Indo-Greek Kingdom

Indo-Greek Kingdom
180 BC–AD 10
Indo-Greek Kingdoms in 100 BC.
Capital Alexandria in the Caucasus
Languages Greek (Greek alphabet)
Pali (Kharoshthi script)
(Brahmi script)
Religion Buddhism
Ancient Greek religion
Government Monarchy
   180–160 BC Apollodotus I
  25 BC – AD 10 Strato II
Historical era Antiquity
   Established 180 BC
   Disestablished AD 10
Area 2,500,000 km² (965,255 sq mi)
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Greco-Bactrian Kingdom
Today part of  Pakistan

The Indo-Greek Kingdom or Graeco-Indian Kingdom[1] was a Hellenistic kingdom covering various parts of the northwest regions of South Asia (mainly modern Afghanistan and Pakistan) during the last two centuries BC and was ruled by more than thirty kings,[2] often in conflict with each other.

The kingdom was founded when the Graeco-Bactrian king Demetrius invaded the subcontinent early in the 2nd century BC. The Greeks in South Asia were eventually divided from the Graeco-Bactrians centered in Bactria (now the border between Afghanistan and Uzbekistan). But the Greeks failed to establish united rule in present-day north-western South Asia. The most famous Indo-Greek ruler was Menander (Milinda). He had his capital at Sakala in the Punjab (present-day Sialkot, Punjab, Pakistan).

The expression "Indo-Greek Kingdom" loosely describes a number of various dynastic polities, traditionally associated with a number of regional capitals like Taxila,[3] (modern Punjab (Pakistan)), Pushkalavati and Sagala.[4] Other potential centers are only hinted at; for instance, Ptolemy's Geographia and the nomenclature of later kings suggest that a certain Theophila in the south of the Indo-Greek sphere of influence may also have been a satrapal or royal seat at one time.

During the two centuries of their rule, the Indo-Greek kings combined the Greek and Indo-Iranian languages and symbols, as seen on their coins, and blended Hindu, Buddhist and ancient Greek religious practices, as seen in the archaeological remains of their cities and in the indications of their support of Buddhism, pointing to a rich fusion of Indian and Hellenistic influences.[5] The diffusion of Indo-Greek culture had consequences which are still felt today, particularly through the influence of Greco-Buddhist art.[6]

The Indo-Greeks ultimately disappeared as a political entity around 10 AD following the invasions of the Indo-Scythians, although pockets of Greek populations probably remained for several centuries longer under the subsequent rule of the Indo-Parthians and Kushans.[7]


Preliminary Greek presence in South Asia

Pataliputra Palace capital, showing Greek and Persian influence, early Mauryan Empire period, 4th-3rd century BC.

In 326 BC, Alexander the Great conquered the northwestern part of the Indian subcontinent as far as the Hyphasis River, and established satrapies and founded several settlements, including Bucephala; he turned south when his troops refused to go further east.[8] The Indian satrapies of the Punjab were left to the rule of Porus and Taxiles, who were confirmed again at the Treaty of Triparadisus in 321 BC, and remaining Greek troops in these satrapies were left under the command of general Eudemus. After 321 BC Eudemus toppled Taxiles, until he left India in 316 BC. To the south, another general also ruled over the Greek colonies of the Indus: Peithon, son of Agenor,[9] until his departure for Babylon in 316 BC.

Around 322 BCE, the Greeks (described as Yona or Yavana in Indian sources) may then have participated, together with other groups, in the armed uprising of Chandragupta Maurya against the Nanda Dynasty, and gone as far as Pataliputra for the capture of the city from the Nandas. The Mudrarakshasa of Visakhadutta as well as the Jaina work Parisishtaparvan talk of Chandragupta's alliance with the Himalayan king Parvatka, often identified with Porus,[10] and according to these accounts, this alliance gave Chandragupta a composite and powerful army made up of Yavanas (Greeks), Kambojas, Shakas (Scythians), Kiratas (Nepalese), Parasikas (Persians) and Bahlikas (Bactrians) who took Pataliputra.[11][12][13]

In 305 BC, Seleucus I led an army to the Indus, where he encountered Chandragupta. The confrontation ended with a peace treaty, and "an intermarriage agreement" (Epigamia, Greek: Ἐπιγαμία), meaning either a dynastic marriage or an agreement for intermarriage between Indians and Greeks. Accordingly, Seleucus ceded to Chandragupta his northwestern territories, possibly as far as Arachosia and received 500 war elephants (which played a key role in the victory of Seleucus at the Battle of Ipsus):[14]

The Indians occupy in part some of the countries situated along the Indus, which formerly belonged to the Persians: Alexander deprived the Ariani of them, and established there settlements of his own. But Seleucus Nicator gave them to Sandrocottus in consequence of a marriage contract, and received in return five hundred elephants.
Strabo 15.2.1(9)[15]

Also several Greeks, such as the historian Megasthenes,[16] followed by Deimachus and Dionysius, were sent to reside at the Mauryan court.[17] Presents continued to be exchanged between the two rulers.[18] The intensity of these contacts is testified by the existence of a dedicated Mauryan state department for Greek (Yavana) and Persian foreigners,[19] or the remains of Hellenistic pottery that can be found throughout northern India.[20]

Bilingual edict (Greek and Aramaic) by king Ashoka, from Kandahar. Kabul Museum (click image for translation).[21]

On these occasions, Greek populations apparently remained in the northwest of the Indian subcontinent under Mauryan rule. Chandragupta's grandson Ashoka, who had converted to the Buddhist faith declared in the Edicts of Ashoka, set in stone, some of them written in Greek,[22][23] that Greek populations within his realm also had converted to Buddhism:[24]

Here in the king's domain among the Greeks, the Kambojas, the Nabhakas, the Nabhapamkits, the Bhojas, the Pitinikas, the Andhras and the Palidas, everywhere people are following Beloved-of-the-Gods' instructions in Dharma.
Rock Edict Nb13 (S. Dhammika).

In his edicts, Ashoka mentions that he had sent Buddhist emissaries to Greek rulers as far as the Mediterranean (Edict No. 13),[25][26] and that he developed herbal medicine in their territories, for the welfare of humans and animals (Edict No. 2).[27]

The Greeks in India even seem to have played an active role in the propagation of Buddhism, as some of the emissaries of Ashoka such as Dharmaraksita,[28] or the teacher Mahadharmaraksita,[29] are described in Pali sources as leading Greek ("Yona", i.e., Ionian) Buddhist monks, active in Buddhist proselytism (the Mahavamsa, XII).[30] It is also thought that Greeks contributed to the sculptural work of the Pillars of Ashoka,[31] and more generally to the blossoming of Mauryan art.[32]

Again in 206 BC, the Seleucid emperor Antiochus led an army to the Kabul valley, where he received war elephants and presents from the local king Sophagasenus:[33]

He (Antiochus) crossed the Caucasus1 and descended into India; renewed his friendship with Sophagasenus the king of the Indians; received more elephants, until he had a hundred and fifty altogether; and having once more provisioned his troops, set out again personally with his army: leaving Androsthenes of Cyzicus the duty of taking home the treasure which this king had agreed to hand over to him.
 1 That is the Caucasus Indicus or Paropamisus: mod. Hindú Kúsh.
According to the Mahavamsa, the Great Stupa in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka, was dedicated by a 30,000-strong "Yona" (Greek) delegation from "Alexandria" around 130 BCE.

Greek rule in Bactria

Greco-Bactrian statue of an old man or philosopher, Ai Khanoum, Bactria, 2nd century BC

Alexander had also established several colonies in neighbouring Bactria, such as Alexandria on the Oxus (modern Ai-Khanoum) and Alexandria of the Caucasus (medieval Kapisa, modern Bagram). After Alexander's death in 323 BC, Bactria came under the control of Seleucus I Nicator, who founded the Seleucid Empire. The Greco-Bactrian Kingdom was founded when Diodotus I, the satrap of Bactria (and probably the surrounding provinces) seceded from the Seleucid Empire around 250 BC. The preserved ancient sources (see below) are somewhat contradictory and the exact date of Bactrian independence has not been settled. Somewhat simplified, there is a high chronology (c. 255 BC) and a low chronology (c. 246 BC) for Diodotos’ secession.[36] The high chronology has the advantage of explaining why the Seleucid king Antiochus II issued very few coins in Bactria, as Diodotos would have become independent there early in Antiochus' reign.[37] On the other hand, the low chronology, from the mid-240s BC, has the advantage of connecting the secession of Diodotus I with the Third Syrian War, a catastrophic conflict for the Seleucid Empire.

Diodotus, the governor of the thousand cities of Bactria (Latin: Theodotus, mille urbium Bactrianarum praefectus), defected and proclaimed himself king; all the other people of the Orient followed his example and seceded from the Macedonians.
(Justin, XLI,4[38])

The new kingdom, highly urbanized and considered as one of the richest of the Orient (opulentissimum illud mille urbium Bactrianum imperium "The extremely prosperous Bactrian empire of the thousand cities" Justin, XLI,1[39]), was to further grow in power and engage into territorial expansion to the east and the west:

The Greeks who caused Bactria to revolt grew so powerful on account of the fertility of the country that they became masters, not only of Ariana, but also of India, as Apollodorus of Artemita says: and more tribes were subdued by them than by Alexander... Their cities were Bactra (also called Zariaspa, through which flows a river bearing the same name and emptying into the Oxus), and Darapsa, and several others. Among these was Eucratidia, which was named after its ruler.
(Strabo, XI.XI.I[40])

When the ruler of neighbouring Parthia, the former satrap and self-proclaimed king Andragoras, was eliminated by Arsaces, the rise of the Parthian Empire cut off the Greco-Bactrians from direct contact with the Greek world. Overland trade continued at a reduced rate, while sea trade between Greek Egypt and Bactria developed.

Diodotus was succeeded by his son Diodotus II, who allied himself with the Parthian Arsaces in his fight against Seleucus II:

Soon after, relieved by the death of Diodotus, Arsaces made peace and concluded an alliance with his son, also by the name of Diodotus; some time later he fought against Seleucos who came to punish the rebels, and he prevailed: the Parthians celebrated this day as the one that marked the beginning of their freedom
(Justin, XLI,4)[41]

Euthydemus, a Magnesian Greek according to Polybius[42] and possibly satrap of Sogdiana, overthrew Diodotus II around 230 BC and started his own dynasty. Euthydemus's control extended to Sogdiana, going beyond the city of Alexandria Eschate founded by Alexander the Great in Ferghana:

"And they also held Sogdiana, situated above Bactriana towards the east between the Oxus River, which forms the boundary between the Bactrians and the Sogdians, and the Iaxartes River. And the Iaxartes forms also the boundary between the Sogdians and the nomads.
Strabo XI.11.2[43]
Coin depicting the Greco-Bactrian king Euthydemus 230–200 BC. The Greek inscription reads: ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ ΕΥΘΥΔΗΜΟΥ – "(of) King Euthydemus".

Euthydemus was attacked by the Seleucid ruler Antiochus III around 210 BC. Although he commanded 10,000 horsemen, Euthydemus initially lost a battle on the Arius[44] and had to retreat. He then successfully resisted a three-year siege in the fortified city of Bactra (modern Balkh), before Antiochus finally decided to recognize the new ruler, and to offer one of his daughters to Euthydemus's son Demetrius around 206 BC.[45] Classical accounts also relate that Euthydemus negotiated peace with Antiochus III by suggesting that he deserved credit for overthrowing the original rebel Diodotus, and that he was protecting Central Asia from nomadic invasions thanks to his defensive efforts:

...for if he did not yield to this demand, neither of them would be safe: seeing that great hordes of Nomads were close at hand, who were a danger to both; and that if they admitted them into the country, it would certainly be utterly barbarised.
(Polybius, 11.34)[42]

Following the departure of the Seleucid army, the Bactrian kingdom seems to have expanded. In the west, areas in north-eastern Iran may have been absorbed, possibly as far as into Parthia, whose ruler had been defeated by Antiochus the Great. These territories possibly are identical with the Bactrian satrapies of Tapuria and Traxiane.

To the north, Euthydemus also ruled Sogdiana and Ferghana, and there are indications that from Alexandria Eschate the Greco-Bactrians may have led expeditions as far as Kashgar and Ürümqi in Chinese Turkestan, leading to the first known contacts between China and the West around 220 BC. The Greek historian Strabo too writes that:

they extended their empire even as far as the Seres (Chinese) and the Phryni
(Strabo, XI.XI.I)[40]

Several statuettes and representations of Greek soldiers have been found north of the Tien Shan, on the doorstep to China, and are today on display in the Xinjiang museum at Urumqi (Boardman[46]).

Greek influences on Chinese art have also been suggested (Hirth, Rostovtzeff). Designs with rosette flowers, geometric lines, and glass inlays, suggestive of Hellenistic influences,[47] can be found on some early Han dynasty bronze mirrors.[48]

Numismatics also suggest that some technology exchanges may have occurred on these occasions: the Greco-Bactrians were the first in the world to issue cupro-nickel (75/25 ratio) coins,[49] an alloy technology only known by the Chinese at the time under the name "White copper" (some weapons from the Warring States period were in copper-nickel alloy[50]). The practice of exporting Chinese metals, in particular iron, for trade is attested around that period. Kings Euthydemus, Euthydemus II, Agathocles and Pantaleon made these coin issues around 170 BC and it has alternatively been suggested that a nickeliferous copper ore was the source from mines at Anarak.[51] Copper-nickel would not be used again in coinage until the 19th century.

The presence of Chinese people in the Indian subcontinent from ancient times is also suggested by the accounts of the "Ciñas" in the Mahabharata and the Manu Smriti.

