Zitierweise / cite as:
Payer, Alois <1944 - >: Quellenkunde zur indischen Geschichte bis 1858. -- 11. Griechische und lateinische Quellen. -- 3. Zum Beispiel: Lucius Flavius Arrianus: Indica -- Αρριανός: Ινδική. -- Fassung vom 2008-04-29. -- http://www.payer.de/quellenkunde/quellen1103.htm
Erstmals publiziert als:
Ancient India as described by Megasthenês and Arrian : being a translation of the fragments of the Indika of Megasthenês collected by Dr. Schwanbeck, and of the first part of the Indika of Arrian / by J. W. (John Watson) McCrindle [1825 - 1913]. With introd., notes, and map of ancient India. -- Calcutta : Thacker, 1877. -- xi, 223 S. ; 21 cm. -- "Reprinted (with additions) from the ’Indian antiquary,’ 1876-77." -- Einheitssachtitel: Indica / Flavius Arrianus. S. 179 - 223. -- Online: http://lcweb2.loc.gov/service/gdc/scd0001/2004/20040416001in/20040416001in.pdf. -- Zugriff am 2008-04-21
Erstmals hier publiziert: 2008-04-29
Anlass: Lehrveranstaltung FS 2008
©opyright: Public domain
Dieser Text ist Teil der Abteilung Sanskrit von Tüpfli's Global Village Library
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THE INDIKΑ OF ARRIAN .
I. The regions beyond the river Indus on the west are inhabited, up to the river Kōphen, by two Indian tribes, the Astakenoi and the Assakenoi, who are not men of great stature like the Indians on the other side of the Indus, nor so brave, nor yet so swarthy as most Indians. They were in old times subject to the Assyrians, then after a period of Median rule submitted to the Persians, and paid to Kyros the son of Kambyses the tribute from their land which Kyros had imposed. The Nysaioi, however, are not an Indian race, but descendants of those who came into India with Dionysos, — perhaps not only of those Greeks who had been disabled for service in the course of the wars which Dionysos waged against the Indians, but perhaps also of natives of the country whom Dionysos, with their own consent, had settled along with the Greeks. The district in which he planted this colony he named Nysaia, after Mount Nysa, and the city itself Nysaa But the mountain [S. 180] close by the city, and on the lower slopes of which it is built, is designated Mēros, from the accident which befell the god immediately after his birth. These stories about Dionysos are of course but fictions of the poets, and we leave them to the learned among the Greeks or barbarians to explain as they may. In the dominions of the Assakenoi there is a great city called Massaka, the seat of the sovereign power which controls the whole realm.b And there is another city, Peukelaitis, which is also of great size and not far from the Indus.c These [S. 181] settlements lie on the other side of the river Indus, and extend in a westward direction as far as the Kōphen.
a Nysa, the birthplace of the wine-god, was placed, according to fancy, anywhere up and down the world wherever the vine was found to nourish. Now, as the region wateredd by the Kōphos was in no ordinary measure feracious of the joyous tree, there was consequently a Nysa somwhere upon its banks. Lassen doubted whether there was a city to the name; but M. de St.-Martin is less sceptical, and would identify it with an existing village which' preserves traces of its name, being called Nysatta. This, he says, is near the northern bank of the river of Kabūl at less than two leagues below Hashṭnagar, and may suitably represent the Nysa of the historians. This place, he adds, ought to be of Median or Persian foundation, since the nomenclature is Iranian, the name of Nysa or Niśaya which figures in the cosmogonic geography of the Zendavesta being one which is far-spread in the countries of ancient Iran. He refers his readers for remarks on this point to A. de Humboldt's Central Asia, I. pp. 116 seq. ed. 1843.
b Massaka (other forms are Massaga, Masaga, and Mazaga.)—The Sanskrit Maśakā, a city situated near the Gauri. Curtius states that it was defended by a rapid river on its eastern side. When attacked by Alexander, it held out for four days against all his assaults.
c Peukelaitis (other forms—Peukelaëtis, Peukolitae, Peukelaötis). "The Greek name of Peukelaotis or Peukolaitis was immediately derived from Pukkalaoti, which is the Pāli or spoken form of the Sanskrit Pushkalavati. It is also called Peukelas by Arrian, and the people are named Peukalei by Dionysius Periegetes, which are both close transcripts of the Pāli Pukkala. The form of Proklaïs, which is found in Arrian's Periplus of the Erythraean Sea and also in Ptolemy's Geography, is perhaps only an attempt to give the Hindi name of Pokhar, instead of the Sanskrit Pushkara." So General Cunningham, who fixes its position at " he two large towns Parang and Chārsada, which form part of the well-known Hashṭnagar, or 'eight cities,' that are seated close together on the eastern bank of the lowerSwāt river." The position indicated is nearly seventeen miles to the northeast of Peshāwar. Pushkala, according to Prof. Wilson, is still represented by the modern Pekhely or Pakholi, in the neighbourhood of Peshāwar.
II. Now the countries which lie to the east of the Indus I take to be India Proper, and the people who inhabit them to be Indians.a The northern boundaries of India so defined are formed by Mount Tauros, though the range does not retain that name in these parts. Tauros begins from the sea which washes the coasts of Pamphylia, Lykia, and Kilikia, and stretches away towards the Eastern Sea, intersecting the whole continent of Asia. The range bears different names in the different countries which it traverses. In one place it is called Parapamisos, in another Emodos,b and in a [S. 182] third Imaos , and it has perhaps other names besides. The Makedonians, again, who served with Alexander called it Kaukasos,—this being another Kaukasos and distinct from the Skythian, so that the story went that Alexander penetrated to the regions beyond Kaukasos. [S. 183]
a In limiting India to the eastern side of the Indus, Arrian expresses the view generally held in antiquity, which would appear to be also that of the Hindus themselves, since they are forbidden by one of their old traditions to cross that river. Much, however, may be said for the theory which would extend India to the foot of the great mountain ranges of Hindu Kush and Parapamisos. There is, for instance, the fact that in the region lying between those mountains and the Indus many places either now bear, or have formerly borne, names which can with certainty be traced to Sanskrit sources. The subject is discussed at some length in Elphinstone's History of India, pp. 331-6, also by de St.-Martin.—-Étude, pp. 9-14.
b Parapamisos (other forms—Paropamisos, Paropamissos, Paropanisos). This denotes the great mountain range now called Hindū Kush, supposed to be a corrupted form of "Indicus Caucasus," the name given to the range by the Makedonians, either to flatter Alexander, or because they regarded it as a continuation of Kaukasos. Arrian, however, and others held it to be a continuation of Tauros. The mountains belonging to the range which lie to the north of the Kabūl river are called Nishadha, (see Lassen, Ind. Alt. I. p. 22, note), a Sanskrit word which appears perhaps in the form Paropanisos, which is that given by Ptolemy. According to Pliny, the Skythians called Mount Caucasus Graucasis, a word which represents the Indian name of Paropamisos, Gravakshas, which Ritter translates "splendentes rupium montes." According to General Cunningham, the Mount Paresh or Aparasin of the Zendavesta corresponds with the Paropamisos of the Greeks. Paro, the first part of the word, St.-Martin says, represents undoubtedly the Paru or Paruta of the local dialects (in Zend, Purouta meaning mountain). He acknowledges, however, that he cannot assign any reason why the syllable pa has been intercalated between the vocables paru and nishada to form the Paropanisadae of the Greek. The first Greek writer who mentions the range is Aristotle, who calls it Parnassos : see his Meteorol. I. 18. Hindū Kush generally designates now the eastern part of the range, and Paropamisos the western. According to Sir Alexander Burnes, the name Hindū Kush is unknown to the Afghāns, but there is a particular peak and also a pass bearing that name between Afghānistān and Turkestān.—Emodos (other forms—Emoda, Emodon, Hemodes). The name generally designated that part of the Himālayan range which extended along Nepāl and Bhūtan and onward towards the ocean. Lassen derives the word from the Sanskrit haimavata, in Prakrit haimota, 'snowy.' If this be so, 'Hemodos' is the more correct form. Another derivation refers the word to hemādri(hema, gold, and adri, mountain), 'the golden mountains,' —so called either because they were thought to contain gold mines, or because of the aspect they presented when their snowy peaks reflected the golden effulgence of sunset.
