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Bactrian or Balkhi Literature

Balkhi or Bactrian was the language of the people of the Ancient Balkh region (presently in northern Afghanistan). The oldest available work in this language is a 25-lined inscription written in a script derived from the Greek one, that has been discovered from the entrance of a temple in Sorkh Kotal situated in the south-east of Baghlān. Surviving works in the Bactrian language belonging to the mid 2nd -mid 9th Centuries AD are coins minted by the Kushāni kings (in the Greco-Bactrian textual script), seals (approximately 40 nos. in the same script), rock inscriptions (comprising a few short ones in the Greek script discovered in Afghanistan and Uzbekistan, besides the Sorkh Kotal inscription), and some hand-written works (comprising eight scrolls in the Greco-Bactrian script discovered in Chinese Turkistan probably with Sogdian Buddhist contents and written in the Manichaean script). These scrolls hold the same linguistic value as the texts of the Sorkh Kotal inscriptions.

 

* source: Zarshenas , Zohre " Iran Entry " The Great Islamic Encyclopedia . Ed. Kazem Musavi Bojnourdi.Tehran: The Center of Great Islamic Encyclopaedia , 1989-, V.10 , pp. 563

 

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