Saturday, October 5, 2013

Greek-Bactrian Satraps After Alexander the Great ( (356 – 323 BC)


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"Following the victorious battle of the Hydaspes River, Alexander's army marched until the Hyphasis river (modern day Beas river). It was at that point where his army mutinied unwilling to face the army of the vast Nanda Emire laying to the east and demanding from the king to finally take the long way home. Despite his initial disagreement, Alexander finally consented and later turned south against the Malli tribe. This event took place between July and September 326 B.C. and marked the eastern point of his Empire."….Plutarc: Alexander - Chapter 62

"The Maurya Dynasty (321-185 BC) emerged following the withdrawal of Alexander the Great from India in 325 BC, when the dynasty's founder, Emperor Chandragupta, seized the throne of the Nanda Dynasty at Magadha (South Bihar), the leading kingdom of Upper India at the time. After Alexander's withdrawal from India, Chandragupta defeated Alexander's General, Seleucus Nicator, and a vast area of the territory originally conquered by Alexander in India was ceded to Chandragupta by the General in return for five hundred elephants. The cession was followed by the conclusion of a treaty of alliance and friendship, and eventually the General and the Emperor cemented their friendship by intermarriage between their families."....Reflections on Law and Armed Conflicts...By Gerald Draper

"One outcome of this treaty of alliance and friendship was the sending of a Greek ambassador, Megasthenes, by Nicator to Chandragupta's court. During his residence, Megasthenes wrote detailed reports of life at the court and of the organization of the Maurya Empire. Unfortunately his reports are lost, but fragments of them are repeated in other Greek writings which have survived. Through them, some precious details of the Maurya Dynasty, the Royal Court, the capital city and the remarkable system of government of the empire are known.

"Megasthenes (Μεγασθένης, ca. 350 – 290 BCE) was a Greek ethnographer and explorer in the Hellenistic period, author of the work Indica. He was born in Asia Minor (modern day Turkey) and became an ambassador of Seleucus I of the Seleucid dynasty possibly to Chandragupta Maurya in Pataliputra, India. However the exact date of his embassy is uncertain. Scholars place it before 298 BC, the date of Chandragupta's death.Alexandria in Arachosia was a city in ancient times that is now called Kandahar in Afghanistan….Megasthenes lived with Sibyrtius, satrap of Arachosia"…

Megasthenes: "At the beginning of his Indica, he refers to the older Indians who know about the prehistoric arrival of Dionysus and Hercules in India, which was a story very popular amongst the Greeks during the Alexandrian period. Particularly important are his comments on the religions of the Indians. He mentions the devotees of Heracles and Dionysus but he does not mention Buddhists, something that gives support to the theory that the latter religion was not widely known before the reign of Ashoka."....Vassiliades, Demetrios, "Greeks and Buddhism Historical Contacts in the Development of a Universal religion"The Eastern Buddhist, Vol. XXXVI, No. 1 & 2, Otani University, Kyoto 2005.

"Emperor Asoka's conquest of the Kalingas and subsequent remorse …..With the capability for waging war that he inherited and augmented, Asoka defeated the three Kalinga kingdoms (mod ern Orissa) in about 256 BC - the sixteenth year of his reign and the eighth after his consecration. Historical evidence - consisting of little other than the surviving thirty-four edicts - does not reveal why he went to war with the Kalingas. However, one of his edicts - the famous Thirteenth Edict or " Rock Edict " , also known as the " Conquest Edict " , of 257 BC -, declared that the victory was overwhelming and losses among the defeated peoples were particularly devastating: his army took 150,000 people captive and slew 100,000, and many times that number died in the conquest."….Reflections on Law and Armed Conflicts...By Gerald Draper

