The Conquest of Bactria, Sacae, Hyrcania, Parthia, Chorasmia, Sogdiana, Aria (or Herat), Drangiana, Arachosia, Sattagydia, and Gandaria.



Location of Bactria


Babylon had not ventured upon any move after having learned the news of the fall of Sardis, but the Bactrians and the Sakæ

( Scythians ) had been in open revolt during the whole of the year that he had been detained in the extreme west, and a still longer absence might risk the loss of his prestige in Media, and even in Persia itself.


 Map of Persian Empire circa 500 B.C showing eastern provinces .

Click to enlarge .


There is good reason to believe that, up to the date of Cyrus, it had maintained its independence, or at any rate that it had been untouched by the great monarchies which for above seven hundred years had borne sway in the western parts of Asia. Its people were of the Iranic stock, and retained in their remote and somewhat savage country the simple and primitive habits of the race. Though their arms were of indifferent character, they were among the best soldiers to be found in the East, and always showed themselves a formidable enemy. On the conquest of Bactria followed, we may be tolerably sure, an attack upon the Sacae.



 Culture of Ancient Bactria



Bactria is the latinization of the word Pakhtar. Bactria is also known as Bakhlo or Pakhto in the Bactrian language which is a forerunner of modern day Pakhto/Pashto. The word is Bakhdi or Pakhti in the Zend Avesta which describes it as a land south of the Oxus, west of the Rigvedic Rivers (7 rivers) i.e the panjab, east of Aria I.e herat and north of Arachosia I.e Quetta-pishin. It is today bisected between Pakistan & Aghanistan and ancient inscriptions of the language are today found in both countries.


Sacae or Saka Warrior  500 B.C.


This people, who must certainly have bordered on the Bactrians, dwelt probably either on the Pamir Steppe . In race they were probably Tatars or Turanians, and their descendants or their congeners are to be seen in the modern inhabitants of these regions. According to the Greek historian Ctesias, their women took the field in almost equal numbers with their men; and the mixed army which resisted Cyrus amounted, including both sexes, to half a million. The king who commanded them was a certain Amorges, who was married to a wife called Sparethra. In an engagement with the Persians he fell into the enemy's hands, whereupon Sparethra put herself at the head of the Sacan forces, defeated Cyrus, and took so many prisoners of importance that the Persian monarch was glad to release Amorges in exchange for them. The Sacae, however, notwithstanding this success, were reduced, and became subjects and tributaries of Persia. Among other countries subdued by Cyrus in this neighborhood, probably about the same period, may be named Hyrcania, Parthia, Chorasmia, Sogdiana, Aria (or Herat), Arachosia, Sattagydia, and Drangiana. The brief epitome which we possess of Ctesias omits to make any mention of these minor conquests, while Herodotus sums them all up in a single line;


Ancient Greek State in Afghanistan

The conquest of the vast tract lying between the Caspian and the Indus, inhabited (as it was) by a numerous, valiant, and freedom-loving population, may well have occupied Cyrus for thirteen or fourteen years. Alexander the Great spent in the reduction of this region, after the inhabitants had in a great measure lost their warlike qualities, as much as five years, or half the time occupied by his whole series of conquests. Cyrus could not have ventured on prosecuting his enterprises, as did the Macedonian prince, continuously and without interruption, marching straight from one country to another without once revisiting his capital. He must from time to time have returned to Ecbatana or Pasargadae; and it is on the whole most probable that, like the Assyrian monarchs, he marched out from home on a fresh expedition almost every year. Thus it need cause us no surprise that fourteen years were consumed in the subjugation of the tribes and nations beyond the Iranic desert to the north and the north-east, and that it was not till B.C. 539, when he was nearly sixty years of age, that the Persian monarch felt himself free to turn his attention to the great kingdom of the south.






 Cyrus conquers Lydia


 Cyrus conquers Babylon