, Polyaen. 4.3.30
; Plin. Nat. 6.17. s. 20
; ἡ τῶν Ἰνδῶν γῆ
, Arrian, Anab
. 5.4; ἡ Ἰνδική
, Strab. xi. p.514
: Eth. Ἰνδός
, Adj. Ἰνδικός
), a country of great extent in the southern part of Asia, bounded on the north by the great chain of the Himálaya
mountains, which extend, under variously modified names, from the Brahmaputra
river on the E. to the Indus on the W., and which were known in ancient times under the names Enmodus and Imaus. [EMODI MONTES
] These mountains separated the plain country of India to the S. of them from the steppes of Tátary on the N., and formed the water-shed of most of the great rivers. with. which India is so plentifully supplied. On the E. the Brahmaputra,
which separates it from Ava
is its principal boundary; though, if the definition of India be adopted which was in vogue among the later classical geographers, those countries as far as the commencement of the Chinese empire on the S. must be compre-hended within the limits of India. On the S. it is bounded by the Bay of Bengal
and the Indian Ocean, and on the W. by the Indus, which separates it from Gedrosia, Arachosia, and the land of the Paropamisadae. Some writers, indeed (as Lassen, Pentap. Indic.
Bonn, 1827), have considered the districts along the southern spurs of the Paropamisus (or Hindú--Kush
) as part of India; but the passage of Pliny on which Lassen relies would make India comprellend the whole of Afghádnistan
on the Indian Ocean; a position which can hardly be maintained as the deliberate opinion of any ancient author.
It may, indeed, be doubted whether the Indians themselves ever laid down any accurate boundary of their country westward (Laws of Manu,
ii, 5.22, quoted by Lassen, Pentap. Indic.
p. 8); though, the Sarasváti
(Hydraotes) separated their sacred land from Western India. Generally, however, the Indus was held to be their western boundary, as is clear from Strabo's words (xv. p. 689), and may be inferred from Pliny's description (6.20. s. 23).
It is necessary, before we proceed to give the principal divisions, mountain ranges, rivers, and cities of India, to trace very briefly, through the remains of classical literature, the gradual progress of the knowledge which. the ancient world-possessed of this country; a land which, from first to last, seems to have been to them a constant source, of wonder and admiration, and therefore not unnaturally, the theme of many strange and fabulous relations, which even their most critical writers, have not failed; to record.
Though the Greeks were not acquainted with India in the. heroic ages, and though the name itself does: not occur in their earliest writers, it seems not unlikely that they had some faint idea of a distant land in, the far East which was very populous and fruitful.
The occurrence of the names of objects of Indian merchandise, such as κασσίτερος, ἐλέφας,
and others, would seem to show this.
The same thing would; seem to be obscurely hinted at in the two Aethiopias mentioned by Homer, the one towards the setting.. and the other in the direction of the rising, sun (Od. 1.23
); and a similar inference may probably be drawn from some of the early notices of these Aethiopians, whose separate histories are perpetually confounded together, many things being predicated of the African nation which could be only true of an Indian people, and vice versâ.
That there were a people whom the Greeks called Aethiopes in the neighbourhood of, if not within the actual boundaries of India, is clear from Herodotus (7.70
), who states in another place that all the Indians (except the Daradae) resembled the Aethiopians in the dark colour of their skins (3.101); while abundant instances may be observed of the intermixture of the accounts of the African and Indian Aethiopians, as, for example, in Ctesias (Indic.
7, ed. Bahr. p. 354), Pliny (8.30. 3
), who quotes Ctesias, Scylax, in his description of India (ap. Philostrat. Vit. Apoll.
3.14), Tzetzes (Chil.
7.144), Aelian (H. An.
16.31), Agatharchides (de Rubro Mari,
p. 44, ed. Huds.), Pollux (Onomast.
5.5), and many other writers. Just in the same way a confusion may be noticed in the accounts of Libya, as in Herodotus (4.168
; cf. Ctesias, India.
13), where he intermixes Indian and African tales. Even so late as Alexander's invasion, we know that the same confusion prevailed, Alexander himself believing that he would find the sources of the Nile in India, (Strab. xv. p.696
; Arrian, Exp. Alex.
It is not remarkable that the Greeks should have had but little knowledge of India or its inhabitants till a comparatively late period of their history, and that neither Homer nor Pindar, nor the great Greek dramatists Sophocles and Euripides, should mention by its name either India or any of its people.
It is probable that, at this early period, neither commerce nor any other cause had led the Greeks beyond the shores of Syria eastward, and that it was not till the Persian wars that the existence of vast and populous regions to the E. of Persia itself became distinctly known to them. Some individual names may have reached the ears of those who inquired; perhaps some individual travellers may have heard of these far distant realms; such, for instance, as the physician Democedes, when residing at the court of Dareius, the son of Hystaspes (Hdt. 3.127
), and Democritus of Abdera (B.C. 460--400), who is said by several authors to have travelled to Egypt, Persia, Aethiopia, and India (D. L. 9.72
; Strab. xvi. p.703
; Clem. Strom.
i. p. 304; Suidas, s. v.). Yet little was probably known beyond a few names.
The first historian who speaks clearly on the subject is Hecataeus of Miletus (B.C. 549--486).
In the few fragments which remain of his writings, and which have been carefully collected by Klausen (Berl. [p. 2.44]
1831), the Indi and the Indus (Fragm.
174 and 178), the Argante (Fragm.
176), the people of Opia on the banks of the Indus (Fragm.
175), the Calatiae, (Fragm.
177; Hdt. 3.38
; or Calantiae, Hdt. 3.97
), Gandara and the Gandarii (Fragm.
178) and their city Caspapyrus (Fragm.
179; Caspatyrus, Hdt. 3.102
), are mentioned, in company with other Eastern places. Further, it appears, from the testimony of Herodotus, that Scylax of Caryanda, who was sent by Dareius, navigated the Indus to Caspatyrus in Pactyice, and thence along the Erythraean sea by the Arabian gulf to the coast of Egypt (4.44); in the course of which voyage he must have seen something of India, of which he is said to have recorded several marvels (cf. Aristot. Pol. 7.14
; Philostr. Vit. Apoll. Tyan.
3.14; Tzetz. Child.
7.144); though Klausen has shown satisfactorily, in his edition of the fragments which remain, that the Periplus usually ascribed to this Scylax is at least as late as the time of Philip of Macedon.
The notices preserved in Herodotus and the remains of Ctesias are somewhat fuller, both having had opportunities, the one as a great traveller, the other as a resident for many years at the court of Artaxerxes, which no previous writers had had.
The knowledge of Herodotus (B.C. 484--408) is, however, limited to the account of the satrapies of Dareius; the twentieth of which, he states, compre-hended that part of India which was tributary to the Persians (3.94), the country of the most Eastern people with whom he was acquainted (3.95--102). To the S. of them, along the Indian Ocean, were, according to his view, the Asiatic Aethiopians (3.94); beyond them, desert.
