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  • Writer's pictureFolkloristan

Lost Kingdom of Paradan

Paradan is a kingdom of which mention has been found in several sources. As for its location, Western scholars have regarded the evidence as "inconclusive" to date. Scholars of Sasanian history have attempted to determine the kingdom's location since the early 20th century.



We think we may have solved the puzzle by putting together various sources and some good old local first-hand knowledge!


Written sources:


In his inscription at Kaba-i Zardust, the Sasanian emperor Shahpur I listed Paradan as one of the provinces of his empire. There has been considerable debate over whether it was a Sassanian province or a vassal state. Anyhow, another emperor, Narseh, In his Paikuli inscription, lists the King of Paradan as one of the notables who were in gratitude and friendship with him upon his victory over Varahran III.


The questions raised by these inscriptions related to our subject are: Where was the Kingdom of Paradan and who were its Kings?


Whilst Narseh lists Paradan in the midst of a diverse range of empires, fiefdoms and kings, including Caesar of the Romans, Amru of the Abraks, the Kings of Makuran, Mskyt’n, Iberia, Kusan, and Sigan, amongst others, Shahpur I has listed the provinces known to us in what seems to be an east-west geographical order.


The aforementioned order goes as follows: Parthia, Xuzestan, Mesan, Asurestan, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Iberia, Sigan, Arbayestan, Balsagan, up to the Caucasus and Alan Gates, and the whole Elburz chain, Media, Gurgan, Merv, Herev, and all Abarshehr, Kirman, Sagestan, Turan, Makeran, Paredan, Hindestan, Kushanshahr, as far as Peshawar, and as far as Kashgar, Sogdia and Tashkent, and from across the sea the land of Mazun (Oman).


The provinces of Kirman and Sistan are listed together before Paradan is mentioned; we know that they are located in what is now eastern Iran, implying that Paradan is further east.


Further, Hindestan, which is also further east, is mentioned later than Paradan and is quite clearly intended to refer to the Indus valley, whilst most likely included parts of modern-day Sindh and even southern Punjab which were a part of the Sassanian empire or vassal states.


Since Paradan is listed before Hindestan so it must be west of the Indus valley. In fact, three kingdoms are mentioned in between the two ends we know off: Sistan and Hindestan. Therefore, the kingdoms/provinces of Turan, Makeran and Paradan, mentioned in that order, must lie in the general area of modern-day Balochistan.


Turan today is probably the same as medieval Turan, with its centre in the Kalat area of Balochistan. The scholars Brunner and Frye attempted to locate the medieval kingdom and stated that it probably extended from the Bolan pass through the Budahah district and the Pab and Kirthar ranges to a vague border with Makran and Hind near the city of Daibul. It extended as far as the Hind plain from Kizkanan (Kalat) in the tribal country.


Archaeological evidence


Besides pottery, which scholars could not make complete sense of, coins have also been excavated from Loralai.


It is important to mention that coins and pottery found mentioned unknown names - and a letter addressed to royalty.


Coinage with the Kharosti script has also been found in the district. Upon inspection of the silver coinage, archaeologists found that they weighed around 3.65 gm. This slightly odd weight does not fit with any of the “standard” weights of both, Kharosti or Sanskrit coins.


However, the Parthian drachm, which started in the third century BCE on the Attic standard, showed a steady decline in weight over time, fluctuating in the general area of 3.65gm. during the first and second centuries.


Solving the puzzle


Many scholars have pointed to a vague area around Quetta. Many set the kingdom north or west of Turan, whilst some place it eastwards, for the geography is confusing. Ptolemy's assertions about Gedrosia have also been used by scholars to map the lost kingdom.


With medieval Turan being to the immediate east of Kirman and Sistan, and Paradan further east, with Makran running south of both Turan and Paradan, the order Shahpur mentioned seems to be satisfied.


This estimate can be further confirmed by the presence of a small village named Paradan, which lies in the Loralai district, which lies in the northeast of present-day Balochistan. Given the former boundaries of Turan, the geographical puzzle is solved.


A recent survey pointed out 26 archaeological sites in one subdistrict (tehsil) of district Loralai alone, which means the area is likely to be an undiscovered treasure trove of archaeohistory.


Given the nature of the medieval world, it is quite possible for a small kingdom to spring forth for a few decades and eventually be lost to history.


Perhaps some more research by the local archaeologists can help the world find a kingdom lost to history!

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