Massagetae (Sanskrit: महाजट) were an Ancient Iranian peoples  of antiquity known primarily from the writings of Herodotus. Their name was akin to Getae (=Jat) and Thyssagetae. (=Small Jat). Massagetians were a people dwelling to the north-east of the Caspian, who were chiefly remarkable for having defeated and killed Cyrus the Great. 
- 1 Variants of name
- 2 Massagetae habitations
- 3 Origin of name
- 4 History
- 5 Jat History
- 6 गुर्जरत्र, मस्सागेटी, महाजट
- 7 Mentioned in Mahabharata
- 8 Ta-Yue-Che and Siao-Yue-Che
- 9 Customs
- 10 Continuity
- 11 Massagetaeans as "Great Jits or Jats" of Asia
- 12 See also
- 13 Gallery
- 14 External links
- 15 References
Variants of name
- Greek: Μασσαγέται, Massagetai;
- Massa Getae
- महाजट (Mahajata) (Sanskrit) (Name of Shiva)
Origin of name
From time to time, reputed history scholars scholars have advocated that the word "Massagetae" means "Great Getae". In Pehlevi, a language that was spoken in Persia (or Central Asia), the meaning of the word "massa" is "great". Hence, the Pehlevi language word "massa", and the English language word "great" are synonyms.
Professor Balbir Singh Dhillon wrote:"The classical and modern authorities say that the word "Massagetae" means "great" getae (Jats). The ninth-century work De Universo of Rabanus Maurus states, "The Massagetae are in origin from the tribe of the Scythians, and are called Massagetae, as if heavy, that is, strong Getae."
Historian Satya Shrava has dicussed about the mention of the Massagetaeans in Mahabharata; He writes:
- "The Sakas are mentioned in our literature dating back to almost 5000 years to the period of the Mahabharata battle."
- "The Mahabharata says that the Mrgas, a part of the Sakadvipa, or the people of the Margiana, were brahmanas and the Masakas or the Massagetae were kshatriyas or warriors."
- "The Jats are none other than the Massagetae (Great Getae) mentioned in Diodorus as an off-spring of the ancient Saka tribe.... a fact now well-known."
A number of different versions have been transmitted concerning the death of Cyrus the Great. One version reported Herodotus, [1.201] When Cyrus had achieved the conquest of the Babylonians, he conceived the desire of bringing the Massagetae under his dominion. Now, the Massagetae are said to be a great and warlike nation, dwelling eastward, toward the rising of the sun, beyond the river Araxes, and opposite the Issedonians. By many, they are regarded as a Scythian race.
Guida Myrl Jackson-Laufer describes the Massagetaeans as follows: "The Massagetae was a large, warlike, half-nomadic Sakan tribe whose land lay eastward beyond the Araxes River in Eastern Persia. Tomyris was the widow of a Sakan chief and was both queen and leader of the army. She had at least one son, Spargapises."
According to Herodotus, Cyrus the Great of Persia met his death in a battle with the Massagetae living beyond Araxes river. They were a people from the southern deserts of Khwarezm in today's Bukhara, Uzbekistan. The queen of the Massagetae, Tomyris, prevailed, although Cyrus had defeated Tomyris's son Spargapises. Herodotus mentions: Of all the combats in which the barbarians [a term meaning non-Greeks which was not a derogatory term in Herodotus's time] have engaged among themselves, I reckon this to have been the fiercest.
Prof. B.S. DhillonJats writes....Jats are the one component of a group of people known as the Scythians in the Western countries and Sakas in India. Diodorus (first century B.C.)  wrote, "But now, in turn, we shall discuss the Scythians who inhabit the country bordering India. But some time later the descendants (Scythians) of these kings, because of their unusual valour and skill as generals, subdued much of the territory beyond the Tanais river (far eastern Europe) as far as Thrace (modern north of Greece), and advancing with their power as far as the Nile in Egypt. This people increased to great strength and had notable kings, one of whom gave his name to the Sacae (Sakas), another to the Massagetae ("great" Jats), another to the Arimaspi, and several other tribes". The recent edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica  states "The Scythians were a people who during the 8th-7th centuries B.C. moved from Central Asia to Southern Russia, where they founded an empire that survived until they were gradually overcome and supplanted by the Sarmatians (another Scythian people) during the 4th century B.C. 2nd century A.D.".
