Neil MacGregor, “Introduction”, in Ian Jenkins ea (eds), Defining Beauty. The Body in Ancient Greek Art, London: The British Museum 2015, p.13

“[…] In 334 BC, for example, the Macedonian king Alexander the Great embarked on a military expedition that finally defeated the Persian Empire at the battle of Issus in 333 BC. Alexander’s constant quest for new horizons were to take him into Egypt where, in the desert sanctuary of Zeus Ammon, he was declared a god. The eastward expansion of his empire was halted at Gandhara and the Indus Valley, when his generals refused to go further. But Greek art did, going where the armies of the Macedonian did not venture. After Alexander’s death in 323 BC, the cult of the deified Alexander spread throughout the lands that he had conquered. Buddhism was introduced into Gandhara by the Indian Maurya dynasty whose greatest king was Ashoka (268-323 BC [sic, instead of 232]). The Greek legacy in Gandhara flourished in Roman times; in the second century AD, where there had been no image before, Buddhism developed cult and votive statues of its founding teacher that were heavily dependent on Classical representations of the body, and its dress.
Whether we view the Greeks from Mount Olympus or from the summits of the mountains of Afghanistan, the distinguishing feature of the Greek experience is its humanism: the Greek-speaking peoples contributed in so many ways to our modern European idea of what it means to be human.”
Neil MacGregor, “Introduction”, in Ian Jenkins ea (eds), Defining Beauty. The Body in Ancient Greek Art, London: The British Museum 2015, p.13

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