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Alexander the Great Invades India

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    Alexander the Great Invades India

    For through long ages India has been a place of trade. The splendors of King Solomon came from out the East. He must have traded with India when he built great ships and sent "his shipmen that had knowledge of the sea" to sail to the far land of Ophir, which perhaps may have been in Africa or equally perhaps the island of Ceylon. From there these ship-men fetched such "great plenty" of gold and precious stones, that "silver was nothing accounted of in the days of Solomon."

    The court, too, of many an ancient heathen king and queen was made rich and beautiful by the treasures of the East. Yet little was known of the land of gold and spice, of gems and peacocks. For beside the merchants, who grew rich with their traffickings, few journeyed to India.

    But at length, in 327 B.C., the great Greek conqueror Alexander found his way there. Having subdued Syria, Egypt, and Persia, he next marched to invade the unknown land of gold.

    The part of India which Alexander invaded is called the Punjab, or land of the five rivers. At that time it was ruled by a king called Porus. He was overlord of the Punjab, and under him were many other princes. Some of these princes were ready to rebel against Porus, and they welcomed Alexander gladly. But Porus gathered a great army and came marching against the Greek invader.

    On one side of a wide river lay the Greeks, on the other side lay the Indians. It seemed impossible for either to cross. But in the darkness of a stormy night Alexander and his men passed over, wading part of the way breast high.

    A great battle was fought. For the first time the Greeks met elephants in war. The huge beasts were very terrible to look upon. Their awful trumpetings made the Greek horses shiver and tremble. But Alexander's soldiers were far better drilled and far stronger than the Indians. His horsemen charged the elephants in flank, and they, stung to madness by the Greek darts, turned to flee, trampling many of the soldiers of Porus to death in their fright. The Indian war-chariots stuck fast in the mud. Porus himself was wounded. At length he yielded to the conqueror.

    But now that Porus was defeated Alexander was gracious to him, and treated him as one great king and warrior should treat another. Henceforth they became friends.

    As Alexander marched through India he fought battles, built altars, and founded cities. One city he called Boukephala in honor of his favorite horse Bucephalus, which died and was buried there. Other cities he called Alexandreia in honor of his own name.

    As they journeyed, Alexander and his soldiers saw many new and strange sights. They passed through boundless forests of mighty trees beneath whose branches roosted flocks of wild peacocks. They saw serpents, glittering with golden scales, glide swiftly through the underwood. They stared in wonder at fearful combats of beasts, and told strange stories when they returned home, of dogs that were not afraid to fight with lions, and of ants that dug for gold.

    At length Alexander reached the city of Lahore and marched on to the banks of the river Sutlej beyond. He was eager to reach the holy river Ganges and conquer the people there. But his men had grown weary of the hardships of the way, weary of fighting under the burning suns or torrent rains of India, and they begged him to go no further. So, greatly against his will, Alexander turned back.

    The Greeks did not return as they had come. They sailed down the rivers Jhelum and Indus. And so little was known of India in those days, that they believed at first that they were upon the Nile and that they would return home by way of Egypt. But they soon discovered their mistake, and after long journeyings reached Macedonia again.

    It was only the north of India through which Alexander had marched. He had not really conquered the people, although he left Greek garrisons and Greek rulers behind him, and when he died the people quickly revolted against the rule of Macedonia. So all trace of Alexander and his conquests soon disappeared from India. His altars have vanished and the names of the cities which he founded have been changed. But for long ages the deeds of the great "Secunder," as they called him, lived in the memory of the Indians.

    And it is since the time of Alexander that the people of the West have known something of the wonderful land in the East with which they had traded through many centuries

    Alexander the Great Invades India

    Alexander the Great Invades India


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    Punjab Online: History of Punjab

    Invasion of Punjab by Alexander the Great

    Alexander the Great Alexander, son of Philip of Macedon and Olymphias, was born at Pella in 356 B.C. and received education from Aristotle, especially in the arts of government and war. On the assassination of his father, Alexander ascended the throne, in 336 B.C., at the age of 20. At the time, the small but powerful country of Greece was divided into several states which were constantly at war with each other.


    Various Conquests Soon after his accession to the throne, Alexander conquered Thrace and reduced Thebes. In his celebrated march across the Hellespont, he defeated an army of 110,000 Persians. He eventually turned his arms against Syria and Phoenicia, occupied the great city of Damascus, and conquered all the cities on the shore of the Mediterranean. He then marched to Jerusalem and received the submission of Palestine, and went northwards into Messopotamia and Assyria. Wherever Alexander went, he subdued nations, built strong forts, and founded new cities.

    Conquest of Punjab Having conquered Drangiana, Archosia, Gedrosia, and Seistan, in ten days, Alexander crossed the Hindu Kush and was thus fully informed of the magnificence of the country and its riches in gold, gems and pearls. However, Alexander had to encounter and reduce the tribes on the border of Punjab before entering the luxriant plains. Having taken a north-easterly direction, he marched against the Aspii, mountaineers, who offered a vigorous resistance but were subdued. Alexander then marched through Ghazni, and shortly after, blockaded Magassa, and then marched to Ora and Bazira. Turning to the north-east, Alexander marched to Pucela, the capital of the district now known as Pakhli. He entered Western Punjab, where the ancient city of Nysa was situated. A coalition was formed against Alexander by the Cathians, the people of Multan, who were very skillful in war. Alexander invested heavy troops and eventually seventeen thousand Cathians feel in this battle, and the city of Sanghala was razed to the ground.


    Legacy of Alexander In the southern extremity of the Punjab, Alexander built a city which he named Alexandria. Alexander established a chain of forts along the whole line of the Indus, for commercial and political purposes, and he built various military posts. There was a coalition formed by the Brahmins to expel the foreign invaders, but Peithon, appointed by Alexander, crushed the insurgents, and a large number of priests and Brahmins were publicly crucified. Alexander left Punjab in 326 B.C., and took his army to Persia and Susa. He had conquered the whole of the then known world. In every part of the world he visited, he founded magnificent cities, constructed large fleets, and developed commercial places. He died in his palace in Babylon on June 13th, 323 B.C., in the 32nd year of his age. Within a few years of his death, his wives, his child, and his mother were all killed, and his vast empire divided among his generals, so that nothing remained of him but his name.
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    Alexander's Waterloo in Sindh

    Alexander's Waterloo in Sindh

    EVEN MORE than the Vedas and the Epics, Sindh figures very prominently in, of all places, the annals of Sikander that is Alexander.

    British historians used to talk of Alexander as ``the world conqueror'' who ``came and saw and conquered'' every land he had visited. He is still advertised in Indian text-books as the victor in his war with India's Porus (Puru). However, the facts as recorded by Alexander's own Greek historians tell a very different tale. And Marshal Zhukov, the famous Russian commander in World War II, said at the Indian Military Academy, Dehra Dun, a few years back, that India had defeated Alexander.

    Alexander fared badly enough with Porus in the Punjab. Indeed, Porus put him on the spot when he told him: ``To what purpose should we make war upon one another. if the design of your coming to these parts be not to rob us of our water or our necessary food, which are the only things that wise men are indispensably obliged to fight for? As for other riches and possessions, as they are accounted in the eyes of the world, if I am better provided of them than you, I am ready to let you share with me; but if fortune has been more liberal to you than to me, I have no objection to be obliged to you.''

    Alexander had no reply to the questions posed by Porus. Instead, with the obstinacy of a bully, he said: ``I shall contend and do battle with you so far that, howsoever obliging you are, you shall not have the better of me.'' But Porus did have the better of Alexander. In the fighting that ensued, the Greeks were so terrified of Indian prowess that they refused to proceed farther, in spite of Alexander's angry urgings and piteous lamentations. Writes Plutarch, the great Greek historian: ``This last combat with Porus took off the edge of the Macedonians' courage and stayed their further progress in India.... Alexander not only offered Porus to govern his own kingdom as satrap under himself but gave him also the additional territory of various independent tribes whom he had subdued.'' Porus emerged from his war with Alexander with his territory doubled and his gold stock augmented. So much for Alexander's ``victory'' over Porus. However, what was to befall him in Sindh, was even worse.

    In his wars in Iran. Afghanistan, and north-west India,. Alexander had made so many enemies that he did not dare return home by the same route he had come. He had, therefore, decided to travel via Sindh. But in Multan the Mallas gave him hell.

    When Alexander's hordes invaded Sindh with the novel war-cry ``Alalalalalai! `` the Sindhis were obviously scared. The rulers of Musicanus, Sindemana, and Patala --- identified by Dr. H.T Sorely I.C.S. author of The Gazeteer of Sind (1968), as Alor, Sehwan, and Hyderabad, respectively- fled. (``Patala'' is believed to be a Greek corruption of ``Patan'' which means river bank or sea shore). But before long they collected their wits and gave Alexander a very bad time. Notes H.T. Lambrick, a former commissioner of Sindh, and author of the Sindh before Muslim Conquest: ``There was a subtle power in Sindh which created the will to resist the foreigner, the influence of the Brahmins.'' Dushhala's settling of 30,000 Brahmins in Sindh had not gone in vain!

    Alexander confessed to his friends back home: ``They attacked me everywhere. They wounded my shoulder, they hit my leg, they shot an arrow in my chest, and they struck me on my neck with a loud thud.'' At one stage word had spread in the Greek camp that Alexander was dead --- and he had to be propped up and exhibited as alive!

    Alexander never excused the Brahmins for persuading the Sindhi king Sabbas to stand up and fight. To the horror of the local people, he had a whole lot of them slaughtered. However, he was so impressed with the quality and spirit of the Brahmins that he captured and kept with him ten of them. Plutarch's account of Alexander's questions and their replies makes interesting reading.