The Han Dynasty explorer and ambassador Zhang Qian visited Bactria in 126 BC, and reported the presence of Chinese products in the Bactrian markets:

"When I was in Bactria (Daxia)", Zhang Qian reported, "I saw bamboo canes from Qiong and cloth made in the province of Shu (territories of southwestern China). When I asked the people how they had gotten such articles, they replied, "Our merchants go buy them in the markets of Shendu (India)."
(Shiji 123, Sima Qian, trans. Burton Watson)

Upon his return, Zhang Qian informed the Chinese emperor Han Wudi of the level of sophistication of the urban civilizations of Ferghana, Bactria and Parthia, who became interested in developing commercial relationships with them:

The Son of Heaven on hearing all this reasoned thus: Ferghana (Dayuan) and the possessions of Bactria (Daxia) and Parthia (Anxi) are large countries, full of rare things, with a population living in fixed abodes and given to occupations somewhat identical with those of the Chinese people, and placing great value on the rich produce of China
(Hanshu, Former Han History)

A number of Chinese envoys were then sent to Central Asia, triggering the development of the Silk Road from the end of the 2nd century BC.[52]

The Indian emperor Chandragupta, founder of the Mauryan dynasty, had re-conquered northwestern India upon the death of Alexander the Great around 322 BC. However, contacts were kept with his Greek neighbours in the Seleucid Empire, a dynastic alliance or the recognition of intermarriage between Greeks and Indians were established (described as an agreement on Epigamia in Ancient sources), and several Greeks, such as the historian Megasthenes, resided at the Mauryan court. Subsequently, each Mauryan emperor had a Greek ambassador at his court.

Chandragupta's grandson Ashoka converted to the Buddhist faith and became a great proselytizer in the line of the traditional Pali canon of Theravada Buddhism, directing his efforts towards the Indian and the Hellenistic worlds from around 250 BC. According to the Edicts of Ashoka, set in stone, some of them written in Greek, he sent Buddhist emissaries to the Greek lands in Asia and as far as the Mediterranean. The edicts name each of the rulers of the Hellenistic world at the time.

The conquest by Dharma has been won here, on the borders, and even six hundred yojanas (4,000 miles) away, where the Greek king Antiochos rules, beyond there where the four kings named Ptolemy, Antigonos, Magas and Alexander rule, likewise in the south among the Cholas, the Pandyas, and as far as Tamraparni.
(Edicts of Ashoka, 13th Rock Edict, S. Dhammika)

Some of the Greek populations that had remained in northwestern India apparently converted to Buddhism:

Here in the king's domain among the Greeks, the Kambojas, the Nabhakas, the Nabhapamkits, the Bhojas, the Pitinikas, the Andhras and the Palidas, everywhere people are following Beloved-of-the-Gods' instructions in Dharma.
(Edicts of Ashoka, 13th Rock Edict, S. Dhammika)

Furthermore, according to Pali sources, some of Ashoka's emissaries were Greek Buddhist monks, indicating close religious exchanges between the two cultures:

When the thera (elder) Moggaliputta, the illuminator of the religion of the Conqueror (Ashoka), had brought the (third) council to an end… he sent forth theras, one here and one there: …and to Aparantaka (the "Western countries" corresponding to Gujarat and Sindh) he sent the Greek (Yona) named Dhammarakkhita... and the thera Maharakkhita he sent into the country of the Yona.
(Mahavamsa XII)

Greco-Bactrians probably received these Buddhist emissaries (At least Maharakkhita, lit. "The Great Saved One", who was "sent to the country of the Yona") and somehow tolerated the Buddhist faith, although little proof remains. In the 2nd century AD, the Christian dogmatist Clement of Alexandria recognized the existence of Buddhist Sramanas among the Bactrians ("Bactrians" meaning "Oriental Greeks" in that period), and even their influence on Greek thought:

Thus philosophy, a thing of the highest utility, flourished in antiquity among the barbarians, shedding its light over the nations. And afterwards it came to Greece. First in its ranks were the prophets of the Egyptians; and the Chaldeans among the Assyrians; and the Druids among the Gauls; and the Sramanas among the Bactrians ("Σαρμαναίοι Βάκτρων"); and the philosophers of the Celts; and the Magi of the Persians, who foretold the Saviour's birth, and came into the land of Judea guided by a star. The Indian gymnosophists are also in the number, and the other barbarian philosophers. And of these there are two classes, some of them called Sramanas ("Σαρμάναι"), and others Brahmins ("Βραφμαναι").
Clement of Alexandria, "The Stromata, or Miscellanies" Book I, Chapter XV[53]

Rise of the Shungas (185 BC)

Main article: Shunga Empire

In India, the Maurya Dynasty was overthrown around 185 BC when Pushyamitra Shunga, the commander-in-chief of Mauryan Imperial forces and a Brahmin, assassinated the last of the Mauryan emperors Brihadratha.[54][55] Pushyamitra Shunga then ascended the throne and established the Shunga Empire, which extended its control as far west as the Punjab.

Buddhist sources, such as the Ashokavadana, mention that Pushyamitra was hostile towards Buddhists and allegedly persecuted the Buddhist faith. A large number of Buddhist monasteries (viharas) were allegedly converted to Hindu temples, in such places as Nalanda, Bodhgaya, Sarnath or Mathura. While it is established by secular sources that Hinduism and Buddhism were in competition during this time, with the Shungas preferring the former to the latter, historians such as Etienne Lamotte[56] and Romila Thapar[57] argue that Buddhist accounts of persecution of Buddhists by Shungas are largely exaggerated.

History of the Indo-Greek kingdom

Nature and quality of the sources

Apollodotus I (180–160 BC) the first king who ruled in the subcontinent only, and therefore the founder of the proper Indo-Greek kingdom.[58]
Main article: Indo-Greeks (sources)

Some narrative history has survived for most of the Hellenistic world, at least of the kings and the wars;[59] this is lacking for India. The main Greco-Roman source on the Indo-Greeks is Justin, who wrote an anthology drawn from the Roman historian Pompeius Trogus, who in turn wrote, from Greek sources, at the time of Augustus Caesar.[60] Justin tells the parts of Trogus' history he finds particularly interesting at some length; he connects them by short and simplified summaries of the rest of the material. In the process he has left 85% to 90% of Trogus out; and his summaries are held together by phrases like "meanwhile" (eodem tempore) and "thereafter" (deinde), which he uses very loosely. Where Justin covers periods for which there are other and better sources, he has occasionally made provable mistakes. As Develin, the recent annotator of Justin, and Tarn both point out, Justin is not trying to write history in our sense of the word; he is collecting instructive moral anecdotes.[61] Justin does find the customs and growth of the Parthians, which were covered in Trogus' 41st book, quite interesting, and discusses them at length; in the process, he mentions four of the kings of Bactria and one Greek king of India.[62]

Indo-Greek Kingdom and neighbouring rival kingdoms in 100 BC.

In addition to these dozen sentences, the geographer Strabo mentions India a few times in the course of his long dispute with Eratosthenes about the shape of Eurasia. Most of these are purely geographical claims, but he does mention that Eratosthenes' sources say that some of the Greek kings conquered further than Alexander; Strabo does not believe them on this, but modern historians do; nor does he believe that Menander and Demetrius son of Euthydemus conquered more tribes than Alexander[63] There is half a story about Menander in one of the books of Polybius which has not come down to us intact.[64]

There are Indian literary sources, ranging from the Milinda Panha, a dialogue between a Buddhist sage Nagasena and King Menander I, which includes some incidental information on Menander's biography and the geography and institutions of his kingdom, down to a sentence about Menander (presumably the same Menander) and his attack on Pataliputra which happens to have survived as a standard example in grammar texts; none is a narrative history. Names in these sources are consistently Indianized, and there is some dispute whether, for example, Dharmamitra represents "Demetrius" or is an Indian prince with that name. There was also a Chinese expedition to Bactria by Chang-k'ien under the Emperor Wu of Han, recorded in the Records of the Grand Historian and Book of the Former Han, with additional evidence in the Book of the Later Han; the identification of places and peoples behind transcriptions into Chinese is difficult, and several alternate interpretations have been proposed.[65]

There is also significant archaeological evidence, including some epigraphic evidence, for the Indo-Greek kings, such as the mention of the "Yavana" embassy of king Antialcidas on the Heliodorus pillar in Vidisha,[66] primarily in Indic languages, which has the same problems with names as the Indic literary evidence. But the chief archaeological evidence is the coins.

There are coin finds of several dozen Indo-Greek rulers in India; exactly how many is complicated to determine, because the Greeks did not number their kings, and the eastern Greeks did not date their coins. For example, there are a substantial number of coin finds for a King Demetrius, but authors have postulated one, two, or three Demetriuses, and the same coins have been identified by different enquirers as describing Demetrius I, Demetrius II, or Demetrius III.[67] The following deductions have been made from coins, in addition to mere existence:

All of these arguments are arguments of probability, and have exceptions; one of Menander's coins was found in Wales.

The exact time and progression of the Bactrian expansion into India is difficult to ascertain, but ancient authors name Demetrius, Apollodotus, and Menander as conquerors.[68]


The founder of the Indo-Greek Kingdom Demetrius I (c. 205– c. 170 BC), wearing the scalp of an elephant, symbol of his conquests in India.[69]

Demetrius I was the son of Euthydemus I of Bactria; there is an inscription from his father's reign already officially hailing him as victorious. He also has one of the few absolute dates in Indo-Greek history: after his father held off Antiochus III for two years, 208–6 BC, the peace treaty included the offer of a marriage between Demetrius and Antiochus' daughter.[70] Coins of Demetrius I have been found in Arachosia and in the Kabul Valley; the latter would be the first entry of the Greeks into India, as they defined it. There is also literary evidence for a campaign eastward against the Seres and the Phryni; but the order and dating of these conquests is uncertain.[71] Demetrius I seems to have conquered the Kabul valley, Arachosia and perhaps Gandhara;[72] he struck no Indian coins, so either his conquests did not penetrate that far into India or he died before he could consolidate them. On his coins, Demetrius I always carries the elephant-helmet worn by Alexander, which seems to be a token of his Indian conquests.[73] Bopearachchi believes that Demetrius received the title of "King of India" following his victories south of the Hindu Kush.[74] He was also given, though perhaps only posthumously, the title ανικητος ("Anicetos", lit. Invincible) a cult title of Heracles, which Alexander had assumed; the later Indo-Greek kings Lysias, Philoxenus, and Artemidorus also took it.[75] Finally, Demetrius may have been the founder of a newly discovered Greek Era, starting in 186/5 BC.[76]

After Demetrius I

After the death of Demetrius, the Bactrian kings Pantaleon and Agathocles struck the first bilingual coins with Indian inscriptions found as far east as Taxila[77] so in their time (c. 185–170 BC) the Bactrian kingdom seems to have included Gandhara.[78] Several Bactrian kings followed after Demetrius' death, and it seems likely that the civil wars between them made it possible for Apollodotus I (from c. 180/175 BC) to make himself independent as the first proper Indo-Greek king (who did not rule from Bactria). Large numbers of his coins have been found in India, and he seems to have reigned in Gandhara as well as western Punjab. Apollodotus I was succeeded by or ruled alongside Antimachus II, likely the son of the Bactrian king Antimachus I.[79]


Menander I (155–130 BC) is one of the few Indo-Greek kings mentioned in both Graeco-Roman and Indian sources.

The next important Indo-Greek king was Menander (from c. 165/155 BC) whose has been described as the greatest of the Indo-Greek Kings,[80] his coins are frequently found even in eastern Punjab. Menander seems to have begun a second wave of conquests, and since he already ruled in India, it seems likely that the easternmost conquests were made by him.[81] Thus from 161 B.C. onwards Menander was the ruler of Punjab until his death in 130 B.C.[82][83] Menander made Sagala his capital after conquering the Punjab region he subsequently travelled across northern India and visited the Maurayan capital of Patna. Any plans of conquering the capital were put aside as Eucratides I king of the Greco-Bactrian Kingdom began warring with the Indo-Greeks in the north western frontier.[84]

According to Apollodorus of Artemita, quoted by Strabo, the Indo-Greek territory for a while included the Indian coastal provinces of Sindh and possibly Gujarat.[85] With archaeological methods, the Indo-Greek territory can however only be confirmed from the Kabul Valley to the eastern Punjab, so Greek presence outside was probably short-lived or less significant.

Some sources also claim that the Indo-Greeks may have reached the Shunga capital Pataliputra in northeastern India.[86] However, the nature of this expedition is a matter of controversy. One theory is that Indo-Greeks were invited to join a raid led by local Indian kings down the Ganges river. The other is that it was a campaign likely made by Menander. Irrespective it appears that Pataliputra, if at all captured, was not held for long as the expedition was forced to retreat, probably due to wars in their own territories.[87] Menander's reign saw the end of the Indo-Greek expansion.

An Indo-Greek stone palette showing Poseidon with attendants. He wears a chiton tunic, a chlamys cape, and boots. 2nd–1st century BC, Gandhara, Ancient Orient Museum.

The first conquests

Greek presence in Arachosia, where Greek populations had been living since before the acquisition of the territory by Chandragupta from Seleucus, is mentioned by Isidore of Charax. He describes Greek cities there, one of them called Demetrias, probably in honour of the conqueror Demetrius.[88]

Apollodotus I (and Menander I) were mentioned by Pompejus Trogus as important Indo-Greek kings.[89] It is theorized that Greek advances temporarily went as far as the Shunga capital Pataliputra (today Patna) in eastern India. Senior considers that these conquests can only refer to Menander:[90] Against this, John Mitchener considers that the Greeks probably raided the Indian capital of Pataliputra during the time of Demetrius,[91] though Mitchener's analysis is not based on numismatic evidence.

Of the eastern parts of India, then, there have become known to us all those parts which lie this side of the Hypanis, and also any parts beyond the Hypanis of which an account has been added by those who, after Alexander, advanced beyond the Hypanis, to the Ganges and Pataliputra.
Strabo, 15-1-27[92]

The seriousness of the attack is in some doubt: Menander may merely have joined a raid led by Indian Kings down the Ganges,[93] as Indo-Greek presence has not been confirmed this far east.

