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Hellenism in Ancient India

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Item Code: BAE029
Author: Gauranga Nath Banerjee
Publisher: Mittal Publications, New Delhi
Language: English
Edition: 2015
ISBN: 8183245382
Pages: 344
Other Details 8.50 X 5.50 inch
Weight 520 gm
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Book Description
LESS remote than China, bathed by an ocean which bore the fleets of Egypt, Chaldæa, Persia, Greece and Rome, India was never beyond the reach of the Western Nations. The Assyrians, the Persians, and the Greeks carried their arms into the basin of the Indus, some portions of which were annexed for a time to those Empires which had their centre in the valley of the Euphrates and stretched westwards as far as the Mediterranean. There was a continuous coming and going of the caravans across the plateau of Iran and the deserts which lie between it and the oases of Bactriana, Aria and Arachosia and through the passes which lead down to what is now called the Punjab; between the ports of the Arabian and Persian Gulfs and those of the Lower Indus and the Malabar Coast, continual commercial movement went on, which though fluctuating with time, was never entirely interrupted. "Nous savons," writes M. Gustave le Bon, in his celebrated work "Les Monuments de l'Inde", "que des une antiquité fort reculée, l'Inde communiquait directement avec les empires de l'ancien Orient, la Chaldée, la Babylonie, et l'Assyrie. Les relations se faisaient à la fois par mer et par terre. Parmer decommunications régulières etaient établies entre ports de l'Inde et ceux de Golfe Persique. Par terre, plusieurs routes reliaient les grands centres de l'Orient avec le nordouest de l'Inde. Plusieurs provinces de l'Inde furent soumises à l'empire des Perses dont elle formirent une satrapie." From the Malabar Coast, Western Asia drew her supplies of aromatic spices, of metals, of precious woods, of jewels and other treasures-all of which came mainly by the sea-route (vide "Periplus of the Erythrean Sea").

All this, however, was but the supply of raw-materials for the Egyptian, Assyrian and Phoenician industries. There is no tangible evidence that up to the very last days of antique civilisation, the inhabitants of Hindusthan with all their depth and originality of thought ever exercised such influence upon their neighbours as could have made itself felt as far as Greece. The grand lyric poetry of the Vedas, the Epics and Dramas of the following epoch, the religious and philosophical speculations, those learned grammatical analyses of Panini and Patanjali (which have evoked such unstinted praise from the eminent philologists as Bopp, Klaproth, Goldstücker and Kielhorn), all the rich and brilliant intellectual development of a race akin to the Greeks, and in many ways no less richly endowed, remained shut up in that basin of the Ganges into which no stranger penetrated until the time of the Muhammedan Conquest. Neither did the Assyrians, Arabs nor Phoenicians reach the true centres of Hindu civilisation. They merely touched the fringe of Indian culture by frequenting those sea-board towns, where the mixed population was more occupied with commerce than with intellectual pursuits. The conquerors, previous to Alexander the Great, did no more than reach the gates of India and reconnoître its approaches, while Alexander himself failed to penetrate beyond its vestibule.

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