|Author: Laxman Burdak, IFS (R).|
Xanthii was a variant of Jat in Central Asia. Xandii or Xanthii was term used by Strabo for people living on the banks of the Oxus, between Bactria, Hyrkania, and Khorasmia. Xanthii is a nasalised form of Iatii or Jatii.
Variants of Xanthii
- Jatii (of Pliny)
- Zanthi (of Strabo)
- Xanthos (Town and River)
- Xanthus (Arrian:1.24)
Arrian writes that ...Then he (Alexander) invaded Lycia and brought over the Telmissians by capitulation; and crossing the river Xanthus, the cities of Pinara, Xanthus, Patara, and about thirty other smaller towns were surrendered to him. ...The Marmarians alone defended their city with desperate valour. They finally set fire to it, and escaped through the Macedonian camp to the mountains.  As to Xanthus the river, see Homer 
Acquisition of Lycia by Cyrus the Great
Herodotus writes more credibly of contemporaneous events, especially where they concerned his native land. Asia Minor had been partly conquered by the Iranians, starting with the Scythians, then the Medes. The latter were defeated by the Persians, who incorporated them and their lands into the new Persian Empire. Cyrus the Great, founder of the Achaemenid dynasty, resolved to complete the conquest of Anatolia as a prelude to operations further west, to be carried out by his successors. He assigned the task to Harpagus, a Median general, who proceeded to subdue the various states of Anatolia, one by one, some by convincing them to submit, others through military action.
Arriving at the southern coast of Anatolia in 546 BC, the army of Harpagus encountered no problem with the Carians and their immediate Greek neighbors and alien populations, who submitted peacefully. In the Xanthus Valley an army of Xanthians sallied out to meet them, fighting determinedly, although vastly outnumbered. Driven into the citadel, they collected all their property, dependents and slaves into a central building, and burned them up. Then, after taking an oath not to surrender, they died to a man fighting the Persians, foreshadowing and perhaps setting an example for Spartan conduct at the Battle of Thermopylae a few generations later. Coincidentally archaeology has turned up a major fire on the acropolis of Xanthus in the mid-6th century BC, but as Antony Keen points out, there is no way to connect that fire with the event presented by Herodotus. It might have been another fire. The Caunians, says Herodotus, followed a similar example immediately after. If there was an attempt by any of the states of Lycia to join forces, as happened in Greece 50 years later, there is no record of it, suggesting that no central government existed. Each country awaited its own fate alone.
Herodotus also says or implies that 80 Xanthian families were away at the time, perhaps with the herd animals in alpine summer pastures , but helped repopulate the place. However, he reports, the Xanthians of his time were mainly descended from non-Xanthians. Looking for any nuance that might shed light on the re-population of Xanthus, Keen interprets Herodotus' "those Lycians who now say that they are Xanthians" to mean that Xanthus was repopulated by other Lycians (and not by Iranians or other foreigners). Herodotus said nothing of the remainder of Lycia; presumably, that is true because they submitted without further incident. Lycia was well populated and flourished as a Persian satrapy; moreover, they spoke mainly Lycian.
ठाकुर देशराज लिखते हैं कि समोस द्वीप : यह द्वीप एजियन सागर में है। एशियाई रोम के ठीक पच्छिमी किनारे पर बसा हुआ है। यहां जो जाट समूह गया था, वह क्षौथी (Xuthi) कहलाता था। क्रुक साहब ने ‘ट्राइब्स एन्ड कास्टस आफ दी नार्थ वेस्टर्न प्राविन्शेज एन्ड अवध’ नामक पुस्तक में लिखा है -
- "Their course from the Oxus to Indus may, perhaps, be dimly traced in the Xuthi of, Dianosius of Samos and the Xuthi of Ptolemy who occupied the Karmanian desert on the frontier of Drangiana."
