History Files
 

Far East Kingdoms

South Asia

 

Southern Indus / Sindhu / Indus / Sindh

The ancient region of the Indus lay on the eastern side of the Hindu Kush mountains. Although rarely defined with any specific borders, it generally followed the River Indus and its tributaries from their headwaters the north, incorporating the foothills of the Himalayas, to the Indus delta in the south. This region had witnessed the rise and fall of one of the earliest civilisations, the Indus Valley culture, between the late fourth millennium and around 1700 BC. Then it had seen the widespread Indo-Aryan migrations from west to east, and had settled into a patchwork of Indo-Aryan states or tribal regions before the arrival of the Persians who seem to have been responsible for forming Northern Indus and Southern Indus regions. Today this region falls largely within Pakistan's borders, although throughout history it has generally been seen as part of a greater (but never unified) India.

It seems likely that the powerful Magadha kingdom was established on the Ganges Plain by legendary Indo-Aryan kings. The second of them, Jarasandha of the Brhadratha dynasty, is mentioned in the Purana texts as a son of Brhadratha, the dynasty's founder. He also appears in the Mahabharata as the 'Magadhan emperor who rules all India', although he was killed in single combat by one of three assassins from the kingdom of Kuru, who were concerned with liberating the many captive kings he held. The long line of kings who succeeded him are all mentioned in the Buddhist, Hindu, and Jain texts. By this time, other Indo-Aryan kingdoms had apparently emerged alongside Magadha, notably (but not exclusively) in the east, including Anga, Kalinga, Pundra, Sindhu, Suhma, and Vanga. The Assam region was also enjoying its first flush of kingship. This was the situation for the best part of seven hundred years.

The southern part of the Indus river valley was known during the early days of the Persian empire as Hindush. Prior to that, the Mahabharata's kingdom of Sindhu apparently dominated for at least a time, although the usual pattern would have been several smaller kingdoms or city states, vying with one another for power. The name Hindush remained the same but was interpreted differently by different languages: primarily as Sind, or Indus. The people of the early kingdom have been presumed to be 'of Indian stock', but seemingly only by modern writers. In reality, this would mean that they were an Indo-Aryan folk (or at least an Indo-Aryan warrior elite ruling an indigenous population) who were closely related to all of their regional neighbours, both in the Indus valley and to the west of the Hindu Kush mountains.

Note: Indo-European (IE) language can be divided into centum (the westernmost West IEs, South-West IEs, and Tocharians) and satem languages (the rest, including Indo-Iranians). The former pronounced 'hundred' with a 'k' as 'kentum' (plus variants and evolutions, notably Latin softening the 'k' to a 'c' as centum), and the latter using an 's' as satem (in Avestan - the Persian form was sad).

(Information by Peter Kessler, with additional information by Edward Dawson, from The Persian Empire, J M Cook (1983), from The Histories, Herodotus (Penguin, 1996), and from External Links: Old Iranian - Online Avestan Master Glossary (University of Texas at Austin), and Dictionary of most common Avesta words.)

c.546 - 540 BC

The defeat of the Medes opens the floodgates for Cyrus the Great with a wave of conquests, beginning in the west from 549 BC but focussing towards the east of the Persians from about 546 BC. Eastern Iran falls during a more drawn-out campaign between about 546-540 BC, which may be when Maka is taken (presumed to be the southern coastal strip of the Arabian Sea).

Allahdino village
The small village of Allahdino lies forty kilometres to the east of Karachi City in Sindh Province, not too far from the coast, having been abandoned by its Indus Valley occupants around 2000 BC

Further eastern regions now fall, namely Arachosia, Aria, Bactria, Carmania, Chorasmia, Drangiana, Gandhara, Gedrosia, Hyrcania, Margiana, Parthia, Saka (at least part of the broad tribal lands of the Sakas), Sogdiana (with Ferghana), and Thatagush in Northern Indus - all added to the empire, although records for these campaigns are characteristically sparse.

