Ancient India Simplified: Post Mauryan Period-Second Phase of Foreign Invasion (Indo-Greeks(Bactrians), Indo-Parthians, Sakas and the Kushanas). 200 B.C. – 200 A.D.

Post Mauryan Period:
This period witnessed the clash, the rise and fall of a number of smaller kingdoms. The native dynasties like Shungas, Satavahanas, and the Kanvas ruled in eastern India, central India and the Deccan region. Foreigners like Indo-Greeks or Bactrians, Sakas, the Parthians and the Kushanas ruled in north-western India

Second Phase of Invasion (200 B.C. to 200 A.D.)

The Indo- Greeks were forced to attack India after losing to the Scythian tribes. The Mauryan kings who succeeded Ashoka were too weak to stop this invasion. By the start of the 2nd century BC, Indo-Greeks managed to acquire a large part of north-western India.
Indo-Greeks(200 BC – 100 AD)1. The most famous Indo-Greek ruler was Menander who is said to have pushed forward as far as Ayodhya and reached Pataliputra.
2. His capital was ‘Sakala’ (Silakot).
3. Menander also known as Milinda, who converted to Buddhism by Nagasena (Nagarjuna). The conversation between them is recorded in a book “Milindapanho” (Question of Milinda).
4. They were the first rulers in India to issue coins definitely attributed to the king.
5. They were also the first to issue gold coins in India.

6. They introduced the practice of military governorship called “Strategos”.
7. The term ‘Horashastra’ used in astrology in Sanskrit had been derived from the Greek term horoscope.
8. A Greek ambassador from the Taxila branch, Heliodorus was sent to the court of the King of Vidisha.
9. Heliodorus constructed a stone pillar in Greek style (different from Asokan style) which was dedicated to Lord Vasudeva (Vishnu).
10. The greatest contribution of Indo-Greeks is witnessed in the development of Gandhara School of Art (introduced features of Hellenistic art ).
Indo-Parthians1. The most important ruler of this dynasty was Gondopheres (20 A.D to 41 A.D) in whose reign St. Thomas is said to have come to India to propagate Christianity and convert him to his faith. 
The Sakas(100 BC – 150 AD) 1. Sakas who were also known as Scythians, were from Western China.
2. They ruled in the capacity of ‘Satrapas’ i.e., governors and Mahasatrapas.
3. The Sakas were divided into 2 parts: 1. Northern Satraps of Taxila and Mathura and Western Satrap of Nasik and Ujjain.
4. Mathura, Ujjain and Girnar were centres of Saka rulers in north India.
5. Rudradaman (130 CE – 150 CE) of Ujjain centre of Sakas is of significance as he finds mention in Junagarh inscription (Sanskrit Inscription).
6. Rudradaman got the lake Sudarshan repaired for better irrigation (constructed during the time of Chandragupta Maurya).
7. He also defeated Shri Pulmavi of Satavahanas.A king of Ujjain in 58 B.C. is said to have defeated the Saka and styled himself as Vikramaditya. 
The Kushanas(50 AD – 230 AD)
1. Also called Yucchis or Tochrians/
2. Wima Kadphises established the Kushana authority as far as Varanasi in the east, credited for issuing a large number of gold coins (very high purity).
3. Kanishka, the greatest ruler, extended the empire from Baneras in the east, Bokhara in the north and Ujjain in the south.
4. Peshawar was the capital of Kushanas.
5. Kanishka controlled the famous ‘Silk Route’ in central Asia.
6. Kanishka started an era known as the Saka era which starts from 78 A.D.
7. Kanishka patronised ‘Asvaghosa’, the writer of Buddhacharita.
8. Kanishka also patronised Charaka, the great authority in Ayurveda and Medicine.
9. Issued gold coins with a high degree of metallic purity.
10. The gandhara school of art received royal patronage.
11. Kanishka founded a town named Kanishkapura in Kashmir.
12. Introduced Mahayana form of Buddhism and held the fourth Buddhist council in Kashmir at Kundalvan Vihar (Kashmir) with Vasumitra as president.
13. Vasumitra contributed to the compilation of ‘Mahavibhasa’ the greatest work on Buddhist philosophy.
14. Nagarjuna was another great scholar, scientist and philosopher in the court of Kanishka. Hieun Tsang calls him ‘One of the four lights of the world’.
15. Greater use of saddles in horse riding, armour, turbans, trousers, helmets, long coats and better cavalry are contributions of the Kushanas.

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