Shiva Stotra is another most ancient epic, which mentions one thousand names of Lord Shiva, also mentioned in ‘Shalya Parva’ of Mahabharata, in which one of the names of god is ‘Jat’ and appears at serial number 489. Mahabharata Anushasan Parva chapter 17 shloka 89  tells ...Mahanakha, Maharoma, Mahakosha, Mahajata, Prasanna, Prasada, Pratyaya, Girisadhana are the names of Lord Shiva.
गुर्जरत्र, मस्सागेटी, महाजट
इतिहासकार मानते हैं कि गुजरात नाम गुर्जरत्रा से आया है। गुर्जरो का साम्राज्य गुर्जरत्र या गुर्जरभूमि के नाम से जाना जाता था। इस तथ्य की विवेचना आवश्यक है। कुछ गुर्जर इतिहास लेखक चेची (गुर्जर गोत्र) का सम्बन्ध सीधे-सीधे यूची (कुषाणों) से जोड़ते हैं। जबकि चेची (चेष्टम) और क्षयरात तथा नहपान गोत्र शकों के थे जिनको कुषाणों और गुप्तों ने हराया था। कुषाण का मूल चीनी नाम यूची है जिसका भारतीय रूपांतर जेटी या जाट ही बनता है। जाटों में ही कस्वां और कुश गोत्र आज भी मिलते हैं। ये सीधे कुषाण से जुड़ते हैं। जाट शासकों सम्राट हर्षवर्धन और उनसे पूर्व यशोधर्मा ने हूणों और गुर्जरों को मालवा में परास्त कर उनको सुदूर कन्नौज और कश्मीर में बसने के लिए बाध्य कर दिया था। तभी से उनकी आवास भूमि या तो राजस्थान का मरुस्थल या जम्मू कश्मीर का पर्वतीय क्षेत्र है अथवा यमुना और गंगा के कछार (खादर) हैं। किसी भी वैदिक संहिता अथवा संस्कृत साहित्य ग्रन्थ में भारत में गुर्जरों किवां हूणों का उल्लेख नहीं मिलता। महाभारत में अर्जुन के द्वारा और रघुवंश महाकाव्य में राम के द्वारा किवां हूणों को पाटल प्रदेश किवां अफगानिस्तान में पराजित ही दिखाया है। ये दोनों 5वीं शताब्दी की हैं अतएव इस काल के पश्चात् ही हूणों और गुर्जरों का प्रवेश भारतवर्ष में हुआ। गुजरात के कुर्मी अधिकांश में शक हैं। यहाँ पर यह ज्ञातव्य है कि कर्नल टॉड ने राजस्थान के इतिहास में लिखा है कि शक और कुषाण दोनों ही कैस्पियन सागर के पूर्वी तट से चलकर ईरान के सिस्तान किवां शकस्तान में बसने वाली मस्सागेटी किवां महाजट जाती के ही अंगभूत अवयव हैं। उनको किसी भी इतिहासकार ने गुर्जर नहीं लिखा है।
प्रो. विंगले ने तो जाटों की एक शाखा का ही नाम गुर्जर बताया है जो अफगानिस्तान के रास्ते से पंजाब होते हुए गुजरात में आये थे। पुनः वहीँ से राजस्थान के मार्ग से उसने सौराष्ट्र को विजित किया था, अतएव नामकरण गुजरात किया था। इसी आधार पर ठाकुर देशराज भी अपने जाट इतिहास में अफगानिस्तान में बसने वाली गूजर शाखा को जाट जाति का ही अभिन्न अंग बताया गया है। आज तक भी जाटों में गूजर और गाबर जैसे गोत्र हैं, गूजर जाति में जाट जैसा गोत्र नहीं है। संस्कृत साहित्य में हमें जर्त अथवा जट्ट जैसे गणों या गणसंघों का नामकरण मिलता है। जैसे कि पाणिनि के अष्टाध्यायी में 'जट झट संघाते' सूत्र से परिलक्षित होता है।
गुर्जरत्र यहाँ जातिसूचक न होकर क्षेत्र सूचक है। इतिहासकार डी. आर. भंडारकर के अनुसार 'गुर्जरत्र' में राजस्थान के नागौर जिले के डीडवाना और परबतसर क्षेत्रों को सम्मिलित किया गया है। गुर्जरत्र का संधि विच्छेद करें तो इस प्रकार बनता है: गुर्जरत्र = गुर + जर्त। यहाँ 'गुर' का अर्थ होता है 'बड़ा' या 'महा' और 'जर्त' का अर्थ है 'जाट'। इस प्रकार गुर्जरत्र का अर्थ है महाजाट अर्थात हिरोडोटस (c. 484 BC - c. 425 BC) का मस्सागेटी।
