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date: 30 October 2020

Ai Khanoumlocked

  • Susan Mary Sherwin-White


Ai Khanoum, Greek Hellenistic city excavated (1965–78) by the French archaeological delegation in Afghanistan, is situated in the eastern part of *Bactria, at the junction of the river *Oxus (mod. Amu Darya) and a tributary of the left bank, the Kokcha river, at the frontier between Afghanistan and the former Soviet Union. The Greek name of the city is uncertain. It seems to have been built as a fortified frontier town, to guard against the nomadic tribes to the north and the mountain peoples to the east (the Badakhshan range). It was founded, commanding a fertile plain, by the end of the 4th cent. or in the early 3rd cent. bce, in an area where there had been earlier settlement, as indicated by an irrigation system and an Achaemenid fortress. Ai Khanoum passed from Seleucid control to that of the so-called Indo-Bactrian kings, certainly by the reign of *Eucratides (c.


  • Middle Eastern History

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