He adds that the Indians were the greatest and wealthiest people known; he speaks of the Indus (on whose banks, as well as on those of the Nile, crocodiles were to be seen) as flowing through their land (4.44), and mentions by name Caspatyrus (a town of Pactyice), the nomadic Padai (3.99), and the Calatiae (3.38) or Calantiae (3.97).
He places also in the seventh satrapy the Gandarii (3.91) [GANDARAE
], a race who, under the name of Gandharas,
are known as a genuine Sanscrit-speaking tribe, and who may therefore be considered as connected with India, though their principal seat seems to have been on the W. side of the Indus, probably in the neighbourhood of the present Candahar.
Ctesias (about B.C. 400) wrote twenty-three books of Persica,
and one of Indica,
with other works on Asiatic subjects.
These are all lost, except some fragments preserved by Photius.
In his Persica
he mentions some places in Bactria (Fragm.
5, ed. Bahr) and Cyrtaea, on the Erythraean sea (Fragm.
40); and in his Indica
he gives an account of the Indus, of the manners and customs of the natives of India, and of its productions, some of which bear the stamp of a too credulous mind, but are not altogether uninteresting or valueless.
On the advance of Alexander through Bactriana to the banks of the Indus, a new light was thrown on the geography of India; and the Greeks, for the first time, acquired with tolerable accuracy some knowledge of the chief features of this remarkable country.
A number of writers--some of them officers of Alexander's army--devoted themselves to a description of different parts of his route, or to an account of the events which took place during his progress from Babylon to the Hyphasis; and to the separate narratives of Beton and Diognetus,. Nearchus, Onesicritus, Aristobulus, and Callisthenes, condensed and extracted by Strabo, Pliny, and Arrian, we owe most of our knowledge of India as it appeared to the ancients. None of the original works of these writers have been preserved, but the voyage of Nearchus (the most important of them, though the places in India he names are few in number) has been apparently given by Arrian (in his Indica
) with considerable minuteness. Nearchus seems to have kept a day-book, in which he entered the distances between each place.
He notices Pattala, on the Indus (from which he started), and Coreatis (perhaps the present Kuráchi
). Pliny, who calls this voyage that of Nearchus and One-sicritus, adds some few places, not noticed by Arrian (6.23. s. 26). Onesicritus himself considered the land of the Indians to be one-third of the whole inhabited world (Strab. xv. p.691
), and was the first writer who noticed Taprobane (Ceylon
). (Ibid. p. 691.) Both writers appear, from Strabo, to have left interesting memorials of the manners and customs of the natives (Strab. xi. p.517
, xv.p. 726) and of the natural history of the country. (Strab. xv. pp. 693, 705, 716, 717; Aelian, Ael. NA 16.39
; Plin. Nat. 6.22. s. 24
. s. 2; Tzetz. Chil.
3.13.) Aristobulus is so frequently quoted by Arrian and Strabo, that it is not improbable that he may have written a distinct work on India: he is mentioned as noticing the swelling and floods of the rivers of the Panjáb,
owing to the melting of the snow and the rain (Strab. xv. p.691
), the mouths of the Indus (p. 701), the Brachmanes at Taxila (p. 714), the trees of Hyrcania and India (xi. p. 509), the rice and the mode of its tillage (xv. p. 692), and the fish of the Nile and Indus, respectively (xv. p. 707, xvii. p. 804).
Subsequently to these writers,--probably all in the earlier part of the third century B.C.,--were some others, as Megasthenes, Daimachus, Patrocles and Timosthenes, who contributed considerably to the increasing stock of knowledge relative to India. Of these, the most valuable additions were those acquired by Megasthenes and Daimachus,who were respectively ambassadors from Seleucus to the Courts of Sandrocottus (Chandragupta) and his successor Allitrochades (Strab. ii. p.70
, xv. p. 702; Plin. Nat. 6.17. s. 21
), or, as it probably ought to be written, Amitrochades. Megasthenes wrote a work often quoted by subsequent writers, which he called τὰ Ἰνδικά
; Clem. Al. Strom. i. p. 132
; Joseph. c. Apion.
10.11.1), in which he probably embodied the results of his observations. From the fragments which remain, and which have been carefully collected by Schwanbeck (Megasthenis Indica,
Bonn, 1846), it appears that he was the first to give a tolerably accurate account of the breadth of India,--making it about 16,000 stadia (Arrian, 3.7, 8; Strab. i. p.68
, xv. p. 689),--to mention the Ganges by name, and: to state that it was larger than the Indus (Arrian, 5.6, 10, Indic.
4, 13), and to give, besides this, some notice of no less than fifteen tributaries of the Indus, and nineteen of the Ganges.
He remarked that India contained 118 nations, and so many cities that. they could not be numbered (Arrian, Indic. 7, 10
); He remarked that India contained 118 nations, and so many cities that); and observed (the first among the Greeks), the existence of castes
among the people (Strab. xv. p.703
; Arrian Ind. 11, 12
; Diod. 2.40
; Solin. 100.52
), with some peculiarities of the Indian religious system, and of the Brachmanes (or Brahmans
). [p. 2.45]
(Strab. xv. pp. 711--714; Clem. Alex. Strom.
1.131.) Again Daimachus, who lived for a long time at Palibothra (Strab. ii. p.70
), wrote a work upon India, which, though according to Strabo full of fables, must also have contained much valuable information. Patrocles, whom Strabo evidently deemed a writer of veracity (Strab. ii. p.70
), as the admiral of Seleucus, sailed upon the Indian Ocean, and left an account, in which he stated his belief that India was the same breadth that Megasthenes had maintained (Strab. ii. p.69
. xv. p. 689); but also that it could be circumnavigated--an erroneous view, which seems to have arisen from the idea, that the Caspian Sea and the Northern Ocean were connected. (Strab. ii. p.74
, xi. p. 518.)
With the establishment of the mathematical schools at Alexandria, commenced a new aera in Grecian geography; the first systematic arrangement of the divisions of the earth's surface being made by Eratosthenes (B.C. 276--161), who drew a series of parallels of latitude--at unequal distances, however--through a number of places remotely distant from one another.
According to his plan, his most southern parallel was extended through Taprobane and the Cinnamon coast (the SE. end of the Arabian Gulf
); his second parallel (at an interval of 3400 stadia) passed though the S. coast of India, the mouths of the Indus and Meroë; his third (at an interval of 5000 stadia) passed through Palibothra and Syene; his fourth (at a similar interval) connected the Upper Ganges, Indus, and Alexandria; his fifth (at an interval of 3750 stadia) passed through Thina (the capital of the Seres), the whole chain of the Emodus, Imaus, Paropamisus, and the island of Rhodes. (Strab. i. p.68
, ii. pp. 113--132.)
At the same time he drew seven parallels of longitude (or meridians), the first of which passed through the E. coast of China, the second through the mouths of the Ganges, and the third through those of the Indus. His great geographical error was that the intersection of his meridians and latitudes formed right
angles. (Strab. ii. pp. 79, 80, 92, 93.)