Persian Satraps of Hindush (Indus)

Perhaps partially conquered in the mid-sixth century BC by Cyrus the Great, it seemingly took Darius I to complete the work here, on the south-eastern edge of the Persian empire. Before that the region was populated by tribal groups or small kingdoms, all of which - by the first millennium BC - would have been dominated by Indo-Aryan people, or at least an Indo-Aryan warrior elite which governed indigenous groups. Such indigenous people would in part have been descendants of the farmers of the former Indus Valley culture which had ended over a millennium before.

Unlike the other eastern regions of the empire, which were ancestral homelands for the Indo-Iranian Persians, the territories of the Indus were less familiar. Even so, given the Indo-Aryan migrations through this region over the preceding millennium, there were probably no language barriers for the Persians and few cultural differences. Although details of Persian conquests in the Indus region are poor, they seemingly experienced few problems in uniting the various groups here under satrapal governance.

Prior to the reorganisations under Darius the Great, the poorly-defined Southern Indus province (or Hinduš, often shown in English as 'Hindush' to emphasise the accented 's') was neighboured by the adjoining province of Thatagush (this can also be referred to as 'Northern Punjab' in some sources and Θataguš in Persian sources - the same word and pronunciation as 'Thatagush'). Although not too much is known about Thatagush, it is clear that the River Indus formed its border with Harahuwatish (Arachosia). One of the most informative sources when attempting to reconstruct the satrapal administration of Harahuwatish and Gedrosia is that of Alexander's appointments. The capital of this main satrapy must have been Sindimana.

In northern Harahuwatish, when he first encountered its large administrative complex, Alexander made important decisions about Zranka, Gedrosia, and Hindush. These regions were therefore subsumed into the Arachosian administrative complex, and this may have been the case in Persian times too. The only reliable evidence for Hindush itself is provided by historians of Alexander in their reports about the campaign and the appointments that were made by the Macedonian king. Its name came from the great River Indus (Old Indian 'Sindhu') which flowed through it, north-to-south.

(Information by Peter Kessler, with additional information from The Persian Empire, J M Cook (1983), from The Histories, Herodotus (Penguin, 1996), from Alexander's Campaigns in Sind and Baluchistan and the Siege of the Brahmin Town of Harmatelia, Pierre Herman Leonard Eggermont, from The Voyage of Nearchus from the Indus to the Euphrates, William Vincent (1747), from The Macedonian Empire: The Era of Warfare Under Philip II and Alexander the Great, James R Ashley, from Origin of Indians and their Spacetime, Dr Suvarna Nalapat, from Ctesias' Persica in its Near Eastern Context, Matt Waters, from Alexander The Great: In the Realm of Evergetǽs, Reza Mehrafarin, and from External Links: Encyclopaedia Iranica, and Livius.org.)

c.546 - 540 BC

During his campaigns in the east, Cyrus the Great initially takes the northern route from Persis towards Bakhtrish to reassure or subdue the provinces, probably proceeding via the 'militaris via' by Rhagai and through Parthawa. At some point he destroys Capisa along the way (possibly Kapisa on the Koh Daman plain to the north of Kabul - which is possibly also the Kapishakanish named by the Behistun inscription as a fortress in Harahuwatish). His potential conquests in relation to the Indus valley are much more hard to pin down. He may secure some border districts but it seems that no definitive satrapal organisation is implemented here.

Cyrus the Great
Cyrus the Great freed the Indo-Iranian Parsua people from Median domination to establish a nation that is recognisable to this day, and an empire that provided the basis for the vast territories that were later ruled by Alexander the Great

522 - 521 BC

Immediately after Darius I secures the throne he faces several rebellions, stretching from Babirush to Media and Armina to Parthawa, and Verkāna. The responses to all of these are handled well by Darius and all are crushed in turn. Another major rebellion in Mergu happens towards the end of 522 or 521 BC and that is also put down. In Harahuwatish and Thatagush, the satrap, Vivāna, faces opposition from a rival who has been appointed by the 'usurper', but Gadara, perhaps uniquely, seems to be untouched by any of these rebellions.

