Commonwealth of Nations
The Commonwealth of Nations known as the Commonwealth, is a unique political association of 53 member states, nearly all of them former territories of the British Empire. The chief institutions of the organisation are the Commonwealth Secretariat, which focuses on intergovernmental aspects, the Commonwealth Foundation, which focuses on non-governmental relations between member states; the Commonwealth dates back to the first half of the 20th century with the decolonisation of the British Empire through increased self-governance of its territories. It was created as the British Commonwealth through the Balfour Declaration at the 1926 Imperial Conference, formalised by the United Kingdom through the Statute of Westminster in 1931; the current Commonwealth of Nations was formally constituted by the London Declaration in 1949, which modernised the community, established the member states as "free and equal". The human symbol of this free association is the Head of the Commonwealth Queen Elizabeth II, the 2018 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting appointed Charles, Prince of Wales to be her designated successor, although the position is not technically hereditary.
The Queen is the head of state of 16 member states, known as the Commonwealth realms, while 32 other members are republics and five others have different monarchs. Member states have no legal obligations to one another. Instead, they are united by English language, history and their shared values of democracy, human rights and the rule of law; these values are enshrined in the Commonwealth Charter and promoted by the quadrennial Commonwealth Games. The countries of the Commonwealth cover more than 29,958,050 km2, equivalent to 20% of the world's land area, span all six inhabited continents. Queen Elizabeth II, in her address to Canada on Dominion Day in 1959, pointed out that the confederation of Canada on 1 July 1867 had been the birth of the "first independent country within the British Empire", she declared: "So, it marks the beginning of that free association of independent states, now known as the Commonwealth of Nations." As long ago as 1884 Lord Rosebery, while visiting Australia, had described the changing British Empire, as some of its colonies became more independent, as a "Commonwealth of Nations".
Conferences of British and colonial prime ministers occurred periodically from the first one in 1887, leading to the creation of the Imperial Conferences in 1911. The Commonwealth developed from the imperial conferences. A specific proposal was presented by Jan Smuts in 1917 when he coined the term "the British Commonwealth of Nations" and envisioned the "future constitutional relations and readjustments in essence" at the Paris Peace Conference of 1919, attended by delegates from the Dominions as well as Britain; the term first received imperial statutory recognition in the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1921, when the term British Commonwealth of Nations was substituted for British Empire in the wording of the oath taken by members of parliament of the Irish Free State. In the Balfour Declaration at the 1926 Imperial Conference and its dominions agreed they were "equal in status, in no way subordinate one to another in any aspect of their domestic or external affairs, though united by common allegiance to the Crown, associated as members of the British Commonwealth of Nations".
The term "Commonwealth" was adopted to describe the community. These aspects to the relationship were formalised by the Statute of Westminster in 1931, which applied to Canada without the need for ratification, but Australia, New Zealand, Newfoundland had to ratify the statute for it to take effect. Newfoundland never did, as on 16 February 1934, with the consent of its parliament, the government of Newfoundland voluntarily ended and governance reverted to direct control from London. Newfoundland joined Canada as its 10th province in 1949. Australia and New Zealand ratified the Statute in 1947 respectively. Although the Union of South Africa was not among the Dominions that needed to adopt the Statute of Westminster for it to take effect, two laws—the Status of the Union Act, 1934, the Royal Executive Functions and Seals Act of 1934—were passed to confirm South Africa's status as a sovereign state. After the Second World War ended, the British Empire was dismantled. Most of its components have become independent countries, whether Commonwealth realms or republics, members of the Commonwealth.
