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Iranian (Persian) & Macedonian (Greek) Invasion

Persian Invasion (550 BC)

  • Contemporary to reign of Bimbisara, Persian attacked N-W front of India & Magadha continued to rise in N-E & Central-north in India
  • In N-W front of India, several small provinces like Kamboja, Gandhara & Madra did not have a political unity & continuously fought with each other
  • Archaemadian ruler of Iran, Cyprus took advantage of this political disunity & invaded west front of India.
  • All Indian tribes west of Indus River submitted to him including Gandhar
  • Darius 1, Grandson of Cyprus conquered Indus valley as a whole & annexed Punjab & Sindh (N W India)
  • Xerxes, Successor of Darius, employed Indian infantry & cavalry in war against Greece but got defeated & hence could not move forward in India. However, control of Persians over India slackened only after Alexander’s invasion on India


Effects of Persian Invasion

  • Impetus to Indo Iranian commerce & trade, which finally became the ground for Alexander’s invasion
  • Use of Kharoshti script bought by Iranian gain popularity in N-W India & some inscription of Ashoka (250 BC) are written in this language (derived from Aramaic script, written from right to left)
  • Influence of Persian art in India, Particularly monolithic pillars , & sculptures found on them along with inscriptions


Alexander’s Invasion (327 BC)

After 2 centuries of Persian invasion, Alexander from Macedonia invaded India. Alexander conquered minor Asia along with Iraq & Iran and from Iran he marched into India

  • Alexander conquered whole of Persia by defeating Darius 3 in battle of Arabela (330 BC).
  • Herodotus, Father of history, wrote that fabulous wealth of India attracted Alexander & moreover his interest in Geographical enquiry & love of natural history urged him to invade India
  • Alexander believed that on eastern side of India lies continuation of the sea & hence by conquering India, he would conquer eastern boundary of the world
  • After conquest of Iran, he marched into India through Khyber pass 327 BC & crossed Indus in 326 BC.
  • Ambhi, the ruler of taxila readily submitted to him but Porus whose kingdom lay between Jhelum & Chenab refused to submit to Alexander


Battle of Hydaspes (Jhelum)

  • Although Porus had a vast army & fought bravely, but he lost to Alexander
  • Alexander, impressed by the bravery of Indian prince reinstated him to his throne and made him his ally.
  • Then he advanced as far as river Beas, he wanted to move further but war weary, diseased, Hot weather of India & 10 year of continuous fighting led to the refusal of Greek soldiers to move further (Refusal also came because of the enormous power of Nandas of Magadha).
  • Hence, Alexander divided his conquered territories into 3 Parts & placed them under 3 Greek governors.


Effect of Alexander’s Invasion

  • 1st contact b/w Europe & India paved the way for increased trade & commerce
  • Encouraged political unification of India under Mauryas

Alexander’s authority in Indus valley was short lived because of expansion of Mauryan Empire under Chandragupta maurya.

1 Comment

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