Timeline of Indo-Greek kingdoms

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Within the Indo-Greek Kingdom there were over 30 kings, often in competition on different territories. Many of them are only known through their coins.

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Many of the dates, territories, and relationships between Indo-Greek kings are tentative and essentially based on numismatic analysis (find places, overstrikes, monograms, metallurgy, styles), a few Classical writings, and Indian writings and epigraphic evidence. The following list of kings, dates and territories after the reign of Demetrius is derived from the latest and most extensive analysis on the subject, by Osmund Bopearachchi ("Monnaies Gréco-Bactriennes et Indo-Grecques, Catalogue Raisonné", 1991).

Eastern territories

The descendants of the Greco-Bactrian king Euthydemus invaded northern India around 180 BC as far as the Punjab.

Demetrius I, founder of the Indo-Greek kingdom (r.c. 205-171 BC). DemetriusCoin.jpg
Demetrius I, founder of the Indo-Greek kingdom (r.c. 205-171 BC).

The territory ruled by Demetrius, from Bactria to Pataliputra, was then separated between western and eastern parts, and ruled by several sub-kings and successor kings. The Western part made of Bactria was ruled by a succession of Greco-Bactrian kings until the end of the reign of Heliocles around 130 BCE. The Eastern part, made of the Paropamisadae, Arachosia, Gandhara and Punjab, perhaps as far as Mathura, was ruled by a succession of kings, called "Indo-Greek":

Territories of Paropamisadae to Mathura (house of Euthydemus)

Coins

The usurper Eucratides managed to eradicate the Euthydemid dynasty and occupy territory as far as he Indus, between 170 and 145 BCE. Eucratides was then murdered by his son, thereafter Menander I seems to have regained all of the territory as far west as the Hindu-Kush

Territory from Hindu-Kush to Mathura (150 - 125 BCE)

After the death of Menander I, his successors seem to have been pushed back east to Gandhara, losing the Paropamisadae and Arachosia to a Western Indo-Greek kingdom. Some years later the Eastern kings probably had to retreat even further, to Western Punjab.

Territory from Gandhara/Western Punjab to Mathura (125 - 100 BC)

The following minor kings who ruled parts of the kingdom:

After around 100 BCE, Indian kings recovered the area of Mathura and Eastern Punjab east of the Ravi River, and started to mint their own coins.

The Western king Philoxenus briefly occupied the whole remaining Greek territory from the Paropamisadae to Western Punjab between 100 and 95 BC, after what the territories fragmented again. The eastern kings regained their territory as far west as Arachosia.

During the 1st century BC, the Indo-Greeks progressively lost ground against the invasion of the Indo-Scythians, until the last king Strato II ended his ruled in Eastern Punjab around 10 CE.

Territory of Arachosia and Gandhara (95-70 BCE)

Territory of Western Punjab (95-55 BC)

Tetradrachm of Hippostratus, reigned circa 65-55 BCE. Coin of Hippostratos.jpg
Tetradrachm of Hippostratus, reigned circa 65-55 BCE.

Around 80 BCE, parts of Eastern Punjab were regained again:

Territories of Eastern Punjab (80 BC - 10 AD)

Western territories

The following kings ruled the western parts of the Indo-Greek/Graeco-Bactrian realms, which are here referred to as the "Western kingdom". Probably after the death of Menander I, the Paropamisadae and Arachosia broke loose, and the Western kings eventually seem to have extended into Gandhara by the following kings. Several of its rulers are believed to have belonged to the house of Eucratides.

Territories of the Paropamisadae, Arachosia and Gandhara (130 - 95 BC)

Silver coin of Heliocles (145-130 BC) HelioclesCoin.jpg
Silver coin of Heliocles (145-130 BC)

After the death of Philoxenus, the Western kingdom fragmented and never became dominating again. The following kings ruled mostly in the Paropamisadae.


Territory of the Paropamisadae (95-70 BC)

The Yuezhi probably then took control of the Paropamisadae after Hermaeus. The first documented Yuezhi prince, Sapadbizes, ruled around 20 BCE, and minted in Greek and in the same style as the western Indo-Greek kings, probably depending on Greek mints and celators. The Yuezhi expanded to the east during the 1st century CE, to found the Kushan Empire. The first Kushan emperor Kujula Kadphises ostensibly associated himself with Hermaeus on his coins, suggesting that he may have been one of his descendants by alliance, or at least wanted to claim his legacy.

Indo-Greek princelets (Gandhara)

After the Indo-Scythian Kings became the rulers of northern India, remaining Greek communities were probably governed by lesser Greek rulers, without the right of coinage, into the 1st century CE, in the areas of the Paropamisadae and Gandhara:

The Indo-Greeks may have kept a significant military role towards the 2nd century CE as suggested by the inscriptions of the Satavahana kings.

