History of India
Anatomically modern humans are thought to have arrived on the Indian subcontinent between 73,000 and 55,000 years ago. Settled life, which involves the transition from foraging to farming and pastoralism, began in South Asia around 7,000 BCE. By 4,500 BCE, settled life had become more prevalent, evolved into the Indus Valley Civilization. Considered a cradle of civilisation, the Indus Valley civilisation, which spread and flourished in the north-western part of the Indian subcontinent from 3300 to 1300 BCE, was the first major civilisation in South Asia. A sophisticated and technologically advanced urban culture developed in the Mature Harappan period, from 2600 to 1900 BCE. Indus Valley Civilisation was noted for developing new techniques in handicraft, carnelian products, seal carving, urban planning, baked brick houses, efficient drainage systems, water supply systems and clusters of large non-residential buildings; this civilisation collapsed at the start of the second millennium BCE and was followed by the Iron Age Vedic Civilisation.
In the beginning of the second millennium BCE climate change, with persistent drought, led to the abandonment of the urban centers of the Indus Valley Civilisation. Its population resettled in smaller villages, and, in the north-west, mixed with Indo-Aryan tribes, who moved into the area in several waves of Aryan migration driven by the effects of this climate change; the Vedic period was marked by the composition of the Vedas, large collections of hymns of some of the Aryan tribes, whose postulated religious culture, through synthesis with the preexisting religious cultures of the subcontinent, gave rise to Hinduism. The era saw the eventual emergence of Janapadas, social stratification based on caste, which created a hierarchy of priests, warriors and laborers; the Later Vedic Civilisation extended over the Indo-Gangetic plain and much of the Indian subcontinent, as well as witnessed the rise of major polities known as the Mahajanapadas. In one of these kingdoms, Gautama Buddha and Mahavira propagated their Śramaṇic philosophies during the fifth and sixth centuries BCE.
Most of the Indian subcontinent was conquered by the Maurya Empire during the 4th and 3rd centuries BCE. From the 3rd century BCE onwards Prakrit and Pali literature in the north and the Tamil Sangam literature in southern India started to flourish. Wootz steel originated in south India in the 3rd century was exported to foreign countries. During the Classical period, various parts of India were ruled by numerous dynasties for the next 1,500 years, among which the Gupta Empire stands out; this period, witnessing a Hindu religious and intellectual resurgence, is known as the classical or "Golden Age of India". During this period, aspects of Indian civilisation, administration and religion spread to much of Asia, while kingdoms in southern India had maritime business links with the Middle East and the Mediterranean. Indian cultural influence spread over many parts of Southeast Asia, which led to the establishment of Indianised kingdoms in Southeast Asia; the most significant event between the 7th and 11th century was the Tripartite struggle centred on Kannauj that lasted for more than two centuries between the Pala Empire, Rashtrakuta Empire, Gurjara-Pratihara Empire.
Southern India saw the rise of multiple imperial powers from the middle of the fifth century, most notably the Chalukya, Pallava, Chera and Western Chalukya Empires. The Chola dynasty conquered southern India and invaded parts of Southeast Asia, Sri Lanka, the Maldives, Bengal in the 11th century. In the early medieval period Indian mathematics, including Hindu numerals, influenced the development of mathematics and astronomy in the Arab world. Islamic conquests made limited inroads into modern Afghanistan and Sindh as early as the 8th century, the Delhi Sultanate was founded in 1206 CE by Central Asian Turks who ruled a major part of the northern Indian subcontinent in the early 14th century, but declined in the late 14th century; this period saw the emergence of several powerful Hindu states, notably Vijayanagara and Ahom, as well as Rajput states, such as Mewar. The 15th century saw the advent of Sikhism; the early modern period began in the 16th century, when the Mughal Empire conquered most of the Indian subcontinent, becoming the biggest global economy and manufacturing power, with a nominal GDP that valued a quarter of world GDP, superior than the combination of Europe's GDP.