The shape of the inhabited portion of the globe he, compared to a Macedonian Chlamys
extended. (Strab. ii. p.118
, xi. p. 519; Macrob. Somn. Scip.
The breadth of India between the Ganges and Indus he made to be 16,000 stadia. Taprobane, like his predecessors, he held to be 5000 stadia long.
Hipparchus (about B.C. 150), the father of Greek astronomy, followed Patrocles, Daimachus, and Megasthenes, in his view of the shape of India; making it, however, not so wide at the S. as Eratosthenes had made it (Strab. ii. pp. 77, 81), but much wider towards the N., even to the extent of from 20,000 to 30,000 stadia (Strab. ii. p.68
). Taprobane he held not to be an island, but the commencement of another continent, which extended onward to the S. and W.,--following, probably, the idea which had prevailed since the time of Aristotle, that Africa and SE. India were connected on the other side of the Indian Ocean. (Mela, 3.7.7; Plin. Nat. 6.22. s. 24
.) Artemidorus (about B.C. 100) states that the Ganges rises in the Montes Emodi, flows S. till it arrives at Gange, and then E. by Palibothra to its mouths (Strab. xv. p.719
): Taprobane he considered to be about 7000 stadia long and 500 broad (Steph. B. sub voce
The whole breadth of India, from the Ganges to the Indus, he made to be 16,000 stadia. (Plin. Nat. 6.19. s. 22
The greater part of all that was known up to his time was finally reduced into a consistent shape by Strabo (B.C. 66--A.D. 36). His view of India was not materially different from that which had been the received opinion since Eratosthenes.
He held that it was the greatest and most Eastern land in the world, and the Ganges its greatest stream (ii. p. 130, xv. pp. 690, 719) ; that it stretched S. as far as the parallel of Meroe, but not so far N. as Hipparchus thought (ii. pp. 71, 72, 75); that it was in shape like a lozenge, the S. and E. being the longest sides. Its greatest breadth was 16,000 stadia on the E., its least 13,000 on the W.; its greatest length on the S., 19,000 stadia. Below the S. coast he placed Taprobane, which was, in his opinion, not less than Great Britain (ii. p. 130, xv. p. 690). Pliny the Elder and Pomponius Mela, who were contemporaries, added somewhat to the geographical knowledge previously acquired, by incorporating into their works the results of different expeditions sent out during the earlier emperors. Thus, Pliny follows Agrippa in making India 3300 M. P. long, and 2300 M. P. broad, though he him-self suggests a different and shorter distance (6.17. s. 21); while, after Seneca, he reckoned that it contained 118 peoples and 60 rivers. The Emodus, Imaus, Paropamisus, and Caucasus, he connected in one continued chain from E. to W., stating that S. of these great mountains, the land was, like Egypt, one vast plain (6.18. s. 22), comprehending many wastes and much fruitful land (6.20. s. 23). For a fuller notice of Taprobane than had been given by previous writers, he was indebted to the ambassadors of the emperor Claudius, from whom he learnt that it had towards India a length of 10,000 stadia, and 500 towns,--one, the capital, Palaesimundum, of vast size.
The sea between it and the continent is, he says, very shallow, and the distance from the nearest point a journey of four days (6.22. s. 24).
The measurements of the distances round the coast of India he gives with some minuteness, and in some instances with less exaggeration than his predecessors.
With Marinus of Tyre and Claudius Ptolemaeus, in the middle of the second century, the classical knowledge of geography may be said to terminate.
The latter, especially, has, in this branch of knowledge, exercised an influence similar to that of Aristotle in the domain of the moral and physical sciences. Both writers took a more comprehensive view of India than had been taken before, owing in some degree to the journey of a Macedonian trader named Titianus, whose travels extended along the Taurus to the capital of China (Ptol. 1.11.7
), and to the voyage of a sailor named Alexander, who found his way across the Indian Ocean to Cattigara (Ptol. 1.14.1
), which Ptolemy places in lat. 8° 30‘ S., and between 170° and 180° E. long. Hence, his idea that the Indian Ocean was a vast central sea, with land to the S. Taprobane he held to be four times as big as it really is (7.4), and the largest island in the world; and he mentions a cluster of islands to the NE. and S. (in all probability, those now known as the Maldives
In the most eastern part of India, beyond the Guaf of Bengal,
which he terms the Golden Chersonesus, he speaks of IABADIUS
and MANIOLAR; the first of which is probably that now known as Java,
while the name of the second has been most likely preserved in Manilla.
The main divisions of India into India intra Gangem
and India extra Gangem,
have been adopted by the [p. 2.46]
majority of subsequentt geogrwphers, from Ptolemy. Subsequent to this date, there are few works which fall within the range of classical geography, or which have added any information of real value on the subject of India ; while most of them have borrowed from Ptolemy, whose comprehensive work was soon a text-book in the hands of learned men. From Agathemerus (at the end of the second century) and Dionysius Periegetes (towards the end of the third century) some few particulars may be gleaned:--as for instance, from the latter, the establishment of the Indo-Scythi along the banks of the Indus, in Scinde
and, from a work known by the name of Periplus Maris Erythraei
(the date of which, though late, is not certainly determined), some interesting notices of the shores of the Indian Ocean. Festus Avienus, whose paraphrase of Dionysius Periegetes supplies some lacunae
in other parts of his work, adds nothing of interest to his metrical account of Indian Geography.
Such may serve as a concise outline of the progress of knowledge in ancient times relative to India.
Before, however, we proceed to describe the country itself under the various heads of mountains, rivers, provinces, and cities, it will be well to say a few words on the origin of the name INDIA
with some notice of the subdivisions which were in use among the earlier geographers, but which we have not thought it convenient in this place to perpetuate.
The names INDUS, INDIA, are no doubt derived from the Sanscrit appellation of the river, Sindhu,
which, in the plural form, means also the people who dwelt along its banks.
The adjoining countries have adopted this name, with slight modifications: thus, Hendu
is the form in the Zend or old Persian, Hoddu
in the Hebrew (Esther,
1.1, 8.9). The Greek language softened down the word by omitting the h,
hence Ἴνδος, Ἴνδια;
though in some instances the native name was preserved almost unchanged, as in the Σίνθος
of the Periplus Maris Erythraei. Pliny bears testimony to the native form, when he says, “Indus incolis Sindus appellatus” (6.20, s. 23).
The great divisions of India which have been usually adopted are those of Ptolemy (7.1.1
), into,--(1) India intra Gangem,
avast district, which was bounded, according to that geographer, on the W. by the Paropamisadae, Arachosia, and Gedrosia; on the N. by the Imaus, in the direction of the Sogdiani and Sacae; on the E. by the Ganges, and on the S. by a part of the Indian Ocean: and (2) India extra Gangem
), which was bounded on the W. by the Ganges; on the N. by Scythia and Serica; on the E. by the Sinae, and by a line extended from their country to the Μεγάλος κόλπος
(Gulf of Siam
); and on the S. by the Indian Ocean, and a line drawn from the island of Menuthias (Ptol. 7.2.1
), whence it appears that Ptolemy considered that the Ganges flowed nearly due N. and S. We have considered that this division is too arbitrary to be adopted here; we merely state it as the one proposed by Ptolemy and long current among geographers.