On the west the boundaries of India are marked by the river Indus all the way to the great ocean into which it pours its waters, which it does by two mouths. These mouths are not close to each other, like the five mouths of the Ister (Danube), but diverge like those of the Nile, by which the Egyptian delta is formed. The Indus in like manner makes an Indian delta, which is not inferior in area to the Egyptian, and is called in the Indian tongue Pattala.a
a Pattala.—The name of the Delta was properly Pāṭalene, and Pāṭala was its capital. This was situated at the head of the Delta, where the western stream of the Indus bifurcated. Ṭhaṭha has generally been regarded as its modern representative, but General Cunningham would "almost certainly" identify it with Nirankol or Haidarābād, of which Pāṭalpur and Pāṭaśila ('flat rock') were old appellations. With regard to the name Pāṭala he suggests that "it may have been derived from Pāṭala, the trumpet flower" (Bignonia suaveolens), "in allusion to the trumpet shape of the province included between the eastern and western branches of the mouth of the Indus, as the two branches as they approach the sea curve outward like the mouth of a trumpet." Ritter, however, says "Pāṭāla is the designation bestowed by the Brahmans on all the provinces in the west towards sunset, in antithesis to Prasiaka (the eastern realm) in Ganges-land: for Pāṭāla is the mythological name in Sanskrit of the under-world, and consequently of the land of the west." Arrian's estimate of the magnitude of the Delta is somewhat excessive. The length of its base, from the Pitti to the Kori mouth, was less than 1000 stadia, while that of the Egyptian Delta was 1300.
On the south-west, again, and on the south, India is bounded by the great ocean just mentioned, which also forms its boundary on the east. The parts toward the south about Pattala and the river Indus were seen by Alexander and many of the Greeks, but in an eastern direction Alexander [S. 184] did not penetrate beyond the river Hyphasis, though a few authors have described the country "as far as the river Ganges and the parts near its mouths and the city of Palimbothra, which is the greatest in India, and situated near the Ganges.
III . I shall now state the dimensions of India, and in doing so let me follow Eratosthenēs of Kyrenē as the safest authority, for this Eratosthenēs made its circuit a subject of special inquiry.a He states, then, that if a line be drawn from Mount Tauros, where the Indus has its springs, along the course of that river and as far as the great ocean and the mouths of the Indus, this side of India will measure 13,000 stadia.b But the contrary side, which diverges from the same point of Tauros and runs along the Eastern Sea, he makes of a much different length, for there is a headland which projects far out into the [S. 185] sea, and this headland is in length about 3,000 stadia. The eastern side of India would thus by his calculation measure 16,000 stadia, and this is what he assigns as the breadth of India. The length, again, from west to east as far as the city of Palimbothra he sets down, he says, as it had been measured by schoeni, since there existed a royal highway, and he gives it as 10,000 stadia. But as for the parts beyond they were not measured with equal accuracy. Those, however, who write from mere hearsay allege that the breadth of India, inclusive of the headland which projects into the sea, is about 10,000 stadia, while the length measured from the coast is about '20,000 stadia. But Ktēsias of Knidos says that India equals in size all the rest of Asia, which is absurd; while Onesikritos as absurdly declares that it is the third part of the whole earth. Nearchos, again, says that it takes a journey of four months to traverse even the plain of India; while Megasthenēs, who calls the breadth of India its extent from east to west, though others call this its length, says that where shortest the breadth is 10,000 stadia, and that its length—by which he means its extent from north to south—is, where narrowest, 22,300 stadia. But , whatever be its dimensions, the rivers of India are certainly the largest to be found in all Asia. The mightiest are the Ganges and the Indus, from which the country receives its name. Both are greater than [S. 186] the Egyptian Nile and the Skythian Ister even if their streams were united into one. I think, too, that even the Akesinēs is greater than either the Ister or the Nile where it joins the Indus after receiving its tributaries the Hydaspēs and the Hydraōtēs, since it is at that point so much as 300 stadia in breadth. It is also possible that there are even many other larger rivers which take their course through India.
a Schmieder, from whoso text I translate, has here altered (perhaps unnecessarily) the reading of the MSS. from της περιοδου to γης περιοδου. The measurements given by Strabo are more accurate than those of Arrian. They are, however, not at all wide of the mark; General Cunningham, indeed, remarks that their close agreement with the actual size of the country is very remarkable, and shows, he adds, that the Indians, even, at that early date in their history, had a very accurate knowledge of the form and extent of their native land.
b The Olympic stadium, which was in general use throughout Greece, contained 600 Greek feet = 625 Roman feet, or 606¾ English feet The Roman mile contained eight stadia, being about half a stadium less than an English mile. The schoinos (mentioned below) was = 2 Persian parasangs = 60 stadia, but was generally taken at half that length.
IV. But I am unable to give with assurance of being accurate any information regarding the regions beyond the Hyphasis, since the progress of Alexander was arrested by that river. But to recur to the two greatest rivers, the Ganges and the Indus. Megasthenēs states that of the two the Ganges is much the larger, and other writers who mention the Ganges agree with him; for, besides being of ample volume even where it issues from its springs, it receives as tributaries the river Kaïnas, and the Eranoboas, and the Kossoanos, which are all navigable. It receives, besides, the river Sonos and the Sittokatis, and the Solomatis, which are also navigable, and also the Kondochatēs, and the Sambos, and the Magōn, and the Agoranis, and the Omalis. Moreover there fall into it the Kommenasēs, a great river, and the Kakouthis, and the Andomatis, which flows from the dominions of the Madyandinoi, an Indian tribe. In [S. 187] addition to all these, the Amystis, which flows past the city Katadupa, and the Oxymagis from the dominions of a tribe called the Pazalai, and the Errenysis from the Mathai, an Indian tribe, unite with the Ganges.a
Abb.: Der Ganges und seine wichtigsten Zuflüsse
[Bildquelle: Wikipedia, GNU FDLicense]
a Arrian here enumerates seventeen tributaries of the Ganges. The number is given us nineteen by Pliny, who adds the Prinas and the Jomanēs, which Arrian elsewhere (cap. viii.) mentions under the name of the Jobares. These tributaries have been nearly all identified by the researches of such learned men as Rennel, Wilford, Schlegel, Lassen, and Schwanbeck. M. de St.-Martin, in reviewing their conclusions, clears up a few points which they had left in doubt, or wherein he thinks they had erred. I shall now show how each of the nineteen tributaries has been identified.
Abb.: Lage der Ken
Kaïnas.—This has been identified with the Kan, or Kane, or Kena, which, however, is only indirectly a tributary of the Ganges, as it falls into the Jamnā. The Sanskrit name of the Kan is Śena, and Schwanheck (p. 36) objects to the identification that the Greeks invariably represent the Sanskrit ē by their η and never by αι. St.-Martin attaches no importance to this objection, and gives the Sanskrit equivalent as Kaiana.
Abb.: Mündung der Son (सोन) in den Ganges (गङ्गा)
[Bildquelle: ©Google Earth. -- Zugriff am 2008-04-27]
Erranoboas.—As Arrian informs us (cap. x.) that Palimbothra (Pāṭaliputra, Patna [पटना]) was situated at the confluence of this river with the Ganges, it must be identified with the river Son, which formerly joined the Gauges a little above Bankipur, the western suburb of Patna, from which its embouchure is now 16 miles distant and higher up the Ganges. The word no doubt represents the Sanskrit Hiranyavāha ('carrying gold') or Hiranyabāhu ('having golden arms'), which are both poetical names of the Son. Megasthenēs, however, and Arrian, both make the Erannoboas and the Son to be distinct rivers, and hence some would identify the former with the Gandak (Sanskrit Gandaki), which, according to Lassen, was called by the Buddhists Hiranyavati, or 'the golden.' It is, however, too small a stream to suit the description of the Erranoboas, that it was the largest river in India after the Ganges and Indus. The Son may perhaps in the time of Megasthenēs have joined the Ganges by two channels, which he may have mistaken for separate rivers.
Kosoanos.—Cosoagus is the form of the name in Pliny, and hence it has been taken to be the representative of the Sanskrit Kaushiki, the river now called the Kosi. Schwanbeck, however, thinks it represents the Sanskrit Kośāvaha ('treasure-bearing'), and that it is therefore an epithet of the Son, like Hiranyavāha, which has the same meaning. It seems somewhat to favour this view that Arrian in his enumeration places the Kosoanos between the Erannoboas and the Son.