With the emergency in Harahuwatish over, there may still be rebel elements in Thatagush. Darius conducts a campaign there, during which he also seems to secure a new satrapy by the name of Hindush. Some of this territory is already likely to have been part of the conquests of Cyrus the Great, but it is possible that Darius now extends and completes the conquest.

480 BC

FeatureInvading Greece in 480 BC, the Persians subdue the Thracian tribes (except for the Satrai, precursors to the Bessoi) and the Macedonians. Then the vast army of Xerxes makes its way southwards and is swiftly engaged by Athens and Sparta in the Vale of Tempe. It is Herodotus who points out the presence of Indians in the army - Indians being his generalised term for all the (largely unknown) people of India which which at this time specifically refers to the people of the Indus Valley in Hindush and Thatagush.

Battle of Thermopylae
The Spartan stand at Thermopylae in 480 BC, along with some Greek allies, stopped the Persian advance in its tracks and provided a rallying call for the rest of the free Greek cities to oppose the Persians

440s - 420s BC

The placement in Zranka of four satraps, father-and-son duo Hydarnes and Teritoukhames and their two replacements, is highly uncertain but is made possible because a city of Zaris is mentioned in their story. Hydarnes is believed to be a descendant of another Hydarnes, one of the seven who had defeated the Magi and elevated Darius I to the throne in 522 BC. His family becomes important to the Achaemenid succession, with a great deal of intermarriage into the royal line.

fl c.440s? BC

Hydarnes / Idernes

Satrap, with Harahuwatish & Zranka? Died.

fl c.420s? BC

Teritoukhames / Teritoukhmes

Son. Satrap, with Harahuwatish & Zranka? Killed.

420s - 410s BC

The marriage alliance between Hydarnes and the descendants of Darius I has been important in supporting Darius II in his acquisition of the throne. Upon the death of Hydarnes, his son Teritoukhames has been appointed satrap in his stead (although the name of the satrapy is not given by Photius).

Ctesias reports a plot by Teritoukhames so that he can rid himself of his unwanted royal wife and marry his own sister, Rhoxane. Darius has Teritoukhames attacked and killed and Darius' queen, Parysatis, takes violent action against the rest of Teritoukhames' family. There appear to be no survivors other than Stateira, wife of Arsakes (eventually to be Artaxerxes II). Many years later, Parysatis also arranges her death.

Darius II
Two sides of a drachm showing Darius II that was actually issued much later - in the first century BC by the Parthian kings of Iran - and which shows Darius in a Parthian-style tiara adorned with a crescent

fl c.410s? BC

Oudiastes

Replacement. Satrap, with Harahuwatish & Zranka?

fl c.390s? BC

Mitradates

Son. Satrap, with Harahuwatish & Zranka?

Mitradates opposes the royal court and also his own father and attempts to establish the independent rule of the city of Zaris (Zarin). Again this is assumed to be within the satrapy of Zranka. The prevailing chaos in the Persian court and the great distance between it and Zaris allows the rebellion to establish itself for a short time, forming an independent Achaemenid state.

360s/350s BC

Artaxerxes II is occupied fighting the 'revolt of the satraps' in the western part of the empire. Nothing is known of events in the eastern half of the Persian empire at this time, but no word of unrest is mentioned by Greek writers, however briefly. Given the newsworthiness for Greeks of any rebellion against the Persian king, this should be enough to show that the east remains solidly behind the king. It seems that all of the empire's troubles hinge on the Greeks during this period.

330s - 329 BC

Hindush and Thatagush supply elephants and men to the Persians for the Battle of Gaugamela in 331 BC but, by this time, Persian control in these regions seems either to have weakened or has been devolved. Three kingships are known from Alexander's campaigns in the region in 327-326 BC and must therefore exist prior to his arrival.

