Alexander the Great Invades India

Discussion in 'Military History' started by LETHALFORCE, Dec 19, 2009.

  1. Virendra

    Virendra Moderator Moderator

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    LF what are the views about Alexander leaving territory and Porus gaining the same. Was it really Alexander's patron gesture or was the situation not as convincing as his historians would want us to believe?
    By the way how many know the etymology of the term - Hindu Kush?

    Regards,.
    Virendra
     
  2. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    My view is that Alexander lost the battle to Porus here are a few reasons why:

    1)Alexander rarely spared any adversary. A good example of this is his
    2nd battle against Darius he gave clear instructions to his men to kill Darius do
    not take him alive.

    2)Alexander had learned his lesson from fighting Darius if a leader is left alive
    he would possibly have to fight that leader again in the future if he learned this
    lesson when he defeated Darius he would not make the same mistake again
    with Porus.

    3) Alexander usually placed Greeks in charge of territories he had conquered
    who would collect taxes and tributaries for him and rule over that part of the empire
    why is there no record of a Greek ruling that part of Punjab in Indian history??
    Something like this would not have been ignored by both Indian and Greek
    historians? I will get into more detail about Selucus who ruled a small territory which
    historians speculate could have been porus's kingdom??

    4) There may not have never been more than one battle other than at the Jhelum River
    for a few reasons. Alexander had only 25% of his army remaining according to some
    historians after this battle. The India armies were huge compared to what was remaining
    of Alexander's armies and the Greeks calvary were no match for the elephants in the
    Indian armies many which terrified the Greeks. Many Elephants lifted the horse and
    soldier together and tossed them or crushed both.

    5)Getting back to Selucus from above earlier I had stated earlier in this thread
    why Alexander lost with regard to Selucus and ChandraGupta Maurya. I will repost those
    points below:

    The facts are clear:
    A)winners do not give their Daughter to the loser-Selucus gave his Daughter to ChandraGupta.
    B)the marriage was a peace treaty-why was a peace treaty needed if there was victory by selucus??
    C)CGM gained territory from selecus again losers do not gain territory.
    D) after marriage CGM gifted 500 war elephants which selucus used with great success in his meditarrean campaigns
    losers in wars usually don't give gifts like this to the winners.
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2012
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  3. W.G.Ewald

    W.G.Ewald Defence Professionals/ DFI member of 2 Defence Professionals

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    Hindu Kush - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

     
  4. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    When Afghanistan Was Ceded For 500 Elephants � Brewing Life

    When Afghanistan Was Ceded For 500 Elephants

    [​IMG]


    Many Emperors in the known history have garnered desire to rule the world, none was as invincible as Alexander the great. It was after defeating the Persians that Alexander decided to cross over the Hindu Kush to conquer the affluent land of India. Alexander was offered little resistance by some puny kings as he descended the mountains and marched down the plains. It was on the banks of river Indus that the Macedonians confronted a gigantic opponent of whom they had heard only in the stories, The Elephant. It was for the exceptional leadership of Alexander the Great whose brilliant strategy turned King Porus’s war elephants against his own cavalry. The army of King Porus lost but still Macedonians marveled at the fear imbibed in them by the large creatures. The famous mutiny on the banks of river Satluj forced Alexander to turn back but his glorious campaign prompted Chandra Gupta Maurya to raise an army better than the Macedonians.

    As Alexander died in the year 323 BC his vast kingdom was divided largely in four parts. An internal war ensued dividing the Great Hellenic empire into many parts. The share of Alexander’s kingdom in Asia was split up between Antigonus in the wast and Seleucus in the east. Seleucus was a officer in the army of Alexander and was named as the governor of Babylon after Alexander’s Death. Seleucus was not at good terms with his neighborhood governor Antigonus who at one time forced him to flee out of babylon. Good relations with Ptolemy helped Seleucus to get his title and territory back. When royal lineage of Macedonia perished in 306 AD every Governor of Hellenic empire claimed to be the king. With Antigonus busy on it’s western borders, Seleucus assumed it safe to divert his attention to the eastern provinces. He thought of India as a rich nation with jealous and incompetent rulers which could be easily subdued. Only he didn’t knew that unlike his earlier campaigns India was now being ruled by an emperor far more prudent and powerful.

    Chandra Gupta Maurya had overthrown the Nanda clan to establish the Great Mauryan empire in the Indo Gangetic valley with Patliputra as his capital. Inspired by the European skill and discipline demonstrated during the invasion of Alexander. After coronation he left no stone unturned in making his regime well administered and powerful with a huge and exceptionally disciplined army. He had the advantageous counsel of a Brahmin scholar Kautilya whose treatise on economy called ‘Arthashastra’ is even read today.


    Seleucus crossed Indus and easily marched ahead without any considerable resistance until he was held by an army which was strong beyond the wildest of the dreams of the Macedonians. His opponent’s army was a force of 700000 men with 9000 well trained war elephants in front. War elephants were even equipped with their own armor to unleash fury on the Macedonians. It is not that the Macedonians had come unprepared to face the elephants, they had developed their own ways to harm and scare elephants away, but presumably the astonishingly large number of beasts frightened them. It is said that Seleucus surrendered for good without any war as no contemporary Greek and Indian historians tell us about any battle or war between the two. With a foresight of conflict with his long time opponent Antigonus, Seleucus concluded that elephants can help him to conquer the western fractions easily. Cleverly Seleucus bought peace by offering the provinces in the west which were under his control. This provinces include the present day southern Afghanistan and Baluchistan with cities such as Kabul, Kandhar and Herat. Also the relationship was further Strengthened by the marriage of Seleucus’s daughter ‘Helen’ with Emperor Chandra Gupta. The father-in-law was suitably rewarded with 500 war elephants which were enormously helpful to Seleucus in his triumph against his western enemies.