To the south, the Greeks may have occupied the areas of the Sindh and Gujarat, including the strategic harbour of Barygaza (Bharuch),[94] conquests also attested by coins dating from the Indo-Greek ruler Apollodotus I and by several ancient writers (Strabo 11; Periplus of the Erythraean Sea, Chap. 41/47):[95]

The Greeks... took possession, not only of Patalene, but also, on the rest of the coast, of what is called the kingdom of Saraostus and Sigerdis.
Strabo 11.11.1[96]
Menander I became the most important of the Indo-Greek rulers.[97] Eucratides I toppled the Greco-Bactrian Euthydemid dynasty, and attacked the Indo-Greeks from the west.

Narain however dismisses the account of the Periplus as "just a sailor's story", and holds that coin finds are not necessarily indicators of occupation.[98] Coin hoards suggest that in Central India, the area of Malwa may also have been conquered.[99]

Indian sources

Various Indian records describe Yavana attacks on Mathura, Panchala, Saketa, and Pataliputra. The term Yavana is thought to be a transliteration of "Ionians" and is known to have designated Hellenistic Greeks (starting with the Edicts of Ashoka, where Ashoka writes about "the Yavana king Antiochus"),[100] but may have sometimes referred to other foreigners as well after the 1st century AD.[101]

Patanjali, a grammarian and commentator on Pāṇini around 150 BC, describes in the Mahābhāsya, the invasion in two examples using the imperfect tense of Sanskrit, denoting a recent event:[102][103]

Also the Brahmanical text of the Yuga Purana, which describes Indian historical events in the form of a prophecy, but is thought to be likely historical,[104][105][106] relates the attack of the Indo-Greeks on the capital Pataliputra,[107] a magnificent fortified city with 570 towers and 64 gates according to Megasthenes,[108] and describes the ultimate destruction of the city's walls:[109]

Then, after having approached Saketa together with the Panchalas and the Mathuras, the Yavanas, valiant in battle, will reach Kusumadhvaja ("The town of the flower-standard", Pataliputra). Then, once Puspapura (another name of Pataliputra) has been reached and its celebrated mud-walls cast down, all the realm will be in disorder.
Yuga Purana, Paragraph 47–48, quoted in Mitchener, The Yuga Purana, 2002 edition[110]

According to the Yuga Purana, the Yavanas thereafter retreated following internal conflicts:

"The Yavanas (Greeks) will command, the Kings will disappear. (But ultimately) the Yavanas, intoxicated with fighting, will not stay in Madhadesa (the Middle Country); there will be undoubtedly a civil war among them, arising in their own country (Bactria), there will be a terrible and ferocious war." (Gargi-Samhita, Yuga Purana chapter, No7).[110]

Earlier authors such as Tarn have suggested that the raid on Pataliputra was made by Demetrius.[111] According to Mitchener, the Hathigumpha inscription indicates the presence of the Greeks led by a "Demetrius" in eastern India (Magadha) during the 1st century BC,[112] although this interpretation was previously disputed by Narain.[113]

"Then in the eighth year, (Kharavela) with a large army having sacked Goradhagiri causes pressure on Rajagaha (Rajagriha). On account of the loud report of this act of valour, the Yavana (Greek) King Dimi[ta] retreated to Mathura having extricated his demoralized army." Hathigumpha inscription, line 8, probably in the 1st century BCE. Original text is in Brahmi script.[114]

But while this inscription may be interpreted as an indication that Demetrius I was the king who made conquests in Punjab, it is still true that he never issued any Indian coins, and the restoration of his name in Kharosthi on the Hathigumpha inscription: Di-Mi-Ta, has been doubted.[115] The "Di" is a reconstruction, and it may be noted that the name of another Indo-Greek king, Amyntas, is spelt A-Mi-Ta in Kharosthi and may fit in.

Therefore, Menander remains the likeliest candidate for any advance east of Punjab.


The important Bactrian king Eucratides seems to have attacked the Indo-Greek kingdom during the mid 2nd century BC. A Demetrius, called "King of the Indians", seems to have confronted Eucratides in a four-month siege, reported by Justin, but he ultimately lost.[116]

In any case, Eucratides seems to have occupied territory as far as the Indus, between ca. 170 BC and 150 BC.[117] His advances were ultimately checked by the Indo-Greek king Menander I,[118]

Menander is considered to have been probably the most successful Indo-Greek king, and the conqueror of the largest territory.[119] The finds of his coins are the most numerous and the most widespread of all the Indo-Greek kings. Menander is also remembered in Buddhist literature, where he is called Milinda, and is described in the Milinda Panha as a convert to Buddhism:[120] he became an arhat[121] whose relics were enshrined in a manner reminiscent of the Buddha.[122][123] He also introduced a new coin type, with Athena Alkidemos ("Protector of the people") on the reverse, which was adopted by most of his successors in the East.[124]

Fall of Bactria and death of Menander

Bilingual silver drachm of Menander I (160–135 BC). With obverse in Greek "BASILEOS SOTĒROS MENANDROY" and reverse in Kharosthi "MAHARAJA TRATASA MENADRASA": "Of The Saviour King Menander". Reverse shows Athena advancing left, with thunderbolt and shield.
Indian-standard coin of Apollodotus I (180–160 BC).

From the mid-2nd century BC, the Scythians and then the Yuezhi, following a long migration from the border of China, started to invade Bactria from the north.[125] Around 130 BC the last Greco-Bactrian king Heliocles was probably killed during the invasion and the Greco-Bactrian kingdom proper ceased to exist. The Parthians also probably played a role in the downfall of the Bactrian kingdom.

The Indo-Greek states, shielded by the Hindu Kush range, were saved from the invasions, but the civil wars which had weakened the Greeks continued. Menander I died around the same time, and even though the king himself seems to have been popular among his subjects, his dynasty was at least partially dethroned (see discussion under Menander I). Probable members of the dynasty of Menander include the ruling queen Agathokleia, her son Strato I, and Nicias, though it is uncertain whether they ruled directly after Menander.[126] Other kings emerged, usually in the western part of the Indo-Greek realm, such as Zoilos I, Lysias, Antialcidas and Philoxenos.[127] These rulers may have been relatives of either the Eucratid or the Euthydemid dynasties. The names of later kings were often new (members of Hellenistic dynasties usually inherited family names) but old reverses and titles were frequently repeated by the later rulers.

While all Indo-Greek kings after Apollodotus I mainly issued bilingual (Greek and Kharoshti) coins for circulation in their own territories, several of them also struck rare Greek coins which have been found in Bactria. The later kings probably struck these coins as some kind of payment to the Scythian or Yuezhi tribes who now ruled there, though if as tribute or payment for mercenaries remains unknown.[128] For some decades after the Bactrian invasion, relationships seem to have been peaceful between the Indo-Greeks and these relatively hellenised nomad tribes.

There are however no historical recordings of events in the Indo-Greek kingdom after Menander's death around 130 BC, since the Indo-Greeks had now become very isolated from the rest of the Graeco-Roman world. The later history of the Indo-Greek states, which lasted to around the shift BC/AD, is reconstructed almost entirely from archaeological and numismatical analyses.[129]

Later history

Throughout the 1st century BC, the Indo-Greeks progressively lost ground to the Indians in the east, and the Scythians, the Yuezhi, and the Parthians in the West. About 20 Indo-Greek kings are known during this period,[130] down to the last known Indo-Greek ruler, a king named Strato II, who ruled in the Punjab region until around 55 BC.[131] Other sources, however, place the end of Strato II's reign as late as 10 AD – see below in the list of coins.

Loss of Eastern territories (circa 100 BC)

The Indo-Greeks may have ruled as far as the area of Mathura until the 1st century BC: the Maghera inscription, from a village near Mathura, records the dedication of a well "in the one hundred and sixteenth year of the reign of the Yavanas", which could be as late as 70 BC.[132] Soon however Indian kings recovered the area of Mathura and south-eastern Punjab (modern day Southern Haryana), west of the Yamuna River, and started to mint their own coins. The Arjunayanas (area of Mathura) and Yaudheyas mention military victories on their coins ("Victory of the Arjunayanas", "Victory of the Yaudheyas"). During the 1st century BC, the Trigartas, Audumbaras[133] and finally the Kunindas[134] also started to mint their own coins, usually in a style highly reminiscent of Indo-Greek coinage.[135][136][137][138]

Coin of Philoxenus (c. 100 BC), unarmed, making a blessing gesture with the right hand.

The Western king Philoxenus briefly occupied the whole remaining Greek territory from the Paropamisadae to Western Punjab between 100 and 95 BC, after what the territories fragmented again. The western kings regained their territory as far west as Arachosia, and eastern kings continued to rule on and off until the beginning of our era.

Scythian invasions (80 BC-20 AD)

Main article: Indo-Scythians
Tetradrachm of Hippostratos, reigned circa 65–55 BC.
Silver coin of the Indo-Scythian king Azes II (r. c. 35–12 BC).

Around 80 BC, an Indo-Scythian king named Maues, possibly a general in the service of the Indo-Greeks, ruled for a few years in northwestern India before the Indo-Greeks again took control. He seems to have been married to an Indo-Greek princess.[139] King Hippostratus (65–55 BC) seems to have been one of the most successful subsequent Indo-Greek kings until he lost to the Indo-Scythian Azes I, who established an Indo-Scythian dynasty.[140] Various coins seem to suggest that some sort of alliance may have taken place between the Indo-Greeks and the Scythians.[141]

Although the Indo-Scythians clearly ruled militarily and politically, they remained surprisingly respectful of Greek and Indian cultures. Their coins were minted in Greek mints, continued using proper Greek and Kharoshthi legends, and incorporated depictions of Greek deities, particularly Zeus.[142] The Mathura lion capital inscription attests that they adopted the Buddhist faith, as do the depictions of deities forming the vitarka mudra on their coins. Greek communities, far from being exterminated, probably persisted under Indo-Scythian rule. There is a possibility that a fusion, rather than a confrontation, occurred between the Greeks and the Indo-Scythians: in a recently published coin, Artemidorus presents himself as "son of Maues",[143] and the Buner reliefs show Indo-Greeks and Indo-Scythians reveling in a Buddhist context.

The Indo-Greeks continued to rule a territory in the eastern Punjab, until the kingdom of the last Indo-Greek king Strato was taken over by the Indo-Scythian ruler Rajuvula around 10 AD.[144]

Western Yuezhi or Saka expansion (70 BC-)

Main article: Yuezhi

Around eight "western" Indo-Greek kings are known; most of them are distinguished by their issues of Attic coins for circulation in the neighbouring region.

One of the last important kings in the Paropamisadae was Hermaeus, who ruled until around 80 BC; soon after his death the Yuezhi or Sakas took over his areas from neighbouring Bactria. When Hermaeus is depicted on his coins riding a horse, he is equipped with the recurve bow and bow-case of the steppes and RC Senior believes him to be of partly nomad origin. The later king Hippostratus may however also have held territories in the Paropamisadae.

After the death of Hermaeus, the Yuezhi or Saka nomads became the new rulers of the Paropamisadae, and minted vast quantities of posthumous issues of Hermaeus up to around 40 AD, when they blend with the coinage of the Kushan king Kujula Kadphises.[145] The first documented Yuezhi prince, Sapadbizes, ruled around 20 BC, and minted in Greek and in the same style as the western Indo-Greek kings, probably depending on Greek mints and celators.

The last known mention of an Indo-Greek ruler is suggested by an inscription on a signet ring of the 1st century AD in the name of a king Theodamas, from the Bajaur area of Gandhara, in modern Pakistan. No coins of him are known, but the signet bears in kharoshthi script the inscription "Su Theodamasa", "Su" being explained as the Greek transliteration of the ubiquitous Kushan royal title "Shau" ("Shah", "King").[146]


Silver Drachm of Menander II 90–85 BCE with Zeus enthroned, holding Nike and scepter, and Nike handing a victory wreath over an eight-spoked wheel[147]
Coin of Antialkidas with similar reverse, the wheel being replaced by a baby elephant.
Coin of Nicias, with standing king making a benediction gesture identical to the Buddhist Vitarka mudra.[148]

Buddhism flourished under the Indo-Greek kings, and their rule, especially that of Menander, has been remembered as benevolent. It has been suggested, although direct evidence is lacking, that their invasion of India was intended to show their support for the Mauryan empire which may have had a long history of marital alliances,[149] exchange of presents,[150] demonstrations of friendship,[151] exchange of ambassadors[152] and religious missions[153] with the Greeks. The historian Diodorus even wrote that the king of Pataliputra had "great love for the Greeks".[154][155]

The Greek expansion into Indian territory may have been intended to protect Greek populations in India,[156] and to protect the Buddhist faith from the religious persecutions of the Shungas.[157] The city of Sirkap founded by Demetrius combines Greek and Indian influences without signs of segregation between the two cultures.

The first Greek coins to be minted in India, those of Menander I and Apollodotus I bear the mention "Saviour king" (ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ ΣΩΤΗΡΟΣ), a title with high value in the Greek world which indicated an important deflective victory. For instance, Ptolemy I had been Soter (saviour) because he had helped save Rhodes from Demetrius the Besieger, and Antiochus I because he had saved Asia Minor from the Gauls. The title was also inscribed in Pali as ("Tratarasa") on the reverse of their coins. Menander and Apollodotus may indeed have been saviours to the Greek populations residing in India, and to some of the Indians as well.[158]

Also, most of the coins of the Greek kings in India were bilingual, written in Greek on the front and in Pali on the back (in the Kharosthi script, derived from Aramaic, rather than the more eastern Brahmi, which was used only once on coins of Agathocles of Bactria), a tremendous concession to another culture never before made in the Hellenic world.[159] From the reign of Apollodotus II, around 80 BC, Kharosthi letters started to be used as mintmarks on coins in combination with Greek monograms and mintmarks, suggesting the participation of local technicians to the minting process.[160] Incidentally, these bilingual coins of the Indo-Greeks were the key in the decipherment of the Kharoshthi script by James Prinsep (1799–1840).[161] Kharoshthi became extinct around the 3rd century AD.

In Indian literature, the Indo-Greeks are described as Yavanas (in Sanskrit),[162][163][164] or Yonas (in Pali)[165] both thought to be transliterations of "Ionians". In the Harivamsa the "Yavana" Indo-Greeks are qualified, together with the Sakas, Kambojas, Pahlavas and Paradas as Kshatriya-pungava i.e. foremost among the Warrior caste, or Kshatriyas. The Majjhima Nikaya explains that in the lands of the Yavanas and Kambojas, in contrast with the numerous Indian castes, there were only two classes of people, Aryas and Dasas (masters and slaves).


