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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172  Effects of the Intercourse between

of the Rdmdyana or Mahabhdrata'^, some episodes
of which resemble the Iliad to a certain degree ?
The assertion that an author as late as Kalidasa
had read not only Menander but Plautus seems to
be absolutely unwarranted ^. If the Indian drama
was actually affected by Hellenistic influences in
the Baktrian or Kushan period, we may trace to
the same time the supposed debt of Indian to
Greek medicine. Charaka, said to have been the
court physician of Kanishka, prescribes rules for
the Indian doctor which resemble very minutely
the oath which the Greek physician, according
to Hippokrates, had to take upon entering on his
duties. The Indian theory of the three humours
has been also traced to Greek sources^.

It is, however, in one respect only that we can
definitely ascribe any real debt on the part of
India to Greece. This is in the science of astro¬
nomy*.    The Indians frankly acknowledged their

^ The Mahdbhdrata, the present recension of which is
about   300 A.D., contains some Greek words, e.g. saptantrl

mnd   {kirrdrovos cf)6p/xiy$)   III. I34.   I4;   trikona   (rptya)j/09) XIV.

88. 32; barbardn {^dp^apo?) in. 51. 23. Greeks are mentioned
II. 14. 4, III. 254. 18, xii. 207. 43. Romans are mentioned
II. 51. 17. Greeks are called sarvajnd viii. 45. 36, probably
for their proficiency in astronomy.

2 V. A. Smith, Graeco-Roman Influence on the Civilization
of Ancient India {J.R.A.S. 1889).

' Hoernle, Ancient Indian Medicine {J.R.A.S. 1908,
p. 997, 1909, p. 857 ff.).

* Kaye, in J.R.A.S. 1910, p. 759. Von Schroder, Indiens
Lit. und Cultur. Barnett, Antiquities of India, Ch. vi. Weber,
Ind. Lit. p. 247.   Fleet attributes to this period the week of
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