by Peter Kessler, with additional information by Edward Dawson,
from Epitome of the Philippic History of Pompeius Trogus: Books
11-12, Volume 1, Marcus Junianus Justinus, John Yardley, &
Waldemar Heckel, from The Persian Empire, J M Cook (1983),
from The Histories, Herodotus (Penguin, 1996), and from
External Links: the Ancient History Encyclopaedia (dead
link), and Zoroastrian Heritage, K E Eduljee, and Talessman's
Atlas (World History Maps).)
- 900 BC :
Parsua begin to enter Iran, probably by crossing the Iranian plateau
to the north of the great central deserts (through Hyrcania) but
also by working round to the south of them. Already separated
during their journey, Parsua groups head in two main directions.
In time the northern groups find themselves in the Zagros Mountains
alongside their cousins, the Mannaeans and Medians. They are attested
there during the ninth and eighth centuries but disappear afterwards.
The southern groups, perhaps more numerous, trickle in through
Drangiana and Carmania, towards southern Iran and begin to settle
Located in the Fārs region of Iran, these Parsua come under
the overlordship of their once-powerful western neighbour, the
kingdom of Elam. In the later stages of Persian settlement, Assyria
and Media also claim some control over the region. As Elam's influence
weakens, the Persians begin to assert their own authority in the
region, although they remain subjugated by more powerful neighbours
for quite some time.
the climate-change-induced collapse of indigenous civilisations
and cultures in Iran and Central Asia between about 2200-1700
BC, Indo-Iranian groups gradually migrated southwards to form
two regions - Tūr (yellow) and Ariana (white), with westward
migrants forming the early Parsua kingdom (lime green), and Indo-Aryans
entering India (green)
Medians (possibly) take control of Persia from the weakening Assyrians
who themselves had only recently taken control of the region from
Elam. According to Herodotus, Media governs all of the tribes
of the Iranian steppe. This sudden empire may well include territory
to the east which covers Hyrcania, Parthia, Drangiana, and Carmania.
- 540 BC :
defeat of the Medes opens the floodgates for Cyrus the Great with
a wave of conquests, beginning in the west from 549 BC but focussing
towards the east of the Persians from about 546 BC. Eastern Iran
falls during a more drawn-out campaign between about 546-540 BC,
which may be when Maka is taken (presumed to be the southern coastal
strip of the Arabian Sea). Further eastern regions now fall, namely
Arachosia, Aria, Bactria, Carmania, Chorasmia, Drangiana, Gandhar,
Gedrosia, Hyrcania, Margiana, Parthia, Saka (at least part of
the broad tribal lands of the Sakas), Sogdiana (with Ferghana),
and Thatagush - all added to the empire, although records for
these campaigns are characteristically sparse.
eastern regions now fall, namely Arachosia, Aria, Bactria, Carmania,
Chorasmia, Drangiana, Gandhara, Gedrosia, Hyrcania, Margiana,
Parthia, Saka (at least part of the broad tribal lands of the
Sakas), Sogdiana (with Ferghana), and Thatagush - all added to
the empire, although records for these campaigns are characteristically
Iran's Makran Coast formed the southern edge of the ancient province
of Gedrosia, on what is now the border with south-western Pakistan
Satraps of Karmana (Carmania) :
Conquered by Cyrus the Great, the region of Carmania was added
to the Persian empire. Before that it was the south-easternmost
part of the Median empire. Under the Persians it was formed into
a unit of the larger official satrapy or province known as the
'Central Main Satrapy of Pārsa/Persis' which incorporated
Persis and Ūja. This is presumed to have comprised the central
'Minor Satrapy of Persis' which lay at the heart of the empire
and the 'Minor Satrapy of Karmana'. The latter must have been
of inferior rank, since it is not mentioned in the dahyāva
lists. Instead its general administration may have been handled
from Persis. Carmania's lowly status is confirmed for the time
of Alexander the Great, when the post in Carmania represented
only a first step in the impressive career of Sibyrtius and was
therefore of modest rank.
