Alexander’s Invasion Of India

Alexander’s Invasion Of India – Introduction

Alexander's Invasion Of India 4
Alexander’s Route

Of the many turning points of Indian history, Alexander’s Invasion Of India undoubtedly is one of the most conspicuous. Just as the Iranian invasion paved way for Alexander’s Invasion, similarly this invasion paved way for other subsequent invasions of India. Alexander took advantage of the weakening of Achaemenid Empire and eventually conquered it. This victory brought him the doorsteps of India. Alexander’s  Indian campaign of  began in 326 BC where he had to fight a decisive battle with Porus on the banks of river Jhelum. The conflict is popularly known as the Battle Of Hadaspes. King Porus vehemently displayed a phenomenal courage, patriotism and velour, for he had to fight a mighty army. Moved by this remarkable display, Alexander restored his kingdom to him under the Mecedonian Empire umbrella. According to Peter Connolly, this invasion was the most costly battle that the armies of Alexander fought.

Alexander's Invasion Of India
Battle With Porus
  • Alexander crossed the Indus in 326 BC.
  • After defeating the fierce tribes of the north-west , he encountered two powerful kings, Ambhi and  Porus. Ambhi the king of Taxila, sent a mission to Alexander, offering to help him , if his own kingdom was spared.
  • Porus , however , decided to oppose the Macedonian and the Battle of Hydaspes (Jhelum) was fought on the banks of the river Jhelum.
  • Greek sources mention that Porus was defeated but was restored to his dominion as a vassal of Alexander. Alexander wanted to continue his advance but  his soldiers mutinied and refused to go beyond river Hadapses ( Jhelum) and he had to retreat.
  • Certain Indian scholars are of the opinion that Alexander’s retreat was due to the severe thrashing he received at the hands of Porus.

Eastward March Halted

Alexander's Invasion Of India
Mecedonian Empire
  • The rationale for this campaign is usually said to be Alexander’s desire to conquer the entire known world, which the Greeks thought ended in India.
  • While considering the conquests of Carthage and Rome, Alexander died in Babylon on June 10 or 11, 323 BC. Alexander’s quest for further eastward expansion brought him in confrontation with the Nandas who ruled Magadh.
  • According to Greek sources, Nanda army was 5 times larger than Alexander’s army. An estimate concludes that Nandas had 100000 infantry, 40000 Cavalry and 6000 Elephants in their war repertoire.
  • Listening to this information, Alexander’s army mutinied for they were already war weary, homesick and uncomfortable with the sultry tropical weather.
  • Alexander tried his best to motivate them, but all efforts went in vain which eventually forced him to give up. Thus it was curtains for a further Alexander’s Invasion Of India.
  • In 321 B.C., two years after Alexander’s death, Chandragupta Maurya of Magadh , founded the Maurya Empire in modern-day India.

Impact Of Alexander’s Invasion Of India

  •   Alexander died in Babylonia in 323 BC. After his death , most of the Macedonians returned home by 316 BC .
  • A remarkable aspect of Alexander’s foreign policy was his encouragement of interracial marriage, and ruling over it. Though Alexander’s stay  in India was brief , if was an important influence.
  • By curbing the fierce tribes who inhabited the hills and passes of North-west India , he paved the way for the rise of a united empire under the Mauryas.
  • Alexander’s campaign opened up and reinforced a number of trade routes between North-Western India, via Afghanistan and Iran to Asia Minor and to the ports along the eastern Mediterranean.
Alexander's Route
Alexander’s Route


Interestingly, no ancient Indian texts have any mention of Alexander’s Invasion Of India. The entire information about all this we get to know from the Greek sources. While Aristobulus, Onesicritus, and Nearchus accompanied Alexander in his campaign, it was Nearchus who was tasked with with exploring the coast between the Indus River and the Persian Gulf.

Chronology of Foreign Invasions
518-486 BCKing Darius or Darus invaded India
326 BCAlexander invaded India
190 BCIndo Greeks or Bactrians invaded India
90 BCSakas invaded India
Ist century ADPahalavas invaded India
45 ADKushanas or Yue-chis invaded India
Initial Foreign Invasions

See Also

Iranian Invasion Of India

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