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ALEXANDRIAN FOUNDATIONS Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Soviet Central Asia, India.

In his course across Asia Alexander the Great founded numerous towns: the present concern is with those established E of the Tigris between 331 and 325 B.C. In the listing below the order follows the course of Alexander to the E, then S along the rivers of India, and W on his return route. The primary sources either refer to these towns as Alexandrias, or provide other, specific names. Later Classical writers applied descriptive terminologies to those named for Alexander. These towns were at sites of strategic and commercial importance, and the practice was to draw upon local Greek populations, which were already relatively numerous under Achaemenid rule, as well as Greek mercenaries who had served the Achaemenid empire and Macedonian troops. Some of these towns probably had very brief lives, others prospered and served as conveyors of Hellenistic art and culture in remote regions.


Route of Alexander and the founding of his towns: C. A. Robinson, Jr., The Ephemerides of Alexander's Expedition (1932); P. Jouguet, L'Impérialisme Macéonien et l'Hellénisation de l'Orient (1937) 37-62; P. Sykes, A History of Persia I (1958) 255-78; G. Woodcock, The Greeks in India (1966) 27-41. These sources are not repeated in bibliographies below, where references have been largely restricted to Classical writers.

Alexandria or Alexandria of Mygdonia (Erbil) Iraq

Founded in 331, probably in the area of Arbela, the site of a battle between the forces of Alexander and Darius III. Arbela lies SW of the Greater Zab river, a tributary of the Tigris.


Plin. 6.26; L. Dillemann, Haute Mesopotamie orientale et pays adjacents . . . (1962) 160; The Middle East. Lebanon-Syria-Jordan-Iraq-Iran, Hachette World Guides (1966) 702.

Alexandria (Herat) Afghanistan.

Founded in 330, at Artacoana, capital of the province of that name at, or near, Herat on the Hari river.


Plin. 6.21; Isodore Charax 15; Strab. 11.8.9; 10.1; Amm. Marc. 23.6.69.

Prophthasia Afghanistan.

Earlier capital of Sistan; in 330 made into a Greek colony by Alexander.


Strab. 11.8.8; Sykes, History of Persia 303.

Alexandria or Alexandria-in-Arachosia, or Alexandropolis (Qandahar) Afghanistan.

Founded in the spring of 329 at or near Qandahar; the name is a corruption of Alexander.


Isodore Charax 19; Woodcock, Greeks in India 27, 111.

Alexandria Afghanistan.

Founded in 329 near the modern town of Ghazni.


Woodcock, Greeks in India 27, 111.

Alexandria or Alexandria-ad-Caucasum, Afghanistan.

Founded in 329 on the Kabul river; it may be present-day Jebal Seraj. It was S of the Parapamisus range (Hindu Kush), which the Macedonians mistakenly called the Caucasus.


Arr. 3.28.4; Curtius 7.3.23; Woodcock, Greeks in India 27, 28, 31, 86, 87, 96, 105.

Alexandria or Alexandria Eschate, or Alexandria-ad-Tanais, Soviet Central Asia.

Founded in 329 on the Jaxartes river, near present-day Khojand. Alexander spent 20 days supervising the building of the walls of the town, which measured 60 stadia. There he settled people of the region, Greek mercenaries and some Macedonian troops who were past fighting. Later, the town was rebuilt by Antiochos I.


Arr. 4.1.3; 4.1; 22.5; Curtius 7.6.13, 25-26; Plin. 6.49; Frye, The Heritage of Persia (1963) 131; Sykes, History of Persia 268.

Alexandria or Alexandria Oxiana, Afghanistan.

Founded in 328 on the Oxus, possibly near the present village of Nakhshab.


Ptol. 6.12.6.

Alexandria or Alexandria Margiana, Soviet Central Asia.

Six towns were said to have been founded in 328 in this region, later known as the oasis of Merv, or Marv, but only this one is precisely recorded.


Curtius 7.10.15; Isodore Charax 14; Strab. 11.516.

Nikaia (Jalalabad) Afghanistan.

Founded in 327 at or near Jalalabad.


Arr. 5.19.4; Justin 12.8.8; Woodcock, Greeks in India 31, 111; Sykes, History of Persia 270.

Nikaia India.

Founded in 326 and named after the victory over the Indians under Porus which took place nearby. On the W bank of the Jhelum, possibly at, or near, present-day Mong.


Arr. 5.19.4; Curtius 9.1.6; 3.23; Woodcock, Greeks in India 111.

Buchephala India.

Founded in 326 and named after his steed Buchephalos, which succumbed to old age at this spot. It was on the E bank of the Jhelum, just across from Nikaia, and possibly at, or near, modern Jelalpur. It maintained an active existence at least through the 1st c. A.D.


Arr. 5.19.4; Curtius 9.1.6; 3.23; Woodcock, Greeks in India 35, 39, 110, 111; Sykes, History of Persia 273.

Alexandria India.

Founded in 325 at the junction of the Akesines (modern Chenab) and Indus rivers. Alexander hoped that it would become great and famous in the world. Possibly the site is near modern Multan.


Arr. 6.15.2; Curtius 9.8.8; Woodcock. Greeks in India 39, 111.

Alexandria or Patala, India.

In 325 a Greek city was founded beside the old Indian town of Patala, which lay at the mouth of the Indus, much farther inland than it is today.


Woodcock, Greeks in India 40.

Alexandria or Alexandria apud Oritas, India.

In 325 Alexander arrived at the village of Rambacia, and left Hephaestion behind to found a city there. The capital of a people called Oritus, it lay in a desolate region W of the Indus river.


Arr. 6.21.5.

Alexandria Iran.

Founded in 325 in the land of the Fish Eaters, the region later called Makran, with its site possibly near present-day Mashkid.


E. R. Bevan, The House of Seleucus I (1902) 273.

Alexandria Iran.

Founded in 325 at the place where his admiral Nearchus came up from the Persian Gulf to join him. The site is N of modern Bandar 'Abbas, at or near present-day Gulashkird, the Walasgird of the Arab geographers.


Plin. 6.107; Sykes, History of Persia I, 303; id., Ten Thousand Miles in Persia or Eight Years in Iran (1902) 270, 445.


hide References (6 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (6):
    • Strabo, Geography, 11.8.8
    • Strabo, Geography, 11.8.9
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 6.18
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 6.21
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 6.26
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 6.27
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