eastern regions of the new-found empire were ancestral homelands
for the Persians. They formed the Indo-Iranian melting pot from
which the Parsua had migrated west in the first place to reach
Persis. There would have been no language barriers for Cyrus'
forces and few cultural differences. Although details of his conquests
are relatively poor, he seemingly experienced few problems in
uniting the various tribes under his governance. He was the first
to exert any form of imperial control here, although his campaign
may have been driven partially by a desire to recreate the semi-mythical
kingdom of Turan in the land of Tūr, but now under Persian
control. Curiously the Persians had little knowledge of what lay
to the north of their eastern empire, with the result that Alexander
the Great was less well-informed about the region than earlier
Ionian settlers on the Black Sea coast had been.
satrapy comprised roughly the area of the modern provinces of
Kermān and Lorestān in Iran. The capital is likely
to have been on the site of modern Kermān. In Alexander's
time, further governors who were presumably of a lower rank are
mentioned for the province's southern section - which may correspond
to Yutiyā in the Behistun inscription - and for the island
of Oaracta / Qešm. In the west the province bordered Persis. Parthawa
lay to the north, with Zranka and Gedrosia to the east. The frontier
must have been marked by Lake Hāmun and the marshy country
of western Sistān (Seistan), and must have run south-south-west
from that point to meet the coast near modern Bandar-e Jāsk.
(Information by Peter Kessler, with additional information from
The Persian Empire, J M Cook (1983), from The Histories,
Herodotus (Penguin, 1996), from Consumed before the King: The
Table of Darius, that of Irdabama and Irtaštuna, and that of his
Satrap, Karkiš, Wouter F M Henkelman (via Academia.edu), and
from External Links: The Achaemenid Court, Bruno Jacobs
& Robert Rollinger (PDF), and Encyclopaedia Iranica.)
- 540 BC :
During his campaigns in the east, Cyrus the Great initially takes
the northern route from Persis towards Bakhtrish to reassure or
subdue the provinces. This route probably involves the 'militaris
via' by Rhagai to Parthawa. At some point he takes the more difficult
southern route, destroying Capisa along the way (possibly Kapisa
on the Koh Daman plain to the north of Kabul - which is possibly
also the Kapishakanish named at Behistun as a fortress in Harahuwatish).
the Great freed the Indo-Iranian Parsua people from Median domination
to establish a nation that is recognisable to this day, and an
empire that provided the basis for the vast territories that were
later ruled by Alexander the Great
On a fresh leg of the campaign, Cyrus enters the Dasht-i-Lut desert
(the modern Dasht-e Loot) on the eastern route out of Karmana
towards Harahuwatish. His army faces crippling loses but for the
assistance provided by the Ariaspae on the River Helmand. They
are named 'the Benefactors' (Greek 'Euergetai') by Cyrus in thanks.
This route appears to have been poorly reconnoitred, hinting at
a lack of Persian knowledge of this region (and therefore a lack
of preceding Median occupation if the existence of its eastern
empire is to be believed).
- ? BC :
/ Nabűna'id / Nabo-Naid : Satrap of Karmana. Former Neo-Babylonian
Nabonidus, king of Babylonia, angers his subjects by trying to
reintroduce Assyrian culture, including placing the moon god Sin
above Babylon's Marduk in terms of importance. Perhaps because
of that, resistance to Cyrus the Great of Persia, when he enters
Babylonia from the east, is limited to just one major battle,
near the confluence of the Diyala and Tigris rivers. On 12/13
October (sources vary), Babylon is occupied by Cyrus. According
to the Greek writer, Berossus (author of the Babyloniaka
(The Babylonian History), now lost but quoted by later
writers), Nabonidus is granted a residency in Karmana (to the
east of Persis) as its satrap.
- 515 BC :
ruler Darius embarks on a military campaign into the lands east
of the empire. He marches through Haraiva and Bakhtrish, and then
to Gadara and Taxila. By 515 BC he is conquering lands around
the Indus Valley to incorporate into the new satrapy of Hindush
before returning via Harahuwatish and Zranka. Presumably from
there he also passes through neighbouring Carmania, at least in
part. Along the way the Sakas are largely defeated and conquered,
but probably only along the borders.
