In post-Maunya times Indian astronomy and astrology profited from contact with the Greeks.

Many Greek terms concerning the movement of planets appear in Sanskrit texts. Indian astrology was influenced by Greek ideas, and from the Greek term horoscope was derived the term horashastra that denotes astrology in Sanskrit.

The Greek coins, which were properly shaped and stamped, were a great improvement on punch-marked coins.

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The Greek term drachma came to be known as drama. In return, the Greek rulers used the Brahmi script and represented some Indian motifs on their coins. Dogs, cattle, spices, and ivory pieces were exported by the Greeks, but whether they learnt any craft from India is not clear.

However, the Indians did not owe anything striking to the Greeks in medicine, botany, and chemistry. These three subjects were dealt with by Charaka and Sushruta. The Charakasamhita contains names of numerous plants and herbs from which drugs were prepared.

The processes described for pounding and mixing the plants give us an insight into the developed knowledge of chemistry in ancient India. For the cure of ailments the ancient Indian physician relied chiefly on plants, for which the Sanskrit word is oshadhi, and as a result medicine itself came to be known as aushadhi.

In the field of technology too, the Indians seem to have benefited from the contact with the Central Asians. Kanishka is represented as wearing trousers and long boots. The introduction of the stirrup is also attributed to the Kushans. Possibly the practice of making leather shoes began in India during their period. In any event, the Kushan copper coins in India were imitations of Roman coins. Similarly, gold coins in India were struck by the Kushans in imitation of the Roman gold coins. We hear of two embassies being exchanged between the Indian kings and their Roman counterparts.


Embassies were sent from India to the court of the Roman emperor Augustus in ad 27-8 and also to the Roman emperor Trajan in ad 110-20. Thus, the contacts of Rome with ancient India may have introduced new practices in technology. Working in glass during this period was especially influenced by foreign ideas and practices. In no other period in ancient India did glass- making progress as much as it did during this period.