There remain the 14 self-governing British overseas territories which retain some political association with the United Kingdom. In April 1949, following the London Declaration, the word "British" was dropped from the title of the Commonwealth to reflect its changing nature. Burma and Aden are the only states that were British colonies at the time of the war not to have joined the Commonwealth upon independence. Former British protectorates and mandates that did not become members of the Commonwealth are Egypt, Transjordan, Sudan, British Somaliland, Bahrain, Oman and the United Arab Emirates; the postwar Commonwealth was given a fresh mission by Queen Elizabeth in her Christmas Day 1953 broadcast, in which she envisioned the Commonwealth as "an new conception – built on the highest qualities of the Spirit of Man: friendship and the desire for freedom and peace". Hoped for success was reinforced by such achievements as climbing Mount Everest in 1953, breaking the four-minute mile in 1954
Hindus are persons who regard themselves as culturally, ethnically, or religiously adhering to aspects of Hinduism. The term has been used as a geographical and religious identifier for people indigenous to the Indian subcontinent; the historical meaning of the term Hindu has evolved with time. Starting with the Persian and Greek references to the land of the Indus in the 1st millennium BCE through the texts of the medieval era, the term Hindu implied a geographic, ethnic or cultural identifier for people living in the Indian subcontinent around or beyond the Sindhu river. By the 16th century, the term began to refer to residents of the subcontinent who were not Turkic or Muslims; the historical development of Hindu self-identity within the local South Asian population, in a religious or cultural sense, is unclear. Competing theories state that Hindu identity developed in the British colonial era, or that it developed post-8th century CE after the Islamic invasion and medieval Hindu-Muslim wars.
A sense of Hindu identity and the term Hindu appears in some texts dated between the 13th and 18th century in Sanskrit and regional languages. The 14th- and 18th-century Indian poets such as Vidyapati and Eknath used the phrase Hindu dharma and contrasted it with Turaka dharma; the Christian friar Sebastiao Manrique used the term'Hindu' in religious context in 1649. In the 18th century, the European merchants and colonists began to refer to the followers of Indian religions collectively as Hindus, in contrast to Mohamedans for Mughals and Arabs following Islam. By the mid-19th century, colonial orientalist texts further distinguished Hindus from Buddhists and Jains, but the colonial laws continued to consider all of them to be within the scope of the term Hindu until about mid-20th century. Scholars state that the custom of distinguishing between Hindus, Buddhists and Sikhs is a modern phenomenon. Hindoo is an archaic spelling variant. At more than 1.03 billion, Hindus are the world's third largest group after Muslims.
The vast majority of Hindus 966 million, live in India, according to India's 2011 census. After India, the next 9 countries with the largest Hindu populations are, in decreasing order: Nepal, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, United States, United Kingdom and Myanmar; these together accounted for 99% of the world's Hindu population, the remaining nations of the world together had about 6 million Hindus in 2010. The word Hindu is derived from the Indo-Aryan and Sanskrit word Sindhu, which means "a large body of water", covering "river, ocean", it was used as the name of the Indus river and referred to its tributaries. The actual term'hindu' first occurs, states Gavin Flood, as "a Persian geographical term for the people who lived beyond the river Indus", more in the 6th-century BCE inscription of Darius I; the Punjab region, called Sapta Sindhu in the Vedas, is called Hapta Hindu in Zend Avesta. The 6th-century BCE inscription of Darius I mentions the province of Hidush, referring to northwestern India; the people of India were referred to as Hinduvān and hindavī was used as the adjective for Indian in the 8th century text Chachnama.
The term'Hindu' in these ancient records is an ethno-geographical term and did not refer to a religion. The Arabic equivalent Al-Hind referred to the country of India. Among the earliest known records of'Hindu' with connotations of religion may be in the 7th-century CE Chinese text Record of the Western Regions by the Buddhist scholar Xuanzang. Xuanzang uses the transliterated term In-tu whose "connotation overflows in the religious" according to Arvind Sharma. While Xuanzang suggested that the term refers to the country named after the moon, another Buddhist scholar I-tsing contradicted the conclusion saying that In-tu was not a common name for the country. Al-Biruni's 11th-century text Tarikh Al-Hind, the texts of the Delhi Sultanate period use the term'Hindu', where it includes all non-Islamic people such as Buddhists, retains the ambiguity of being "a region or a religion". The'Hindu' community occurs as the amorphous'Other' of the Muslim community in the court chronicles, according to Romila Thapar.
