Alexander III of Macedon
By Shri Sudheer Birodkar
Alexander III was a Greek King who ruled over the largest empire in the world at that time. His kingdom extended from Greece up to Himalayas. After overcoming the Persian Achameanian Empire, Alexander III and his Macedonian (Greek) phalanxes crossed the Hindu Kush into Punjab in 330 B.C. At that time in India, tribal oligarchies were battling the rising Monarchical States in the Ganges Valley. The kingdoms that Alexander faced in Punjab were similar in organization to the tribal oligarchies of the Hills of Mithila north of Magadha, rather than to the proper monarchies of Magadha and Koshala.
The two main tribal-oligarchical kingdoms in the Punjab were Taxila ruled by Raja Ambastha (or Ambhi - Omphis in Greek) and Arratta ruled by Raja Pururava (or Puru - Porus in Greek). While Ambhi decided that discretion was the better part of valour and made a compromise with Alexander by joining forces with the invader.
Battle with Puru
Pururava’s kingdom extended between the Vipasha (Beas) and the Vitasta (Jhelum) rivers. Pururava fought a devastating battle with Alexander on the banks of the Vitasta and "the river flew red for a whole day during the battle". Pururava was defeated, but not before he had so demoralised the Macedonian army that it refused to advance forward to the kingdom of Magadha on the Ganges. The result of Alexander's raid was destruction of the tribal-oligarchical kingdoms in modern day Punjab. The battle was also the end of Alexander’s world conquest as he retraced his steps after making Pururava his vassal.
- Alexander III of Macedon is often referred to as "Alexander the Great"
- Sudheer Birodkar, "A Hindu History: A Search for our Present History". Reprinted with permission.