River Oxus - also known over the course of many centuries as the
Amu Darya - was used as a demarcation border throughout history
and was also a hub of activity in prehistoric times - but during
this period it flowed right through the heart of the region that
was known as Bactria
c.490s? BC :
/ Karkish : Satrap of Karmana & Gedrosia?
Karkiš is mentioned in the Persepolis Fortification Archive
or tablets, where he is enjoying a feast with Darius the Great.
The date is unknown, so the latter end of Darius' reign has been
used here to allow time for Nabonidus to relinquish his own hold
over the position as satrap of Karmana. Karkiš is not actually
named as satrap, but he is clearly in charge in Karmana. As previously,
Karmana is a minor post but now, rather than falling under the
administrative eye of Persis, it falls under the authority of
Gedrosia, and Karkiš holds both posts. It seems possible that
Karmana is separated as a satrapy in its own right by the time
of Artaxerxes II (404-359 BC).
Artaxerxes II is occupied fighting the 'revolt of the satraps'
in the western part of the empire. Nothing is known of events
in the eastern half of the Persian empire at this time, but no
word of unrest is mentioned by Greek writers, however briefly.
Given the newsworthiness for Greeks of any rebellion against the
Persian king, this should be enough to show that the east remains
solidly behind the king. It seems that all of the empire's troubles
hinge on the Greeks during this period.
- 329 BC :
: Satrap of Karmana. Retained under Greek rule.
- 331 BC
334 BC Alexander of Macedon launches his campaign into the Persian
empire by crossing the Dardanelles. The first battle is fought
on the River Graneikos (Granicus), eighty kilometres to the east.
The Persians are defeated, forcing Satrap Arsites of Daskyleion
to commit suicide. Sparda surrenders but Karkâ's satrap
holds out in the fortress of Halicarnassus with the Persian General
Memnon. The fortress is blockaded and Alexander moves on to fight
the Lykian mountain folk during the winter when they cannot take
refuge in those mountains.
campaigning season of 333 BC sees Darius III and Alexander miss
each other on the plain of Cilicia and instead fight the Battle
of Issos on the coast. Darius flees when the battle's outcome
hangs in the balance, gifting the Greeks Khilakku and Katpatuka,
although pockets of Persian resistance remain in parts of Anatolia.
Armina is bypassed during the next move by Alexander, suggesting
that it has already capitulated.
proceeds into Syria during 333-332 BC to receive the submission
of Ebir-nari, which also gains him Harran, Judah, and Phoenicia
(principally Byblos and Sidon, with Tyre holding out until it
can be taken by force). Athura, Gaza, and Egypt also capitulate
(not without a struggle in Gaza's case). By 331 BC he is ready
for the expected confrontation with Darius III in the heartland
of Persian territory, which he also wins. Greek forces sweep eastwards
across the empire.
the Great crossed the River Graneikos (or Granicus) in 334 BC
to spark a direct face-off with the Persians that had been brewing
for generations, and his victory in battle near the river sent
shockwaves through the Persian empire
- 328 BC :
In 330 BC distant Sogdiana becomes part of the Greek empire despite
the efforts of Bessus, self-styled 'king of Asia', to retain at
least some of the Persian territories. His claim is legal, since
Bakhtrish is traditionally commanded by the next-in-line to the
throne, but Persia has already been lost and his loose collection
of eastern allies provides nothing more than a sideshow to the
main event - the fall of Achaemenid Persia. Still, it takes Alexander
the Great two more years to fully conquer the region.
Dynasty in Carmania :
The Argead were the ruling family and founders of Macedonia who
reached their greatest extent under Alexander the Great and his
two successors before the kingdom broke up into several Hellenic
sections. Following Alexander's conquest of central and eastern
Persia in 331-328 BC, the Greek empire ruled the region until
Alexander's death in 323 BC and the subsequent regency period
which ended in 310 BC. Alexander's successors held no real power,
being mere figureheads for the generals who really held control
of Alexander's empire. Following that latter period and during
the course of several wars, Carmania was left in the hands of
the Seleucid empire from 305 BC.