Wilfred Cantwell Smith notes that'Hindu' retained its geographical reference initially:'Indian','indigenous, local', virtually'native'. The Indian groups themselves started using the term, differentiating themselves and their "traditional ways" from those of the invaders; the text Prithviraj Raso, by Chanda Baradai, about the 1192 CE defeat of Prithviraj Chauhan at the hands of Muhammad Ghori, is full of references to "Hindus" and "Turks", at one stage, says "both the religions have drawn their curved swords. In Islamic literature,'Abd al-Malik Isami's Persian work, Futuhu's-salatin, composed in the Deccan in 1350, uses the word'hindi' to mean Indian in the ethno-geographical sense and the word'hindu' to mean'Hindu' in the sense of a follower of the Hindu religion"; the poet Vidyapati's poem Kirtilata contrasts the cultures of Hindus and Turks in a city and concludes "The Hindus and the Turks live close together. One of the earliest uses of word'Hindu' in religious context in a European language, was the publication in 1649 by Sebastiao Manrique.
Other prominent mentions of'Hindu' include the epigraphical inscriptions from Andhra Pradesh kingdoms who battled military expansion of Muslim dynasties in the 14th century, where the word'Hindu' implies a religious identity in contrast to'Turks' or Islam
The Bronze Age is a historical period characterized by the use of bronze, in some areas proto-writing, other early features of urban civilization. The Bronze Age is the second principal period of the three-age Stone-Bronze-Iron system, as proposed in modern times by Christian Jürgensen Thomsen, for classifying and studying ancient societies. An ancient civilization is defined to be in the Bronze Age either by producing bronze by smelting its own copper and alloying with tin, arsenic, or other metals, or by trading for bronze from production areas elsewhere. Bronze itself is harder and more durable than other metals available at the time, allowing Bronze Age civilizations to gain a technological advantage. Copper-tin ores are rare, as reflected in the fact that there were no tin bronzes in Western Asia before trading in bronze began in the third millennium BC. Worldwide, the Bronze Age followed the Neolithic period, with the Chalcolithic serving as a transition. Although the Iron Age followed the Bronze Age, in some areas, the Iron Age intruded directly on the Neolithic.
Bronze Age cultures differed in their development of the first writing. According to archaeological evidence, cultures in Mesopotamia and Egypt developed the earliest viable writing systems; the overall period is characterized by widespread use of bronze, though the place and time of the introduction and development of bronze technology were not universally synchronous. Human-made tin bronze technology requires set production techniques. Tin must be mined and smelted separately added to molten copper to make bronze alloy; the Bronze Age was a time of developing trade networks. A 2013 report suggests that the earliest tin-alloy bronze dates to the mid-5th millennium BC in a Vinča culture site in Pločnik, although this culture is not conventionally considered part of the Bronze Age; the dating of the foil has been disputed. Western Asia and the Near East was the first region to enter the Bronze Age, which began with the rise of the Mesopotamian civilization of Sumer in the mid 4th millennium BC.
Cultures in the ancient Near East practiced intensive year-round agriculture, developed a writing system, invented the potter's wheel, created a centralized government, written law codes and nation states and empires, embarked on advanced architectural projects, introduced social stratification and civil administration and practiced organized warfare and religion. Societies in the region laid the foundations for astronomy and astrology. Dates are approximate, consult particular article for details The Ancient Near East Bronze Age can be divided as following: The Hittite Empire was established in Hattusa in northern Anatolia from the 18th century BC. In the 14th century BC, the Hittite Kingdom was at its height, encompassing central Anatolia, southwestern Syria as far as Ugarit, upper Mesopotamia. After 1180 BC, amid general turmoil in the Levant conjectured to have been associated with the sudden arrival of the Sea Peoples, the kingdom disintegrated into several independent "Neo-Hittite" city-states, some of which survived until as late as the 8th century BC.