The Mughals suffered a gradual decline in the early 18th century, which provided opportunities for the Marathas, Sikhs and Nawabs of Bengal to exercise control over large regions of the Indian subcontinent. From the late 18th century to the mid-19th century, large areas of India were annexed by the British East India Company of the British Empire. Dissatisfaction with Company rule led to the Indian Rebellion of 1857, after which the British provinces of India were directly administered by the British Crown and witnessed a period of rapid development of infrastructure, economic decline and major famines. During the first half of the 20th century, a nationwide struggle for independence was launched, led by the Indian National Congress, joined by other organisations; the Indian subcontinent gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1947, after the British provinces were partitioned into the dominions of India and Pakistan and the princely states all acceded to one of the new states. Hominins expansion from Africa
Lycurgus of Sparta
Lycurgus was the quasi-legendary lawgiver of Sparta who established the military-oriented reformation of Spartan society in accordance with the Oracle of Apollo at Delphi. All his reforms promoted the three Spartan virtues: equality, military fitness, austerity, he is referred to by ancient historians and philosophers Herodotus, Plato, Polybius and Epictetus. It is not clear. Most information about Lycurgus comes from Plutarch's "Life of Lycurgus", more of an anecdotal collection than a real biography. Plutarch himself remarks that nothing can be known for certain about Lycurgus, since different authors give different accounts of everything about him; the actual person Lycurgus may or may not have existed, -- it is possible that "Lycourgos" was an epithet of the god Apollo as he was worshiped in early Sparta, that legend transformed this aspect of the god into a wise human lawgiver --but as a symbolic founder of the Spartan state he was looked to as the initiator of many of its social and political institutions.
The dates of Lycurgus have been given by ancient and modern authorities as being as early as the tenth century BC and as late as the sixth century BC. Some scholars think the most plausible date is indicated by Thucydides, who said that in his time the Spartan constitution was over four hundred years old, it is said that Lycurgus had risen to power when the king, had died. With his father deceased, he was offered the throne. Lycurgus' brother, had died with a pregnant wife; when this child was born, Lycurgus named the child and transferred his kingship to the baby. After that, Lycurgus was said to be a man who could lay down the supreme power out of respect for justice, so it was easy for Lycurgus to rule the Spartans in his capacity as the guardian of his nephew Charilaus. However, the young king's mother and her relatives envied and hated Lycurgus. Among other slanders, they accused Lycurgus of plotting the death of Charilaus. Lycurgus decided that the only way that he might avoid blame in case something should happen to the child would be to go travelling until Charilaus had grown up and fathered a son to secure the succession.
Therefore, Lycurgus gave up all of his authority set out on a celebrated, though no doubt legendary, journey. His first destination was Crete, like Sparta a Dorian land. Spartan and Cretan institutions did indeed have common characteristics, though some direct borrowing may have occurred, such similarities are in general more to be because of the common Dorian inheritance of Sparta and Crete rather than because some individual such as Lycurgus imported Cretan customs to Sparta. Traveling after that to Asia Minor, homeland of the Ionian Greeks, he found it instructive to compare the refined and luxurious life style of the Ionians with the stern and disciplined culture of the Dorians; some say that Lycurgus subsequently traveled as far as Egypt and India. In Ionia, Lycurgus discovered the works of Homer. Lycurgus compiled the scattered fragments of Homer and made sure that the lessons of statecraft and morality in Homer's epics became known. According to Plutarch, the Egyptians claim that Lycurgus visited them too, that he got from the Egyptians the idea of separating the military from the menial workers, thus refining Spartan society, in which Spartans were not allowed to practice manual crafts.
After Lycurgus had been absent for a while, the Spartans begged Lycurgus to come back. As they admitted, only Lycurgus was a king in their heart, although others wore a crown and claimed the title, he had the true foundation of sovereignty: a nature born to rule, a talent for inspiring obedience. The Spartan kings wanted Lycurgus to return because they saw him as one who could protect them from the people. Lycurgus had decided that some fundamental changes would have to be made in Sparta; when he returned, he did not tinker with the laws, but instead followed the example of the wisest ephors to implement incremental change. First, Lycurgus went to the Oracle at Delphi to ask for guidance; the Oracle told Lycurgus that his prayers had been heard and that the state which observed the laws of Lycurgus would become the most famous in the world. With such an endorsement, Lycurgus enlisted their support, he began with his closest friends these friends widened the conspiracy by bringing in their own friends.