See also: Greco-Buddhism
Hellenistic temple with Ionic columns at Jandial near Sirkap, Taxila.
Indian-standard coinage of Menander I with an eight-spoked wheel and a palm of victory on the reverse (British Museum).
Evolution of the Butkara stupa, a large part of which occurred during the Indo-Greek period, through the addition of Hellenistic architectural elements.[166]
Foreigners on the Northern Gateway of Stupa I at Sanchi.

In addition to the worship of the Classical pantheon of the Greek deities found on their coins (Zeus, Herakles, Athena, Apollo...), the Indo-Greeks were involved with local faiths, particularly with Buddhism, but also with Hinduism and Zoroastrianism.[167]

After the Greco-Bactrians militarily occupied parts of northern India from around 180 BC, numerous instances of interaction between Greeks and Buddhism are recorded. Menander I, the "Saviour king", seems to have converted to Buddhism,[168] and is described as a great benefactor of the religion, on a par with Ashoka or the future Kushan emperor Kanishka.[169] The wheel he represented on some of his coins was probably Buddhist,[170] and he is famous for his dialogues with the Buddhist monk Nagasena, transmitted to us in the Milinda Panha, which explain that he became a Buddhist arhat:

And afterwards, taking delight in the wisdom of the Elder, he (Menander) handed over his kingdom to his son, and abandoning the household life for the house-less state, grew great in insight, and himself attained to Arahatship!
The Questions of King Milinda, Translation by T. W. Rhys Davids.

Another Indian text, the Stupavadana of Ksemendra, mentions in the form of a prophecy that Menander will build a stupa in Pataliputra.[171]

Plutarch also presents Menander as an example of benevolent rule, and explains that upon his death, the honour of sharing his remains was claimed by the various cities under his rule, and they were enshrined in "monuments" (μνημεία, probably stupas), in a parallel with the historic Buddha:[172]

But when one Menander, who had reigned graciously over the Bactrians, died afterwards in the camp, the cities indeed by common consent celebrated his funerals; but coming to a contest about his relics, they were difficultly at last brought to this agreement, that his ashes being distributed, everyone should carry away an equal share, and they should all erect monuments to him.
Plutarch, "Political Precepts" Praec. reip. ger. 28, 6).[173]

The Butkara stupa was "monumentalized" by the addition of Hellenistic architectural decorations during Indo-Greek rule in the 2nd century BC.[166]

One frieze of Sanchi, dated to the 2nd century BC during the Satavahana period, also shows devotees in Greek attire and activities. The men are depicted with short curly hair, often held together with a headband of the type commonly seen on Greek coins. The clothing too is Greek, complete with tunics, capes and sandals. The musical instruments are also quite characteristic, such as the double flute called aulos. Also visible are Carnyx-like horns. They are all celebrating at the entrance of the stupa. These men would probably be nearby Indo-Greeks.[174]

"Followers of the Dharma"

Coin of Menander II (90–85 BCE). "King Menander, follower of the Dharma" in Kharoshthi script, with Zeus holding Nike, who holds a victory wreath over an Eight-spoked wheel.

Several Indo-Greek kings use the title "Dharmikasa", ie "Follower of the Dharma", in the Kharoshti script on the obverse of their coins. The corresponding legend in Greek is "Dikaios" ("The Just"), a rather usual attribute on Greek coins. The expression "Follower of the Dharma" would of course resonate strongly with Indian subjects, used to this expression being employed by pious kings, especially since the time of Ashoka who advocated the Dharma in his inscriptions. The six kings using "Dharmakasa", ie "Follower of the Dharma", are late Indo-Greek kings, from around 150 BCE: Zoilos I (130–120 BCE), Strato (130–110 BCE), Heliokles II (95–80 BCE), Menander II (90–85 BCE), Archebios (90–80 BCE) and Peukolaos (c. 90 BCE).[175]

Blessing gestures

From the time of Agathokleia and Strato I, circa 100 BCE, kings and divinities are regularly show on coins making blessing gestures,[176] which often seem similar to the Buddhist Vitarka mudra.[177] As centuries past, the exact shapes taken by the hand becomes less clear. This blessing gesture was also often adopted by the Indo-Scythians.


Greek Buddhist devotees, holding plantain leaves, in purely Hellenistic style, inside Corinthian columns, Buner relief, Victoria and Albert Museum.

In general, the art of the Indo-Greeks is poorly documented, and few works of art (apart from their coins and a few stone palettes) are directly attributed to them. The coinage of the Indo-Greeks however is generally considered as some of the most artistically brilliant of Antiquity.[178] The Hellenistic heritage (Ai-Khanoum) and artistic proficiency of the Indo-Greek world would suggest a rich sculptural tradition as well, but traditionally very few sculptural remains have been attributed to them. On the contrary, most Gandharan Hellenistic works of art are usually attributed to the direct successors of the Indo-Greeks in India in 1st century AD, such as the nomadic Indo-Scythians, the Indo-Parthians and, in an already decadent state, the Kushans[179] In general, Gandharan sculpture cannot be dated exactly, leaving the exact chronology open to interpretation.

Hellenistic culture in the Indian subcontinent: Greek clothes, amphoras, wine and music (Detail of Chakhil-i-Ghoundi stupa, Hadda, Gandhara, 1st century AD).

The possibility of a direct connection between the Indo-Greeks and Greco-Buddhist art has been reaffirmed recently as the dating of the rule of Indo-Greek kings has been extended to the first decades of the 1st century AD, with the reign of Strato II in the Punjab.[180] Also, Foucher, Tarn, and more recently, Boardman, Bussagli and McEvilley have taken the view that some of the most purely Hellenistic works of northwestern India and Afghanistan, may actually be wrongly attributed to later centuries, and instead belong to a period one or two centuries earlier, to the time of the Indo-Greeks in the 2nd–1st century BC:[181]

Standing Bodhisattva Gandhara at Guimet Museum, Paris, France. Ancient Greeks (Indo-Greeks) may have been the earliest features for the Buddhist culture in India.[182]

This is particularly the case of some purely Hellenistic works in Hadda, Afghanistan, an area which "might indeed be the cradle of incipient Buddhist sculpture in Indo-Greek style".[183] Referring to one of the Buddha triads in Hadda, in which the Buddha is sided by very Classical depictions of Herakles/Vajrapani and Tyche/Hariti, Boardman explains that both figures "might at first (and even second) glance, pass as, say, from Asia Minor or Syria of the first or second century BC (...) these are essentially Greek figures, executed by artists fully conversant with far more than the externals of the Classical style".[184]

Alternatively, it has been suggested that these works of art may have been executed by itinerant Greek artists during the time of maritime contacts with the West from the 1st to the 3rd century AD.[185]

The Greco-Buddhist art of Gandhara, beyond the omnipresence of Greek style and stylistic elements which might be simply considered as an enduring artistic tradition,[186] offers numerous depictions of people in Greek Classical realistic style, attitudes and fashion (clothes such as the chiton and the himation, similar in form and style to the 2nd century BC Greco-Bactrian statues of Ai-Khanoum, hairstyle), holding contraptions which are characteristic of Greek culture (amphoras, "kantaros" Greek drinking cups), in situations which can range from festive (such as Bacchanalian scenes) to Buddhist-devotional.[187][188]

Seated Boddhisatva, Gandhara, 2nd century (Ostasiatisches Museum, Berlin)

Uncertainties in dating make it unclear whether these works of art actually depict Greeks of the period of Indo-Greek rule up to the 1st century BC, or remaining Greek communities under the rule of the Indo-Parthians or Kushans in the 1st and 2nd century AD. Benjamin Rowland thinks that the Indo-Greeks, rather than the Indo-Scythians or the Kushans, may have been the models for the Bodhisattva statues of Gandhara[189]


Very little is known about the economy of the Indo-Greeks, although it seems to have been rather vibrant.[190][191] The abundance of their coins would tend to suggest large mining operations, particularly in the mountainous area of the Hindu-Kush, and an important monetary economy. The Indo-Greek did strike bilingual coins both in the Greek "round" standard and in the Indian "square" standard,[192] suggesting that monetary circulation extended to all parts of society. The adoption of Indo-Greek monetary conventions by neighbouring kingdoms, such as the Kunindas to the east and the Satavahanas to the south,[193] would also suggest that Indo-Greek coins were used extensively for cross-border trade.

Tribute payments

Stone palette depicting a mythological scene, 2nd–1st century BC.

It would also seem that some of the coins emitted by the Indo-Greek kings, particularly those in the monolingual Attic standard, may have been used to pay some form of tribute to the Yuezhi tribes north of the Hindu-Kush.[128] This is indicated by the coins finds of the Qunduz hoard in northern Afghanistan, which have yielded quantities of Indo-Greek coins in the Hellenistic standard (Greek weights, Greek language), although none of the kings represented in the hoard are known to have ruled so far north.[194] Conversely, none of these coins have ever been found south of the Hindu-Kush.[195]

Trade with China

Cupro-nickel coins of king Pantaleon point to a Chinese origin of the metal.[196]

The Indo-Greek kings in Southern Asia issued the first known cupro-nickel coins, with Euthydemus II, dating from 180 to 170 BC, and his younger brothers Pantaleon and Agathocles around 170 BC. As only China was able to produce cupro-nickel at that time, and as the alloy ratios are exclusively similar, it has been suggested that the metal was the result of exchanges between China and Bactria.[196]

An indirect testimony by the Chinese explorer Zhang Qian, who visited Bactria around 128 BC, suggests that intense trade with Southern China was going through northern India. Zhang Qian explains that he found Chinese products in the Bactrian markets, and that they were transiting through northwestern India, which he incidentally describes as a civilization similar to that of Bactria:

"When I was in Bactria", Zhang Qian reported, "I saw bamboo canes from Qiong and cloth (silk?) made in the province of Shu. When I asked the people how they had gotten such articles, they replied: "Our merchants go buy them in the markets of Shendu (northwestern India). Shendu, they told me, lies several thousand li southeast of Bactria. The people cultivate land, and live much like the people of Bactria".
Sima Qian, "Records of the Great Historian", trans. Burton Watson, p. 236.

Recent excavations at the burial site of China's first Emperor Qin Shi Huang, dating back to the 3rd century BCE, also suggest Greek influence in the artworks found there, including in the manufacture of the famous Terracotta army. It is also suggested that Greek artists may have come to China at that time to train local artisans in making sculptures [197][198]

Indian Ocean trade

Maritime relations across the Indian Ocean started in the 3rd century BC, and further developed during the time of the Indo-Greeks together with their territorial expansion along the western coast of India. The first contacts started when the Ptolemies constructed the Red Sea ports of Myos Hormos and Berenike, with destination the Indus delta, the Kathiawar peninsula or Muziris. Around 130 BC, Eudoxus of Cyzicus is reported (Strabo, Geog.  II.3.4)[199] to have made a successful voyage to India and returned with a cargo of perfumes and gemstones. By the time Indo-Greek rule was ending, up to 120 ships were setting sail every year from Myos Hormos to India (Strabo Geog. II.5.12).[200]

Armed forces

Athena in the art of Gandhara

The coins of the Indo-Greeks provide rich clues on their uniforms and weapons. Typical Hellenistic uniforms are depicted, with helmets being either round in the Greco-Bactrian style, or the flat kausia of the Macedonians (coins of Apollodotus I).

Military technology

Their weapons were spears, swords, longbow (on the coins of Agathokleia) and arrows. Interestingly, around 130 BC, the Central Asian recurve bow of the steppes with its gorytos box started to appear for the first time on the coins of Zoilos I, suggesting strong interactions (and apparently an alliance) with nomadic peoples, either the Yuezhi or the Scythians.[201] The recurve bow becomes a standard feature of Indo-Greek horsemen by 90 BC, as seen on some of the coins of Hermaeus.

King Hippostratos riding a horse, circa 100 BCE (coin detail).

Generally, Indo-Greek kings are often represented riding horses, as early as the reign of Antimachus II around 160 BC. The equestrian tradition probably goes back to the Greco-Bactrians, who are said by Polybius to have faced a Seleucid invasion in 210 BC with 10,000 horsemen.[202] Although war elephants are never represented on coins, a harness plate (phalera) dated to the 3–2nd century BC, today in the Hermitage Museum, depicts a helmetted Greek combatant on an Indian war elephant.

The Milinda Panha, in the questions of Nagasena to king Menander, provides a rare glimpse of the military methods of the period:

-(Nagasena) Has it ever happened to you, O king, that rival kings rose up against you as enemies and opponents?
-(Menander) Yes, certainly.
-Then you set to work, I suppose, to have moats dug, and ramparts thrown up, and watch towers erected, and strongholds built, and stores of food collected?
-Not at all. All that had been prepared beforehand.
-Or you had yourself trained in the management of war elephants, and in horsemanship, and in the use of the war chariot, and in archery and fencing?
-Not at all. I had learnt all that before.
-But why?
-With the object of warding off future danger.

(Milinda Panha, Book III, Chap 7)

The Milinda Panha also describes the structure of Menander's army:

Now one day Milinda the king proceeded forth out of the city to pass in review the innumerable host of his mighty army in its fourfold array (of elephants, cavalry, bowmen, and soldiers on foot).
(Milinda Panha, Book I)

Size of Indo-Greek armies

Indo-Greek officer (on a coin of Menander II), circa 90 BC, with a cuirass, lamellar armour for the thighs, and leg protections (cnemids), making a blessing gesture[203]
King Strato I in combat gear, making a blessing gesture, circa 100 BCE.

