The Hellenistic Influence on culture in Central Asia and India

The Hellenistic Influence on Culture in Central Asia and India

  • What is Hellenism?


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According to Merriam-Webster’s dictionary, “Hellenism is the devotion to or imitation of ancient Greek thought, customs, or styles”. This paper will explore how Alexander the Great and those who led after him influenced the cultures of India and Central Asia. The cultures that will be explored are religion and philosophy, architecture, sculpture and art, and stage performances.


  • Alexander the Great

In order to speak about Alexander the Great’s influences, we should start before he moved into India and Asia.Alexander the Great started out as Alexander III of Macedon.  He was born in 356 BCE to Phillip II, the King of Macedonia and Olympius.  Philip II was a powerful king.  He was very , he was assassinated in a theater as he was celebrating the wedding of his daughter, Cleopatra.

After Phillip II’s death, Alexander was placed in power at only 19 years of age.  He wanted to carry on his father’s legacy and marched into Persia.  Persia at the time had the largest army in the world with 50,000.Alexander was ruthless.  He destroyed cities,mutilated the residents, and left destruction in each city he entered.

He was a conundrum in the sense that he would leave all of this destruction but he would also be fair.  He would take over the cities and lands and then adopt a lot of their cultures and religions.  He would then carry those things into the next town or city that he went into.  By doing this, he expanded his empire drastically.


  • History of conquests.
  • What was the Greek influence outside of Asia and India
  • Why Central Asia?
  • Expedition was made up of military men, writers, historians, philosophers, dancers, and artists
  • The Silk Road
    • What was transported on The Silk Road
    • How did the Silk Road aid in Alexander’s Excursions into Asia?
  • Religion and Philosophy
    • What religions existed in Central Asia prior to the Greco Expansion?
    • Greco-Buddhism
    • The Naked Philosophers
    • The Trojan Elephant
  • Architecture
    • What materials were used in structures in Asia prior to the Hellenic Entrance
    • Materials used after Hellenistic influence began
    • What buildings were built after Alexander’s visits that utilized materials seen in Greece
  • Sculpture and Art
    • Materials used in Greece compared to Asia
    • Terra cottas and bronzes- “mother-goddesses” in the Mauryan Empire
    • Elephanta Caves
    • Sarnath
    • Did the Greeks or the Asians design some of the most well-known monuments
  • The Stage
    • Alexander’s passion of theater
    • Agen
  • Closing:
    • Does the Hellenic influence continue in Central Asia and India today?









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