Sonos.—The Son, which now joins the Ganges ten miles above Dināpur. The word is considered to be a contraction of the Sanskrit Suvarṇa (Suvaṇṇa), 'golden,' and may have been given as a name to the river either because its sands were yellow, or because they contained gold dust.
Sittokatis.—It has not been ascertained what river was denoted by this name, but St.-Martin thinks it may be the representative of the Sadākāntā—a river now unknown, but mentioned in the Mahābhārata along with the Kouśadhāra (the Kosi), the Sadānīrā (the Karatoyā), and the Adhrichya (the Atreyi), from which it is evident that it belonged to the northern parts of Bengal.
Solomatis.—It has not been ascertained what river was denoted by this name. General Cunningham in one of his maps gives the Solomatisas a name of the Saranju or Sarju, a tributary of the Ghagrā; while Benfey and others would identify it with the famous Sarasvatī or Sarsuti, which, according to the legends, after disappearing underground, joined the Ganges at Allahābād. There is more probability, however, in Lassen's suggestion, that the word somewhat erroneously transliterates śarāvatī, the name of a city of Kośala mentioned by Kālidāsa and in the Purāṇas, where it appears generally in the form śravastī. This city stood on a river which, though nowhere mentioned by name, must also have been called śarāvatī, since there is an obvious connexion between that name and the name by which the river of that district is now known—the Rapti.
Kondochates.—Now the Gandak,—in Sanskrit, Gandaki or Gandakavati (ρινοκεροεις),—because of its abounding in a kind of alligator having a horn-like projection on its nose. It skirted the eastern border of Kośala, joining the Ganges opposite Palibothra.
Sambos.—This has no Sanskrit equivalent. It perhaps designated the Gumṭī, which is said to go by the name of the Sambou at a part of its course below Lucknow.
Magon.—According to Mannert the Rāmgangā, but much more probably the Mahānada, now the Mahona, the principal river of Magadha, which joins the Ganges not far below Patna.
Agoranis.—According to Rennel the Ghagrā—a word derived from the Sanskrit Gharghara ('of gurgling sound'), but according to St.-Martin it must be some one or other of the Gaourīs so abundant in the river nomenclature of Northern India. The vulgar form is Gaurana.
Omalis has not been identified, but Schwanbeck remarks that the word closely agrees with the Sanskrit Vimala, (' stainless'), a common epithet of rivers.
Kommenases.—Rennel and Lassen identify this with the Karmaṇāśā (bonorum operum destructrix), a small river which joins the Ganges above Baxār. According to a Hindu legend, whoever touches the water of this river loses all the merit of his good works, this being transferred to the nymph, of the stream.
Kakouthis.—Mannert erroneously takes this to be the Gumṭī. Lassen identifies it with the Kakouttha of the Buddhist chronicles, and hence with the Bagmatti, the Bhagavati of Sanskrit.
Andōmatis.—Thought by Lassen to be connected with the Sanskrit Andhamati (tenebricosus), which he would identify, therefore, with the Tāmasā, (now the Tonsa), the two names being identical in meaning; but, as the river came from the country of the Madyandini (Sanskrit Madhyandina, meridionalis),—that is, the people of the South,—Wilford's conjecture that the Andomatis is the Dammuda, the river which flows by Bardwān, is more likely to be correct. The Sanskrit name of the Dammuda is Dharmadaya.
Amystis.—The city Katadupa, which this river passes, Wilford would identify with Katwa or Cutwa, in Lower Bengal, which is situated on the western branch of the delta of the Ganges at the confluence of the Adji. As the Sanskrit form of the name of Katva should be Katadvīpa ' (dvīpa, an island'), M. de St.-Martin thinks this conjecture has much probability in its favour. The Amystis may therefore be theAdjī, or Ajavati as it is called in Sanskrit.
Oxymagis. -- The Pazalai or Passalai, called in Sanskrit Pankala, inhabited the Doāb, pud through this or the region adjacent flowed the Ikshumati ('abounding in sugarcane'). Oxymagis very probably represented this name, since the letters Γ and Τ in Greek could readily be confounded. The form of the name in Megasthenēs may have been Oxymetis.
Errenysis closely corresponds to Vārānasi, the name of Banaras in Sanskrit,—so called from the rivers Vārāna and Asi, which join the Ganges in its neighbourhood. The Mathai, it has been thought, may be the people of Magadha. St.-Martin would fix their position in the time of Megasthenēs in the country between the lower part of the Gumṭī and the Ganges, adding that, as the Journal of Hiwen Thsang places their capital, Mātipura, at a little distance to the east of the upper Ganges near Gaṅgādvāra, now Hardwār, they must have extended their name and dominion by the traveller's time far beyond their original bounds. The Prinas, which Arrian has omitted, St.-Martin would identify with the Tāmasā, which is otherwise called the Parṇāsā, and belongs to the same part of the country as the Kaïnas, in connexion with which Pliny mentions the Prinas.
Regarding these streams Megasthenēs asserts that none of them is inferior to the Maiandros, [S. 189] even at the navigable part of its course : and as for the Ganges , it has a breadth where [S. 190] narrowest of one hundred stadia, while in many places it spreads out into lakes, so that when the country happens to be flat and destitute of elevations the opposite shores cannot be seen from each other.
Abb.: Die Indusebene
[Bildquelle: Wikipedia-NASA, Public domain]
The Indus presents also, he says, similar characteristics. The Hydraōtēs, flowing from the dominions of the Kambistholi, falls into the Akesinēs after receiving the Hyphasis in its passage through the Astrybai, as well as the Saranges from the Kekians, and the Neudros from the Attakenoi. The Hydaspes again, rising in the dominions of the Oxydrakai, and bringing with it the Sinaros, received in the dominion of the Arispai, falls itself into the Akesinēs , while the Akesinēs joins the Indus in the dominions of the Malloi, but not until it has received the waters of a great [S. 191] tributary, the Toutapos. Augmented by all these confluents the Akesinēs succeeds in imposing its name on the combined waters, and still retains it till it unites with the Indus. The Kōphen, too, falls into the Indus, rising in Peukelaïtis, and bringing with it the Malantos, and the Soastos, and the Garroia. Higher up than these, the Parenos and Saparnos, at no great distance from each other, empty themselves into the Indus, as does also the Soanos, which comes without a tributary from the hill-country of the Abissareans.a [S. 192] According to Megasthenēs most of these rivers are navigable. We ought not, therefore, to [S. 193] distrust what we are told regarding the Indus and the Ganges, that they are beyond comparison greater than the Ister and the Nile. In the case of the Nile we know that it does not receive any tributary, but that, on the contrary, in its passage through Egypt its waters are drawn off to fill the canals. As for the Ister, it is but an insignificant stream at its sources, and though it no doubt receives many confluents, still these are neither equal in number to the confluents of the Indus and [S. 194] Ganges, nor are they navigable like them, if we except a very few,—as, for instance, the Inn, and Save which I have myself seen. The I n n joins the Ister where the Noricans march with the Rhaetians, and the Save in the dominions of the Pannonians, at a place which is called Taurunum.b Some one may perhaps know other navigable tributaries of the Danube, but the number certainly cannot be great.
a Tributaries of the Indus :—Arrian has here named only 13 tributaries of the Indus (in Sanskrit Sindhu, in the Periplūs of the Erythraean Sea Sinthos), but in his Anabasis (v. 6) he states that the number was 15, which is also the number given by Strabo. Pliny reckons them at 19.
Hydraōtēs.—Other forms are Rhouadis and Hyarotis. It is now called the Rāvi, the name being a contraction of the Sanskrit Airāvati, which means 'abounding in water,' or 'the daughter of Airavat,' the elephant of Indra, who is said to have generated the river by striking his task against the rock whence it issues. His name has reference to his 'ocean' origin. The name of the Kambistholai does not occur elsewhere. Schwanbeck (p. 33) conjectures that it may represent the Sanskrit Kapisthala, 'ape-land,' the letter m being inserted, as in 'Palimbothra.' He rejects Wilson's suggestion that the people may be identical with the Kambojae. Arrian errs in making the Hyphasis a tributary of the Hydraōtēs, for it falls into the Akesinēs below its junction with that river. See on this point St.-Martin, Étude, p. 396.
Hyphasis (other forms are Bibasis, Hypasis, and Hypanis).—In Sanskrit the Vipāśa, and now the Byasa or Bias. It lost its name on being joined by the Śatadru, 'the hundred-channelled,' the Zaradros of Ptolemy, now the Satlej . The Astrobai are not mentioned by any writer except Arrian.
