Meridarch

Last updated

A meridarch or meridarches (Greek : μεριδάρχης, from meris, "division", and -arches, "ruler") was the civil governor of a province in the Hellenistic world (4th-1st centuries BCE), and could be translated as "Divisional Commissioner". Only three mentions of meridarchs are known from ancient sources, one from Palestine, the two others from the Indo-Greek kingdom in India, one on a vase from Swat, the other on a copper plate from Taxila.

Contents

Judea

Shortly after 153 BCE, Josephus relates, Alexander Balas appointed Jonathan Maccabeus as strategos (general) and meridarch (civil governor of a province) of Judea, and sent him back with honors to Jerusalem (I Macc. x. 51–66; Josephus, "Ant." xiii. 4, § 1).

Indo-Greek kingdom

"Meridarch Theodorus" inscription in Swat relic vase. Meridarch Theodorus inscription in Swat relic vase.jpg
"Meridarch Theodorus" inscription in Swat relic vase.

At the far eastern end of the Hellenistic world, in northern India, an inscription in Kharoshthi has been found on a relic vase Swāt, referring to a "meridarch Theodorus" and his enshrinement of relics of the Buddha:

"Theudorena meridarkhena pratithavida ime sarira sakamunisa bhagavato bahu-jana-stitiye".

"The meridarch Theodorus has enshrined relics of Lord Shakyamuni, for the welfare of the mass of the people"

Swāt relic vase inscription of the Meridarkh Theodoros )
Taxila "meridarch" plate. The plate reads: "By....., the Meridarch, together with his wife. the stupa was established, in honor of (his) mother and father, for the presentation of a respectful offering." Taxila meridarch plate.jpg
Taxila "meridarch" plate. The plate reads: "By....., the Meridarch, together with his wife. the stupa was established, in honor of (his) mother and father, for the presentation of a respectful offering."

Another mention of a Meridarch appears on the Taxila "meridarch" plate. The plate reads:

"By....., the Meridarch, together with his wife. the stupa was established, in honor of (his) mother and father, for the presentation of a respectful offering."

Taxila plate inscription. [2]

Related Research Articles

Greco-Buddhism Cultural syncretism in Central and South Asia in antiquity

Greco-Buddhism, or Graeco-Buddhism, is the cultural syncretism between Hellenistic culture and Buddhism, which developed between the 4th century BCE and the 5th century CE in Bactria and the Indian subcontinent. It was a cultural consequence of a long chain of interactions begun by Greek forays into India from the time of Alexander the Great. The Macedonian satraps were then conquered by the Mauryan Empire, under the reign of Chandragupta Maurya. The Mauryan Emperor Ashoka would convert to Buddhism and spread the religious philosophy throughout his domain, as recorded in the Edicts of Ashoka.

Kharosthi

The Kharosthi script, also spelled Kharoshthi or Kharoṣṭhī was an ancient Indian script used in Gandhara to write Gandhari Prakrit and Sanskrit. It was used in Central Asia as well. An abugida, it was introduced at least by the middle of the 3rd century BCE, possibly during the 4th century BCE, and remained in use until it died out in its homeland around the 3rd century CE.

Kanishka III Kushan emperor

Kanishka III, was a Kushan emperor who reigned for a short period around the year 268 CE. He is believed to have succeeded Vasishka and was succeeded by Vasudeva II. He ruled in areas of Northwestern India.

Indo-Scythians

Indo-Scythians were a group of nomadic Iranian peoples of Saka and Scythian origin who migrated southward into western and northern South Asia from the middle of the 2nd century BC to the 4th century AD.

Edicts of Ashoka Ancient BCE inscriptions

The Edicts of Ashoka are a collection of more than thirty inscriptions on the pillars, as well as boulders and cave walls, attributed to Emperor Ashoka of the Mauryan Empire who reigned from 268 BCE to 232 BCE. Ashoka used the expression Dhaṃma Lipi to describe his own Edicts. These inscriptions were dispersed throughout the areas of modern-day Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Afghanistan and Pakistan, and provide the first tangible evidence of Buddhism. The edicts describe in detail Ashoka's view about dhamma, an earnest attempt to solve some of the problems that a complex society faced. According to the edicts, the extent of Buddhist proselytism during this period reached as far as the Mediterranean, and many Buddhist monuments were created.

Theodamas

Theodamas seems to have been an Indo-Greek ruler in the Bajaur area of Gandhara, in modern Pakistan.

Rajuvula Indo-Scythian king who ruled the Mathura region in northern India (c. 10 CE)

Rajuvula was an Indo-Scythian Great Satrap (Mahakshatrapa), one of the "Northern Satraps" who ruled in the area of Mathura in the northern Indian Subcontinent in the years around 10 CE. The Mathura lion capital was consecrated under the reign of Rajuvula. In central India, the Indo-Scythians had conquered the area of Mathura from Indian kings around 60 BCE. Some of their satraps were Hagamasha and Hagana, who were in turn followed by Rajuvula.

Theodorus was a "meridarch" in the Swat province of the Indo-Greek kingdom in the northern Indian subcontinent, probably sometime between 100 BC and the end of Greek rule in Gandhara in 55 BC.

Mathura lion capital

The Mathura lion capital is an Indo-Scythian sandstone capital from Mathura in Northern India, dated to the first decade of the 1st century CE. It was consecrated under the rule of Rajuvula, one of the Northern Satraps of the region of Mathura.