Arzawa in Western Anatolia during the second half of the second millennium BC extended along southern Anatolia in a belt that reaches from near the Turkish Lakes Region to the Aegean coast. Arzawa was the western neighbor – sometimes a rival and sometimes a vassal – of the Middle and New Hittite Kingdoms; the Assuwa league was a confederation of states in western Anatolia, defeated by the Hittites under an earlier Tudhaliya I, around 1400 BC. Arzawa has been associated with the much more obscure Assuwa located to its north, it bordered it, may be an alternative term for it. In Ancient Egypt the Bronze Age begins in the Protodynastic period, c. 3150 BC. The archaic early Bronze Age of Egypt, known as the Early Dynastic Period of Egypt follows the unification of Lower and Upper Egypt, c. 3100 BC. It is taken to include the First and Second Dynasties, lasting from the Protodynastic Period of Egypt until about 2686 BC, or the beginning of the Old Kingdom. With the First Dynasty, the capital moved from Abydos to Memphis with a unified Egypt ruled by an Egyptian god-king.
Abydos remained the major holy land in the south. The hallmarks of ancient Egyptian civilization, such as art and many aspects of religion, took shape during the Early Dynastic period. Memphis in the Early Bronze Age was the largest city of the time; the Old Kingdom of the regional Bronze Age is the name given to the period in the 3rd millennium BC when Egypt attained its first continuous peak of civilization in complexity and achievement – the first of three "Kingdom" periods, which mark the high points of civilization in the lower Nile Valley. The First Intermediate Period of Egypt described as a "dark period" in ancient Egyptian history, spanned about 100 years after the end of the Old Kingdom from about 2181 to 2055 BC. Little monumental evidence survives from this period from the early part of it; the First Intermediate Period was a dynamic time when the rule of Egypt was divided between two competing power bases: Heracleopolis in Lower Egypt and Thebes in Upper Egypt. These two kingdoms would come into conflict, with the Theban kings conquering the north, resulting in the reunification of Egypt under a single ruler during the second part of the 11th Dynasty.
The Middle Kingdom of Egypt laste
The Town of Crestone is a statutory town in Saguache County, United States. The town population was 127 at the 2010 United States Census, it is a small village at the foot of the western slope of the Sangre de Cristo Range, in the northern part of the San Luis Valley. Crestone was a small mining town. In the 1970s, a large land development, the Baca Grande, was established to the south and west where several hundred homes have been built; the Crestone area, which includes the Baca Grande and Moffat, Colorado, is a spiritual center with several world religions represented, including: a Hindu temple, a Zen center, a co-ed Carmelite monastery, several Tibetan Buddhist centers, miscellaneous New Age happenings. Crestone is accessible to visitors, a National Forest Service campground is about 3/4 of a mile north of town, other lodging is available, including several bed and breakfasts. Activities in the area include camping, hiking, climbing, as well as spiritual explorations. Crestone is named for the 14,000-foot peaks that lie just east of the town: Crestone Peak and Crestone Needle.
The Crestones, as they are known collectively, in turn, took their name from the Spanish word crestón, according to Walter Borneman and Lyndon Lampert's book A Climbing Guide to Colorado’s Fourteeners, means: “the top of a cock’s comb”. The first settlement in the Crestone area occurred after the American Civil War with the granting of the Luis Maria Baca Grant No. 4 to the heirs of the original Baca Grant at Las Vegas, New Mexico. Title to the grant at Las Vegas was clouded by a second grant of the same land; the Baca heirs were offered alternative lands from the public lands of the United States. The square tract selected is 12.5 miles on a side south of Saguache County Road T south of Crestone. The Bacas deeded the land to their attorney; the ranch headquarters were on Crestone Creek to the southwest of Crestone. The Baca Grant was one of the first large tracts of land to be fenced in the West and in its heyday was the home of prize Hereford cattle. In addition to ranching there was some mining in the area to the east and south of Crestone of small shallow iron oxide copper gold ore deposits.