Saranges.—According to Schwanheck, this word represents the Sanskrit Saranga , 'six-limbed.' It is not known what river it designated. The Kekians, through whose country it flowed, were called in Sanskrit, according to Lassen, Sekaya.
Neudros is not known. The Attakenoi are likewise unknown, unless their name is another form of Assakenoi.
Hydaspēs.—Bidaspēs is the form in Ptolemy, which makes a nearer approach to its Sanskrit name—the Vitasta. It is now the Behut or Jhelam; called also by the inhabitants on its banks tho Bedusta, 'widely spread.' It is the "fabulosus Hydaspes" of Horace, and the "Medus (i.e. Eastern) Hydaspes" of Virgil. It formed the western boundary of the dominions of Pōros.
Akesinēs.—Now the Chenāb : its Sanskrit name Asikni ('dark-coloured') is met with in the hymns of the Veda. It was called afterwards Chandrabhāga (portio lunae). This would be represented in Greek by Sandrophagos,—a word in sound so like Androp'agos or Alexandrophagos ('devourer of Alexander') that the followers of the great conqueror changed the name to avoid the evil omen,—the more so, perhaps, on account of the disaster which befell the Makedonian fleet at the turbulent junction of the river with the Hydaspes. Ptolemy gives its name as Sandabaga (Sandabala by an error on the part of copyists), which is an exact transcription of the Prakrit Chandabaga, of which word the Cantabra of Pliny is a greatly altered form. The Malli, in whose country this river joins the Indus, are the Malava of Sanskrit, whose name is prescribed in the Multān of the present day.
Toutapos.—Probably the lower part of the Śatadru or Satlej.
Kōphēn.—Another form of the name, used by Strabo, Pliny, &c, is Kophēs, -ētis. It is now the Kābul river. The three rivers here named as its tributaries probably correspond to the Suvāstu, Gaurī, and Kampana mentioned in the 6th book of the Mahābhārata. The Soastos is no doubt the Suvastu, and the Garsea the Gaurī. Curtius and Strabo call the Suastus the Choaspes. According to Mannert the Suastus and the Garaea or Guraeus were identical. Lassen, however (Ind. Alterthums. 2nd ed. II. 673 ff.), would identify the Suastus with the modern Suwad or Svāt, and the Garaeus with its tributary the Panjora ; and this is the view adopted by Cunningham. The Malamantos some would identify with the Choes (mentioned by Arrian, Anabasis iv. 25), which is probably represented, by the Kameh or Khonar, the largest of the tributaries of the Kābul; others, however, with the Panjkora, while Cunningham takes it to be the Bāra, a tributary which joins the Kābul from the south. With regard to the name Kophes this author remarks:—"The name of Kophes is as old as the time of the Vedas, in which the Kubhā river is mentioned [Roth first pointed this out;—conf. Lassen, ut sup.] as an affluent of the Indus ; and, as it is not an Aryan word, I infer that the name must have been applied to the Kābul river before the Āryan occupation, or at least as early as B.C. 2500. In the classical writers we find the Choes, Kophes, and Choaspes rivers to the west of the Indus; and at the present day we have the Kunar, the Kuram, and the Gomal rivers to the west, and the Kunihar river to the east of the Indus,—all of which are derived from the Skythian ku, 'water.' It is the guttural, form of the Assyrian hu in 'Euphrates' and ' Eulaeus,' and of the Turki su and Tibetan chu, all of which mean 'water' or 'river.' Ptolemy the Geographer mentions a city called Kabura, situated on the banks of the Kophen, and a people called Kabolitae.
Parenos.—Probably the modern Burindu.
Saparnos.—Probably the Abbasin.
Soanus represents the Sanskrit Suvana, 'the sun,' or 'fire'—now the Svan. The Abissaraeans, from whose country it comes, may be the Abisara of Sanskrit: Lassen, Bid. Alt. II. 163. A king called Abisarēs is mentioned by Arrian in his Anabasis (iv. 7). It may be here remarked that the names of the Indian kings, as given by the Greek writers, were in general the names slightly modified of the people over whom they ruled.
b Taurunum.—The modem Semlin.
V. Now if anyone wishes to state a reason to account for the number and magnitude of the Indian rivers let him state it. As for myself I have written on this point, as on others, from hearsay; for Megasthenēs has given the names even of other rivers which beyond both the Ganges and the Indus pour their waters into the Eastern Ocean and the outer basin of the Southern Ocean, so that he asserts that there are eight-and-fifty Indian rivers which are all of them navigable. But even Megasthenēs, so far as appears, did not travel over much of India, though no doubt he saw more of it than those who came with Alexander the son of Philip, for, as he tells us, he resided at the court of Sandrakottos, the greatest king in India, and also at the court of Pōros, who was still greater than he. This same Megasthenēs then informs us that the Indians neither invade other men, nor do other men invade the [S. 195] Indians: for Sesostris the Egyptian, after having overrun the greater part of Asia, and advanced with his army as far as Europe, returned home; and Idanthyrsos the Skythian issuing from Skythia, subdued many nations of Asia, and carried his victorious arms even to the borders of Egypt ; and Semiramis , again, the Assyrian queen, took in hand an expedition against India, but died before she could execute her design : and thus Alexander was the only conqueror who actually invaded the country. And regarding Dionysos many traditions are current to the effect that he also made an expedition into India, and subjugated the Indians before the days of Alexander. But of Heraklēs tradition does not say much. Of the expedition, however, which Bakkhos led, the city of Nysa is no mean monument, while Mount Mēros is yet another, and the ivy which grows thereon, and the practice observed by the Indians themselves of marching to battle with drums and cymbals, and of wearing a spotted dress such as was worn by the Bacchanals of Dionysos. On the other hand, there are but few memorials of Heraklēs, and it may be doubted whether even these are genuine: for the assertion that Heraklēs was not able to take the rock Aornos, which Alexander seized by force of arms, seems to me all a Makedonian vaunt, quite of a piece with their calling Parapamisos—Kaukasos, though it had no connexion at all with Kaukasos. [S. 196] In the same spirit, when they noticed a cave in the dominions of the Parapamisadai they asserted, that it was the cave of Prometheus the Titan, in which he had been suspended for stealing the fire.a So also when they came among the Sibai, an Indian tribe, and noticed that they wore skins, they declared that the Sibai were descended from those who belonged to the expedition of Heraklēs and had been left behind : for, besides being dressed in skins, the Sibai carry a cudgel, and brand on the backs of their oxen the representation of a club, wherein the Makedonians recognized a memorial of the club of Heraklēs. But if any one believes all this, then this must be another Heraklēs,—not the Theban, but either the Tyrian or the Egyptian, or even some great king who belonged to the upper country which lies not far from India.
a The Cave of Prometheus.—Probably one of the vast caves in the neighbourhood of Bamian.
VI. Let this be said by way of a digression to discredit the accounts which some writers have given of the Indians beyond the Hyphasis, for those writers who were in Alexander's expedition are not altogether unworthy of our faith when they describe India as far as the Hyphasis. Beyond that limit we have no real knowledge of the country ; since this is the sort of account which Megasthenēs gives us of an Indian river :—Its name is the Silas ; it flows from a fountain, [S. 197] called after the river, through the dominions of the Silaeans, who again are called after the river and the fountain; the water of the river manifests this singular property—that there is nothing which it can buoy up, nor anything which can swim or float in it, but everything sinks down to the bottom, so that there is nothing in the world so thin and unsubstantial as this water. But to 'roceed. Rain falls in India during the summer, especially on the mountains Parapamisos and Emodos and the range of Imaos, and the rivers which issue from these are large and muddy. Rain during the same season falls also on the plains of India, so that much of the country is submerged : and indeed the army of Alexander was obliged at the time of midsummer to retreat in haste from the Akesinēs, because its waters overflowed the adjacent plains. So we may by analogy infer from these facts that as the Nile is subject to similar inundations, it is probable that rain falls during the summer on the mountains of Ethiopia, and that the Nile swollen with these rains overflows its banks and inundates Egypt. We find, at any rate, that this river, like those we have mentioned, flows at the same season of the year with a muddy current, which could not be the case if it flowed from melting snows, nor yet if its waters were driven back from its [S. 198] mouth by the force of the Etesian winds which blow throughout the hot season,a and that it should flow from melting snow is all the more unlikely as snow cannot fall upon the Ethiopian mountains, on account of the burning heat; but that rain should fall on them, as on the Indian mountains, is not beyond probability, since India in other respects besides is not unlike Ethiopia. Thus the Indian rivers, like the Nile in Ethiopia and Egypt, breed crocodiles, while some of them have fish and monstrous creatures such as are found in the Nile, with the exception only of the hippopotamus, though Onesikritos asserts that they breed this animal also. With regard to the inhabitants, there is no great difference in type of figure between the Indians and the Ethiopians, though the Indians, no doubt, who live in the south-west bear a somewhat closer resemblance to the Ethiopians, being of black complexion and black-haired, though they are not so snub-nosed nor have the hair so curly; while the Indians who live further to the north are in person liker the Egyptians.
a Cf. Herodotus, II. 20-27.