    ``The first being asked whether he thought the most numerous the dead or the living, answered, `the living, because those who are dead, are not at all'. Of the second he desired to know whether the earth or the sea produced the largest beasts, who told him. `The earth, for the sea is but part of it . His question to the third was, `which is the cunningest of animals?' `That,' said he, 'which men have not yet found out.' He bade the fourth to tell him what argument he used with Sabbas to persuade him to revolt 'No other,' he said, `than that he should either live nobly or die nobly.' Of the fifth he asked, what was the oldest, night or day. The philosopher replied, `Day was oldest, by one day at least'. And perceiving Alexander not well satisfied with that account, he added that he ought not to wonder if he got strange answers for his strange questions. Then he went on and inquired of the next, what a man should do to be exceedingly beloved. `He must be very powerful, without making himself too much feared.' The answer of the seventh to his question, how a man might become 8 god, was, `By doing, that which was impossible for man to do.' The eighth told him, `Life is stronger than death because it supports so many miseries.' And the last philosopher, asked how long he thought it decent for a man to live, said `till death appeared more desirable than life'.''

    The philosophers in turn posed him questions of their own. Dandamis (Dandamani?) asked Alexander why he undertook so long a journey to come into those parts. Kalanus (Kalyan) refused to talk to Alexander until the latter stripped himself naked and then heard him with humility and attention. Kalyan then conveyed to Alexander that his roaming far and wide was not good either for him or for his country. Reports Plutarch: ``Kalanus threw a dry shrivelled hide on the ground and trod upon the edges of it, to show it would not straighten out that way. He then stood on it in the centre, to show how it straightened out immediately.'' The meaning of this similitude was that he ought to reside most in the middle of his empire, and not spend too much time on the borders of it.

    However, life in Sindh for Alexander was something more than these encounters with Brahmin philosophers. And the worst was yet to come. When he saw the mighty Indus, he thought he had found the source of the Nile! The presence of crocodiles in the Indus only confirmed him in this belief, since they were also present in the Nile. With much relief and great fanfare, his army sailed down the Indus in hopes of reaching Egypt. But they soon found themselves at sea, literally. Here the monsoon and the tides --- both unknown to his native little land-locked Mediterranean country --- bewildered him to no end. He split his army into two --- one half led by Alexander, to go by lower Sindh and coastal Baluchistan to Iran, while the other half, led by Nearchus, to proceed by sea. Soon the two halves lost contact, each thinking the other lost and dead! On the land route, the paucity of water drove many of them mad. As and when they found a pond, they would jump into it and drink and drink and drink until they bloated up dead! Of the 40,000 Greeks who had started out by land from Sindh, only 15,000 reached Iran. Writes Robin Lane Poole, the modern biographer of Alexander: ``All of them agreed that not even the sum total of all the army's sufferings in Asia deserved to be compared with the hardships in Makran. The highest officers were alive --- and so was Alexander --- but they had suffered a disgrace which was agonizingly irreversible. Alexander had known his first defeat''.

    Obviously Alexander's Indian trip was about as ``successful'' as Napoleon's invasion of Russia. He, however, consoled himself with the thought that Queen Semiramis of Assyria, who had invaded Sindh, had been able to get back with only 20 men --- and Cyrus of Iran, with only seven.''

    However, Alexander's Indian adventure was not entirely unproductive. He had introduced the Indian elephant to the West. He was so much impressed by the broad-bottomed boats carrying grain up and down the Indus, that he had them introduced in Greece. The Greeks now introduced five times more spices in the West. Sissoo (Sheesham) wood of the Punjab was used to build pillars for the Susa Palace in imperial Iran. He would, no doubt, have carried the mango also, but for the fact that its over-eating had given the ``God-king'' no end of loose motions. And so Alexander forbade mango-eating in his camp.

    Evidently this sweet-sour experience with the mango was not confined to Alexander alone. When G.D. Birla took a basketful of the choicest Alphonsos as a gift to Khrushchov, the latter declined them with thanks and said that that `strange fruit' did not suit the Russian stomach.

    The Greeks had many interesting things to say about Sindh. Admiral Nearchus, who had led the Greek retreat by sea, noted that Sindhis were tall and slim and wore white leather shoes with thick soles, to appear taller. Vanity is neither recent nor imported!

    Alexander had himself found Sindhis ``healthy and temperate and partaking of community meals.'' Obviously the Langar did not start with the Sikhs. He had also noted that the Sindhis ``hated war, and loved medicine'', the science of health and long life.

    There is one thing more the Greeks and the Sindhis have in common --- the Sindhi bhoonda or buja --- the peculiar Sindhi gesture of denunciation with an open, outstretched hand. When the Greek Cypriots wanted the British out of Cyprus, they had burnt the Union Jack with this ``handy'' denunciation. And when at the peak of the Pakistani people's demand for democracy Zia-ul-Haq toured Sindh in September 1983, he was greeted with the same gesture.

    According to Prof. Demetrios Loukatos, this gesture has been in use in Greece since ancient times and it had even spread to the Romans and the Balkanians, particularly the Albanians. In Greek, it is known as moudja. With `b' often changing into ``m'' in Greek, the moudja comes very close to the Sindhi Buja or bhoonda.

    Here is a good theme for a doctoral thesis --- to find out whether it was a gift from Sindh to Alexander or the other way round. Or whether it was carried to Greece by our Panis that is Phoenicians thousands of years before.
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    Alexander The Great's Battle at the River Jhelum


    Alexander The Great's Battle at the River Jhelum

    Alexander the Great’s last major battle was his greatest display of strategic flexibility. This battle is commonly known as the Battle of the Jhelum because it was fought in the area surrounding the river Jhelum. The Battle of the Jhelum was Alexander’s only major battle in India. It was fought against a powerful Indian rajah, an Indian equivalent to a king or warlord, named Porus. While Alexander’s forces did win the battle, his men had to face the Indian monsoon, and worse yet approximately 200 enemy elephants. As a result of this battle, Alexander’s men, tired, restless, and definitely unwilling to face elephants in battle again, mutinied when they reached the next river and forced Alexander to start heading back toward Greece.

    Battle Summary
    Before the Battle of the Jhelum--either by conquest, destruction, or by allying himself with the areas’ rulers-- Alexander had control of most of the Indian land west of the Jhelum River.
    . . . he [Alexander] did not expect that any army would presume to stand in the field against the Macedonians at this stage; certainly he reasoned that no army could do so with success. Not in the face of the allied force under his command. But this one [Porus’ army] stood its ground, in the rain, across the swift flood of the river Jhelum (Lamb 304).
    In early June 326 BCE, after giving his men two months to rest, he headed to the western bank of the river Jhelum to prepare his troops and work out a battle plan. Porus’ forces were reasonably large:
    50,000 Infantry
    3000-4000 Cavalry
    300 War-Chariots
    200 War-Elephants
    (The Battle of the Jhelum)
    The first part of Alexander’s strategy was to play "mind games" with Porus in order to get Porus to "drop his guard." Alexander did this by first having large shipments of food sent to his own camp. He did this to make Porus think that he would be there for a while. Then, almost every night, Alexander would send a number of his troops up and down the river bank. He also sent a number of troops about a third of the way across the river at certain points, and then quickly brought them back every night. Also, during each of these ruses, Alexander made sure that the war-trumpets were blaring, and that the troops themselves made a lot of noise. This was done to make Porus think that Alexander’s forces were attacking. This went on for several nights, until Alexander learned that one of Porus’ allies was coming to back him up. Porus’ ally would arrive in two days, Alexander knew he had to attack before then.



    A man who looked like Alex- ander was given Alexander's cape and spear to make the enemy think Alexander was still at the camp. Alexander’s strategy for attack showed his military genius at its best. Alexander secretly took part of his forces to a place where he thought they could cross more easily, but he left most of his forces--along with someone dressed up to make it look like Alexander was still there--back at the camp.
    In fact the King [Alexander], along with the main assault group would already be on its way to Jalalpur [the place where they were going to cross]. This force which numbered 5000 horse and at least 10,000 foot, would cross the river before dawn and advance down the southern bank on Porus’ position. A second group of three battalions of the phalanx [Alexander’s favorite attack grouping] plus the mercenary cavalry and infantry, was to take up a position . . . opposite the main fords, and only cross when the battle had been joined [by the other two divisions]. Craterus’ holding force [the troops still at the main camp] was not to attempt a crossing until Porus had moved his position to attack Alexander, . . . Whichever way Porus moved, he left himself open for attack from the rear ("The Battle of the Jhelum").
    Nearly everything went exactly as Alexander had planned. The battle was long and--needless to say--extremely difficult; but, thanks to his sound strategy, Alexander’s forces managed to be victorious. As for Porus himself, Alexander was so impressed with him that Porus was not only allowed to live, but was generously rewarded. "Alexander, accordingly, not only suffered him [Porus] to govern his own kingdom as satrap under himself, but gave him also the additional territory of various independent tribes whom he subdued" (Plutarch).

    Monsoons and Elephants and Geography, Oh My
    There were problems that made the Battle of the Jhelum different from all the other battles that Alexander fought:
    the Indian Monsoon
    200 Indian war-elephants
    Alexander knew little about Indian geography
    the battle had long term effects on Alexander's campeign

    Rain. Rain. Go Away...
    One problem that Alexander had to face in the Battle of the Jhelum was the monsoon. In India the monsoon (constant rain) starts in early June and lasts for two or three months. Alexander clearly made a bad decision by starting the battle in June. He could have started the battle two months earlier, but he chose instead to give his men some time off. The monsoons caused several problems. The monsoons flooded the river, which made it impossible for the horses to swim across; and as Hamilton points out, "He [Alexander] was well aware that the horses would not remain on the rafts once they scented the elephants" (112). Also, the monsoons created a lot of mud. The mud made it quite difficult for Alexander’s troops to stand their ground while fighting. Also, because Alexander was in the offensive position in the battle, his forces had to cross the river. That meant that his forces would have to climb the muddy river bank, which quickly fatigued both his men and his horses. In addition, the low visibility caused by the constant rain must have plagued archers on both sides of the battle. Had Alexander just started the battle one or two months earlier, the battle would have been much easier.