In 1880 the town of Crestone was platted by the owner of the Baca Grant. In 1900, with the help of Eastern investors, George Adams ignited a minor boom, reopening one of the more promising gold mines and building a railroad spur to the town and the mines along the Range south of town. However, lacking good ore, the boom was short lived. A long period of decline followed. By 1948 Crestone had declined to its post-war population of 40 retirees and cowboys who worked on the Grant, as the Baca Grant was called. Many of the old cabins were used as vacation homes. By 1971 the Baca Grant came into the ownership of a corporation which subdivided a portion of the Grant, creating the Baca Grande, a subdivision platted for about 10,000 lots. At great expense, underground utilities were installed and roads built. However, sales lagged and by 1979 the development was considered a liability by the corporation. Maurice Strong, owner of a controlling interest and his fiancée, Hanne Marstrand, visited the development and "fell in love with it."
They were inspired to create a world spiritual center and began granting parcels of land to traditional spiritual organizations. The population began to increase and by 2006 several hundred homes had been built and a number of small spiritual communities had become established; as the Baca Grande contained no provision for business uses, Crestone became the business center of the community and having enacted a small sales tax was in a position to finance further improvements. Crestone is located in the San Luis Valley in south central Colorado, it is platted on a quarter section of land on the alluvial fan of North Crestone Creek. Much of the land near the creek where the main part of the city sits, is well watered in normal times, but during a prolonged drought the creek may dry up and underground water levels may fall. In more technical terms, Crestone is located at 37°59′45″N 105°41′59″W. According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 0.2 square miles, all of it land.
Census data is for the Town of Crestone. The following is derived from the US census and covers only the town itself, thus giving a misleading idea of the area. About half of the homes in Crestone itself are used only on a seasonal basis; the Crestone community, is much larger, consisting of several hundred homes in the Baca Grande subdivision, the surrounding rural area, the small town of Moffat, Colorado which hosts one of the local schools. As of the census of 2000, there were 73 people, 45 households, 18 families residing in the town; the population density was 290.8 people per square mile. There were 79 housing units at an average density of 314.7 per square mile. The racial makeup of the town was 95.89 % 4.11 % from other races. 1.37% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. There were 45 households out of which 8.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 28.9% were married couples living together, 4.4% had a female householder with no husband present, 60.0% don't fit into the above categories.
48.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 6.7% had someone living alone, 65 years of age or older. The average household siz
Varanasi known as Benares, Banaras, or Kashi, is a city on the banks of the river Ganga in Uttar Pradesh, India, 320 kilometres south-east of the state capital, 121 kilometres east of Allahabad. A major religious hub in India, it is the holiest of the seven sacred cities in Hinduism and Jainism, played an important role in the development of Buddhism and Ravidassia. Varanasi lies along National Highway 2, which connects it to Kolkata, Kanpur and Delhi, is served by Varanasi Junction railway station and Lal Bahadur Shastri International Airport. Varanasi is one of 72 districts in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. At the time of the 2011 census, there were 1329 villages in this district; the main native languages of Varanasi are Bhojpuri. Varanasi grew as an important industrial centre, famous for its muslin and silk fabrics, ivory works, sculpture. Buddha is believed to have founded Buddhism here around 528 BCE when he gave his first sermon, "The Setting in Motion of the Wheel of Dharma", at nearby Sarnath.
The city's religious importance continued to grow in the 8th century, when Adi Shankara established the worship of Shiva as an official sect of Varanasi. During the Muslim rule through Middle Ages, the city continued as an important centre of Hindu devotion, pilgrimage and poetry which further contributed to its reputation as a centre of cultural importance and religious education. Tulsidas wrote his epic poem on Rama's life called Ram Charit Manas in Varanasi. Several other major figures of the Bhakti movement were born in Varanasi, including Kabir and Ravidas. Guru Nanak visited Varanasi for Maha Shivaratri in 1507, a trip that played a large role in the founding of Sikhism. In the 16th century, Varanasi experienced a cultural revival under the Mughal emperor Akbar who patronised the city, built two large temples dedicated to Shiva and Vishnu, though much of modern Varanasi was built during the 18th century, by the Maratha and Brahmin kings; the Kingdom of Benares was given official status by the Mughals in 1737, continued as a dynasty-governed area until Indian independence in 1947.