VII. The Indian tribes, Megasthenēs tells us, number in all 118. [And I so far agree with him as to allow that they must be indeed numerous, but when he gives such a precise estimate I am at a loss to conjecture how he [S. 199] arrived at it, for the greater part of India he did not visit, nor is mutual intercourse maintained between all the tribes.] He, tells us further that the Indians were in old times nomadic,, like those Skythians who did not till the soil, but roamed about in their wagons, as the seasons varied, from one part of Skythia to another, neither dwelling in towns nor worshipping in temples ; and that the Indians likewise had neither towns nor temples of the gods, but were so barbarous that they wore the skins of such wild animals as they could kill, and subsisted on the bark of trees; that these trees were called in Indian speech tala, and that there grew on them, as there grows at the tops of the palm-trees, a fruit resembling balls of wool;a that they subsisted also on such wild animals as they could catch, eating the flesh raw,—before, at least, the coming of Dionysos into India. Dionysos, however, when he came and had conquered the people, founded cities and gave laws to these cities, and introduced the use of wine among the Indians, as he had done among the Greeks, and taught them to sow the land, himself supplying seeds for the purpose,—either because Triptolemos, when he was sent by Dēmēter to sow all the earth, did not reach these parts, or this must have been some Dionysos who came to India before Triptolemos, and gave the people the seeds of [S. 200] cultivated plants. It is also said that Dionysos first yoked oxen to the plough, and made many of the Indians husbandmen instead of nomads, and furnished them with the implements of agriculture ; and that the Indians worship the other gods, and Dionysos himself in particular, with cymbals and drums, because he so taught them; and that he also taught them the Satyric dance, or, as the Greeks call it, the Kordax ; and that he instructed the Indians to let their hair grow long in honour of the gocl, and to wear the turban; and that he taught them to anoint themselves with unguents, so that even up to the time of Alexander the Indians were marshalled for battle to the sound of cymbals and drums.
a Tala.--The fan-palm, the Borassus flabelliformis of botany.
VIII. But when he was leaving India, after having established the new order of things, he appointed, it is said, Spatembas, one of his companions and the most conversant with Bakkhic matters, to be the king of the country. When Spatembas died his son Boudyas succeeded to the sovereignty ; the father reigning over the Indians fifty-two years, and the son twenty ; the son of the latter, whose name was Kradeuas, duly inherited the kingdom, and thereafter the succession was generally hereditary, but that when a failure of heirs occurred in the royal house the Indians elected their sovereigns on the principle of merit ; Heraklēs, however, who is currently reported to have come as a stranger into the country, is said to have been in reality a native [S. 201] of India. This Heraklēs is held in especial honour by the Sourasenoi, an Indian tribe who possess two large cities, Methora and Cleisobora, and through whose country flows a navigable river called the lobares. But the dress which this Heraklēs wore, Megasthenēs tells us, resembled that of the Theban Heraklēs, as the Indians themselves admit, It is further said that he had a very numerous progeny of male children born to him in India (for, like his Theban namesake, he married many wives), but that he had only one daughter. The name of this child was Pandaia, and the land in which she was born, and with the sovereignty of which Heraklēs entrusted her, was called after her name, Pandaia, and she received from the hands of her father 500 elephants, a force of cavalry 4000 strong, and another of infantry consisting of about 130,000 men. Some Indian writers say further of Heraklēs that when he was going over the world and ridding land and sea of whatever evil monsters infested them, he found in the sea an ornament for women, which even to this day the Indian traders who bring us their wares eagerly buy up and carry away to foreign markets, while it is even more eagerly bought up by the wealthy Romans of to-day, as it was wont to be by the wealthy Greeks long ago. This article is the sea-pearl, called in the Indian tongue margarita. But Heraklēs, it is said, appreciating its beauty as a wearing ornament, caused it to [S. 202] be brought from all the sea into India, that he might adorn with it the person of his daughter. Megasthenēs informs us that the oyster which yields this pearl is there fished for with nets, and that in these same parts the oysters live in the sea in shoals like bee-swarms: for oysters, like bees, have a king or a queen, and if any one is lucky enough to catch the king he readily encloses in the net all the rest of the shoal, but if the king makes his escape there is no chance that the others can be caught. The fishermen allow the fleshy parts of such as they catch to rot away, and keep the bone, which forms the ornament : for the pearl in India is worth thrice its weight in refined gold, gold being a product of the Indian mines.
IX. Now in that part of the country where the daughter of Herakles reigned as queen, it is said that the women when seven years old are of marriageable age, and that the men live at most forty years, and that on this subject there is a tradition current among the Indians to the effect that Heraklēs, whose daughter was born to him late in life, when he saw that his end was near, and he knew no man his equal in rank to whom he could give her in marriage, had incestuous intercourse with the girl when she was seven years of age, in order that a race of kings sprung from their common blood might be left to rule over India; that Heraklēs therefore made her of suitable age for [S. 203] marriage, and that in consequence the whole nation over which Pandaia reigned obtained this same privilege from her father. Now to me it seems that, even if Heraklēs could have done a thing so marvellous, he could also have made himself longer-lived, in order to have intercourse with his daughter when she was of mature age. But in fact, if the age at which the women there are marriageable is correctly stated, this is quite consistent, it seems to me, with what is said of the men's age,—that those who live longest die at forty; for men who come so much sooner to old age, and with old age to death, must of course flower into full manhood as much earlier as their life ends earlier. It follows hence that men of thirty would there be in their green old age, and young men would at twenty be past puberty, while the stage of of full puberty would be reached about fifteen. And, quite compatibly with this, the women might be marriageable at the age of seven. And why not, when Megasthenēs declares that the very fruits of the country ripen faster than fruits elsewhere, and decay faster ?
From the time of Dionysos to Sandrakottos the Indians counted 153 kings and a period of 6042 years, but among these a republic was thrice established * * * * and another to 300 years, and another to 120 years.a The [S. 204] Indians also tell us that Dionysos was earlier than Heraklēs by fifteen generations, and that except him no one made a hostile invasion of India,—not even Kyros the son of Kambysēs, although he undertook an expedition against the Skythians, and otherwise showed himself the most enterprising monarch in all Asia ; but that Alexander indeed came and overthrew in war all whom he attacked, and would even have conquered the whole world had his army been willing to follow him. On the other hand, a sense of justice, they say, prevented any Indian king from attempting conquest beyond the limits of India.
a It is not known from what sources Megasthenēs derived these figures, which are extremely modet when compared with those of Indian chronology, where, as in geology, years are hardly reckoned but in myriads. 'For a notice of the Magadha dynasties see Elphinstone's History of India, bk, III. cap. iii.
