Following the Macedonian invasion of Persian in the fourth century B.C., an independent Greek-ruled empire emerged over an area encompassing modern Afghanistan, eastern Iran, and rthern Pakistan. This ancient empire, called Bactria, is recorded in texts, both Asian and European, as well as through coins, inscriptions, and architectural remnants. Bactria served as a contact point between Europe, South Asia, and the Far East for more than two hundred years before disappearing under the pressure of a resurgent Persia to the west and Indian states to the east. In Bactria: The History of a Forgotten Empire, historian Hugh G. Rawlinson begins with the early history of Bactria and its subjugation by Persia, and then describes the conquest of Iran by Alexander the Great and the establishment of an independent Bactria ruled by Greeks. The Bactrians adopted Buddhism early on and helped establish the religion throughout the area. The author then follows the history of the empire through its rulers, including Menander, until Greek rule is extinguished around 135 B.C. Finally, the author discusses the effects of Greek occupation on the region. Based on meticulous research in ancient texts from Greece, Persia, and India, and using material evidence of the time, this history which won the Hare University Prize at Cambridge in 1909, remains relevant today, providing a fascinating portrait of a little-kwn connection between East and West.
HUGH GEORGE RAWLINSON (1880 - 1957) was an Oxford-trained historian who specialized in South Asia. Among his many books are Intercourse Between India and the Western World from the Earliest Times to the Fall of Rome, The Rise of the Maratha Empire, 1707 - 1761, and India, a Short Cultural History