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Indo-Greek Kingdom (Dharmachakra)

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Indo-Greek Kingdom
Ινδο-ελληνικό βασίλειο
Timeline: Dharmachakra

OTL equivalent: India, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Turkmenistan
Capital Sikandariyā
Largest city Taxila
Language
  official
 
Koiné
  others Kharosthi, Pali
Religion
  main
 
Buddhism
  others Hinduism, Jainism, Greek Pantheism
Ethnic Groups
  main
 
Hellenic
  others Hindi
Demonym Indo-Greek
Government Monarchy
βασιλιάς
Established 180 BC
Gandhara Buddha

Indo-Greek's representation of Buddha

Is an Hellenistic kingdom covering various parts of the northwest regions of the Indian subcontinent, established during the last two centuries of BC. The kingdom was founded when the Graeco-Bactrian king Demetrius invaded India early in the 2nd century BC. These Greeks in India were eventually divided from the Graeco-Bactrians centered in Bactria, but later reunified, establishing a united rule in north-western India. The most famous Indo-Greek ruler was Menander (Milinda). He had his capital at Sakala in Punjab, modern Pakistan, and he successfully invaded the Ganges-Yamuna doab.

History

The Kingdom was founded by Demetrius I in 180 BC as a number of various dynastic polls, traditionally associated with a number of regional capitals, eventually unified and other territories annexed by further kings.

The Neighbor Mauryan Empire was initially a political menace, but eventually the Buddhist conversion of the Basileus Menander I (Meninda) became an important factor for these two entities to came closer and convert into important allies. Menander I was not only the first Indo-Greek King converted into the Dharmmachakra, but also was an important promoter of the unification of the Hellenist culture and art with the local Buddhist beliefs and symbols.

From the mid-2nd century BC, the Scythians and then the Yuezhi, following a long migration from the border of China, started to invade Bactria from the north. Around 130 BC the Greco-Bactrian king Heliocles manage to stand the invasion (losing territories, however) and the Greco-Bactrian kingdom annexed itself into the main Indo-Greek Kingdom in order to survive.

Economy

Religion

The Greco-Buddhism is a cultural syncretism between Hellenistic culture and Buddhism, which developed between the 4th century BCE and the 5th century CE in the Indian sub-continent, especially in modern Afghanistan, Pakistan and north-western border regions of modern India. It's a cultural consequence of a long chain of interactions begun by Greek forays into India from the time of Alexander the Great, carried further by the establishment of Indo-Greek rule in the area for some centuries, and extended during flourishing of the Hellenized empire of the Kushans. Greco-Buddhism influenced the artistic, and the spiritual development of Buddhism, particularly Mahayana Buddhism, which represents one of the two main branches of Buddhism. The Buddhist religious system was then adopted in Central and Northeastern Asia, from the 1st century CE, ultimately spreading to China, Korea, Japan and Vietnam.

The Milinda Panha is the most known script around the initial Greco-Buddhist times. The first anthropomorphic representations of the Buddha himself are often considered a result of the Greco-Buddhist interaction. Before this innovation, Buddhist art was "aniconic".

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