Were the Mauryans vassals of the Seleucids?

Mar 2019
1,535
KL
#21
I did not ask for a source about a marital alliance between Seleucids and Mauryas. Everyone is already agreed on that point, as Strabo and Appian explicitly mention it. I asked for a source for Seleucus offering his daughter to Chandragupta. In what source is that mentioned?
i think i have already stated how the greek sources indicate seleucid giving up his daughter and territory in exchange for war elephants. He wont receive those gifts if it was the other way around.

regards
 
Oct 2012
3,315
Des Moines, Iowa
#22
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.
I agree that Greek historians are not infallible and should be viewed critically, but if we look at the big picture there is basically no way that Porus defeated Alexander. Multiple Greek sources clearly indicate the presence of Greek soldiers and governor-generals in northwest India following Alexander's invasion. The Greek general Eudemus was appointed by Alexander to command the troops he left in the Panjab, and sometime after Alexander's death, Eudemus was able to kill Porus and usurp his territories and wealth, including his war elephants (which he brought to Iran to participate in the Second Diadochi War on the side of Eumenes of Cardia). Sometime after the death of Eudemus following the Battle of Gabiene in 316 BCE, King Sandrocottus (Chandragupta Maurya) overran the Greek territories in northwest India, as he had suzerainty over the territories along the Indus when Seleucus Nicator launched his invasion of India in 305 BCE.

If we are to believe that Porus defeated Alexander, we have to also believe in the following:

  • Greek historians lied about the Battle of Hydaspes, and fabricated the entire subsequent interaction between Alexander and Porus.

  • Greek historians fabricated the career of Eudemus in India, the man whom Alexander entrusted command of his troops and who eventually killed Porus to dominate much of Panjab.

  • Greek historians fabricated Eudemus' participation in the Second Diadochi War, as Diodorus Siculus explicitly states that Eudemus brought with him 120 war elephants that he acquired after killing Porus, along with a contingent of Indian troops led by a man named Ceteus.

  • Greek historians fabricated Sandrocottus' overrunning of former Greek territories in northwest India.
 
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Mar 2019
1,535
KL
#23
The Greek general Eudemus was appointed by Alexander to command the troops he left in the Panjab, and sometime after Alexander's death, Eudemus was able to kill Porus and usurp his territories and wealth, including his war elephants (which he brought to Iran to participate in the Second Diadochi War on the side of Eumenes of Cardia). Sometime after the death of Eudemus following the Battle of Gabiene in 316 BCE, King Sandrocottus (Chandragupta Maurya) overran the Greek territories in northwest India, as he had suzerainty over the territories along the Indus when Seleucus Nicator launched his invasion of India in 305 BCE.
The Indians occupy in part some of the countries situated along the Indus, which formerly belonged to the Persians: Alexander deprived the Ariani of them, and established there settlements of his own. But Seleucus Nicator gave them to Sandrocottus in consequence of a marriage contract (Epigamia, Greek: Ἐπιγαμία), and received in return five hundred elephants.— Strabo 15.2.1(9)[60]

Chandragupta Maurya - Wikipedia

Ariana, the Latinized form of the Ancient Greek Ἀρ(ε)ιανή Ar(e)ianē (inhabitants: Ariani; Ἀρ(ε)ιανοί Ar(e)ianoi),[1] was a general geographical term used by some Greek and Roman authors of the ancient period for a district of wide extent between Central Asia[2]and the Indus River

Ariana - Wikipedia
ariana was not the present land of punjab which lies on the east of indus river, probably the territory of porus being discussed here are those west of the indus river.

regards
 
Apr 2018
1,562
Mythical land.
#24
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:

fair enough,although even in 19th century it was not a common knowledge about maurya genealogy AFAIK,and bhavishya purana did get that right.
 
Feb 2019
88
Mumbai
#25
I agree that Greek historians are not infallible and should be viewed critically, but if we look at the big picture there is basically no way that Porus defeated Alexander. Multiple Greek sources clearly indicate the presence of Greek soldiers and governor-generals in northwest India following Alexander's invasion. The Greek general Eudemus was appointed by Alexander to command the troops he left in the Panjab, and sometime after Alexander's death, Eudemus was able to kill Porus and usurp his territories and wealth, including his war elephants (which he brought to Iran to participate in the Second Diadochi War on the side of Eumenes of Cardia). Sometime after the death of Eudemus following the Battle of Gabiene in 316 BCE, King Sandrocottus (Chandragupta Maurya) overran the Greek territories in northwest India, as he had suzerainty over the territories along the Indus when Seleucus Nicator launched his invasion of India in 305 BCE.

