Apraca

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Silver coin of the Apracaraja Vijayamitra in the name of Azes II. Buddhist triratna symbol in the left field on the reverse.
Coin of the Apracaraja Aspavarma (reverse), featuring the Greek goddess Athena.

The Apracas (also known as Avacas) were an Eastern Iranic people and Scythian ruling dynasty of Western Pakistan. The Apraca capital, known as Apracapura (also Avacapura), was located in Bajaur, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan. Apraca rule of Bajaur existed from the 1st century BCE to the 1st century CE. Its rulers formed the dynasty which is referred to as the Apracaras. Apracan territory was the stronghold of the warlike Aspasioi tribe of Arrian, recorded in Vedic Sanskrit texts as Ashvakas. The Apracas are known in history for having offered a stubborn resistance to the Macedonian invader, Alexander the Great in 326 BCE. Sometime during the course of their history, the Apracas, (unlike their Parata vassals in Balochistan abandoned their Iranic religious practices and are known to have embraced Buddhism).

A recently discovered inscription in Kharoshthi on a Buddhist reliquary gives a relationship between several eras of the period and mentions several Apraca rulers:

"In the twenty-seventh year in the reign of Lord Vijayamitra, the King of the Apraca; in the seventy-third year which is called of Azes, in the two hundred and first - 201 - year of the Yonas (Greeks), on the eighth day of the month of Sravana; on this day was established [this] stupa by Rukhana, the wife of the King of Apraca, [and] by Vijayamitra, the king of Apraca, [and] by Indravarma (Indravasu), the commander (stratega), [together] with their wives and sons."[1][2]

This inscription would date to c. 15 CE, according to the new dating for the Azes era which places its inception c. 47 BCE.[3] The rulers seem to have been related to Kharaostes,[citation needed] which if true, would also certainly connect Apraca with Kamuia (q.v) or Kambojika (Kamboja) lineage. Kamuia (q.v) is a Kharosthised form of Kambojika (q.v) which is same as Kamboja of Sanskrit or Pali texts. The Apraca rulers seem to have adopted honorific Vedic-Buddhist titles over their own Eastern Iranian names. The last two rulres of the Apraca Dynasty, Aspa and Sasan, seem to have retained their ethnic Eastern Iranian names instead of adopting a Vedic-Buddhist title like their predecessors. Apraca vassals administrating a southerly satrapy founded the Pārata dynasty of Balochistan. Apracan is also attributed as being the word from which the word "Afghan" is derived (the later being the old Persian pronunciation of Apracan).

Dr. Prashant Srivastava, an Indian professor from the University of Lucknow, has recently written a research monograph which aims to highlight the significant role played by the Apraca Dynasty rulers, and has connected the Apraca kings of Pakistan to the Ashvaka clan of Vedic literature.[4] According to Srivastava, the Ashvaka clan was none other than a sub-branch of the greater Kamboja tribe, spread towards the Pamirs.

The Apraca kings are also mentioned in the Bajaur casket.[citation needed]

Apraca Dynastical Rulers and their Queens[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Bopearachchi, O. (December 31, 2005). Afghanistan, ancien carrefour en l'Est et l'Ouest (in French). p. 373. ISBN 2503516815. 
  2. ^ Senior, R.C. (2006). Indo-Scythian coins and history IV. Classical Numismatic Group, Inc. ISBN 0-9709268-6-3. 
  3. ^ Falk; Bennett (2009). Macedonian Intercalary Months and the Era of Azes. 
  4. ^ Srivastava, Prashant (2007). The Apracharajas: A History Based on Coins and Inscriptions. University of Lucknow. ISBN 978-81-7320-074-8. 
  5. ^ a b Saloman, Richard (1996). "An Inscribed Silver Buddhist Reliquary of the Time of King Kharaosta and Prince Indravarman". Journal of the American Oriental Society 116 (3) (University of Washington). p. 418.