WE hear of a Vedic poet (VI. 27 8) praising the liberality of the Pârthavas. But what proof is there that these were the ancestors of the Parthians and what evidence that the Parthians had reached the frontiers of India at that early time? Prithu is a familiar name of royal personages in Indian literature and so is Pârtha. Prithu and Prithî occur as names of Vedic Rishis. Why then may not the Pârthavas be simply the people of Prithu? See Taitt. Br. I. 7 7 4; Satap. Br. V. 3 5 4.
Are Parthians Persians and Bactrians Mentioned in the Veda?
The Persians have been suspected behind the name of Parsu and Pârasavya. We read in Rv. VIII. 6 46:
Satám ahám Tiríndire sahásram Pársau ấ dade rấdhâmsi Yấdvânâm.
The poet after praising the greatness of Indra records a gift which he has received for his services and says:
‘I have taken a hundred with Tirindira a thousand with the Parsu presents of the Yâdvas.’
Whether Tirindira and Parsu were the same person seems doubtful though the Indian tradition has evidently taken them in that sense1. But what evidence is here for taking Tirindira Parsu for Tirindira the Persian? A similarity of sound exists no doubt between Tirindira and either Tirabazos (Ludwig) or Tiridates (Weber) but Parsu never occurs elsewhere in the sense of a Persian and in the old names for Persia we never meet with a final u2. It seems difficult on such evidence to bring Persians near the Pangâb about 1000 B.C.3
Another name Balhika which occurs in the Atharva-veda V. 22 9 has been pointed out as possibly showing an acquaintance of the author of that verse with the Bactrians. This name occurs frequently in later Sanskrit works as Bă̂lhĭ̂ka. Now the original name of Bactria is Bâkhtri in the cuneiform inscriptions Bâkhdhi in the Avesta Baktra in Herodotus. It is said that the change to Bâhr and Bahl the latter occurring in Moses of Chorene could not have taken place till about the beginning of the Christian era. This would bring the date of this verse in the Atharva-veda down to a very late date provided always that Balhika is meant for the people of Bactria provided also that the phonetic change can really be fixed chronologically as Professor Nöldeke maintains. Balkh is the form used by Arabic writers for Bactria.
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