Map showing Gedrosia in the Indian campaign of Alexander the Great
Map showing Gedrosia in the Indian campaign of Alexander the Great
Country Baluchistan

Gedrosia (/ɪˈdrʒə/; Greek: Γεδρωσία) is the Hellenized name of the part of coastal Baluchistan that roughly corresponds to today's Makran. In books about Alexander the Great and his successors, the area referred to as Gedrosia runs from the Indus River to the southern edge of the Strait of Hormuz. It is directly to the south of the countries of Bactria, Arachosia and Drangiana, to the east of the country of Carmania and due west of the Indus River which formed a natural boundary between it and Western India. The native name of Gedrosia might have been Gwadar as there are two towns by that name and a bay (Gwadar Bay) in central Makran. It, along with Saurashtra, was an important part of the Maurya Empire of ancient India.[1][2]

History [ edit ]

Gedrosia, along with Saurashtra, were regions in ancient India that formed an important part of the Maurya Empire, before being attacked by Indo-Greeks from the west.[1] Following his army's refusal to continue marching east at the Hyphasis River in 326 BCE, Alexander the Great crossed the area after sailing south to the coast of the Indian Ocean on his way back to Babylon. Upon reaching the Ocean, Alexander the Great divided his forces in half, sending half back by sea to Susa under the command of Nearchus.[3] The other half of his army was to accompany him on a march through the Gedrosian desert, inland from the ocean.[4] Throughout the 60-day march through the desert, Alexander lost at least 12,000 soldiers, in addition to countless livestock, camp followers, and most of his baggage train.[5] Some historians say he lost three-quarters of his army to the harsh desert conditions along the way.[6] However, this figure was likely based on exaggerated numbers in his forces prior to the march, which were likely in the range of no fewer than 30,000 soldiers.[7]

There are two competing theories for the purpose of Alexander's decision to march through the desert rather than along the more hospitable coast. The first argues that this was an attempt to punish his men for their refusal to continue eastward at the Hyphasis River.[8] The other argues that Alexander was attempting to imitate and succeed in the actions of Cyrus the Great, who had failed to cross the desert.[7]

After the death of Alexander, this region became part of the holdings of Seleucus, who also held Ariya (modern-day Kabul), Gedrosia (Baluchistan), Arakeshiya (Kandhar), and Peripemisdai (Herat). The territories, known collectively as Ariyana were later lost to the Mauryan Empire of ancient India under the reign of Chandragupta Maurya.[2]

Pliny the Elder while explaining the extend of India included four satrapies Arachosia, Gedrosia, Aria and Parapanisidae as western borders of India.[9]

See also [ edit ]

References [ edit ]

  1. ^ a b The Journal of the Bihar Research Society. Bihar Research Society. 1949. p. 74. Gedrosia and Saurashtra had formed important parts of the Mauryan empire before the Indo-Greek adventurers attacked in on the west.
  2. ^ a b Ray, Himanshu Prabha (2003). The Archaeology of Seafaring in Ancient South Asia. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-01109-9. In spite of the vagueness of the historical texts, the consensus among scholars is that the treaty concluded between Candragupta Maurya and Seleucus acknowledged Indian control of territories to the west of the Indus. These included Gedrosia, Paropamisadae (the region of Kabul and Begram) and Arachosia (the Kandahar region).
  3. ^ Bosworth (1988), p. 139
  4. ^ Bosworth (1988), p. 142
  5. ^ Bosworth (1988), p. 145
  6. ^ Plutarch, The Life of Alexander, 66.
  7. ^ a b Bosworth (1988), p. 146
  8. ^ Heckel (2002), p. 68
  9. ^ Wink, André (2002). Al-Hind, the Making of the Indo-Islamic World: Early Medieval India and the Expansion of Islam 7Th-11th Centuries. BRILL. ISBN 978-0-391-04173-8.

Bibliography [ edit ]

Timeline and

cultural period
Northwestern India

(Punjab-Sapta Sindhu)
Indo-Gangetic Plain Central India Southern India
Upper Gangetic Plain

(Ganga-Yamuna doab)
Middle Gangetic Plain Lower Gangetic Plain
Culture Late Vedic Period Late Vedic Period

(Srauta culture)[a]

Painted Grey Ware culture
Late Vedic Period

(Shramanic culture)[b]

Northern Black Polished Ware
 6th century BC Gandhara Kuru-Panchala Magadha Adivasi (tribes)
Culture Persian-Greek influences "Second Urbanisation"

Rise of Shramana movements

Jainism - Buddhism - Ājīvika - Yoga
 5th century BC (Persian conquests) Shaishunaga dynasty Adivasi (tribes)
 4th century BC (Greek conquests) Nanda empire
Culture Spread of Buddhism Pre-history Sangam period

(300 BC – 200 AD)
 3rd century BC Maurya Empire Early Cholas

Early Pandyan Kingdom

Satavahana dynasty


46 other small kingdoms in Ancient Thamizhagam
Culture Preclassical Hinduism[c] - "Hindu Synthesis"[d] (ca. 200 BC - 300 AD)[e][f]

Epics - Puranas - Ramayana - Mahabharata - Bhagavad Gita - Brahma Sutras - Smarta Tradition

Mahayana Buddhism
Sangam period


(300 BC – 200 AD)
 2nd century BC Indo-Greek Kingdom Shunga Empire

Maha-Meghavahana Dynasty
Early Cholas

Early Pandyan Kingdom

Satavahana dynasty


46 other small kingdoms in Ancient Thamizhagam
 1st century BC
 1st century AD



Kuninda Kingdom
 2nd century Kushan Empire
 3rd century Kushano-Sasanian Kingdom Kushan Empire Western Satraps Kamarupa kingdom Kalabhra dynasty

Pandyan Kingdom (Under Kalabhras)
Culture "Golden Age of Hinduism"(ca. AD 320-650)[g]


Co-existence of Hinduism and Buddhism
 4th century Kidarites Gupta Empire

Varman dynasty
Kalabhra dynasty

Pandyan Kingdom (Under Kalabhras)

Kadamba Dynasty

Western Ganga Dynasty
 5th century Hephthalite Empire Alchon Huns Kalabhra dynasty

Pandyan Kingdom (Under Kalabhras)

 6th century Nezak Huns

Kabul Shahi
Maitraka Adivasi (tribes) Badami Chalukyas

Kalabhra dynasty

Pandyan Kingdom (Under Kalabhras)
Culture Late-Classical Hinduism (ca. AD 650-1100)[h]

Advaita Vedanta - Tantra

Decline of Buddhism in India
 7th century Indo-Sassanids Vakataka dynasty

Empire of Harsha
Mlechchha dynasty Adivasi (tribes) Pandyan Kingdom (Under Kalabhras)

Pandyan Kingdom(Revival)

 8th century Kabul Shahi Pala Empire Pandyan Kingdom

 9th century Gurjara-Pratihara Rashtrakuta dynasty

Pandyan Kingdom

Medieval Cholas

Pandyan Kingdom (Under Cholas)

Chera Perumals of Makkotai
10th century Ghaznavids Pala dynasty

Kamboja-Pala dynasty
Kalyani Chalukyas

Medieval Cholas

Pandyan Kingdom (Under Cholas)

Chera Perumals of Makkotai

References and sources for table


  1. ^ Samuel
  2. ^ Samuel
  3. ^ Michaels (2004) p.39
  4. ^ Hiltebeitel (2002)
  5. ^ Michaels (2004) p.39
  6. ^ Hiltebeitel (2002)
  7. ^ Michaels (2004) p.40
  8. ^ Michaels (2004) p.41


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