The armed forces of the Indo-Greeks engaged in important battles with local Indian forces. The ruler of Kalinga, Kharavela, claims in the Hathigumpha inscription that he led a "large army" in the direction of Demetrius' own "army" and "transports", and that he induced him to retreat from Pataliputra to Mathura. The Greek ambassador Megasthenes took special note of the military strength of Kalinga in his Indica in the middle of the 3rd century BC:

The royal city of the Calingae (Kalinga) is called Parthalis. Over their king 60,000 foot-soldiers, 1,000 horsemen, 700 elephants keep watch and ward in "procinct of war."
Megasthenes fragm. LVI. in Plin. Hist. Nat. VI. 21. 8–23. 11.[204]

An account by the Roman writer Justin gives another hint of the size of Indo-Greek armies, which, in the case of the conflict between the Greco-Bactrian Eucratides and the Indo-Greek Demetrius II, he numbers at 60,000 (although they allegedly lost to 300 Greco-Bactrians):

Eucratides led many wars with great courage, and, while weakened by them, was put under siege by Demetrius, king of the Indians. He made numerous sorties, and managed to vanquish 60,000 enemies with 300 soldiers, and thus liberated after four months, he put India under his rule
Justin, XLI,6[205]

These are considerable numbers, as large armies during the Hellenistic period typically numbered between 20,000 and 30,000.[206]

The Indo-Greeks were later confronted by the nomadic tribes from Central Asia (Yuezhi and Scythians). According to Zhang Qian, the Yuezhi represented a considerable force of between 100,000 and 200,000 mounted archer warriors,[207] with customs identical to those of the Xiongnu.

Legacy of the Indo-Greeks

The Indo-Scythian Taxila copper plate uses the Macedonian month of "Panemos" for calendrical purposes (British Museum).[208]

From the 1st century AD, the Greek communities of central Asia and northwestern South Asia lived under the control of the Kushan branch of the Yuezhi, apart from a short-lived invasion of the Indo-Parthian Kingdom.[209] The Kushans founded the Kushan Empire, which was to prosper for several centuries. In the south, the Greeks were under the rule of the Western Kshatrapas. The Kalash tribe of the Chitral Valley claim to be descendants of the Indo-Greeks; although this is disputed.

Hellenistic couple from Taxila (IV)

It is unclear how much longer the Greeks managed to maintain a distinct presence in the Indian sub-continent. The legacy of the Indo-Greeks was felt however for several centuries, from the usage of the Greek language and calendrical methods,[210] to the influences on the numismatics of the Indian subcontinent, traceable down to the period of the Gupta Empire in the 4th century.[211]

The Indo-Greeks may also have had some influence on the religious plane as well, especially in relation to the developing Mahayana Buddhism. Mahayana Buddhism has been described as "the form of Buddhism which (regardless of how Hinduized its later forms became) seems to have originated in the Greco-Buddhist communities of India, through a conflation of the Greek DemocriteanSophisticSkeptical tradition with the rudimentary and unformalized empirical and skeptical elements already present in early Buddhism".[212]

Indo-Greek kings: their coins, territories and chronology

Today 36 Indo-Greek kings are known. Several of them are also recorded in Western and Indian historical sources, but the majority are known through numismatic evidence only. The exact chronology and sequencing of their rule is still a matter of scholarly inquiry, with adjustments regular being made with new analysis and coin finds (overstrikes of one king over another's coins being the most critical element in establishing chronological sequences).

There is an important evolution of coin shape (round to square) and material (from gold to silver to brass) across the territories and the periods, and from Greek type to Indian type over a period of nearly 3 centuries. Also, the quality of coinage illustration decreases down to the 1st century CE. Coinage evolution is an important point of Indo-Greek history, and actually one of the most important since most of these kings are only known by their coins, and their chronology is mainly established by the evolution of the coin types.

The system used here is adapted from Osmund Bopearachchi, supplemented by the views of R C Senior and occasionally other authorities.[213]

Greco-Bactrian and Indo-Greek kings, their coins, territories and chronology
Based on Bopearachchi (1991)[214]
Greco-Bactrian kings Indo-Greek kings
West Bactria East Bactria Paropamisade
Arachosia Gandhara Western Punjab Eastern Punjab
326-325 BCE Campaigns of Alexander the Great in India
312 BCE Creation of the Seleucid Empire
305 BCE Seleucid Empire after Mauryan war
280 BCE Foundation of Ai-Khanoum
255–239 BCE Independence of the
Greco-Bactrian kingdom
Diodotus I
239–223 BCE Diodotus II
230–200 BCE Euthydemus I
200–190 BCE Demetrius I
190-185 BCE Euthydemus II
190–180 BCE Agathocles Pantaleon
185–170 BCE Antimachus I
180–160 BCE Apollodotus I
175–170 BCE Demetrius II
160–155 BCE Antimachus II
170–145 BCE Eucratides
155–130 BCE Yuezhi occupation,
loss of Ai-Khanoum
Eucratides II
Heliocles I
Menander I
130–120 BCE Yuezhi occupation Zoilos I Agathokleia
120–110 BCE Lysias Strato I
110–100 BCE Antialcidas Heliokles II
100 BCE Polyxenos Demetrius III
100–95 BCE Philoxenus
95–90 BCE Diomedes Amyntas Epander
90 BCE Theophilos Peukolaos Thraso
90–85 BCE Nicias Menander II Artemidoros
90–70 BCE Hermaeus Archebius
Yuezhi occupation Maues (Indo-Scythian)
75–70 BCE Telephos Apollodotus II
65–55 BCE Hippostratos Dionysios
55–35 BCE Azes I (Indo-Scythian) Zoilos II
55–35 BCE Apollophanes
25 BCE – 10 CE Strato II and III
Rajuvula (Indo-Scythian)

