Attila in Germany and Spitamenes in Samarkand

   According to Scythian accounts of their origin, as narrated by Herodotus in 482 BC, they sprang from Hercules. The connection of Hercules (Har -cul-es, [Hari = the tribe of Hari, Cula = ancestry, Is = God] the god of Hariculas) with Baldeva (god of strength), the club or plough wielding brother of Lord Krishna of Indian epic Mahabharata, has been hinted at by Col. Tod in his Annals and Antiquities of Rajasthan. Apart from it, many Scythian tribes, inhabiting the vast areas near Caspian Sea and regarded by ancient Indians as their frontier people, had their tribal names etymologically derived Sanskrit language.

  Some time before 482 BC, Queen Tomyrus, the leader of one of these Scythian tribes, had given a blood bath to Cyrus of Persia in revenge of murdering her son by deceit, as narrated by Herodotus. In later times, one of these tribes’ leader – Spitamenes – had marauded and mortally terrified the armies of Alexander at Samarkand, forcing the world conqueror to first hasten to Samarkand in aid of his lieutenants and then, being not in a position to subdue the Scythian warriors, retreating back to Baktriain order to resume his march towards Sind.

  These warlike Scythian tribes advanced, in successive waves of their marauding hordes, through Baktria and areas of modern Afghanistan, towards Sind and established their seat of power called Takshak-shila, at the place of modern Taxila (now in Pakistan). Over the time,  these Takshak, or snake-race people, having Chandra, or moon, as their god, further penetrated into the interiors of India and populated the areas from Baluchitan, Sind, Punjab to Gujrat.

  These Takshak people had a warrior king -Jit Salindra. James Tod translates an inscription that refers to this king, which was discovered in 1820 in a temple at Kunwasa, near the Chambal River, south of Kotah. This inscription links Jit people to Takshak race in this way:  “May the Jitha be thy protector! What does this Jith resemble? Which is the vessel of conveyance across the waters of life, which is partly white, partly red? Again, what does it resemble, where the hissing-angered serpents dwell? What may this Jitha be compared to, from whose root the roaring flood descends? Such is the Jitah: by it may thou be preserved  Such is he of SARY A race, a tribe renowned amongst the tribes of the mighty, whose princes were ever foes to treachery, to whom the earth surrendered her fruits, and who added the lands of their foes to their own. By sacrifice, the mind of this lord of men has been purified: fair are his territories, and fair is the FORTRESS OF TAKHYA”

  Tod appends a note to the word ‘Takhya’ thus: “The fortress of Takshak… As I have repeatedly said, the Taks and Jits are one race.”

  Tod refers to one more inscription that relates to Jits and refers to them as Takshak. It was discovered at Ram Chundrapoora, six miles east of Bundi, in digging a well and whence it was conveyed and deposited by Tod in the Museum of the Royal Asiatic Society. It is translated by him thus:”To my foe salutation! This foe of the race of Jit, CATHIDA, how shall I describe, who is resplendent by the favor of the round bosom of RUDRANI, and whose ancestor, the warrior TUKHYA, formed the garland on the neck of Mahadeva. Better than this foe on the earth’s surface, there is none; therefore to him I offer salutation. The sparkling gems on the coronets of kings irradiate the nail of his foot “

  These warlike people not only penetrated into interiors of ancient India but also advanced, as if being a reservoir of un-exhaustible energy, into ever-newer territories now comprised in modem states of Russia, Hungary, Germany, France, Britain, Italy and other parts of ancient Roman Empire. In a chain of brave warriors, these Scythian tribes gave to the world Tomyrus, Spitamenes Attila, Changis Khan and lastly Babar, who founded the Mughal Empire in India. Should we not consider that this blood affinity among the modern descendants of these ancient peoples is sufficient enough to move closer to each other and form a political union in today’s turbulent and unstable world?