X. It is further said that the Indians do not rear monuments to the dead, but consider the virtues which men have displayed in life, and the songs in which their praises are celebrated, sufficient to preserve their memory after death. But of their cities it is said that the number is so great that it cannot be stated with precision, but that such cities as are situated on the banks of rivers or on the sea-coast are built of wood, for were they built of brick they would not last long—so destructive are the rains, and also the rivers when they overflow their banks and inundate the plains ; those cities, however, which stand on commanding situations and lofty eminences are built of brick and mud. The greatest city in India is [S. 205] that which is called Palimbothra, in the dominions of the Prasians,a where the streams of the Erannoboas and the Ganges unite,—the Ganges being the greatest of all rivers, and the Erannoboas being perhaps the third largest ofIndian rivers, though greater than the greatest rivers elsewhere; but it is smaller than the Ganges where it falls into it. Megasthenēs says further of this city that the inhabited part of it stretched on either side to an extreme length of eighty stadia, and that its breadth was fifteen stadia, and that a ditch encompassed it all round, which was six plethra in breadth and thirty cubits in depth, and that the wall was crowned with five hundred and seventy towers and had four-and-sixty gates.b
a The Prasioi.—In the notes which the reader will find at pp. 9 and 57, the accepted explanation of the name Prasioi, by which the Greeks designated the people of Magadha, has been stated. General Cunningham explains it differently:—"Strabo and Pliny." he says, "agree with Arrian in calling the people of Palibothra by the name of Prasii, which modern writers have unanimously referred to the Sanskrit Prāchya, or 'eastern.' But it seems to me that Prasii is only the Greek form of Palāsa or Parāsa, which is an actual and well-known name of Magadha, of which Palibothra was the capital, it obtained this name from the Palāsa, or Butea frondosa, which still grows as luxuriantly in the province as in the time of Hiwen Thsāng. The common form of the name is Parās, or when quickly pronounced Prās, which I take to be the true original of the Greek Prasii. This derivation is supported by the spelling of the name given by Curtius, who calls the people Pharrasii, which is an almost exact transcript of the Indian name Parāsiya. The Praxiakos of Aelian is only the the derivative of Palāsaka.
b The more usual and the more accurate Form of the name is Palibothra, a transcription of Pāliputra, the spoken form of Pāṭaliputra, the name of the ancient capital of Magadha, and a name still occasionally applied to the city of Patna, which is its modern representative. The word, which means the son of the trumpet-flower (Bignonia suaveolens), appears in several different forms. A provincial form, Pāṭaliputrika, is common in the popular tales. The form in the Panchatantra is Pāṭaliputra, which Wilson (Introd. to the Dasa Kumara Charitra) considered to he the true original name of the city of which Pāṭaliputra was a mere corruption,—sanctioned, however, by common usage. In a Sanskrit treatise of geography of a somewhat recent date, called the Kshetra Samasa, the form of the name is Pālibhātta, which is a near approach to alibotra. The Ceylon chroniclers invariably wrote the name as Pātiliputto, and in the inscription of Aśoka at Girnār it is written Pāṭaliputta. The earliest name of the place, according to the Rāmāyaṇa, was Kauśambi, as having been founded by Kuśa, the father of the famous sage Viśvamitra. It was also called, especially by the poets, Pashpapura or Kusumapura, which has the same meaning—'the city of flowers.' This city, though the least ancient of all the greater capitals in Gangetic India, was destined to become the most famous of them all. The Vāyu Purāṇa attributes its foundation to Udaya (called also Udayaśva), who mounted the throne of Magadha in the year 519 B.C., or 24 years after the Nirvāṇa [Vishṇu Purāṇa, p. 467, n. 15; Lassen, Ind. Alt. II. p. 63). Pāṭaliputra did not, however, according to the Cingalese chronicles, become the residence of the kings of Magadha till the reign of Kālāśoka, who ascended the throne 453 B. C. Under Chandragupta (the Sandrakottos of the Greeks), who founded the Buddhistic dynasty of the Mauriyas, the kingdom was extended from the mouths of the Ganges to the regions beyond the Indus, and became in fact the paramount power in India. Nor was Pāṭaliputra—to judge from the account of its size and splendour given here by Arrian, and in Frag. XXV. by Strabo, who both copied it from Megasthenēs—unworthy to be the capital of so great an empire. Its happy position at the confluence of the Son and Ganges, and opposite the junction of the Gandak with their united stream, naturally made it a great centre of commerce, which would no doubt greatly increase its wealth and prosperity. Aśoka, who was third in succession from Chandragupta, and who made Buddhism the state religion, in his inscription on the rock at Dhauli in Katk gives it the title of Metropolis of the Religion,, i.e. of Buddhism. The wooden wall, by which, as Megasthenēs tells us, it was surrounded, was still standing seven centuries later than his time, for it was seen about the beginning of the 5th century after Christ by the Chinese traveller Fa-Hian, who thus writes of Pāliputra, which he calls Pa-lian-fu :—"The city was the capital of king A-you (Aśoka). The palaces of the king which are in the city have walls of which the stones have been collected by the genii. The carvings and the sculptures which ornament the windows are such as this age could not make; they still actually exist." These 'palaces of the king' are mentioned by Diodōros in his epitome of Megasthenēs, as will be seen by a reference to p. 39. It was in the interval which separates the journey of Fa-Hian from that of his compatriot Hiwen Thsāng—that is, between the year 400 and the year 6S2 after Christ—that the fall of Pāṭaliputra was accomplished, for where the splendid metropolis had once stood Hiwen Thsāng found nothing but ruins, and a village containing about two or three hundred houses. The cause of its downfall and decay is unknown. The ruins seen by the Chinese traveller are no longer visible, but lie buried deep below the foundations of modern Patna. An excavation quite recently made in that city for the construction of a public tank placed this fact beyond question ; for, when the workmen had dug down to a depth of 12 or 15 feet below the surface of the ground, some remains were discovered of what must have been the wooden wall spoken of by Megasthenēs. I have received from a friend who inspected the excavation the following particulars of this interesting and remarkable discovery :— "During the cold season 1876, whilst digging a tank in Sheikh Mithia Ghari, a part of Patna almost equally distant from the chauk (market-place) and the railway station, the excavators, at a depth of some 12 or 15 feet below the swampy surface, discovered the remains of a long brick wall running from N.W. to S.E. How far this wall extended beyond the limits of the excavation—probably more than a hundred yards—it is impossible to say. Not far from the wall, and almost parallel, to it, was found a line of palisades; the strong timber of which it was composed inclined slightly towards the wall. In one place there appeared to have been some sort of outlet, for two wooden pillars rising to a height of some 8 or 9 feet above what had evidently been the ancient level of the place, and between which no traces of palisades could be discovered, had all the appearance of door or gate posts. A number of wells and sinks were also found, their mouths being in each case indicated by heaps of fragments of broken mud vessels. From the best-preserved specimens of these, it appeared that their shape must have differed from that of these now in use. One of the wells having been cleared out, it was found to yield capital drinking water, and among the rubbish taken out of it were discovered several iron spear-heads, a fragment of a large vessel, &c." The fact thus established—that old Palibothra, and its wall with it, are deep underground—takes away all probability from the supposition of Ravenshaw that the large mounds near Patna (called Panch-Pahāri, or 'five hills'), consisting of débris and bricks, may be the remains of towers or bastions of the ancient city. The identity of Pāṭaliputra with Patna was a question not settled without much previous controversy. D'Anville, as has been already stated, misled by the assertion of Pliny that the Jomanes (Jamnā) flows through the Palibothri into the Ganges, referred its site to the position of Allahābād, where these two rivers unite. Rennel, again, thought it might be identical with Kanauj, though he afterwards abandoned this opinion ; while Wilford placed it on the left bank of the Ganges at some distance to the north of Rājmahāl, and Francklin at Bhāgalpūr. The main objection to the claims of Patna—its not being situated at the confluence of any river with the Ganges— was satisfactorily disposed of when in the course of research it was brought to light that the Son was not only identical with the Erranoboas, but that up to the year 1379, when it formed a new channel for itself, it had joined the Ganges in the neighbourhood of Patna. I may conclude this notice by quoting from Strabo a description of a procession such as Megasthenēs (from whose work Strabo very probably drew his information) must have seen parading the streets of Palibothra :—"In processions at their festivals many elephants are in the train, adorned with gold and silver, numerous carriages drawn by four horses and by several pairs of oxen ; then follows a body of attendants in full dress, (bearing) vessels of gold, large basins and goblets an orguia in breadth, tables, chairs of state, drinking-cups, and lavers of Indian copper, most of which were set with precious stones, as emeralds, beryls, and Indian carbuncles ; garments embroidered and interwoven with gold ; wild beasts, as buffaloes, panthers, tame lions ; and a multitude of birds of variegated plumage and of fine song."— Bohn's Transl. of Strabo, III. p. 117.
The same writer tells us further this [S. 206] remarkable fact about India, that all the Indians are free, and not one of them is a slave. The [S. 207] Lakedaimonians and the Indians here so far agree. The Lakedaimonians, however, hold [S. 208] the Helots as slaves, and these Helots do servile labour; but the Indians do not even use aliens as slaves, and much less a countryman of their own.