इसी बात को जनरल कनिंघम साहब ने अपनी तवारीख में इस भांति लिखा है -
- "Xuthi of Dianosius of Samos were Jatii or Jats, who are coupled with the Ariene and in the Xuthi of Ptolemy, who occupied the Karmanian desert on the frontier of Drangiana. (Cunningham Vol.II P.55)
अर्थात् - सामोस के डाईनीसीअस के क्षूति जटी या जाट थे जो ऐर्रानी से टोलेमी के जूथी में मिल गए, जिन्होंने ड्रेनजिआना के सीमांत के करमानिया के ऊपर अधिकार कर लिया।
Hukum Singh Panwar
Hukum Singh Panwar (Pauria) writes - From classical historians and geographers of the first century BC as well as from those of first century A.D. have come down to us variants like Xanthii or Zanthii or Xandii Iatii or Iatii, used for the people living on the banks of the Oxus between Bactria,
The Jats:Their Origin, Antiquity and Migrations: End of page 344
Hyrkania and Khorasmia. Xuthi or Zuthi  for those who occupied Karamanian desert and Drangiana , One scholar suggests that those people gave their name as Zatale or Zothale to the irrigation channel from the Margus river. All these terms are said to be variants of the term Jat with their "parental house on the Oxus" and their original seat or colony in Sindh as well as "on the Margus (Zotale or Zothale) river". This reference definitely indicates that the Jats were spread over the region bounded by Indus in the east and the Oxus in the West in Central Asia. This learned scholar seems perplexed in deciding the original habitat of the Jats in spite of the fact that earlier scholars like Pliny, Diodorus Siculus and Megasthenese had claimed that contemporary Indians were indigenous.
Pliny found the Indians living in the Indus Valley from the past. Diodorus Siculus asserted that the contemporary Indians were evidently indigenous and Megasthenese , who was in fact more familiar with northern India of the fourth and third centuries B.C. than any other of his contemporaries, wrote about the people, inhabiting north-western India, that "none was alien and all of them were India's indigenous citizens". These impartial statements of the classical writers amply expose the fallacy of the assertions of those who assign foreign origin to the Jats. It is a pity that in spite of the corroborative evidence, the Indian origin of the Jats was disputed and repudiated in favour of the Central Asian origin, simply because this theory was propounded by European scholars led by giants like Cunningham and Tod. These theories were readily accepted by their Indian adherents without making any reason or rhyme, simply because of the prestige£ that European scholars commanded.
Hukum Singh Panwar (Pauria) writes - Our conviction that Scythic tribes can be pin pointed among the Jats may not necessarily be an exercise in futility. In the absence of an ethnic history of the Jats and the lapse of two millennial after the Scythians' last return to India it may seem to be as difficult to locate for sure the Scythic element in the Jats as it is to separate water from milk; neverthless a few writers have used the "social lactometer" to give us fairly dependabie data, which we would like to lace before the patient reader.
We begin with Cunningham (ASRI, Vol.II, 1863-64, pp. 1-82) who made an interesting study on the identification of those famous peoples of north-western India whose names have become familiar to the whole world through the expedition of Alexander the Great. He described the various tribes which have settled in the Panjab from the earliest times to the Muslim conquest and attempted to trace the downward course of each separate tribe until it joins the great stream of modern history. We may repeat that next to Tod, he is the scholar who contributed immensely to the Scythic origin of the Jats by identifying them and reasonably so, with the Zanthii (or Xanthii or Xandi in Greek) of Strabo and the Iatii of Pliny and Ptolemy. The derivation of Jat by Cunningham from the Greek and Roman forms is logical but plausible. He suggests that in its original native form, the Greek name
The Jats:Their Origin, Antiquity and Migrations:End of page 322
of Xanthii or Xandi (and the Roman name of Zanthii) could have been Janth or by dropping the nasal, Jath (Jath or Jat, for, absence of J in the Greek alphabets is substituted by G or I). The ethnicity of certain Jat tribes was a matter of controversy: this was set at rest by Cunningham's opinion in favour of their also being Scythian.