    Too Many Elephants
    Alexander’s men did not really fear the man-power at Porus’ disposal. They were, however, very much afraid of Porus’ 200 armored war-elephants. For one thing, the Macedonian horses would not go anywhere near the elephants. As result, they had to attack the giant beasts on foot. This resulted in the death of many of Alexander’s men who were either trampled under the elephants’ giant feet, impaled by elephants’ ivory tusks, or were killed because they forgot about the many Indian archers and swordsmen who were fighting alongside the elephants. Another problem with the elephants was that sometimes they just went berserk and started killing everybody in their path. This made the elephants much more unpredictable, and thus, much more dangerous to both Alexander’s and Porus’ men. Had Porus not been in possession of those elephants, Alexander would have been able to crush Porus’ army without much trouble at all.


    Are You Sure We Shouldn't Ask for Directions?
    Another major problem with the Battle of the Jhelum was Alexander’s lack of knowledge about Indian geography. As the author of "The Battle of the Jhelum" states:
    On the Indian sub-continent, let alone the vast Far Eastern land mass from China to Malaysia, they [the Greeks] knew nothing. In general Alexander’s ignorance of Indian geography remained profound, and his whole Eastern strategy rested on a false assumption. The great Ganges Plain, by its mere existence , shattered his dream more effectively than any army could have done.
    Alexander thought that he would find an ocean, and thus the "edge of the earth," in India; instead he found out that there was a vast measure of land between himself and the "edge of the earth."
    Another problem caused by Alexander’s ignorance of Indian geography happened during the battle. When he took his division across the river, he thought that he had reached the eastern bank; when, in fact, he had only reached a long narrow island. By the time Alexander realized this, it was too late; enemy scouts had seen him and were on their way to tell Porus. Alexander lost the element of surprise. Porus, thinking that it may be just another ruse, sent a force consisting of 200 cavalry and 120 chariots. Needless to say they were easily defeated by Alexander’s superior, and more numerous, military division. Porus took a large fleet to meet Alexander, and the forces that had remained at the camp with the "fake Alexander" attacked. After that, everything went according to Alexander’s plan.



    All graphics on this page created by: R. Homberg Mutiny on the Beas
    There were also problems that resulted from the battle:
    Alexander’s men, after having such a traumatic experience fighting the war-elephants, absolutely refused to do battle with elephants ever again.
    Thanks to basic human instinct, Alexander’s men were not too keen on standing out in pouring rain for two and a half months because of the monsoon.
    The men had simply done too much, they were sick of fighting.
    If allowed to continue as he planned, Alexander surely would have led them through many more battles--in the rain, against elephants and who-knows-what-else. The Battle of the Jhelum had been the final straw, and at the river Beas, Alexander’s men revolted and forced him to start heading back.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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    Macedonia FAQ: Alexander the Great

    ALEXANDER IN INDIA

    In the spring of 327 BC, Alexander and his army marched into India invading Punjab as far as the river Hyphasis (modern Beas). At this point the Macedonians rebelled and refused to go farther.

    The greatest of Alexander's battles in India was against Porus, one of the most powerful Indian leaders, at the river Hydaspes. On July 326 BC, Alexander's army crossed the heavily defended river in dramatic fashion during a violent thunderstorm to meet Porus' forces. The Indians were defeated in a fierce battle, even though they fought with elephants, which the Macedonians had never before seen. Alexander captured Porus and, like the other local rulers he had defeated, allowed him to continue to govern his territory. Alexander even subdued an independent province and granted it to Porus as a gift.

    In this battle Alexander's horse, Bucephalus, was wounded and died. Alexander had ridden Bucephalus into every one of his battles in Greece and Asia, so when it died, he was grief-stricken and founded a city in his horse's name.

    Alexander's next goal was to reach the to travel south down the rivers Hydaspes and Indus so that they might reach the Ocean on the southern edge of the world. The army rode down the rivers on the rivers on rafts and stopped to attack and subdue villages along the way. During this trip, Alexander sought out the Indian philosophers, the Brahmins, who were famous for their wisdom, and debated them on philosophical issues. He became legendary for centuries in India for being both a wise philosopher and a fearless conqueror.

    One of the villages in which the army stopped belonged to the Malli, who were said to be one of the most warlike of the Indian tribes. Alexander was wounded several times in this attack, most seriously when an arrow pierced his breastplate and his ribcage. The Macedonian officers rescued him in a narrow escape from the village. Alexander and his army reached the mouth of the Indus in July 325 BC and turned westward for home

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    Alexander the Great in India STOA POIKILE

    Alexander the Great in India

    Alexander the Great, the Macedonian, grand general and irresistible conqueror, shrewd and charismatic, dissolute and merciless: altogether one of the most contradictorily impressive characters of the entire ancient world and founder of one of the largest empires of history whose expansion ranged from the Balkans to Punjab! Further to the kind enquiry of two of my most affectionate readers, here are some abstracts of my findings on Alexander’s two years in India – throughout the reports of the ancient texts.

    In the summer of 327 B.C. Alexander organised a new army which counted almost 120,000 soldiers: mainly Macedonians plus Egyptians and Phoenicians sailors (these latter were indispensable to sail along the river Indus); besides the Macedonians were barely sufficient for his war-campaign as he – moving on with his victories – needed also to establish political structures and organise military-bureaucratic infrastructures on the newly conquered territories. Thus, according to Lucius Flavius Arrianus (Arrian), Alexander crossed the river Indus from Hund and reached Taxila, just across the Hindu Kush – Καύκασος Ινδικός, where the king Omphis (also known as Taxiles) yielded himself:

    “Alexander laid a bridge over the river Indus… when Alexander had crossed to the other side of the river Indus, he again offered sacrifice there, according to his custom. Then starting from the Indus, he arrived at Taxila, a large and prosperous city, in fact the largest of those situated between the rivers Indus and Hydaspes. He was received in a friendly manner by Taxiles, the governor of the city, and by the Indians of that place; and he added to their territory as much of the adjacent Country as they asked for.”

    Taxiles also asked him for help against King Porus (or Raja Puru) of Pauravaa, between the rivers Hydaspes and the Acesines (Jhelum and the Chenab) in the Punjab and his ally the King of Kashmir Abisares-Αβισαρης (or Abhisara or Embisarus) whose reign was behind the river Hydaspes and his dominions extending to Hyphasis (nearby the present Lahore), who were together trying to conquer the whole of Punjab. Thus Alexander had made his first Indian ally, as Plutarch reports:

    “Taxiles, we are told, had a realm in India as large as Egypt, with good pasturage, too, and in the highest degree productive of beautiful fruits. He was also a wise man in his way, and after he had greeted Alexander, said: “Why must we war and fight with one another, Alexander, if thou art not come to rob us of water or of necessary sustenance, the only things for which men of sense are obliged to fight obstinately? As for other wealth and possessions, so-called, if I am thy superior therein, I am ready to confer favours; but if thine inferior, I will not object to thanking you for favours conferred.” At this Alexander was delighted, and clasping the king’s hand, said: “Canst thou think, pray, that after such words of kindness our interview is to end without a battle? Nay, thou shalt not get the better of me; for I will contend against thee and fight to the last with my favours, that thou mayest not surpass me in generosity.” So, after receiving many gifts and giving many more, at last he lavished upon him a thousand talents in coined money. This conduct greatly vexed Alexander’s friends, but it made many of the Barbarians look upon him more kindly”.

    During his stay in Taxila Alexander also was able to meet for the first time the famous Indian philosophers: the Gymnosophists, (Darshanas) and the Brahmins priests which seriously tried to endanger his plans and strategies as they both pushed cities and citizens against the foreign conqueror. He brutally reacted to this entanglement…:

    “The philosophers, too, no less than the [Indian] mercenaries, gave him trouble, by abusing those of the native princes who attached themselves to his cause, and by inciting the free peoples to revolt. He therefore took many of these also and hanged them.”

    Some other philosophers were more fortunate as Plutarchus reports:

    “He captured ten of the Gymnosophists who had done most to get Sabbas to revolt, and had made the most trouble for the Macedonians. These philosophers were reputed to be clever and concise in answering questions, and Alexander therefore put difficult questions to them, declaring that he would put to death him who first made an incorrect answer.”

    Alexander then showed even more curiosity for these ascetics and eagerly wanted to meet them, something he tried with alternate success…:

    “These philosophers, then, he dismissed with gifts; but to those who were in the highest repute and lived quietly by themselves he sent Onesicritus, asking them to pay him a visit. Now, Onesicritus was a philosopher of the school of Diogenes the Cynic. And he tells us that Calanus very harshly and insolently bade him strip off his tunic and listen naked to what he had to say, otherwise he would not converse with him, not even if he came from Zeus; but he says that Dandamis was gentler, and that after hearing fully about Socrates, Pythagoras, and Diogenes, he remarked that the men appeared to him to have been of good natural parts but to have passed their lives in too much awe of the laws. Others, however, say that the only words uttered by Dandamis were these: “Why did Alexander make such a long journey hither?”