The Battle of Gaugamela in 331 BC
Alexander defeated the Persian king Darius III at the Battle of Gaugamela in Mesopotamia in 331 BC, with the victory giving him control of all the lands to the west of Iran

Hindush is now governed by local potentates - Sambus, Musicanus, and Oxycarnus - and the analogy with Thatagush leads to the realistic conclusion that one of them has the rank of main satrap and is superior to the others. Presumably Sambus is the one who holds the position of main satrap, since he is 'installed' by Alexander himself, probably before the Bactrian campaign, while Alexander is in northern Arachosia trying to settle the situation in the great satrapy and in this context also designates a new satrap for 'India' (Hindush). These local rulers are shown in green text to highlight their technically subservient position to Barsaentes, the Persian great satrap of Harahuwatish.

Oxycarnus rules Porticanus in Sehwan, the latter being a popular name in Sindh, making it hard to pin down the location of this particular example. A best guess (by Nalapat) is that the territory of Oxycarnus lies between the Lakhi Mountains and Sambhus. The other two local kingdoms form its neighbours and are equally hard to place with any accuracy.

? - 330 BC

Barsaentes

Satrap of Harahuwatish, Hindush, Thatagush & Zranka.

? - 329 BC

Portikanus / Oxycarnus / Oxykarnus

King of the circar of Sehwan (Sewistan).

329 BC

Sambus is king of the lower Indus Valley (a version of his name is Ambiregus, which means simply 'King Ambi'). Some scholars have located this as territory between Pishin and Quetta (now in western-central Pakistan, very close to the Afghan border - Harahuwatish in the fourth century BC - and effectively midway down the River Indus rather than forming any true definition of 'Southern Indus').

Problems exist with this particular tale as retold by Classical authors and some scholars prefer a location farther south, on hills overlooking the Las Belas plain in south-eastern coastal Pakistan - very much 'Southern Indus' and also home to the 'Mountain Indians' to which Barsaentes flees in 328 BC.

River Indus
South-eastern coastal Pakistan on the east bank of the River Indus may be the most likely location for the lower Indus Valley states of the fourth century BC, although the minimal evidence available makes certain identification impossible

? - 329 BC

Sambus / Ambi / Ambiregus

King of Lower Indus Valley. Satrap? Alexander confirmed.

329 BC

Musicanus and Oxycarnus would both appear to be plains-dwelling kings who are opposed to Sambus. Following the fall of Darius III, Musicanus is quick to welcome Alexander as a friend and ally, even before the Greek king can encounter Sambus, and he is confirmed in his position.

? - 329 BC

Musicanus / Musikanus

King of circar of Sewis (Sewistan). Alexander confirmed.

330 - 328 BC

Barsaentes is one of the three most senior satraps of the east, the others being Bessus in Bakhtrish and Satibarzanes of Haraiva. In 330-329 BC, despite the best efforts of Bessus to rally supporters to his defence of the empire, the Persian provinces of the east are conquered by the Greek empire under Alexander the Great. He takes the capital of Harahuwatish in 330 BC.

Barsaentes turns tail when Alexander appears at the border of Zranka and does not wait for him to reach Harahuwatish. Instead he takes refuge in the region of the 'Mountain Indians', a contingent of whom he had commanded at Gaugamela. These facts (probably) indicate that Barsaentes is also responsible for the province of Hindush, the home of the Mountain Indians, and therefore that it is a main satrapy of Harahuwatish. Alexander campaigns briefly there in 329 BC prior to entering Bakhtrish via the Hindu Kush. Barsaentes is eventually captured and handed over to Alexander in 327 BC by King Taxiles in the Northern Indus.

