|The Greek influence is clearly evident|
in this statue of the Buddha circa the
1st-2nd century CE.
(Tokyo National Museum)
Indeed, I did not know that Alexander had conquered and established colonial cities in what is now modern Afghanistan. Nor did I know that he had pressed further into Kashmir and the Punjab, before being repulsed by strong kingdoms along the Ganges and retreating back into Asia Minor where he fell ill and died in Babylon in 323 B.C.E. Nor, at the time, had I heard of King Ashoka (304-232 B.C.E.), the great unifier of the Indian sub-continent, who subsequently adopted Buddhism and sent Buddhist emissaries far and wide, or that those emissaries had traveled as far as Egypt and Athens, itself. It was, it seems, a much smaller "world" in ancient times than it appeared to be, a factor that was not fully conveyed in the Eurocentric account of history I had been taught.
In the attached videos, the folks at OpenSourceBuddism.org, give an insightful account of the spread of Buddhism, and do a masterful job in describing the extent and effect that Buddhist teachings had on ancient Greek philosophy, as well as describing the Greco-Buddhist syncretism that purportedly played a large role in establishing the Northern School of Mahayana Buddhism (which would later spread to Tibet, China and Japan, even as Buddhism more or less died out in its native India, with the exception of Sri Lanka).