    Plutarch says that Calanus eventually came to better terms and met Alexander, although his meeting ended with a wise suggestion that nonetheless incorporated a sinister presage…:
    “Calanus, nevertheless, was persuaded by Taxiles to pay a visit to Alexander. His real name was Sphines, but because he greeted those whom he met with “Cale,” the Indian word of salutation, the Greeks called him Calanus. It was Calanus, as we are told, who laid before Alexander the famous illustration of government. It was this. He threw down upon the ground a dry and shrivelled hide, and set his foot upon the outer edge of it; the hide was pressed down in one place, but rose up in others. He went all round the hide and showed that this was the result wherever he pressed the edge down, and then at last he stood in the middle of it, and lo! it was all held down firm and still. The similitude was designed to show that Alexander ought to put most constraint upon the middle of his empire and not wander far away from it.”

    Thus according to Arrian in April-May 326 B.C. while king Abisares had sent his emissary to surrender without fighting, king Porus intended to contrast Alexander and was waiting to fight him with his army and 120 elephants across the river Hydaspes. A violent and sanguinary battle took place, with minor loss on Alexander’s army, while the Indians were severely defeated and both soldiers and elephants dispersed on the battlefield:

    “Porus, with the whole of his army, was on the other side of that river, having determined either to prevent him from making the passage, or to attack him while crossing…. Alexander took the forces which he had when he arrived at Taxila, and the 5,000 Indians under the command of Taxiles and the chiefs of that district, and marched towards the same river… of the Indians little short of 20,000 infantry and 3,000 cavalry were killed in this battle. All their chariots were broken to pieces; and two sons of Porus were slain”.

    Even King Porus fought bravely and was wounded:

    “Porus, who exhibited great talent in the battle, performing the deeds not only of a general but also of a valiant soldier… but at last, having received a wound on the right shoulder, which part of his body alone was unprotected during the battle, he wheeled round”

    When Alexander met his imprisoned enemy: Porus, he was impressed by the courage and the charisma of his enemy. According to the dialogue Arrian has reported he treated him in a knightly manner and made him his new ally:

    “Alexander… admired his [Porus] handsome figure and his stature, which reached somewhat above five cubits. He was also surprised that he did not seem to be cowed in spirit, but advanced to meet him as one brave man would meet another brave man, after having gallantly struggled in defence of his own kingdom against another king. Then indeed Alexander was the first to speak, bidding him say what treatment he would like to receive. The story goes that Porus replied: “Treat me, O Alexander, in a kingly way !“ Alexander being pleased at the expression, said : “For my own sake, O Porus, thou shalt be thus treated; but for thy own sake do thou demand what is pleasing to thee!” But Porus said that everything was included in that. Alexander, being still more pleased at this remark, not only granted him the rule over his own Indians, but also added another country to that which he had before, of larger extent than the former.’ Thus he treated the brave man in a kingly way, and from that time found him faithful in all things.”

    Porus proposed Alexander to fight on his Eastern borders against the Nanda dynasty who ruled the kingdom of Magadha nearby Patliputra (nowadays Patna); the Macedonian soldiers started the march, nonetheless once they reached the river Hyphasis they refused to go any further as they wanted to go back home. Alexander, although reluctantly, adhered to their request and, as Diodorus Siculus reports, after having built 12 enormous altars to the Greek Pantheon put the expedition to an end.

    “He decided thus to interrupt his campaign at this point, and in order to mark his limits he first of all erected altars of the twelve gods each fifty cubits high…”.

    Actually the return would have revealed not as easy as he could have foreseen, as he had to split the army: some garrisons followed the banks of the Indus, others sailed along the river itself, others were exploring the ocean coasts of Belucistan (or Balochistan) and the Persian Gulf.

    However the great triumph of Alexander’s warfare skills as well as the magnitude of his empire, though ephemeral, have been vastly celebrated along the centuries, and perhaps this passage from Quintus Curtius Rufus best synthesises the enthusiasm and spirit of victory and winners on their way back home:

    “Iam nihil gloriae deesse; nihil obstare virtuti, sine ullo Martis discrimine, sine sanguine orbem terrae ab illis capi.”

    [Now nothing was amiss to their glory; nothing could stop their courage: without fighting, without bloodshed they were the masters of the whole world.]

    not quite as moving as – so antithetically, though – Joseph Roth’s description of the deep sadness and exhaustion accompanying the return to Vienna (on a sad 1918 Christmas Eve) of one of the victi, discomfited of the Great War:

    “The armed bayonets seemed not at all real, the rifles where loosely hanging askew on the soldiers’ shoulders. It was like they wanted to sleep, the guns, tired of four years of shootings. I was not the least surprised if none of the soldiers saluted me, my stripped cap, my stripped jacket’s collar did not impose any obligation on anyone. Yet I did not rebel. It was only painful. It was the end.”

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    cities founded by Alexander

    cities founded by Alexander

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    Porus

    Porus

    Porus (Old Indian Puru): king in the eastern Punjab, defeated in 326 BCE by Alexander the Great.
    The Greek/Latin name Porus is a rendering of the Indian Puru, the throne name of the ruler of the kingdom Paurava. This state was situated between the rivers Hydaspes (modern Jhelum) and Acesines (Chenab). Its capital may have been at the site now known as Lahore.

    When the Macedonian conqueror Alexander the Great arrived in India in the spring of 326, he was welcomed by Omphis, the king of Taxila (Takshaçila, near modern Rawalpindi), another kingdom in the Punjab and Porus' archenemy. To Porus, the arrival of the westerners was a great threat: after all, it was obvious that Omphis would use his allies in a war against Paurava.

    However, for the time being, he seemed safe, because the approaching monsoon rains would make it impossible to cross the Hydaspes. Therefore, he refused to send envoys to Taxila to offer tokens of submission. This was a grave error, because Alexander wanted to conquer all of India. In May, the Macedonian army started to march to the Hydaspes.


    The Hydaspes battefield?
    Porus was prepared for war. With his army, he had taken up a position on the east bank, intending to prevent Alexander's crossing. A bit more to the north, one of his sons was guarding the river, to make sure that Alexander would not outflank the Pauravans. As it turned out, Porus' son was no match for the Macedonians: during a thunderstorm, they crossed the Hydaspes, and the Indian chariots were unable to move through the rain-soaked mud. He was defeated and killed, and Alexander started to move against the army of his father.

    The battle at the Hydaspes
    The Indians were outnumbered and outclassed by the Macedonian army. However, Porus still had one dangerous weapon: the elephants, an army unit that the Macedonians had never encountered before. He placed these animals before his infantry men, knowing that the Macedonian cavalry could not attack them because horses fear elephants unless they have had a special training. On his wings, the Pauravan king stationed his chariots. When the Macedonians reached the place where he was waiting for them, they deployed their phalanx and moved slowly towards their enemy. Alexander commanded the heavy cavalry and the mounted archers of the Dahae, which were on his right wing.

    Porus saw that his left wing chariots were outnumbered by the Macedonian cavalry and moved his right wing chariots to the left; at that moment, the Macedonian cavalry commander Coenus suddenly moved to the now undefended Indian right wing and encircled the enemy lines, attacking them in their rear. Meanwhile, the heavy cavalry in Alexander's neighborhood and the Dahae were victorious against Porus' chariots, and archers were attacking the elephants. The Macedonian archers and phalanx started to kill the elephants' drivers and the animals panicked. From this moment on, the Indians were attacked from all sides: they had to defend themselves against the phalanx and their own elephants in front of them and the Macedonian cavalry in the rear. Nearly all Indian cavalry were killed; a few infantry men managed to flee; a wounded king Porus surrendered only after the destruction of his entire army. When Alexander asked him how he wanted to be treated, he gave the famous reply 'as a king'.
    Porus had behaved like a king indeed and Alexander could appreciate this. The Indian leader accepted his defeat and was reappointed as satrap of his own kingdom. Omphis of Taxila must have been disappointed that he was forced to reconcile with his enemy; after all, he had invited Alexander to fight against his eastern neighbor. He had to accept an even more humiliating fact: Porus received additional territories to the north of his kingdom.

    However, not all Indians accepted that they were now subjects of the westerner. A relative of Porus declared himself king of Paurava (and was consequently also called Porus) and continued the struggle in the eastern part of the country. When Alexander's army started to march against him, he fled, probably to the kingdom of Magadha in the Ganges valley.

    Alexander intended to conquer Magadha, but his men refused to go any further (text), and the Macedonian king announced the return. This meant that Porus was to be the leader of a border satrapy, an exceptionally important function.

    Three years later, when Alexander was dead and the territories were divided by his successor Perdiccas, Porus was recognized as defender of the eastern border (text), under the supervision of the satrap Peithon of the Punjab. He was still in function when the satrapies were divided for the second time after the death of Perdiccas (the settlement at Triparadisus).

    In 317, one of Alexander's successors, Peithon the satrap of Media (not to be confused with the former Peithon), tried to subdue the leaders of the eastern provinces. The other satraps united and offered resistance. One of them was Eudamus, the commander of the Macedonian forces in Taxila. In order to procure Porus' elephants, he had him murdered.

    After the removal of a loyal ruler and his troops, it became possible for the king of Magadha, Sandracottus (Chandragupta Maurya), to conquer the Indus valley. This meant the end of the Macedonian empire in the east, less than ten years after the invasion.

