Rawlinson, H. G. Intercourse between India and the western world from the earliest times to the fall of Rome

(Cambridge :  University Press,  1916.)



Jump to page:

Table of Contents

  Page 161  

India and the West                i6i

close touch with their Greek neighbours. Yet
here, again, it is remarkable how little the Greek
spirit influenced India. Hellenism, which affected
profoundly the whole of Western Asia and even
Egypt, stopped short at the Hindu Kush, in spite
of the presence of a Greek rdni at Pataliputra and
of the close and friendly relations existing between
the Mauryas and their brother monarchs of Syria
and Egypt. Chandragupta, who had spent his
early days as an exile in the Panjab, where Persian
civilization had taken a strong hold on the country
was imbued with Persian ideas. Of Greek culture
he and his successors exhibit hardly a trace.         \

With the break up of the Maurya Empire,
however, came a fresh foreign invasion of North¬
western India. Disturbances in Central Asia
drove the Baktrian Greeks south of the Hindu
Kush, where they established a kingdom with
its capital at Sagala, afterwards splitting up into
a series of petty principalities. These Greek
principalities, after enjoying considerable power for
a time, were succeeded, as we have already seen,
firstly by Skythian or Saka chiefs,, and finally
by the Kushan tribe, who quickly absorbed all
the petty states of the Panjab and established
a vast Empire, with its capital at Peshawar,
stretching from the Oxus to the Ganges.

It is an interesting and still unsolved problem,
how far the Baktrian Greeks actually affected the
civilization of North-Western India. Probably the
results of their brief reign were not great.    They

R.I.                                                                                        II
  Page 161