Carmania was one of the less important satrapies. Under the Persians
it was presumed to have been part of the central main satrapy
of Pārsa or Persis which incorporated Persis and Ūja.
This was seemingly sub-divided into two minor satrapies which
reported to the central satrapy. They consisted of the minor or
lesser satrapy of Persis which lay at the heart of the empire
and the minor satrapy of Karmana. The latter must have been of
inferior rank, since it is not mentioned in the dahyāva
lists. This is confirmed for the time of Alexander the Great,
when the post in Carmania represented a first step in the impressive
career of Sibyrtius and was therefore of modest rank. It was an
untroubled posting which was close to the seat of central control
and could therefore be given to less practiced satraps.
satrapy comprised roughly the area of the modern provinces of
Kermān and Lorestān in Iran. The capital is likely to
have been on the site of modern Kermān (although this city
has its direct origins in a town founded by Ardashir I of the
later Parthian empire). In Alexander's time, further governors
who were presumably of a lower rank are mentioned for the province's
southern section - which may correspond to Yutiyā in the
Behistun inscription - and for the island of Oaracta / Qešm. In
the west the province bordered Persis. Parthia lay to the north,
with Drangiana and Gedrosia to the east. The frontier must have
been marked by Lake Hāmun and the marshy country of western
Sistān (Seistan), and must have run south-south-west from
that point to meet the coast near modern Bandar-e Jāsk.
(Information by Peter Kessler, with additional information from
The Persian Empire, J M Cook (1983), from The Histories,
Herodotus (Penguin, 1996), from Who's Who in the Age of Alexander
the Great: Prosopography of Alexander's Empire, Waldemar Heckel
(Ed), and from External Links: The Achaemenid Court, Bruno
Jacobs & Robert Rollinger (PDF), and Encyclopaedia Iranica.)
- 323 BC :
III the Great : King of Macedonia. Conquered Persia.
- 317 BC :
III Arrhidaeus : Feeble-minded half-brother of Alexander
- 310 BC :
IV of Macedonia : Infant son of Alexander the Great and
- 326 BC :
: Persian satrap of Carmania, retained from Karmana.
army enters western India through the passes of the Hindu Kush,
and a great battle is fought on the Hydaspes against one of the
region's local kings (Porus, of the Northern Indus province).
After a further advance eastwards, the troops rebel against the
prospect of more battles against another great army, that of Magadh,
on the Ganges. Alexander is forced to retreat, abandoning his
hopes of conquering India. While he has been away, Aspastes has
attempted a rebellion in Carmania. Now he meets Alexander in neighbouring
Gedrosia and is promptly executed for his treason.
Darius II dead and Alexander quickly suppressing his eastern regions,
various appointments had to be made so that everyday governance
could continue in those regions, with some governors (satraps)
being retained, some being executed, and some being replaced by
Greeks (Alexander the Great in the Temple of Jerusalem
is an oil on canvas by Sebastiano Conca, completed around 1736),
while above is the route of Alexander's ongoing campaigns across
the ancient world
- 325 BC :
: Satrap of Carmania. Transferred to Arachosia &
is reported to Alexander while he is in Carmania that Abisares,
king of the mountain domain of the same name in the Northern Indus
province, has died, to be succeeded by his son, also known as
Abisares. Alexander confirms Abisares in his position, although
the Greeks are not particularly well placed to do anything other
than this. Their control of the far eastern areas of the Indus
has already faded, leaving Abisares largely independent of them.
Nothing more is known of him or his kingdom.
- 311? BC :
: Satrap of Carmania. Retained after 311 BC or died?
the death of Alexander his two successors are retained as figureheads
while the Greek empire is governed by Alexander's powerful generals.
Perdiccas, the leading cavalry commander, is the first general
to rule, carrying the title 'Regent of Macedonia', first with
Meleager, head of the infantry officers, as his lieutenant, but
alone after he has him murdered. In the first of many rounds of
reorganisation, Tlepolemus is confirmed as satrap of Carmania.