See also



  1. As in other compounds such as "African-American", the area of origin usually comes first, and the area of arrival comes second, so that "Greco-Indian" is normally a more accurate nomenclature than "Indo-Greek". The latter however has become the general usage, especially since the publication of Narain's book The Indo-Greeks.
  2. Euthydemus I was, according to Polybius 11.34, a Magnesian Greek. His son, Demetrius I, founder of the Indo-Greek kingdom, was therefore of Greek ethnicity at least by his father. A marriage treaty was arranged for the same Demetrius with a daughter of the Seleucid ruler Antiochus III (who had some Persian descent). Polybius 11.34. The ethnicity of later Indo-Greek rulers is less clear ("Notes on Hellenism in Bactria and India". W. W. Tarn. Journal of Hellenic Studies, Vol. 22 (1902), pp. 268–293). For example, Artemidoros (80 BC) may have been of Indo-Scythian ascendency. Some level of inter-marriage may also have occurred, as exemplified by Alexander III of Macedon (who married Roxana of Bactria) or Seleucus (who married Apama).
  3. Mortimer Wheeler Flames over Persepolis (London, 1968). Pp. 112 ff. It is unclear whether the Hellenistic street plan found by Sir John Marshall's excavations dates from the Indo-Greeks or from the Kushans, who would have encountered it in Bactria; Tarn (1951, pp. 137, 179) ascribes the initial move of Taxila to the hill of Sirkap to Demetrius I, but sees this as "not a Greek city but an Indian one"; not a polis or with a Hippodamian plan.
  4. "Menander had his capital in Sagala" Bopearachchi, "Monnaies", p.83. McEvilley supports Tarn on both points, citing Woodcock: "Menander was a Bactrian Greek king of the Euthydemid dynasty. His capital (was) at Sagala (Sialkot) in the Punjab, "in the country of the Yonakas (Greeks)"." McEvilley, p.377. However, "Even if Sagala proves to be Sialkot, it does not seem to be Menander's capital for the Milindapanha states that Menander came down to Sagala to meet Nagasena, just as the Ganges flows to the sea."
  5. "A vast hoard of coins, with a mixture of Greek profiles and Indian symbols, along with interesting sculptures and some monumental remains from Taxila, Sirkap and Sirsukh, point to a rich fusion of Indian and Hellenistic influences", India, the Ancient Past, Burjor Avari, p.130
  6. Ghose, Sanujit (2011). "Cultural links between India and the Greco-Roman world". Ancient History Encyclopedia.
  7. "When the Greeks of Bactria and India lost their kingdom they were not all killed, nor did they return to Greece. They merged with the people of the area and worked for the new masters; contributing considerably to the culture and civilization in southern and central Asia." Narain, "The Indo-Greeks" 2003, p.278
  8. India, the Ancient Past, Burjor Avari, p. 92-93
  9. "To the colonies settled in India, Python, the son of Agenor, was sent." Justin XIII.4
  10. Chandragupta Maurya and His Times, Radhakumud Mookerji, Motilal Banarsidass Publ., 1966, p.26-27
  11. Chandragupta Maurya and His Times, Radhakumud Mookerji, Motilal Banarsidass Publ., 1966, p.27
  12. History Of The Chamar Dynasty, Raj Kumar, Gyan Publishing House, 2008, p.51
  13. "Kusumapura was besieged from every direction by the forces of Parvata and Chandragupta: Shakas, Yavanas, Kiratas, Kambojas, Parasikas, Bahlikas and others, assembled on the advice of Chanakya" in Mudrarakshasa 2. Sanskrit original: "asti tava Shaka-Yavana-Kirata-Kamboja-Parasika-Bahlika parbhutibhih Chankyamatipragrahittaishcha Chandergupta Parvateshvara balairudidhibhiriva parchalitsalilaih samantaad uprudham Kusumpurama". From the French translation, in "Le Ministre et la marque de l'anneau", ISBN 2-7475-5135-0
  14. India, the Ancient Past, Burjor Avari, p. 106-107
  15. "Strabo 15.2.1(9)".
  16. India, the Ancient Past, Burjor Avari, p.108-109
  17. "Three Greek ambassadors are known by name: Megasthenes, ambassador to Chandragupta; Deimachus, ambassador to Chandragupta's son Bindusara; and Dyonisius, whom Ptolemy Philadelphus sent to the court of Ashoka, Bindusara's son", McEvilley, p.367
  18. Classical sources have recorded that following their treaty, Chandragupta and Seleucus exchanged presents, such as when Chandragupta sent various aphrodisiacs to Seleucus: "And Theophrastus says that some contrivances are of wondrous efficacy in such matters as to make people more amorous. And Phylarchus confirms him, by reference to some of the presents which Sandrakottus, the king of the Indians, sent to Seleucus; which were to act like charms in producing a wonderful degree of affection, while some, on the contrary, were to banish love" Athenaeus of Naucratis, "The deipnosophists" Book I, chapter 32 Ath. Deip. I.32. Mentioned in McEvilley, p.367
  19. "The very fact that both Megasthenes and Kautilya refer to a state department run and maintained specifically for the purpose of looking after foreigners, who were mostly Yavanas and Persians, testifies to the impact created by these contacts.", Narain, "The Indo-Greeks", p.363
  20. "It also explains (...) random finds from the Sarnath, Basarth, and Patna regions of terra-cotta pieces of distinctive Hellenistic or with definite Hellenistic motifs and designs", Narain, "The Indo-Greeks" 2003, p. 363
  21. "A minor rock edict, recently discovered at Kandahar, was inscribed in two scripts, Greek and Aramaic", India, the Ancient Past, Burjor Avari, p. 112
  22. "The second Kandahar edict (the purely Greek one) of Ashoka is a part of the "corpus" known as the "Fourteen-Rock-Edicts"" Narain, "The Indo-Greeks" 2003, p.452
  23. "It is also in Kandahar that were found the fragments of a Greek translation of Edicts XII and XIII, as well as the Aramean translation of another edict of Ashoka", Bussagli, p.89
  24. "Within Ashoka's domain Greeks may have had special privileges, perhaps ones established by the terms of the Seleucid alliance. Rock Edict Thirteen indicates the existence of a Greek principality in the northwest of Ashoka's empire -perhaps Kandahar, or Alexandria-of-the-Arachosians- which was not ruled by him and for which he troubled to send Buddhist missionaries and published at least some of his edicts in Greek", McEvilley, p. 368
  25. "Thirteen, the longest and most important of the edicts, contains the claim, seemingly outlandish t first glance, that Ashoka had sent missions to the lands of the Greek monarchs -not only those of Asia, such as the Seleucids, but those back in the Mediterranean also", McEvilley, p.368
  26. "When Ashoka was converted to Buddhism, his first thought was to despatch missionaries to his friends, the Greek monarchs of Egypt, Syria, and Macedonia", Rawlinson, Intercourse between India and the Western world, p.39, quoted in McEvilley, p.368
  27. "In Rock Edict Two Ashoka even claims to have established hospitals for men and beasts in the Hellenistic kingdoms", McEvilley, p. 368
  28. "One of the most famous of these emissaries, Dharmaraksita, who was said to have converted thousands, was a Greek (Mhv.XII.5 and 34)", McEvilley, p.370
  29. "The Mahavamsa tells that "the celebrated Greek teacher Mahadharmaraksita in the second century BC led a delegation of 30,000 monks from Alexandria-of-the-Caucasus (Alexandra-of-the-Yonas, or of-the-Greeks, the Ceylonese text actually says) to the opening of the great Ruanvalli Stupa at Anuradhapura"", McEvilley, p. 370, quoting Woodcock, "The Greeks in India", p.55
  30. Full text of the Mahavamsa Click chapter XII
  31. "The finest of the pillars were executed by Greek or Perso-Greek sculptors; others by local craftsmen, with or without foreign supervision" Marshall, "The Buddhist art of Gandhara", p4
  32. "A number of foreign artisans, such as the Persians or even the Greeks, worked alongside the local craftsmen, and some of their skills were copied with avidity" Burjor Avari, "India, The ancient past", p. 118
  33. "Antiochos III, after having made peace with Euthydemus I after the aborted siege of Bactra, renewed with Sophagasenus the alliance concluded by his ancestor Seleucos I", Bopearachchi, Monnaies, p.52
  34. Polybius (1962) [1889]. "11.39". Histories. Evelyn S. Shuckburgh (translator). Macmillan, Reprint Bloomington.
  35. Polybius; Friedrich Otto Hultsch (1889). The Histories of Polybius. Macmillan and Company. p. 78.
  36. J. D. Lerner, The Impact of Seleucid Decline on the Eastern Iranian Plateau: the Foundations of Arsacid Parthia and Graeco-Bactria, (Stuttgart 1999)
  37. F. L. Holt, Thundering Zeus (Berkeley 1999)
  38. Justin XLI, paragraph 4
  39. Justin XLI, paragraph 1
  40. 1 2 Strabo XI.XI.I
  41. Justin XLI
  42. 1 2 Polybius 11.34
  43. Strabo 11.11.2
  44. Polybius 10.49, Battle of the Arius
  45. Polybius 11.34 Siege of Bactra
  46. On the image of the Greek kneeling warrior: "A bronze figurine of a kneeling warrior, not Greek work, but wearing a version of the Greek Phrygian helmet.. From a burial, said to be of the 4th century BC, just north of the Tien Shan range". Ürümqi Xinjiang Museum. (Boardman "The diffusion of Classical Art in Antiquity")
  47. Notice of the British Museum on the Zhou vase (2005, attached image): "Red earthenware bowl, decorated with a slip and inlaid with glass paste. Eastern Zhou period, 4th–3rd century BC. This bowl was probably intended to copy a more precious and possibly foreign vessel in bronze or even silver. Glass was little used in China. Its popularity at the end of the Eastern Zhou period was probably due to foreign influence."
  48. "The things which China received from the Graeco-Iranian world-the pomegranate and other "Chang-Kien" plants, the heavy equipment of the cataphract, the traces of Greeks influence on Han art (such as) the famous white bronze mirror of the Han period with Graeco-Bactrian designs (...) in the Victoria and Albert Museum" (Tarn, The Greeks in Bactria and India, pp. 363-364)
  49. Copper-Nickel coinage in Greco-Bactria.
  50. Ancient Chinese weapons A halberd of copper-nickel alloy, from the Warring States Period.
  51. A.A. Moss pp317-318 Numismatic Chronicle 1950
  52. C.Michael Hogan, Silk Road, North China, Megalithic Portal, ed. A. Burnham
  53. Clement of Alexandria "The Stromata, or Miscellanies" Book I, Chapter XV
  54. "General Pushyamitra, who is at the origin of the Shunga dynasty. He was supported by the Brahmins and even became the symbol of the Brahmanical turnover against the Buddhism of the Mauryas. The capital was then transferred to Pataliputra (today's Patna)", Bussagli, p.99
  55. Pushyamitra is described as a "senapati" (Commander-in-chief) of Brihadratha in the Puranas
  56. E. Lamotte: History of Indian Buddhism, Institut Orientaliste, Louvain-la-Neuve 1988 (1958), p. 109.
  57. Aśoka and the Decline of the Mauryas by Romila Thapar, Oxford University Press, 1960 p. 200
  58. Jairazbhoy, Rafique Ali (1995). Foreign influence in ancient Indo-Pakistan. Sind Book House. p. 100. ISBN 969-8281-00-2. Apollodotus, founder of the Graeco- Indian kingdom (c. 160 BC).
  59. See Polybius, Arrian, Livy, Cassius Dio, and Diodorus. Justin, who will be discussed shortly, provides a summary of the histories of Hellenistic Macedonia, Egypt, Asia, and Parthia.
  60. For the date of Trogus, see the OCD on "Trogus" and Yardley/Develin, p. 2; since Trogus' father was in charge of Julius Caesar's diplomatic missions before the history was written (Justin 43.5.11), Senior's date in the following quotation is too early: "The Western sources for accounts of Bactrian and Indo-Greek history are: Polybius, a Greek born c.200 BC; Strabo, a Roman who drew on the lost history of Apollodoros of Artemita (c. 130-87 BC), and Justin, who drew on Trogus, a post 87 BC writer", Senior, Indo-Scythian coins IV, p.x; the extent to which Strabo is citing Apollodorus is disputed, beyond the three places he names Apollodorus (and he may have those through Eratosthenes). Polybius speaks of Bactria, not of India.
  61. Justin, Epitome of the Philippic History of Pompeius Trogus translated by J. C. Yardley, notes and introduction by Robert Develin. (Atlanta 1994). The source for these paragraphs, and the next insofar as it is not Justin, is the Introduction pp. 1–11. See also Tarn (1951) p.50.
  62. Justin, 41.4.5, 41.4.8–9, 41.6.1–5, ed. cit.; The names of Theodotus I and II; Eucratides and his unnamed parricidal son; and "Demetrius, king of the Indians" (so Yardley: Indorum rex, Develin's note implies this is Demetrius II, but suggests that Demetrius I and II may be the same person.) Theodotus in Justin's text is clearly an error for Diodotus; the two prefixes both mean "God", no coins support his existence, and Trogus' tables of contents (the so-called prologues) survive (Develin and Yardley, p.284) saying Diodotus; they also include Indicae quoque res additae, gestae per Apollodotum et Menandrum, reges eorum "some Indian matters, namely the achievements of the Indian kings, Apollodotus and Menander.", although Justin does not mention Apollodotus. Tarn, Narain, and Bopearchchi all correct to Diodotus.
  63. Strabo, Geographia 11.11.1 p.516 Casaubon. 15.1.2, p. 686 Casaubon, "tribes" is Jones' version of ethne (Loeb)
  64. For a list of classical testimonia, see Tarn's Index II; but this covers India, Bactria, and several sources for the Hellenstic East as a whole.
  65. Tarn, App. 20; Narain (1957) pp. 136, 156 et alii.
  66. "The Besnagar Garuda pillar inscription witnesses to the presence of the Yavana Heliodorus son of Dion in Vidisa as an envoy from Taxila of king Antialkidas around 140 BC", Mitchener, The Yuga Purana, p.64
  67. Tarn and Narain postulate two Demetriuses; the former thinks the Demetrius Anicetus coins describe Demetrius I, although actually made by Demetrius II; the latter that they are entirely by Demetrius II, and have nothing to do with Demetrius I. Bopearachchi ascribes one more recent find to Agathocles, but depicting Demetrius I; he postulates a much later Demetrius III for the previously known coins; this result is now fairly widely accepted by numismatists. The possibility of one Demetrius is attested by Develin and Brill's New Pauly, "Demetrius [4]"
  68. This reconstruction is adapted mainly from the works of Bopearachchi. Bopearachchi (1991,1998)
  69. Senior, Indo-Scythian coins, p.xii
  70. Polybius 11.34
  71. The first conquests of Demetrius have usually been held to be during his father's lifetime; the difference has been over the actual date. Tarn and Narain agreed on having them begin around 180; Bopearachchi moved this back to 200, and has been followed by much of the more recent literature, but see Brill's New Pauly: Encyclopaedia of the Ancient World (Boston, 2006) "Demetrius" §10, which places the invasion "probably in 184". D.H. MacDowall, "The Role of Demetrius in Arachosia and the Kabul Valley", published in the volume: O. Bopearachchi, Landes (ed), Afghanistan Ancien Carrefour Entre L'Est Et L'Ouest, (Brepols 2005) discusses an inscription dedicated to Euthydemus, "Greatest of all kings" and his son Demetrius, who is not called king but "Victorious" (Kallinikos). This is taken to indicate that Demetrius was his father's general during the first conquests. It is uncertain whether the Kabul valley or Arachosia were conquered first, and whether the latter province was taken from the Seleucids after their defeat by the Romans in 190 BC. Peculiar enough, more coins of Euthydemus I than of Demetrius I have been found in the mentioned provinces. The calendar of the "Yonas" is proven by an inscription giving a triple synchronism to have begun in 186/5 BC; what event is commemorated is itself uncertain. Richard Salomon "The Indo-Greek era of 186/5 B.C. in a Buddhist reliquary inscription", in Afghanistan, Ancien Carrefour cited.
  72. "Demetrius occupied a large part of the Indus delta, Saurashtra and Kutch", Burjor Avari, p.130
  73. "It would be impossible to explain otherwise why in all his portraits Demetrios is crowned with an elephant scalp", Bopearachchi, Monnaies, p.53
  74. "We think that the conquests of these regions south of the Hindu Kush brought to Demetrius I the title of "King of India" given to him by Apollodorus of Artemita." Bopearachchi, p.52
  75. For Heracles, see Lillian B. Lawler "Orchesis Kallinikos" Transactions and Proceedings of the American Philological Association, Vol. 79. (1948), pp. 254–267, p. 262; for Artemidorus, see K. Walton Dobbins "The Commerce of Kapisene and Gandhāra after the Fall of Indo-Greek Rule" Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient, Vol. 14, No. 3. (Dec., 1971), pp. 286–302 (Both JSTOR). Tarn, p.132, argues that Alexander did not assume as a title, but was only hailed by it, but see Peter Green, The Hellenistic Age, p.7; see also Senior, Indo-Scythian coins, p.xii. No undisputed coins of Demetrius I himself use this title, but it is employed on one of the pedigree coins issued by Agathocles, which bear on the reverse the classical profile of Demetrius crowned by the elephant scalp, with the legend DEMETRIOS ANIKETOS, and on the reverse Herakles crowning himself, with the legend "Of king Agathocles" (Boppearachchi, "Monnaies", p.179 and Pl 8). Tarn, The Greeks in Bactria and India, Chap IV.
  76. "It now seems most likely that Demetrios was the founder of the newly discovered Greek Era of 186/5", Senior, Indo-Scythian coins IV
