Topic: History of India - Ancient India.
Timeline: 250 BCE - 130 BCE
In this episode of Namaskar India, we will talk about the foreign powers who invaded and ruled over the Indian subcontinent, after the fall of the Mauryan Empire.
After Alexander's death in 323 BCE, Bactria came under the control of Seleucus I Nicator, who founded the Seleucid Empire. The Greco-Bactrian Kingdom was founded when Diodotus, the satrap of Bactria and probably the surrounding provinces, seceded from the Seleucid Empire around 250 BCE. Euthydemus, possibly satrap of Sogdiana, overthrew Diodotus around 230 BCE and started his own dynasty. And around 200 BCE, his son Demetrius succeeded him and came to power.
Demetrius, is generally considered as the Greco-Bactrian king who first launched the Greek expansion into India. He is therefore the founder of the Indo-Greek realm. Demetrius followed the footsteps of Alexander through the Khyber Pass and in the year 180 BCE extended his power into the northern Indus Valley.
The Greeks brought with them a better coin than was being used in India, which contributed to regional and inter-regional trade. They brought with them ideas in astronomy, architecture and art that spread through India.
Demetrius' family lost control over Bactria to Eucratides, and between the years 155 BCE and 130 BCE Greek rule in northwest India passed to a former general named Menander, known to the people of Indian as Milinda. Like Ashoka, Menander converted to Buddhism. This conversion may have facilitated the passage of Buddhist ideas west to Bactria and from Bactria farther west. The road between India and Bactria had become a bridge to and from the West.