Maharashtra State BoardHSC Arts 11th
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Advent of Alexander

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The advent of Alexander:

Alexander invaded the Indian subcontinent and conquered some kingdoms from Afghanistan to Sindh-Punjab. He, however, could not establish his rule there for a long time. At the time of Alexander’s advent, the Achaemenid rule in Sindh-Punjab and Afghanistan had weakened and a number of small kingdoms had come into existence. The political strife stopped them from uniting to resist Alexander’s invasion. Alexander became the king of Macedonia in 334 B.C.E. He defeated emperor Daryush III in 331 B.C.E. Thereafter he marched up to ‘Shistan’ province of Iran and from there he turned toward Kabul. After conquering the region around Kabul, he reached the foothills of the Hindukush mountains. Then he camped at a place called Nicaea, situated on Uttarapatha. Ambhi welcomed Alexander and sought friendship with him. Another king whose name was Sisikottas (Shashigupta) surrendered to Alexander. However, not all Indian kings surrendered to Alexander so easily. Many fought with Alexander with great valour. Alexander conquered almost all kingdoms in Kabul, Sindh, and Punjab.

Porus was an Ancient Indian King whose territory spanned the region between the Hydaspes and Acesines, in the Punjab region of the Indian Subcontinent. He is credited to have been a legendary warrior with exceptional skills. Porus fought against Alexzander the Great in the Battle of the Hydapes (326 BC), thought to be fought at the site of modern-day Mong Punjab, which is now part of Pakistan. Though not recorded in any available ancient Indian source, Ancient Greek historians describe the battle and the aftermath of Alexander's victory.

The Battle of the Hydaspes was fought in 326 BC between Alexander the Great and King Porus of the Paurava kingdom on the banks of the Jhelum river (known to the Greeks as Hydaspes) in the Punjab region of the Indian subcontinent. The battle resulted in a Greek victory and the surrender of Porus. Large areas of Punjab between the Hydaspes and Hyphasis rivers were absorbed into the Alexandrian Empire, and Porus was reinstated as a subordinate ruler.

Alexander's decision to cross the monsoon-swollen river despite close Indian surveillance, in order to catch Porus's army in the flank, has been referred to as one of his "masterpieces". Although victorious, it was also the most costly battle fought by the Macedonians. The resistance put up by King Porus and his men won the respect of Alexander, who asked Porus to become one of his satraps.

In the rest of the regions, he appointed Greek satraps. In 325 B.C.E. Alexander died at Babylon, while he was on his way back to Greece. The death of Alexander the Great is unknown or yet to discovered.

One of the popular theories of his death causes is him being infected of Malaria while he was waging war or conquests a few weeks before his death. The other theory is him being poisoned by rivals or family members. The third theory is his being affected or suffering from abdominal pain too and many other diseases have been associated with his death. No one can confirm the actual cause of death so this is a matter of debate and controversy till date.

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The highway linking the regions from Bihar to Afghanistan is known as ‘Grand Trunk Road’ in modern days. It was in use as a trade route even during the times of Gautama Buddha. It was known as ‘Uttarapatha’ in those days. Its starting point was at the port city of ‘Tamralipti’ in Bengal; known as Tamluk today. It ended at Taxila. Emperor Chandragupta Maurya established this highway in a well-planned way. It was about 3200 kilometers in length. Emperor Ashoka provided many essential amenities for the merchants and travellers on this highway, such as planting trees on both sides of the road, sarais for an overnight stay, etc. He erected pillar edicts at vantange points on this highway. At a later period, Shershah Sur and Emperor Akbar rebuilt this highway. In the British period, a new metalled road running parallel to Grand Trunk Road was built from Kolkata to Peshawar. This road is still in use. In modern times the highway starts from Bangla Desh and from Hawrah it proceeds to West Bengal, thereafter it goes to Delhi and to Amritsar, from there to Lahore and Peshawar and in the end to Kabul.

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