The later ecclesiastical writers made use of other terms, as ἡ ἐνδότερω Ἴνδια,
in which they included even Arabia (Socrat. H. E.
1.19; Theod. 1.23; Theoph. 1.35), and ἡ ἐσχάτη Ἴνδια
The principal mountains of India (considered as a whole) were:--the eastern portion of the Paropamisus (or Hindú--Kush
), the Imaus (Haimava
), and the Emodus (now known by the generic name of the Himálaya.
) To the extreme E. were the Monies Semanthini, the boundary of the land of the Sinae, the Montes Damassi, and the Bepyrrhus M. (probably the present Naraka M.
An extension of the M. Damassi is the Maeandrus M. (now Muin-Mura
). In India intra Gangem
Ptolemy mentions many mountains, the names of which can with difficulty be supplied with their modern representatives: as the Orudii M., in the S. extremity of the land between the Tyndis and the Chaberus'; the Uxentus M., to the N. of them; the Adisathrus M.; the Bittigo M. (probably the range now known as the Gháts
), and the M. Vindius (unquestionably the present Vindhya
), which extend NE. and SW. along the N. bank of the Nerbudda;
M. Sardonix (probably the present Sautpura
); and M. Apocopa (perhaps the present Aravelli).
The principal promontories in India are:--in the extreme E., Promontorium Magnum, the western side of the Sinus Magnus; Malaei Colon, on the S. coast of the golden peninsula; Promontorium Aureae Chersonesi, the southern termination of the Sinus Sabaracus, on the western side of the Chersonesus; Cory or Calligicum, between the S. Argaricus and the S. Colchicus, near the SW. end of the peninsula of Hindostán;
Comaria (now C. Comorin
), the most southern point of Hindostán;
Calae Carias (or Callicaris), between the towns Anamagara and Muziris; Simylla (or Semylla, the southern end of the S. Barygazenus, perhaps the present C. St. John
), and Maleum.
In the same direction from E. to W. are the following gulfs and bays:--the Sinus Magnus (now Gulf of Siam
); S. Perimulicus, and Sabaricus, on the E. and W. side of the Chersonesus Aurea; S. Gangeticus (Bay of Bengal
), S. Argaricus, opposite the N. end of Taprobane (probably Palks Bay
); S. Colchicus (Bay of Manaar
); S. Barygazenus (Gulf of Cambay
), and S. Canthi (most likely the Gulf of Cutch
The rivers of India are very numerous, and many of them of great size.
The most important (from E. to W.) are the Dorias (Saiven?
) and Doanas (the Irrawaddy
), the Chrysoana, Besynga, the Tocosanna (probably the present Arrakan
), and the Catabeda (now Curmsul
); the Ganges, with many tributaries, themselves large rivers. [GANGES
] Along the W. side of the Bay of Bengal
are the Adamas (Brahmini
), Dosaron (Mahanádi
), Maesolus (Godávári
), Tyndis (Kistna
), and the Chaberis or Chaberus (the Cáveri
). Along the shores of the Indian Ocean are the Nanaguna (Tarty
), the Namadus (Narmadá
), and lastly the Indus, with its several tributaries. [INDUS
The towns in India known to the ancients were very numerous; yet it is remarkable that but few details have been given concerning them in the different authors of whose works fragments still remain. Generally, these writers seem to have been content with a simple list of the names, adding, in some instances, that such a place was an important mart for commerce.
The probability is, that, even so late as Ptolemy, few cities had reached sufficient importance to command the productions of an extensive surrounding country; and that, in fact, with one or two exceptions, the towns which he and others enumerate were little more than the head places of small districts, and in no sense capitals of great empires, such as Ghazna, Delhi,
have become in later periods of Indian history. Beginning from the extreme E., the principal states and towns mentioned in the ancientwriters are: Perimula [p. 2.47]
on the E. coast of the Golden Chersonests (in the neighbourhood of Malacca
); Tacola (perhaps Tavai
); Triglyphon, in the district of the Cyrrhadiae, at the mouth of the Brahmaputra
); and Cattigara, the exact position of which has been much disputed among geographers, but which Lassen has placed conjecturally in Borneo.
Northward of Triglyphon are a number of small districts, about which nothing certain is known, as Chalcitis, Basanarae, Cacobae, and Aminachae, the Indraprathae, and Iberingae; and to the W., along the swamp-land at the foot of the Himálaya
chain, are the Tiladae, Passalae, Corancali,and the Tacaraei. All the above may be considered as belonging to India extra Gangem.
Again, from the line of coast from E. to W., the first people along the western mouths of the Ganges are called the Gangaridae, with their chief town Gange (in the neighbourhood of the modern Calcutta
); the Calingae, with their chief towns Parthalis and Dandagula (the latter probably Calinapattana,
about halfway between Mahánadi
); the Maesoli and Maesolia, occupying nearly the same range of coast as that now called the Circars,
with the capital Pitynda, and Conta. cossyla ( Masulipattana?
) and Alosygna on the seacoast; W. of the Maesolus (Godávari
), the Arvarni, with the chief town Malanga (probably Mandarágja,
the present Madras
). Then follow the Soringi and Bati, till we come to the land of Pandion (Πανδίονος χώρα
), which extends to the southern extremity of the peninsula of Hindustán,
and was a district of great wealth and importance at the time of the Periplus. (Peripl.
pp. 31, 33.)
There can be no doubt that the land of Pandion is the same as the Indian Pdndja,
and its capital Modura the present Matshra.
Within the same district were Argara (whence the S. Argaricus derives its name), the Carci, and the Colchi.
At the SW. end of the peninsula were Cottiara (Cochin
), and Comaria, whence the promontory Comorin
derives its name. Following the western coast, we arrive at Limyrica (Peripl.
pp. 30, 36), undoubtedly in the neighbourhood of Mangalore,
with its chief towns Carura (most likely Coimbatore,
where a great quantity of Roman coins have been dug up during the last fifteen years) and Tyndis (in the neighbourhood of Goa);
and then Musopale, Nitrae, and Mandagara; all places on the sea-coast, or at no great distance from it. Somewhat further inland, within the district known generically at the time of the Periplus by the name of Dachinabades (Dakhinabháda,
), was the district of Ariaca (Ἀρίακα Σαδανῶν, Ptol. 7.1
. § § 6, 82; cf. Peripl.
p. 30), with its chief town Hippocura (Nandira
if not, as Ritter has imagined, the sea-port Mangalore
); Baetana, Simylla (on the coast near Bassein
), Omenagara (undoubtedly the celebrated fortress Ahmed-nagard
), and Tagara (Peripl.
p. 19), the present Deoghir.
Further N., the rich commercial state of Larice appears to have extended from the Namadus (Narmadá
) to Barygaza (Beroaclh
) and the Gulf of Cambay.