Argead Dynasty in the Southern Indus

The Argead were the ruling family and founders of Macedonia who reached their greatest extent under Alexander the Great and his two successors before the kingdom broke up into several Hellenic sections. Following Alexander's conquest of central and eastern Persia in 331-328 BC, the Greek empire ruled the region until Alexander's death in 323 BC and the subsequent regency period which ended in 310 BC. Alexander's successors held no real power, being mere figureheads for the generals who really held control of Alexander's empire. Following that latter period and during the course of several wars, the region was left in the hands of the Seleucid empire from 312 BC (admittedly not for long).

One of the most informative sources when attempting to reconstruct the satrapal administration of Arachosia and Gedrosia is that of Alexander's appointments. In northern Arachosia, when he first encountered its large administrative complex, Alexander made important decisions about Drangiana, Gedrosia, and Indus (both the south and also Northern Indus). These regions were therefore subsumed in the Arachosian administrative complex. The only reliable evidence for Hindush itself is provided by historians of Alexander in their reports about the campaign and the appointments of the Macedonian king. During subsequent years Alexander's many adjustments in this province are not easy to interpret, partly because some of the appointed officers lost their lives during disturbances and through illness. However, the fact that Sibyrtius was satrap of Arachosia and Gedrosia is very good evidence that the two Indus provinces were ruled or overseen from Arachosia.

At the time of Alexander's campaigns in the region, the Persian satrapy of Hindush could be divided into three units, starting with the central minor satrapy of Hindush. This was the territory of Sambus, seemingly the rightful satrap for the region at the fall of the Achaemenids. His territory was situated on the western bank of the River Indus. To the north it ended roughly in the latitude of the junction of the Indus and Chenab, and further west was the border with Arachosia, which Barsaentes crossed in his flight from Alexander. In the west the Ḥab must have marked the frontier with the district of the Oritans in Gedrosia and the main satrapy of Maka. The Kirthar Mountains were included within this territory, a fact which can explain why Sambus was referred to as the ruler of the Mountain Indians.

FeatureThe province's two minor satrapies included one which was defined by the Indus in the west and the Thar Desert in the east. To the north the province bordered on Θataguš (Northern Indus) at the junction of the Indus and Chenab, while the southern border is unknown. The other minor satrapy lay to the south of the first, as follows from the reports of Alexander's voyage down the Indus. Its territory was also situated between this river and the Thar Desert, and may have included the river delta too. At least some of this territory would in time become part of a collection of small Indo-Greek states as Greek domination was gradually broken down over subsequent centuries (see feature link).

(Information by Peter Kessler, with additional information from the Mudrarakshasa, Vishakhadatta (Playwright), from the Parishishtaparvan, Acharya Hemachandra, from Anabasis Alexandri, Arrian of Nicomedia, from The Generalship of Alexander the Great, J F C Fuller, from the Historical Dictionary of Ancient Greek Warfare, J Woronoff & I Spence, from Who's Who in the Age of Alexander the Great: Prosopography of Alexander's Empire, Waldemar Heckel (Ed), from Alexander's Campaigns in Sind and Baluchistan and the Siege of the Brahmin Town of Harmatelia, Pierre Herman Leonard Eggermont, from The Macedonian Empire: The Era of Warfare Under Philip II and Alexander the Great, James R Ashley, from Origin of Indians and their Spacetime, Dr Suvarna Nalapat, and from External Links: Encyclopaedia Britannica, and Encyclopaedia Iranica, and The Second Achilles.)

329 - 323 BC

Alexander III the Great

King of Macedonia. Conquered Persia.

323 - 317 BC

Philip III Arrhidaeus

Feeble-minded half-brother of Alexander the Great.

317 - 310 BC

Alexander IV of Macedonia

Infant son of Alexander the Great and Roxana.

329 BC

Southern Indus is now governed by local potentates - Sambus, Musicanus, and Oxycarnus - and the analogy with Northern Indus leads to the realistic conclusion that one of them has the rank of main satrap and is superior to the others. Presumably Sambus is the one who holds the position of main satrap, since he is 'installed' by Alexander himself, probably before the Bactrian campaign, while Alexander is in northern Arachosia trying to settle the situation in the great satrapy and in this context also designates a new satrap for 'India' (Indus).

