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Milinda

Menander the Just, (Sanskrit Milinda) was king of "India", i.e. the eastern dominions of the divided Greek empire of Bactria, consisting of modern Pakistan and Punjab with diffuse tributaries to the south and east. Menander is one of the few Bactrian kings mentioned by antique authors, among them Apollodotus of Artemita, who claims that he was an even greater conqueror than Alexander the Great. Exaggerations aside, it could be ascertained that Menander's reign was long and successful. Generous findings of coins testify to the prosperity and extension of his empire, but the boundaries of his reign are vague; between 155 BC and 80 BC. Guesses among historians are that he was either a nephew or a former general of the Indo-Bactrian king Demetrius, but his predecessor in India seems to have been the king Apollodotus.

Menander was the first king to strike coins with legends in both Greek and native Sanskrit; according to tradition he also embraced the Buddhist faith, as described in the Milinda dialogues, a classical Buddhist text of the discussions between the king and a wise man.

Plutarch (Praec. reip. ger. 28, 6) states that all his subject towns disputed about the honour of his burial, ultimately sharing his ashes among them. His empire did not survive him for long, the last Greek king disappearing in 10 A.D.



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