- 320 BC :
First War of the Diadochi (the successors - the generals
of Alexander's army) sees civil war break out between the generals,
and Perdiccas is murdered by his own generals during an invasion
of Egypt. Philip III agrees terms with the murdering generals
and appoints them as regents.
new agreement with Antipater makes him regent of the Greek empire
and commander of the European section. Antigonus remains in charge
of Lycia and Pamphylia, to which is added Lycaonia, Syria and
Canaan, making him commander of the Asian section. Ptolemy retains
Egypt, Lysimachus gains Phrygia and retains Thrace, while the
three murderers of the regent Perdiccas - Seleucus, Peithon, and
Antigenes - are given the former Persian provinces of Babylonia,
Media, and Susiana respectively. Arrhidaeus, the former regent,
receives Hellespontine Phrygia, while Tlepolemus is again confirmed
of Cardia, Macedonian general and one of Alexander the Great's
'successors' between whom a series of wars were fought
- 315 BC :
death of Antipater leads to the Second War of the Diadochi.
He had passed over his son, Cassander, in favour of Polyperchon
as his successor (possibly to avoid claims of dynasticism) but
the two rivals go to war. Polyperchon allies himself to Eumenes
(Alexander's secretary, former satrap of Cappadocia, Mysia, and
Paphlagonia), but is driven from Macedonia by Cassander, and flees
to Epirus with the infant Alexander IV and his mother Roxana.
III is killed by his stepmother, Olympias, in 317 BC who is herself
killed by Cassander the following year. Cassander also captures
Alexander IV and Roxana and installs a governor in Athens, subsuming
its democratic system. Eumenes is defeated in Asia and is murdered
by his own troops, and Seleucus is forced to flee Babylon by Antigonus.
The result is that Cassander controls the European territories
(including Macedonia), while the Empire of Antigonus controls
those in Asia (Asia Minor, centred on Phrygia and extending as
far as Susiana). Polyperchon remains in control of part of the
Peloponnese. Despite siding with the losing side under Eumenes,
Tlepolemus is allowed to remain in Carmania.
- 311 BC :
Third War of the Diadochi results because the Empire of
Antigonus has grown too powerful in the eyes of the other generals
so Antigonus is attacked by Ptolemy (Egypt), Lysimachus (Phrygia
and Thrace), Cassander (Macedonia), and Seleucus (Babylonia).
The latter re-secures Babylon itself, plus Carmania, and the others
conclude peace terms with Antigonus in 311 BC.
Antigonus continues to fight Seleucus for Babylon but he is defeated
in 309 BC and withdraws. At around the same time, Cassander murders
the fourteen year-old Alexander IV and his mother, Roxana, ending
the Argead line of Macedonians. The fate of Tlepolemus after 315
BC seems to be unknown. Given the fact that he had formerly sided
with Eumenes (and therefore Seleucus) it is possible that he is
retained, as long as he is still alive, that is.
- 301 BC :
Fourth War of the Diadochi soon breaks out. In 306 BC Antigonus
proclaims himself king, so the following year the other generals
do the same in their domains. Polyperchon, otherwise quiet in
his stronghold in the Peloponnese, dies in 303 BC and Cassander
claims his territory. The war ends in the death of Antigonus at
the Battle of Ipsus in 301 BC.
Battle of Ipsus in 301 BC ended the drawn-out and destructive
Wars of the Diadochi which decided how Alexander's empire would
and Seleucus divide Antigonus' Asian territories between them,
with Lysimachus receiving western Asia Minor (the Lysimachian
empire, including Pergamum and Phrygia), and Seleucus the rest
(the Seleucidire, including Susania, Babylonia, Bactria, Carmania,
and the Indo-Greek provinces), except Cilicia and Lycia, which
go to Cassander's brother, Pleistarchus, and Pontus, which becomes
independent, and Phrygia itself, which apparently remains with
or is reclaimed by Antigonus' son. Cappadocia is briefly usurped
by Amyntas before Seleucus seizes control and permits the restoration
of the native ruling dynasty there. Ptolemy remains secure in
Hellenic Egypt, Libya, and Palestine.