Sir Alexander Cunningham, Former Director-General of the Archaeological Survey of India, considered the Jat people to be the Xanthii (a Scythian tribe) of Scythian stock who he considered very likely called the Zaths (Jats) of early Arab writers. He stated "their name is found in Northern India from the beginning of the Christian era." These people were considered by early Arab writers to have descended from Meds and Zaths. Cunningham believes they "were in full possession of the valley of the Indus towards the end of the seventh century. Sir Alexander Cunningham held that the Rajputs belonged to the original Scythian stock, and the Jats to a late wave of immigrants from the north west, of Scythian race.
Sir Alexander Cunninghamwrites - Rashid-ud-din  locates them (Mands) in Sindh at a still earlier period. According to his account, Med and Zat, two descendants of Ham, the son of Noah, were the progenitors of the people of Sindh prior to
[p. 291]: the Mahabharata. The name is variously written as Mer, Med, Mand, in all of which forms it is found even at the present day. To these I would add Mind, which is the form of the name given by Masudi.  I have already identified this people with the Medi and Mandrueni of the classical writers ; and as their name is found in northern India from the beginning of the Christian era downwards, and not before that time, I conclude that the Mandrueni and Iatii of the Oxus, who are coupled together by Pliny, must be the Sacae Indo-Scythians, who occupied the Panjab and Sindh, and who under the name of Mands and Zats of the early Muhammadan authors, were in full possession of the valley of the Indus towards the end of the seventh century.
Sir H. M. Elliot
Sir H. M. Elliot writes that General Cunningham in his Archælogical Report for 1863-4, says, "The traditions of the Hindu Játs of Biána and Bharatpur point to Kandahar as their parent country, while those of the Muhammadan Játs generally refer to Gajni or Garh-Gajni, which may be either the celebrated fort of Ghazni in Afghanistan or the old city of Gajnipur on the site of Rawul-Pindi. But if I am right in my identification of the Játs with the Xanthii of Strabo, and the Iatii of Pliny and Ptolemy, their parent country must have been on the banks of the Oxus, between Bactria, Hyrkania, and Khorasmia. Now in this very position there was a fertile district, irrigated from the Margus river, which Pliny calls Zotale or Zothale, and which, I believe to have been the original seat of the Iatii or Játs. Their course from the Oxus to the Indus may perhaps be dimly traced in the Xuthi of Dionysius of Samos, who are coupled with the Arieni, and in the Zuthi of Ptolemy who occupied the Karmanian desert on the frontier of Drangiana. As I can find no other traces of their name in the classical writers, I am inclined to believe, as before suggested, that they may have been best known in early times, by the general name of their horde, as Abars, instead of by their tribal name as Játs. According to this view, the main body of the Iatii would have occupied the district of Abiria and the towns of Parda-bathra and Bardaxema in Sindh, or Southern Indo-Scythia,
When the Muhammadans first appeared in Sindh, towards the end of the seventh century, the Zaths and Meds were the chief population of the country. But as I have already shown that the original seat of the Med or Medi colony was in the Panjab proper, I conclude that the original seat of the Iatii or Ját colony, must have been in Sindh.
Arrian writes....Some of the Macedonians who served in Alexander's army had married just before he undertook the expedition. He thought that he ought not to treat these men with neglect, and therefore sent them back from Caria to spend the winter in Macedonia with their wives. He placed them under the command of Ptolemy, son of Seleucus, one of the royal body-guards, and of the two generals Coenus, son of Polemocrates, and Meleager, son of Neoptolemus, because they were also newly married. He gave these officers instructions to levy as many horse and foot soldiers as they could from the country, when they returned to him and brought back the men who had been sent away with them. By this act more than by any other Alexander acquired popularity among the Macedonians. He also sent Cleander, son of Polemocrates, to levy soldiers in Peloponnesus, and Parmenio to Sardis, giving him the command of a regiment of the Cavalry Companions, the Thessalian cavalry, and the rest of the Grecian allies. He ordered him to take the wagons to Sardis and to advance from that place into Phrygia.
