By going through these Maharashtra State Board Class 11 History Notes Chapter 7 Second Urbanisation in India students can recall all the concepts quickly.

Maharashtra State Board Class 11 History Notes Chapter 7 India and Iran (Persia)

Indian Subcontinent and Iran:
Excavated evidence has sufficiently proved that the trade and cultural relations between the Indian subcontinent and Iran have continued since the Harappan times. The Empire of Elam, contemporary to the Harappan civilisation, existed in the southwest regions of Iran. It was culturally closer to Mesopotamia. Its capital was at ‘Susa’. Hence, it was also known as ‘Susiana’.

The Iranian empire was established by Cyrus II (also known as Cyrus the Great) of the Achaemenid dynasty. He was from the tribe of Tars’. This tribe dwelt in the mountainous region in the northwest of Iran and adjacent to Afghanistan. This region was known by the tribe’s name, Tars’. Even the main city of the region was known by the same name, Tars’. Greeks knew the city by the name, ‘Persepolis’. The Iranian empire was known as ‘Persian Empire’ because it is originated in the Pars region.

Conflict between the Iranian (Achaemenid) Empire and Greece:
Cyrus II conquered Lydia, a Greek state to the north of Mediterranean Sea, around the mid of the 6th century B.C.E. As a result, the Ionian Greek city-states under the Lydian rule, inevitably became part of the Achaemenid empire. The Greeks in Ionia had migrated to Anatolia, that is, the Asian part of the Turkey. It is also known as ‘Asia Minor’. During the reign of Daryush I all Ionian city-states got together and rebelled against the Achaemenid rule.

The rebellion was subdued completely after a struggle of five years by the Achaemenid army. The effects of this unsuccessful rebellion are important for understanding the interrelationship between Greece and Persia in the ensuing period.

Arrian was a Greek historian of the 1st century C.E. He wrote a book called ‘Anabasis of Alexander. He has referred to the correspondence between Daryush III, the last Achaemenid emperor and Alexander. Daryush had written to Alexander about the release of his mother, wife and children.

Alexander responded by reminding Daryush of the sorrow inflicted on the Greeks by the earlier invasions of the Achaemenid emperors. Alexander wrote that he had arrived in Russia by crossing the ocean, with the intention of punishing the aggressive Persians.

Maharashtra Board Class 11 History Notes Chapter 7 India and Iran (Persia)

Iranian (Achaemenid) Empire and India:
The Achaemenid emperors established the Persian empire by conquering smaller kingdoms in the northeast region of the Indian subcontinent and expanded their boundary up to Punjab. It was the same period when the Magadha empire was on the rise in India.

It becomes apparent from the inscriptions of the Achaemenid emperors and the records kept by the Greek historians that Cyrus II had conquered the region of the Kabul basin (Gandhara). It was part of the Achaemenid empire. The river Vitasta (Jhelum) had formed its eastern boundary.

Alexander crushed the Achaemenid empire and the region of Punjab which was the part of ‘ Achaemenid empire. The revenue received by the Achaemenid empire from its provinces (satrapies) in the Indian subcontinent was more than any other provinces. According to Herodotus, this revenue amounted to 360 talents of gold dust.

Political and Cultural Impact of the Iranian Contact:
The Persian supremacy prevailed in the Indian subcontinent for at least two centuries. However, it had ended much before the advent of Alexander. Thinking of the impact left by the Persian contact in the period of two centuries, one thing can be noticed prominently.

It is about the administrative system set by the Persian rulers. Every conquered region was annexed to their territory as a satrapy and a satrap (governor) was appointed as its chief administrator. This method was followed by Alexander and later by the Scythian (Saka) and Kushana rulers as well.

The Aramaic script came into use in the north-eastern regions of the Indian subcontinent, during the times of Achaemenid rule. Kharoshthi, an ancient Indian script evolved from this script. The Ashokan edicts in this region are inscribed in the Aramaic script.

The method of installing royal edicts at vantage points seems to be borrowed from the examples of Achaemenid inscriptions. Herodotus tells us that Daryush I had sent many explorers to gather information about the course of the river Sindhu and the Arabian Sea. Among them was ‘Scylax of Karyanda’, a Greek sailor from Ionia, who was well- known. He was the first Ionian Greek who stepped on the Indian land.

Mahabharata mentions King Takshaka as the king of‘Naga’ people. Taxila was the capital of Kang Takshaka. The archaeological evidence confirm that Taxila has a hoary past. It was the capital of Gandhara mahajanapada. The archaeological remains of this city are strewn over a large area that comprises 18 archaeological sites.

They are enlisted as the World Cultural Heritage. It is situated on the Grand Trunk Road, 30 kilometres away from Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan. Evidence of prehistoric people using microliths have been found at Taxila and in some caves in its vicinity. The neolithic village at Taxila was settled around 3500 B.C.E. Its remains have been found at a site called ‘Sarai-Khola’.

Maharashtra Board Class 11 History Notes Chapter 7 India and Iran (Persia)

Advent of Alexander:
Alexander invaded the Indian subcontinent and conquered some kingdoms from Afghanistan to Sindh-Punjab. He, however, could not establish his rule there for a long time. The information of his advent primarily comes from the Greek historians like Arrian, Curtis, Diodorus, Plutarch and Justin.

At the time of Alexander’s advent the Achaemenid rule in Sindh-Punjab and Afghanistan had weakened and a number of small kingdoms had come into existence. The political strife stopped them from uniting to resist Alexander’s invasion. Alexander became the king of Macedonia in 334 B.C.E.

In 325 B.C.E. Alexander died at Babylon, while he was on his way back to Greece. Alexander’s invasion of India did not have far-reaching impact on the political scenario of India. In a very short period after his death, Chandragupta Maurya established his vast empire from Bihar to Afghanistan. It was the beginning of a new era in the Indian history.


→ Fortification – A defensive wall or other reinforcement built to strengthen a place against attack.

→ Rebellion – The act of fighting against authority or refusing to accept rules.

→ Confederacy – A union of states, groups of people or political parties with the same aim.

→ Provocating – Incitement.

→ Snubbed – To treat someone rudely.

→ Barter System – Exchange of goods and services for other services in return. An old method of exchange.