DM 340 Alexander the Great in India

Alexander the Great in India

After conquering Persia in 230 B.C., Alexander the Great marched east through central Asia. By the fall of 227 B.C. Alexander captured modern day Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and a large part of Pakistan.

In August of 227 B.C. Alexander moved his military campaign into the ancient gateway ot he Indian subcontinent – the Punjab.

In June of 326 BC, Indian King Poros, fought Alexander in the Battle of the Hydaspes River. Poros deployed horse cavalry on his flanks with infantry and 300 elephants in his center. Alexander attacked Poros’ left flank with horse archers. Poros’ remaining cavalry attempted to relieve their kinsmen, but were attacked from the rear by Alexanders cavalry. The Macedonian phalanx attacked the Indian center of infantry and elephants. Alexander’s army and cavalry encircled the Indian army and Poros surrendered.

This fierce battle resulted ia a complete Macedonia victory. 23,000 Indian soldiers and 1000 Macedonians perished.

Impressed by Poros’ stature and willingness to fight to the death, Alexander permitted Poros to rule the Punjab and become Alexander’s ally.

To commemorate his Indian victory, Alexander produced a large silver deckadram. Obverse: On the right side, Alexander on horseback thrusting a spear at a mahout (elephant driver) and his master seated on an Indian elephant. The mahout and master look back towards Alexander, the master grasps the end of Alexander’s spear with his right hand, the mahout brandishes a spear in his right hand above his head while holding two further spears in his left hands. Reverse: Alexander standing to left, wearing military attire and sword holding a thunderbolt in his right hand and a spear in his left, Nike flies above to right to crown him. (Sear 6216)

Only 14 of these large coins survive. Examples are in museums and private collections This historical set includes a lead free pewter replica of this rare silver medallion.


The Battle of the Hydaspes River represents the Alexander’s annexation of the Punjab. The Battle of is historically significant for opening up India for Greek political and cultural influence for many centuries.

By July 326 B C Alexander’s army mutinies and refuses to go further. Alexander sent most of his army back to Carmania (Iran). In December 325 BC Alexander returns to Carmania. He spends his last years in Persia. Alexander the Great dies in Babylon in the palace of Nebuchadnezzar II in July 323 B.C.


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