Originally Posted by Devdas
Moreover, Indo-Greeks were small in number and they were later destroyed by Indo-Scythians.
This is not correct (but if you have some source for that, please share it with us)
The main view is that the indo-greek communities continued to exist until they were naturally/gradually absorbed by the local population.
Their numbers were not only these of greek-Greeks, we are dealing with a hellenistic society, that is there were many hellenised others with them. Hellenism had an appeal, and there was no need for religious conversion too, they practised syncretism.
This process was seen elsewhere too, Black Sea, Israel, Egypt, Anatolia, etc (in Black Sea we have a Scythian ruler that at nights secretely lives 2nd live as Greek inside a city, until his fellowmen find it out and kill him for betrayal, Maccabean rebelion starts as a conservative reaction against massive hellenisations of Jews).
In generall, the greek speaking orient surfaces from this process, that was the basis for Eastern Roman Empire later.
Hellenism was like americanism of today, many hate them but everydoby watches holywood movies, listens to their music, follows their trends, etc. Most of people wanted to stroll the streets of a greek city, visit their agoras, go to gym, watch a comedy or tragedy, buy some work of their art, wear like them, speak like them. Again, the ancient Greeks were not just another barbarian raider, they had style and charm.
But that was not one-way thing. It is evident that the Greeks made effort to come closer to the locals, by adopting double script on the coins and becoming patrons of Buddhism. It is speculated that they tried to use Buddhism just as the Roman Emperors used Christianity in order to homogenise their empire.
Anyway, the Indo-Greeks soon became almost totally isolated from the rest of the hellenistic world, and after a few centuries faded away.
Originally Posted by Devdas
I want to know what happened to Greeks who left behind in India and Bactria after Seleucus Nikator was defeated by Chandragupta Maurya in 305BC taking the large part of Eastern Hellenic Empire into Maurya Empire. How they lived under Maurya Empire and how they resurged after the fall of Mauryan Empire in 185BC to form various Indo-Greek Kingdoms across North-West.
Seleucus I came to an understanding with Chandragupta, this included epigamia
(marriage relationship) meaning that either Chandragupta's and Seleucus families we tied up with a dynastic marriage or that numerous marriages were ordered between Greeks and Indians, so as to seal the truce. Also, gifts were exchanged, reportedly Chandragupta gave 500 war elephants to Seleucus (that was huge gift, the cost of 500 war elephants at that time was astronomical).
It is believed that the epigamy
was about Seleucus giving his daughter hand to Chandragupta, hence the 500 elephants. It kinda makes sense, since it is not recorded that Seleucus gave any important gift back, and as it seems he lost battles. The other explanation is if Chandragupta had difficult time winning, and was just happy to to end the war.
Anyway, these were the eastern satrapies of Alexander and the greatest part of them was lost (Bactria seems to have remained in greek hands):
The two monarchs seem to have had respect for one another. Seleucus would appoint consecutively embassadors to Mauryan court, and reportedly he would receive periodically gifts (according to Deipnosophistes
one time they sent him aphrodisiacs, kinda like ancient viagra
Ashoka too maintained good relations with the Seleucids (even Ptolemaic embassies to the Mauryas are recorder).
So, one would expect that the Greeks of the former easten Satrapies fared pretty good. Which they did.
Now, coming to the question, how did the Greeks came back to india. Here is the greatest Maurya extend under Ashoka:
After Ashoka it is recorded a steady decline of the Mauryas. Accordingly one would expect their army to shrink and generally their ability to project power in the periphery of their empire.
In the eastern-most of Seleucid Empire, Bactria, ruled Euthydemus I (around 230 BC)
Due to the riches of the area and the distance from the Seleucid seat of power, Euthydemus had autonomistic tendencies, which forced the seleucid king Antiochus III to make a military expendition in order to subdue him.
Euthydemus lost the battles, but managed to hold a 3-year siege in Bactra. Antiochus got bored waiting, and deja-vu
!, he offered Euthydemus his daughter as wife
and signed with him a treaty recognising him as autonomous ruler of the area.
Euthydemus' son, Demetrius I, around 180 BC he invaded India.
Remember, the Mauryans already in steep decline, were overthrown and the Sungas came into play. The Greco-Bactrians were allies of the Mauryans, and the speculation is that either used this as pretext to invade, or they did it to protect the Greeks on Indus Valley from the new dynasty which apparently was not very friendly.
Exact dating is problematic, but it seems that the conquest was fast, because Demetrius I seems to die around the same date with the invasion. The expendition has penetrated deep in India, but there are no evidence suggesting that Greeks tried to consolidate their gains, it wouldn't have any meaning most probably, they would be like a drop in an ocean of Indians.
A major source of information about the Indo-Greek rulers are their coins. They are found in astonishingly great number all over the region, even deeper and more south in india. It is a proof that their economy thrived.
So, more or less, thats how it happened.
Later, around 130 BC the Greco-Bactrian kingdom is overrun by Scythians and Yuezhi, something that made many Greeks seek refuge across Hindu Kush in India, thus increasing the Indo-Greek population.
The last Indo-Greek ruler(s) according to numismatic evidence are Strato II and III (father and son ruling together, just like decades earlier mother and son did - Agathokleia and Strato I), with some place the end of his around 50 BC, other around 10 AD. There are also some mentions in local script of another ruler named Theodamas
, he could be someone ruling proper after Strato II, or just some local governor in the name of some new king.