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Ancient History / Post-Mauryan Era

Indo Greek Dynasty

    There was political turmoil during the Post Mauryan period. During this time, even foreign dynasties ruled India. Indo Greek dynasty, also known as Yavana dynasty, is one of the foreign dynasties to rule over some parts of India. The period between 200 BC and 300 AD is termed as Post Mauryan Period or Pre Gupta Period.

    Indo Greek Invasion and its Impact on India

    • Demetrius (King of Bactria) invaded North West parts of India. He was the second Greek hero to conquer India (first one being, Alexander The Great).

      Demetrius invaded northwestern India after destruction of the Mauryan dynasty by Pushyamitra Shunga. The Greeks had diplomatic alliances with the Mauryans.

    • The most famous king Indo-Greek dynasty is Menander. In Indian literature, he was called Milinda. His capital was Sakala (the modern Sialkot of Pakistan). He took Buddhism.

      Buddhist monk, Nagasena was in the court of Milinda. The discussion between Nagasena and Milinda was going as Questions and Answers.

      These Questions and Answers were documented as Milindapanha (Question's of Milinda) and is considered sacred after Tripitakas and it was written in Pali language.

    • It was Menander, who introduced gold coins for the first time in India but Kushans issued gold coins on large scale. Menander introduced Double Die Struck coins having complete information on both sides.

      On obverse side, king along with his information and on the reverse side, religious information (symbols) is present. During this period, punch marked coins were replaced by Double Die Struck coins.

    • Menander had titles "Deva Vrata" and "Sudeva Vrata", which are found on coins (on obverse side). On reverse side, Buddhist Dharma Chakra with 8 spokes is present.

    Political History of post Mauryan Period

    Many foreign and indigenous dynasties ruled India during the post Mauryan period.

    • Foreign Dynasties - The following foreign kingdoms have ruled over different parts of India.

      • Indo–Greeks (Yavanas) – They are the first foreigners to rule India. They came to India from Bactria (Northern Afghanistan).

      • Yuezhies – They are Mongoloids, who came from Central Asia. In India, they are called Kushans.

      • Parthians – They came from Parthia (North Eastern Iran). In India, they are called Pahlavas.

      • Shakas (Scythians) – They came from Central Asia.

    • Indigenous Kingdoms - The following indigenous kingdoms have ruled over different parts of India.

      • In North India, Shunga and Kanva kingdoms.

      • In Deccan (derived from Dakshin), Satavahana dynasty.

      • In East (Odisha), Mahameghavahana dynasty.

      • In South India, Chola, Pandya and Chera kingdoms.