  Edward Gibbon, the renowned author of the classical book of history ‘The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire’ says: “The western world was oppressed by the Goths and Vandals, who fled before the Huns, but the achievements of the Huns themselves were not adequate to their power and prosperity. Their victorious hordes had spread from the Volga to the Danube; The Scythian conquerors, Attila and Zingis (Jenghiss Khan), surpassed their rude countrymen in art rather than in courage; and it may be observed that the monarchies, both of the Huns and of the Moguls (Mongols), were erected by their founders on the basis of popular superstition…”

  He further says:  “If a line of separation were drawn between the civilized and the savage climates of the blob; between the inhabitants of cities, who cultivated the earth, and the hunters and shepherds, who dwelt in tents; Attila might aspire to the title of supreme and sole monarch of the Barbarians. He alone, among the conquerors of ancient and modern times, united the two mighty kingdoms of Germany and Scythia; and those vague appellations, when they are applied to his reign, may be understood with ample latitude.Thuringia, which stretched beyond its actual limits as far as the Danube, was in the number of his provinces; he interposed, with the weight of a powerful neighbor, in the domestic affairs of the Franks; and one of his lieutenants chastised, and almost exterminated, the Burgundians of the Rhine.

  “He subdued the islands of the ocean, the kingdoms of Scandinavia, encompassed and divided by the waters of the Baltic; and the Huns might derive a tribute of firs from that northern region which has been protected from all other conquerors by the severity of the climate and the courage of the natives.. . .. The crowd of vulgar kings, the leaders of so many martial tribes, who served under the standard of Attila, was ranged in the submissive order of guards and domestics round the person of their master. They watched his nod; they trembled at his frown; and, at the first signal of his will, they executed, without murmur or hesitation, his stern and absolute commands. In time of peace, the dependant princes, with their national troops, attended the royal camp in regular succession; but, when Attila collected his military force, he was able to bring into the field an army of five, or according to another account of seven, hundred thousand Barbarians.

  “The ambassadors of the Huns might awaken the attention of Theodosius, by reminding him that they were his neighbors both in Europe and Asia; since they touched the Danube on one hand, and reached, with the other, as far as the Tanais (the Don). In the reign of his father Arcadius, a band of adventurous Huns had ravaged the provinces of the East; from whence they brought away rich spoils and innumerable captives.

  ‘’They advanced, by a secret path, along the shores of Caspian Sea; traversed the snowy mountains of Armenia; passed the Tigris, the Euphrates, and the Halys (river in Asia Minor), recruited their weary cavalry with the generous breed of Cappadocian horses; occupied the hilly country of Cilicia; and disturbed the festal songs and dances of the citizens of Antioch. Egypt trembled at their approach; and the monks and pilgrims of the Holy Land prepared to escape their fury by a speedy embarkation.”

  Gibbon further states: “The entrance of Attila into the royal village was marked by a very singular ceremony. A troop of numerous women came out to meet their hero, and their king. They marched before him, distributed into long and regular files; the intervals between the files were filled by white veils of thin linen, which the women on either side bore aloft in their hands, and which formed a canopy for a chorus of young virgins, who chanted hymns and songs in the Scythian language. The wife of his favorite Onegesius, with a train of female attendants, saluted Attila at the door of her own house, on his way to the palace, and offered, according to the custom of the country, her respectful homage, by entreating him to taste the wine and meat which she had prepared for his reception. As soon as the monarch had graciously accepted her hospitable gift, his domestics lifted a small silver table to a convenient height, as he sat on horseback; and Attila, when he had touched the goblet with his lips, again saluted the wife of Onegesius, and continued his march.

  “During his residence at the seat of empire, his hours were not wasted in the recluse idleness of a seraglio; and the king of the Huns could maintain his superior dignity, without concealing his person from the public view.”

Now, about the Spitamenes’ encounter with Alexander, the Great!

McCrindle translates the description of Alexander expedition into Asia narrated by his historians thus: “The army had no sooner gained the right bank than messengers arrived from two of the leading adherents of Bessos – Spitamenes, the satrap of Sogdioana, and Dataphemes – promising to surrender Bessos, who was already their prisoner, if Alexander would send a small force to their support. The king assented, and sent Ptolemy forward to receive the traitor from their hands. They gave him up, and he was conducted with a rope round his neck into the presence of the king, who ordered him to be scourged and then conveyed to Zariaspa (which some identify with Baktria), there to await his final doom.

