Wednesday, September 03, 2003

Afghan History

IWPR has a story up about the recovery of Afghan artifacts after the Taliban. As a historian, this is definitely an issue I care about. A lot of people don't realize just how magnificient the history of Central Asia really is. This area was considered almost an inland mirror of the Indian Ocean, with the Silk Road carrying trade between east and west for millenia. My last ever seminar paper was on Buddhism in Afghanistan, and gave me the chance to explore the Kushan Empire, which reached its height at the same time as Imperial Rome and Han China. This position also made the region a crossroads between different worlds: Alexander the Great founded several Afghan cities (Herat and Qandahar, I believe), and for awhile there was a Greek-speaking kingdom there called Rob which we still know little about. When I read about the Umayyad dynasty and they mention the booty won in different conquests, the amounts from the eastern from are incredible. If Afghan history is again brought before the world, we'll all have a better sense of our common human heritage in this land where so many have trod.


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