Persian Invasions on India : Cyrus, Darius I & Xerxes

Persian empire

The Achaemenian rulers of Iran, who expanded their empire at the same time as the Magadan kings, took advantage of the political disunity on the north-west frontier.

Cyrus (558 – 530 B.C)
  • Cyrus the Great was the greatest conqueror of the Achaemenian Empire.
  • He was the first conqueror who led an expedition and entered into India.
  • He captured the Gandhara region.
  • All Indian tribes to the west of the Indus river submitted to him and paid tribute.

Darius I (522 – 486 B.C.)

  • Darius I, the grandson of Cyrus, conquered the Indus valley in 518 B.C. & annexed the Punjab and Sindh.
  • This region became the 20th Satrapy of his empire.
  • It was the most fertile and populous province of the Achaemenian Empire.
  • Darius sent a naval expedition under Skylas to explore the Indus.
Xerxes (465-456 B.C.)
  • Xerxes utilized his Indian province to strengthen his position.
  • He deployed Indian infantry and cavalry to Greece to fight his opponents.
  • But they retreated after Xerxes faced a defeat in Greece.
Effects of the Persian Invasion:
  • Persian invasion provided an impulse to the growth of Indo-Iranian commerce.
  • Kharoshti script, a form of Iranian writing became popular in northwestern India and some of Asoka’s edicts were written in that script.
  • Promotion of Indo-Iranian trade.
  • Impact of Buddhism on the Zoroastrian religion of ancient Persia.

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