    In the 1960, an Indian scholar named Buddha Prakash argued, basing himself on the famous medieval epic named Shahnameh by the Persian poet Firdausi, that Alexander was defeated' by Porus, that the two men became friends, and that this explained why Alexander left him so much territories. This theory, which has been revived in Pakistan in the 1990's, can not be accepted as serious scholarship, but Prakash was right to stress that Porus, who had suffered a terrible tactical defeat, was in the long term the real victor

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    The ten-horned beast: Alexander the Great. (13) The Indus valley


    Alexander the Great


    Alexander bust from Delos. Louvre, Paris (France). Photo Marco Prins.
    Alexander, bust from Delos (Louvre)
    Alexander the Great (*356; r. 336-323): the Macedonian king who defeated his Persian colleague Darius III Codomannus and conquered the Achaemenid Empire. During his campaigns, Alexander visited a.o. Egypt, Babylonia, Persis, Media, Bactria, the Punjab, and the valley of the Indus. In the second half of his reign, he had to find a way to rule his newly conquered countries. Therefore, he made Babylon his capital and introduced the oriental court ceremonial, which caused great tensions with his Macedonian and Greek officers.

    This is the thirteenth of a series of articles. A complete overview can be found here and a chronological table of his reign can be found here.

    Ancient-Warfare.com, the online home of Ancient Warfare magazine
    Map of India; photo Jona Lendering
    The main parts of India

    The Punjab
    India
    By the end of 327, Alexander had secured the northeastern frontier of his kingdom and was ready for a new campaign: to India, a country that the Macedonians already knew from the Histories by Herodotus of Halicarnassus and the History of India by Ctesias of Cnidus, but their reports were incredible. Invading India was like invading a country of fairy tales.

    It was an unnecessary war, and its only cause must have been Alexander's curiosity and desire for war. Another argument to move to the east must have been the presence of two Indian princes at Alexander's court, Sisicottus and Omphis (or Sasigupta and Ambhi, to use their Indian names). The first was at war with the tribe of the Assacenes, the second was afraid of king Porus and tried to enlist foreign help against his enemy.

    A Gandaran. Eastern stairs of the apadana at Persepolis. Photo Marco Prins.
    A Gandaran. Relief from the eastern stairs of the Apadana at Persepolis

    India as a whole consisted of three parts:

    * the valley of the Indus in the west, which can be subdivided into three parts:
    o Gandara, the valley of the river Cophen (modern Kabul) and the western part of the Punjab, which had, during the reign of Darius I the Great, been part of the Achaemenid empire but consisted in 326 of several small principalities, such as Peucelaotis, Massaga and Taxila;
    o the eastern Punjab, the kingdom of Porus (Pauravas);
    o the lower valley of the Indus, called Sindhu.
    * the valley of the Ganges in the east. This was the powerful kingdom of Magadha; its capital was Pâtaliputra, modern Patna.
    * the deep south, also known as Pândava.

    Alexander was to move through Gandara and the kingdom of Porus, failed to attack Magadha, went south through the lower Indus valley, and ignored Pândava.

    The Khyber pass. From Encarta encyclopedia.
    The Khyber pass

    The Swat Compaign
    In the first months of 326, two armies invaded Gandara. Perdiccas and Hephaestion were to take the largest group along the Cophen through the Khyber pass to the river Indus, and had to build a bridge. On their way, they occupied a town called Peucelaotis (north of Peshawar). At the same time, Alexander commanded a smaller army -it included the battalions of Craterus and Coenus- against the tribes north of the main road. The Macedonians could not allow the Aspasians and Assacenes to remain neutral. After all, they could change position and cut off the main road.
    Map of the Kabul and Swat valleys. Design Jona Lendering.Gandara

    Alexander's campaign through this area was in fact little short of genocide. When he was lightly wounded during the siege of a hill fortress and it was taken, all defenders were massacred. In another valley, the terrorized population fled after destroying their own villages. A sad story is that about Alexander's men who, during a cold night, burned the small wooden boxes they found in the neighborhood of a town they were besieging. Too late they discovered that these boxes were coffins; the population was shocked about this sacrilege. When the capital of the Assacenes, a town called Massaga (near modern Chakdarra), surrendered, Alexander demanded that the mercenaries that had defended the town joined his own army, but after they had placed themselves at Alexander's mercy, he ordered their extermination.
    Alexander's Indus campaign. Design Jona Lendering.
    The Indus valley

    One of the puzzles of the Indian campaign is the visit to Nysa. Here, the god Dionysus was venerated, one of Alexander's mythological ancestors (text 1; text 2). It is not known which god was identified with Dionysus. Next to the town was a sacred mountain called Meros ('thigh') by the Greeks; it reminded them of the story that Dionysus was born from Zeus' thigh. In fact, the Indian name was Meru, the holy mountain or 'axis' of the world.

    The route to Nysa as described by the Greek historians of Alexander's campaign suggest a southerly location near the river Kunar, but a location more to the north, near modern Chitral, better fits the fact that there was ivy to be found on the spot. Moreover, there is an impressive mountain near Chitral, called Tirich Mir. And although a march to Chitral makes no strategic sense, it is perhaps to be preferred; Alexander's marches to Troy and Siwa made no strategic sense either, but had a lot to do with Alexander's presumed ancestry.

    The river Indus and the mountain Pir-Sar, seen from the northwest. Photo Marco Prins.
    Indus and Aornus

    After a march through the valley of the Lower Swat, in which he captured Massaga, Bazira, and Ora, and crossing Shang-La pass, Alexander approached the Indus. Many people had fled to a high mountain fortress called Aornus (Indian Āvárana, 'hiding place', modern Pir Sar). According to local legend, not even the god Krishna -identified by the Macedonians with Alexander's legendary ancestor Heracles- had been able to take the rock, which rose 1700 meters above the river. However, Alexander used native guides and managed to occupy a nearby mountain. His engineers built mound, and soon the fortress was taken. The capture of Aornus made no sense from a military point of view, but the message was clear: the Indians were facing the avatar of a god more powerful than Krishna.

    Taxila
    In April, the two Macedonian armies united near modern Hund, where Perdiccas and Hephaestion had built a bridge across the Indus. Alexander appointed a Macedonian, Nicanor, as satrap of Gandara. Now that everything was safe, the Macedonian army crossed the Indus and reached Taxila (Indian Takshaçila), the capital of one of the small states in the Punjab, where they were welcomed by king Omphis.
    Detail of the decoration of a stupa at the monastery of Jaulian at Taxila. Photo Marco Prins. Buddha (Taxila, Jaulian)


    One of the things the Macedonian scientists were anxious to learn, was whether there was some truth to the famous story by Herodotus of Halicarnassus about the gold-digging ants, who were said to live in India. They seem to have received confirmation, but were unable to find out where these insects were living (text).

    The Macedonians also met the Brahman sages, who commented on Alexander's claim that he was the son of a god that every human being descended from the gods (text 1; text 2).

    Alexander's Hysaspes Campaign. Design Jona Lendering.
    The Hydaspes campaign

    Their leader, Dandamis, tried to show his guest that his conquests were futile: 'You will soon be dead, and then you will own just as much of this earth as will suffice to bury you.' Although these comments were not very encouraging, Alexander insisted that one of them should come with him, and so it happened. Calanus (Indian Kalyana), became Alexander's adviser and must have played an important role in his dealings with the Indians.

    The discovery of gavials, which resemble crocodiles, in the Indus caused some speculation that this river was actually the Nile under another name, but this idea was corrected by the Indians. Finally, the Macedonians learned about Buddha, even though they never completely understood who he was. Nearchus, Alexander's admiral and historiographer, calls him the second king of India.

    The river Jhelum, the ancient Hydaspes, near the city of Jhelum. Photo Jona Lendering.
    The Hydaspes battefield?

    Porus
    During Alexander's stay in Taxila, envoys came from the king of the Abissares (Abhiçara), a mountain tribe in Kashmir. They surrendered to Alexander, who never visited their country. Another Indian leader, Porus (Puru), the king of Pauravas, refused to come to terms with the god who had invaded India. He may have hoped that he was safe, because the river Hydaspes (Indian Vitaçtâ; modern Jhelum) was the border between his kingdom and that of Omphis, and in June, this river would swell because of the melting of the mountain snows and the advent of the monsoon rains.
    Map of the battle near the river Hydaspes (Jhelum). Map design Jona Lendering.
    The battle at the Hydaspes

    The Macedonian high command knew that it had to act quickly. It seems that only half the army took part in the march to the east; probably, it was impossible to mobilize the rest of the army on short notice. The ships that had been used to bridge the Indus were carried along the main road, the Uttaräpatha (the modern Grand Trunk Road) to the Hydaspes, and although Porus did his best, he was unable to prevent his enemies from crossing the river during a thunderstorm (May 326). In a first skirmish, an Indian cavalry unit under Porus' son was defeated. The chariots he had used were unable to move through the rain-soaked mud.
    Coin of Alexander the Great, showing an Indian archer.
    Indian archer, on a coin struck by Alexander to commemorate his Indian victory (©!!)

    The Macedonians continued their march towards Porus' army. They were superior in numbers and equipment and had nothing to fear, except for Porus' elephants - an army unit that they had never encountered before. Porus placed his elephants in front of his infantry, knowing that the Macedonian cavalry could not attack them because horses fear elephants unless they have had a special training. On his wings, Porus stationed his chariots. When the Macedonians reached the place where the Indian king was waiting for them, they deployed their phalanx and moved slowly towards their enemy. Alexander commanded the Companion cavalry and the mounted archers of the Dahae, which were on his right wing.
    Coin struck by Alexander to commemorate his victories in the Punjab.
    Coin struck by Alexander, to commemorate his Indian victory

    Seeing that his left wing chariots were outnumbered by the Macedonian cavalry, Porus moved his right wing chariots to the left; at that moment, the Macedonian cavalry commander Coenus suddenly moved to the now undefended Indian right wing and encircled the enemy lines, attacking them in their rear. Meanwhile, the Companions in Alexander's neighborhood and the Dahae were victorious against Porus' chariots, and archers were attacking the elephants. The Macedonian archers and phalanx started to kill the elephants' drivers; the animals panicked and fell back. From this moment on, the Indians were attacked from all sides: they had to defend themselves against the phalanx and their own elephants in front of them and the Macedonian cavalry in the rear. Nearly all Indian cavalry were killed; a few infantry men managed to flee; a wounded king Porus surrendered only after the destruction of his entire army.

