Iranian and Macedonian invasions: Alexander’s invasion 336 BC

Iranian invasion


Alexander picture.

  • At the time when the kings of Magadha were expanding their empire, at the same time the Hakhmani rulers of Iran were also expanding their kingdom.
  • The first success in invading India was achieved by Dara I, who was the successor of Cyrus. It is proved from the three inscriptions of Dara I, Bahistun Persepolis, and Mapurustam that he had first occupied the Indian territories along the banks of the river Indus.
  • He conquered the areas west of the Indus river, Punjab, and some areas of Sindh and annexed them to his empire.
  • This region became the 20th province or Kshatrapi of Persia.
  • There were 23 provinces in the Persian Empire.
  • The Indian Kshatrapi included the Indus, the North-West Frontier Province, and the western part of the Indus River of Punjab.

contact results

  • Iranian scribes brought a special form of writing to India which later became famous as Kharoshthi.
  • This script was written from right to left like Arabic. Iranian coins have also been found in the North-West Frontier Province, which indicates trade with Iran.
  • The monuments of the Ashoka period, especially the bell-shaped domes, were somewhat based on Iranian models.
  • The Iranian preamble and its influence can be seen in the preamble of Ashoka’s territories and the words used in them.
  • It was only with the help of the Iranians that the Greeks got information about the immense wealth of trade in India.

Alexander’s invasion

  • Alexander was the son of Philip II, the satrap of Macedon. At the time of Alexander’s invasion, northwestern India was divided into many small states, in which some states were republican and monarchical, which were as easy for Alexander to separate.
  • He was the ruler of the Greek kingdom of Macedonia.
  • He ascended the throne in 336 BC after the death of his father. He established a city named Sikandariya between Kabul and Sindh.
  • Alexander not only conquered Asia Minor and Iraq but also Iran, he moved from Iran to India Herodotus, who is called the father of history and Greek writers, described India as a country of immense wealth.
  • Reading this description, Alexander was inspired to attack India. In the fourth century BC, there were conflicts between the Greeks and the Iranians to establish their hegemony over the world.
  • Under the leadership of Alexander, the Greeks finally destroyed the Iranian Empire, after which Alexander moved toward India. The basic reason for Alexander’s invasion of India was his desire for wealth.
  • Sikandar came to India through Khyber Pass and made his first attack against King Ambhi and Porus of Taxila. King Ambhi and Porus of Taxila were well-known kings whose kingdom lay between the Jhelum and Chenab rivers.
  • Both of them could not form a united front and neither was there any defense on the Khyber Pass.
  • Ambhi, the ruler of Taxila, surrendered to Alexander. Impressed by the bravery and courage of the Indian king, Alexander returned the kingdom to Porus and made him his companion.
  • Sikandar had reached the border of the Vyas river, he wanted to move towards the east as well but his army refused to support him because he was tired and was suffering from diseases.
  • The Greek soldiers knew that there was a mighty empire on the banks of the Ganges.
  • Magadha was ruled by the Nanda dynasty and its army was much larger than Alexander’s army, due to which Alexander’s army refused to advance and fight.
  • Sikandar said in a sad tone – I want to instill enthusiasm in the hearts of those who are buried by insincere and cowardly fear. Thus there was the king who never lost to his enemies but was forced to accept defeat from his own people.
  • He lived in India for about 19 months from 326-325 BC. During this, he was always engaged in the war, at the time of his return, Alexander’s army was divided into two parts – the water route and the land route at the mouth of the Indus river.
  • Alexander’s final victory over Indian territory was against the Patil kingdom. He divided his territory into three parts and handed over the three Greeks, two or the other, to the governor.

Consequences of Alexander’s Invasion

  • The most important result of this invasion was the establishment of direct contact between India and Greece in various areas.
  • The gates of four different routes and waterways were opened by Alexander’s campaign.
  • The Gandhara style of art in India, which developed in the second century BC, is the result of Greek influence. This paved the way for Greek merchants and craftsmen and the then facilities of trade increased.
  • As a result of the invasion, Greek colonies were established in these areas. Among them, Bukephala on the banks of the Jhelum and Alexandria on the banks of the Indus were more important.
  • Alexander’s historians left valuable geographical details in which they wrote history including the date of Alexander’s campaign.
  • This helps us to prepare a date sequence history of the events that happened in India. The historians of Alexander give us important information about the social and economic situation.
  • He tells us about the practice of Sati by poor parents selling their daughters and the cow bulls of the northern breeds of northwestern India.
  • Alexander’s invasion paved the way for the expansion of the Maurya Empire in this region by destroying the power of small states in northwestern India.

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