  77. MacDowall, 2004
  78. "The only thing that seems reasonnably sure is that Taxila was part of the domain of Agathocles", Bopearachchi, Monnaies, p.59
  79. Bopearachchi, Monnaies, p.63
  80. "Menander". Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. Retrieved 7 August 2015. Menander, also spelled Minedra or Menadra, Pali Milinda (flourished 160 BCE?–135 BCE?), the greatest of the Indo-Greek kings and the one best known to Western and Indian classical authors. He is believed to have been a patron of the Buddhist religion and the subject of an important Buddhist work, the Milinda-panha ("The Questions of Milinda"). Menander was born in the Caucasus, but the Greek biographer Plutarch calls him a king of Bactria, and the Greek geographer and historian Strabo includes him among the Bactrian Greeks "who conquered more tribes than Alexander [the Great]."
  81. "There is certainly some truth in Apollodorus and Strabo when they attribute to Menander the advances made by the Greeks of Bactria beyond the Hypanis and even as far as the Ganges and Palibothra (...) That the Yavanas advanced even beyond in the east, to the Ganges-Jamuna valley, about the middle of the second century BC is supported by the cumulative evidence provided by Indian sources", Narain, "The Indo-Greeks" p.267.
  82. Ahir, D. C. (1971). Buddhism in the Punjab, Haryana, and Himachal Pradesh. Maha Bodhi Society of India. p. 31. OCLC 1288206. Demetrius died in 166 B.C., and Apollodotus, who was a near relation of the King died in 161 B.C. After his death, Menander carved out a kingdom in the Punjab. Thus from 161 B.C. onward Menander was the ruler of Punjab till his death in 145 B.C. or 130 B.C..
  83. Magill, Frank Northen (2003). Dictionary of World Biography, Volume 1. Taylor & Francis. p. 717. ISBN 9781579580407. MENANDER Born: c. 210 B.C.; probably Kalasi, Afghanistan Died: c. 135 B.C.; probably in northwest India Areas of Achievement: Government and religion Contribution: Menander extended the Greco-Bactrian domains in India more than any other ruler. He became a legendary figure as a great patron of Buddhism in the Pali book the Milindapanha. Early Life – Menander (not to be confused with the more famous Greek dramatist of the same name) was born somewhere in the fertile area to the south of the Paropaisadae or present Hindu Kush Mountains of Afghanistan. The only reference to this location is in the semilegendary Milindapanha (first or second century A.D.), which says that he was born in a village called Kalasi near Alasanda, some two hundred yojanas (about eighteen miles) from the town of Sagala (probably Sialkot in the Punjab). The Alasanda refers to the Alexandria in Afghanistan and not the one in Egypt.
  84. Hazel, John (2013). Who's Who in the Greek World. Routledge. p. 155. ISBN 9781134802241. Menander king in India, known locally as Milinda, born at a village named Kalasi near Alasanda (Alexandria-in-the-Caucasus), and who was himself the son of a king. After conquering the Punjab, where he made Sagala his capital, he made an expedition across northern India and visited Patna, the capital of the Mauraya empire, though he did not succeed in conquering this land as he appears to have been overtaken by wars on the north-west frontier with Eucratides.
  85. "The Greeks... took possession, not only of Patalena, but also, on the rest of the coast, of what is called the kingdom of Saraostus and Sigerdis." Strabo 11.11.1 (Strabo 11.11.1)
  86. The Geography of India: Sacred and Historic Places Educational Britannica Educational p.156
  87. "The combination of textual and numismatic evidence allows to see what was the conflict between Eucratides and Menander. When Menander was engaged in a bloody conquest of the Ganges valley, Eucratides I would have taken advantage of this opportunity to invade his kingdom. This would be the "civil war" mentioned in the Yuga Purana; this would explain that Menander had to stop his conquest of the Ganges valley, and had to return hastily to face the aggressor", Bopearachchi, Monnaies, p.85
  88. In the 1st century BC, the geographer Isidorus of Charax mentions Parthians ruling over Greek populations and cities in Arachosia: "Beyond is Arachosia. And the Parthians call this White India; there are the city of Biyt and the city of Pharsana and the city of Chorochoad and the city of Demetrias; then Alexandropolis, the metropolis of Arachosia; it is Greek, and by it flows the river Arachotus. As far as this place the land is under the rule of the Parthians." "Parthians stations", 1st century BC. Mentioned in Bopearachchi, "Monnaies Greco-Bactriennes et Indo-Grecques", p52. Original text in paragraph 19 of Parthian stations
  89. Pompeius Trogus, Prologue to Book XLI.
  90. "When Strabo mentions that "Those who after Alexander advanced beyond the Hypanis to the Ganges and Polibothra (Pataliputra)" this can only refer to the conquests of Menander.", Senior, Indo-Scythian coins and history, p.XIV
  91. Mitchener, The Yuga Purana, 2000, p.65: "In line with the above discussion, therefore, we may infer that such an event (the incursions to Pataliputra) took place, after the reign of Shalishuka Maurya (c.200 BC) and before that of Pushyamitra Shunga (187 BC). This would accordingly place the Yavana incursions during the reign of the Indo-Greek kings Euthydemus (c.230–190 BC) or Demetrios (c.205-190 as co-regent, and 190–171 BC as supreme ruler".
  92. According to Tarn, the word used for "advance" (Proelonthes) can only mean a military expedition. The word generally means "going forward"; according to the LSJ this can, but need not, imply a military expedition. See LSJ, sub προέρχομαι. Strabo 15-1-27
  93. A.K. Narain and Keay 2000
  94. "Menander became the ruler of a kingdom extending along the coast of western India, including the whole of Saurashtra and the harbour Barukaccha. His territory also included Mathura, the Punjab, Gandhara and the Kabul Valley", Bussagli p101)
  95. Tarn, p.147-149
  96. Strabo on the extent of the conquests of the Greco-Bactrians/Indo-Greeks: "They took possession, not only of Patalena, but also, on the rest of the coast, of what is called the kingdom of Saraostus and Sigerdis. In short, Apollodorus says that Bactriana is the ornament of Ariana as a whole; and, more than that, they extended their empire even as far as the Seres and the Phryni." Strabo 11.11.1 (Strabo 11.11.1)
  97. "Numismats and historians all consider that Menander was one of the greatest, if not the greatest, and the most illustrious of the Indo-Greek kings", Bopearachchi, "Monnaies", p.76
  98. "the account of the Periplus is just a sailor's story", Narain (p.118-119)
  99. "A distinctive series of Indo-Greek coins has been found at several places in central India: including at Dewas, some 22 miles to the east of Ujjain. These therefore add further definite support to the likelihood of an Indo-Greek presence in Malwa" Mitchener, "The Yuga Purana", p.64
  100. "Because the Ionians were either the first ot the most dominant group among the Greeks with whom people in the east came in contact, the Persians called all of them Yauna, and the Indians used Yona and Yavana for them", Narain, The Indo-Greeks, p.249
  101. "The term (Yavana) had a precise meaning until well into the Christian era, when gradually its original meaning was lost and, like the word Mleccha, it degenerated into a general term for a foreigner" Narain, p.18
  102. "Indo-Greek, Indo-Scythian and Indo-Parthian coins in the Smithsonian institution", Bopearachchi, p16.
  103. Tarn, p.145-146
  104. "But the real story of the Indo-Greek invasion becomes clear only on the analysis of the material contained in the historical section of the Gargi Samhita, the Yuga Purana" Narain, p110, The Indo-Greeks. Also "The text of the Yuga Purana, as we have shown, gives an explicit clue to the period and nature of the invasion of Pataliputra in which the Indo-Greeks took part, for it says that the Pancalas and the Mathuras were the other powers who attacked Saketa and destroyed Pataliputra", Narain, p.112
  105. "For any scholar engaged in the study of the presence of the Indo-Greeks or Indo-Scythians before the Christian Era, the Yuga Purana is an important source material" Dilip Coomer Ghose, General Secretary, The Asiatic Society, Kolkata, 2002
  106. "..further weight to the likelihood that this account of a Yavana incursion to Saketa and Pataliputra-in alliance with the Pancalas and the Mathuras- is indeed historical" Mitchener, The Yuga Purana, p. 65.
  107. "The advance of the Greek to Pataliputra is recorded from the Indian side in the Yuga-purana", Tarn, p.145
  108. "The greatest city in India is that which is called Palimbothra, in the dominions of the Prasians ... Megasthenes informs us that this city stretched in the inhabited quarters to an extreme length on each side of eighty stadia, and that its breadth was fifteen stadia, and that a ditch encompassed it all round, which was six hundred feet in breadth and thirty cubits in depth, and that the wall was crowned with 570 towers and had four-and-sixty gates." Arr. Ind. 10. "Of Pataliputra and the Manners of the Indians.", quoting Megasthenes Text Archived December 10, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  109. "The text of the Yuga Purana, as we have shown, gives an explicit clue to the period and nature of the invasion of Pataliputra in which the Indo-Greeks took part, for it says that the Pancalas and the Mathuras were the other powers who attacked Saketa and destroyed Pataliputra", Narain, The Indo-Greeks, p. 112.
  110. 1 2 The Sungas, Kanvas, Republican Kingdoms and Monarchies, Mahameghavahanas, Dilip Kumar Chakrabarti, p.6
  111. Tarn, pp. 132–133.
  112. "The name Dimita is almost certainly an adaptation of "Demetrios", and the inscription thus indicates a Yavana presence in Magadha, probably around the middle of the 1st century BC." Mitchener, The Yuga Purana, p. 65.
  113. "The Hathigumpha inscription seems to have nothing to do with the history of the Indo-Greeks; certainly it has nothing to do with Demetrius I", Narain, The Indo-Greeks, p. 50.
  114. Translation in Epigraphia Indica 1920
  115. P.L.Gupta: Kushâna Coins and History, D.K.Printworld, 1994, p.184, note 5
  116. "Justin refers to an incident in which Eucratides with a small force of 300 was besieged for four months by "Demetrius, king of the Indians" with a large army of 60,000. The numbers are obviously an exaggeration. Eucratides managed to break out and went on to conquer India." It is uncertain who this Demetrius was, and when the siege happened. Some scholars believe that it was Demetrius I."(Demetrius I) was probably the Demetrius who besieged Eucratides for four months", D.W. Mac Dowall, p.201-202, Afghanistan, ancien carrefour entre l'est et l'ouest. This analysis goes against Bopearachchi, who has suggested that Demetrius I died long before Eucratides came to power.
  117. Bopearachchi, p.72
  118. "As Bopearachchi has shown, Menander was able to regroup and take back the territory that Eucratides I had conquered, perhaps after Eucratides had died (1991, pp. 84–6). Bopearachchi demonstrates that the transition in Menander's coin designs were in response to changes introduced by Eucratides".
  119. "Numismats and historians are unanimous in considering that Menander was one of the greatest, if not the greatest, and the most famous of the Indo-Greek kings. The coins to the name of Menander are incomparably more abundant than those of any other Indo-Greek king" Bopearachchi, "Monnaies Gréco-Bactriennes et Indo-Grecques", p. 76.
  120. "Menander, the probable conqueror of Pataliputra, seems to have been a Buddhist, and his name belongs in the list of important royal patrons of Buddhism along with Ashoka and Kanishka", McEvilley, p. 375.
  121. "(In the Milindapanha) Menander is declared an arhat", McEvilley, p. 378.
  122. "Plutarch, who talks of the burial of Menander's relics under monuments or stupas, had obviously read or heard some Buddhist account of the Greek king's death", McEvilley, p. 377.
  123. "The statement of Plutarch that when Menander died "the cities celebrated (...) agreeing that they should divide ashes equally and go away and should erect monuments to him in all their cities", is significant and reminds one of the story of the Buddha", Narain, "The Indo-Greeks" 2003, p. 123, "This is unmistakably Buddhist and recalls the similar situation at the time of the Buddha's passing away", Narain, "The Indo-Greeks" 2003, p. 269.
  124. Bopearachchi, "Monnaies", p. 86.
  125. "By about 130 BC nomadic people from the Jaxartes region had overrun the northern boundary of Bactria itself", McEvilley, p. 372.
  126. Bopearachchi, Monnaies, p.88
  127. Senior, Indo-Scythian coins and history IV, p.xi
  128. 1 2 "P.Bernard thinks that these emissions were destined to commercial exchanges with Bactria, then controlled by the Yuezhi, and were post-Greek coins remained faithful to Greco-Bactrian coinage. In a slightly different perspective (...) G. Le Rider considers that these emission were used to pay tribute to the nomads of the north, who were thus incentivized not to pursue their forays in the direction of the Indo-Greek realm", Bopearachchi, "Monnaies", p.76.
  129. Senior, Indo-Scythian coins and history IV, p.xxxiii
  130. "During the century that followed Menander more than twenty rulers are known to have struck coins", Narain, "The Indo-Greeks" 2003, p.270
  131. Bernard (1994), p. 126.
  132. The Sanskrit inscription reads "Yavanarajyasya sodasuttare varsasate 100 10 6". R.Salomon, "The Indo-Greek era of 186/5 B.C. in a Buddhist reliquary inscription", in "Afghanistan, ancien carrefour entre l'est et l'ouest", p373
  133. "The coinage of the former (the Audumbaras) to whom their trade was of importance, starts somewhere in the first century BC; they occasionally imitate the types of Demetrius and Apollodotus I", Tarn, p. 325.
  134. The Kunindas must have been included in the Greek empire, not only because of their geographical position, but because they started coining at the time which saw the end of Greek rule and the establishment of their independence", Tarn, p. 238.
  135. "Further evidence of the commercial success of the Greek drachms is seen in the fact that they influenced the coinage of the Audumbaras and the Kunindas", Narain The Indo-Greeks, p.114
  136. "The wealthy Audumbaras (...) some of their coins after Greek rule ended imitated Greek types", Tarn, p. 239.
  137. "Most of the people east of the Ravi already noticed as within Menander's empire -Audumbaras, Trigartas, Kunindas, Yaudheyas, Arjunayanas- began to coins in the first century BC, which means that they had become independent kingdoms or republics.", Tarn, p. 324.
  138. "Later, in the first century a ruler of the Kunindas, Amogabhuti, issued a silver coinage "which would compete in the market with the later Indo-Greek silver"", Tarn, p. 325.
  139. "Maues himself issued joint coins with Machene, (...) probably a daughter of one of the Indo-Greek houses" Senior, Indo-Scythians, p.xxxvi
  140. G.K. Jenkins, using overstrikes and monograms, showed that, contrary to what Narai would write two years later, Apollodotus II and Hippostratus were posterior, by far, to Maues. (...) He reveals an overstike if Azes I over Hippostratus. (...) Apollodotus and Hippostratus are thus posterior to Maues and anterior to Azes I, whose era we now starts in 57 BC." Bopearachchi, p.126-127.
  141. "It is curious that on his copper Zoilos used a bow and quiver as a type. A quiver was a badge used by the Parthians (Scythians) and had been used previously by Diodotos, who we know had made a treaty with them. Did Zoilos use Scythian mercenaries in his quest against Menander perhaps?" Senior, Indo-Scythian coins, p.xxvii
  142. "The Indo-Scythian conquerors, who, also they adopted the greek types, minted money with their own names". Bopearachchci, "Monnaies", p.121
  143. Described in R. C. Senior "The Decline of the Indo-Greeks" . See also this source.
  144. "Around 10 AD, with the joint rule of Straton II and his son Straton in the area of Sagala, le last Greek kingdom succumbed to the attacks of Rajuvula, the Indo-Scythian satrap of Mathura.", Bopearachchi, "Monnaies", p.125
  145. "Kujula Kadphises, founder of the Kushan Empire, succeeded there (in the Paropamisadae) to the nomads who minted imitations of Hermaeus" Bopearachchi, "Monnaies", p.117
  146. "We get two Greeks of the Parthian period, the first half of the first century AD, who used the Indian form of their names, King Theodamas on his signet-ring found in Bajaur, and Thedorus son of Theoros on two silver bowls from Taxila." Tarn, p. 389.
  147. Bopearachchi 4A and note 4; Bopearachchi & Rahman -; SNG ANS
  148. Cultural Sociology of the Middle East, Asia, and Africa: An Encyclopedia, Andrea L. Stanton, Edward Ramsamy, Peter J. Seybolt, Carolyn M. Elliott, SAGE Publications, 2012 p.28
  149. Marital alliances:
