Central Asians

In eastern India, central India and the Deccan, the Mauryas were succeeded by a number of native rulers such as the Shungas, the Kanvas, the Satavahanas. In north west India, they were succeeded by a no of ruling dynasties from central Asia.

The Indo Greeks

A number of invasions took place around 200 BC. The first to invade India were the Greeks, who were also called the Indo Greeks or Bactrian Greeks (because they ruled Bactria). It is said that they pushed forward as far as Ayodhya and Pataliputra. The most famous IndoGreek ruler was Menander (165-145 BC), also known as Milinda. He had his capital at Sakala (modern Sialkot) in Punjab.
He was converted into Buddhism by Nagasena. The conversation between the two has been described in the Pali text, Milinda panho or 'The Questions of Milinda'. Greeks were the first to issue coins which can be definitely attributed to the kings, and also the first to issue gold coins in India. They also introduced the practice of military govenorship. The governors were called ‘Strategos’. The Greek rule introduced features of Hellenistic art in the north-west frontier of India. Gandhara art was its best example
The term ‘Horshastra’, used for astrology in Sanskrit is derived from the Greek term ‘Horoscope’

The Shakas or Scythians (90 BC)

The Greeks were followed by the Shakas, who controlled a larger part of India than the Greek did.
There were 5 branches of the Shakas with their seats of power in different parts of India and Afghanistan.
A king of Ujjain, who called himself Vikramaditya, defeated Shakas. An era called i Vikram Samvat is reckoned from the event of his victory over the Shakas in 57 BC (From this time onward, Vikramaditya became a coveted title).
The most famous Shaka ruler in India was Rudradaman 1 (AD 130-150), ll achievements are highlighted in his Junagarh inscription. This inscription recordsi details the repairs of Sudrashana lake in Kathiarwar. It is the first major inscription, be written in Sanskrit.

 The Parthians

Originally they lived in Iran, invaded at the beginning of Christian era, from where they moved to India. In comparison to Greeks and Shakas, they occupied only a Small portion in north west India in the first century. 
The most famous Parthian King was Gondpphernes (AD 19-45), in whose reign: Thomas is said to have come to India for the propagation of Christianity.

The Kushans (45 AD)

Came from north central Asia near China. Their empire included a good part of central Asia, a portion of Iran, a portion of Afghanistan, Pakistan and almost the whole of north India.
Kanishka (AD 78-144) was their most famous king. He had two capitals first Peshawar, near modern Peshawar and second at Mathara.
He patronized the following persons:

  • Ashwaghosha (wrote ‘Buddhacharita’, which is the biography of Buddha a ‘Sutralankar’)
  • Nagarjuna (wrote ‘Madhyamik Sutra’)
  • Vasumitra (Chairman of fourth Buddhist Council)
  • Charak (a physician, wrote ‘Sasruta’)

Kanishka controlled the famous silk route in Central Asia, which started from China and passed through his empire in Central Asia and Afghanistan to Iran and West Asia which formed part of Roman empire. Kanishka is known in history for two reasons:
He started an era in AD 78, which is now known as Saka era and is used by Govt. of India.
He extended his whole-hearted patronage to Buddhism (Held the fourth Buddhist Council in Kashmir).
Some of the successors of Kanishka bore typical Indian names as Vasudeva.
The Gandhara school of art received royal patronage of the Kushans.


Related Questions

1. Ibadat Khana, where learned men of all religions discussed religious issues during the time of Akbar, is a famous structure in : -- View Answer

2. The word Mansab stood for : -- View Answer

3. Which of the following are true with regard to Akbar?
I. He abolished Jaziya and Pilgrim Tax in 1564 and 1563 A.D. respectively
II. He erected the 'Ibadat Khana' for holding religious discussions
III. His Din-i-Ilahi was a code of social conduct
IV. He got the Khutba to be read in his name in 1574 A.D. -- View Answer

4. Which of the following buildings is not situated at Fatehpur Sikri? -- View Answer

5. Which of the following was/were steps taken by Sher Shah to promote trade and commerce?
1. Making travel safe for traders
2.Building a new highway between Delhi and Warangal
3. Abolishing int3rnal duties and levying taxes only at the points of import and sale
4. Building sarals along roadways -- View Answer

6. Sher Shah is well known for his administrative skill, especially his : -- View Answer

7. The Sarak-i-Azam which ran from the Indus to Sonargaon (in Bangladesh) was built by : -- View Answer

8. Who among the following Indian rulers was a contemporary of Akbar? -- View Answer

9. Consider the following statements :
1. Humayun regained his Delhi throne from Sher Shah in 1555
2. Humayun defeated Hemu at the second battle of Panipat in 1556
Which of these statements is/are correct? -- View Answer

10. During the Mughal period which one of the following traders first came to India? -- View Answer


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More Questions and Answers

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2. Vedic Age-The Aryans
3. Religious movements-Buddhism and Jainism
4. Mahajanapadas-The Magadha empire
5. The Mauryan Empire and Sangam Age
6. Post Mauryan Period
7. Guptas and Post Gupta
8. The invasion of Arabs
9. Bhakti movement
10. Mughal Empire
11. Advent of Europeans
12. Expansion of British Supremacy
13. Indian National Movement

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