& Parthian Carmania :
The unexpected death of Alexander in 323 BC changed the situation
dramatically within his vast Greek empire. Immediately his generals
divided the empire between them. Seleucus was able to expand his
holdings with some ruthlessness, building up his stock of Alexander's
far eastern regions as far as the borders of India and the River
Indus (Sindh). Appian's work, The Syrian Wars, provides
a detailed list of these regions, which included Arabia, Arachosia,
Aria, Armenia, Bactria, 'Seleucid' Cappadocia (as it was known)
by 301 BC, Carmania, Cilicia (eventually), Drangiana, Gedrosia,
Hyrcania, Media, Mesopotamia, Paropamisadae, Parthia, Persia,
Sogdiana, and Tapouria (a small satrapy beyond Hyrcania), plus
eastern areas of Phrygia.
Once safely under Seleucid control after the conclusion of the
Wars of the Diadochi, Carmania was governed by Macedonian satraps,
although details about them are woefully lacking. The capital
of Seleucus' new empire was initially at Babylon, the heartland
of the former Achaemenid empire that had preceded it, but like
that empire, this one contained such a mix of peoples and languages
that it was rarely a united entity. Gradual losses of territory
over subsequent years drove the Seleucid heartland westwards.
The capital had to be transferred to Antioch on the Orontes (Syrian
Antioch), which was founded around 300 BC and renamed after one
of the later Seleucid kings. More territory was hived away by
resurgent subject groups or new empires and the Seleucids were
eventually bottled up in Syria, with enemies all around them.
Meanwhile the eastern provinces, Carmania included, tended to
drift into obscurity as western writers lost sight of them. Only
occasional glimpses of events there were recorded, and even some
of these must be subject to some analysis.
(Information by Peter Kessler, with additional information by
David Kelleher, from Epitome of the Philippic History of Pompeius
Trogus: Books 11-12, Volume 1, Marcus Junianus Justinus, John
Yardley, & Waldemar Heckel, from The Parthian and Early
Sasanian Empires: Adaptation and Expansion, Vesta Sarkhosh
Curtis, Michael Alram, Touraj Daryaee, & Elizabeth Pendleton
(Eds), from The History of al-Tabari, Vol 5, The Sasanids,
the Byzantines, the Lakhmids and Yemen, Tabari (CE Bosworth
(Trans)), and from External Links: the Ancient History
Encyclopaedia (dead link), and Encyclopćdia Britannica, and Iran
on Trip (dead link), and Appian's History of Rome: The
Syrian Wars at Livius.org. Where information conflicts regarding
the Indo-Greek territories, Osmund Bopearachchi's Monnaies
Gréco-Bactriennes et Indo-Grecques, Catalogue Raisonné (1991)
has been followed.)
- 303 BC :
two years of war on the far eastern border of his empire while
he attempts a Greek reconquest of India, Strabo records that Seleucus
concedes the Indo-Greek provinces to the ruling Mauryans as part
of an alliance agreement. This includes the regions of Paropamisadae
(immediately to the east of Bactria, covering northern Pakistan
and eastern Afghanistan), Arachosia (modern southern Afghanistan
and northern and central Pakistan, and perhaps extending as far
as the Indus), along with northern Indus (Punjab) and probably
also southern Indus. Subsequent relations between the Seleucid
Greeks and the Mauryans appear to be cordial. Seleucus even appoints
Megasthenes as his ambassador to Chandragupta's court.
Dasht-e Lut salt desert dominates northern Carmania (the modern
eastern Iranian province of Kerman), ranking as one of the hottest
locations on the planet
- 238 BC :
of eastern Iran and the Seleucid satrapy of Parthia are gradually
liberated from Greek rule by tribesmen from the Iranian Plateau.
The founder of the dynasty which assumes the leadership of this
takeover is Arsaces. His Parthian kingdom is pronounced with the
seizure of Asaak (location unknown) in 248/247 BC. By about 238
BC he secures undisputed Parthian independence by attacking and
killing the former Macedonian satrap of Parthia, its recently-self-proclaimed
king, Andragoras. Hyrcania falls almost immediately afterwards.
