Cultures > Hindush



Hindush (also known as 'Taxila' or 'Sindh') was the eastern most satrapy of the Achaemenid Empire, located in the northwest of the South Asia (modern Pakistan). The capital of this province was at the city named Taxila. Occupation lasted for a considerable time, although when it ended exactly is not entirely clear. The archaeological excavations carried out at Bhir Mound, near Taxila, by John Marshall from 1913 to 1934 revealed heavy masonry of the Achaemenid buildings that formed the earliest stratum of the site. Various other relevant artefacts were found as well.

The term "Hellenistic Hindush" doesn't have a direct historical reference, but it likely refers to the interaction between Hellenistic culture and the Indian subcontinent during the Hellenistic period, which followed the conquests of Alexander the Great and lasted roughly from the 4th to 1st centuries BCE. Here's an overview of the interaction between Hellenistic culture and the Indian subcontinent:

Alexander's Conquests:

Alexander the Great's invasion of the Indian subcontinent in the 4th century BCE brought Greek armies into contact with the Indian kingdoms of the northwest, including the regions of Gandhara and the Punjab. While Alexander's campaign was relatively short-lived, it facilitated cultural exchange between Greek and Indian civilizations.

Indo-Greek Kingdoms:

Following Alexander's retreat from the Indian subcontinent, Greek settlers, soldiers, and administrators established kingdoms in the northwest regions of modern-day Pakistan and Afghanistan. These Indo-Greek kingdoms, also known as the Greco-Bactrian and Indo-Scythian kingdoms, were characterized by a fusion of Greek and Indian cultural elements. Greek kings and elites ruled over predominantly Indian populations, leading to the adoption of Indian customs, languages, and religions alongside Greek traditions.

Cultural Exchange:

Hellenistic culture had a significant impact on the art, architecture, and urban planning of the northwest Indian subcontinent. Greek architectural styles, such as the use of Corinthian columns and Greco-Roman motifs, influenced the design of Buddhist stupas and Gandharan sculptures. Greek artistic techniques, including realistic portraiture and narrative friezes, were integrated into Indian artistic traditions.

Trade and Commerce:

The Hellenistic period witnessed increased maritime trade between the Mediterranean world and the Indian subcontinent. Greek merchants and sailors established commercial networks that connected the ports of the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf with the ports of western India. Greek goods, such as wine, olive oil, and pottery, were exchanged for Indian spices, textiles, precious stones, and other commodities.

Intellectual Exchange:

Greek intellectuals and philosophers, such as Pythagoras and Pyrrho, were said to have traveled to India and interacted with Indian sages and scholars. The exchange of ideas between Greek and Indian thinkers contributed to the development of philosophical and religious syncretism, as evidenced in the teachings of the Greek-influenced Buddhist philosopher Nagarjuna.


The interaction between Hellenistic and Indian cultures during this period left a lasting legacy in the art, architecture, literature, philosophy, and religion of the Indian subcontinent. The Gandharan and Mathura schools of art, which flourished in the northwest and central regions of India, respectively, reflect the synthesis of Greek and Indian artistic traditions.

The legacy of Hellenistic Hindush can be seen in the cultural diversity and cosmopolitanism of modern-day South Asia, which continues to be shaped by interactions between different civilizations and traditions.

In summary, the term "Hellenistic Hindush" refers to the encounter between Hellenistic culture and the Indian subcontinent during the Hellenistic period, resulting in a rich exchange of ideas, art, commerce, and intellectual pursuits that influenced the development of both Greek and Indian civilizations.


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M. A. Dandamaev. "A Political History of the Achaemenid Empire" p 147. BRILL, 1989 ISBN 978-9004091726

Rafi U. Samad, The Grandeur of Gandhara: The Ancient Buddhist Civilization of the Swat, Peshawar, Kabul and Indus Valleys. Algora Publishing, 2011, p. 33 ISBN 0875868592

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