"Amyntas Nikator was an Indo-Greek king. His coins have been found both in eastern Punjab and Afghanistan, indicating that he ruled a considerable territory....Bopearachchi places Amyntas c. 95–90 BCE, whereas Senior places him c. 80–65 BCE....Amyntas struck bilingual silver coins with a variety of portraits. Most of these bear the reverse of sitting Zeus holding a victory palm and a small statue of Athena, which according to RC Senior may have indicated an alliance between the house of Menander I and the house of Antialcidas. Some of his coins feature the reverse of fighting Athena typical for Menander's descendants. The epithet Nikator (Victor) was previously only used on the Bactrian coins of Agathocles, a century before Amyntas' reign. His bronzes feature the syncretic deity Zeus-Mithra wearing a phrygian cap and Athena standing at rest, both forming the vitarka mudra....Amyntas also minted some spectacular Attic coins, the largest silver coins of Antiquity.These huge coins were found on the archeological site of Qunduz in Afghanistan. Some of these coins use his ordinary Zeus reverse, but some of them used Tyche in an identical position."....

"Stasanor: In the first partition of the provinces after the death of Alexander (323 BC), Stasanor retained his former satrapy of Drangiana, but in the subsequent division at Triparadisus (321 BC), he exchanged it for the more important government of Bactria and Sogdiana. Here he appears to have remained quiet for some years, taking no open part, so far as we are informed in the contest between Eumenes and Antigonus. After the victory of Antigonus, although Stasanor had apparently inclined in favour of Eumenes, Antigonus found it prudent to pardon him and left him in the undisturbed possession of his satrapy, 316 BC., since Stasanor had secured the attachment of the native population by the justice and moderation of his rule, and thus firmly established his power in the satrapy."....

"Chandragupta and the eastern provinces....Seleucid–Mauryan war....Seleucus soon turned his attention once again eastward. In the year 305 BC, Seleucus I Nicator went to India and apparently occupied territory as far as the Indus, and eventually waged war with the Maurya Emperor Chandragupta Maurya:....Always lying in wait for the neighboring nations, strong in arms and persuasive in council, he [Seleucus] acquired Mesopotamia, Armenia, 'Seleucid' Cappadocia, Persis, Parthia, Bactria, Arabia, Tapouria, Sogdia, Arachosia, Hyrcania, and other adjacent peoples that had been subdued by Alexander, as far as the river Indus, so that the boundaries of his empire were the most extensive in Asia after that of Alexander. The whole region from Phrygia to the Indus was subject to Seleucus. He crossed the Indus and waged war with Sandrocottus, king of the Indians, who dwelt on the banks of that stream, until they came to an understanding with each other and contracted a marriage relationship. – Appian, History of Rome, The Syrian Wars 55.....Only a few sources mention his activities in India. Chandragupta (known in Greek sources as Sandrökottos), founder of the Mauryan empire, had conquered the Indus valley and several other parts of the easternmost regions of Alexander's empire. Seleucus began a campaign against Chandragupta and crossed the Indus. Seleucus' Indian campaign was, however, a failure. It is unknown what exactly happened. Perhaps Chandragupta defeated Seleucus in battle."...

"After the death of Spitamenes and his marriage to Roxana (Roshanak in Bactrian) to cement relations with his new satrapies, Alexander turned to the Indian subcontinent. He invited the chieftains of the former satrapy of Gandhara, in the north of what is now Pakistan, to come to him and submit to his authority. Omphis(Indian name Ambhi Kumar), the ruler of Taxila, whose kingdom extended from the Indus to the Hydaspes (Jhelum), complied, but the chieftains of some hill clans, including the Aspasioi and Assakenoi sections of the Kambojas (known in Indian texts also as Ashvayanas and Ashvakayanas), refused to submit...Dissension and rivalry soon followed the death of Alexander..... The satrapies handed out by Perdiccas at the Partition of Babylon became power bases each general used to bid for power. After the assassination of Perdiccas in 321 BC, Macedonian unity collapsed, and 40 years of war between "The Successors" (Diadochi) ensued before the Hellenistic world settled into four stable power blocks: Ptolemaic Egypt, Selucid Mesopotamia and Central Asia, Attalid Anatolia, and Antigonid Macedon. In the process, both Alexander IV and Philip III were murdered."


October 2013

John Hopkins....Northern New Mexico


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