When things were ripe for action, thirty of them appeared at dawn in the marketplace armed for battle. At first, Charilaus thought they meant to kill him, he ran for sanctuary in a temple, but he joined the conspirators when he found out that all they wanted was to make sure there would be no opposition to the reforms Lycurgus had in mind. According to the legend found in Plutarch's Lives and other sources, when Lycurgus became confident in his reforms, he announced that he would go to the oracle at Delphi to sacrifice to Apollo. However, before leaving for Delphi he called an assembly of the people of Sparta and made everyone, including the kings and Gerousia, take an oath binding
Jainism, traditionally known as Jain Dharma, is an ancient, non-theistic, Indian religion. Followers of Jainism are called "Jains", a word derived from the Sanskrit word jina and connoting the path of victory in crossing over life's stream of rebirths through an ethical and spiritual life. Jains trace their history through a succession of 24 victorious saviours and teachers known as tirthankaras, with the first being Rishabhanatha, who according to Jain tradition lived millions of years ago, twenty-third being Parshvanatha in 8th century BC and twenty-fourth being the Mahāvīra around 500 BCE. Jains believe that Jainism is an eternal dharma with the tirthankaras guiding every cycle of the Jain cosmology; the main religious premises of Jainism are anekāntavāda, aparigraha and asceticism. Devout Jains take five main vows: ahiṃsā, asteya and aparigraha; these principles have impacted Jain culture in many ways, such as leading to a predominantly vegetarian lifestyle that avoids harm to animals and their life cycles.
Parasparopagraho Jīvānām is the motto of Jainism. Ṇamōkāra mantra is the most basic prayer in Jainism. Jainism has Digambaras and Śvētāmbaras; the Digambaras and Śvētāmbaras have different views on ascetic practices and which Jain texts can be considered canonical. Jain mendicants are found in all Jain sub-traditions except Kanji Panth sub-tradition, with laypersons supporting the mendicants' spiritual pursuits with resources. Jainism has between five million followers, with most Jains residing in India. Outside India, some of the largest Jain communities are present in Canada, Kenya, the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Suriname and the United States. Major Jain festivals include Paryushana and Daslakshana, Mahavir Jayanti, Diwali; the principle of ahimsa is a fundamental tenet of Jainism. It believes that one must abandon all violent activity, without such a commitment to non-violence all religious behavior is worthless. In Jain theology, it does not matter how correct or defensible the violence may be, one must not kill any being, "non-violence is one's highest religious duty".
Jain texts such as Acaranga Sūtra and Tattvarthasūtra state that one must renounce all killing of living beings, whether tiny or large, movable or immovable. Its theology teaches that one must neither kill another living being, nor cause another to kill, nor consent to any killing directly or indirectly. Furthermore, Jainism emphasizes non-violence against all beings not only in action but in speech and in thought, it states that instead of hate or violence against anyone, "all living creatures must help each other". Violence negatively affects and destroys one's soul when the violence is done with intent, hate or carelessness, or when one indirectly causes or consents to the killing of a human or non-human living being; the idea of reverence for non-violence is founded in Hindu and Buddhist canonical texts, it may have origins in more ancient Brahmanical Vedic thoughts. However, no other Indian religion has developed the non-violence doctrine and its implications on everyday life as has Jainism.
The theological basis of non-violence as the highest religious duty has been interpreted by some Jain scholars not to "be driven by merit from giving or compassion to other creatures, nor a duty to rescue all creatures", but resulting from "continual self-discipline", a cleansing of the soul that leads to one's own spiritual development which affects one's salvation and release from rebirths. Causing injury to any being in any form creates bad karma which affects one's rebirth, future well being and suffering. Late medieval Jain scholars re-examined the Ahiṃsā doctrine when one is faced with external threat or violence. For example, they justified violence by monks to protect nuns. According to Dundas, the Jain scholar Jinadatta Suri wrote during a time of Muslim destruction of temples and persecution that "anybody engaged in a religious activity, forced to fight and kill somebody would not lose any spiritual merit but instead attain deliverance". However, such examples in Jain texts that condone fighting and killing under certain circumstances are rare.
The second main principle of Jainism is anekāntavāda or anekantatva, a word derived from anekānta and vada. The anekāntavāda doctrine states that reality is complex and always has multiple aspects. Reality can be experienced, but it is not possible to express it with language. Human attempts to communicate is Naya, explained as "partial expression of the truth". Language is not Truth. From Truth, according to Mahāvīra, language returns and not the other way round. One can experience the truth of a taste, but cannot express that taste through language. Any attempts to express the experience is syāt, or valid "in some respect" but it remains a "perhaps, just one perspective, incomplete". In the same way, spiritual truths are complex, they have multiple aspects, language cannot express their plurality, yet through effort and appropriate karma they can be experienced. Since reality is many-sided the great error, according to Jainism, is ekānta where some relative truth is treated as an absolute truth to the exclusion of others.
