Menander I

2nd-century BCE Greco-Bactrian and Indo-Greek king / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Menander I Soter (Ancient Greek: Μένανδρος Σωτήρ, romanized: Ménandros Sōtḗr, Menander the Saviour; Pali: Milinda), was a Greco-Bactrian and later Indo-Greek King (reigned c.165/155[4] –130 BC) who administered a large territory in the Northwestern regions of the Indian Subcontinent from his capital at Sagala. Menander is noted for having become a patron and convert to Greco-Buddhism and he is widely regarded as the greatest of the Indo-Greek kings.[5]

Quick facts: Menander I, Indo-Greek King, Reign, Predecess...
Menander I
Portrait of Menander I Soter, from his coinage
Indo-Greek King
Reign165/155–130 BC
PredecessorAntimachus II
SuccessorStrato I (Agathoclea as regent)
Bornc.180 BC
Kalisi (in present-day Bagram, Afghanistan)[1][2] or Sagala (present-day Sialkot, Pakistan)[3]
Died130 BC
Sagala (present-day Sialkot)
IssueStrato I
DynastyEuthydemid dynasty

Menander might have initially been a king of Bactria. After re-conquering the Punjab[2] he established an empire which stretched from the Kabul River valley in the west to the Ravi River in the east, and from the Swat River valley in the north to Arachosia (the Helmand Province). Ancient Indian writers indicate that he launched expeditions southward into Rajasthan and as far east down the Ganges River Valley as Pataliputra (Patna), and the Greek geographer Strabo wrote that he "conquered more tribes than Alexander the Great."

Large numbers of Menander’s coins have been unearthed, attesting to both the flourishing commerce and longevity of his realm. Menander was also a patron of Buddhism, and his conversations with the Buddhist sage Nagasena are recorded in the important Buddhist work, the Milinda Panha ("The Questions of King Milinda"; panha meaning "question" in Pali). After his death in 130 BC, he was succeeded by his wife Agathocleia, perhaps the daughter of Agathocles, who ruled as regent for his son Strato I.[6] Buddhist tradition relates that he handed over his kingdom to his son and retired from the world, but Plutarch says that he died in camp while on a military campaign, and that his remains were divided equally between the cities to be enshrined in monuments, probably stupas, across his realm.