    Alexander founded two cities on the battle field, which he called Nicaea ('victory town') and Bucephala. The last name he chose to honor his war horse, which had died of old age in the days before the battle. Porus, who had lost his army and owed his life to Alexander, was appointed as satrap of his own kingdom. He could only be loyal. Omphis of Taxila must have been disappointed that he was forced to reconcile with his enemy Porus; after all, he had invited Alexander to fight against his eastern neighbor.

    To the east
    East of Porus' kingdom was the powerful kingdom of Magadha, which was more or less identical to the valley of the Ganges. Alexander set out to add this kingdom to his possessions. The fact that our sources do not give a real motive for this expedition is significant. The son of Ammon no longer explained why he went to war. However, he was approaching his limits.
    Alexander with an elephant's skin on his head, coin of Ptolemy.
    Coin of Ptolemy, showing Alexander, wearing an elephant's scalp (©!!)

    By now, the Himalayan snows had melted and the rivers of the Punjab had swollen; and the monsoon season was beginning. Crossing the rivers between Pauravas and Magadha was difficult, but nonetheless, the army was ferried across the Acesines -at the time of the summer solstice (26 June)- and the Hydraotes. Shortly after the crossing of the river there was an evil omen: the moon eclipsed (27/28 June). A town called Sangala was besieged and taken. However, at the end of July, when Alexander ordered his men to cross the Hyphasis (Vipâs, Beas), they refused.


    They had left Macedonia to punish Persia, and they had not only punished it, they had even conquered it. They had seen their king start to behave like a Persian, and they had tolerated his behavior. They had invaded India and had conquered Gandara and Pauravas. But now that they were requested to fight in faraway Magadha, which had never belonged to the Achaemenid empire and was thought to be situated at the edge of the earth, and now that they had to march through the continuous rains in the full heat of summer, they mutinied (text).

    Alexander was furious. He must have imagined a different way to celebrate his thirtieth birthday. But he finally allowed himself to be persuaded by Coenus, the hero of the battle at the Hydaspes, and by the gods, who sent evil omens. This was important. To the king, it was imperative to stress that the gods, and not the soldiers, had forced him to return; had it been otherwise, he would have lost his authority.

    Although he had not lost his face, Alexander continued to bear a grudge towards the people who had forced him to return. Craterus, who may have sympathized with the rebellious soldiers and was becoming too successful a general anyway, was sent on honorable missions that kept him far from court; many veterans were left behind in a newly founded Alexandria on the east-bank of the Hyphasis, with little hope ever to return to Macedonia or Greece. Coenus died suddenly.

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    The ten-horned beast: Alexander the Great. (13) The Indus valley


    Alexander the Great



    The Punjab

    By the end of 327, Alexander had secured the northeastern frontier of his kingdom and was ready for a new campaign: to India, a country that the Macedonians already knew from the Histories by Herodotus of Halicarnassus and the History of India by Ctesias of Cnidus, but their reports were incredible. Invading India was like invading a country of fairy tales.

    It was an unnecessary war, and its only cause must have been Alexander's curiosity and desire for war. Another argument to move to the east must have been the presence of two Indian princes at Alexander's court, Sisicottus and Omphis (or Sasigupta and Ambhi, to use their Indian names). The first was at war with the tribe of the Assacenes, the second was afraid of king Porus and tried to enlist foreign help against his enemy.


    India as a whole consisted of three parts:

    * the valley of the Indus in the west, which can be subdivided into three parts:
    o Gandara, the valley of the river Cophen (modern Kabul) and the western part of the Punjab, which had, during the reign of Darius I the Great, been part of the Achaemenid empire but consisted in 326 of several small principalities, such as Peucelaotis, Massaga and Taxila;
    o the eastern Punjab, the kingdom of Porus (Pauravas);
    o the lower valley of the Indus, called Sindhu.
    * the valley of the Ganges in the east. This was the powerful kingdom of Magadha; its capital was Pâtaliputra, modern Patna.
    * the deep south, also known as Pândava.

    Alexander was to move through Gandara and the kingdom of Porus, failed to attack Magadha, went south through the lower Indus valley, and ignored Pândava.


    The Swat Compaign
    In the first months of 326, two armies invaded Gandara. Perdiccas and Hephaestion were to take the largest group along the Cophen through the Khyber pass to the river Indus, and had to build a bridge. On their way, they occupied a town called Peucelaotis (north of Peshawar). At the same time, Alexander commanded a smaller army -it included the battalions of Craterus and Coenus- against the tribes north of the main road. The Macedonians could not allow the Aspasians and Assacenes to remain neutral. After all, they could change position and cut off the main road.
    Map of the Kabul and Swat valleys. Design Jona Lendering.Gandara

    Alexander's campaign through this area was in fact little short of genocide. When he was lightly wounded during the siege of a hill fortress and it was taken, all defenders were massacred. In another valley, the terrorized population fled after destroying their own villages. A sad story is that about Alexander's men who, during a cold night, burned the small wooden boxes they found in the neighborhood of a town they were besieging. Too late they discovered that these boxes were coffins; the population was shocked about this sacrilege. When the capital of the Assacenes, a town called Massaga (near modern Chakdarra), surrendered, Alexander demanded that the mercenaries that had defended the town joined his own army, but after they had placed themselves at Alexander's mercy, he ordered their extermination.
    Alexander's Indus campaign. Design Jona Lendering.
    The Indus valley

    One of the puzzles of the Indian campaign is the visit to Nysa. Here, the god Dionysus was venerated, one of Alexander's mythological ancestors (text 1; text 2). It is not known which god was identified with Dionysus. Next to the town was a sacred mountain called Meros ('thigh') by the Greeks; it reminded them of the story that Dionysus was born from Zeus' thigh. In fact, the Indian name was Meru, the holy mountain or 'axis' of the world.

    The route to Nysa as described by the Greek historians of Alexander's campaign suggest a southerly location near the river Kunar, but a location more to the north, near modern Chitral, better fits the fact that there was ivy to be found on the spot. Moreover, there is an impressive mountain near Chitral, called Tirich Mir. And although a march to Chitral makes no strategic sense, it is perhaps to be preferred; Alexander's marches to Troy and Siwa made no strategic sense either, but had a lot to do with Alexander's presumed ancestry.

    Indus and Aornus

    After a march through the valley of the Lower Swat, in which he captured Massaga, Bazira, and Ora, and crossing Shang-La pass, Alexander approached the Indus. Many people had fled to a high mountain fortress called Aornus (Indian Āvárana, 'hiding place', modern Pir Sar). According to local legend, not even the god Krishna -identified by the Macedonians with Alexander's legendary ancestor Heracles- had been able to take the rock, which rose 1700 meters above the river. However, Alexander used native guides and managed to occupy a nearby mountain. His engineers built mound, and soon the fortress was taken. The capture of Aornus made no sense from a military point of view, but the message was clear: the Indians were facing the avatar of a god more powerful than Krishna.

    Taxila
    In April, the two Macedonian armies united near modern Hund, where Perdiccas and Hephaestion had built a bridge across the Indus. Alexander appointed a Macedonian, Nicanor, as satrap of Gandara. Now that everything was safe, the Macedonian army crossed the Indus and reached Taxila (Indian Takshaçila), the capital of one of the small states in the Punjab, where they were welcomed by king Omphis.


    One of the things the Macedonian scientists were anxious to learn, was whether there was some truth to the famous story by Herodotus of Halicarnassus about the gold-digging ants, who were said to live in India. They seem to have received confirmation, but were unable to find out where these insects were living (text).

    The Macedonians also met the Brahman sages, who commented on Alexander's claim that he was the son of a god that every human being descended from the gods (text 1; text 2).


    Their leader, Dandamis, tried to show his guest that his conquests were futile: 'You will soon be dead, and then you will own just as much of this earth as will suffice to bury you.' Although these comments were not very encouraging, Alexander insisted that one of them should come with him, and so it happened. Calanus (Indian Kalyana), became Alexander's adviser and must have played an important role in his dealings with the Indians.

    The discovery of gavials, which resemble crocodiles, in the Indus caused some speculation that this river was actually the Nile under another name, but this idea was corrected by the Indians. Finally, the Macedonians learned about Buddha, even though they never completely understood who he was. Nearchus, Alexander's admiral and historiographer, calls him the second king of India.


    Porus
    During Alexander's stay in Taxila, envoys came from the king of the Abissares (Abhiçara), a mountain tribe in Kashmir. They surrendered to Alexander, who never visited their country. Another Indian leader, Porus (Puru), the king of Pauravas, refused to come to terms with the god who had invaded India. He may have hoped that he was safe, because the river Hydaspes (Indian Vitaçtâ; modern Jhelum) was the border between his kingdom and that of Omphis, and in June, this river would swell because of the melting of the mountain snows and the advent of the monsoon rains.



    The Macedonian high command knew that it had to act quickly. It seems that only half the army took part in the march to the east; probably, it was impossible to mobilize the rest of the army on short notice. The ships that had been used to bridge the Indus were carried along the main road, the Uttaräpatha (the modern Grand Trunk Road) to the Hydaspes, and although Porus did his best, he was unable to prevent his enemies from crossing the river during a thunderstorm (May 326). In a first skirmish, an Indian cavalry unit under Porus' son was defeated. The chariots he had used were unable to move through the rain-soaked mud.
    Coin of Alexander the Great, showing an Indian archer.

