- The Indo Greek invasion began in about 200 BC. Because India did not a witness a large empire like that of Mauryans. This led to intimate and widespread contacts between central Asia and India.
- Mauryas were succeeded by several native rulers such as SHUNGAS, the KANVAS, and the SATAVAHANAS
- In north-western India many rulers from central Asia came, attacked and even ruled for certain period.
- Among these rulers who occupied the North-western region the KUSHANS become the most famous
CAUSES FOR THE INDO-GREEKS INVASION
- The invasion began in about 200 BC
- The first to cross the Hindu Kush were the Greeks, who ruled Bahlika (Bactria), situated south of the Oxus river in the area covered by north Afghanistan
- One important cause of invasions was the weakness of the SELEUCID empire that had been established in Bactria and adjoining areas of Iran called PARTHIA
- With the construction of Chinese wall, the Scythians were pushed back from the Chinese border.
- They were also pushed by Scythian tribes, the Bactrian Greeks were forced to invade India.
- The successor of ASHOKA were too weak to stem the tide of foreign invasion that began during this period
GREEKS INVASIONS INTO INDIA
- The first to invade India were the Greeks who were called the INDO-GREEKS or INDO-BACTRIANS
- In the beginning of the 2nd century BC the indo-Greeks occupied a large part of north-western India, a much larger area was then conquered by alexander.
- Two Greeks rulers simultaneously ruled the north-western India on parallel line
- The most famous indo-Greek ruler was Menander (165-45 BC) also known as Milinda.
- He had capital at Sakala in the Punjab, and invaded the ganga-Yamuna doab regions.
- He had many great cities under his dominions including Sakala and Mathura.
- He was known for his variety and wide spread of coins in his dominions
- He was converted to Buddhism by Nagasena, who was also called as Nagaarjun
- Menander asked many questions about Buddhism. These questions and Nagaarjun’s answers were recorded in the form of book known as Milinda Panho or the questions of Milinda
IMPORTANCE OR THE IMPACTS OF THE INDO-GREEK
- Indo-Greek rule is important in the history of India because of large number of coins that they issued
- The indo-Greeks rulers were the first to issue coins in the India that can be attributed to a particular kings
- The indo-Greeks were the first to issue gold coins in India and these increased in numbers during Kushans period
- Greek rule introduced feature of Hellenistic art in the north-western frontier of India
- But this was not purely Greeks but the outcome of Greeks contact with non-Greeks conquered peoples after Alexander’s death
- The contact with the Indo-Greeks brought the Helinstic art form and the best example is the GANDHARA ART. It also led to the establishment of many forms art schools in India.