The Seleucids seem to be able to hold onto the more southerly
provinces, such as Carmania and Gedrosia.
- 217 BC :
Fourth Syrian War involves Antiochus fighting the Egyptian
Ptolemy IV for control of their mutual border. Troops from Carmania
are involved on the Seleucid side. Antiochus recaptures Seleucia
Pieria, Tyre, and other important Phoenician cities and their
Mediterranean ports, but is fought to a draw at Raphia on Syria's
southernmost edge. The subsequent peace treaty sees all the gains
other than Seleucia Pieria relinquished.
- 217 BC :
the Mede : Satrap of Carmania? Commanded troops during
- 217 BC :
the Macedonian : Satrap of Carmania? Commanded troops
during the war.
- 206 BC :
ruler Antiochus III invades Parthia. Its capital, Hecatompylos,
is occupied and Antiochus forces his way into Hyrcania, with the
result that the Parthian king, Arsaces II, is forced to sue for
peace. Buoyed by his successes in the east, Antiochus continues
on to Bactria. This independent former satrapy is now ruled by
Euthydemus Theos after he has deposed the son of the original
ruler. Euthydemus is defeated at the Battle of the Arius but resists
a two-year siege of the fortified capital, Bactra. In 206 BC Antiochus
marches across the Hindu Kush.
kingdom of Bactria (shown in white) was at the height of its power
around 200-180 BC, with fresh conquests being made in the south-east,
encroaching into India just as the Mauryan empire was on the verge
of collapse, while around the northern and eastern borders dwelt
various tribes that would eventually contribute to the downfall
of the Greeks - the Sakas and Greater Yuezhi
return journey proceeds through the Iranian provinces of Arachosia,
Drangiana, and Carmania. Antiochus arrives in Persis in 205 BC
and receives tribute of five hundred talents of silver from the
citizens of Gerrha, a mercantile state on the east coast of the
Persian Gulf. Having re-established a strong Seleucid presence
in the east which includes an array of vassal states, Antiochus
now adopts the ancient Achaemenid title of 'great king', which
the Greeks copy by referring to him as 'Basileus Megas'.
Mithradates the Parthians rise from obscurity to become a major
regional power, although a precise chronology is not possible.
Their first expansion takes the former province of Aria from the
Greco-Bactrian kingdom. It seems possible that Aria (and possibly
a rebellious Drangiana too) had already been conquered once by
the Arsacids, with the Greco-Bactrians recapturing it, probably
under Euthydemus I Theos. During the reign of Eucratides I the
Greco-Bactrians are also engaged in warfare against the people
of Sogdiana, showing that they have lost control of that northern
region too (and by inference Ferghana).
The other eastern provinces, all of which still appear to be in
Seleucid hands, must also fall to the Parthians very quickly after
this - including Carmania, Gedrosia, and Margiana - although firm
evidence to show a specific date appears to be lacking. Another
date which may be valid for these losses is 185 BC, when Seleucus
IV loses eastern Iran to Parthian expansion, but the fact that
the Parthians fail to expand out of their initial conquests until
Mithradates accedes makes this period a more likely one.
successor to Antimachus I of Bactria was Eucratides I, with this
silver tetradrachm being minted in his image at some point during
the twenty-six years or so of his reign
by the Xiongnu, the Greater Yuezhi are forced to evacuate their
lands on the borders of the Chinese kingdom. They begin a migration
westwards that triggers a slow domino effect of barbarian movement.
- 130 BC :
have long been pressing against Bactria's borders. Now, following
their long migration from the borders of the Chinese kingdoms,
the Greater Yuezhi start to invade Bactria from Sogdiana to the
north. Initially, Saka elements who are already in Bactria become
vassals to the Greater Yuezhi.
- 100 BC :
Parthian territory having been harried for years by the Sakas,
King Mithridates II is finally able to take control of the situation.
First he defeats the Greater Yuezhi in Sogdiana in 115 BC, and
then he defeats the Sakas in Parthia and Seistan (in Drangiana)
around 100 BC.
