Cultural links between India and the Greco-Roman world
By about 380 BC the Persian hold on Indian regions slackened and many small local kingdoms arose. In 327 BC Alexander the Great overran the Persian Empire and located small political entities within these territories. The next year, Alexander fought a difficult battle against the Indian monarch Porus near the modern Jhelum River. East of Porus’ kingdom, near the Ganges River, was the powerful kingdom of Magadha, under the Nanda Dynasty.
Plutarch (AD 46 – 120) was a Greek historian, biographer and essayist, known primarily for his Parallel Livesand Moralia. He gives an interesting description of the situation:
As for the Macedonians, however, their struggle with Porus blunted their courage and stayed their further advance into India. For having had all they could do to repulse an enemy who mustered only twenty thousand infantry and two thousand horse, they violently opposed Alexander when he insisted on crossing the river Ganges also, the width of which, as they learned, was thirty-two furlongs, its depth a hundred fathoms, while its banks on the further side were covered with multitudes of men-at arms and horsemen and elephants.
Exhausted and frightened by the prospect of facing another giant Indian army at the Ganges River, his army mutinied at the Hyphasis (modern Beas River), refusing to march further East. Alexander left behind Greek forces which established themselves in the City of Taxila, now in Pakistan.
After the death of Alexander in 323 BC, Seleucus was nominated as the satrap of Babylon in 320 BC.Antigonus forced Seleucus to flee from Babylon, but, supported by Ptolemy, he was able to return in 312 BC. Seleucus’ later conquests include Persia and Media. He invaded what is now Punjab in northern India and Pakistan in 305 BC.
Further reading as published by Sanujit
published on 12 February 2011, 12:51
Can be downloaded here: Indo-greek connection