Orobatis

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Orobatis was a city mentioned by Arrian[1], the historian of Alexander the Great. It was capital of the Sibia Jats.

Variants of name

History

Aritthapura of the Buddhist Sivi Jataka is same as the Orobatis of Alexander's historians.[2]B. C. Law connects Jataka's Aritthapura with Ptolemy's Aristobothro in the north of Punjab.[3]

In some versions, Sivi appears as a personal name but in others it is the name of the country and its people. According to 7th-century Chinese monk and traveller Xuanzang, Sivika (Sibika) had cut his body to pieces to save a dove from a hawk.[4] Xuanzang described Sivika as a personal name or an epithet. Chinese envoy Song Yun (518-20 AD) also refers to Sivika raja (Sivi king) and connects him to Oddiyana.[5] Thus, the Chinese evidence connects king Sivi/Sivika and the Sivi people or country with the Oddiyana/Swat territory between the Kabol and Indus rivers, which forms part of modern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan.

Jat History

Bhim Singh Dahiya[6] writes about The Sibia Jats: This is yet another clan of the Jats which is being mentioned from remote antiquity. The word Sibiya is derived from Sibi, their first ancestor. Rig Veda mentions the Sivas, who fought against Sudasa in the Battle of the Ten Kings.223 They are also mentioned by the scholiast on Panini. Their ancestor Sivi was the son of Usinara.224 Another king of the Sivis was named Amitrat apana. 225

The famous Shorkot inscription mentions their capital city as Sibipura.226 The Shorkot mound in Jhang district (Pakistan) is the sight of Sibipura. It was lying between the rivers Ravi and Chenab in the Punjab.

The Greek writers mention them quite often. Arrian mentions them as Sibai.227 They are also noted by Diodorus. At


223. Rig Veda, VII, 18,7. आ पक्थासो भलानसो भनन्तालिनासो विषाणिनः शिवासः । आ योऽनयत्सधमा आर्यस्य गव्या तृत्सुभ्यो अजगन्युधा नॄन् (VII.18.7)

224. Shrauta Sutra, III, 53/22.

225. Aitereya Brahmana, VIII, 23/10.

226. EI., 1921, p. 16.

227. Indica, V, 12.


[p.78]: the time of Alexander's invasion in 326 B.C., they had 40,000 soldiers under arms, ready to fight the Greeks. Arrian records,

"When the army of Alexander came among the Sibai, an Indian tribe, and noticed that they wore skins, they declared that the Sibai were descended from those who belonged to the expedition of Herakles, (again the connection of Jats with Hercules!) and had been left behind, for besides being dressed in skins, the Sibai carry a cudgel, and brand on the backs of their oxen, the representation of a club, wherein the Macedonians recognised a memorial of Herakles."228

B.C. Law, who gives these references, without identifying them with the Jats of Sibia clan, evades the point by saying, "It seems reasonable to suppose, from the above description of their dress and weapons that the tribe belonged to a racial group not distinctly Aryan.229 Only B.C. Law has the magic power to know the racial features of a people from their weapons and dress! His phrase, "not distinctly Aryan", is without any basis. Were they indistinctly Aryan? They must have come to Punjab in the sixth century B.C., at the time of the fall of Manda empire at the hands of Cyrus the Great, and Darius. Their dress only shows their hardy nature, unspoilt by luxury which makes nations weak and cowardly. Their cows and oxen, show their cattle breeding and agricultural profession, while their army and weapons prove them to be what Panini calls, "Ayudhajivi" (living by fighting).

In India, they first settled on the Chandrabhaga (Chenab) river and later some of them moved to Rajasthan and even towards south along the Kaveri river. The Shivi Jataka No. 499, mentions their king with two cities, named as Aritthapura and Jettuttara. The first is mentioned by Ptolemy, as Aristobothra, in the north of the Punjab.230 The second city Jetuttara is identified by N.L. Dey with Nagri, 11 miles north of Chittor. Alberuni mentions it as Jattararur, capital of Mewar.231 A number of their coins have been found near Chittor, at Madhyamika, and the legends on these coins are "Majhamikaya Sivijanapadasa", i.e., coins of the republic of the Sivis of Madhyamika (Chittor).