  ‘’The army next marched forward to Markanda, now Samarkand, then merely the capital of the Sogdin satrapy, but destined to be in after times the capital of the vast empire founded by Timoor. It stood in the valley of the Polytimetos (River Kohik), a region of such exuberant fertility and beauty that it figures in Persian poetry as one of the four paradises of the world. Alexander remained for some time in this pleasant neighborhood to remount his cavalry and otherwise recruit his forces. He then advanced to the river Jaxartes, which formed the boundary between the Persian Empire and the barbarous Skythian tribes, and which the Greeks confounded with the Tanais or Don.

  “The country was protected against the inroads of these warlike tribes by a line of fortified towns, of which the largest and strongest, Cyropolis, had been founded, as the name imports, by Cyrus.To curb the Skythians still more effectively, Alexander founded on the banks of the Jaxartes, near where Khojent now stands, still another Alexandria, which the Greeks for distinction’s sake called Eschate, or “the extreme”.  In the midst of this undertaking, he was interrupted by the sudden outbreak of a widespread rebellion instigated by Spitamenes and his confederates. Taking immediate and energetic steps for its suppression, he in a few days recovered the seven towns; and then crossing the Jaxartes, defeated the Skythians, who with a view to aid the insurgents had mustered in great force on its Right Bank.

  “After this victory he received tidings of the first serious disaster that had befallen his arms. He had sent a large force to operate against Spitamenes, who was at the time besieging the Macedonian garrison that held Marakanda. On hearing that this force was approaching, the rebel chief retired down the Polytimetos to Bokhara, and thence to the vast desert that stretches from Sogd to the Sea of Aral. Here he was joined by a large body of Skythian horse-men and thus reinforced turned upon his pursuers, drove them back from the edge of the desert, which they had just entered, into the valley whence they had emerged, and there, amid the woody ravines of the Polytimetos, cut them to pieces almost to a man. Encouraged by this success, he returned to Markanda and renewed the siege of its citadel. But on hearing that Alexander was rapidly returning from the Jaxartes, he retraced his steps towards the desert, and reached it before the enemy overtook him. The course of the pursuit led Alexander to the scene of the late disaster, (where he slaughtered all who fell into his hands).

  “As the year (329 BC) was now drawing to a close, he re-crossed the Oxus and returned to Zaiaspa (Baktria?), where he spent the winter…

   “Spitamenes, meanwhile, assisted by  the  Massagetae,  one  of  the Skythian tribes that ranged over the Khorasmian desert, made a devastating irruption into Baktria, and though he was in the end repulsed by Krateros, escaped into the deserted beyond the reach of pursuit. Fearing he might renew his attack. in some other quarter, Alexander hastened to Markanda to settle the province and provide for its security against further hostile incursions.

  ‘’As Spitamenes was supposed to be in the desert, not far off, he left Kolnos in that part of the country with order to capture that audacious rebel, while he himself withdrew to Nautaka, where he intended to pass the winter. This place was situated in a fertile oasis between Samarkand and the Oxus, noted afterwards as the birthplace of Timoor. Spitamenes, meanwhile, attacked Koinos, but was defeated after a sever struggle, and driven back into the desert. His Skythian confederates, fearing their own country might be invaded, cut off his head and sent it to Alexander; and so perished the most active, bold, and persevering antagonist that he had as yet encountered in Asia, one of the few resolutely and to the last scorned to bend his neck to a foreign yoke.”

  The great conqueror of the ancient world – Alexander – is considered a model of bravery, military planning and civilized behavior unparalleled in ancient world. If judged by the extent of territories conquered with the strength of arms, and the military planning to secure these conquests, Attila had far surpassed Alexander. European historians judge him uncivilized barbarian, by the ancient Roman standards. He was a plain in behavior and simple at heart, which is attested by the testimony of two Romans whose embassy attended Attila’s traveling palace. Attila was not only unpretentious in his kingly state but he also let go free the Roman who had planned to assassinate him in conspiracy with king’s eunuch. Simplicity of heart is a great virtue and the foundation of eastern wisdom.

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