published on 28 April 2011
Map of the Greco-Bactrian Kingdom (PHGCOM)

Bactria was a province of the Persian empire located in modern Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan.

After the defeat of Darius III of Persia, Bactria continued to offer resistance against Alexander the Great, led by Bessus, who had proclaimed himself successor to Darius. Alexander conquered it with great difficulty between 329-327 BCE, largely with the help of local auxiliary forces. During his stay there, Alexander married a Bactrian woman, Roxanne, to aid his effort of controlling the region.

After Alexander's death, Bactria was part of the Seleucid Empire. The many difficulties against which the Seleucid kings had to fight and the attacks of Ptolemy II of Egypt gave Diodotus, satrap of Bactria, the opportunity to declare independence (about 255 BCE) and conquer Sogdiana, founding the Indo-Greek Kingdom.

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Jan van der Crabben
Jan is the Founder and CEO of Ancient History Encyclopedia, leading the non-profit company and its team to best fulfil its mission. He is passionate about history, education, and web technology.

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Cite This Work

APA Style

Crabben, J. V. D. (2011, April 28). Bactria. Ancient History Encyclopedia. Retrieved from

Chicago Style

Crabben, Jan V. D. "Bactria." Ancient History Encyclopedia. Last modified April 28, 2011.

MLA Style

Crabben, Jan V. D. "Bactria." Ancient History Encyclopedia. Ancient History Encyclopedia, 28 Apr 2011. Web. 18 Mar 2018.

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Visual Timeline
  • 327 BCE
    Alexander the Great marries the Bactrian girl Roxanne.
  • 293 BCE
    Antiochos is appointed vice-king of the Upper-Satrapies by his father Seleukos.
  • c. 280 BCE
    Incursion of northern nomads (Sakas) on Seleukids territories.
  • 250 BCE
    Former satrap Diodotos rebels against Seleucid king Antiochos I, creating the Greco-Bactrian kingdom.
  • c. 230 BCE
    Diodotos II is overthrown by Euthydemos. Beginning of the Euthydemid dynasty.
  • 208 BCE - 206 BCE
    Siege of Bactra by Antiochos III.
  • c. 200 BCE - c. 100 BCE
    Scythians tribes migrate into Bactria, Sogdiana and Arachosia.
  • c. 180 BCE - 80 BCE
    Period of Indo-Greek rule in the Gandhara region.
  • 145 BCE
    Murder of Eucratides by his son. Weakening of the Greco-Bactrian kingdom.
  • c. 145 BCE
    Eucratidia is taken by the Sakas.
  • c. 139 BCE
    Eucratidia is looted to the ground by the Yuezhei.
  • c. 130 BCE
    The Yuezhei take control of Bactria.
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