228. ibid.

229. Tribes in Ancient India.

230. N.L. Dey, Geographical Dictionary, p. 11.

231. AIS, Vol. 1, P, 202.


[p.79]:The democratic nature of their rule is further indicated by Vassantara Jataka, which shows that the king of the Sibis, banished his own son, Vassantara (वसंतर) in obedience to the demand of his people.

The Mahabharata refers to a Sibi-rashtra (country of the Sibis) ruled by king Usinara.232 According to Pargiter233 Sivi son of Ushinara not only originated the Sibis, but also extended his conquests in the whole of the Punjab, through his four sons, named Urisadarbha, Suvira, Kekaya and Madraka who founded the kingdoms named after their names.234 It was after the names of Suvira and Madraka, that the people of Punjab were called in the Puranas, as Sauviras and Madrakas. The Sibis also migrated to the extreme south of India. The Dasha Kumara Charitam refers to a settlement of the Sibis on the Kaveri river. Varahamihira in his Brihatsamhita mentions a Sivika country in the south. H.C. Ray Chaudhuri identifies the southern Sibis with the Chola ruling family.234

Proof of their being Jats: The first proof is of course the name itself, Sibi or Sivi, is the original name of their ancestor and Sibiya/Sibia is a derivative meaning the descendants of Sibi. This clan name is only found among the Jats and in no other population group of India. Just like Dahiya from Dahi, Puniya from Puni, Tevathiya from Tevathi so Sibiya from Sibi. These Sibia Jats are still existing. Shri Gurbux Singh Sibia, ex-minister in the Punjab Cabinet is a scion of that ancient clan. The second proof is in the name of their city-Jattararur-which is based on the word Jatta-city of Jats. Incidentally, this is another proof of the fact that Mewar was under the Jats for a very long time. Hence the names of its cities, Jaisalmer, Sikar, Sirohi, etc. The last two are names of the Jat clans also. For the third proof, we will quote from Col. Tod.235

"The Suevis (or Sibai), the most important Getic nation of Scandinavia, erected the celebrated temples of Upsala, in which they placed the statues of Thor, Woden (or Odin) and Friyam-the triple divinity of the Scandinavian Asi -the trimurti of India."

232. MBT, III, 130-131. 17 जलां चॊपजलां चैव यमुनाम अभितॊ नथीम । उशीनरॊ वै यत्रेष्ट्वा वासवाथ अत्यरिच्यत ।। (III.130.17); राज्यं शिबीनाम ऋथ्धं वै शाधि पक्षिगणार्चित (III.131.20);

233. Ancient Indian Historical Tradition, pp. 41,264.

234. H.C. Ray Chaudhuri, Political History of Ancient India, p. 205, f.n. 5.

235. Annals of Rajasthan, Vol. I, p. 56.


[p.80]: Here Sibis are definitely stated to be a Jat nation (Getic).

Euric, the Got, was king of Spain in 466 to 484 A.D., and at that time the Suevis/Sibias were forced to cross over the Mediterranean sea into Africa, by their brother Jats. These facts show not only the identity of Indian Jats, German Gots, and Scandinavian Jutes, but also prove that Jats under the leadership of Suevil Sibi clan also went to Africa from Spain. And the last proof is of course their dress, living habits, cattle breeding and fighting professions, still the main occupation of the Jats. As for the dress of skins, it was the normal dress of Scythian Jats (and others also). Here is a speech of Alexander the Great, addressed to his mutinous Macedonian soldiers at Opis:

"You were destitutes and leather clad. You used to graze sheep and could not save yourselves from the Thracian Getae. In such conditions, my father took you under his protection, clothed you in soldiers' uniform and made you equal to the Getae in the art of fighting."236

236. ibid

Ch.28: Capture of Oazira by Alexander.— advance to the rock of Aornus.

