About the Book
This book provides the fullest account of Indian geography, history and culture available to the classical world. The book consists of three parts. The first part gives a general description of India, based chiefly on the accounts of the country given by Megasthenes and Eratosthenes (Chapters I–XVII.). The second part gives an account of the boy made by Teach, the Cretan from the Indus to, the Postgres based entirely on the narrative of the voyage written by Nearchus himself (Chapters, XVIII–XLII). The third part contains a collection of proofs to show that the southern parts of the world a re uninhabitable on account of the great heat (Chapters XLIII). Though Megasthenes’ Indica survives only in fragments preserved by Greek and Latin authors but his work is culturally and historically important despite the imperfections. It is the only written source contemporary with the Maurya kingdom of Chandragupta, since writing was not in use in India during those days. Hope this translation provides one of the paths to clear understanding of Greek ethnography and a valuable resource for Indian history.
About the Author
Megasthenes was an ancient Greek historian and diplomat, author of an account of India, or his “the Indica”. He was sent by the Hellenistic king Seleucus I on embassies to the Mauryan emperor Chandragupta. During his tenure in India, he observed and noted the culture, daily routine, social structure, etc of the people of the Mauryan Empire. He gave the most complete account of India then known to the Greek world and was the source for work by the later historians Diodorus, Strabo, Pliny, and Arrian. He was the first person to describe ancient India, and for that reason he has been called he “father of Indian history”.
W. McCrindle was a Scottish classical philologist and educator who wroteseveral major works on references to India in ancient classical writings. Hegraduated in 1854 and post-graduated in 1855 and taught for a while inEdinburgh schools before moving to India in 1859 to become Principal of the Doveton College in Calcutta. He became a professor at Patna College and later at Krishnagar College. He became the first principal of Patna College from 1867 and retired in 1880. He wrote a number of works on ancient Indiaas described in the works of Ctesias, Megasthenes and Arrian; the Periplus Maris Erythraei (Coastal Cruise of the Red Sea); Ptolemy’s geography ofIndia and the invasion of India by Alexander the Great.