This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
 But how can we place any just confidence in the accounts of India derived from such expeditions as those of Cyrus and Semiramis? Megasthenes concurs in this opinion; he advises persons not to credit the ancient histories of India, for, except the expeditions of Hercules, of Bacchus, and the later invasion of Alexander, no army was ever sent out of their country by the Indians, nor did any foreign enemy ever invade or conquer it. Sesostris the Egyptian (he says), and Tearco the Ethiopian, advanced as far as Europe; and Nabocodrosor, who was more celebrated among the Chaldæans than Hercules among the Greeks, penetrated even as far as the Pillars,1 which Tearco also reached; Sesostris conducted an army from Iberia to Thrace and Pontus; Idanthyrsus the Scythian overran Asia as far as Egypt; but not one of these persons proceeded as far as India, and Semiramis died before her intended enterprise was undertaken. The Persians had sent for the Hydraces2 from India, a body of mercenary troops; but they did not lead an army into that country, and only approached it when Cyrus was marching against the Massagetæ.
1 It is evident that the name Pillars misled Megasthenes or the writers from whom he borrowed the facts; for it is impossible to suppose that Tearcho, who reigned in Arabia, or that Nabuchodonosor, who reigned at Babylon, ever conducted an army across the desert and through the whole breadth of Africa to the Straits of Gibraltar, to which place nothing invited them, and the existence of which, as well as that of the neighbouring countries, must have been unknown. The Egyptians, Arabians, and Babylonians directed their invasions towards the north, to Palestine, Syria, Mesopotamia, Armenia, Iberia, and Colchis. This was the line of march followed by Sesostris. Ptolemy indicates the existence of ‘Pillars,’ which he calls ‘the Pillars of Alexander,’ above Albania and Iberia, at the commencement of the Asiatic Sarmatia. But as it is known that Alexander never penetrated into these regions, it is clear that the title ‘of Alexander’ was added by the Greeks to the names of mountains, which separated a country partly civilized from that entirely occupied by hordes of savages. Everything therefore seems to show, that these Pillars near Iberia in Asia, and not the Pillars of Hercules in Europe, formed the boundary of the expeditions of Sesostris, Tearcho, and Nabuchodonosor.—Gossellin.
2 As the Oxydraci are here meant, Groskurd adopts this name in the text. They were settled in Sagur and Outch, of the province of Lahore.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.
An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.