Its chief town was, in Ptolemy's time, Ozene (Oujein
), a place well known to the antiquaries of India for the vast numbers of the earliest Indian coinage constantly found among its ruins; Minnagara, the position of which is doubtful, and Barygaza, the chief emporium of the commerce of Western India. North of Larice was Syrastrene (Saurashtran
), to the west of the Gulf of Cambay;
and still further to the westward, at the mouths of the Indus, Pattalene (Lower Scinde,
and the neigh-bourhood of Kuráchi
), with its capital Pattala (Pótala.
It is much more difficult to determine the exact site of the various tribes and nations mentioned in ancient authors as existing in the interior of the country, than it is to ascertain the corresponding modern localities of those which occupied the seacoast. Some, however, of them can be made out with sufficient certainty, by comparison of their classical names with the Sanscrit records, and in some instances with the modern native appellations. Following, then, the course of the Indus northwards, we find, at least in the times of Ptolemy and of the Periplus, a wide-spread race of Scythian origin, occupying both banks of the river, in a district called, from them, INDO-SCYTHIA. The exact limits of their country cannot now be traced; but it is probable that they extended from Pattalene on the S. as far as the lower ranges of the Hindú--Kush,
--in fact, that their empire swayed over the whole of modern Scinde
and the Panjáb;
a view which is borne out by the extensive remains of their Topes and coinage, which are found throughout these districts, and especially to the northward, near the head waters of the three western of the Five Rivers.
A great change. had no doubt taken place by the successful invasion of a great horde of Scythians towards the close of the second century B.C., as they are known to have overthrown the Greek kingdom of Bactriana, at the same time effacing many of the names of the tribes whom Alexander had met with two centuries before, such as the Aspasii, Assaceni, Massiani, Hippasii; with the towns of Acadera, Daedala, Massaga, and Embolima, which are preserved in Arrian, and others of Alexander's historians.
Further N., along the bases of the Paropamisus, Imaus, and Emodus, in the direction from W. to E., we find mention of the Sampatae, the district Suastene (now Sewad
), and Goryaea, with the towns Gorya and Dionysopolis, or Nagara (now Nagar
); and further E., between the Suastus and the Indus, the Gandarae (one, doubtless, of the original seats of the Gandháras
). Following the mountain-range to the E., we come to Caspiria (now Cashmír,
in earlier times known, as we have seen, to Herodotus, under the name of Caspatyrus). Southward of Cashmir
was the territory of Varsa, with its capital Taxila, a place of importance so early as the time of Alexander (Arrian, 5.8), and probably indicated now by the extensive remains of Manikyála
vol. i. p. 65), if, indeed, these are not too much to the eastward.
A little further S. was the land of Pandous (Πανδώου χώρα,
doubtless the representative of one of the Pandava dynasties of early Hindú history), during the time of Alexander the territory of the king Porus. Further eastward were the state Cylindrine, with the sources of the Sutledge,
Jumna, and Ganges; and the Gangani, whose territory extended into the highest range of the Himálaya.
Many small states and towns are mentioned in the historians of Alexander's campaigns along the upper Panjáb.
which we cannot here do more than glance at, as Peucelaotis (Puskkalávati
), Nicaea, Bucephala, the Glaucanitae, and the Sibae or Sibi. Following next the course of the Ganges, we meet with the Daetichae, the Nanichae, Prasiaca; and the Mandalae, with its celebrated capital Palibothra (beyond all doubt the present Pátaliputra,
), situated at the junction of [p. 2.48]
the Erannoboas (Hiranjávaha
) and the Ganges; with some smaller states, as the Surasenae, and the towns Methora and Clisobra, which were subject to the Prasii. Southward from Palibothra, in the interior of the plain country, dwelt the Cocconagae, on the banks of the Adamas, the Sabârae, the Salaceni, the Drillophyllitae, the Adeisathri, with their capital Sagida (probably the present Sohagpur
), situated on the northern spurs of the Vindhya,
at no great distance from the sources of the Sonus. Be-tween the Sonus and the Ganges were the Bolingae.
In a NW. direction, beyond the Sonus and the Vindhya,
we find a territory called Sandrabatis, and the Gymnosophistae, who appear to have occupied the country now called Sirhind,
as far as the river Sutledge.
The Caspeiraei (at least in the time of Ptolemy; see Ptol. 7.1.47
) seem to have extended over a considerable breadth of country, as their sacred town Modura (Μόδουρα ἡ τῶν θεῶν
) was situated, apparently, at no great distance from the Nerbudda,
though its exact position has not been identified.
The difficulty of identification is much, indeed, increased by the error of reckoning which prevails throughout Ptolemy, who held that the coast of India towards the Indian Ocean was in a straight line E. and W. from Taprobane and the Indus, thereby placing Nanaguna and the Namadus in the same parallel of latitude. On the southern spurs of the Vindhya,
between the Namadus and Nanaguna, on the edge of the Deccan,
were the Phyllitae and Gondali; and to the E. of them, between the Bittigo M. and the river Chaberus (Cáveri
), the nomad Sorae (Σῶραι νομάδες
), with a chief town Sora, at the eastern end of M. Bittigo. To the southward of these, on the Chaberus and Solen, were several smaller tribes, the Brachmani Magi, the Ambastae, Bettigi or Bitti, and the Tabassi.
All the above-mentioned districts and towns of any importance are more fully described under their respective names.
The ancients appear to have known but little of the islands which are now considered to form part of the East Indies, with the exception of Taprobane or Ceylon,
of which Pliny and Ptolemy have left some considerable notices.
The reason is, that it was not till a much later period of the world's his-tory that the Indian Archipelago was fully opened out by its commercial resources to scientific inquiry. Besides Ceylon,
however, Ptolemy mentions, in its neighbourhood, a remarkable cluster of small islands, doubtless (as we have remarked before) those now known as the Laccadives
the island of labadius (Java
), below the Chersonesus Aurea; and the Satyrorum Insulae, on the same parallel with the S. end of this Chersonesus, which may perhaps answer to the Anamba
Of the government of India, considered as a whole, comparatively little was known to the Greek writers; indeed, with the exception of occasional names of kings, it may be asserted that they knew nothing E. of Palibothra. Nor is this strange; direct connection with the interior of the country ceased with the fall of the Graeco-Bactrian empire; from that period almost all the information about India which found its way to the nations of the West was derived from the merchants and others, who made voyages to the different out-ports of the country.
It may be worth while to state briefly here some of the principal rulers mentioned by the Greek and Roman writers; premising that, previous to the ad. vance of Alexander, history is on these subjects silent. Previous, indeed, to Alexander, we have nothing on which we can rely.
There is no evidence that Darius himself invaded any part of India, though a portion of the NW. provinces of Bactria may have paid him tribute, as stated by Herodotus.
The expeditions of Dionysus and Hercules, and the wars of Sesostris and Semiramis in India, can be considered as nothing more than fables too credulously recorded by Ctesias.
