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0062 Archaeological Reconnaissances in North-Western India and South-Eastern Īrān : vol.1
Archaeological Reconnaissances in North-Western India and South-Eastern Īrān : vol.1 / Page 62 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000189
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Boukephala, the town founded by Alexander on the right bank. Since Strabo distinctly places it at the point where Alexander embarked for his passage, and Arrian's reference is compatible with the same interpretation, we may safely locate it at Jalalpur.'5 In support of this it may be noted that coins found at Jalalpur include issues of the Greek kings who ruled in parts of Afghanistan and in the north-west of the Panj ab. As already noted by General Cunningham, the numismatic evidence afforded by these coins and the still more frequent ones dating from Indo-Scythian rule clearly proves occupation of the site during the centuries immediately before and after the beginning of the Christian era.'6

Jalalpur in former times enjoyed a considerable share in the flourishing trade of timber which is brought down by the river from the great conifer forests of Kashmir and the adjacent high valleys. Since the construction of the Grand Trunk Road, and still more since the advent of the railway, this timber trade has for the most part become concentrated at Jhelum town. The convenient supply of timber obtainable at Jalalpur accounts for the mention which Curtius and Diodoros make in connexion with the site of the shipbuilding operations carried on at Boukephala in preparation for the subsequent voyage down to the mouth of the Indus.17 The mention made of Boukephala by Ptolemy and Pliny and in the Periplus maris Erythraei points to the place having retained its local importance for centuries.'$

At this point my observations concerning the scene of Alexander's great exploit might have been brought to conclusion were it not that some remarks seem called for with regard to the comments to which Professor Breloer, in a supplement to his work Alexanders Kampf gegen Porus,'9 has subjected my views as first set forth in my paper published in the Geographical Journal of July, 1932.

I can consider the length of these comments only as an acknowledgement of the weight which the result of my investigations, if accepted, must carry against the


15 Cf. above, p. 15, and Strabo, Geographia, xv. xxix. Diodoros, xvii. lxxxix. 6, places the town wrongly on the left bank of the river.

Pseudo-popular tradition, now prevalent in the Jhelum District, recognizes the tomb of Boukephalos in the Manikyâla Sttipa south-east of Rawalpindi. It is an amusing instance of the facility with which fancy identifications once suggested by amateur antiquarians and propagated by the schoolmaster take root in Indian local belief.

16 Cf. Cunningham, Archaeol. Survey Report, ii.

p. 187.

During our stay at Jalalpur several Kusana copper coins were acquired. A well-preserved silver coin of Menander was also shown by a local Hindu trader.

General Cunningham, loc. cit., was rightly prepared to identify Jalalpur with Boukephala. But he apparently did not recognize that by doing so and yet looking for the place of passage at Dilâwar he came into direct conflict with Strabo's definite statement. It is one of those instances where true antiquarian instinct, as it were, led the eminent first explorer of India's ancient sites to arrive at identifications which have proved right notwithstanding the inconclusive or otherwise defective arguments he had advanced for them.

17 See Curtius, ix. i. 4; Diodoros, xvii. lxxxix. 4.

18 Cf. Pliny,Hist. nat. vi. 20; Ptolemy, Geographia, vii. 46; Periplus, sec. 47, also M'Crindle, Ancient India, p. 36.

19 See pp. 194-204.