Mentioned in Mahabharata
M. K. Kudryavtsev's views on the subject
M. K. Kudryavtsev, a Soviet Indologist and ethnographer who is regarded as one of the "fathers" of Indian Ethnography in Russia along with D. A. Suleykin and V. E. Krasnodembskiy, researched the origin of the Jats and pointed out that some legends speak of the Jats as having lived in Sind long before the Scythians invaded India and even of a direct association of Jat chiefs with the heroes of the Mahabharata.
Bhim Singh Dahiya writes:
- "It is important to note that the Chinese word 'Yue-che" is pronounced as "Gut-tia" according to Karl-Gren, meaning the "Moon People". Later on, the Chinese chronicles show, that under pressure of another tribe of the same stock, called by the Chinese as Hiung-nu or Hoa, the Yue-che moved southward and westward. The branch that was numerically weaker went to the South towards Tibet and were called 'Siao-Yue-Che", meaning the "little Yue-che". The main body moved westward and occupied Dahia (or Tahia, Bactria, Balkh). They were called "Ta-Yue-che" meaning the "Great Guttia" or great Jats. As shown above the word 'Yue-che' is pronounced as Guttia and therefore Ta-Yue-che is exactly the same as the word "Massa Getae" of the Greeks and the Persians. All the Chinese sources agree that the Kusanas were from the Yue-che race. The Chinese author of Thung-Kiang-Nu, writes in the year 555 A.D. that the Aptal or Hephthalites were of the race of Ta-Yue-che. Further the encyclopaedia of Ma-Tuan-g-Lin says that the Yeta are of the race of Ta-Yue-che, and further that the I-Tan belonged to the same race as Yue-che."
Bhim Singh Dahiya goes on to state that:
- "The Chinese were right in stating that the Hiung-nu were a part of the Yue-Che (reads as Guti) people, and these Guti people had two divisions, the Ta-Yue-Che and the Siao-Yue-Che, exactly corresponding to the Massagetae and Thyssagetae of Herodotus (a classical Greek writer of fifth century BC), meaning the "Great-Jats" and the "Little-Jats" respectively. Almost every tribe of Ancient Middle East (West Asia) and Central Asia, is represented among the present day Jats in India."
According to Herodotus:
"Herodotus [1.215], In their dress and mode of living the Massagetae resemble the Scythians. They fight both on horseback and on foot, neither method is strange to them: they use bows and lances, but their favourite weapon is the battle-axe. Their arms are all either of gold or brass. For their spear-points, and arrow-heads, and for their battle-axes, they make use of brass; for head-gear, belts, and girdles, of gold. So too with the caparison of their horses, they give them breastplates of brass, but employ gold about the reins, the bit, and the cheek-plates. They use neither iron nor silver, having none in their country; but they have brass and gold in abundance."