At the time of the invasion of Alexander the Great, there can be no doubt that there was a settled monarchy in the western part of India, and his dealings with it are very clearly to be made out.
In the north of the Panjáb
was the town or district Taxila (probably Manikyála,
or very near it), which was ruled by a king named Taxiles ; it being a frequent Indian custom to name the king from the place he ruled over. His name in Diodorus is Mophis (17.86), and in Curtius, Omphis (8.12), which was probably the real one, and is itself of Indian origin.
It appears that Alexander left his country as he found it. (Strab. xv. pp. 698, 699, 716.)
The name of Taxiles is not mentioned in any Indian author.
The next ruler Alexander met with was Porus (probably Paurava
Sanscr., a change which Strabo indicates in that of Δαριαύην
), with whom Taxiles had been at war. (Arrian, 5.21.) Alexander appears to have succeeded in reconciling them, and to have increased the empire of Porus, so as to make his rule comprehend the whole country between the Hydaspes and Acesines. (Arrian, 5.20, 21, 29.) His country is not named in any Indian writer. Shortly afterwards, Alexander received an embassy and presents from Abisaris (no doubt Abhisára
), whose territory, as has been shown by Prof. Wilson from the Annals of Cashmir,
must have been in the mountains in the southern part of that province. (Asiat. Res.
vol. xv. p. 116.)
There had been previously a war between this ruler and the Malli, Oxydracae, and the people of the Lower Panjáb,
which had ended in nothing. Alexander confirmed Abisaris in the possession of his own territory, made Philip satrap of the Malli and Oxydracae, and Pytho of the land between the confluence of the Indus and Acesines and the sea (Arrian, 6.15); placing, at the same time, Oxyarces over the Paropamisadae. (Arr. 6.15.)
It may be observed that, in the time of Ptolemy, the Cashmirians appear to have held the whole of the Panjáb,
so far as the Vindhya
mountains, a portion of the southern country being, however, in the hands of the Malli and Cathaei.
The same state of things prevailed for some time after the death of Alexander, as appears by a decree of Perdiccas, mentioned in Diodorus (18.3
), and with little material change under Antipater. (Diod. 18.39
.) Indeed, the provinces remained true to the Macedonians till the commencement of the rule of the Prasii, when Sandrocottus took up arms against the Macedonian governors. (Just. 15.4
The origin of this rebellion is clearly traceable. Porus was slain by Eudamus about B.C. 317 (Diod. 19.14
); hence Sandrocottus must have been on the throne about the time that Seleucus took Babylon, B.C. 312.
The attempt of the Indians to recover their freedom was probably aided by the fact that Porus had been slain by a Greek. Sandrocottus, as king of the Prasii (Sansc. Prachya
) and of the nations on the Ganges, made war with Seleucus Nicator, who penetrated far into India. Plutarch says he ruled over all India, but this is not likely. (Plut, Alex.
It appears [p. 2.49]
that he crossed the Indus, and obtained by marriage Arachosia, Gedrosia, and the Paropamisadae, from Seleucus. (Strab. xv. p.724
; Appian, App. Syr. 55
It was to his court that Megasthenes (as we have before stated) was sent. Sandrocottus was succeeded by Amitrochates (Sansc. Amitraghátas
), which is almost certainly the true form of the name, though Strabo calls him Allitrochades.
He was the contemporary of Antiochus Soter. (Ath. 14.652
It is clear, from Athenaeus (l.c.
), that the same friendship was maintained between the two descendants as between the two fathers. Daimachus was sent as ambassador to Palibothra. (Strab. ii. p.70
.) Then came the wars between the Parthians and Bactrians, and the more complete establishment of the Graeco-Bactrian kingdom, under Menander, Apollodotus, Eucratides, and their successors, to which we cannot here do more than allude.
The effect, however, of these wars was to interrupt communication between the East and the West; hence the meagre nature of the historical records of the period.
The expedition of Antiochus the Great to India brought to light the name of another king, Sophagasenus (Plb. 11.32
), who was, in all probability, king of the Prasii. The Scythians finally put an end to the Bactrian empire about B.C. 136. (De Guignes, Mém. de l'Acad. d. Inscr.
xxv. p. 17.)
This event is noticed in the Periplus (p. 22), where, however, Parthi must be taken to mean Scythi. (See also Periplus,
p. 24; Dionys. Perieg. w. 1087--1088.) Eustathius adds, in his commentary on Dionysius:--οἱ καὶ Ἰνδασκύθαι συνθέτως λεγομένοι.
Minnagara was their chief town, a name, as appears from Isid. Char. ( p. 9), which was partly Scythian and partly Sanscrit. (Cf. also De Guignes, l.c.
The Scythians were in their turn driven out of India by Vicrámaditya, about B.C. 56 (Colebrooke, Ind. Algebra,
Lond. 1817, p. 43), who established his seat of empire at Oujein (Ujjayini).
At the time when the Periplus was compiled, the capital had been again changed, as we there read, Ὀζήνη, ἐν ᾗ καὶ τὰ Βασιλεία πρότερον ἦν.
It is remarkable that no allusion has been found in any of the early literature of the Hindus to Alexander the Great; but the effect of the later expeditions of the Bactrian kings is apparently indicated under the name of the Yavana.
In the astronomical works, the Yavana
are barbarians who understood astronomy, whence it has been conjectured by Colebrooke that the Alexandrians are referred to. (Ind. Algebra,
p. 80.) Generally, there can be no doubt that the Yavana
mean nations to the W. of India. Thus, in the Mahabhárata, they make war on the Indians, in conjunction with the Páradi (i. e. Parthi), and the Sacae or Scythians. (Lassen, Pentap.
In the Drama of the Mudra-Ráxasa, which refers to the war between Chandragupta and another Indian King, it is stated that Cusumapura (i. e. Palibothra) was surrounded by the Cirratae, Yavani, Cambogi, Persae, Bactrians, and the other forces of Chandragupta, and the king of the Mountain Regions. Lassen thinks, with much reason, that this refers to Seleucus, who, in his war with Chandragupta, reached, as we know, Palibothra. (Plin. Nat. 6.17
With regard to the commerce of ancient India, which we have every reason to suppose was very extensive, it is impossible in this place to do more than to indicate a few of the principal facts. Indeed, the commerce of India, including the northern and the southern districts, may be considered as an epitome of the commerce of the world, there being few productions of any other country which may not be found somewhere within its vast area.
The principal directions in which the commerce of ancient India flowed were, between Western India and Africa, between the interior of the Deccan
and the outports of the southern and western coast of the Indian Ocean, between Ceylon
and the ports of the Coromandel
coast, between the Coromandel
coast and the Aurea Chersonesus, and, in the N., along the Ganges and into Tátary and the territory of the Sinae.
