Friday, August 8, 2014

The Indica of Megasthenes (350 – 290 BC)


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"Megasthenes (350 – 290 BC) was a Greek ethnographer in the Hellenistic period, author of the work Indica. He was born in Asia Minor (modern day Turkey) and became an ambassador of Seleucus I to the court of Sandrocottus, who possibly was Chandragupta Maurya...... the exact date of his embassy is uncertain. Scholars place it before 288 BC, the date of Chandragupta's death."

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"A secular eyewitness account is available from Megasthenes (c. 2300 bp), a Greek envoy to the court of the Mauryan empire, in his four-volume Indica.....his observations in the Indica. Although the original has been lost, extensive quotations from it survive in the works of the later Greek writers Strabo, Diodorus, and Arrian......

"At the start of the Indica, Megasthenes talks about the older Indians who knew about the pre-historic arrival of Dionysus and Hercules in India. This story was quite popular amongst the Greeks during the Alexandrian period. He describes geographical features of India.....such as the Himalayas....Especially important are his comments on the religions of the Indians. He mentions the devotees of Hercules (Shiva) and Dionysus (Krishna or Indra), but he does not write a word on Buddhists, something that gives ground to the theory that Buddhism was not widely spread in India before the reign of Asoka (269 BC to 232 BC)."

"Indica served as an important source to many later writers such as Strabo and Arrian. The 1st century BC Greek historian Apollodorus, quoted by Strabo, affirms that the Bactrian Greeks, led by Demetrius I and Menander, conquered India and occupied a larger territory than the Macedonians under Alexander the Great, going beyond the Hyphasis (modern Beas River) towards the Himalayas."

Sandrocottus.....Alexander the great conquered some parts of India. Alexander was called as Sikander in India.......One of the Indian commander under Alexander the great was the Porus. Porus was called Poru in India.......There was another Indian Commander called Sandrocottos in Alexander's camp who later on became emperor of India and is said that he defeated Selucus and married his daughter. He was called Chandragupta Maurya emperor of Mauryan Empire.......His son was called Allitrochades or Amitrochates in Greek and Bindusara alias 'Amitraghata' (Slayer of Enemy) in India.......The son of Allitrochades was called Ashoka The Great. Who was famous for his Kalinga Conquest and later on adopted Buddhism. Some say that he was also called "Devanpriya" meaning "Beloved of Gods" or "Priyadarshani". He was also called "Dharmashoka" i.e. noble Ashoka.".....

"Seleucus I Nicator (c. 358 BC – 281 BC) was one of the Diadochi, ("Successors") , rival generals and friends of Alexander the Great who fought for control over his empire after his death in 323 BC......having previously served as an infantry general under Alexander the Great, he eventually assumed the title of basileus and established the Seleucid Empire over much of Alexander's near eastern territories....At the Partition of Triparadisus, Seleucus was appointed Satrap of Babylon under the new regent Antipater.....Seleucus acquired Mesopotamia, Armenia, 'Seleucid' Cappadocia, Persis, Parthia, Bactria, Arabia, Tapouria, Sogdia, Arachosia, Hyrcania, and other adjacent peoples that had been subdued by Alexander, as far as the river Indus, so that the boundaries of his empire were the most extensive in Asia after that of Alexander. The whole region from Phrygia to the Indus was subject to Seleucus......Seleucus' wars took him as far as India, where, after two years of war, he made peace with the Indian Emperor Chandragupta Maurya....."

"The Hyphasis River........aka: Beas River ( Hindi: ब्यास, Punjabi: ਬਿਆਸ, Sanskrit: विपाशा 'Vipasha' ) is a river in north India. The river rises in the Himalayas in central Himachal Pradesh, India, and flows for some 470 kilometres (290 mi) to the Sutlej River in the Indian state of Punjab..... The river was also known as Arjikuja of the Vedas, or Vipasa to the ancient Indians, and the Hyphasis to the Ancient Greeks.....It is said that Beas is a misnomer for Vyasa and is named after Veda Vyasa, the presiding patron of the river; he is said to have created it from its source lake, the Vyas Kund.".......Beas: The Imperial Gazetteer of India