Kharahostes Indo-Scythian king who ruled in northern India (r. c.10 BCE-c.10 CE)

Kharahostes or Kharaostasa was an Indo-Scythian ruler in the northern Indian subcontinent around 10 BCE – 10 CE. He is known from his coins, often in the name of Azes II, and possibly from an inscription on the Mathura lion capital, although another satrap Kharaostes has been discovered in Mathura.

History of the Indo-Greek Kingdom

The History of the Indo-Greek Kingdom covers a period from the 2nd century BCE to the beginning of the 1st century CE in northern and northwestern India. There were over 30 Indo-Greek kings, often in competition on different territories. Many of them are only known through their coins.

The Taxila copper-plate, also called the Moga inscription or the Patika copper-plate is a notable archaeological artifact found in the area of Taxila, Gandhara, in modern Pakistan. It is now in the collection of the British Museum.

Apracharajas Indo-Scythian dynasty ruling dynasty of Western Pakistan

The Apracharajas were an Indo-Scythian ruling dynasty of western Pakistan. The Apracharaja capital, known as Apracapura, was located in the Bajaur district of the 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 Apracharajas.

Indo-Greek religions

The Indo-Greeks practiced numerous religions during the time they ruled in present-day northwestern India from the 2nd century BCE to the beginning of the 1st century CE. In addition to the worship of the Classical pantheon of the Greek deities found on their coins, the Indo-Greeks were involved with local faiths, particularly with Buddhism, but also with Hinduism and Zoroastrianism.

Indo-Greek art

Indo-Greek art is the art of the Indo-Greeks, who reigned from circa 200 BCE in areas of Bactria and the Indian subcontinent. Initially, between 200 and 145 BCE, they remained in control of Bactria while occupying areas of India, until Bactria was lost to invading nomads. After 145 BCE, Indo-Greek kings ruled exclusively in parts of ancient India, especially in Gandhara and the area of Punjab. The Indo-Greeks had a rich Hellenistic heritage and artistic proficiency as seen with the remains of the city of Ai-Khanoum, which was founded as a Greco-Bactrian city. In India, several Indo-Greeks cities are known such as Sirkap near Taxila, or Barikot, where some Indo-Greek artistic remains have been found, such as stone palettes. Some Buddhist cultural objects related to the Indo-Greeks are known, such as the Shinkot casket. But by far the most important Indo-Greek remains in India are the beautiful and numerous coins of the Indo-Greek kings, considered as some of the most artistically brilliant of Antiquity. Most of the works of art of the Greco-Buddhist art of Gandhara are usually attributed to the direct successors of the Indo-Greeks in India in the 1st century CE, such as the nomadic Indo-Scythians, the Indo-Parthians and, in an already decadent state, the Kushans. Many Gandharan works of art cannot be dated exactly, leaving the exact chronology open to interpretation. With the realization that the Indo-Greeks ruled in India until at least 10-20 CE with the reign of Strato II in the Punjab, the possibility of a direct connection between the Indo-Greeks and Greco-Buddhist art has been reaffirmed recently.

Fateh Jang Tehsil Tehsil in Punjab, Pakistan

Fateh Jang Tehsil is an administrative subdivision (tehsil), of Attock District in the Punjab province of Pakistan lying between 33°10′ and 33°45′ North, and 72°23′ and 73°1′ East. The tehsil is administratively subdivided into 14 Union Councils. A notable Kharosthi inscription is located near the main town of Fateh Jang, which is also the headquarters of the tehsil.

Post-Mauryan coinage of Gandhara

The Post-Mauryan coinage of Gandhara refers to the period of coinage production in Gandhara, following the breakup of the Maurya Empire. When Mauryan central power disappeared, several small independent entities were formed, which started to strike their own coins, defining a period of Post-Mauryan coinage that ends with the rise of the Gupta Empire in the 4th century CE. This phenomenon was particularly precocious and significant in the area of Gandhara in the northwest, and more particularly in the city of Taxila, in modern-day Pakistan.

Aramaic Inscription of Taxila

The Aramaic Inscription of Taxila 'is an inscription on a piece of marble, originally belonging to an octagonal column, discovered by Sir John Marshall in 1915 at Taxila, British India. The inscription is written in Aramaic, probably by the Indian emperor Ashoka around 260 BCE, and often categorized as one of the Minor Rock Edicts. Since Aramaic was the official language of the Achaemenid empire, which disappeared in 330 BCE with the conquests of Alexander the Great, it seems that this inscription was addressed directly to the populations of this ancient empire still present in northwestern India, or to border populations for which Aramaic remained the normal communication language. The inscription is known as KAI 273.

Rock edicts of Khalsi

The Rock edicts of Khalsi, also Kalsi, are a group of an Indian rock inscriptions written by the Indian Emperor Ashoka around 250 BCE. They contains some of the most important of the Edicts of Ashoka. The inscription in Khalsi contains all the Major Rock Edicts, from 1 to 14. They were discovered in Khalsi, a village in Uttarakhand, northern India, by Alexander Cunningham about 1850.

Shinkot casket

The Shinkot casket, also Bajaur reliquary of the reign of Menander, is a Buddhist reliquary from the Bajaur area in Gandhara, thought to mention the reign of the 2nd century BCE Indo-Greek king Menander I. The steatite casket is said to have contained a silver and a gold reliquary at the time of discovery, but they have been lost.

References

  1. Plate I, image 2 of Kharoshthi Inscriptions With The Exception Of Those Of Asoka by Sten Konow, 1929, published in India p.1-6
  2. Plate I, image 2 of Kharoshthi Inscriptions With The Exception Of Those Of Asoka by Sten Konow, 1929, published in India p.1-6