If we are to believe that Porus defeated Alexander, we have to also believe in the following:

  • Greek historians lied about the Battle of Hydaspes, and fabricated the entire subsequent interaction between Alexander and Porus.

  • Greek historians fabricated the career of Eudemus in India, the man whom Alexander entrusted command of his troops and who eventually killed Porus to dominate much of Panjab.

  • Greek historians fabricated Eudemus' participation in the Second Diadochi War, as Diodorus Siculus explicitly states that Eudemus brought with him 120 war elephants that he acquired after killing Porus, along with a contingent of Indian troops led by a man named Ceteus.

  • Greek historians fabricated Sandrocottus' overrunning of former Greek territories in northwest India.
I never really claimed Porus defeated Alexander, since there is well documented Greek presence in the now Pakistan region from Alexander's time onwards. I do feel though that the battle of Hydapses was either a stalemate or a very costly (in terms of bodycount) victory for the Greeks. What makes me curious is how Alexander completely changes his character after this battle.
 
Oct 2012
3,315
Des Moines, Iowa
#26
fair enough,although even in 19th century it was not a common knowledge about maurya genealogy AFAIK,and bhavishya purana did get that right.
Since 1837, the king known as Ashoka was specifically identified with the powerful ancient emperor who issued many edicts across India. This identification was made possible thanks to James Prinsep's deciphering of Brahmi script, and George Turnour's discovery that the title Piyadassi (used in the Mauryan edicts) was also used in the Sri Lankan Dipavamsa in reference to a king named Dhamma Asoko. The same source also contains the genealogy of the three well-known Mauryan emperors, as seen in the Pali passage "Dve sattAni vassAni attArasavassAnicha, sambuddhe parinibbutte, abhisEtte Piyadassino... Chandraguttasa yan natta, BindusArassa atrajo, rAjaputto tadA Asi, Ujjenikaramolino" (English translation: "218 years after the beatitude of the Buddha came the inauguration of Piyadassi... who was the grandson of Chandragupta, and son of Bindusara, and was at that time viceroy of Ujjain").

This discovery was published in the Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal (see: Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal ). All educated British and Indians with an interest in ancient Indian history would have been familiar with it.
 
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tornada

Ad Honoris
Mar 2013
15,385
India
#27
Alexander turning back at the Hyphasis River was not infact the first time he did this after defeating a major power. He had done the same and turned south after defeating the Scythians at the battle of the Jaxartes.

The Greek story is that his troops mutinied, and he couldn't go further. However in regards to Porus, this was not the first time Alexander had retained and respected local rulers. My understanding is that in quite a few places he let the local Satraps and rulers remain in place, making them answer to his Macedonian subordinates or himself directly even. Roxana's father for example was made a satrap in the Hindu Kush region.

Waldemar Heckel also had an interesting theory, and credit to @Alcibiades for explaining it to me. Its one I find surprisingly convincing. The Alexandrian revolt might have been a bit of a fabrication (after all the troops continued to fight as Alexander turned south in India). The theory is that Alexander was looking to simply conquer the Persian Empire, and just that. Thus, he turned south at the Jaxartes, after establishing a friendly buffer beyond it. Similarly, he went up to the Beas, which was the limit of Darius' conquests, and then again, established a friendly vassal buffer beyond it, before turning south to again conquer the territory which would have been "Persian" (politically speaking) under Darius' conquests when the Empire was at its greatest extent.

Its upto you if you choose to believe it or not, but its a surprisingly strong argument to me. Porus may certainly have inflicted more damage on Alexander than Greek historians gave him credit for. Similar arguments have infact been also made about the Battle of the Jaxartes (also the first encounter at the Granicus River) and even suggestions that Alexander infact lost these battles. The latter however is not particularly credible. Alexander losing in these contests appears quite unlikely. Alexander suffering great damage, and minimizing it, but nonetheless winning is plausible, but its really a bit of a non-sequitur debating this, since one or another it really doesn't change our understanding of the history of that period.