Map of Central Asia & Eastern Mediterranean 334-323 BC
The route of Alexander's ongoing campaigns are shown in this map, with them leading him from Europe to Egypt, into Persia, and across the vastness of eastern Iran as far as the Pamir mountain range (click or tap on map to view full sized)

These local rulers are shown in green text to highlight their technically subservient position to the superior satrap in Arachosia. Oxycarnus rules Porticanus in Sehwan, the latter being a popular name in Sindh, making it hard to pin down the location of this particular example. A best guess (by Nalapat) is that the territory of Oxycarnus lies between the Lakhi Mountains and Sambhus.

The other two local kingdoms form its neighbours and are equally hard to place with any accuracy. Upon Alexander's advance the region's Brahmins lead an uprising against him. They fail to coordinate this with Oxycarnus and, despite the large numbers of men under their control, both groups are defeated. Oxycarnus is captured during the storming of a second of his cities and is executed, while the captured Brahmins are sold into slavery.

329 BC

Portikanus / Oxycarnus / Oxykarnus

King of the circar of Sehwan. Resisted and was executed.

329 BC

With Oxycarnus removed, Sambus is next. He is king of the lower Indus Valley (a version of his name is Ambiregus, which means simply 'King Ambi'). Some scholars have located this as territory between Pishin and Quetta (now in western-central Pakistan, very close to the Afghan border - Arachosia in the fourth century BC - and effectively midway down the River Indus rather than forming any true definition of 'Southern Indus'). Problems exist with this particular tale as retold by Classical authors and some scholars prefer a location farther south, on the Las Belas plain in south-eastern coastal Pakistan - very much 'Southern Indus'.

During Alexander's advance along the Indus, Sambus proceeds to hand himself over to the conqueror with expressions of friendliness. However, the inhabitants of the fortified town he has recently left now reject his authority, closing the gates against Alexander. The town - Harma, or Harmatelia, Ramba, or even Rambacia - quickly falls, despite its defenders using poisoned-tipped arrows for which Alexander 'dreams' of a herbal cure.

River Indus
The various territories that made up the satrapy of the Southern Indus (Sindh) which was centred over the mighty River Indus, alongside those of Gandhara, would go on to form the heartland of Indo-Greek control of the east in the remaining centuries BC

329 - 325 BC

Sambus / Ambi / Ambiregus

Former Persian satrap of Hindush? Retained in the post.

329 BC

Musicanus and Oxycarnus would appear to be plains-dwelling kings who have generally been opposed to Sambus. Musicanus, king of the Sewis region along the Indus, is quick to welcome Alexander as a friend and ally, even before the Greek king can encounter Sambus, and he is confirmed in his position.

329 - 325 BC

Musicanus / Musikanus

King of the circar of Sewis (Sewistan). Revolted. Executed.

325 BC

Following Alexander's return westwards, Satrap Philip of Northern Indus is assassinated as the result of a conspiracy which has been formed amongst mercenary troops under his command. This appears to be with the encouragement of Chandragupta who is already busy forming his Mauryan empire in India. Alexander names Eudamus and Taxiles as the rulers of his territories in Northern Indus until an official replacement can be sent. It is likely that Alexander dies before this takes place. Peithon is appointed to Southern Indus.

In an event which seems better suited to 329 BC but which has been dated at 325 BC in some tertiary sources, despite only recently having been accepted by Alexander and confirmed in his position, Musicanus revolts as soon as Alexander's back is turned (which would be the case in 329 BC, but not in 325 BC). Peithon is ordered to deal which him, which he does in pretty quick time. Musicanus is brought before Alexander (as above), along with the Brahmins who had been the leading organisers of the revolt. All are executed.