The anekāntavāda premise of the Jains is ancient, as evidenced by its mention in Buddhist texts such as the Samaññapha
Digambara is one of the two major schools of Jainism, the other being Śvētāmbara. The word Digambara is a combination of two words: dig and ambara, referring to those whose garments are of the element that fills the four quarters of space. Digambara monks do not wear any clothes; the monks carry picchi, a broom made up of fallen peacock feathers and shastra. One of the most important scholar-monks of Digambara tradition was Kundakunda, he authored Prakrit texts such as the Pravacanasāra. Other prominent Acharyas of this tradition were, Virasena and Siddhasena Divakara; the Satkhandagama and Kasayapahuda have major significance in the Digambara tradition. Relics found from Harrapan excavations such as seals depicting Kayotsarga posture, idols in Padmasana and a nude bust of red limestone, give insight into the antiquity of the Digambara tradition; the presence of gymnosophists in Greek records as early as the fourth century BC, supports the claim of the Digambaras that they have preserved the ancient Śramaṇa practice.
Dundas talks about the archeological evidences which indicate that Jain monks moved from the practice of total nudity towards wearing clothes in period. Ancient Tirthankara statues found in Mathura are naked; the oldest Tirthankara statue wearing a cloth is dated in 5th century CE. Digamabara statues of tirthankara belonging to Gupta period has half-closed eyes. According to Digambara texts, after liberation of the Lord Mahavira, three Anubaddha Kevalīs attained Kevalajñāna sequentially – Gautama Gaņadhara, Acharya Sudharma, Jambusvami in next 62 years. During the next hundred years, five Āchāryas had complete knowledge of the scriptures, as such, called Śruta Kevalīs, the last of them being Āchārya Bhadrabahu. Spiritual lineage of heads of monastic orders is known as Pattavali. Digambara tradition consider Dharasena to be the 33rd teacher in succession of Gautama, 683 years after the nirvana of Mahavira; the word Digambara is a combination of two Sanskrit words: dik and ambara, referring to those whose garments are of the element that fills the four quarters of space.
Digambara monks do not wear any clothes as it is considered to be parigraha, which leads to attachment. A Digambara monk has 28 mūla guņas; these are: five. The monks carry picchi, a broom made up of fallen peacock feathers for removing small insects without causing them injury and shastra; the head of all monastics is called Āchārya. The Āchārya has 36 primary attributes in addition to the 28 mentioned above; the monks perform kayotsarga daily, in a rigid and immobile posture, with the arms held stiffly down, knees straight, toes directed forward. Female monastics in Digambara tradition are known as aryikas. Statistically, there are more Digambara nuns. Digambar Akhara', along with other akharas participates in various inter-sectarian religious activities including Kumbh Melas; the Digambara Jains worship nude idols of tirthankaras and siddha. The tirthankara is seated in yoga posture or standing in the Kayotsarga posture; the "sky-clad" Jaina statue expresses the perfect isolation of the one who has stripped off every bond.
His is an absolute "abiding in itself," a strange but perfect aloofness, a nudity of chilling majesty, in its stony simplicity, rigid contours, abstraction. The Digambara sect of Jainism rejects the authority of the texts accepted by the other major sect, the Svetambaras. According to the Digambaras, Āchārya Dharasena guided two Āchāryas and Bhutabali, to put the teachings of Mahavira in written form, 683 years after the nirvana of Mahavira; the two Āchāryas wrote Ṣaṭkhaṅḍāgama on palm leaves, considered to be among the oldest known Digambara texts. Āchārya Bhutabali was the last ascetic. On, some learned Āchāryas started to restore and put into written words the teachings of Lord Mahavira, that were the subject matter of Agamas. Digambaras group the texts into four literary categories called anuyoga; the prathmanuyoga contains the universal history, the karananuyoga contains works on cosmology and the charananuyoga includes texts about proper behaviour for monks and Sravakas. Most eminent Digamabara authors include Kundakunda, Pujyapada, Akalanka, Vidyanandi and Asadhara.