Related Research Articles

Demetrius I of Bactria Greco-Bactrian and later Indo-Greek king

Demetrius I, also called Damaytra was a Greco-Bactrian and later Indo-Greek king, who ruled areas from Bactria to ancient northwestern India. He was the son of the Greco-Bactrian Kingdom's ruler Euthydemus I and succeeded him around 200 BCE, after which he conquered extensive areas in what is now southern Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan and India.

Menander I 2nd-century BCE Greco-Bactrian and Indo-Greek king

Menander I Soter, was a Greco-Bactrian and later Indo-Greek King who administered a large territory in the Northwestern regions of the Indian Subcontinent from his capital at Sagala. Menander is noted for having become a patron and convert to Greco-Buddhism and he is widely regarded as the greatest of the Indo-Greek kings.

Indo-Greek Kingdom Hellenistic-era Greek kingdom in northwestern South Asia (200 BCE–10 CE)

The Indo-Greek Kingdom, or Graeco-Indian Kingdom, also known historically as the Yavana Kingdom (Yavanarajya), was a Hellenistic-era Greek kingdom covering various parts of Afghanistan and the northwest regions of the Indian subcontinent, which existed during the last two centuries BC and was ruled by over 30 kings, Menander being the most illustrious and successful.

Apollodotus I Indo-Greek king

Apollodotus I Prakrit in the Kharoshti script: maharajasa apaladatasa tratarasa) was an Indo-Greek king between 180 BC and 160 BC or between 174 and 165 BC who ruled the western and southern parts of the Indo-Greek kingdom, from Taxila in Punjab to the areas of Sindh and possibly Gujarat.

Eucratides I King of Kings, Basileus

Eucratides I, also known as Eucratides the Great, was one of the most important Greco-Bactrian kings. Eucratides overthrew the Euthydemid dynasty of Bactria and restored the Diodotid dynasty of Diodotus I, allied to the Parthian Empire. Eucratides fought against the easternmost Hellenistic and Indian rulers in India, holding territory in the Indus and as far as Barigaza until he was finally defeated by Menander and pushed back to Bactria. Eucratides minted a vast and prestigious coinage, suggesting a rule of considerable importance and prosperity. His son, Heliocles I was father of Heliocles II, who was the last Greek king to rule in Bactria, as Yuezhi and Saka nomads overran the country c.100 BCE.

Hermaeus Indo-Greek king

Hermaeus Soter or Hermaios Soter was a Western Indo-Greek king of the Eucratid Dynasty, who ruled the territory of Paropamisade in the Hindu-Kush region, with his capital in Alexandria of the Caucasus. Bopearachchi dates Hermaeus to c. 90–70 BCE and R. C. Senior to c. 95–80 BCE.

Strato I Indo-Greek king

Strato I Dikaios also known as Stratha in Sanskrit, was a Yavana King, the son and successor of Menander, Strato’s mother, Agathoclea ruled as Queen Mother and regnant for Strato until 120 BCE, when he was of age to succeed his father. He was dynastically succeeded by his son, Milinda II.

Hippostratos Indo-Greek king

Hippostratos was an Indo-Greek king who ruled central and north-western Punjab and Pushkalavati. Bopearachchi dates Hippostratos to 65 to 55 BCE whereas R. C. Senior suggests 60 to 50 BCE.

Apollodotus II Indo-Greek king

Apollodotus II was an Indo-Greek king who ruled in the western and eastern parts of Punjab. Bopearachchi dates him to c. 80–65 BC, and R. C. Senior to c. 85–65 BC. Apollodotos II was an important ruler who seems to have re-established the Indo-Greek kingdom to some extent of its former glory. Taxila in western Punjab was reconquered from nomad Scythian rule.

Epander Indo-Greek king

Epander was one of the Indo-Greek kings. He may have been a relative of Menander I, and the findplaces of his coins seem to indicate that he ruled in the area of Punjab.

Diomedes Soter Indo-Greek king

Diomedes Soter or Diodotus was an Indo-Greek king and possible claimant Greco-Bactrian King who may have attempted to reconquer the lands north of the Hindu Kush. The places where his coins have been found seem to indicate that his rule was based in the area of the Paropamisadae, possibly with temporary dominions further east. Judging from their similar portraits and many overlapping monograms, the young Diomedes seems to have been the heir of Philoxenus, the last king to rule before the kingdom of Menander I finally fragmented.

Strato II Indo-Greek king

Strato IISoter also known as Stratha, was an Indo-Greek king. He ruled c. 25 BCE to 10 CE according to Bopearachchi. R. C. Senior suggests that his reign ended perhaps a decade earlier. He may have been supplanted by the Indo-Scythian Northern Satraps, particularly Rajuvula and Bhadayasa, whose coins were often copied on those of the last Indo-Greek kings. Numerous coins of Rajuvula have been found in company with the coins of the Strato group in the Eastern Punjab and also in the Mathura area: for example, 96 coins of Strato II were found in Mathura in conjunction with coins of Rajuvula, who also imitated the designs of Strato II in the majority of his issues.

