The Indo-Greeks

After the fall of the Mauryans, there was the emergence of brahmanical dynasties like Sungas and Kanvas which ruled for few years. But the most important development in the post Mauryan period was the arrival of foreign tribal groups into India. Most of these belonged to the category of Indo-Greeks, while some groups came from Iran and Afghanistan and also China.

About 200 BC, Demetrios I started the conquest of the Indo-Kush and North-East India, establishing the Graeco-Indian (or Indo-Greek) Kingdom. The weak successors of Asoka were not in a position to fight against this invasion by the Bactrians. Starting in 190 BC, Demetrios' sons governed together the new kingdom which expanded progressively to all the Punjab. One of the Greek rulers of Bactria, Menander (155 - 130 BC), conquered much of northern India and, under the name Milinda, became one of the most revered figures of Buddhism.

Milinda who wrote Milindapanha or ‘The Questions of King Milinda’. He supported Buddhism. The Indo- Greek kings issued large number of coins. They were the first to issue gold coins in India. The Indians learned the Greek style of art which is found in Gandhara style of art.