Alexander the Great in India

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Alexander the Great stone bust of white man with long curly hair

Alexander the Great

In 326 BCAlexander the Great conquered the Persian part of northern India. Alexander was a Macedonian (and therefore an Indo-European) king. Alexander was conquering the whole Persian Empire, and he conquered northern India (modern Pakistan) as part of that – this land had already been part of the Persian Empire. It must have been exciting for Alexander to reach Central Asia, a much richer part of the world than Greece at this time. Alexander didn’t stay very long though. He stopped when he reached the end of the Persian Empire, left after a couple of years and went back to Babylon, where he died.

Map of Alexander's empire

Map of Alexander’s empire

But even though he left quickly, Alexander had a lasting effect on India. Alexander left behind several thousand Greek soldiers, to keep an eye on things. These soldiers had with them writersartistssculptors, and teachers, and they built Greek cities in Afghanistan and in the Indus valley. The Indians learned about a lot of Greek culture this way. They learned to carve life-size stone statues, and maybe they learned how to make glass beads. The Greeks learned a lot of Indian ideas too; they learned about cotton cloth, and maybe some Buddhist philosophy too.

Learn by Doing – Indians to Greeks, Greeks to Indians
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Bibliography and further reading about Alexander the Great:


Mauryan Empire
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By | 2017-07-27T22:34:17+00:00 July 20th, 2017|History, India|0 Comments
Cite this page: Carr, K.E. Alexander the Great in India. Study Guides, July 20, 2017. Web. March 22, 2018.

About the Author:

Karen Carr
Karen Carr is Associate Professor Emerita, Department of History, Portland State University. She holds a doctorate in Classical Art and Archaeology from the University of Michigan. Follow her on Instagram, Pinterest, or Twitter, or buy her book, Vandals to Visigoths.

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