Rawlinson, H. G. Intercourse between India and the western world from the earliest times to the fall of Rome

(Cambridge :  University Press,  1916.)



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40    1 he Maurya Empire.   Megasthenes

Indian monarch. His work, though no longer
extant, is known to us from numerous citations by
Strabo, Pliny, Arrian, Diodorus, Photius and others^.
Megasthenes was originally stationed at the
court of Syburtius, satrap of Arachosia^. He
was ordered to proceed to India about 302 B.C.
Whether he also visited the court of another Indian
prince, to whom the generic name of " Porus " is
given^, and whether he paid one or many visits
to the Maurya monarch*, is not quite certain.
" He dwelt for some time," says Solinus, " with
Indian kings, and wrote a History of India, that
he might hand down to posterity a faithful account
of what he saw there." The credibility of his
narrative was generally accepted in ancient times,
—Arrian calls him a " trustworthy person^ "—
though the sceptical Strabo, disgusted by the im¬
possibility of distinguishing truth from falsehood in
the many conflicting accounts of India, roundly calls

^ Collected by Schwanbeck (Bonn, 1846). For the life
of Megasthenes, see the introduction to this work, and the
Preface to Miiller's edition.

^ See Arrian, Exped. Alex. v. 6, 2.

^ Schwanbeck emends XIcopw en tovtov fxect,ovi to Ilwpov eVi
TovTw fjiii^ovL, " Greater even than Porus."

*  IIoAAaKts 8e Aeyet M.eya(r6ev7]<; d(f)LK€adai irapa '^avSpa.KOTTOv.

(Arrian, Exped. Alex. v. 6, 2), This may mean that Mega¬
sthenes often went to Pataliputra, or often visited Chandra¬
gupta when at Pataliputra,

^ 80K1/AOS dvy'ip. He classes him with Eratosthenes,
Strabo, who has the highest opinion of Eratosthenes, differs
entirely from this view.
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