XI . But further : in India the whole people [S. 209] are divided into about seven castes. Among these are the Sophists, who are not so numerous as the others, but hold the supreme place of dignity and honour,—for they are under no necessity of doing any bodily labour at all, or of contributing from the produce of their labour anything to the common stock, nor indeed is any duty absolutely binding on them except to perform the sacrifices offered to the gods on behalf of the state. If any one, again, has a private sacrifice to offer, one of these sophists shows him the proper mode, as if he could not otherwise make an acceptable offering to the gods. To this class the knowledge of divination among the Indians is exclusively restricted, and none but a sophist is allowed to practise that art. They predict about such matters as the seasons of the year, and any calamity which may befall the state; but the private fortunes of individuals they do not care to predict,—either because divination does not concern itself with trifling matters, or because to take any trouble about such is deemed unbecoming. But if any one fails thrice to predict truly, he incurs, it is said, no further penalty than being obliged to be silent for the future, and there is no power on earth able to compel that man to speak who has once been condemned to silence. These sages go naked, living during winter in the open air to enjoy the sunshine, and during summer, when the heat is too powerful," in meadows and low grounds under large trees, the shadow whereof [S. 210] Nearchos says extends to five plethra in circuit, adding that even ten thousand mena could be cohered by the shadow of a single tree. They live upon the fruits which each season produces, and on the bark of trees,—the bark being no less sweet and nutritious than the fruit of the date-palm.
a Cf. the description of the same tree quoted from Onesikritos, Strabo XV. i. 21. Cf. also Milton's description of it in Paradise Lost, bk. ix., 11.1100 et seqq.:—
"There soon they chose
The fig-tree, not that kind for fruit renowned,
But such as at this day to Indians known
In Malabar or Deccan spreads her arms
Branching so broad and long that in the ground
The bended twigs take root, and daughters grow
About the mother tree, a pillared shade
High overarched, and echoing walks between."
After these, the second caste consists of the tillers of the soil, who form the most numerous class of the population. They are neither furnished with arms, nor have any military duties to perform, but they cultivate the soil and pay tribute to the kings and the independent cities. In times of civil war the soldiers are not allowed to molest the husbandmen or ravage their lands: hence, while the former are fighting and killing each other as they can, the latter may be seen close at hand tranquilly pursuing their work,—perhaps ploughing, or gathering in their crops, pruning the trees, or reaping the harvest.
The third caste among the Indians consists of the herdsmen, both shepherds and neatherds ; and these neither live in cities nor in [S. 211]villages, but they are nomadic and live on the hills. They too are subject to tribute, and this they pay in cattle. They scour the country in pursuit of fowl and wild beasts.
XII. The fourth caste consists of handicraftmen and retail-dealers. They have to perform gratuitously certain public services, and to pay tribute from the products of their labour. An exception, however, is made in favour of those who fabricate the weapons of war,—and not only so, but they even draw pay from the state. In this class are included shipbuilders, and the sailors employed in the navigation of the rivers.
The fifth caste among the Indians consists of the warriors, who are second in point of numbers to the husbandmen, but lead a life of supreme freedom and enjoyment. They have only military duties to perform. Others make their arms, and others supply them with horses, and they have others to attend on them in the camp, who take care of their horses, clean their arms, drive their elephants, prepare their chariots, and act as their charioteers. As long as they are required to fight they fight, and when peace returns they abandon themselves to enjoyment,—the pay which they receive from the state being so liberal that they can with ease maintain themselves and others besides.
The sixth class consists of those called superintendents. They spy out what goes [S. 212] on in country and town, and report everything to the king where the people have a king, and to the magistrates where the people are self-governed,a and it is against use and wont for these to give in a false report ; — but indeed no Indian is accused of lying.
a "There have always been extensive tracts without any common head, some under petty chiefs, and some formed of independent villages: in troubled times, also towns have often for a long period carried on their own government. All these would be called republics by the Greeks, who would naturally fancy their constitutions similar to what they had seen at home."—Elphinstone's History of India, p. 240.
The seventh caste consists of the councillors of state, who advise the king, or the magistrates of self-governed cities, in the management of public affairs. In point of numbers this is a small class, but it is distinguished by superior wisdom and justice, and hence enjoys the prerogative of choosing governors, chiefs of provinces, deputy-governors, superintendents of the treasury, generals of the army, admirals of the navy, controllers, and commissioners who superintend agriculture.
The custom of the country prohibits intermarriage between the castes:—for instance, the husbandman cannot take a wife from the artizan caste, nor the artizan a wife from the husbandman caste. Custom also prohibits any one from exercising two trades, or from changing from one caste to another. One cannot, for instance, become a husbandman if he is a herdsman, or [S. 213] become a herdsman if he is an artizan. It is permitted that the sophist only he from any caste: for the life of the sophist is not an easy one, but the hardest of all.
XIII. The Indians hunt all wild animals in the same way as the Greeks, except the elephant, which is hunted in a mode altogether peculiar, since these animals are not like any others. The mode may be thus described :—The hunters having selected a level tract of arid ground dig a trench all round it, enclosing as much space as would suffice to encamp a large army. They make the trench with a breadth of five fathoms and a depth of four. But the earth which they throw out in the process of digging they heap up in mounds on both edges of the trench, and use it as a wall. Then they make huts for themselves by excavating the wall on the outer edge of the trench, and in these they leave loopholes, both to admit light, and to enable them to see when their p r e y approaches and enters the enclosure. They next station some three or four of their best-trained she-elephants within the trap, to which they leave only a single passage by means of a bridge thrown across the trench, the framework of which they cover over with earth and a great quantity of straw, to conceal the bridge as much as possible from the wild animals, which might else suspect treachery. The hunters then go out of the way, retiring to the cells which they had made in the earthen wall. Now the [S. 214] wild elephants do not go near inhabited places in the day-time, but during the night-time they wander about everywhere, and feed in herds, following as leader the one who is biggest and boldest, just as cows follow bulls. As soon, then, as they approach the enclosure, and hear the cry and catch scent of the females, they rush at full speed in the direction of the fenced ground, and being arrested by the trench move round its edge until they fall in with the bridge, along which they force their way into the enclosure. The hunters meanwhile, perceiving the entrance of the wild elephants, hasten, some of them, to take away the bridge, while others, running off to the nearest villages, announce that the elephants are within the trap. The villagers, on hearing the news, mount their most spirited and best-trained elephants, and as soon as mounted ride off to the trap ; but, though they ride up to it, they do not immediately engage in a conflict with the wild elephants, but wait till these are sorely pinched by hunger and tamed by thirst; when they think their strength has been enough weakened, they setup the bridge anew and ride into the enclosure, when a fierce assault is made by the tame elephants upon those that have been entrapped, and then, as might be expected, the wild elephants, through loss of spirit and faintness from hunger, are overpowered. On this the hunters, dismounting from their elephants, bind with fetters the feet of the wild ones, now by this time quite [S. 215] exhausted. Then they instigate the tame ones to beat them with repeated blows, until their sufferings wear them out and they fall to the ground. The hunters meanwhile, standing near them, slip nooses over their necks and mount them while yet lying on the ground; and, to prevent them shaking off their riders, or doing mischief otherwise, make with a sharp knife an incision all round their neck, and fasten the noose round in the incision. By means of the wound thus made they keep their head and neck quite steady : for if they become restive and turn round, the wound is galled by the action of the rope. They shun, therefore, violent movements, and, knowing that they have been vanquished, suffer themselves to be led in fetters by the tame ones.
XIV. But such as are too young, or through the weakness of their constitution not worth keeping, their captors allow to escape to their old haunts ; while those which are retained they lead to the villages, where at first they give them green stalks of corn and grass to eat. The creatures, however, having lost all spirit, have no wish to eat ; but the Indians, standing round them in a circle, soothe and cheer them by chanting songs to the accompaniment of the music of drums and cymbals, for the elephant is of all brutes the most intelligent. Some of them, for instance, have taken up their riders when slain in battle and carried them away for burial; others have covered them, when lying on the ground, with a [S. 216] shield ; and others have borne the brunt of battle in their defence when fallen. There was one even that died of remorse and despair because it had killed its rider in a fit of rage. I have myself actually seen an elephant playing on cymbals, while other elephants were dancing to his strains: a cymbal had been attached to each foreleg of the performer, and a third to what is called his trunk, and while he beat in turn the cymbal on his trunk he beat in proper time those on his two legs. The dancing elephants all the while kept dancing in a circle, and as they raised and curved their forelegs in turn they too moved in proper time, following as the musician led.
