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[Greco-Bactrians; Indo-Greeks]

A number of Hellenistic kingships that ruled portions of Afghanistan, Central Asia and India in the last three centuries bc. In ancient times the region of Bactria was bounded on the north by the Oxus and on the south-east by the Hindu Kush mountains. The western frontier remained ill-defined and in constant flux. Following the death of Alexander the Great in 323 bc, Bactria and adjoining Sogdiana were controlled by the Seleucids until c. 250 bc, when the governor Diodotus asserted independence. A large body of coins, Hellenistic in style and iconography and with Greek legends, was minted by the Greco-Bactrian rulers. This style of coinage, but with bilingual Greek and Kharoshthi legends, continued into the Kushana period (1st to 3rd century ad). With the exception of Ai Khanum, a Greek-style city, few remains of the Greeks in Bactria have yet been uncovered. Control of Sogdiana was lost to the local kings in the late ...

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E. Errington

[Pahlava]

Dynasty that replaced Shaka or Indo-Scythian rule in south-east Afghanistan and the north-western region of the Indian subcontinent in the 1st century ad. The origins of the dynasty are uncertain, and the suggestion that the Indo-Parthians came from the eastern borders of the Parthian empire remains unsubstantiated. Iranian influence is already evident in Afghanistan during the Shaka period. Vonones (c. 75–50 bc), for example, was apparently a Shaka king ruling with his associates in Arachosia (south-east Afghanistan), but he bears the same name as later Parthian kings and has the Iranian title ‘king of kings’ on his coinage.

The founder of the Indo-Parthian dynasty appears to have been Gondophares (reg c. ad 20–50), who took control of the Taxila and adjacent territories, although some Shaka satraps of the region apparently retained a degree of autonomy. The so-called Takht-i-Bahi inscription, dated in the year 103 (probably of the Vikrama Era of ...