The study of the Hellenistic period has produced a historical construction of the various relationships that formed between the Greco-Macedonian settlers and the natives they came into contact with. Hellenic kings established kingdoms as far as modern day Pakistan, Afghanistan and India, bringing them into contact with the Persian and Indian natives. The study herein is focused on the relationship that formed between the Greco-Macedonian descendants and the Buddhist group that emerged out of India. Numismatic evidence shows that Greco-Bactrian and Indo-Greek kings held political control over regions bordering the Hindu Kush; furthermore, the Indo-Greek coins indicate a relationship between their kings and the Buddhists. Artistic representations found in various cities, such as Ai-Khanoum, illuminate on the cultural blending that occurred as Greek themes began to be represented through local techniques and material. Ancient literature and archeological remains provide further proof of interaction and help to give an identity to key Greek and Indian monarchs. With regard to Buddhism, these monarchs played an important role in the growth of the religion as, alongside artistic expression, the religion had prospered since its beginnings through the aid of royal patronage. In the Greek kingdoms the Buddhists found new mediums of artistic expression and kings that supported their monastic and lay lives; in turn the Greeks saw a pacifist religious group that attracted merchants and wealth. The relationship was mutually beneficial and numismatic evidence from the Indo-Greeks shows that their kings showed favoritism towards the Buddhists. The conclusion herein is that the Greeks provided the structural foundations for the growth of Buddhism who in turn attracted wealth and provided a medium for cooperation between the Greek monarchs and parts of the native population.
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Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)
College of Arts and Humanities
Arts and Humanities -- Dissertations, Academic; Dissertations, Academic -- Arts and Humanities
Length of Campus-only Access
Honors in the Major Thesis
Hysi, Ledio, "The Hellenic Axel: The Greek Hellenization of Central Asia and its Impact of the Development of Buddhism" (2014). HIM 1990-2015. 1578.