The elephant, like the bull and the horse, engenders in spring, when the females emit breath through the spiracles beside their temples, which open at that season. The period of gestation is at shortest sixteen months, and never exceeds eighteen. The birth is single, as in the case of the mare, and is suckled till it reaches its eighth year. The elephants that live longest attain an age of two hundred years, but many of them die prematurely of disease. If they die of sheer old age, however, the term of life is what has been stated. Diseases of their eyes are cured by pouring cows' milk into them, and other distempers by administering draughts of black wine ; while their wounds are cured by the application of roasted pork. Such are the remedies used by the Indians.
XV, But the tiger the Indians regard as a much more powerful animal than the elephant, Nearchos tells us that he had seen the skin of a tiger, though the tiger itself he had not seen. The Indians, however, informed him that the tiger equals in size the largest horse, but that for swiftness and strength no other animal can be compared with it: for that the tiger, when it encounters the elephant, leaps up upon the head of the elephant and strangles it with ease ; but that those animals which we ourselves see and call tigers are but jackals with spotted skins and larger than other jackals.a In the same way with regard to ants also, Nearchos says that he had not himself seen a specimen of the sort which other writers declared to exist in India, though he had seen many skins of them which had been brought into the Makedonian camp. But Megasthenēs avers that the tradition about the ants is strictly true,—that they are gold-diggers, not for the sake of the gold itself, but because by instinct they burrow holes in the earth to lie in, just as the tiny ants of our own country dig little holes for themselves, only those in India being larger than foxes make their burrows proportionately larger. But the ground is impregnated with gold, and the Indians thence obtain their gold. Now Megasthenēs writes what he had heard from hearsay, and as I have no exacter [S. 218] information to give I willingly dismiss the subject of the ant. But about parrots Nearchos writes as if they were a new curiosity, and tells us that they are indigenous to India, and what-like they are, and that they speak with a human voice; but since I have myself seen many parrots, and know others who are acquainted with the bird, I will say nothing about it as if it were still unfamiliar.b Nor will I say aught of the apes, either touching their size, or the beauty which distinguishes them in India, or the mode in which they are hunted, for I should only be stating what is well known, except perhaps the fact that they are beautiful. Regarding snakes, too, Nearchos tells us that they are caught in the country, being spotted, and nimble in their movements, and that one which Peitho the son of Antigenēs caught measured about sixteen cubits, though the Indians allege that the largest snakes are much larger. But no cure of the bite of the Indian snake has been found out by any of the Greek physicians, though the Indians, it is certain, can cure those who have been bitten.c And Nearchos adds this, that Alexander had all the most skilful of the Indians in the healing art collected around him, and had caused proclamation to be made throughout the camp that if [S. 219] any one were bitten be should repair to the royal tent ; but these very same men were able to cure other diseases and pains also. With many bodily pains, however, the Indians are not afflicted, because in their country the seasons are geniaL In the case of an attack of severe pain they consult the sophists, and these seemed to cure whatever diseases could be cured not without divine help.d
a Leopards are meant.
b Quis expedivit psittaco suum XAIRE.—Persius, Prol. to Sat, 1. 8.
c This is, unfortunately, one of the lost ads.
d That is, by the use of charms : see Strabo XV, I. 45.
XVI. The dress worn by the Indians is made of cotton, as Nearcho tells us,—cotton produced rom those trees of which mention has already been made.a But this cotton is either of a brighter white colour than any cotton found elsewhere, or the darkness of the Indian complexion makes their apparel look so much the whiter. They wear an under-garment of cotton which reaches below the knee halfway down to the ankles, and also an upper garment which they throw partly over their shoulders, and partly twist in folds round their head.b The Indians wear [S. 220] also earrings of ivory, but only such of them do this as are very wealthy, for all Indians do not wear them.Their beards, Nearchos tells us, they dye of one hue and another, according to taste. Some dye their white beards to make them look as white as possible, but others dye them blue; while some again prefer a red tint, some a purple, and others a rank green.c Such Indians, he also says, as are thought anything of, use parasols as a screen from the heat. They wear shoes made of white leather, and these are elaborately trimmed, while the soles are variegated, and made of great thickness, to make the wearer seem so much the taller.
a A slip on the part of Arrian, as no previous mention has been made of the cotton-tree.
b "The valuable properties of the cotton-wool produced from the cotton-shrub (Gossypium herbaceum) were early discovered. And we read in Rig-veda hymns of 'Day and Night' like ' two famous female weavers' intertwining the extended thread Cotton in its manufactured state was new to the Greeks who accompanied Alexander the Great to India. They describe Hindus as clothed in garments made from wool which grows on trees. One cloth, they say, reaches to the middle of the leg, whilst another is folded round the shoulders. Hindus still dress in the. fashion thus described, which is also alluded to in old Sanskrit literature. In the frescoes on the caves of Ajanta this costume is carefully represented . . . . The cloth which Nearchus speaks of as reaching to the middle of the leg is ihe Dhotī. It is from 2½ to 3½ yards long by 2 to 3 feel broad ... It is a costume much resembling that of a Greek statue, and the only change observable within 3,000 years is, that the Dhotī may now be somewhat broader and longer."—Mrs. Manning's Ancient and Mediaeval India,, vol. II. pp. 356-8.
c Perhaps some of these colours were but transition shades assumed by the dye before settling to its final hue. The readers of Warron's Ten Thousand a Year will remember the plight of the hero of the tale when having dyed his hair he found it, chameleon-like, changing from hue to hue. This custom is mentioned also by Strabo.
I proceed now to describe the mode in which the Indians equip themselves for war, premising that it is not to be regarded as the only one in vogue. The foot-soldiers carry a bow made of equal length with the man who bears it. This they rest upon the ground, and pressing against it with their left foot thus discharge the arrow, having drawn the string far backwards : for the shaft they use is little short of being three [S. 221] yards long, and there is nothing which can resist an Indian archer's shot, — neither shield nor breastplate, nor any stronger defence if such there be. In their left hand they carry bucklers made of undressed ox-hide, which are not so broad as those who carry them, but are about as long. Some are equipped with javelins instead of bows, but all wear a sword, which is broad in the blade, but not longer than three cubits ; and this, when they engage in close fight (which they do with reluctance), they wield with both hands, to fetch down a lustier blow. The horsemen are equipped with two lances, like the lances called saunia, and with a shorter buckler than that carried by the foot-soldiers. But they do not put saddles on their horses, nor do they curb them with bits like the bits in use among the Greeks or the Kelts, but they fit on round the extremity of the horse's mouth a circular piece of stitched raw ox-hide studded with pricks of iron or brass pointing inwards, but not very sharp : if a man is rich he uses pricks made of ivory. Within the horse's mouth is put an iron prong like a skewer, to which the reins are attached. When the rider, then, pulls the reins, the prong controls the horse, and the pricks which are attached to this prong goad the mouth, so that it cannot but obey the reins.
XVII. The Indians are in person slender and tall, and of much lighter weight than other men. The animals used by the common sort for riding on are camels and horses and asses, while the wealthy use elephants,—for it is the elephant which in India carries royalty.a The conveyance which ranks next in honour is the chariot and four ; the camel ranks third ; while to be drawn by a single horse is considered no distinction at all.b But Indian women, if possessed of uncommon discretion, would not stray from virtue for any reward short of an elephant, but on receiving this a lady lets the giver enjoy her person. Nor do the Indians consider it any disgrace to a woman to grant her favours for an elephant, but it is rather regarded as a high compliment to the sex that their charms should be deemed worth an elephant. They marry without either giving or taking dowries, but the women, as soon as they are marriageable, are brought forward by their fathers and exposed in public, to be selected by the victor in wrestling or boxing or running, or by some one who excels in any other manly exercise.c The people of India live upon grain, and are tillers of the soil ; but we must except the hillmen, who eat the flesh of beasts of chase. [S. 223]
a Hence one of his names is Vāraṇa, implying that he not only carries but protects his royal rider.
b The ekka so common in the north-west of India,, is no doubt here indicated.
c Marriage customs appear to have varied, as a reference to the extract from Strabo pp. 70-71 will show. See Wheeler's History of India, pp. 167-8.
It is sufficient for me to have set forth these facts regarding the Indians, which, as the best known, both Nearchos and Megasthnēs, two men of approved character, have recorded. And since my design in drawing up the present narrative was not to describe the manners and customs of the Indians, but to relate how Alexander conveyed his army from India to Persia, let this be taken as a mere episode.
Zu: Strabo: Geographica XV -- Στράβων: Γεωγραφικά