ANDARĀB or ANDARĀBA (Lit.: " between the rivers"), the name of a river and a town situated upon it in northern Afghanistan, in what was in mediaeval Islamic times the province of Ṭoḵārestān. The valley lies in 35° 47’ north latitude and 68° 49’ east longitude, and falls within the modern Afghan province (post-1964 administrative reorganization) of Baḡlān. The town lies in a wooded region of what the 4th/10th century geographers called the Nahr Andarāba; this is in fact the southeasternmost headwater of the Došī river, which eventually joins the Qondoz river and flows into the Oxus. The antiquity of the town is evident, since the Chinese Buddhist pilgrim Hūan-ts’ang (ca. 630) mentions An-ta-lo-po as one of the twelve constituent states of the old province of Tu-ho-1o (i.e., Ṭoḵārestān, An-ta-lo-po being 400 li southeast of Ḵost (K’uo-si-to; see E. Bretschneider, Mediaeval Researches from Eastern Asiatic Sources, London, 1888, II, p. 99; Markwart, Ērānšahr, pp. 241, 277-78); but we know nothing of its pre-Islamic history. After the Arab conquest, Andarāb came within the province of Ṭoḵārestān and was administered from Balḵ; Ebn Ḥawqal describes it as lying nine stages from this city (p. 454, tr. p. 439, cf. pp. 447-48, tr. pp. 432-34; Le Strange, Lands, p. 427). The Ḥodūd al-ʿālam (372/982), which is well-informed on conditions in northern Afghanistan, states that the local ruler of Andarāb had the title of Šahr-salīr (tr. Minorsky, p. 109, commentary, p. 341). Andarāb’s importance lay in the fact that one of the two main routes across the Hindu Kush to Kabul and India led from it across the Ḵāvak pass into the Panǰhīr valley; there in the mountains were located the two great centers of silver-mining in Afghanistan, Jārīāba at three stages from Andarāb and Panǰhīr one stage further on. The silver mined there was brought to Andarāb for distribution over the eastern Islamic lands; it was an important mint-center from the 3rd/9th to the 5th/11th centuries. We possess dirhams minted at Andarāb by the ʿAbbasids (in 258/871-72), the Samanids, and the Ghaznavids (Sebüktigin and Maḥmūd). We have extant coins of the Abū Daʾudids or Banijurids of Balḵ and Ḵottal, vassals of the Samanids, minted at Andarāb from the years 264-78/877-92, 288/900, 290-94/902-06 and 310-13/922-25. From 366/976-77 till 389/999 the Andarāb mint issued the especially large, multiple dirhams characteristic of the upper Oxus minting practice at this time (see W. Barthold, Turkestan 3,p. 67; R. Vasmer, “Beiträge zur muhammedanischen Münzkunde. 1. Die Münzen der Abū Dā’ūdiden,” Numismatische Zeitschrift, N.S. 18, 1925, pp. 49-62; E. von Zambaur, Die Münzprägungen des Islams, zeitlich und örtlich geordnet I,Wiesbaden, 1968, p. 54; M. Mitchiner, The Multiple Dirhems of medieval Afghanistan, Sanderstead, Surrey, 1973, pp. 3-4 and passim).
After the Ghaznavid period, Andarāb seems to have declined in relative importance, possibly as the nearby town of Ḵost rose to prominence. However, Samʿānī mentions the names of several scholars and traditionists stemming from Andarāb (Hyderabad, I, pp. 361-62; cf. Yāqūt, Beirut, 1374-76/1955-57, I, p. 260). According to Mīrḵᵛand, Jengiz Khan marched southwards through Ṭoḵārestān to Kabul and Ḡazna, and besieged Andarāb for a month (Barthold, op. cit., p. 444); the Bābur-nāma (tr. Beveridge, pp. 391-92) mentions that Bābor stopped there in 925/1519 and received the submission of local chiefs before going on to India.
It is not surprising that a name which means “between the waters” is to be found in various parts of the Iranian world. An Andarāba near Marv in Khorasan is mentioned which belonged to the Saljuq sultan Sanǰar (r. 490-552/1097-1157) and where he built for himself a palace (see Le Strange, Lands, p. 401); the name also occurs in Arrān in northwestern Iran for a river rising on the slopes of Mount Sabalān above Ardabīl and flowing down to the Qara Sū and Aras river (see Nozhat al-qolūb, p. 222, tr. p. 215).
Bibliography: Given in the text.
(C. E. Bosworth)
Originally Published: December 15, 1985
Last Updated: August 3, 2011
This article is available in print.
Vol. II, Fasc. 1, p. 10
C. E. Bosworth, “ANDARĀB,” Encyclopædia Iranica, II/1, p. 10, available online at http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/andarab-or-andaraba-lit (accessed on 30 December 2012).