Map of Alexander's campaigns in India. Reference "Diodorus of Sicily", Harvard University Press.
Alexandria Eschate (Greek Αλεξανδρία Έσχατη, “Alexandria the Furthest”) was founded by Alexander the Great in 329 BC as his most advanced base in Central Asia. It was established in the southwestern part of the Fergana Valley, on the southern bank of the river Syr Darya (ancient Jaxartes), at the location of the modern city of Khujand (also called Khozdent, formely Leninabad), in the state of Tajikistan.
Alexander built a 6 kilometers brick wall around the city and, as for the other cities he founded, had a group of his retired veterans and wounded settle there.
A Hellenistic outpost in Central Asia
Coin depicting the Greco-Bactrian king Euthydemus (230-200 BC)
Alexandria Eschate was located around 300km north of Alexandria on the Oxus in Bactria, and being in Sogdian territory had to sustain numerous conflicts with the local population. After 250 BC, the city probably remained in contact with the Greco-Bactrian Kingdom centered on Bactria, especially when the Greco-Bactrian king Euthydemus extended his control to Sogdiana.
Contacts with China
The city was also located around 400km west of the Tarim Basin, today's region of Xinjiang in China, where the Yueh-Chih, an Indo-European people were established. There are indications that Greek expeditions were led as far as Kashgar in Chinese Turkestan. According to the Greek historian Strabo, the Greeks "extended their empire even as far as the Seres and the Phryni" (Strabo XI.II.I), possibly leading to the first known contacts between China and the West around 200 BC.
The descendants of the Greeks in Ferghana may be the Ta-Yuan (lit. "Great Ionians") identified in the Chinese historical record of the Han dynasty, starting with the embassies of Zhang Qian around 130 BC. If so, they were the actors of the first major interaction between an urbanized Indo-European culture and the Chinese civilization, which led to the opening up the Silk Road from the 1st century BC.
According to the Roman writer Curtius, the descendants of these soldiers still retained their Hellenistic culture at the time of his writing, around 30 AD.
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