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by Archaeology Newsroom

The Greeks in the East

The first expedition of the Greeks to the valley of the Indus River (the present Pakistan) was focused on the survey of the river’s course. For the first time the Greeks have been acquainted with the people of this area during the reign of the great Achaemenid monarch Darius I (552-486). The second contact, the expedition of Alexander the Great in 326 BC, has been more dynamic and effective. As a result, the entire valley of the Indus River came temporarily under Greek control. Although this situation was a short-lived phenomenon, it paved the way for later invaders from Central Asia. We can follow the course of Alexander through the narration of Arrianus and other Greek historians. Thus, the first expedition of Alexander to India proved to be ephemeral, while the second Greek invasion lasted longer.

A remarkable effect of the Greek influence on Pakistan is the art of Gadara. In spite of the fact that this art appeared long after the years of the Greek rule in Pakistan, its traditions, established by the Greek artists, became a most popular vehicle of expression and a valuable deposit to be developed by later local artists. Another aspect of the Greek influence on Pakistan is represented by the Greek coins of Bactria.