"Herodotus [1.216], The following are some of their customs; - Each man has but one wife, yet all the wives are held in common; for this is a custom of the Massagetae and not of the Scythians, as the Greeks wrongly say. Human life does not come to its natural close with this people; but when a man grows very old, all his kinsfolk collect together and offer him up in sacrifice; offering at the same time some cattle also. After the sacrifice they boil the flesh and feast on it; and those who thus end their days are reckoned the happiest. If a man dies of disease they do not eat him, but bury him in the ground, bewailing his ill-fortune that he did not come to be sacrificed. They sow no grain, but live on their herds, and on fish, of which there is great plenty in the Araxes. Milk is what they chiefly drink. The only god they worship is the sun, and to him they offer the horse in sacrifice; under the notion of giving to the swiftest of the gods the swiftest of all mortal creatures."
They were similar to the Scythians in their dress and mode of living. Each man had one woman, yet their wives were held in common, this custom differentiating the Massagetae from the Scythians. Queen Tomyris succeeded her dead husband, the former king of the Massagetae. The Massagetae worshipped only one god, the sun, and sacrificed a horse in its honour.
It should be noted that according to Bhim Singh Dahiya, the primordial religion of the Jats was that of the original Iranic race, namely monotheist Sun-worship, which they and their Maga priests (Iranic sun-priests) carried wherever they migrated.
Ammianus Marcellinus considered the Alans to be the former Massagetae.. At the close of the fourth century CE, Claudian (the court poet of Emperor Honorius and Stilicho) wrote of Alans and Massagetae in the same breath: "the Massagetes who cruelly wound their horses that they may drink their blood, the Alans who break the ice and drink the waters of Maeotis' lake." (In Rufinem)
Massagetaeans as "Great Jits or Jats" of Asia
- Steven M. Collins advocates the identification of Massagetaeans as "Great Jits or Jats" of Asia.
- Tadeusz Sulimirski wrote: "The evidence of both the ancient authors and the archaeological remains point to a massive migration of Sacian (Sakas)/Massagetan ("great" Jat) tribes from the Syr Daria Delta (Central Asia) by the middle of the second century B.C. Some of the Syr Darian tribes; they also invaded North India."
- Weer Rajendra Rishi advocates that the Jats are none other than the Massagetaeans (Maha/Great Getae).
- Arnold Joseph Toynbee wrote: "It may not be fantastic to conjecture that the Tuetonic-speaking Goths and Gauts of Scandinavia may have been descended from a fragment of the same Indo-European-speaking tribe as the homonymous Getae and Thyssagetae and Massagetae of the Eurasian Steppe who are represented today by the Jats of the Panjab."
- Arnold Joseph Toynbee, also wrote: "It had been carried from the Oxus-Jaxartes Basin into the Indus Basin by the Massagetae themselves, together with their tribal name (the Jats), in their Volkerwander- ung in the second century BC."
- George Rawlinson has identified the Massagetaeans as "Great Jits or Jats" of Asia.
- Sir John Marshall, (Former Director-General of the Archaeological Survey of India) wrote: "These Scythian invaders came principally from the three great tribes of Massagetae (great Jats), Sacaraucae, and Dahae (still exists as a Jat clan of Punjab), whose home at the beginning of the second century B.C. was in the country between the Caspian sea (sea) and the Jaxartes river (Central Asia)."
- James Francis Katherinus Hewitt wrote: "Further evidence both of the early history and origin of the race of Jats, or Getae, is given by the customs and geographical position of another tribe of the same stock, called the Massagetae, or great (massa) Getae."
- Syed Muhammad Latif wrote: "A considerable portion of the routed army of the Scythians settled in the Punjab, and a race of them, called Nomardy, inhabited the country on the west bank of the Indus (river). They are described as a nomadic tribe, living in wooden houses, after the old Scythian fashion, and settling where they found sufficient pasturage. A portion of these settlers, the descendants of Massagetae, were called Getes, from whom sprung the modern Jats."
- Sir Richard Francis Burton wrote: "The Massagetae (greater Jats or Goths) are opposed to the Thyssa (or lesser) Getae, and both used the sagaris."
- Satya Shrava wrote: "The Jats are none other than the Massagetae (Great Getae) mentioned in Diodorus as an off-spring of the ancient Saka tribe.... a fact now well-known."