Alexandria Prophthasia

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Alexandria Prophthasia also known as Alexandria in Drangiana was one of the seventy-plus cities founded or renamed by Alexander the Great.[1]
The town was founded by Alexander the Great during an intermediate stop between Herat, the location of another of Alexander's fortresses, and Kandahar.[2][3] and is mentioned by Strabo,[4] Pliny,[5] Ammianus Marcellinus,[6] Isidore of Charax[7] and Pseudo-Plutarch[8] Alexander the Great, arrived in Drangiana in November 330BC on his way to Kandahar, and found a well-organized province of the Achaemenid empire.[9][10] Alexander appointed a new satrap, Arsames, and renamed the capital city as Prophthasia, (Anticipation), because Alexander had here discovered a conspiracy against his life, organized by his companion Philotas.

The Citadel of Alexander the Great in Farah, Afghanistan

The location of Prophthasia is currently unknown. Orthodox opinion is that Prophthasia was at Farah (also known as Phra)[11] and that the citadel of Farah holds the remains of his fortress. However, taking distances given in Pliny,[12] Eratosthenes and Strabo,[13] Tarn believes Farah is too close to the city of Herat and the city was actually at nearby Zaranj. Others feel it was located at Nād-e 'Alī.[14]

Mercator Map (1578) plate IX showing three of Alexanders foundations.

The 1578 world map which Mercator constructed from Ptolemy's map shows the city some distance to the north of the Zaranji lakes. Similarly the 13th century copy of the 4th century Peutinger Map shows Zaranj and Prophthasia as distinct locations.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Edward James Rapson, The Cambridge History of India, Volume 1. 1955 Cambridge University Press. Page 380
  2. ^ Caii Plinii secundi Naturalis historiae libri XXXVII interpretatione et notis illustravit Joannes Harduinus in usum Delphini Jean Hardouin, Pline l'Ancien, Hardouin page 698.
  3. ^ Ralph Griffiths, George Edward Griffiths The Monthly Review May 1749-Sept. 1803 Page 514
  4. ^ Strabo, 11.8 & 15.2.
  5. ^ Pliny Naturalis Historia 6.61
  6. ^ Ammianus Marcellinus 13.6.
  7. ^ Isidore of Charax, Parthian Stations (Itinerarium) 17.
  8. ^ Pseudo-Plutarch De Alex.
  9. ^ Caii Plinii secundi Naturalis historiae libri XXXVII interpretatione et notis illustravit Joannes Harduinus in usum Delphini Jean Hardouin, Pline l'Ancien, Hardouin page 698.
  10. ^ Ralph Griffiths, George Edward Griffiths The Monthly Review May 1749-Sept. 1803 Page 514
  11. ^ Isidore of Charax, The Parthian Stations 17.
  12. ^ Pliny XI 61.
  13. ^ Strabo XI 514.
  14. ^ Alexandria at Encyclopedia Iranica.com.