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Old August 14th, 2014, 10:19 AM   #1
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The Kambojas


Hello folks,i opened this thread to discuss about an ancient tribe known as the Kambojas.I have seen many sources claiming Kambojas are an Iranic tribe,However,according to Panini,Kambojas were a Kshatriya tribe Kambojas of Panini | KambojSociety.com
Arthashastra also attests the same Kambojas in Indian literature - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

There was also a Vedic sage named Kamboja Aupamnyava who is mentioned in the Vamsha Brahmana [ame=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aupamanyava]Aupamanyava - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia[/ame]

He was an early grammarian as well,probably he lived much earlier than Yaska (according to SC,Yaska lived during 800-700 BCE)because Yaska quotes him.


Kambojas are also associated with the Gandharas,which would probably mean they were located in far north-western south Asia.However,in later literature,Kambojas are mentioned along with Yavanas(Greeks).Ashoka's edicts also groups Kambojas with Yavanas.


In the later Sanskrit texts such as Manusmriti,Kambojas are mlecchas and are grouped along with other mlecchas like Sakas and Yavanas.


My question is,why is it so?I mean,the Vamsha Brahmana,Panini,Kautilya etc claims Kambojas are part of Vedic community.But from the Buddhist sources and Ashokan edicts,Kambojas are increasingly associated with the foreigners.And by the time of Manusmriti,they are pure mlecchas.What was the reason for their degradation?

Also,AFAIK none of the Iranian texts mentions the Kambojas.However,two of the Iranian kings held the name Kambujiya(Cambyses I & II).Would they be associated with the Indic Kambojas?



Happy Independence day to all the Indian readers btw !
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Old August 14th, 2014, 11:51 AM   #2

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Hello folks,i opened this thread to discuss about an ancient tribe known as the Kambojas.I have seen many sources claiming Kambojas are an Iranic tribe,However,according to Panini,Kambojas were a Kshatriya tribe Kambojas of Panini | KambojSociety.com
Arthashastra also attests the same Kambojas in Indian literature - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

There was also a Vedic sage named Kamboja Aupamnyava who is mentioned in the Vamsha Brahmana Aupamanyava - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

He was an early grammarian as well,probably he lived much earlier than Yaska (according to SC,Yaska lived during 800-700 BCE)because Yaska quotes him.


Kambojas are also associated with the Gandharas,which would probably mean they were located in far north-western south Asia.However,in later literature,Kambojas are mentioned along with Yavanas(Greeks).Ashoka's edicts also groups Kambojas with Yavanas.


In the later Sanskrit texts such as Manusmriti,Kambojas are mlecchas and are grouped along with other mlecchas like Sakas and Yavanas.


My question is,why is it so?I mean,the Vamsha Brahmana,Panini,Kautilya etc claims Kambojas are part of Vedic community.But from the Buddhist sources and Ashokan edicts,Kambojas are increasingly associated with the foreigners.And by the time of Manusmriti,they are pure mlecchas.What was the reason for their degradation?

Also,AFAIK none of the Iranian texts mentions the Kambojas.However,two of the Iranian kings held the name Kambujiya(Cambyses I & II).Would they be associated with the Indic Kambojas?



Happy Independence day to all the Indian readers btw !
the kambojas were most likely of iranian origin because they were considered as mlecchas by indo-aryans and they were associated with the Sakas.But they were also heavily indo-aryanized and adopted indian customs

Quote:
The overwhelming majority (forty-eight out of fifty-six) reflect another Iranian language, different from Old Persian. On the testimony of Yaska, this Iranian language can beascribed to the Kambojas living in the neighbourhood of Gandhara. In Sanskrit and Pali
literature, the Kambojas were one of the sixteen great peoples of Indian geography. They killed worms, insects, moths, snakes and frogs and thought that they acquired religious merit by this activity. This clearly characterized them as Zoroastrians. They were ruled by kings and became famous for their horse-breeding. Kautilya mentions the Kamboja horse
as one of the best breeds for war and speaks of the Kambojas’ military organization and their warlike way of life. All elements of this description concerning the Kambojas fit excellently the ancient Bactrians.

