Were the Mauryans vassals of the Seleucids?

Nov 2011
1,119
The Bluff
The sources really only suggest a post-war alliance, not vassalage. There is a marriage, Seleucus receives elephants and Chandragupta receives more land. Also, the Seleucids had enough trouble with Bactria-Sogdiana, Parthia, Asia Minor and Coele-Syria. To enforce a sustained vassalage on the Mauryas would have required security within the already unwieldy Seleucid Empire and numerous gargantuan campaigns.

As for Pliny, perhaps Seleucus really did reach that far, but it's also possible that geographers on his expedition were recording distances from a combination of personal data, information received from Indian guides and perhaps eventually their new Mauryan allies.
Possibly the most sensible post on the thread. Seleukos came into contact with the Indian king at the end of a long anabasis into the Alexanderian east during which he brought much of what you mention back under Macedonian control (Bactria-Sogdiana, Parthia for example). This after concerted warfare in the central satrappies over Babylon, Media and Persis. By the close of the century (204), Seleukos had a far bigger fish to fry: Antigonos Monophthalmos. The One-Eyed was engaged in a war on the western marches of Sleleukos' territories and an alliance was contracted with Lysimachos, Kassandros and Ptolemy to confront both Antigonos and his son Demetrios. This is the background to Seleukos and (S)Androcottos coming to terms. Seleukos had to contend with his great enemy for had he not, he will have lost the heart of his newly subjugated empire. You can't be everywhere and Seleukos had to march his army back into Kappadokia in time for the showdown that would be Ipsos.
 
Nov 2011
1,119
The Bluff
if chandragupta was a vassal, he would not have defeated seleucid and this is clearly mentioned even the greeks who admit that the guy was badly defeated by him, he would not offer his daughter to him, this only happens when a king is defeated and not when he defeats, chandragupta would also not rule the lands he ruled in the east, if he would be defeated, those kingdoms in the east would proclaim independence, he would also not expand afterwards being a vassal.

the entire scenario of porus getting defeated and letting live by alexander can also be used on the other hand to show how alexander killed all the rest of the kings and let only porus live which means porus never got defeated in the first place and the greek historians are simply making this up to save the honour of alexander.

regards
Justin, 15.4.12-22
He next made an expedition into India, which, after the death of Alexander, had shaken, as it were, the yoke of servitude from its neck, and put his governors to death. 13 The author of this liberation was Sandrocottus, who afterwards however, turned their semblance of liberty into slavery; 14 for, making himself king, he oppressed the people whom he had delivered from a foreign power, with a cruel tyranny. 15 This man was of mean origin, but was stimulated to aspire to regal power by supernatural encouragement; 16 for, having offended Alexander by his boldness of speech, and orders being given to kill him, he saved himself by swiftness of foot; 17 and while he was lying asleep after his fatigue, a lion of great size having come up to him, licked off with his tongue the sweat that was running from him, and after gently waking him, left him. 18 Being first prompted by this prodigy to conceive hopes or royal dignity, he drew together a band of robbers, and solicited the Indians to support his new sovereignty. 19 Some time after, as he was going to war with the generals of Alexander, a wild elephant of great bulk presented itself before him of its own accord, and, as if tamed down to gentleness, took him on its back, and became his guide in the war, and conspicuous in fields of battle. 20 Sandrocottus, having thus acquired a throne, was in possession of India, when Seleucus was laying the foundations of his future greatness; 21 who, after making a league with him, and settling his affairs in the east, proceeded to join in the war against Antigonus. 22 As soon as the forces, therefore, of all the confederates were united, a battle was fought, in which Antigonus was slain, and his son Demetrius put to flight.

Appian, Syrr. 55

Always lying in wait for the neighboring nations, strong in arms and persuasive in council, he acquired Mesopotamia, Armenia, the so-called Seleucid Cappadocia, the Persians, Parthians, Bactrians, Arabs, Tapyri, Sogdiani, Arachotes, Hyrcanians, and other adjacent peoples that had been subdued by Alexander, as far as the river Indus, so that the boundaries of his empire were the most extensive in Asia after that of Alexander. The whole region from Phrygia to the Indus was subject to Seleucus. He crossed the Indus and waged war with Androcottus, king of the Indians, who dwelt on the banks of that stream, until they came to an understanding with each other and contracted a marriage relationship. Some of these exploits were performed before the death of Antigonus and some afterward.

Strabo, 15.2.9
along the Indus are the Paropamisadae, above whom lies the Paropamisus mountain: then, towards the south, the Arachoti: then next, towards the south, the Gedroseni, with the other tribes that occupy the seaboard; and the Indus lies, latitudinally, alongside all these places; and of these places, in part, some that lie along the Indus are held by Indians, although they formerly belonged to the Persians. Alexander took these away from the Arians and established settlements of his own, but Seleucus Nicator gave them to Sandrocottus, upon terms of intermarriage and of receiving in exchange five hundred elephants.

Plut. Alex, 62.4

And there was no boasting in these reports. For Androcottus, who reigned there not long afterwards, made a present to Seleucus of five hundred elephants, and with an army of six hundred thousand men overran and subdued all India.