    The Macedonians continued their march towards Porus' army. They were superior in numbers and equipment and had nothing to fear, except for Porus' elephants - an army unit that they had never encountered before. Porus placed his elephants in front of his infantry, knowing that the Macedonian cavalry could not attack them because horses fear elephants unless they have had a special training. On his wings, Porus stationed his chariots. When the Macedonians reached the place where the Indian king was waiting for them, they deployed their phalanx and moved slowly towards their enemy. Alexander commanded the Companion cavalry and the mounted archers of the Dahae, which were on his right wing.

    Seeing that his left wing chariots were outnumbered by the Macedonian cavalry, Porus moved his right wing chariots to the left; at that moment, the Macedonian cavalry commander Coenus suddenly moved to the now undefended Indian right wing and encircled the enemy lines, attacking them in their rear. Meanwhile, the Companions in Alexander's neighborhood and the Dahae were victorious against Porus' chariots, and archers were attacking the elephants. The Macedonian archers and phalanx started to kill the elephants' drivers; the animals panicked and fell back. From this moment on, the Indians were attacked from all sides: they had to defend themselves against the phalanx and their own elephants in front of them and the Macedonian cavalry in the rear. Nearly all Indian cavalry were killed; a few infantry men managed to flee; a wounded king Porus surrendered only after the destruction of his entire army.

    Alexander founded two cities on the battle field, which he called Nicaea ('victory town') and Bucephala. The last name he chose to honor his war horse, which had died of old age in the days before the battle. Porus, who had lost his army and owed his life to Alexander, was appointed as satrap of his own kingdom. He could only be loyal. Omphis of Taxila must have been disappointed that he was forced to reconcile with his enemy Porus; after all, he had invited Alexander to fight against his eastern neighbor.

    To the east
    East of Porus' kingdom was the powerful kingdom of Magadha, which was more or less identical to the valley of the Ganges. Alexander set out to add this kingdom to his possessions. The fact that our sources do not give a real motive for this expedition is significant. The son of Ammon no longer explained why he went to war. However, he was approaching his limits.
    Alexander with an elephant's skin on his head, coin of Ptolemy.
    Coin of Ptolemy, showing Alexander, wearing an elephant's scalp (©!!)

    By now, the Himalayan snows had melted and the rivers of the Punjab had swollen; and the monsoon season was beginning. Crossing the rivers between Pauravas and Magadha was difficult, but nonetheless, the army was ferried across the Acesines -at the time of the summer solstice (26 June)- and the Hydraotes. Shortly after the crossing of the river there was an evil omen: the moon eclipsed (27/28 June). A town called Sangala was besieged and taken. However, at the end of July, when Alexander ordered his men to cross the Hyphasis (Vipâs, Beas), they refused.


    They had left Macedonia to punish Persia, and they had not only punished it, they had even conquered it. They had seen their king start to behave like a Persian, and they had tolerated his behavior. They had invaded India and had conquered Gandara and Pauravas. But now that they were requested to fight in faraway Magadha, which had never belonged to the Achaemenid empire and was thought to be situated at the edge of the earth, and now that they had to march through the continuous rains in the full heat of summer, they mutinied (text).

    Alexander was furious. He must have imagined a different way to celebrate his thirtieth birthday. But he finally allowed himself to be persuaded by Coenus, the hero of the battle at the Hydaspes, and by the gods, who sent evil omens. This was important. To the king, it was imperative to stress that the gods, and not the soldiers, had forced him to return; had it been otherwise, he would have lost his authority.

    Although he had not lost his face, Alexander continued to bear a grudge towards the people who had forced him to return. Craterus, who may have sympathized with the rebellious soldiers and was becoming too successful a general anyway, was sent on honorable missions that kept him far from court; many veterans were left behind in a newly founded Alexandria on the east-bank of the Hyphasis, with little hope ever to return to Macedonia or Greece. Coenus died suddenly.

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    Dienekes' Anthropology Blog: Greek origins of some Pathans but not other Pakistanis

    Greek origins of some Pathans but not other Pakistanis


    A new article in European Journal of Human Genetics investigates the Greek ancestry of Pakistani populations that sometimes claim descent from Alexander the Great's troops. In previous studies (use search on the right) it was demonstrated that these claims are mostly false, since modern Pakistanis mostly lack haplogroup E3b chromosomes that are found often in Greece.

    The new study shows that among the Pakistani populations, only the Pathans seem to be closer to the Greeks, and not the pagan Kalash and the Burusho. Unfortunately, claims about the Hellenicity of the Kalash seem to persist despite the genetic evidence that has accumulated over the years.

    Moreover, the similarity between the Pathans and the Greeks is not accidental. An argument for the real contribution of Greeks to the Pathan population is the discovery of specific haplotypes within haplogroup E3b1 that seem to be of Greek-Balkan origin and which are found only in the Pathans among the Pakistani populations.

    Compelling evidence in support of the genetic relationship between the Pathan and Greek E3b1 Y chromosomes was provided by the median-joining network (Figure 4). One Pathan shared a Y-STR haplotype, that included a duplication of 10 and 13 repeat units for the DYS425 locus, with three Greek individuals and the other was separated from this cluster by a single mutation, which enabled us to estimate the TMRCA (mean+/-SD) using the Network software as between 2000+/-400 and 5000+/-1200 YBP depending upon the observed26 or inferred mutation rates,27 respectively. This coincides with the period of Alexander's invasion during 327–323 BC. This haplotype was not observed in any other E3b1-derived Pakistani Y chromosome but was highly specific for the Balkans – the highest frequency being in Macedonia.

    European Journal of Human Genetics

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    Nagar Brahmins at AllExperts
    Nagar-brahmin

    Nagar Brahmins

    HISTORY OF NAGAR BRAHMINS

    The earliest written book dealing with the origin of Nagars is the Skand Purana containing some 81,000 slokas. With a view to prorogate the Brahmin Dharma as against the Buddh belief various writers wrote the Skand Purana from 300 to 770 A.D. sponsored by Skand Gupta and vallabhi emperors. The elite Brahmins, called Nagars were assigned the task of furthering the Brahmin religions. These Nagars were expert interpreters of religion and were working without salary. Mostly they inhabited around Vadnagar or Anandnagar. The kings therefore gave them land for maintenance. These Nagars traveled far and wide and established the shiv belief in Egypt, Babylon, Brazil, Kabul, Indo*china and Cambodia.

    It is said that after the death of emperor Ashoka (232 B.C.) the Shakas and Yavanas made inclusions. The Nagars advanced the idea of community living in Nagars (specified area) and came out of hermitage to help people.
    It is suggested that the Nagars came from outside Aryavarta into Kashmir and later spread to Rajasthan, U.P., Malwa and Gujarat . Some historians believe that Nagars came from Greece, Macedonia and Syria and established at Nagarkot (Kangra Himalayas). Nag means a Mountain. These mountain dwellers earned name as highly intellectual administrators.

    A well known scholar opines that Nagars were comparatively advanced in education, literature, Art and had a great analytical ability as regards Shukla Yajurved. These Nagars joined the services of prominent princes like Raja Bhoj and helped the state-craft. Even Tulshidasji and Mirabai have mentioned Nagar in religious Bhakti songs. Shri Krishna was called Natvar Nagar and the land where he moved Nagher. After coming from North Asia some of the Nagars settled in Nagher - a fertile part of Sorath. ( Gujarat ).

    As religious people the Nagars were of sterling character, industrious, loyal and good interpreters of religious concepts, jurisprudence etc. They were cordial and non-partism. The princes then, chose them as counselors. The Vallabhi kings assigned the duty of religious progress to them.

    The Nagars came to combine religion, state-craft and battle-craft and even fought battles for their belief and states.
    When Gazni invaded Somnath Raj Navghans Commander and Minister Mahidhar and Shridhar - both Nagars - laid down their lives to protect Somnath.

    Nagars are believed to be one of the oldest of the Brahmin groups.
    Another view asserts Nagars to be of Greek possibly Macedonia, Syria or regions surrounding these places. When Alexander invaded India, he had came with his army through Kashmir. While returning, many Greek soldiers settled in Kashmir. They came into close contact of Pundit community of Kashmir and the progeny that resulted was known as Nagars. Afterwards, Nagars migrated to other parts of the country. Nagars and Greeks are considered similar even today so far as their physical appearance is concerned.



    Historians claim the origin of Nagars to be purely Aryan, having come to India from Southern Europe and Central Asia. They migrated through the Hindu Kush to either Trivishtapa or Tibet; later through Kashmir and settled around Kurukshetra. Current research speculates the Aryan origin to be Hatak, where the predominant deity is Hatak, Hatkesh or Hatkeshwar. According to the Skandapurana, the land of Hatkeshwar was a gift from Lord Shiva for the Nagars to colonize. This after Lord Shiva created Nagars to celebrate his marriage to Uma.

    It is also believed that before Nagars first came to Gujarat in 404 A.D., they lived in Sindh. , Nagars are a cross-breed of "Shaks" & "Dravids." It is also believed that that Nagars have origin outside our country. Nagars from across the borders came first to Kashmir and then they spread out in the states of Rajasthan, Punjab, Utter Pradesh, Bengal, Malva, and Gujarat. After migrating from Kurukshetra they had first settled in Anandpur - Vadnagar of today.


    Legend has it, this land (along with money) was awarded to the Nagars by King Chamatkar of Anarta for having saved his life. According to the story, the King was out on a hunt when he killed a deer suckling her young. The deer placed a curse on the King. As a result of the curse, the King developed leukoderma. In the area, lived a small village of Brahmins, who, with the use of herbs, cured the King of his illness. King Chamatkar was thankful and offered them, as a reward, money and land. The Brahmins were men of high principle and believed in austere living; they refused the Kings offerings. The queen then went to the village and spoke with the wives of the Brahmin. She persuaded 68 of the 72 into accepting the offer. The four who refused, left the village for the Himalayas with their family. Those who remained are called the founders of the Nagar family descendant identity or "Gotra".

