where bronze issues are in abundance. He
Demetrius was perhaps the first foreign king after Alexander who carried
Greek arms into the interior of India. Placing his eldest son Euthydemus II as
king to look after Bactria-Sogdiana during his absence, Demetrius took to
India with him his second son Demetrius II, and also his general Menander.
Demetrius took Gandhara, crossed the Indus, and occupied Taxila and made
it his advance base. He left his son Demetrius II to govern the country
between the Hindukush and the Indus.
Demetrius made elaborate plans for advance into the Indian interior. He
sent one section of his army south-eastward along the great road across the
Punjab and by the Delhi passage to the Ganges and the Mauryan capital
Pataliputra, and the other section southward down the Indus. The
Mahabhashya of Patanjali and the Yuga Purana of Gargi Samhita mention
that the Greeks overran the Panchala country, besieged Madhyamika (Nagari,
Chittor) and Saketa (Ayodhya) and even threatened Pataliputra. Menander
was placed in Pataliputra and Apollodotus at Ujjain and himself in
occupation of Taxila Demetrius held the three cardinal points of his Indian
empire, the three centres of administration.
The Indian conquest of Demetrius must have imperilled his authority in
Bactria which soon after revolted in 171 BC under an ambitious leader
Eucratides. Perhaps Demetrius lost his life in an unsuccessful bid to
overthrow the usurper. The success of Eucratides depended to some extent
also upon disaffected elements. But Eucratides’ success in India proved to be
ephemeral as he had to contend with several princes of Euthydemian house
who maintained their hold over several parts of India.
Upon the unsettled conditions of the time appeared a man of remarkable
ability, who was destined to become the most famous of the Bactrian kings in
India; he was Menander, the Milinda of Indian tradition. He is mentioned by
the classical writers in association with Apollodotus with reference to Indian
conquests. But the exact relationship between the two is not known. It is
beyond doubt that Menander was not a Euthydemid.
Menander’s kingdom shows Indo-Greek power at its height. He ruled
from the Kabul valley in the west to the Ravi in the east, and from the Swat
valley in the north to northern Arachosia in the south. It is probable that
encouraged by his success in India, Menander planned to recover Bactria but
died in the course of his march