The River Cophen....."In Arrian's The Campaigns of Alexander, the River Kabul (Kubha) is referred to as Κωφήν Kōphēn (Latin spelling Cophen), the accusative of Κωφής Kōphēs (Latin spelling Cophes).....The Kabul River (Persian/Urdu: دریای کابل‎; Pashto: کابل سیند‎, Sanskrit: कुभा ), the classical Cophes /ˈkoʊfiːz/, is a 700-kilometre (430 mi) long river that starts in the Sanglakh Range of the Hindu Kush mountains in Afghanistan and ends in the Indus River near Attock, Pakistan. It is the main river in eastern Afghanistan and is separated from the watershed of the Helmand by the Unai Pass. The Kabul River passes through the cities of Kabul and Jalalabad in Afghanistan before flowing into Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in Pakistan some 25 kilometres (16 mi) north of the Durand Line border crossing at Torkham. The major tributaries of the Kabul River are the Logar, Panjshir, Kunar, Alingar, Bara and Swat rivers.....The Kabul River is little more than a trickle for most of the year, but swells in summer due to melting snows in the Hindu Kush Range. Its largest tributary is the Kunar River, which starts out as the Mastuj River, flowing from the Chiantar glacier in Chitral, Pakistan and after flowing south into Afghanistan it is met by the Bashgal river flowing from Nurestan. "

"Tibetan texts mention that the Kingdom of Shambhala is located north of the river Sita…"

"…Obaidallah crossed the Sita River (aka: Kabul River) and made a raid on Kabul in 698"….

"Safēd Kōh (Urdu: سفید کوہ‎, "White Mountains"; also known as Spin Ghar (Pashto: سپين غر‎, "white mountain", the Indian Caucasus as late as the 19th century, the Safīd Mountain Range and as the Morga Range), is a mountain range in eastern Afghanistan and expanding well to North-Western Pakistan…..Its highest peak, straight and rigid Mount Sikaram, towers above all surrounding hills to 4,761 m (15,620 ft) above mean sea level. The Kabul River cuts a narrow trough through the Safēd Kōh mountains to flow eastward into the Indus River; otherwise, the range connects directly with the Shandur Top offshoot of the Hindu Kush mountain system.…..the Kabul basin is the Safed Koh, Spin-gar of the Afghans (' White Mountain,' not ... already named), an alpine chain, reaching in its highest summit, Sita Ram…..the Kabul basin is the Safed Koh, Spin-gar of the Afghans (“ White Mountain,” not ... Koh already named), an alpine chain, reaching, in its highest summit, Sita Ram, ... This southern watershed formed by the Safed Koh….Mount Sikaram is a mountain in the Spin Ghar range on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border south of the Kabul River and Khyber Pass. At 4,755 m (15,600 ft), it is the highest peak of the Spin Ghar."…..

Mount Sikaram.....4761 meters..... Safed Koh, Hindu Kush.....Parachinar

"The district west of the river Indus as far as the river Cophen.....Dionysus named the city itself Nysa, and the land Nysaea, in honour of his nurse Nysa. The mountain near the city, at whose base Nysa was built, is called Meros ..... Towards the north of India lies Mount Taurus; but in this land it is no longer called Taurus. This range commences from the sea near Pamphylia, Lycia, and Cilicia and extends as far as the Eastern Sea, dividing the whole of Asia. It is called by various names in different districts; in one part it is called Parapamisus, in another Emodus, in a third Imaus.....The Macedonians who accompanied Alexander's expedition called it Caucasus..... Mount Taurus, in which are the sources of the Indus....Of the expedition of Dionysus, indeed, the city of Nysa is no mean monument, as also are the mountain Meros, the ivy which grows on this mountain, the Indians themselves also marching into battle to the sound of drums and cymbals, wearing speckled garments like the bacchanals of Dionysus..... a certain cave in the land of the Parapamisadians, they said that it was the famous cave of Prometheus....From Dionysus to Sandracottus the Indians reckoned 153 kings, and 6,042 years..... The Indians use linen clothing, as says Nearchus, made from the flax taken from the trees, this flax is whiter in colour than any other flax.....Most of the Indians ride camels, horses, and asses, and those who are well off, elephants. .....The Indians are bread-eaters and agriculturalists, except those who live in the mountains. These live upon the flesh of wild animals...... I have copied the very well-known statements made by Nearchus and Megasthenes, two esteemed authors.".....Ancient India as described by Arrian.....Excerpted from Arrian, "The Indica" in Anabasis of Alexander, together with the Indica, E. J. Chinnock, tr. (London: Bohn, 1893)

"Chanakya (c. 370 – 283 BC) was an Indian teacher, philosopher, and royal advisor......Chanakya managed the first Maurya emperor Chandragupta's rise to power at a young age. He is widely credited for having played an important role in the establishment of the Maurya Empire, which was the first empire in archaeologically recorded history to rule most of the Indian subcontinent. Chanakya served as the chief advisor to both Chandragupta and his son Bindusara.....Chanakya is traditionally identified as Kautilya or Vishnu Gupta, who authored the ancient Indian political treatise called Arthasastra ."


John Hopkins.....Northern New Mexico….August 2014


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