There appears also to have been a remarkable trade with the opposite coast of Africa, along the district now called Zanguebar,
in sesamum, rice, cotton goods, cane-honey (sugar), which was regularly sent from the interior of Ariaca (Concan
) to Barygaza (Beroach
), and thence westward. (Peripl.
p. 8.) Arab sailors are mentioned who lived at Muza (Mocha
), and who traded with Barygaza. (Peripl.
p. 12.) Banians of India had established themselves on the N. side of Socotra, called the island of Dioscorides (Peripl.
p. 1]7): while, even so early as Agatharchides, there was evidently an active commerce between Western India and Yemen. (Agatharch. p. 66, ed. Hudson.) Again, the rapidity with which Alexander got his fleet together seems to show that there must have been a considerable commerce by boats upon the Indus.
At the time of the Periplus there was a chain of ports along the western coast,--Barygaza (Beroach
), Muziris in Limyrica (Mangalore
), Nelkynda (Neliceram
), Pattala (once supposed to be Tatta, but much more probably Hydrabád
), and Calliene, now Gallian (Peripl.
p. 30): while there were three principal emporia for merchandise,--Ozene (Oujein
), the chief mart of foreign commerce, (vide an interesting account of its ruins, Asiat. Res.
vol. vi. p. 36), and for the transmission of the goods to Barygaza; Tagara, in the interior of the Deccan
(almost certainly Deeoghir
), whence the goods were conveyed over difficult roads to Barygaza and Pluthana or Plithana, a place the exact position of which cannot now be determined, but, from the character of the products of the place, must have been-somewhere in the Gháts.
Along the Regio Paralia to
the S., and on the Coromandel
coast, were several ports of consequence; and extensive pearl fisheries in the kingdom of king Pandion, near Colchi, and near the island of Epiodorus, where the πιννικόν
(a silky thread spun from the Pinna-fish) was procured. (Peripl.
p. 33). Further to the N. were,--Masalia (Masulipatarm
), famous for its cotton goods (Peripl.
p. 35); and Gange, a great mart for muslin, betel, pearls, &c., somewhere near the mouth of the Ganges, its exact locality, however, not being now determinable. (Peripl.
The commerce of Ceylon (Selandib,
i. e. Sinhala-dwipa
) was in pearls of the best class, and precious stones of all kinds, especially the ruby and the emerald.
The notices in Ptolemy and Pliny shew that its shores were well furnished with commercial towns (Ptol. 7.4
.. § § 3, 4, 5), while we know from the narrative of Cosmas Indicopleustes (ap. Montfaucon, Coll. Nova Bibl. Patr.
vol. ii.) that it was, in the sixth century A.D., the centre of Hindu commerce. Besides these places, we learn that there was an emporium upon the Coromandel
coast, whence the merchant ships crossed over to Chryse (in all probability Malacca
), in the Aurea Chersonesus; the name of it, however, is not specified.
It is probable, however, that the greatest line of commerce was from the N. and W. along the [p. 2.50]
Ganges, commencing with Taxila near the Indus, or Lahore
on that river, and passing thence to Palibothra.
This was called the Royal Road.
It is remarkable that the Ramayana describes a road from Ayodhiya (Oude
), over the Ganges and the Jumna, to Hastinapúra
which must be nearly identical with that mentioned in the Greek geographers.
The commerce, which appears to have existed between the interior of Asia, India, and the land of the Sinae and Serica, is very remarkable.
It is stated that from Thina (the capital of the Sinae) fine cottons and silk were sent on foot to Bactra, and thence down the Ganges to Limyrica. (Peripl.
p. 36.) The Periplus speaks of a sort of annual fair which was held within the territory of the Thinae, to which malabathron (betel) was imported from India.
It is not easy to make out whereabouts Thina itself was situated, and none of the modern attempts at identification appear to us at all satisfactory: it is clearly, however, a northern town, in the direction of Ladakh
and not, as Ptolemy placed it, at Malacca
or, as Vincent (Voyage of Nearchus,
vol. ii. p. 735) conjectured, at Arraoan.
It is curious that silk should be so constantly mentioned as an article of import from other countries, especially Serica, as
there is every reason to suppose that it wag indigenous in India; the name for silk throughout the whole of the Indian Archipelago being the Sanscrit word sutra.
(Colebrooke, Asiat. Res.
vol. v. p. 61.)
It is impossible to give in this work any details as to the knowledge of ancient India exhibited in the remains of native poems or histories.
The whole of this subject has been examined with great ability by Lassen in his Indische Alterthumskcunde;
and to his pages, to which we are indebted for most of the Sanscrit names which we have from time to time inserted, we must refer our readers. From the careful comparison which has been made by Lassen and other orientalists (among whom Pott deserves especial mention) of the Indian names preserved by the Greek writers, a great amount of evidence has been adduced in favour of the general faithfulness of those who recorded what they saw or heard.
In many instances, as may be seen by the names we have already quoted, the Greek writers have been content with a simple adaptation of the sounds which they heard to those best suited for their own pronunciation. When we consider the barbarous words which have come to Europe in modern times as the European representations of the names of places and peoples existing at the present time, we have reason to be surprised at the accuracy with which Greek ears appreciated, and the Greek language preserved, names which must have appeared to Greeks far more barbarous than they would have seemed to the modern conquerors of the country.
The attention of modern scholars has detected many words of genuine Indian origin in a Greek dress; and an able essay by Prof. Tychsen on such words in the fragments of Ctesias will repay the perusal of those who are interested in such subjects. (See Heeren, Asiatic Nations,
vol. ii. Append. 4, ed. Lond. 1846.)
The generic name of the inhabitants of the whole country to the E. of Persia and S. of the Himálaya
mountains (with the exception of the Seres) was, in ancient times, INDI (Ἰνδοί
), or Indians.
It is true that the appellation referred to a much wider or much less extensive range of country, at different periods of history.
There can, however, be no, doubt, that when the ancient writers speak of the INDI, they mean the inhabitants of a vast territory in the SE. part of Asia.
The extension of the meaning of the name depended on the extension of the knowledge of India, and may be traced, though less completely, in the same manner as we have traced the gradual progress of knowledge relative to the land itself. The Indi are mentioned in more than one of the fragments of Hecataeus (Hecat. Fraym.
175, 178), and are stated by Aeschylus to have been a people in the neighbourhood of the Aethiopians, who made use of camels. (Suppl.
284--287.) Herodotus is the first ancient author who may be said to give any real description of them; and he is led to refer to them, only because a portion of this country, which adjoined the territory of Dareius, was included in one of the satrapies of his vast empire, and, therefore, paid him tribute. Some part of his narrative (3.94--106, 4.44, 7.65) may be doubted, as clearly from hearsay evidence; some is certainly fabulous.
The sum of it is, that the Indians were the most populous and richest nation which he knew of (3.94), and that they consisted of many different tribes, speaking different languages. Some of them, he states, dwelt in the immediate neighbourhood of the Aethiopians, and were, like them, black in colour (3.98, 101); some, in the marshes and desert land still further E.
