Posted on: 2 May 2013

Digital Rare Book:
A Guide to Taxila
By John Hubert Marshall
Published by Superintendent Government Printing, Calcutta - 1918

Book excerpt:

Notwithstanding the power and wealth of Taxila in ancient days, the information we possess regarding its history is singularly meagre, being drawn in the main from the accounts of Greek or Chinese writers, or laboriously pieced together with the help of coins and a few rare inscriptions. The name of the city was Takkasila or Takhasila (in Sanskrit Takshasila), which in Greek and Roman writers was transcribed as Taxila. The foundation of the earliest city goes back to a very remote age. In the Mahabharata it is mentioned in connexion with the great snake sacrifice of King Janamejaya, by whom it had been conquered. Later on about the beginning, that is to say, of the 5th century before our era it was probably Persian Empire, included in the Achaemenid Empire of Persia ; for the inscriptions of Darius at Persepolis and on his tomb at Naksh-i-Rustam make mention of a new Indian satrapy, which was regarded as the richest aud most populous in the Empire and which, being distinct from Aria, Arachosia and Gandaria, may be assumed
to have comprised Sind and a considerable part of the Panjab east of tlie Indus. An interesting relic of Persian influence at Taxila is an inscription in Aramaic characters of the 4th or 5th century B.C., the only Aramaic record that has yet been found in India. That Taxila at this time and during
the centuries immediately following enjoyed a great reputation as a University town, famous for the arts and sciences of the day, is evident from numerous passages in the Buddhist Jatakas ; but, apart from this fact, virtually nothing is known of its history prior to the invasion of Alexander the Great. That Alexander the monarch descended on the Panjab and received the submission of Taxila in the spring of 326 B.C., halting there for some weeks preparatory to his attack on Porus. From the extant accounts of Alexander's expedition, based on the writings of his own companions or contemporaries, we learn that the city was then very wealthy, populous and well governed, and that its territories extended from the Indus to the Hydaspes. We learn, too, that polygamy and the practice of satl were in vogue ; that girls too poor to be wedded were exposed for sale in the market place ; and that the bodies of the dead were thrown to the vultures. At the time of Alexander's invasion, the reigning king Ambhi, known to the Greeks as
Omphis or Taxiles, was at war not only with the powerful kingdom of Porus, on the further side of the Jihlam, but with the neighbouring Hill State of Abhisara, and it was no doubt in the hope of securing Alexander's help against these foes that he sent an embassy to wait upon the Macedonian at Und (Udabhanda) and led out his troops in person from Taxila, in order to place them at the service of the conqueror, afterwards entertaining him with lavish hospitality at the capital and providing a contingent of five thousand men for the expedition against Porus. In return for these and other friendly acts Ambhi was confirmed in the possession of his own territories and rewarded by the accession of new ones, while his position was further strengthened by a reconciliation with Porus.

Read Book Online:

 View Post on Facebook

Comments from Facebook

A very important site for Vedic and Buddhist learning. Came into prominence during the reign of Kanishka, but some historians do not consider Takshila as a university (why ?). I believe, the Arthashastra was written here by Chanakya. Other than being a noted centre of learning, it was also a major cultural and trading centre, located at the crossroads of three ancient routes.

Lovely book with some great illustrations and maps too.

May the people of Pakistan treasure Taxilla with their hearts & souls. It is a great heritage of a great time in human history!

cornell university library own one original copy. I got from them a photocopy book.It is about Buddhist Taxila city.