Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Ancient India and Sasanian Persia

In 320 BCE by the time he was about 20 years old Chandragupta founded the Maurya Empire which covered much of Northern India. He and his even more famous grandson, Ashoka, are pivotal figures in Indian history. Ashoka extended the empire to cover almost all of today's India as well as Pakistan and Bangladesh. After enlarging the empire, Ashoka converted to Buddhism and became non-violent. He is very famous and revered in India today and has been the subject of several movies and TV serials.

Source: Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=36896540
Ashoka's great granddaughter married Demetrius I, King of Bactria. Bactria was an ancient kingdom in the area of today's Afghanistan, northwest of the Maurya Empire and east of the Parthian Kingdom (in Persia). Demetrius invaded northwestern India in 180 BC, following the destruction of the Mauryan dynasty.

Demetrius' granddaughter married Menander Soter (Savior), King of Mathura. Menander was originally a King in Bactria, but enlarged his kingdom eastward across northwest India. Today, the city of Mathura is in Uttar Pradesh, India, the birthplace of Lord Krishna, a major Hindu deity.

The genealogy in Chart #6 covers a rather long time frame and several Kingdoms from India through Persia. The Kushan Empire succeeded Bactria during the first century CE. You will see several Kushana Kings in the center of Chart #6.

The Parthian Empire which existed from about 250 BCE to 225 CE, was founded by Arsaces I, the brother of Tridates I the ultimate ancestor of the Parthians shown in the middle left. Vologaeses' son, Mithridates was installed as King of Armenia by Roman emperor Tiberius, who had invaded Armenia in 35 CE. Mithridates descendant, Tiridates III was the first Christian King of Armenia who ruled 298-330.

The Sasanian Empire was founded by Ardashir I after the fall of the Parthian Empire and existed from 224 to 651. This was the last empire in the area of Persia before the rise of Islam in the seventh century.  This empire is considered one of the most important and influential empires in Iran's history. Yazdegerd III was the 38th and last of the Sasanian Persian Kings. The Muslims first attacked Persia in 633. Two of Yazdegerd's sons fled to China and his daughter, Dara-Izdundad, married Bustanai.  Thus the genealogy continues at the bottom of the chart.

Bustanai, Exiliarch of Babylon, who lived after 600 CE, is a direct male descendant of Zerubbabel, Builder of the Temple from about 1000 years earlier as shown in Chart #2 (earlier blog Descent of Abraham). The long list of Exiliarchs in my database were the leaders of the Diaspora Jewish community in Babylon. The following is an interesting story of Bustanai standing before the Persian King:
The figure of the wasp in the escutcheon of the exilarch was made the subject of another legend. The king had taken delight in the clever boy, and, spending one day with him, saw, as he stood before him, a wasp sting him on the temple. The blood trickled down the boy's face, yet he made no motion to chase the insect away. The king, upon expressing astonishment at this, was told by the youth that in the house of David, of which he had come, they were taught, since they themselves had lost their throne, neither to laugh nor to lift up the hand before a king, but to stand in motionless respect (Sanh. 93b). The king, moved thereby, showered favors upon him, made him an exilarch, and gave him the power to appoint judges of the Jews and the heads of the three academies, Nehardea, Sura, and Pumbedita. In memory of this Bostanai introduced a wasp into the escutcheon of the exilarchate. [en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bostanai]

NOTE: The source for much of this genealogy is the book "Royalty for Commoners" by Roderick W. Stuart. A link to purchase on Amazon is shown below in the book section.

Here are links to some of the key people in my online genealogy database:

Here are some links to help you learn more:

Here are some useful books to read pertaining to the subjects in this blog.

Note: Links to books do not appear in emailed blog posts. They only appear when viewed on the web.

Cumberland Family Software: www.cft-win.com

If you would like to have new blog posts emailed to you as they are posted, email me a note with your email address and I will add you iralund@cft-win.com

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