Heliokles II Indo-Greek king

Heliocles II Dikaios is thought to have been one of the later Indo-Greek kings and a relative of the Bactrian king Heliocles I. Bopearachchi and R. C. Senior seem to agree that he ruled ca 95–80 BCE.

History of the Indo-Greek Kingdom

The History of the Indo-Greek Kingdom covers a period from the 2nd century BCE to the beginning of the 1st century CE in northern and northwestern India. There were over 30 Indo-Greek kings, often in competition on different territories. Many of them are only known through their coins.

Indo-Greek religions

The Indo-Greeks practiced numerous religions during the time they ruled in present-day northwestern India from the 2nd century BCE to the beginning of the 1st century CE. In addition to the worship of the Classical pantheon of the Greek deities found on their coins, the Indo-Greeks were involved with local faiths, particularly with Buddhism, but also with Hinduism and Zoroastrianism.

Indo-Greek art

Indo-Greek art is the art of the Indo-Greeks, who reigned from circa 200 BCE in areas of Bactria and the Indian subcontinent. Initially, between 200 and 145 BCE, they remained in control of Bactria while occupying areas of India, until Bactria was lost to invading nomads. After 145 BCE, Indo-Greek kings ruled exclusively in parts of ancient India, especially in Gandhara and the area of Punjab. The Indo-Greeks had a rich Hellenistic heritage and artistic proficiency as seen with the remains of the city of Ai-Khanoum, which was founded as a Greco-Bactrian city. In India, several Indo-Greeks cities are known such as Sirkap near Taxila, or Barikot, where some Indo-Greek artistic remains have been found, such as stone palettes. Some Buddhist cultural objects related to the Indo-Greeks are known, such as the Shinkot casket. But by far the most important Indo-Greek remains in India are the beautiful and numerous coins of the Indo-Greek kings, considered as some of the most artistically brilliant of Antiquity. Most of the works of art of the Greco-Buddhist art of Gandhara are usually attributed to the direct successors of the Indo-Greeks in India in the 1st century CE, such as the nomadic Indo-Scythians, the Indo-Parthians and, in an already decadent state, the Kushans. Many Gandharan works of art cannot be dated exactly, leaving the exact chronology open to interpretation. With the realization that the Indo-Greeks ruled in India until at least 10-20 CE with the reign of Strato II in the Punjab, the possibility of a direct connection between the Indo-Greeks and Greco-Buddhist art has been reaffirmed recently.

Sources of Indo-Greek history

The sources used to reconstruct the history of the Indo-Greeks are few and disparate, leading to much uncertainty about the precise state of the Indo-Greek kingdom and its chronology. Sources related to the Indo-Greeks can be classified into various categories: ancient literary sources from both the West and the Indian world, archaeological sources from the general area of present day Pakistan, Kashmir and North Indian states of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh & Bihar, and numismatical sources, which are abundant and well-preserved but often rather cryptic.

Greco-Bactrian Kingdom Hellenistic-era Greek kingdom (256–100 BCE)

The Bactrian Kingdom, known to historians as the Greco-Bactrian Kingdom or simply Greco-Bactria, was a Hellenistic-era Greek state, and along with the Indo-Greek Kingdom, the easternmost part of the Hellenistic world in Central Asia and the Indian Subcontinent from its founding in 256 BC by Diodotus I Soter to its fall c. 120–100 BC under the reign of Heliocles II. It covered much of present-day Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan, and at its zenith, parts of Iran, Pakistan. Bactria was ruled by the Diodotid dynasty and rival Euthydemid dynasty. The capitals of Ai-Khanum and Bactra were among the largest and richest of antiquity - Bactria itself was known as the ‘land of a thousand golden cities’. The Indo-Greek Kingdoms, as Bactrian successor states, would last until 10 AD.

Strato III King of Gandhara

Strato IIIPhilopator was an Indo-Greek king who ruled c. 25 BCE to 10 CE. He is only known through the joint coins with his father Strato II. He may have been supplanted, in conjunction with his father or later as an independent king, by the Indo-Scythian Northern Satraps, particularly Rajuvula and Bhadayasa, whose coins were often copied. Strato was the last of the line of Diodotus and independent Hellenistic king to rule at his death in 10 AD.

Euthydemid dynasty Hellenistic dynasty


The Euthydemid dynasty was a Hellenistic dynasty founded by Demetrius I in 230 BCE which ruled the Greco-Bactrian and Indo-Greek kingdoms throughout the Hellenistic period from 230 BC to 10 AD, upon the death of its last ruler, Strato III.