    Another version of the legend claims the King of Anarta rebuilt an abandoned city, Chamatkarpur, and consecrated a temple to Hatkeshwar to show his gratitude to the Brahmins.

    Through the years, and many name changes, the town is currently known as Vadnagar. The inhabitants of the city were known as Nagars.

    As time passed, the city of Vadnagar was invaded on more than one occasion. Nagars sought refuge in the nearby areas of Saurashtra and Rajasthan. During this time, they did their best to observe and preserve the code, to guard their identity.

    After King Vishaldev conquered Gujarat (around A.C.E. 1040), the King of Ajmer established the cities of Vishnagar (formerly Vishalnagar), Chitrod (or Chitakutpati), Prashnipur, Krashnor, and Sathod (or Shatpad). He offered these cities to the Brahmins who were descendants or an offshoot of the Nagars from Vadnagar.

    As per the origin place of the Nagars, gradually they are called with. Like Visnagara from Visnagar, Vadnagara from Vadnagar, Prashnora from Prashnipur (Rajasthan) now settled in Bhavnagar and other region in Gujarat, Krashnora from Krashnor, Sathodara from Shatpad etc.


    The Nagar community and Shree HATKESHVAR Mahadev are considered to be synonyms. - inseparable. Wherever a Nagar family or community sattles, there will invariably be The HATKESHVAR temple nearby. There are many legends popular for the origin of Shree HATKESHVAR.

    Once Lord Shiva, feeling lonely due to separation from Parvati, was moving nude. With his " Kapalpatra " ( begging bowl ) he came in the hermitage of Saints. The wives of Saints got attracted towards him and followed him. Knowing this, the Saintsgotvery upset and cursed Lord Shiva that his organ should fall off from his body. It so happened and the organwentintodeepearth. Many disturbances took place. Saints had norrecognized Lord Shiva. So INDRA and other Godscameand prayed to almighty Lord Shiva to bear and attach the organ back to his body. Lord Shiva replied, " I can do so if the world worships it. Lord Brahma worshipped the organ and established one gold organ there ( HATAK means Gold ). This templewas later known as HATKESHVAR temple. Legend has it that, the place where Lord Shiva had traveled for the reclaiming the organ, produced a river flow which later was brought to earth by the efforts of king Bhagirath & was known as Ganga.

    As is mentioned in Skundpurana, a man gets much benefit and spiritual advantage when he worships and prays Lord HATKESHVAR with devotion and faith. It is said that during winter, when there is heavy snowfall in Himalayas, the Lord Kedarnath comes to Hatkeshvar temple of Vadnagar. There are many facets of Lady Parvati also, established in and around Vadnagar.

    When Shukhdevji, son of Lord Vyas, left this world soon after birth, Shree Vedvyas and his wife Chetika had performed a difficult penance in the HATKESHVAR region to get a son and got Kapinjal as a son due to the blessings of Lord HATKESHVAR.

    The holy place of Pushkar in Ajmer also had its origin in the HATKESHVAR temple. Due to a request from a Saint Narad, Brahma desired to throw a lotus flower in such a place which is the most sacred and where Kali has not entered. The Lotus after moving all around the world, fell in the HATKESHVAR place. So this region is famous as second Pushkar area also.
    The three best holy places of India are, Prabhas temple, the Kurukshetra and HATKESHVAR temple.
    Saint Durvasa had established one Shiv-ling in the HATKESHVAR region and Saint Gautam had performed penance for 100 years to make the holy homage of HATKESHVAR for his son and wife.

    Once there was a competition amongst eleven Saints of Kashi to have the first sighting of HATKESHVAR. All ran in the direction of Vadnagar to lead and come first. Lord HATKESHVAR felt happy and gave this sight (Darshan) to all the eleven Saints simultaneously.

    HATKESHWAR based NAGARS have a boon from LORD HATKESHWAR that, whatever they speak will happen. ( However, no NAGAR family is able to permanently settle in Vadnagar. )- due to curse from LORD HATKESHWAR.

    In olden days, some Muslim kings attacked Vadnagar. This went on repeatedly. So people of Vadnagar decided to build a fort around the town to save themselves from the invasions. The senior and older citizens of the town advised to build the fort in such a way that the temple of LORD HATKESHWAR will be inside the fort and remain protected. For some reason, this could not materialize. So the temple ended up being outside the fort. Hence, LORD HATKESHWAR gave a curse to the Nagar community, " Just as you have kept me out of the town, you also will always be out of the town for ever. Even today, the temple of LORD HATKESHWAR is situated outside the town. It is said that, no NAGAR family has been able to permanently settle in Vadnagar.

    Nagars, are, though a sub-caste of Brahmins, a much different in many ways. While people of other castes worship other GODS, Nagars and Brahmins - intellect oriented as they are - worship LORD SHIVA. Even LORD SHIVA has two faces in his worship. (1 ). One face of SHIVA surrounded by ghosts - a frightful one, and (2 ) A perfect Tandav based beautiful face of LORD SHIVA. Even in this beautiful face of LORD SHIVA, two interpretations are available. One is destruction and the other new creation from destruction. SHIVA does not have any births - as LORD SHIVA is omnipresent and his idol is absolute. Even amongst these facets, LORD SHIVA's complexion of beauty and new creation is more positive. Nagars, in order to live nicely with their original cultural values, have started devotion of this lustrous and creative beautiful complexion. Only as a result of this, the life style of Nagars is more culture oriented and illustrious - much different from that of other communities.

    http://knol.google.com/k/nagars-history-and-culture#

    Nagars are considered to be the oldest brahmin community on earth and also the most intelligent and sacred. The earliest reference of Nagar community has been extensively made in the ‘Nagar Khand’ of Skand Puran, believed to be written between 300 and 770 AD. There are 279 chapters and 81,000 shlokas. The Skand Puran was written by a group of highly educated and elite group of Brahmins, with a view to propagate the Brahmin culture and was inspired by Skand Gupta and other Vallabhi Emperors of the time. It deals with the origin and importance of the Hatkeshwara kshetra and other kshetras. It also gives in details the original and traditional history of the Nagars. Several specialties of the shraddha kalpa in this Nagar Khand have been accepted as authoritative by Hemadri and other authors of the digest.

    Origin of Nagars

    Belief goes that Nagars have origin outside our country. According to some historians the origin of Nagars was a result of the historic Aryan invasion. Nagars from across the borders came first to Kashmir and then they spread out in the states of Rajasthan, Punjab, Utter Pradesh, Bengal, Malva, and Gujarat. After migrating from Kurukshetra they had first settled in Anandpur - Vadnagar of today. It is also believed that before Nagars first came to Gujarat in 404 A.D., they lived in Sindh. According to Sir Herber Ridley, Nagars are a cross-breed of "Shaks" & "Dravids."

    Another interesting account about the origin of Nagars has been given by Shri Shambhuprasad Desai of Junagadh, according to whom Nagars first came from Greece, Macedonia, Syria or regions surrounding these places. There are places called Nagar in Jordan, and also in Israel. Also there is also a Nagar community in Iran, who are intelligent, famous and well known as good and efficient administrators. They might have come from there first to Kangda (old NAGARKOT) of Himalayas. "NAG" means a mountain and "NAAG" means persons living in mountain region. "R" is a word of sixth tense. All these three put together becomes "NAAGARA". This leads us to believe that Nagars must be living in the beginning in the regions surrounded by mountains. (Nagar - a man protected by NAG-a mountain)
    Another belief, which also explains the superiority of Nagar community against most Brahmins, is that when Alexander invaded India, his army came through the present day Kashmir. When Alexander went back, some of the Greek soldiers stayed back and married girls of Kashmiri Pundits. Reference of such marriage is found as “In 303 BCE, Seleucus I (A commander in Alexanders Army) led an army to the Indus in India, where he encountered Chandragupta. The confrontation ended with a peace treaty, and "an intermarriage agreement", meaning either a dynastic marriage or a more general agreement for intermarriage between Indians and Greeks. Accordingly, Seleucus ceded to Chandragupta his northwestern territories as far as Arachosia and received 500 war elephants (which played a key role in the victory of Seleucus at the Battle of Ipsus)".

    Nagars are believed to be the progeny of this liaison and have therefore acquired the physical features and strength of the Greek soldiers and the intelligence of the Kashmiri Pundits.

    In mythology, the origin of Nagars is linked to the marriage of Lord Shiva to Uma. Lord Shiva created a sect of Brahmins to perform his marriage with Uma and asked these Brahmins to settle in the Hatkeshwar kshetra.

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    Why are we, as a people, so hung up on our alleged genetic links with Europeans? Is it a legacy of colonialism or is it something that predates even that? There is so much literature on this particular, very narrow topic that it seems to overshadow everything else in terms of volume of discussion.

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    sob
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flint View Post
    Why are we, as a people, so hung up on our alleged genetic links with Europeans? Is it a legacy of colonialism or is it something that predates even that? There is so much literature on this particular, very narrow topic that it seems to overshadow everything else in terms of volume of discussion.
    Flint, if you look at it from a historical point of view then it is very interesting to trace the route of the ancient people, how they traverssed through thousand's of KMs braving the elements of nature and the hostile local population.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sob View Post
    Flint, if you look at it from a historical point of view then it is very interesting to trace the route of the ancient people, how they traverssed through thousand's of KMs braving the elements of nature and the hostile local population.
    No doubt, but is it the most important topic in our history? Hardly. Then why is so much of the discussion on India's history fixated on it?

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