As to the OP. The Mauryans being vassals of the Seleucids is an odd position to take since literally no source alludes to it. It makes no sense for the likes of Seleucus Nikator to not claim the vassalage of a mighty Indian Emperor at any point. We don't really know much about the Mauryan-Seleucid war, other than that it happened and Seleucus emerged from it with a large number of elephants and the Mauryans with large tracts of territory. One can speculate as to a Seleucid defeat. Personally, I don't buy it. His numbers don't seem to have been badly hit at Ipsus, ruling out a major disaster. My personal theory is that he was perhaps trapped and possibly somewhat coerced into a treaty, but there was no actual military contest. However it is no less probable to imagine that the rulers in question simply skirmished and then concluded a treaty of peace as the region wasn't particularly important to the Seleucids and required more attention that it was worth what with Antigonus and Demetrius needing to be dealt with, and Seleucus' personal ambitions being towards Greece and the West.

A seleucid victory seems odd however. Even if you dismiss the Seleucid princess as a myth, I don't see how you can imagine that Nikator walked away victorius and yet made neither proclamation and with a significant reduction in territory. You could certainly explain the lack of Mauryan mentions of vassalage, but how would you explain the Seleucid silence? Or that of every other chronicler of this period? The total lack of evidence for it militates against the argument IMO.

PS: While 200 prime war elephants would have been a large and generous gift for the likes of Seleucus, his contemporaries and even us, for a major Indian Ruler the number wouldn't have been a particularly major one. Consider that the Greek Sources indicate Porus fielded somewhere between 80-200 elephants at the Hydaspes. And Porus was the ruler of a fairly tiny kingdom. The numbers that the likes of Chandragupta Maurya as ruler of Magadha could have called upon therefore would have been considerably more. A gift of 200 wouldn't particularly have touched his strategic depth IMO.
 

Aatreya

Ad Honorem
Dec 2014
3,543
USA
#28
Since 1837, the king known as Ashoka was specifically identified with the powerful ancient emperor who issued many edicts across India. This identification was made possible thanks to James Prinsep's deciphering of Brahmi script, and George Turnour's discovery that the title Piyadassi (used in the Mauryan edicts) was also used in the Sri Lankan Dipavamsa in reference to a king named Dhamma Asoko. The same source also contains the genealogy of the three well-known Mauryan emperors, as seen in the Pali passage "Dve sattAni vassAni attArasavassAnicha, sambuddhe parinibbutte, abhisEtte Piyadassino... Chandraguttasa yan natta, BindusArassa atrajo, rAjaputto tadA Asi, Ujjenikaramolino" (English translation: "218 years after the beatitude of the Buddha came the inauguration of Piyadassi... who was the grandson of Chandragupta, and son of Bindusara, and was at that time viceroy of Ujjain").

This discovery was published in the Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal (see: Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal ). All educated British and Indians with an interest in ancient Indian history would have been familiar with it.

Sorry for being off-topic, but how does satta in that Pali passage translate to hundred? Satta is the Prakrit equivalent of Sanskrit Sapta (seven). Is it an English spelling error to write satta instead of "sata"?
 
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Nov 2008
1,377
England
#29
I never really claimed Porus defeated Alexander, since there is well documented Greek presence in the now Pakistan region from Alexander's time onwards. I do feel though that the battle of Hydapses was either a stalemate or a very costly (in terms of bodycount) victory for the Greeks. What makes me curious is how Alexander completely changes his character after this battle.
On the contrary, the Hydapses was Alexander`s finest battle, very subtle, as a detailed study with reveal. Porus had his army, including his elephants, blocking any attempt of alexander crossing the Jhelum river. The Macedonian king ordered his army to make camp, giving the impression he did not intend to attack. This lulled Porus into a false sense of security, and this was a dangerous ambition when his adversary was a general as formidable as Alexander. A suitable crossing of the Jhelum had been discovered 17 miles upstream, and Alexander took his picked troops secretly upstream at night and crossed the river. Porus was in a dilemma. He could only take half of his army to face Alexander because the Craterus, Alexander`s veteran general, left in charge of a formidable force of Macedonians at the camp was threatening to cross the river. Despite his elephant force, Porus` army was no match for the veteran fighters of Alexander`s army - the Silver Shields and the Companion Cavalry - and the result was a catastophic Indian defeat.
 
Mar 2019
1,535
KL
#30
Despite his elephant force, Porus` army was no match for the veteran fighters of Alexander`s army - the Silver Shields and the Companion Cavalry - and the result was a catastophic Indian defeat.
Indians had sixteen kingdoms which are considered great, Indians also knew of various little kingdoms like andhras, saurashtra etc who later became great kindoms like satavahana, but indians dont seem to recall porus or his kingdom, indians also dont seem to recall alexander at all, i think you are talking about petty kingdoms which were not preserved in the indian memory

regards
 
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