The Indo-Greeks

The Indo-Greeks

The Indo-Greeks

The Indo-Greeks

Excerpt

The importance of a subject is not always proportionate to the amount of material which has survived about it. In the early part of the eighteenth century two coins of the Greco-Bactrians were found and they suggested to Theophilus Bayer the plan of his work, Historia regni Graecorum Bactriani, published at St. Petersburg in 1738. And exactly 200 years later, in 1938, appeared the work of Dr. (now Sir) William Woodthorpe Tarn, The Greeks in Bactria and India, of which a second edition came out in 1951. The history of the Indo-Greeks is in itself a long story of arduous research and no work can be done without paying due credit to the investigations of James Prinsep, Christian Lassen, Horace Hayman Wilson, Alexander Cunningham, Percy Gardner, Alfred von Sallet, Hugh George Rawlinson, Charles J. Rodgers, Edward James Rapson, George Macdonald, John Marshall, Richard Bertram Whitehead, John Allan, and many others. The present book ventures only to follow in their footsteps and it is largely a result of a study of their works. But I have also been fortunate in getting fresh information which has given some further strength to my conclusions. Especially noteworthy are the discovery of a hoard of Indo-Greek coins from Qunduz lying unnoticed in the Kabul Museum; the publication of an account of a remarkable treasure of coins of the Indo-Greeks and their successors found at Mir Zakah in Afghanistan; the discovery of a new manuscript of the Yugapurāṇa; and the increasing number of the Mitra kings and other local powers known from their coins to have ruled over northern India. I have also been rewarded in examining old Sale Catalogues, which have given some coin-types hitherto ignored by scholars. My reexamination of some passages of the western classical sources has brought about unexpected results. Similarly a new study of the Chinese evidence has thrown strikingly new light on the problems of the period.

It will be difficult for anything to be written on the Indo-Greeks now or in future without a thorough reading of Sir William's book, and students must forever be thankful to him for the service he has done to both classical and Oriental learning by his scholarly work. Though my own interpretation of the evidence does not permit me . . .

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