Publisher: Edinburgh University Press (31 July 2018)
Offers a critical examination of Bactria during the Achaemenid and Hellenistic period. For ancient Greeks, Bactria was the end of the civilized world, a land renowned for its agricultural and mineral wealth, fierce warriors, '1,000' cities and its devotion to the Zoroastrian faith. Encompassing parts of Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, ancient Bactria was located on the Silk Road and was an important stepping stone for invaders and migrants on their way to the west. In spite of reinvigorated scholarly interest in the topic, Achaemenid Bactria is almost solely examined in the context of Alexander the Great's campaigns in Western Central Asia. By exploiting a combination of textual, archaeological, numismatic and iconographic evidence, Michael Iliakis redresses this imbalance by examining the impact which Achaemenid and Hellenistic rule had on Bactria and Bactrian identity during the period from ca 546 to ca 135 BCE. Provides the first study of Achaemenid and Hellenistic Bactria concentrating on the longue duree; clarifies the continuity and changes which occurred during the transition of power from one regime to another; sheds new light on the relation of Bactria and the Bactrians with Sodgiana, the Sogdians and the Scythians and includes in depth analysis of the connection between Bactria and the Zoroastrian faith.