He himself marched towards Lycia and Pamphylia, in order to gain command of the coast-land, and by that means render the enemy's fleet useless. The first place on his route was Hyparna, a strong position, having a garrison of Grecian mercenaries; but he took it at the first assault, and allowed the Greeks to depart from the citadel under a truce. Then he invaded Lycia and brought over the Telmissians by capitulation; and crossing the river Xanthus, the cities of Pinara, Xanthus, Patara, and about thirty other smaller towns were surrendered to him. Having accomplished this, though it was now the very depth of winter, he invaded the land called Milyas, which is a part of Great Phrygia, but at that time paid tribute to Lycia, according to an arrangement made by the Great King. Hither came envoys from the Phaselites, to treat for his friendship, and to crown him with a golden crown; and the majority of the maritime Lycians also sent heralds to him as ambassadors to treat for the same object. He ordered the Phaselites and Lycians to surrender their cities to those who were despatched by him to receive them; and they were all surrendered. He soon afterwards arrived himself at Phaselis, and helped the men of that city to capture a strong fort which had been constructed by the Pisidians to overawe the country; and sallying forth from which those barbarians used to inflict much damage upon the Phaselites who tilled the land.
1. See Arrian, ii. 20 infra.
2. The Marmarians alone defended their city with desperate valour. They finally set fire to it, and escaped through the Macedonian camp to the mountains. See Diodorus (xvii. 28). As to Xanthus the river, see Homer (Iliad, ii. 877; vi. 172); Horace (Carm., iv. 6, 26).
5. He also crowned with garlands the statue of Theodectes the rhetorician, which the people of Phaselis, his native city, had erected to his memory. This man was a friend and pupil of Aristotle, the tutor of Alexander. See Plutarch (Life of Alex., 17); Aristotle (Nicom. Ethics, vii. 7).
H.A. Rose writes that Perhaps no question connected with the ethnology of the Punjab peoples has been so much discussed as the origin of the so-called Jat 'race'. It is not intended here to reproduce any of the arguments adduced. They will be found in detail in the Archeological Survey Reports, II, pp. 51 to (31 ; in Tod's Rajasthan, I, pp. 52 to 75 and 96 to 101 (Madras reprint, 1880} ; in Elphinstone's History of India, pp. 250 to 253 ; and in Elliot's Races of the N.-W. P., I, pp. 130 to 137. Suffice it to say that both Sir Alexander Cunningham and Colonel Tod agreed in considering the Jats to be of Indo-Scythian stock. The former identified them with the Zanthi of Strabo and the Jatii of Pliny and Ptolemy; and held that they probably entered the Punjab from their home on the Oxus very shortly after the Meds or Mands, who also were Indo-Scythians, and who moved into the Punjab about a century before Christ. The Jats seem to have first occupied the Indus valley as far down as Sindh, whither the Meds followed them about the beginning of the present era.
Prof. B.S. Dhillon quotes Sir Cunningham, A. (Major-General and Former Director-General of the Archeological Survey of India)  wrote, "the Xanthii (a Scythian tribe) are very probably the Zaths (Jats) of the early Arab writers. As the Zaths were in Sindh (presently a Pakistani province) to the west of the Indus (river), this location agrees very well with what we know of the settlement of the Sakas (Scythians) on the Indian frontier". 
Arthur Edward Barstow wrote: "Greeks of Bactria (partly modern Afghanistan), expelled by the hordes of Scythians, entered India in the second and first centuries BC and are said to have penetrated as far as Orissa (an Indian province in south-east). Meanwhile the Medii, Xanthii, Jatii, Getae and other Scythian races, were gradually working their way from the banks of the Oxus (River valley in Central Asia) into Southern Afghanistan and the pastoral highland about Quetta (a Pakistani city), whence they forced their way by the Bolan Pass, through the Sulaiman Mountains into India, settling in the Punjab about the beginning of the first century AD. It is from these Scythian immigrants that most of the Jat tribes are at any rate partly descended."
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