Images of similar type appear on an ivory panel from the excavations at Taḵt-e Sangin (Litvinsky and Pichikiyan, Pl.VII), where the hunters are horse-archers with bobbed hair and long moustaches.It is probable, too, that the celebrated allusions in may also sometimes cover notices of the Kushans.
Although several of these inscriptions were dated, uncertainty concerning the origin points of their eras, of which there were certainly more than one, gave rise to much controversy among historians on the absolute chronologies to which they related.
The foundation of the Kushan empire in Bactria and India was the result of a long series of ethnic migrations.
Their history has, however, until recently received minimal attention from Classical historians.
This is because apparently their existence has been explicitly noted only once in Classical literature, by Bardaiṣan (see BARDESANES) of Edessa in his where he speaks of the “Laws of the Bactrians who are called Kushans” and remarks (allegations not yet confirmed elsewhere) on the luxurious lifestyle and promiscuous morals of their women.
This area was at the time dominated by two confederacies of nomadic Iranian tribes. It may be of interest to note that the commander of the Sakā contingent against Alexander at the Battle of Gaugamela was identically named Mauakes (Arrian, 3.8.3) and was most likely a predecessor of Maues as a member of the same longstanding lineage.
In the east, probably centered around the north shore of Lake Issyk Kul, were the group who, in Achaemenid times, had been known as the Sakā Haumavargā (Haoma-consuming Scythians; inscription DSe 24-25). The Yuezhi/Tochari continued to establish their domination north of the Oxus (Āmu Daryā) River, and the second Sakā confederacy were driven southwards, towards the frontier of the Greco-Bactrian kingdom.
The succeeding king, Artabanus II, led an expedition against them, but died (124/3 BCE) from a wound in the arm, perhaps from an arrow (Bivar, 1983a, pp. Here remarkable sculptures depict the Tochari princes, with bobbed hair, and slanting eyes of East Asian type, possible evidence of dynastic intermarriage with Chinese princesses sent to their rulers to seal alliances of their nations against the Xiong-nu.
Friezes illustrate battle scenes in which the Tochari are depicted as horse-archers, defeating Sakā cavalry armed with lances and scale-armor.
One group of these, written in a form of the Indian Brāhmi alphabet, presented unique features. There is considerable evidence for two dialects of this type, sometimes known as Agnean and Kuchean, or more generally, for reasons which will become clear, as Tocharian A and B.
All these sites lie along the northern and eastern sides of the Tarim basin.
174 BCE), the rising chief (, and their chieftain was killed.