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Greco-Buddhism, or Graeco-Buddhism, is the cultural syncretism between Hellenistic culture and Buddhism, which developed between the 4th century BC and the 5th century AD in Bactria and the Indian subcontinent, corresponding to the territories of modern-day Afghanistan, Tajikistan, India, and Pakistan. It was a cultural consequence of a long chain of interactions begun by Greek forays into India from the time of Alexander the Great. The Macedonian satraps were then conquered by the Mauryan Empire, under the reign of Chandragupta Maurya. The Mauryan Emperor Ashoka would convert to Buddhism and spread the religious philosophy throughout his domain, as recorded in the Edicts of Ashoka. Following the collapse of the Mauryan Empire, Greco-Buddhism continued to flourish under the Greco-Bactrian Kingdom, Indo-Greek Kingdoms, and Kushan Empire. Buddhism was adopted in Central and Northeastern Asia from the 1st century AD, ultimately spreading to China, Korea, Japan, Siberia, and Vietnam.

The introduction of Hellenistic Greece started when Alexander the Great conquered the Achaemenid Empire and further regions of Central Asia in 334 BC. Alexander would then venture into Punjab (land of five rivers), which was conquered by Darius the Great before him. Alexander crossed the Indus and Jhelum River when defeating Porus and appointing him as a satrap following the Battle of the Hydaspes. Alexander's army would mutiny and retreat along the Beas River when confronted by the Nanda Empire, thus wouldn't conquer Pubjab entirely.

Alexander founded several cities in his new territories in the areas of the Amu Darya and Bactria, and Greek settlements further extended to the Khyber Pass, Gandhara (see Taxila), and the Punjab. Following Alexander's death on June 10, 323 BC, the Diadochi or "Successors" founded their own kingdoms. General Seleucus set up the Seleucid Empire in Anatolia and Central Asia and extended as far as India.

The Mauryan Empire, founded by Chandragupta Maurya, would first conquer the Nanda Empire. Chandragupta would then defeat the Seleucid Empire during the Seleucid-Mauryan War. This resulted in the transfer of the Macedonian satraps in the Indus Valley and Gandhara to the Mauryan Empire. Furthermore, a marriage alliance was enacted which granted Seleucid's daughter as Chandraguptas wife for diplomatic relations. The conflict additionally led to the transfer of 500 war elephants to the Seleucid Empire from the Mauryan Empire, presumably as expenses of lives lost and damages sustained.

The Mauryan Emperor Ashoka established the largest Indian empire. Following the destructive Kalinga War, Ashoka converted to Buddhism. Abandoning an expansionist adgenda, Ashoka would adopt humanitarian reformation in place. As ascribed in the Edicts of Ashoka, the Emperor spread Dharma as Buddhism throughout his empire. Ashoka claims to have converted many, including the Greek populations within his realm to Buddhism:

Here in the king's domain among the Greeks, the Kambojas, the Nabhakas, the Nabhapamkits, the Bhojas, the Pitinikas, the Andhras and the Palidas, everywhere people are following Beloved-of-the-Gods' instructions in Dharma.

This page was last edited on 8 June 2018, at 02:28 (UTC).
Reference: under CC BY-SA license.

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