About the middle of the third century bc, Bactria became independent of the Seleucid empire. A Bactrian king, Euthydemus, began to expand beyond the Hindukush mountains and gained a foothold on the north-western frontier.

His son and successor, Demetrius, pressed further into India. He and his successors occupied most of the Indus Valley and the Punjab. They also undertook some expeditions to the Ganga basin and came as far as Panchala, Saketa and Pataliputra.

Soon the home domains of the Bactrian Greeks were taken away by Eucratides who also campaigned in India and took over the areas of western Punjab and Taxila. The Greek domains in India were then divided into several petty kingdoms.

The most famous Indo-Greek ruler was Menander or Milinda. He had his capital at Sakala (modern Sialkot) in Punjab area (now in Pakistan) and his kingdom extended from the Swat valley to as far as the River Ravi.


He ruled from 165 to 145 bc. The successor of Menander was his son Strato I followed by his son Strato II. The Euthydemian kings gradually faded away after Menander’s death, and their territories were taken over by other kings.

Eucratides is stated to have overthrown Demetrius and (hereafter continued his struggles with the Euthydemian kings in Bactria and India. Regard­ing the kings of the Eucratides branchs, Heliocles was the last to rule over both Bactria and India because, after him, Bactria was taken over by the Shakas.

The next king Antialkidas sent Heliodorus as ambassador to the court of the Shunga king, Bhagavata. Heliodorus dedicated the Besnagar Pillar Inscription to Lord Vishnu. After a short interval, Antialkidas was succeeded by the Greek king, Amyntas.

Amyntas was probably the father of Hermaeus, the last Indo-Greek king. Hermaeus tried to save the Indo-Greek kingdom by uniting with the Euthydemian kings but the Parthians finally over­whelmed the Indo-Greeks.