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The Indo-Greek Kingdom, or Graeco-Indian Kingdom, also known historically as the Yavana Kingdom (Yavanarajya), was a Hellenistic-era Greek kingdom covering various parts of modern-day Afghanistan, Pakistan and northwestern India. This kingdom was in existence from c. 200 BC to the beginning of the common era.
|200 BC–AD 10|
|Capital||Alexandria in the Caucasus (modern Bagram) Taxila|
|Common languages||Greek (Greek alphabet)|
Pali (Kharoshthi script)
• 200 – 180 BC
|Demetrius I (first)|
• 25 BC – 10 AD
|Strato III (last)|
|150 BC||1,100,000 km2 (420,000 sq mi)|
|Today part of||Afghanistan|
(200 BCE–10 CE)
|Part of a series on the|
During its existence the kingdom was ruled over by 30 successive kings. Menander I, being the most well known amongst the Indo-Greek kings, is often referred to simply as "Menander," despite the fact that there was indeed another Indo-Greek King known as Menander II. Menander I's capital was at Sagala in the Punjab (present-day Sialkot).
The kingdom was founded when the Graeco-Bactrian king Demetrius (and later Eucratides) invaded India from Bactria in 200 BC. The Greeks in the Indian Subcontinent were eventually divided from the Graeco-Bactrians centered on Bactria (now the border between Afghanistan and Uzbekistan), and the Indo-Greeks in the present-day northern Indian Subcontinent.
The expression "Indo-Greek Kingdom" loosely describes a number of various dynastic polities, traditionally associated with a number of regional capitals like Taxila (modern Punjab), Pushkalavati, and Sagala. 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 Indian languages and symbols, as seen on their coins, and blended Greek and Indian ideas, as seen in the archaeological remains. The diffusion of Indo-Greek culture had consequences which are still felt today, particularly through the influence of Greco-Buddhist art. The ethnicity of the Indo-Greek may also have been hybrid to some degree. Euthydemus I was, according to Polybius, 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. The ethnicity of later Indo-Greek rulers is sometimes less clear. For example, Artemidoros (80 BC) was supposed to have been of Indo-Scythian descent, although he is now seen as a regular Indo-Greek king.
Following the death of Menander, most of his empire splintered and Indo-Greek influence was considerably reduced. Many new kingdoms and republics east of the Ravi River began to mint new coinage depicting military victories. The most prominent entities to form were the Yaudheya Republic, Arjunayanas, and the Audumbaras. The Yaudheyas and Arjunayanas both are said to have won "victory by the sword". The Datta dynasty and Mitra dynasty soon followed in Mathura. 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, the Kushans, and the Indo-Scythians, whose Western Satraps state lingered on encompassing local Greeks, up to 415 CE.