325 - 316 BC

Peithon / Pithon

Greek satrap of Southern Indus. Left for Media.

323 BC

Following the death of Alexander the Great the subsequent Wars of the Diadochi rip the Macedonian empire apart and piece it back together in various different forms. Peithon is confirmed in his position in the settlements of 323 BC and 321 BC. Despite this he may be in Media by around 320 BC, fighting as an ally of Antigonus. In 318-317 BC he invades Parthia and kills the incumbent satrap before being driven back into Media.

316 - ? BC

?

Unnamed Greek satrap of Southern Indus. Lost territories?

316 - 305 BC

The Wars of the Diadochi decide how Alexander the Great's empire is carved up between his generals, but the period is very confused, especially in the east. These provinces appear to be invaded and controlled by the Antigonids for a period, with General Antigonus being responsible for the death of Eudamus of Northern Indus. It is in this period that the Mauryan empire begins to invade Greek-controlled territories, although a specific chronology for that conquest appears to be unavailable.

Seleucid war elephants
Seleucid war elephants were first introduced into the empire thanks to an exchange of gifts with the Mauryan emperor in India, these being the larger Indian elephants rather than the slightly smaller, now-extinct North African forest elephant used by Egyptians and Carthaginians

Bactria is taken by Seleucus Nicator around 312 BC (soon-to-be founder of the Seleucid empire), with the eastern provinces probably also being under his control. But just how much does he really control? Following the failure of Seleucus Nicator's reconquest of India (Indus) between 305-303 BC, the Indo-Greek regions of Paropamisadae, Arachosia, Gandhara, Northern Indus (Punjab), and probably also the Southern Indus are ceded to the Mauryan empire as part of an alliance agreement.

Mauryan & Macedonian Southern Indus

The unexpected death of Alexander in 323 BC changed the situation dramatically within his vast Greek empire. Immediately his generals divided the empire between them. Seleucus was able to expand his holdings with some ruthlessness, building up his stock of Alexander's far eastern regions as far as the borders of India and the River Indus (Sindh). Appian's work, The Syrian Wars, provides a detailed list of these regions, which included Arabia, Arachosia, Aria, Armenia, Bactria, 'Seleucid' Cappadocia (as it was known) by 301 BC, Carmania, Cilicia (eventually), Drangiana, Gedrosia, Hyrcania, Media, Mesopotamia, Paropamisadae, Parthia, Persis, Sogdiana, and Tapouria (a small satrapy beyond Hyrcania), plus eastern areas of Phrygia.

FeatureIn 305 BC he launched a campaign to reconquer India - which strongly suggests areas of the Indus territories that had been lost to Mauryan advances - which lasted for two years but which came up against the might of that newfound Indian empire and failed to achieve its objectives. Strabo records that Seleucus conceded the Indo-Greek provinces to the Mauryans as part of an alliance agreement. This included the regions of Paropamisadae, Arachosia, Gandhara, the Northern Indus and the Southern Indus. It probably also included the former kingdoms of Taxila and Paurava. Subsequent relations between the Greeks and the Mauryans were generally cordial, with a Seleucid ambassador appointed to Chandragupta's court in the form of Megasthenes. The former Indo-Greek territories remained a Mauryan possession until the early years of the second century BC, after which they were regained by the Greeks (see feature link).

(Information by Peter Kessler, with additional information from the Mudrarakshasa, Vishakhadatta (Playwright), from the Parishishtaparvan, Acharya Hemachandra, from Anabasis Alexandri, Arrian of Nicomedia, from The Generalship of Alexander the Great, J F C Fuller, from the Historical Dictionary of Ancient Greek Warfare, J Woronoff & I Spence, from Who's Who in the Age of Alexander the Great: Prosopography of Alexander's Empire, Waldemar Heckel (Ed), from Alexander's Campaigns in Sind and Baluchistan and the Siege of the Brahmin Town of Harmatelia, Pierre Herman Leonard Eggermont, from The Macedonian Empire: The Era of Warfare Under Philip II and Alexander the Great, James R Ashley, from Origin of Indians and their Spacetime, Dr Suvarna Nalapat, and from External Links: Encyclopaedia Britannica, and Encyclopaedia Iranica, and The Second Achilles.)