Athen. 1.18e
And Theophrastus says that some contrivances are of wondrous efficacy in such matters; and Phylarchus confirms him, by reference to some of the presents which Sandrocottus, the king of the Indians, sent to Seleucus; which were to act like charms in producing a wonderful degree of affection, while some, on the contrary, were to banish love.
So much for the source material. Can you please supply the Greek source - note that Wikipedia is not a source - which clearly states "that the guy (Seleukos) was badly defeated by him (Sandrocottos)" In the meantime we can agree that the sources mention Seleukos crossing into India and waging war with the Indian and there being a negotiated settlement so as Seleukos could return west to the emergency threatening his realm. We certainly do not - yet again - on these forums need to countenance the nonsense that Alexander was defeated by Poros with all the conspircacy nonsense which normally follws.
 
Sep 2012
1,177
Tarkington, Texas
I read somewhere that Seleucus traded a number of Phalanx Trained Troops to get the elephants. Anyone else hear of this?

Pruitt
 
Oct 2018
1,862
Sydney
Possibly the most sensible post on the thread. Seleukos came into contact with the Indian king at the end of a long anabasis into the Alexanderian east during which he brought much of what you mention back under Macedonian control (Bactria-Sogdiana, Parthia for example). This after concerted warfare in the central satrappies over Babylon, Media and Persis. By the close of the century (204), Seleukos had a far bigger fish to fry: Antigonos Monophthalmos. The One-Eyed was engaged in a war on the western marches of Sleleukos' territories and an alliance was contracted with Lysimachos, Kassandros and Ptolemy to confront both Antigonos and his son Demetrios. This is the background to Seleukos and (S)Androcottos coming to terms. Seleukos had to contend with his great enemy for had he not, he will have lost the heart of his newly subjugated empire. You can't be everywhere and Seleukos had to march his army back into Kappadokia in time for the showdown that would be Ipsos.
Very true. I was focused on the later challenges faced by the Seleucid Empire, but this is very good point. The Antigonid threat certainly does provide a good reason for a negotiated settlement, and it also renders it pretty unlikely that Seleucus ventured deep into eastern India.
 
Last edited:
Nov 2011
1,119
The Bluff
I read somewhere that Seleucus traded a number of Phalanx Trained Troops to get the elephants. Anyone else hear of this?

Pruitt
Nowhere attested that I'm aware of. Seleukos, given the Antigonid threat, will have no such troops to spare. Another reasin why traditional occupation was not an option.
 
Apr 2018
1,562
Mythical land.
The treaty is in clear favor of chandragupta,he got vast tracts of land and a wife,while nicator got 500 indian elephants,this shows either
1. Chandragupta was having upper hand in the war.
2. Nicator couldn't afford to prolong war in eastern front.
 
Mar 2019
1,809
KL
So much for the source material. Can you please supply the Greek source - note that Wikipedia is not a source - which clearly states "that the guy (Seleukos) was badly defeated by him (Sandrocottos)" In the meantime we can agree that the sources mention Seleukos crossing into India and waging war with the Indian and there being a negotiated settlement so as Seleukos could return west to the emergency threatening his realm. We certainly do not - yet again - on these forums need to countenance the nonsense that Alexander was defeated by Poros with all the conspircacy nonsense which normally follws.
conspiracy based on 2300 year old event? dont you think its a little too late for conspiracy?

greek sources can be hardly taken as reliable other than by the greeks and europeans obviously.

regards
 
Feb 2019
97
Mumbai
So much for the source material. Can you please supply the Greek source - note that Wikipedia is not a source - which clearly states "that the guy (Seleukos) was badly defeated by him (Sandrocottos)" In the meantime we can agree that the sources mention Seleukos crossing into India and waging war with the Indian and there being a negotiated settlement so as Seleukos could return west to the emergency threatening his realm. We certainly do not - yet again - on these forums need to countenance the nonsense that Alexander was defeated by Poros with all the conspircacy nonsense which normally follws.
There is however an issue in consistency of Alexander's behaviour. Throughout his campaign, Alexander acted as a marauding invader, as soon as he defeated his enemy, he usurped their lands and engaged in sack and loot. He continues this behaviour from Anatolia to the Indus and even completely destroys Persepolis. Yet as soon as he defeats (as per Greek sources) Porus, he behaves not as a marauding invader but a statesman. What caused this dramatic change in behaviour? Now we need to recognize that Greek historians were humans too and had a job to keep and family to feed, there is nothing unusual in historians both deliberately/in-deliberately falsifying history to make their employers look good. We will never know what really happened since we don't seem to have any Indian sources detailing these events, however given the sudden change in Alexander's behaviour, It is very much in the realm of possiblity that he could not completely defeat Porus. While I do not think he was defeated, it is starting to seem likely that conflict bewteen them ended in a stalemate with Greeks gaining the upper hand. However his struggle against Porus probably may have demoralized his Army from venturing deeper and facing a much bigger Army.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Ashoka maurya

civfanatic

Ad Honorem
Oct 2012
3,318
Des Moines, Iowa
http://mandhataglobal.com/wp-content/custom/articles/Puranas.pdf

page 18,not just indian prince,it specifies the prince as chandragupta who married to daughter of yavana king of pausasa(persia).
The relevant lines you have quoted are from the Pratisargaparvan of the Bhavishya Purana, which is notorious for being a modern invention and being full of recent additions or interpolations. Among other things, there are lines related to Christianity, Islam, Sikhism, and British colonial rule in the Pratisargaparvan, which means that it could not have been written (at least in its current form) before the 19th century.

The greatest Indian historians of the last century, such as R.C. Majumdar and R.K. Mookerji, do not even mention this as a source. On p.60 of the book The Age of Imperial Unity, R.K. Mookerji writes the following regarding the matrimonial alliance between Seleucus and Chandragupta: