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Taxiles (in Greek Tαξίλης or Ταξίλας; lived 4th century BC) was the Greek chroniclers' name for a prince or king who reigned over the tract between the Indus and the Hydaspes Rivers in the Punjab at the period of the expedition of Alexander the Great, 327 BC. His real name was Ambhi (Greek: Omphis), and the Greeks appear to have called him Taxiles or Taxilas, from the name of his capital city of Taxila, near the modern Attock.[1]

He appears to have been on terms of hostility with his neighbour Porus, who held the territories east of the Hydaspes, and it was probably with a view of strengthening himself against this foe, that he sent an embassy to Alexander, while the latter was yet in Sogdiana, with offers of assistance and support. On the first descent of the conqueror into India in 327 BCE, he hastened to meet him with valuable presents, and placed himself and all his forces at his disposal. Nor were these vain professions: Alexander was emboldened to divide his forces, and Ambhi assisted Hephaestion and Perdiccas in constructing a bridge over the Indus where it bends at Hund (Fox 1973), supplied their troops with provisions, and received Alexander himself, and his whole army, in his capital city of Taxila, with every demonstration of friendship and the most liberal hospitality.[2]

On the subsequent advance of the Macedonian king, Taxiles accompanied him with a force of 5000 men, and bore a part in the battle of the Hydaspes River. After that victory he was sent by Alexander in pursuit of Porus, to whom he was charged to offer favourable terms, but narrowly escaped losing his life at the hands of his old enemy. Subsequently, however, the two rivals were reconciled by the personal mediation of Alexander; and Taxiles, after having contributed zealously to the equipment of the fleet on the Hydaspes, was entrusted by the king with the government of the whole territory between that river and the Indus.[3] A considerable accession of power was granted him after the death of Philip, son of Machatas; and he was allowed to retain his authority at the death of Alexander himself (323 BC), as well as in the subsequent partition of the provinces at Triparadisus, 321 BC.[4] But at a subsequent period we find Eudemus, the commander of the Macedonian troops in his province, possessing the sole authority: whether Taxiles had been displaced by force or removed by a natural death, we are not informed.



  1. ^ Diodorus Siculus, Bibliotheca, xvii. 86; Curtius Rufus, Historiae Alexandri Magni, viii. 12
  2. ^ Arrian, Anabasis Alexandri, iv. 12, v. 3, 8; Curtius, ibid.; Diodorus, ibid.; Plutarch, Parallel Lives, "Alexander", 59, 65
  3. ^ Arrian, v. 8, 18, 20; Curtius, viii. 14, ix. 3
  4. ^ Photius, Bibliotheca, cod. 82, cod. 92; Diodorus, xviii. 3, 39; Justin, Epitome of Pompeius Trogus, xiii. 4

This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology by William Smith (1870).


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