UNESCO Collection of History of Civilizations of Central Asia : Volume II p.394

Most kamboja settled in the region between kabul and kandahar but also in kashmir and tajikistan.The core region was probably in the kabul valley.Kamboja in afghanistan and central asia remained iranian in culture and language but the kambojas who migrated to india were assimilated into the indo-aryan culture.The kambojas were described as skilled horsemen and it seems that they were originally nomadic.They had also not a strict caste sytem like indians and there existed only two classes of people among them: aryas and dasas
Quote:
The Majjhima Nikaya attests that in the lands of Yavanas, Kambojas and some other frontier nations, there were only two classes of people...Aryas and Dasas...the masters and slaves. The Arya could become Dasa and vice versa
Interestingly some hydronyms and toponyms in the trans-caucasian region are related to the name of kambojas and it is possibly that some kambojas migrated to there.

A sub tribe of the kambojas were the Asvakas(horsemen) or asvaka and kamboja were different names for the same people,the modern ethnoynm afghan derives very likely from Asvaka

Last edited by Viraspa; August 14th, 2014 at 11:58 AM.
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Old August 14th, 2014, 11:58 AM   #3
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Old August 14th, 2014, 11:58 AM   #4

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H. W. Bailey analyzes the name Kamboja as Kam-bauja- or Kan-bauja- and focuses on the second part -bauja. This should be the form belonging to the three Iranian roots *Baug-: (1) "to bend", (2) "to free, loose, deliver, save", (3) "to possess, be lord, rule". The same root appears as bhuj "use, possess; rule, govern". The first part of the compound would then be kam, which Bailey interprets as Avestan kan "to long, want", related to Sanskrit kama "desire, lust". The Old Indian lexeme occurs in compounds where it means "at will" i.e. Kama-krta, kama-cara, Kama-vritti. Avestan has vaso-xsathro, "ruling at will". Bailey's interpretation for Kambujiya or Kamboja is "king ruling at will" or ultimately, "king at will".[3]

Another interpretation (Seth 1937) accept's bhuj as the root of the second element, but takes the kam as the name of a particular region, thus "ruler of Kam", Kam being interpreted as referring to the territory of Sogdia.[4]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kamboja_(name)
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Old August 14th, 2014, 12:01 PM   #5

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sorry but they were nomadic horsemen and no indo-aryans were described as skilled nomadic warriors.But kamboja were heavy indo-aryanized and adopted indian religions.The kambojas are closely related to the Sakas and sometimes they were described as a royal clan of the Sakas.They spoke an eastern iranian language related to pamiri languages and pashto

Quote:
Thus, it looks likely that the Kamboja clans were spread in Kabol valley in Paropamisadae, in Badakshan/Pamir as well as up to the highlands of Sogdiana. The Yagnobi, a dialect of the modern Galcha language spoken in/around the head waters of river Zeravshan (in Zeravshan valley), up in Sogdiana still contains the relics of ancient Kamboji verb Shavti used in the sense to go.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kamboja...ian_literature
[

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Old August 14th, 2014, 12:14 PM   #6
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the kambojas were most likely of iranian origin because they were considered as mlecchas by indo-aryans and they were associated with the Sakas.But they were also heavily indo-aryanized and adopted indian customs
They were called malecchas on arbitrary grounds and due to their nomadic culture which brahmins disliked, it had nothing to do with them being Iranic.


