Page:A Brief History of the Indian Peoples.djvu/94

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[9°] CHAPTER VII. The Scythic Inroads, from about 100 B.C. to 500 A.D. The Scythians in Central Asia. — The Greek or Bactrian expeditions into India ended more than a century before Christ ; but a new set of invaders soon began to pour into India from the north. These came from Central Asia, and, for want of a more exact name, have been called the Scythians. They belonged to many tribes, and they form a connecting link between Indian and Chinese history. As the Aryan .race in the west of Asia had, perhaps 3000 years before Christ, sent off branches to Europe on the one hand, and to India on the other ; so the Scythians, who dwelt to the east of the old Aryan camping-ground in Asia, swarmed forth into India and to China. These Scyihic inroads went on during a great period of time. Buddha himself is said by some to have been a Scythian. But they took place in very great force during the century preceding the birth of Christ. They were the forerunners of a long series of inroads which devastated Northern India more than a thousand years later, under such leaders as Changfz Khan and Timur, and which in the end founded the Mughal empire. Scythie Kingdoms in Northern India. — About the year 126 B.C., the Tartar or Scythian tribe of Su are said to have driven out the Greek dynasty from the Bactrian kingdom, on the north-west of the Himalayas. Soon afterwards the Scythians rushed through the Himalayan passes and conquered the Greco-Bactrian settlements in the Punjab. About the beginning of the Christian era, they had founded a strong monarchy in Northern India and in the countries just beyond. Their most famous king was Kanishka, who summoned the Fourth Buddhist Council about 40 a.d. King Kanishka held his court