The Digambara tradition can be divided into modern community. Mula Sangha can be further divided into heterodox traditions. Orthodox traditions included Nandi, Sena and Deva sangha. Heterodox traditions included Dravida, Yapaniya and Mathura sangha. Other traditions of Mula sangha include Deshiya Balatkara Gana traditions. Modern Digambara community is divided into various sub-sects viz. Terapanthi, Taranpanthi and Totapanthi. Digambara community was divided into Terapanthi and Bisapanthi on the acceptance of authority of Bhattaraka; the Bhattarakas of Shravanabelagola and
The Indus River is one of the longest rivers in Asia. Originating in the Tibetan Plateau in the vicinity of Lake Manasarovar, the river runs a course through the Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir, India towards the Gilgit-Baltistan region of Pakistan and the Hindukush ranges, flows in a southerly direction along the entire length of Pakistan to merge into the Arabian Sea near the port city of Karachi in Sindh, it is the longest river and national river of Pakistan. The river has a total drainage area exceeding 1,165,000 km2, its estimated annual flow stands at around 243 km3, twice that of the Nile River and three times that of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers combined, making it one of the largest rivers in the world in terms of annual flow. The Zanskar is its left bank tributary in Ladakh. In the plains, its left bank tributary is the Panjnad which itself has five major tributaries, the Chenab, the Ravi, the Beas, the Sutlej, its principal right bank tributaries are the Shyok, the Gilgit, the Kabul, the Gomal, the Kurram.
Beginning in a mountain spring and fed with glaciers and rivers in the Himalayas, the river supports ecosystems of temperate forests and arid countryside. The northern part of the Indus Valley, with its tributaries, forms the Punjab region, while the lower course of the Indus is known as Sindh and ends in a large delta; the river has been important to many cultures of the region. The 3rd millennium BC saw the rise of a major urban civilization of the Bronze Age. During the 2nd millennium BC, the Punjab region was mentioned in the hymns of the Hindu Rigveda as Sapta Sindhu and the Zoroastrian Avesta as Hapta Hindu. Early historical kingdoms that arose in the Indus Valley include Gandhāra, the Ror dynasty of Sauvīra; the Indus River came into the knowledge of the West early in the Classical Period, when King Darius of Persia sent his Greek subject Scylax of Caryanda to explore the river, ca. 515 BC. This river was known to the ancient Indians in Sanskrit as Sindhu and the Persians as Hindu, regarded by both of them as "the border river".
The variation between the two names is explained by the Old Iranian sound change *s > h, which occurred between 850–600 BCE according to Asko Parpola. From the Persian Achaemenid Empire, the name passed to the Greeks as Indós, it was adopted by the Romans as Indus. The meaning of Sindhu as a "large body of water, sea, or ocean" is a meaning in Classical Sanskrit. A Persian name for the river was Darya, which has the connotations of large body of water and sea. Other variants of the name Sindhu include Assyrian Sinda, Persian Ab-e-sind, Pashto Abasind, Arab Al-Sind, Chinese Sintow, Javanese Santri. India is a Greek and Latin term for "the country of the River Indus"; the region through which the river drains into sea owes its name to the river. Megasthenes' book Indica derives its name from the river's Greek name, "Indós", describes Nearchus's contemporaneous account of how Alexander the Great crossed the river; the ancient Greeks referred to the Indians as "Indói" meaning "the people of the Indus".
The Rigveda describes several rivers, including one named "Sindhu". The Rigvedic "Sindhu" is thought to be the present-day Indus river, it is attested 176 times in its text, 94 times in the plural, most used in the generic sense of "river". In the Rigveda, notably in the hymns, the meaning of the word is narrowed to refer to the Indus river in particular, e.g. in the list of rivers mentioned in the hymn of Nadistuti sukta. The Rigvedic hymns apply a feminine gender to all the rivers mentioned therein, except the Bramhaputra and the "Sindhu" which carry the masculine gender; this gender usage could mean that the Sindhu river was believed to be a warrior, thus one of the greatest among all the rivers in the whole world. In other languages of the region, the river is known as सिन्धु in Hindi and Nepali, سنڌو in Sindhi, سندھ in Shahmukhi Punjabi, ਸਿੰਧ ਨਦੀ in Gurmukhī Punjabi, اباسين in Pashto, نهر السند in Arabic, སེང་གེ་གཙང་པོ། in Tibetan, 印度 in Chinese, Nilab in Turki; the Indus River provides key water resources for Pakistan's economy – the breadbasket of Punjab province, which accounts for most of the nation's agricultural production, Sindh.
