद था। इसी के उद्धरणों से कर्नल कनिंघम, तथा कर्नल टाड ने बाहरी जाटों के सम्बन्ध में प्रकाश डाला। प्रथम दारा के पुत्र जरक्सीज के यूनान पर आक्रमणों का इसने इतिहास लिखा है। जरक्सीज के साथ भारतीय जाटों का जत्था भी था। इसके बाद भी जाटों से हेरोडोटस का परिचय हुआ। अपने इतिहास में इसी जानकारी के कारण उसने जाटों के ऊपर काफी लिखा है। इसका ग्रन्थ भारत में कहीं नहीं मिलता। इलियट साहब ने कुछ संग्रह इसके आधार पर किया है, जो उनकी हिस्ट्री आफ इंडिया में उल्लिखित है।[39]

हैरोडोटस (Herodotus) - इस यूनानी इतिहासकार का जन्म 484 ईस्वी पूर्व एशिया माइनर के यूनानी नगर हालीकारनास्स में हुआ था जो कि मांडा जाटराज्य के अधीन था। इसको इतिहास का पिता कहा गया है। इसने जाटों के सम्बन्ध में काफी लिखा है। इसका लिखा इतिहास भारत में कहीं नहीं मिलता। इसी के लेखों का उदाहरण देकर कनिंघम और टॉड ने विदेशों में जाटों के सम्बन्ध में कुछ प्रकाश डाला है इलियट ने भी अपनी पुस्तक हिस्ट्री ऑफ इंडिया में इसी के कुछ उदाहरण दिये हैं।[40]

References

  1. New Oxford American Dictionary, "Herodotus", Oxford University Press
  2. Ram Sarup Joon: History of the Jats/Chapter III, p.41
  3. Antiquity of the Jat race - by Ujagar Singh Mahil, Delhi (1954)
  4. Antiquity of the Jat race - by Ujagar Singh Mahil, Delhi (1954)
  5. Antiquity of the Jat race - by Ujagar Singh Mahil, Delhi (1954)
  6. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medes Six Mede tribes in Herodotus on Wikipedia]
  7. v, 12-27
  8. Bhim Singh Dahiya: Jats the Ancient Rulers (A clan study)/Jat Clan in India, p. 267-268
  9. Bhim Singh Dahiya : Jats the Ancient Rulers, 1980, p. 271-272
  10. Rowlinson’s Herodotus, Vol. III, p. 160
  11. Bhim Singh Dahiya : Jats the Ancient Rulers ( A clan study), 1980, Sterling Publishers New Delhi, 276
  12. Isidore of Seville, History of the Goths, Vandals, and Suevl, translated by Donlnl,G., and Ford, G.B., E.J. Brill, Lelden, 1970, pp. 3,30.
  13. Jordanes. The Gothic History (Getica), translated by Mierow, C.C, Barnes and Noble, Inc.. New York, 1966. pp. 67-68
  14. Herodotus. The Histories, Penguin Books, Inc., London, 1988. pp. 272-273, 122- 128.
  15. Waddell. L.A.. The Makers of Civilization in Race and History. reprinted by S. Chand & Co.. New Deihi. India, 1968, first published in 1929, (See Preface).
  16. Bhim Singh Dahiya "> Bhim Singh Dahiya : Jats the Ancient Rulers ( A clan study), 1980, Sterling Publishers New Delhi
  17. ibid , p. 251
  18. ibid. bk. VII. ch . 62
  19. Political and Social Movements in Ancient Punjab by Buddha Prakash, p. 102
  20. Journal of Bihar and Orissa Research Society, Vol, XVI, p. 258
  21. Bhim Singh Dahiya, Jats the Ancient Rulers, p. 254
  22. Bhim Singh Dahiya, Jats the Ancient Rulers
  23. Rawlinson , op. cit. vol. I. P. 338
  24. Bhim Singh Dahiya : Jats the Ancient Rulers ( A clan study), 1980, Sterling Publishers New Delhi , p. 287
  25. Bhim Singh Dahiya, Jats the Ancient Rulers, p. 131
  26. Bhim Singh Dahiya, Jats the Ancient Rulers, p. 133
  27. Book VII , ch. 68)( Pakhtoons)
  28. ASI, Vol. X, p. 62 ff
  29. Bhim Singh Dahiya : Jats, the Ancient Rulers ( A clan study), 1980, Sterling Publishers New Delhi, p. 255
  30. VII, 67
  31. Bhim Singh Dahiya : Jats the Ancient Rulers, 1980, p. 270
  32. Bhim Singh Dahiya : Jats the Ancient Rulers ( A clan study), 1980, Sterling Publishers New Delhi, 280
  33. Rawlison, op. cit. p. 534
  34. Karasulas, Antony. Mounted Archers Of The Steppe 600 Bc-ad 1300 (Elite),Osprey Publishing , 2004, pg 7, ISBN 184176809
  35. Wilcox, Peter. Rome's Enemies: Parthians and Sassanids, Osprey Publishing , 1986, pg 9, ISBN 0850456886
  36. Gershevitch, Ilya. The Cambridge History of Iran, 1985, Volume two, Cambridge University Press, 1985, pg 48 ISBN 0521200911
  37. Grousset, René. The Empire of the Steppes, 1989, Rutgers University Press, pg 547 ISBN 0813513049
  38. All the year round - Page 422 by charles dickens
  39. Jat History Thakur Deshraj/Chapter VI,p.173
  40. Jat History Dalip Singh Ahlawat/Chapter IV,p.320

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