Alexander invaded India and returned unsuccessfully — as is well known, the seeds of the Greek Empire that he sowed in parts of India during the invasion are not widely known. From that seed in the following centuries, the Indo-Greek Empire was the tree that sprang up over vast areas of Central Asia, starting from northern India.
After Alexander’s death, his vast empire was divided among his generals. Syria, Bactria, and Parthia belonged to the Seleucid Empire. After Alexander’s return from this country, his rule in the north-western region of India did not exist.
Parthia and bacteria, which were part of the Seleucid Empire, try to break away from the Seleucid Empire. Probably the Bactrian Greek ruler Diodotus declared independence in 250 BC. Parthia also became independent. The bacterial kingdom was strong enough in the fertile land between the Hindu Kush Mountains and the Aksu River.
Important Points from Indo-Greek Kingdom
- The Seleucid emperor III invaded Antiochus bacteria. After a two-year war, Euthydemus made a treaty with Antiochus III, the Seleucid emperor. The Seleucid emperor accepted bacteria’s freedom. Bactria, a province in the Seleucid Empire, came from Bactria and is referred to in history as Indo-Greek or Bacterial Greek.
- The northern part of Afghanistan was called Bactria. The Greeks who once settled in Bacteria became known as Bacterial Greeks.
- Bactrian ruler Demetrius invaded India in the east circa 190 AD. He occupied the important north-western frontier of the Mauryan Empire. The most important of the Indo-Greek rulers was Menander (165-145 BC). He extended his empire to Ayodhya and even to Pataliputra. Its capital was Shakal (present-day Sialkot, Pakistan).
- Menander was again known as Milinda. Menander was later converted to Buddhism by Nagsen. The name of the book in which Nagsen’s religious conversation with Menander has been written is- “Milinda-Panha“.
- The Indo-Greek kings were the first to introduce gold coins in India in which the names of the kings are mentioned. They introduced a military system.
- The Indo-Greek envoy Heliodaras came to India and carved a pillar for the god Vishnu at Bidisha (Besnagar). The word ‘Harsashastra‘ used in astrology is derived from the Greek word ‘horoscope‘.
- Indo-Greek kings are probably the most interesting personalities of the Hellenic era, but very little is known about them. The Indo-Greek kingdoms were a mixture of Greek and Indian traditions.
- During the two centuries of rule, the Indo-Greek kings associated the Indian language and symbols with the Greek language, which were observed in their coins. The builders combined a variety of Greek and Indian techniques, which can be seen in archeological finds.
- Some Bactrians conquered India after the death of King Demetrius. The Bactrian kings Pantaleon and Agathoclius were the first to use Greek as well as Indian Brahmi script in their coins. They printed Hindu figures, incarnations of Vishnu, Buddha, and Buddhist symbols as well as some animal figures in India to make the coins Indian.
- It is very surprising that the Indo-Greek kingdoms, separated from the other Hellenic kingdoms, retained the main features of Greek culture even in India. Besides, they were influenced by Indian culture and especially by Buddhism, which was patronized by their kings.
- The next notable member of the Menander dynasty, Apollodotus II, who ruled from 75 to 85 BCE, was an able ruler who restored some stability and authority to his kingdom. Apollodotus II rescued Takshila from the Scythians and proved that he was also a skilled general. Apollodotus II was the last powerful Indo-Greek ruler. After his reign, the power of the Indo-Greek Empire began to decline rapidly.
After the death of King Menander in the first century BC, the eastern part of the Indo-Greek kingdom was lost. Even then the Greeks are believed to have ruled over parts of Mathura. Probably to Mitra, Shunga, or Datta they were dethroned from Mathura.
Indo-Greek Kingdom General knowledge with important points as a Notes for students of higher secondary level as well as for the aspirants for government job examinations like IAS, UPSC, SSC, CGL, Railway, Defence, police, etc. A download link is provided above for the notes.