In 1707, when Emperor Aurangzeb went to his grave, the Mughal empire began to crack into a hundred fractured pieces. It was the lure of the Deccan that drained this conqueror’s energies, putting him on a course of collision with his most threatening adversaries. After all, the Deccan was a land that inspired wonder. Its treasures were legendary, and its kings magnificent. It was a horizon of rousing adventure, attracting talent from beyond oceans. A traveler here might encounter bands of European snipers available for military hire or forbidding fortresses where African nobles scaled the heights of power. Diamonds and pearls lay heaped in the Deccan’s bazaars, while in its courts thrived Persians and Marathas, Portuguese and Georgians, presiding over a world of drama and betrayal. A thousand fortunes were made in the Deccan, drawing the formidable envy of generations of Mughal emperors.
Lost World Of The Greco-Bactrian Kings – Ancient Afghanistan
Fridays, 3:00pm Mountain (Aug 21 – Oct 9)
What person doesn’t dream of stumbling across the trail of some lost civilization in a little-known land like Afghanistan? Those dedicated to the study of ancient Bactria have been doing so for nearly three hundred years. Along the banks of the Amu Darya and the foothills of the Hindu Kush, Bactria once thrived as an independent kingdom ruled by the descendants of Western colonists. These wayward Greeks, remnants of Alexander the Great’s army, waged incessant wars with their neighbors and with each other, growing richer all the while. They minted the largest gold and silver coins in the world, governed (it was said) a thousand cities, conquered deep into India (which Alexander had failed to do), and then . . . vanished.