Indo-Greek Kingdom  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

The Indo-Greek Kingdom or Graeco-Indian Kingdom was a Hellenistic kingdom covering various parts of the northwest regions of South Asia (mainly modern Afghanistan and Pakistan) during the last two centuries BC and was ruled by more than thirty kings, often in conflict with each other.

The kingdom was founded when the Graeco-Bactrian king Demetrius invaded the subcontinent early in the 2nd century BC. The Greeks in South Asia were eventually divided from the Graeco-Bactrians centered in Bactria (now the border between Afghanistan and Uzbekistan), and the Indo-Greeks in present-day north-western South Asia. The most famous Indo-Greek ruler was Menander (Milinda). He had his capital at Sakala in the Punjab (present-day Sialkot, Punjab, Pakistan).

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 (Pakistan)), 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.

Euthydemus I was, according to Polybius a Magnesian Greek. His son, Demetrius, founder of the Indo-Greek kingdom, was therefore of Greek descent from his father at minimum. A marriage treaty was arranged for Demetrius with a daughter of Antiochus III the Great, who had partial Persian descent. The ethnicity of later Indo-Greek rulers is less clear.

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 Hindu, Buddhist and ancient Greek religious practices, as seen in the archaeological remains of their cities and in the indications of their support of Buddhism, pointing to a rich fusion of Indian and Hellenistic influences. The diffusion of Indo-Greek culture had consequences which are still felt today, particularly through the influence of Greco-Buddhist art.

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. Later still, the Kidarites and Alchon Huns would again invade Central India and bring dramatic changes to the sub-continent.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Indo-Greek Kingdom" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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