The manners of these tribes, whom he calls Padaei, and Callatiae or Calantiae, were in the lowest grade of civilisation,--a wandering race, living on raw flesh and raw fish, and of cannibal habits. (Cf. Strab. xv. p.710
, from which Mannert, 5.1. p. 3, infers that the Padaei were not after all genuine Indians, but Tátars.) Others (and these were the most warlike) occupied the more northern districts in the neighbourhood of Caspatyrus (Cashmir
) in the Regio Pactyice.
Herodotus places that part of India which was subject to Dareius in the 20th satrapy, and states that the annual tribute from it amounted to 360 talents (3.94). Xenophon speaks of the Indians as a great nation. and one worthy of alliance with Cyaxares and the Medes (1.5.3, 3.2.25, 6.2.1), though he does not specify to what part of India he refers.
That, however, it was nearly the same as that which Herodotus describes, no one can doubt.
From the writers subsequent to Alexander, the following particulars relative to the people and their manners may be gathered.
The ancients considered that they were divided into seven castes:--1. Priests,
the royal counsellors, and nearly connected with, if not the same as, the Βραχμᾶνες
or Brahmins. (Strab. xv. pp. 712--716; Arrian, Ind. 11
With these Strabo (l.c.
) makes another class, whom he calls rappjaves.
These, as Grosskurd (iii. p. 153) has suggested, would seem, from the description of their habits, to have been fakirs,
or penitents, and the same as the Gymnosophistae so often mentioned by Strabo and Arrian.
This caste was exempted from taxes and service in war. 2. Husbandnmen,
who were free from war-service. They were the most numerous of the seven castes. (Strab. xv. p.704
The land itself was held to belong to the king, who farmed it out, leaving to the cultivator one-fourth of the produce as his share. 3. Hunters and shepherds,
who lead a wandering life, their office being to rear cattle and beasts of burden: the horse and the elephant were held to be for the kings only. (Strab. l.c.
) 4. Artizans and handicraftsmen,
of all kinds. (Strab. xv. p.707
.) 5. Warriors.
) 6. Political officers
Strab. [p. 2.51]l.c.
), who looked after affairs in the towns, &c., and reported secretly to the king. 7. The Royal Counsellors,
who presided over the administration of justice (Strab. l.c.
), and kept the archives of the realm.
It was not permitted for intermarriages to take place between any of these classes, nor for any one to perform the office allotted to another, except in the case of the first caste (called also that of the φιλοσοφοί
), to which class a man might be raised from any of the other classes. (Strab. l.c.; Arrian Ind. chap. 12
; Diod. 2.41
; Plin. Nat. 6.19. s. 22
.) We may remark that the modern writers on India recognise only four castes, called respectively Brahmans, Kshatryas, Vaisyas,
--a division which Ieeren has suggested (we think without sufficient evidence) to indicate the remains of distinct races. (Asiat. Nat.
vol. ii. p. 220.)
The lowest of the people (now called Pariahs), as belonging to none of the above castes, are nowhere distinctly mentioned by ancient writers (but cf. Strab. xv. p.709
; Diod. 2.29
; Arrian Ind. chap. 10
The general description of the Indians, drawn from Megasthenes and others who had lived with them, is very pleasing. Theft is said to have been unknown, so that houses could be left unfastened. (Strab. xv. p.709
.) No Indian was known to speak falsehood. (Strab. l.c.; Arrian Ind. chap. 12
.) They were extremely temperate, abstaining wholly from wine (Strab. l.c.
),--their hatred of drunkenness being so great that any girl of the harem, who should see the king drunk, was at liberty to kill him. (Strab. xv. p.710
.) No class eat meat (Hdt. 3.100
), their chief sustenance being rice, which afforded them also a strong drink, i. e. arrak.
(Strab. xv. p.694
.) Hence an especial freedom from diseases, and long lives; though maturity was early developed, especially in the female sex, girls of seven years old being deemed marriageable. (Strab. xv. pp. 701--706; Arrian, Arr. Anab. 9
The women are said to have been remarkable for their chastity, it being impossible to tempt them with any smaller gifts than that of an elephant (Arrian Ind. chap. 17
), which was not considered discreditable by their countrymen; and the usual custom of marriage was for the father to take his daughters and to give them in marriage to the youths who had distinguished themselves most in gymnastic exercises. (Arrian, l.c.; Strab. xv. p.717
.) To strangers they ever showed the utmost hospitality. (Diod. 2.42
As warriors they were notorious (Arrian Ind. chap. 9
; Exped. Alex.
5.4; Plut. Alex. 100.59
): the weapons of the footsoldiers being bows and arrows, and a great two-handed sword; and of the cavalry, a javelin and a round shield (Arrian, Ind.
c, 16; Strab. xv. p.717
; Curt. 8.9
In the Panjáb,
it is said that the Macedonians encountered poisoned arrows. (Diod. 17.103
.) Manly exercises of all kinds were in vogue among them.
The chase was the peculiar privilege of royalty (Strab. xv. pp. 709--712; Ctes. Ind.
14; Curt. 8.9
, seq.); gymnastics, music, and dancing, of the rest of the people (Strab. xv. p.709
; Arrian, Exp. Alex.
6.3); and juggling and slight of hand were then, as now, among their chief amusements. (Aelian, 8.7; Juv. 6.582
.) Their usual dress befitted their hot climate, and was of white linen (Philost. Vit. Apoll.
2.9) or of cottonstuff (Strab. xv. p.719
; Arrian Ind. chap. 16
); their heads and shoulders partially covered (Arrian, l.c.; Curt. 8.9
) or shaded from the sun by umbrellas (Arrian, l.c.
); with shoes of white leather, with very thick and many-coloured soles. (Arrian, l. c.
) Gold and ivory rings and ear-rings were in common use; and they were wont to dye their beards, not only black and white, but also red and green. (Arrian, l.c.
) In general form of body, they were thin and elegantly made, with great litheness (Arrian, Ind.
c, 17; Strab. ii. p.103
, xv. p. 695), but were larger than other Asiatics. (Arrian, Exped. Alex.
5.4; Plin. Nat. 7.2
Some peculiar customs they had, which have lasted to the present day, such as self-immolation by water or fire, and throwing themselves from precipices (Strab. xv. pp. 716, 718; Curt. 8.9
; Arrian, ]Exped. Alex.
7.5; Lucan 3.42
; Plin.6.19. s. 20), and the burning of the widow (suttee
); not, indeed, agreeably to any fixed law, but rather according to custom. (Strab. xv. pp. 699--714; Diod. 17.91
; Cic. Tusc. Disp. 5.2. 7
) For writing materials they used the bark of trees (Strab. xv. p.717
; Curt. 9.15
), probably much as the modern Cinghalese use the leaf of the palm. Their houses were generally built of wood or of the bamboo-cane; but in the cold mountain districts, of clay. (Arrian, Ind.
It is a remarkable proof of the extent to which civilisation had been carried in ancient India, that there were, throughout great part of the country, high roads, with stones set up (answering to our milestones), on which were inscribed the name of the place and the distance to the next station. (Strab. xv. pp. 689--708; Arrian Ind. chap. 3