Faculty Scholarly Dissemination Grants


Considerable Hordes of Nomads Were Approaching




College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Date Range



Following the death of Alexander of Macedon in 323 BCE, the eastern regions of his empire came under the control of Seleucus Nicator. But in c. 250 BCE Demetrius, the Seleucid satrap of Bactria-Sogdiana, seized power and established an independent Greek state in Bactria (present-day Afghanistan). For the next century a series of powerful kings ruled the expansive Greco-Bactrian and Indo-Greek kingdoms as the most easterly outposts of Hellenistic civilization. Between 145 and 130 BCE however, Greco-Bactria was overwhelmed by two hordes of militarized pastoral nomads - the Sakas and Yuezhi - who launched a series of devastating raids against the kingdom. This paper investigates all of the relevant evidence - numismatic, textual and archaeological - for the dramatic conquest of Greco-Bactria, and argues that because the invasion was the first historical incident commented upon by both Western and Chinese historians, it deserves to be recognized as the first significant event in world history.

Conference Name

World History Association Annual Conference

Conference Location

Beijing, China

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