The Indo-Greeks influenced to a certain extent the development of Indian
art and architecture. The Gandhara art extending all over the north-west was
largely Hellenistic in the beginning, but as time passed the style became more
and more Indian and less and less Greek. The idea of representing the
founder of Buddhism as a man originated not with the Indians but with the
Greeks. It was the one great mark which the Greeks set upon India; and they
did it by accident. Thus the Greeks did, to some extent affect, Indians while
they were in India and were also to some extent affected by them.
In the second century BC there was a gigantic upheaval in Central Asia which
resulted in momen. tous movements of nomadic tribes. In 176 BC the
Hiungnu defeated the Yuehchi and the latter went’ westwards and drove
another people called Sai- Wang, that is, the Sakas, out of their country, but
were subsequently driven out by the Wu-Sun. Before their entry into India,
the Sakas lived for a considerable period of time in the Sakastan under
Parthian rulers. After crossing the Hindukush, the Sakas outflanked the Greek
pocket of resistance and passing through Aria, Arachosia and Gedrosia
entered into the Indus valley through the Bolan Pass avoiding the usual
highway, the Khyber Pass.
Patanjali’s Mahabhashya refers to them as ani-ravasita (clean) Sudras.
The Ramayana places the settlement of the Sakas along with those of the
Kambojas and the Yavanas in the extreme north, while the Mahabharata
locates them in the extreme north-west beyond Sakala. According to the
testimony of the Harivamsa the Sakas used to shave half of their heads.
The Sakas were so closely associated with the Parthians in their rule over
the middle and lower Indus valley, Drangiana and Arachosia that it was very
difficult to distinguish between them. For the sake of convenience the princes
of the family of Maues who invaded the lower Indus valley are known as
Sakas and those of the family of Vonones, who ruled over Drangiana and
Arachosia as Pahlavas or Parthians.
Sakas of Taxila