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For other uses, see Porus (disambiguation).
Surrender of Porus to Alexander, 1865 engraving by Alonzo Chappel
Paurava King
Reign c. 340 – c. 317 BC[citation needed]
Successor Malayaketu[citation needed]
Born Punjab region
Died c. 321 – c. 315 BC
Punjab region
House Paurava / Puru tribe[1][2]
Religion Historical Vedic religion

Porus or Poros (from the Greek Πῶρος, Pôros) was a king of the Pauravas whose territory spanned the region between the Hydaspes (Jhelum) and Acesines (Chenab) rivers in what is now Punjab. Porus famously fought Alexander the Great in the Battle of the Hydaspes in 326 BC and it was generally believed by historians that he was defeated. Alexander was however greatly impressed by his adversary and not only reinstated him as a satrap of his own kingdom but also granted him dominion over lands to the north extending until the Hyphasis (Beas).[3][4] After Alexander's death in 323 BC, Porus was assassinated by one of Alexander's generals named Eudemus sometime between 321 and 315 BC.[5]


Porus's elephant cavalry as depicted in the 16th century German work, Cosmographia
Alexander accepts the surrender of Porus

The only information available on Porus is of Greek origin. Historians however have reasoned that based on his name and the location of his domain, Porus was likely to have been a descendant of the Puru tribe mentioned in the Rig Veda.[1][2]

The historian, Ishwari Prasad, noted that Porus might have been a Yaduvanshi Shoorsaini. He argued that Porus' vanguard soldiers carried a banner of Herakles whom Megasthenes—who travelled to India after Porus had been supplanted by Chandragupta—explicitly identified with the Shoorsainis of Mathura. This Herakles of Megasthenes and Arrian has been identified by some scholars as Krishna and by others as his elder brother Baladeva, who were both the ancestors and patron deities of Shoorsainis.[6][7][8][9] Iswhari Prashad and others, following his lead, found further support of this conclusion in the fact that a section of Shoorsainis were supposed to have migrated westwards to Punjab and modern Afghanistan from Mathura and Dvārakā, after Krishna's demise and had established new kingdoms there.[10][11]

Battle of the Hydaspes[edit]

Alexander crossed the Indus in 326 BC and was met by Ambhi, the ruler of Taxila and a rival of Porus. Ambhi informed him of the presence of a formidable army led by Porus which was determined to stop Alexander from crossing the Hydaspes (the Jhelum River) and extended his support in vanquishing his neighbour.[citation needed]

In Popular Culture[edit]


  1. ^ a b The cause of the Ten-Kings battle was that the Ten tried to divert the river Parushni. This is a stretch of the modern Ravi which, however, changed its course several times. Diversion of the waters of the Indus system is still a cause for angry recriminations between India and Pakistan. The 'greasy-voiced' Purus, though enemies of Sudas, were not only Aryans but closely related to the Bharatas. Later tradition even makes the Bharatas a branch of the Purus. The same clan priests in the Rigveda impartially call down curses and blessings upon the Purus in diverse hymns, which shows that the differences between them and the Bharatas were not permanent. The quarrel was of another sort than that between Aryan and non-Aryan. The Purus remained in the Harappa region and expanded their rule over the Panjab in later times. It was they who put up the strongest fight against Alexander in 327 BC. The modern Panjabi surname Puri may possibly originate with the Puru tribe., Ancient India: A History of its Culture and Civilisation, By Kosambi, Damodar Dharmanand, pp 81-83
  2. ^ a b King Poros belonged to the tribe of the Pauravas, descended from the Puru tribe mentioned so often in the Rigveda. A History of India, By Hermann Kulke, Dietmar Rothermung, pp 57
  3. ^ p. xl, Historical Dictionary of Ancient Greek Warfare, J, Woronoff & I. Spence
  4. ^ Arrian Anabasis of Alexander, V.29.2
  5. ^ "Porus", Encyclopaedia Britannica, retrieved 8 September 2015 
  6. ^ Proceedings, pp 72, Indian History Congress, Published 1957
  7. ^ According to Arrian, Diodorus, and Strabo, Megasthenes described an Indian tribe called Sourasenoi, who especially worshipped Herakles in their land, and this land had two cities, Methora and Kleisobora, and a navigable river, the Jobares. As was common in the ancient period, the Greeks sometimes described foreign gods in terms of their own divinities, and there is a little doubt that the Sourasenoi refers to the Shurasenas, a branch of the Yadu dynasty to which Krishna belonged; Herakles to Krishna, or Hari-Krishna: Mehtora to Mathura, where Krishna was born; Kleisobora to Krishnapura, meaning "the city of Krishna"; and the Jobares to the Yamuna, the famous river in the Krishna story. Quintus Curtius also mentions that when Alexander the Great confronted Porus, Porus's soldiers were carrying an image of Herakles in their vanguard.Krishna: a sourcebook, pp 5, Edwin Francis Bryant, Oxford University Press US, 2007
  8. ^ Chandragupta Maurya: a gem of Indian history, pp 76, Purushottam Lal Bhargava, Edition: 2, illustrated, Published by D.K. Printworld, 1996
  9. ^ A Comprehensive History of India: The Mauryas & Satavahanas, pp 383, edited by K.A. Nilakanta Sastri, Kallidaikurichi Aiyah Nilakanta Sastri, Bharatiya Itihas Parishad, Published by Orient Longmans, 1992, Original from the University of California
  10. ^ "Actually , the legend reports a westward march of the Yadus (MBh. 1.13.49, 65) from Mathura, while the route from Mathura to Dvaraka southward through a desert. This part of the Krsna legend could be brought to earth by digging at Dvaraka, but also digging at Darwaz in Afghanistan, whose name means the same thing and which is the more probable destination of refugees from Mathura..." Introduction to the study of Indian history, pp 125, D D Kosambi, Publisher: [S.l.] : Popular Prakashan, 1999
  11. ^ "It seems, therefore, most reasonable to conclude that the name is simply the seat of Purrus or Porus, the name of a King or family of kings...There are no authentic records of tribes seated about Peshawar before the time of Mahmud, beyond established fact of their being of Indian origin; it not an improbable conjecture that they descended from the race of Yadu who were either expelled or voluntarily emigrated from Gujrat, 1100 years before Christ, and who afterwards found Kandhar and the hills of Cabul (Kabul) from whom, indeed, some would derive the Jaduns now residing in the hills of north of Yusafjai..." Gazetteer of the Dera Ghazi Khan District, p. 52, Publisher: Lahore, "Civil and Military Gazette" Press, 1898.


  • Arrian, The Campaigns of Alexander, book 5.
  • History of Porus, Patiala, Dr. Buddha Parkash.
  • Lendring, Jona. Alexander de Grote - De ondergang van het Perzische rijk (Alexander the Great. The demise of the Persian empire), Amsterdam: Athenaeum - Polak & Van Gennep, 2004. ISBN 90-253-3144-0
  • Holt, Frank L. Alexander the Great and the Mystery of the Elephant Medallions, California: University of California Press, 2003, 217pgs. ISBN 0-520-24483-4
  • History of India: (from the earliest times to the fall of the Mughal Empire), Dr. Ishwari Prashad
  • King Porus - A Legend of Old. Michael Madhusudan Dutt. Glorifying poem, describes a legendary victory of Porus over Alexander.

External links[edit]