Quote:
A sub tribe of the kambojas were the Asvakas(horsemen) or asvaka and kamboja were different names for the same people,the modern ethnoynm afghan derives very likely from Asvaka
If they were Iranic, name should have been aspas which is Iranic for horse, asvaka is Indo Aryan. All in all, this is matter of great controversy but since there is no evidence of any Eastern Iranic language in regions around Peshawar, I am very hesitant to call Kambojas as Iranic.
Modern day PoK, North Pakistan, Nuristan and Pashtunistan are regions whose linguistic history has not been that well known but I prefer a model where IA lived in villages and cities while Iranics lived in more isolated areas in same region which is reason why we have no inscription in Iranic in these areas.
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Old August 14th, 2014, 12:19 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Viraspa View Post
sorry but they were nomadic horsemen and no indo-aryans were described as skilled nomadic warriors.But kamboja were heavy indo-aryanized and adopted indian religions.The kambojas are closely related to the Sakas and sometimes they were described as a royal clan of the Sakas.They spoke an eastern iranian language related to pamiri languages and pashto
Now you are making sense but I still do not understand reason for their constant mention in Indian texts but none in any Iranic books.
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Old August 14th, 2014, 12:30 PM   #8

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Originally Posted by Ajanbahu View Post
They were called malecchas on arbitrary grounds and due to their nomadic culture which brahmins disliked, it had nothing to do with them being Iranic.




If they were Iranic, name should have been aspas which is Iranic for horse, asvaka is Indo Aryan. All in all, this is matter of great controversy but since there is no evidence of any Eastern Iranic language in regions around Peshawar, I am very hesitant to call Kambojas as Iranic.
Modern day PoK, North Pakistan, Nuristan and Pashtunistan are regions whose linguistic history has not been that well known but I prefer a model where IA lived in villages and cities while Iranics lived in more isolated areas in same region which is reason why we have no inscription in Iranic in these areas.
asvakas was a exonym for this tribes given by indians to them,so this "indian" name is not a evidence for an indian origin.They had probably another name.Eastern iranian languages were spoken in pashtunistan and north pakistan since the invasion early iranians, kambojas,kushan,sakas and hepthalites but we can assume that there also lived many people who spoke dardic or nuristani languages.Over time they were assimilated by the east iranian invaders and even today we can see in afghanistan that nuristani and pashai adopt pashto.But the kamboja were surely iranian because they had no caste system(only two classes of people:arya and dasa),were skilled horsemen,had iranian customs and were considered as foreign and "unpure" by indo-aryans.They fit well to the eastern iranian people who already lived in this region or migrated later to it.

Last edited by Viraspa; August 14th, 2014 at 12:35 PM.
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Old August 14th, 2014, 12:35 PM   #9

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Originally Posted by Ajanbahu View Post
Now you are making sense but I still do not understand reason for their constant mention in Indian texts but none in any Iranic books.
we have not many iranian books and indians wrote much more.Most iranian books were lost and indians could better preserve this historical documents.Ancient iranian literature was probably never so rich like indian and was only about religion or political propaganda

But it is possible that kamboja were a confederation of iranian,indo-aryan and nuristani tribes.I can not exclude that and i know that there exists today a nuristani tribe called kam/kom/kamboj

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Old August 14th, 2014, 12:44 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Viraspa View Post
asvakas was a exonym for this tribes given by indians to them,so this "indian" name is not a evidence for an indian origin.They had probably another name.Eastern iranian languages were spoken in pashtunistan and north pakistan since the invasion early iranians, kambojas,kushan,sakas and hepthalites but we can assume that there also lived some people who spoke dardic or nuristani languages.Over time they were assimilated by the east iranian invaders and even today we can see in afghanistan that nuristani and pashai adopt pashto.But the kamboja were surely iranian because they had no caste system(only two classes of people:arya and dasa),were skilled horsemen,had iranian customs and were considered as foreign and "unpure" by indo-aryans.They fit well to the eastern iranian people who already lived in this region or migrated later to it.
Maybe Kambojas are Iranic but there is no evidence of any eastern Iranian language used in writing in Pashtunistan and North Pakistan, why is that if entire region was Iranic? Place names like Kandahar, Nangarhar , Kabul , Peshawar all show that once Indo Aryans were dominant in these areas.
We have evidence that Yusufjai invaded Swat which is another IA placename as late as 16th century and so it is perfectly possible that modern day Pashtunistan was not 100 percent Pashtun in pre Islamic times. Please note I am not saying that Iranics were not present only that they did not form 100 percent of population and both IA and Iranics lived in this region together.

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