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Middle Kingdoms India

The Pahlavas

by Abhijit Rajadhyaksha, 2 August 2009

The expansion of the Kushans was checked by the Indo-Parthians, or Pahlavas, who had their origins in Persia.

Gondophares was a vassal of the Parthian Arsacids, and it was he who declared his independence from them and ventured eastwards to establish his own kingdom in present day Afghanistan, Pakistan and northern India.

It is said that St Thomas, the disciple of Christ, arrived in the court of Gondophares and later found his way to southern India.

Gondophores' kingdom lasted for barely a century and northern India was recaptured by the Kushans around AD 75.

Afterwards, the Indo-Parthian kingdom was restricted so that it only stretched as far west as Afghanistan.

While the last king with any real power was Pacores (AD 100-135), there was one more Parthian king who ruled in diminished circumstances, until the Indo-Parthians were finally conquered by the Kushans.

The main Indo-Parthian rulers were as follows:

  • Gondophares I (c.AD 20-50)
  • Abdagases I (c.50-65)
  • Satavastres (c.60)
  • Sarpedones (c.70)
  • Orthagnes (c.70)
  • Ubouzanes (c.77)
  • Sases or Gondophares II (c.85)
  • Abdagases II (c.90)
  • Pacores (c.100)

 

Main Sources

Majumdar, R C - Ancient India, Motilal Banarsidass Publishers Ltd, 1987

Prasad, L - Studies in Indian History, Cosmos Bookhive, Gurgaon, 2000

 

 

     
Text copyright © Abhijit Rajadhyaksha. An original feature for the History Files.