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==Alexander the Great swings by (327-25 BCE), making a U-turn: watch *his route* unfold. His travels have taken him through Persia, where he has conquered the last Achaemenid emperor. (More information than you could ever need: *alexanderama*; *livius*.) With much difficulty he defeats Porus (from the Vedic "Puru"), ruler of the northern Punjab region, and makes an alliance with him. But his soldiers are on the verge of mutiny, and other local kings keep attacking him. He is finally forced to turn back down the Indus and westward again; in a couple of years he is dead. [*Routes*]
==Gandhara (early 300's BCE onward), the region of the upper Indus River valley in modern Pakistan and on into eastern Afghanistan (*kaladarshan*; *livius*), becomes a tremendous center of Greek and Buddhist cultural mingling and diffusion, as can be seen from its rich archaeological sites, especially Taxila (*livius*) and important sculpture (*ANU*; *himalayan art*).
==Chandragupta Maurya (r.321-297 BCE) profits from the power vacuum in Gandhara that Alexander has left behind, and maybe also from personal observation of Alexander's techniques. He founds the Mauryan dynasty (321-185 BCE), with its capital in Pataliputra (Bihar): *Met Museum*.
==Chandragupta defeats Seleukos (305 BCE): Seleukos Nikator, Alexander's satrap in Persia, founder of the  huge Seleucid Empire (*parthia*), crosses the Khyber Pass into the Punjab-- where Chandragupta meets him with a huge army and defeats him. In their peace treaty, Chandragupta gains everything east of Kabul, along with Baluchistan. Seleukos gains 500 war elephants, which he uses successfully the following year against his rival Antigonos. Seleukos puts an Indian elephant on some of his coins (*perseus*). 
==Megasthenes visits Pataliputra: To Chandragupta's court comes Seleukos's emissary, Megasthenes, who is impressed with the elaborate wooden architecture of Pataliputra (*MSSU*), and with many other things he sees in India. Later he writes a long account of India, which today survives only in fragments: *MSSU*.
==Kautilya's Arthashastra, the greatest South Asian political science text, begins to take shape: *MSSU*. Kautilya (also called Chanakya), the Machiavelli of South Asia, may have helped Chandragupta Maurya to take power (*Manas*), but the chronology and sources are all a bit murky and the work probably evolved over several centuries; *the India of the Arthashastra*.
==Panini (300's BCE?), the first great Sanskrit grammarian (*wiki*): his pithy, rigorously sequential grammatical rules in the form of verse sutras are almost untranslatable, so scroll down and have a look at samples of the originals: (*taralabalu*). Panini has the mind of a brilliant computer programmer, twenty centuries before the ideal tools came along. *India as Panini sees it*.

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