305 - 185 BC

Following the failure of Seleucus Nicator's Seleucid reconquest of India between 305-303 BC, the Indo-Greek regions of Paropamisadae, Arachosia, Gandhara, Northern Indus (Punjab), and probably also the Southern Indus are ceded to the Mauryan empire as part of an alliance agreement.  Subsequent relations between the Greeks and the Mauryans appear to be cordial. Seleucus even appoints Megasthenes as his ambassador to Chandragupta's court.

c.155 BC

In the west, Menander Soter seems to repel the invasion by Eucratides from Bactria, and pushes him back as far as Paropamisadae, thereby consolidating the rule of the Indo-Greek kings in northern India. After this, the Indo-Greek kingdom is permanently divided from Bactria.

A silver tetradrachm of Eucratides I of Bactria
The successor to Antimachus I of Bactria was Eucratides I, with this silver tetradrachm being minted in his image at some point during the twenty-six years or so of his reign

Menander is the most famous Indo-Greek king, although his relationship to the other kings is unknown (he may have been one of Demetrius II's generals). He rules from Taxila (Sirkap) and later from Sagala, a very prosperous city in Northern Indus (modern Sialkot), and he rebuilds Taxila and Pushkalavati. His rule includes areas of the Panjshir and Kapisa, and extends to Indus (Punjab) with diffuse tributaries to the south and east, probably as far as Mathura. He may also occupy Sunga Saraostus (modern Saurashtra and parts of south-western Gujarat) and Sigerdis (probably modern Sindh, the Indus Delta) for a short period. He becomes a Buddhist, further promoting the always-friendly relations between the faith and the Indo-Greeks, and in India he is known as the great King Milinda who debates Buddhist doctrines with Nagasena.

c.10 BC

The death of Saka Azes II coincides with the rise of the Kushans in the west, but they remain rulers throughout the north-west frontier and in Northern Indus (Punjab), Sindh, Kashmir, western Uttar Pradesh, Saurashtra, Kathiawar (Gujarat), Rajputana, Malwa (although not again in Ujjain (Ozene) until AD 78), and the north Konkan belt of Maharashtra. Following the reign of Azes, the Sakas appear to fragment to an extent, with no overall ruler (mahakshatrapa). Instead, local satraps (kshatrapas) probably hold a level of independence and continually vie for supremacy, with control of Taxila being the ultimate prize.

c.AD 70

Sarpedones succeeds as ruler of the Indo-Parthian kingdom and adopts the name Gondophares. His rule is not nearly so certain as that of his more illustrious predecessor, however. Issues of his coinage are somewhat fragmented, appearing in Arachosia, eastern Punjab (a region which could be included in the former satrapy of Northern Indus), and Sindh.

Sarpedones coin
Shown here are both sides of a coin issued during the rule of Sarpedones (Gondophares II), with him diademed and draped on the left and the goddess Nike standing on the right

fl c.90

Agata

The same Indo-Parthian ruler as Abdagases II?

c.90 - 100

The Indo-Parthian ruler Abdagases II is another relatively insignificant figure, with very little numismatic evidence to point to anything other than a brief reign of little consequence. A coin found in Sindh names one Agata, possibly a corruption of his name or possibly another minor rival. The Indo-Parthians are rapidly declining now, as can be seen around AD 100 when the neighbouring Kushans capture former Indo-Greek Arachosia from them.

c.135

Pacores is the last Indo-Parthian king with any real power, and even that does not extend into former core territories in Arachosia and Sindh. One more Indo-Parthian king follows him but in diminished circumstances, and virtually unknown to history.