The word Punjab means "land of five rivers" and the five rivers are Jhelum, Ravi and Sutlej, all of which flow into the Indus. The Indus supports many heavy industries and provides the main supply of potable water in Pakistan; the ultimate source of the Indus is in Tibet. The Indus flows northwest through Ladakh and Baltistan into Gilgit, just south of the Karakoram range; the Shyok and Gilgit rivers carry glacial waters into the main river. It bends to the south and descends into the Punjab plains at Kalabagh, Pakistan; the Indus passes gigantic gorges 4,500–5,200 metres deep near the Nanga Parbat massif. It is dammed at the Tarbela Reservoir; the Kabul River joins it near Attock. The remainder of its route to the sea is in the plains of the Punjab and Sindh, where the flow of the river becomes slow and braided, it is joined by the Panjnad at Mithankot. Beyond this confluence, the river, at one tim
Ancient Egyptian religion
Ancient Egyptian religion was a complex system of polytheistic beliefs and rituals that formed an integral part of ancient Egyptian society. It centered on the Egyptians' interaction with many deities believed to be present in, in control of, the world. Rituals such as prayer and offerings were provided to the gods to gain their favor. Formal religious practice centered on the pharaoh, the rulers of Egypt, believed to possess a divine power by virtue of their position, they acted as intermediaries between their people and the gods, were obligated to sustain the gods through rituals and offerings so that they could maintain maat, the order of the cosmos. The state dedicated enormous resources to the construction of the temples. Individuals could interact with the gods for their own purposes, appealing for help through prayer or compelling the gods to act through magic; these practices were distinct from, but linked with, the formal rituals and institutions. The popular religious tradition grew more prominent in the course of Egyptian history as the status of the pharaoh declined.
Egyptian belief in the afterlife and funerary practices is evident in great efforts made to ensure the survival of their souls after death, providing tombs, grave goods, offerings to preserve the bodies and spirits of the deceased. The religion lasted for more than 3,000 years; the details of religious belief changed over time as the importance of particular gods rose and declined, their intricate relationships shifted. At various times, certain gods became preeminent over the others, including the sun god Ra, the creator god Amun, the mother goddess Isis. For a brief period, in the theology promulgated by the Pharaoh Akhenaten, a single god, the Aten, replaced the traditional pantheon. Ancient Egyptian religion and mythology left behind many writings and monuments, along with significant influences on ancient and modern cultures; the beliefs and rituals now referred to as "ancient Egyptian religion" were integral within every aspect of Egyptian culture. The Egyptian language possessed no single term corresponding to the modern European concept of religion.
Ancient Egyptian religion consisted of a vast and varying set of beliefs and practices, linked by their common focus on the interaction between the world of humans and the world of the divine. The characteristics of the gods who populated the divine realm were inextricably linked to the Egyptians' understanding of the properties of the world in which they lived; the Egyptians believed that the phenomena of nature were divine forces of themselves. These deified forces included animal characteristics, or abstract forces; the Egyptians believed in a pantheon of gods, which were involved in all aspects of nature and human society. Their religious practices were efforts to sustain and placate these phenomena and turn them to human advantage; this polytheistic system was complex, as some deities were believed to exist in many different manifestations, some had multiple mythological roles. Conversely, many natural forces, such as the sun, were associated with multiple deities; the diverse pantheon ranged from gods with vital roles in the universe to minor deities or "demons" with limited or localized functions.
It could include gods adopted from foreign cultures, sometimes humans: deceased pharaohs were believed to be divine, distinguished commoners such as Imhotep became deified. The depictions of the gods in art were not meant as literal representations of how the gods might appear if they were visible, as the gods' true natures were believed to be mysterious. Instead, these depictions gave recognizable forms to the abstract deities by using symbolic imagery to indicate each god's role in nature; this iconography was not fixed, many of the gods could be depicted in more than one form. Many gods were associated with particular regions in Egypt. However, these associations changed over time, they did not mean that the god associated with a place had originated there. For instance, the god Montu was the original patron of the city of Thebes. Over the course of the Middle Kingdom, however, he was displaced in that role by Amun, who may have arisen elsewhere; the national popularity and importance of individual gods fluctuated in a similar way.
