Ancient India as described by Megasthenes and Arrian is a classic work on the ancient geography of India. This is an English translation of the fragments of the Indika of Megasthenes collected by Dr. Schwanbeck, and of the first part of the Indika of Arrian.
John Watson McCrindle was born near Maybole, Ayrshire, educated at Maybole and Edinburgh universities, and taught at the Patna and Krishnagar colleges. He retired in 1860s as Principal of the Patna College. His contribution to the knowledge of Indian history comprises the following works: Ancient India as described by Megasthenes and Arrian; The Commerce and Navigation of the Erythraean Sea; Ancient India as described by Ptolemy; Invasion of India by Alexander the Great; and Ancient India as described in Classical Literature. These five books give a nearly complete collection of all works and incidental notices relating to India contained in Greek and Roman literature.
THE account of India written by Megasthenes from his personal knowledge of the country is justly held to be almost invaluable for the light which it throws upon the obscurity of early Indian history. Though, unfortunately, not extant in its original form, it has nevertheless been partially preserved by means of epitomes and quotations to be found scattered up and down the writings of various ancient authors, both Greek and Roman. Dr.Schwanbeck, of Bonn, rendered historical literature a good service by collecting and arranging in their proper order these detached fragments. The work thus reconstructed, and entitled Megasthenis Indica, has now been before the world for upwards of thirty years. It has not, however, so far as I know, been as yet translated at least into our language, and hence it is but little known beyond the circles of the learned. The translation now offered, which goes forth from the very birth-place of the original work, will therefore for the first time place it within the reach of the general public.
A translation of the first part of the Indika of Arrian has been subjoined, both because it gives in a connected form a general description of India, and because that description was based chiefly on the work of Megasthenes.
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