Following their own defeat, the Greater Yuezhi tribes concentrate
on consolidation in Bactria-Tokharistan while the Sakas are diverted
into Indo-Greek Gandhar. The western territories of Aria, Drangiana,
and Margiana would appear to remain Parthian dependencies. Although
Carmania doesn't seem to be mentioned directly, its position between
Drangiana and Persia would make it likely that this too is still
in Parthian hands.
the period between 100-50 BC the Greek kingdom of Bactria had
fallen and the remaining Indo-Greek territories (shown in white)
had been squeezed towards eastern Punjab. India was partially
fragmented, and the once tribal Sakas were coming to the end of
a period of domination of a large swathe of territory in modern
Afghanistan, Pakistan, and north-western India. The dates within
their lands (shown in yellow) show their defeats of the Greeks
that had gained them those lands, but they were very soon to be
overthrown in the north by the Kushans while still battling for
survival against the Satvahans of India
c.210 - 216 :
fractured Parthian empire is breaking down now. With the claim
to rule it already dividing the empire in two on official lines,
other minor kingdoms have already started emerging or will soon
do so. For the moment they probably acknowledge Parthian overlordship
in name, but essentially they are probably all but independent
states in their own right. At least three are known - Carmania
(ruled by a certain Balash), Margiana (ruled by one Ardashir),
and Persis (ruled by one Papak of the Sassanids).
- 210 :
(Vologeses?) : King of Carmania. Defeated by the Sassanids.
Having been all but independent for some time, Carmania is currently
ruled by one Balash. He is sometimes equated with the Parthian
King Vologeses, because Balash or Walash is the New Persian form
of Middle Persian Wardakhsh, which is well known in its Greek
form as Vologeses. However it is a frequently-used name for Arsacid
kings, so there is no guarantee that this is the same Vologeses
as the Parthian king.
subduing two of the five regions of Persis, the Sassanid warlord
Ardashir I now conquers Carmania (Kirman) and removes Balash,
whose ultimate fate is unknown. Ardashir places one of his own
sons in command of the province, another Ardashir, while his own
fight against the Parthians continues.
- 224? :
: Son of Ardashir of the Sassanids. King of Carmania.
Parthian King Artabanus has left it too late to confront Sassanid
expansion within the empire. The Battle of Hormozdgān costs
Artabanus his life, leaving the Sassanids as the most powerful
faction in Iran. It may be this victory which ends Carmania's
brief period as a kingdom and a renewal of its status as a province
with Ardashir son of Ardashir I as its first Sassanid governor.
Governor Ardashir certainly still holds the post at the start
of the reign of Shapur I in AD 241, and Carmania remains a Sassanid
province for the duration of the empire (which lasts into the
640 - 821 :
region is gradually absorbed into the Islamic empire as it takes
Persia. Carmania suffers an invasion in 643 when the marzban
(governor) is killed but is apparently regained by the Sassanids
for a time. It is used as a bolt-hole for escaping Sassanid nobles
in 644 and 650. That last time is barely ahead of a much more
significant Muslim invasion which fully conquers Carmania, killing
the marzban at Behdesīr (founded by Ardashir I, the
modern city of Kerman). At first the city's isolation allowed
Kharijites and Zoroastrians to thrive there, but the Kharijites
are wiped out in 698, and the population is mostly Muslim by 725
(although a minority group of Zoroastrians survives there to this
modern city of Kerman was founded as Behdesīr by the early
Parthian King Ardashir, lying on a sandy plain which is surrounded
by mountains to the north and east
Muslim governors, or emirs, are appointed to control the
Islamic emirate of Khorasan in the name of the caliph. A seemingly
partial occupation of Transoxiana by Tang dynasty China is effected
in 659, but is ended in 665. The Abbasid caliphate's authority
over the region is generally weak, and power eventually passes
in the tenth century to the Buwayid dynasty, which maintains control
even when the region and city falls to Yamin-ud-Dawlah Mahmud
of Ghazna in the early eleventh century. In time, having largely
preserved its territorial borders, Carmania becomes the Kerman
province of modern Iran.