Deities had complex interrelationships, which reflected the interaction of the forces they represented. The Egyptians grouped gods together to reflect these relationships. One of the more common combinations was a family triad consisting of a father and child, who were worshipped together; some groups had wide-ranging importance. One such group, the Ennead, assembled nine deities into a theological system, involved in the mythological areas of creation and the afterlife; the relationships between deities could be expressed in the process of syncretism, in which two or more different gods were linked to form a composite deity. This process was a recognition of the presence of one god "in" another when the second god took on a role belonging to the first; these links between deities were fluid, did not represent the permanent merging of two gods into one. Sometimes, syncretism combined deities with similar characteristics. At other times it joined gods with different natures, as when Amun, the god of hidden power, was linked with Ra, the god of the sun.
The resulting god, Amun-Ra, thus united the power that lay behind all things with the greatest and most visible force in nature. Many deities could be given epithets that seem to indicate that they were greater than any other god, suggesting some kind of u
Megasthenes was an ancient Greek historian and Indian ethnographer and explorer in the Hellenistic period. He described India in his book Indika, now lost, but has been reconstructed from the writings of the authors. While Megasthenes's account of India has survived in the works, little is known about him as a person, except that he was a Greek man, he must have been a learned man, as evident by the book he wrote. His appointment as an ambassador to India suggests that he must have been a reputed officer by this time. At the time of treaty between the Greek ruler Seleucus I Nicator and the Indian ruler Chandragupta Maurya in c. 303 BCE, he appears to have been serving as an officer under Sibyrtius, Seleucus's satrap of Arachosia. Megasthenes was a Greek ambassador of Seleucus I Nicator in the court of Chandragupta Maurya. Arrian explains that Megasthenes lived in Arachosia, with the satrap Sibyrtius, from where he visited India: Megasthenes lived with Sibyrtius, satrap of Arachosia, speaks of his visiting Sandracottus, the king of the Indians."
Arrian, Anabasis Alexandri Megasthenes visited India sometime between c. 302 and 288 BCE, during the reign of Chandragupta Maurya. The exact dates of his visit to India, the duration of his stay in India are not certain. Modern scholars assume that Seleucus sent him to India after the treaty with Chandragupta. Arrian claims that Megasthenes met Porus: this claim seems to be an erroneous one, unless we assume that Megasthenes accompanied Alexander the Great during the Greek invasion of India. Megasthenes visited the Maurya capital Pataliputra, but it is not certain which other parts of India he visited, he appears to have passed through the Punjab region in north-western India, as he provides a detailed account of the rivers in this area. He must have traveled to Pataliputra along the Yamuna and the Ganga rivers. Megasthenes compiled information about India in form of Indika, now a lost work, but survives in form of quotations by the writers. Other Greek envoys to the Indian court are known after Megasthenes: Deimachus as ambassador to Bindusara, Dionysius, as ambassador to Ashoka.
Among the ancient writers, Arrian is the only one. Diodorus quotes Megasthenes by omitting some parts of his narratives. Other writers explicitly criticize Megasthenes: Eratosthenes accuses Megasthenes of engaging in falsehood, although he borrowed much of his content about India from Megasthenes. Strabo calls Megasthenes a liar for writing fabolous stories about India. According to Strabo, "no faith whatever can be placed in Deimachos and Megasthenes". Pliny criticizes Megasthenes's description of the fabolous races of India, his account of Herakles and Dionysus. Modern scholars such as E. A. Schwanbeck, B. C. J. Timmer, Truesdell Sparhawk Brown, have characterized Megasthenes as a reliable source of Indian history. Schwanbeck finds faults only with Megasthenes's description of the gods worshipped in India. Brown is more critical of Megasthenes, but notes that Megasthenes visited only a small part of India, must have relied on others for his observations: some of these observations seem to be erroneous, but others cannot be ignored by modern researchers.
Thus, although he was misled by the erroneous information provided by others, much of the information provided by him appears to be accurate, as evident by the fact that his work remained the principal source of information about India to the subsequent writers. Megasthenes' Herakles Herodotus Patrocles Demodamas Harry Falk. Die sieben "Kasten" des Megasthenes. Shri Ram Goyal. India as Known to Megasthenes. Kusumanjali Book World. Fragments of Indika, as reconstructed from accounts Ancient India as described by Arrian based on accounts by Megasthenes