    • Discussion on the dynastic alliance in Tarn, pp. 152–153: "It has been recently suggested that Ashoka was grandson of the Seleucid princess, whom Seleucus gave in marriage to Chandragupta. Should this far-reaching suggestion be well founded, it would not only throw light on the good relations between the Seleucid and Maurya dynasties, but would mean that the Maurya dynasty was descended from, or anyhow connected with, Seleucus... when the Mauryan line became extinct, he (Demetrius) may well have regarded himself, if not as the next heir, at any rate as the heir nearest at hand". Also: "The Seleucid and Maurya lines were connected by the marriage of Seleucus' daughter (or niece) either to Chandragupta or his son Bindusara" John Marshall, Taxila, p20. This thesis originally appeared in "The Cambridge Shorter History of India": "If the usual oriental practice was followed and if we regard Chandragupta as the victor, then it would mean that a daughter or other female relative of Seleucus was given to the Indian ruler or to one of his sons, so that Ashoka may have had Greek blood in his veins." The Cambridge Shorter History of India, J. Allan, H. H. Dodwell, T. Wolseley Haig, p33 Source.
    • Description of the 302 BC marital alliance in Strabo 15.2.1(9): "The Indians occupy in part some of the countries situated along the Indus, which formerly belonged to the Persians: Alexander deprived the Ariani of them, and established there settlements of his own. But Seleucus Nicator gave them to Sandrocottus in consequence of a marriage contract, and received in return five hundred elephants." The ambassador Megasthenes was also sent to the Mauryan court on this occasion.
  150. Exchange of presents:
    • Classical sources have recorded that Chandragupta sent various aphrodisiacs to Seleucus: "And Theophrastus says that some contrivances are of wondrous efficacy in such matters as to make people more amorous. And Phylarchus confirms him, by reference to some of the presents which Sandrakottus, the king of the Indians, sent to Seleucus; which were to act like charms in producing a wonderful degree of affection, while some, on the contrary, were to banish love" Athenaeus of Naucratis, "The deipnosophists" Book I, chapter 32 Ath. Deip. I.32
    • Ashoka claims he introduced herbal medicine in the territories of the Greeks, for the welfare of humans and animals (Edict No2).
    • Bindusara asked Antiochus I to send him some sweet wine, dried figs and a sophist: "But dried figs were so very much sought after by all men (for really, as Aristophanes says, "There's really nothing nicer than dried figs"), that even Amitrochates, the king of the Indians, wrote to Antiochus, entreating him (it is Hegesander who tells this story) to buy and send him some sweet wine, and some dried figs, and a sophist; and that Antiochus wrote to him in answer, "The dry figs and the sweet wine we will send you; but it is not lawful for a sophist to be sold in Greece" Athenaeus, "Deipnosophistae" XIV.67 Athenaeus, "Deipnosophistae" XIV.67
  151. Treaties of friendship:
    • When Antiochos III, after having made peace with Euthydemus, went to India in 209 BC, he is said to have renewed his friendship with the Indian king there and received presents from him: "He crossed the Caucasus (Hindu Kush) and descended into India; renewed his friendship with Sophagasenus the king of the Indians; received more elephants, until he had a hundred and fifty altogether; and having once more provisioned his troops, set out again personally with his army: leaving Androsthenes of Cyzicus the duty of taking home the treasure which this king had agreed to hand over to him."Polybius 11.39
  152. Ambassadors:
  153. Religious missions:
    • In the Edicts of Ashoka, king Ashoka claims to have sent Buddhist emissaries to the Hellenistic west around 250 BC.
  154. The historian Diodorus wrote that the king of Pataliputra, apparently a Mauryan king, "loved the Greeks": "Iambulus, having found his way to a certain village, was then brought by the natives into the presence of the king of Palibothra, a city which was distant a journey of many days from the sea. And since the king loved the Greeks ("Philhellenos") and devoted to learning he considered Iambulus worthy of cordial welcome; and at length, upon receiving a permission of safe-conduct, he passed over first of all into Persia and later arrived safe in Greece" Diodorus ii,60.
  155. "Diodorus testifies to the great love of the king of Palibothra, apparently a Mauryan king, for the Greeks" Narain, "The Indo-Greeks", p. 362.
  156. "Obviously, for the Greeks who survived in India and suffered from the oppression of the Shunga (for whom they were aliens and heretics), Demetrios must have appeared as a saviour" Mario Bussagli, p. 101
  157. "We can now, I think, see what the Greek 'conquest' meant and how the Greeks were able to traverse such extraordinary distances. To parts of India, perhaps to large parts, they came, not as conquerors, but as friends or 'saviours'; to the Buddhist world in particular they appeared to be its champions" (Tarn, p. 180)
  158. Tarn p. 175. Also: "The people to be 'saved' were in fact usually Buddhists, and the common enmity of Greek and Buddhists to the Sunga king threw them into each other's arms", Tarn p. 175. "Menander was coming to save them from the oppression of the Sunga kings",Tarn p. 178.
  159. Whitehead, "Indo-Greek coins", p 3-8
  160. Bopearachchi p. 138
  161. Whitehead, p. vi.
  162. "These Indo-Greeks were called Yavanas in ancient Indian litterature" p.9 + note 1 "The term had a precise meaning until well into the Christian era, when gradually its original meaning was lost and, like the word Mleccha, it degenerated into a general term for a foreigner" p.18, Narain "The Indo-Greeks"
  163. "All Greeks in India were however known as Yavanas", Burjor Avari, "India, the ancient past", p.130
  164. "The term Yavana may well have been first applied by the Indians to the Greeks of various cities of Asia Minor who were settled in the areas contiguous to north-west India" Narain "The Indo-Greeks", p.227
  165. "Of the Sanskrit Yavana, there are other forms and derivatives, viz. Yona, Yonaka, Javana, Yavana, Jonon or Jononka, Ya-ba-na etc... Yona is a normal Prakrit form from Yavana", Narain "The Indo-Greeks", p.228
  166. 1 2 "De l'Indus à l'Oxus: archéologie de l'Asie Centrale", Pierfrancesco Callieri, p212: "The diffusion, from the second century BC, of Hellenistic influences in the architecture of Swat is also attested by the archaeological searches at the sanctuary of Butkara I, which saw its stupa "monumentalized" at that exact time by basal elements and decorative alcoves derived from Hellenistic architecture".
  167. Tarn, p. 391: "Somewhere I have met with the zhole-hearted statement that every Greek in India ended by becoming a Buddhist (...) Heliodorus the ambassador was a Bhagavatta, a worshiper of Vshnu-Krishna as the supreme deity (...) Theodorus the meridrarch, who established some relics of the Buddha "for the purpose of the security of many people", was undoubtedly Buddhist". Images of the Zoroastrian divinity Mithra – depicted with a radiated phrygian cap – appear extensively on the Indo-Greek coinage of the Western kings. This Zeus-Mithra is also the one represented seated (with the gloriole around the head, and a small protrusion on the top of the head representing the cap) on many coins of Hermaeus, Antialcidas or Heliokles II.
  168. "It is not unlikely that "Dikaios", which is translated Dhramaika in the Kharosthi legend, may be connected with his adoption of the Buddhist faith." Narain, "The Indo-Greeks" 2003, p.124
  169. "Menander, the probable conqueror of Pataliputra, seems to have been a Buddhist, and his name belongs in the list of important royal patrons of Buddhism along with Ashoka and Kanishka", McEvilley, p.375
  170. "It is probable that the wheel on some coins of Menander is connected with Buddhism", Narain, The Indo-Greeks, p.122
  171. Stupavadana, Chapter 57, v15. Quotes in E.Seldeslachts.
  172. McEvilley, p.377
  173. Plutarch "Political precepts", p147–148 Full text Archived February 20, 2006, at the Wayback Machine.
  174. "A guide to Sanchi" John Marshall. These "Greek-looking foreigners" are also described in Susan Huntington, "The art of ancient India", p. 100
  175. Foreign Impact on Indian Life and Culture (c. 326 B.C. to C. 300 A.D.) Satyendra Nath Naskar, Abhinav Publications, 1996, p.69
  176. Mentionned throughout "Monnaies Greco-Bactriennes et Indo-Grecques", Osmund Bopearachchi, Bibliotheque Nationale, 1991
  177. Cultural Sociology of the Middle East, Asia, and Africa: An Encyclopedia, Andrea L. Stanton, Edward Ramsamy, Peter J. Seybolt, Carolyn M. Elliott, SAGE Publications, 2012 p.28
  178. "The extraordinary realism of their portraiture. The portraits of Demetrius, Antimachus and of Eucratides are among the most remarkable that have come down to us from antiquity" Hellenism in Ancient India, Banerjee, p134
  179. "Just as the Frank Clovis had no part in the development of Gallo-Roman art, the Indo-Scythian Kanishka had no direct influence on that of Indo-Greek Art; and besides, we have now the certain proofs that during his reign this art was already stereotyped, of not decadent" Hellenism in Ancient India, Banerjee, p147
  180. "The survival into the 1st century AD of a Greek administration and presumably some elements of Greek culture in the Punjab has now to be taken into account in any discussion of the role of Greek influence in the development of Gandharan sculpture", The Crossroads of Asia, p14
  181. On the Indo-Greeks and the Gandhara school:
    • 1) "It is necessary to considerably push back the start of Gandharan art, to the first half of the first century BC, or even, very probably, to the preceding century.(...) The origins of Gandharan art... go back to the Greek presence. (...) Gandharan iconography was already fully formed before, or at least at the very beginning of our era" Mario Bussagli "L'art du Gandhara", p331–332
    • 2) "The beginnings of the Gandhara school have been dated everywhere from the first century B.C. (which was M.Foucher's view) to the Kushan period and even after it" (Tarn, p. 394). Foucher's views can be found in "La vieille route de l'Inde, de Bactres a Taxila", pp340–341). The view is also supported by Sir John Marshall ("The Buddhist art of Gandhara", pp5–6).
    • 3) Also the recent discoveries at Ai-Khanoum confirm that "Gandharan art descended directly from Hellenized Bactrian art" (Chaibi Nustamandy, "Crossroads of Asia", 1992).
    • 4) On the Indo-Greeks and Greco-Buddhist art: "It was about this time (100 BC) that something took place which is without parallel in Hellenistic history: Greeks of themselves placed their artistic skill at the service of a foreign religion, and created for it a new form of expression in art" (Tarn, p. 393). "We have to look for the beginnings of Gandharan Buddhist art in the residual Indo-Greek tradition, and in the early Buddhist stone sculpture to the South (Bharhut etc...)" (Boardman, 1993, p. 124). "Depending on how the dates are worked out, the spread of Gandhari Buddhism to the north may have been stimulated by Menander's royal patronage, as may the development and spread of the Gandharan sculpture, which seems to have accompanied it" McEvilley, 2002, "The shape of ancient thought", p. 378.
  182. Benjamin Rowland JR, foreword to "The Dyasntic art of the Kushan", John Rosenfield, 1967
  183. Boardman, p. 141
  184. Boardman, p. 143.
  185. "Others, dating the work to the first two centuries A.D., after the waning of Greek autonomy on the Northwest, connect it instead with the Roman Imperial trade, which was just then getting a foothold at sites like Barbaricum (modern Karachi) at the Indus-mouth. It has been proposed that one of the embassies from Indian kings to Roman emperors may have brought back a master sculptorto oversee work in the emerging Mahayana Buddhist sensibility (in which the Buddha came to be seen as a kind of deity), and that "bands of foreign workmen from the eastern centres of the Roman Empire" were brought to India" (Mc Evilley "The shape of ancient thought", quoting Benjamin Rowland "The art and architecture of India" p121 and A.C. Soper "The Roman Style in Gandhara" American Journal of Archaeology 55 (1951) pp. 301–319)
  186. Boardman, p.115
  187. McEvilley, p.388-390
  188. Boardman, 109–153
  189. "It is noteworthy that the dress of the Gandharan Bodhisattva statues has no resemblance whatever to that of the Kushan royal portrait statues, which has many affiliations with Parthian costume. The finery of the Gandhara images must be modeled on the dress of local native nobility, princes of Indian or Indo-Greek race, who had no blood connection with the Scythian rulers. It is also evident that the facial types are unrelated to the features of the Kushans as we know them from their coins and fragmentary portrait statues.", Benjamin Rowland JR, foreword to "The Dyasntic art of the Kushan", John Rosenfield, 1967.
  190. "Those tiny territories of the Indo-Greek kings must have been lively and commercially flourishing places", India: The ancient past, Burjor Avari, p.130
  191. "No doubt the Greeks of Bactria and India presided over a flourishing economy. This is clearly indicated by their coinage and the monetary exchange they had established with other currencies." Narain, "The Indo-Greeks" 2003, p. 275.
  192. Bopearachchi, "Monnaies", p.27
  193. Rapson, clxxxvi-
  194. Bopearachchi, "Monnaies", p. 75.
  195. Fussman, JA 1993, p. 127 and Bopearachchi, "Graeco-Bactrian issues of the later Indo-Greek kings", Num. Chron. 1990, pp. 79–104)
  196. 1 2 Science and civilisation in China: Chemistry and chemical technology by Joseph Needham, Gwei-Djen Lu p. 237ff
  197. BBC Western contact with China began long before Marco Polo, experts say
  198. The Mausoleum of China's First Emperor Partners with the BBC and National Geographic Channel to Reveal Groundbreaking Evidence That China Was in Contact with the West During the Reign of the First Emperor
  199. "Strabo II.3.4‑5 on Eudoxus".
  200. "Since the merchants of Alexandria are already sailing with fleets by way of the Nile and of the Persian Gulf as far as India, these regions also have become far better known to us of today than to our predecessors. At any rate, when Gallus was prefect of Egypt, I accompanied him and ascended the Nile as far as Syene and the frontiers of Ethiopia, and I learned that as many as one hundred and twenty vessels were sailing from Myos Hormos for India, whereas formerly, under the Ptolemies, only a very few ventured to undertake the voyage and to carry on traffic in Indian merchandise." Strabo II.5.12
  201. "It is curious that on his copper Zoilos used a Bow and quiver as a type. A quiver was a badge used by the Parthians (Scythians) and had been used previously by Diodotos, who we know had made a treaty with them. Did Zoilos use Scythian mercenaries in his quest against Menander perhaps?" Senior, Indo-Scythian coins, p.xxvii
  202. "Polybius 10.49, Battle of the Arius".
  203. Photographic reference on a coin of Menander II, circa 90 BC: Image:MenanderIIQ.jpg
  204. "Megasthenes Indica". Archived from the original on December 10, 2008.
  205. "Justin XLI".
  206. On the size of Hellenistic armies, see accounts of Hellenistic battles by Diodorus, books XVIII and XIX
  207. "They are a nation of nomads, moving from place to place with their herds, and their customs are like those of the Xiongnu. They have some 100,000 or 200,000 archer warriors... The Yuezhi originally lived in the area between the Qilian or Heavenly mountains and Dunhuang, but after they were defeated by the Xiongnu they moved far away to the west, beyond Dayuan, where they attacked and conquered the people of Daxia (Bactria) and set up the court of their king on the northern bank of the Gui (Oxus) river" ("Records of the Great Historian", Sima Qian, trans. Burton Watson, p234)
  208. Tarn, p. 494.
  209. "Though the Indo-Greek monarchies seem to have ended in the first century BC, the Greek presence in India and Bactria remained strong", McEvilley, p.379
  210. "The use of the Greek months by the Sakas and later rulers points to the conclusion that they employed a system of dating started by their predecessors." Narain, "Indo-Greeks" 2003, p.190
  211. "Evidence of the conquest of Saurastra during the reign of Chandragupta II is to be seen in his rare silver coins which are more directly imitated from those of the Western Satraps... they retain some traces of the old inscriptions in Greek characters, while on the reverse, they substitute the Gupta type (a peacock) for the chaitya with crescent and star." in Rapson "A catalogue of Indian coins in the British Museum. The Andhras etc...", p.cli
  212. McEvilley, "The Shape of Ancient Thought", p503.
  213. Under each king, information from Bopearachchi is taken from Monnaies Gréco-Bactriennes et Indo-Grecques, Catalogue Raisonné (1991) or occasionally SNG9 (1998). Senior's chronology is from The Indo-Greek and Indo-Scythian king sequences in the second and first centuries BC, ONS179 Supplement (2004), whereas the comments (down to the time of Hippostratos) are from The decline of the Indo-Greeks (1998).
  214. O. Bopearachchi, "Monnaies gréco-bactriennes et indo-grecques, Catalogue raisonné", Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris, 1991, p.453

Works cited

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