Arrian[7] writes.... WHEN the men in Bazira heard this news, despairing of their own affairs, they abandoned the city about the middle of the night, and fled to the rock as the other barbarians were doing. For all the inhabitants deserted the cities and began to flee to the rock which is in their land, and is called Aornus1. For stupendous is this rock in this land, about which the current report is, that it was found impregnable even by Heracles, the son of Zeus. I cannot affirm with confidence either way, whether the Theban, Tyrian, or Egyptian Heracles2 penetrated into India or not; but I am rather inclined to think that he did not penetrate so far for men are wont to magnify the difficulty of all difficult enterprises to such a degree as to assert that they would have been impracticable even to Heracles. Therefore, I am inclined to think, that in regard to this rock the name of Heracles was mentioned simply to add to the marvellous-ness of the tale. The circuit of the rock is said to be about 200 stades (i.e., about twenty-three miles), and its height where it is lowest, eleven stades (i.e., about a mile and a quarter). There was only one ascent, which was artificial and difficult; on the summit of the rock there was abundance of pure water, a spring issuing from the ground, from which the water flowed; and there was also timber, and sufficient good arable land for 1,000 men to till3. When Alexander heard this, he was seized with a vehement desire to capture this mountain also, especially on account of the legend which was current about Heracles. He then made Ora and Massaga fortresses to keep the land in subjection, and fortified the city of Bazira. Hephaestion and Perdiccas also fortified for him another city, named Orobatis, and leaving a garrison in it marched towards the river Indus. When they reached that river they at once began to carry out Alexander’s instructions in regard to bridging it. Alexander then appointed Nicanor, one of the Companions, viceroy of the land on this side the river Indus; and in the first place leading his army towards that river, he brought over on terms of capitulation the city of Peucelaotis, which was situated not far from it. In this city he placed a garrison of Macedonians, under the command of Philip, and then reduced to subjection some other small towns situated near the same river, being accompanied by Cophaeus and Assagetes, the chieftains of the land. Arriving at the city of Embolima4, which was situated near the rock Aornus, he left Craterus there with a part of the army, to gather as much corn as possible into the city, as well as all the other things requisite for a long stay, so that making this their base of operations, the Macedonians might be able by a long siege to wear out the men who were holding the rock, supposing it were not captured at the first assault. He then took the bowmen, the Agrianians, and the brigade of Coenus, and selecting the lightest as well as the best-armed men from the rest of the phalanx, with 200 of the Companion cavalry and zoo horse-bowmen, he advanced to the rock. This day he encamped where it appeared to him convenient; but on the morrow he approached a little nearer to the rock, and encamped again.


1. This seems to be the Greek translation of the native name, meaning the place to which no bird can rise on account of its height. Cf. Strabo, xv. 1. This mountain was identified by Major Abbot, in 1854, as Mount Mahabunn, near the right bank of the Indus, about 60 miles above its confluence with the Cabul.

2. Cf. Arrian, ii. 16 supra.

3. Curtius (viii. 39) says that the river Indus washed the base of the rock, and that its shape resembled the meta or goal in a race-course, which was a stone shaped like a sugar-loaf. Arrian's description is more likely to be correct as he took it from Ptolemy, one of Alexander's generals. Near mount Mahabunn are two places called Umb and Balimah, the one in the valley of the river and the other on the mountain above it. See Major Abbot's Gradus ad Aornon.

p.257-260

References

  1. Arrian Anabasis Book/4b
  2. Eggermont, Pierre Herman Leonard (1993), Alexander's campaign in Southern Punjab. Dep. Oriëntalistiek(Leuven), pp 68-75, 85-90. ISBN 978-9-0683-1499-1
  3. Tribes of Ancient India, p. 83, B. C. Law.
  4. Beal 1906, p. 125.
  5. Beal 1906, p. 206.
  6. Jats the Ancient Rulers (A clan study)/The Jats,p. 77-80
  7. Arrian Anabasis Book/4b, Ch.28