Afghanistan, noted for its agricultural
capital, Bactra (modern Mazar-i-Shariff).
• The Saka inroads into this area led to the overthrow of the Greek
kingdom; but the Sakas themselves were subsequently routed by the
Yueh-chis or more precisely, the Ta Yueh-chi (the Great Yueh-chi).
• Chinese chronicles enable us to appreciate how one of the five clans
(yabgu) belonging to the Ta Yueh-chi tribe, namely Kuei-shuang
became the master of Ta-hsia (eastern part of Bactria) and then later
conquered the whole of Bactria, including its capital, Bactra.
• The expansionist attitudes of the early Kuei-shuang rulers is evident
from their occupation of territories to the north of the Oxus during the
reign of the first ruler, Miaos. This paved the way for the emergence
and development of one of the great political powers, namely the
Rise and Growth of Kushana Empire The Kushana empire was certainly
among the most powerful political entities of the Classical world (others
being the Roman empire in the West, the Arsacid or the Imperial Parthian
empire in Iran and China under the Han dynasty). The formation of this
empire from a nomadic background has naturally demanded scholarly
attention all over the world. There are a number of major debates in the
Kushana studies, one of them being the genealogy and chronology of the
Kushana rulers. This is closely associated with the protracted debates
regarding the beginning of the Saka era, generally held to have been initiated
by Kanishka I, the greatest of the Kushana emperors.
At the height of their power, the Kushana rulers ruled over vast areas in
Central Asia, Afghanistan, Pakistan and greater parts of north India. Studies
of the Kushanas by Indian historians prior to the 1960s did recognise that
they originated in Central Asia, but assumed that they were an Indian power
subsequently extending into extra-Indian territories. This perspective has
undergone significant changes as the very core area of the Kushana realm is
now sought not in India, but in Bactria, from where they expanded into the
northern and north-western parts of the subcontinent. The loss of Bactria to
the Sasanid ruler, Shapur I in 262 AD, virtually signalled the beginning of the
end of the mighty Kushana empire.
Impact of Foreign Invasions The penetration of foreign powers (the
Sakas, the Pahlavas and definitely