(21) Afghanistan - Antiquities
ANTIQUITIES. We can afford space for only the briefest indication on this subject. The basin of the Kabul river especially abounds in remains of the period when Buddhism flourished, beginning with the Inscribed Rock of Shah-bazgarhi, or Kapur-di-giri, in the Peshawar plain, which bears one of the repliche of the famous edicts of Asoka (not later than B.C. 250). In the Koh-Daman, north of Kabul, are the sites of several ancient cities, the greatest of which, called Beghram, has furnished coins in scores of thousands, and has been supposed to represent Alexanders Nicoea. Nearer Kabul, and especially on the hills some miles south of the city, are numerous topes. In the valley of Jalalabad are many remains of the same character. In the Peshawar plain and on the adjoining heights are numerous ancient cities and walled villages, in many cases presenting ruins of much interest, besides the remains of topes, monasteries, cave temples, &c.; and frequently sculptures have been found on those sites, exhibiting evident traces of the influence of Greek art. The Mahaban mountain, near the Indus, which has been plausibly identified with the Aornos of the Greeks, and the hills more immediately compassing the Peshawar valley, abound in the ruons of very ancient fortresses. At Talash, on the Panikora river, are extensive ruins of massive fortifications; and in swat there are said to be remains of several ancient cities.
In the valley of the Tarnak are the ruins of a great city (Ulan Robat),,supposed to be ancient Arachosia. About Girishk, on the Helmand, are extensive mounds and other traces of buildings; and the remains of several great cities exist in the plain of Seistan, as at Pulki, Peshawaran, and Lakh, relics of ancient Drangiana, as yet unexamined. An ancient stone vessel, preserved in a mosque at Kandahar, is almost certainly the same that was treasured at Peshawar in the 5th century as the begging-pot of Sakya-Muni. Of the city of Ghazni, the vast capital of Mahmud and his race, no substantial relics survive, except the tomb of Mahmud and two remarkable brick minarets.
To the vast and fruitful harvest of coins that has been gathered in Afghanistan and the adjoining regions, we can here but make an allusion.
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Afghanistan - Table of Contents