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Indo-Greek Kingdom

Hellenistic-era Greek kingdom in northwestern South Asia (200 BC–10 AD) / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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The Indo-Greek Kingdom, or Graeco-Indian Kingdom, also known historically as the Yavana Kingdom (Yavanarajya),[4] was a Hellenistic-era Greek kingdom covering various parts of modern-day Afghanistan, Pakistan and northwestern India.[5][6][7][8][9][10] This kingdom was in existence from c.200 BC to the beginning of the common era.

Quick facts: Indo-Greek Kingdom, Capital, Common lang...
Indo-Greek Kingdom
200 BC–AD 10
Territory of the Indo-Greeks circa 150 BC.[1]
CapitalAlexandria in the Caucasus (modern Bagram) [2]


Common languagesGreek (Greek alphabet)
Pali (Kharoshthi script)
(Brahmi script)
 200 – 180 BC
Demetrius I (first)
 25 BC – 10 AD
Strato III (last)
Historical eraAntiquity
200 BC
AD 10
150 BC[3]1,100,000 km2 (420,000 sq mi)
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Greco-BactrianKingdomMap.jpg Greco-Bactrian Kingdom
Maurya_Empire%2C_c.250_BCE_2.png Maurya Empire
Indo-Scythians Map_of_the_Indo-Scythians.png
Indo-Parthians Map_of_the_Indo-Parthians.png
Today part ofAfghanistan

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).[11]

The kingdom was founded when the Graeco-Bactrian king Demetrius (and later Eucratides) invaded India from Bactria in 200 BC.[12] 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.[13]

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),[14] Pushkalavati, and Sagala.[15][16] 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.[17] The diffusion of Indo-Greek culture had consequences which are still felt today, particularly through the influence of Greco-Buddhist art.[18] The ethnicity of the Indo-Greek may also have been hybrid to some degree. Euthydemus I was, according to Polybius,[19] 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.[20] 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.[21]

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.[22] 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".[23] 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 and Kushans.[lower-alpha 1]