Yavana Kingdom

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Description:
This article is about the kingdom of Yavana in Indian epic literature. For the historical kingdoms, see Greco-Bactrian Kingdom and Indo-Greek Kingdom.
Yavana or Yona is grouped under western countries along with Sindhu, Madra, Kekeya, Gandhara and Kamboja as per the descriptions in the epic Mahabharata. In later history, this word was used to indicate the Greeks and the Arabs, leading to much confusion.

Location in Ancient India

Yavanas were described to be beyond Gandhara. There was another country mentioned in the epic as Parama Yona, in the far west of Yavana. This could be the Ionia of Greece, somehow related to Indian Ionians or Yavanas. The name Yavana could be the Sanskritized form of the name Ionia. Some believe that the name Yavana originated from the Sanskrit word Ayonija meaning one who born not from a (human) womb or people with extra ordinary origins. Yavanas, Sakas, Pahlavas and Hunas were sometimes described as Mlechhas. Sometimes along with them, the Madras, Kambojas, Kekeyas, Sindhus and Gandharas were included. This name was used to indicate their cultural differences with the Vedic culture, prevailed in the Kuru-Panchala Kingdoms. The Mahabharata compliments "the all-knowing Yavanas" (sarvajnaa yavanaa, the Greeks), as the creators of the vimanas: The Yavanas, O king, are all-knowing; the Suras are particularly so (sarvajnā yavanā rajan shurāz caiva vishesatah). It is believed, according to texts from Mahabharata, that they were the...
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