    With the help of gifted War Elephants Seleucus thrashed Antigonus in the battle of Ipus and established a strong Seleucid empire later on winning Macedonia and Greece too. Twenty years after receiving a gift of 500 elephants Seleucus was only left with one beast. Being more clever than Seleucus, Kautilya had advised Chandra Gupta to give away his most aged elephants. Otherwise an elephant can easily live up to 80 years.
     
  5. Tolaha

    Tolaha Senior Member Senior Member

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    Was it so tough for Seleucus to find a few female elephants?

    Also, wasnt Porus a great king of a relatively smallish kingdom within Punjab?
     
  6. civfanatic

    civfanatic Retired Moderator

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    The ancient Persians referred to India as "Hindush" as early as the 5th century B.CE. The name "Hindu Kush" probably arose as a Persian corruption of the Greek name "Indicus".

    I'm surprised the Wikipedia article doesn't mention that.
     
  7. Tolaha

    Tolaha Senior Member Senior Member

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    Answering the question myself. Maybe Chanakya ensured that all those war elephants had undergone vasectomy! Could be, who knows! :shocked:
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2012
  8. W.G.Ewald

    W.G.Ewald Defence Professionals/ DFI member of 2 Defence Professionals

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    Wikipedia certainly is not the last word in scholarship, but the discussion in that article seems plausible.

    Are you referring to one of these Greek words. (I do not know Greek.)

    1 ινδιανικός
    2 ινδιάνος
    3 ινδικός
    4 Ινδός
     
  9. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    were war elephants both male and Female??

    why would Chanakya and Chandragupta give females if he gave 500 old elephants he
    had no intentions of others getting war elephants and definetly would not give females.

    Would the Greeks be able to take care of the Elephants and take train them for war like Indians did?
    Along with the elephants he also gave their caretakers.

    Porus may have ruled a small kingdom but Alexander the Great is the earliest conqueror to conquer
    the East a major triumphant figure in western civilization why would the victory be such a gray area?

    if Porus's kingdom was small historians would not have even made the battle significant.

    Porus's kingdom was near the Jhelum river, kingdoms near rivers were usually of significant size.
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2012
  10. civfanatic

    civfanatic Retired Moderator

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    In those days, India was the only practical source for Asian elephants. Even getting a few dozen war elephants was a big challenge for Mediterranean powers (imagine the distances that the elephants would have to travel). Also, the supply of war elephants was tightly controlled by the state during Mauryan times, making it even more difficult for foreigners to obtain them.

    Elephant breeding wasn't very common, since it was time-consuming and inefficient. Most war elephants were captured wild and then domesticated.
     
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  11. KS

    KS Bye bye DFI Veteran Member

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    irrelevant
    I heard a different meaning for the word Hindu Kush...how far is it true ?
     
  12. Rahul M

    Rahul M Regular Member

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    breeding and taking care of elephants is an art, a tradition mastered over many generations. it is not easy to replicate.
    even the mauryans did not use captive bred elephants for war, believing them to be of a more peaceful disposition. they caught wild elephants from designated 'elephant reserves' and sometimes released them back to the wild.

    yup.
     
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  13. W.G.Ewald

    W.G.Ewald Defence Professionals/ DFI member of 2 Defence Professionals

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    AFAIK the word kush is Persian, civfanatic says Hindu Kush derives from Greek indicus but I can find only Latin meanings for that word.
     
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  14. Iamanidiot

    Iamanidiot Elite Member Elite Member

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    Wald the word Hindu,Indica,Sindhon are all geographical names for the river Indus
     
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  15. Iamanidiot

    Iamanidiot Elite Member Elite Member

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    Alexander lost when it came to porus due to many reasons.

    1)The Monsoon season brings with it floods and Pestilence.Dealing with waterborne diseases is not easy in any era
    2)Drunk Elephants
     
  16. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    Alexander died in Persia after leaving India,some historians say he may have died by a
    mosquito bite(malaria?) or he was poisoned by one of his men?
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2012
  17. W.G.Ewald

    W.G.Ewald Defence Professionals/ DFI member of 2 Defence Professionals

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    And this is interesting.

    Indica - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
     
  18. Virendra

    Virendra Moderator Moderator

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    You nailed it.

    Right

    Well lets go back then. Here's what the well connected Morrocon traveller Ibn Batuta says in the 14th century :
    "Another reason for our halt was fear of the snow, for on the road there is a mountain called Hindukush which means 'Slayer of Hindus' because the slave boys and girls who are brought from India die there in large numbers as a result of extreme cold and the quantity of snow."
    Page 168: Ibn Batuta ~ Travels in Asia and Africa
    Kush is a persian word which means destruction/death.

    Hindu Literature during Gupta Empire refers to the mountain range as "Pariyatra Parvata"
    Ancient Iranians called them "kof-i aparsen" (mountains that rise higher than birds can fly).
    Greeks named it "Paropanisadae".
    So nowhere was the name Hindu Kush used before. First proven appearence is of 14th century (Ibn Batuta). Guess who started visiting India between Gupta demise and Batuta's trip ;)

    Regards,
    Virendra
     
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  19. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    Many people forget that there was no Afghanistan during this era. India bordered
    Persia(Iran) and China to the East. Even parts of a few Central Asian states were part of
    India. The Pandavas went to Khandhar which was part of India and now part of modern
    day Afghanistan.


    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2012
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  20. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    Alexander the Great - Family Tree

    [​IMG]
     
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