The city is governed by the Varanasi Nagar Nigam and is represented in the Parliament of India by the current Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi, who won the Lok Sabha elections in 2014 by a huge margin. Silk weaving and crafts and tourism employ a significant number of the local population, as do the Diesel Locomotive Works and Bharat Heavy Electricals. Varanasi Hospital was established in 1964. Varanasi has been a cultural centre of North India for several thousand years, is associated with the Ganges. Hindus believe; the city is known worldwide for its many ghats, embankments made in steps of stone slabs along the river bank where pilgrims perform ritual ablutions. Of particular note are the Dashashwamedh Ghat, the Panchganga Ghat, the Manikarnika Ghat and the Harishchandra Ghat, the last two being where Hindus cremate their dead and the Hindu genealogy registers at Varanasi are kept here; the Ramnagar Fort, near the eastern bank of the Ganges, was built in the 18th century in the Mughal style of architecture with carved balconies, open courtyards, scenic pavilions.
Among the estimated 23,000 temples in Varanasi are Kashi Vishwanath Temple of Shiva, the Sankat Mochan Hanuman Temple, the Durga Temple. The Kashi Naresh is the chief cultural patron of Varanasi, an essential part of all religious celebrations. An educational and musical centre, many prominent Indian philosophers, poets and musicians live or have lived in the city, it was the place where the Benares gharana form of Hindustani classical music was developed. One of Asia's largest residential universities is Banaras Hindu University; the Hindi-language nationalist newspaper, Aj, was first published in 1920. Traditional etymology links "Varanasi" to the names of two Ganges tributaries forming the city's borders: Varuna, still flowing in northern Varanasi, Assi, today a small stream in the southern part of the city, near Assi Ghat; the old city is located on the north shores of the Ganges, bounded by Assi. In the Rigveda, an ancient Indian sacred collection of Vedic Sanskrit hymns, the city is referred to as Kāśī from the Sanskrit verbal root kaś- "to shine", making Varanasi known as "City of Light", the "luminous city as an eminent seat of learning".
The name was used by pilgrims dating from Buddha's days. Hindu religious texts use many epithets to refer to Varanasi, such as Kāśikā, Avimukta, Ānandavana, Rudravāsa. According to Hindu mythology, Varanasi was founded by Shiva, one of three principal deities along with Brahma and Vishnu. During a fight between Brahma and Shiva, one of Brahma's five heads was torn off by Shiva; as was the custom, the victor carried the slain adversary's head in his hand and let it hang down from his hand as an act of ignominy, a sign of his own bravery. A bridle was put into the mouth. Shiva thus dishonored Brahma's head, kept it with him at all times; when he came to the city of Varanasi in this state, the hanging head of Brahma dropped from Shiva's hand and disappeared in the ground. Varanasi is therefore considered an holy site; the Pandavas, the protagonists of the Hindu epic Mahabharata, are said to have visited the city in search of Shiva to atone for their sin of fratricide and Brāhmana
Sati or suttee is an obsolete funeral custom where a widow immolates herself on her husband's pyre or takes her own life in another fashion shortly after her husband's death. Mention of the practice can be dated back to the 3rd century BC, while definite inscriptional proof in Nepal and India starts appearing from 5th and 6th centuries CE respectively. Sati stones started appearing in large numbers from 11th century. From 12th to 19th century and in the late modern era, there were incidents when it occurred in large numbers as a reaction to military conquests by foreign militaries; the number of women burning themselves however always remained low in relation to the number of people. Resolute support for Sati by some authors only appears from 15th century, however there were many in opposition to it; the practice was prevalent among some Hindu communities, observed in aristocratic Sikh families, has been attested to outside the Indian subcontinent in a number of localities in Southeast Asia, such as in Indonesia and Vietnam.
The practice was never widespread throughout India, nor did it have scriptural sanction. The British East India Company tolerated the practice, with William Carey noting 438 incidences within a 30-mile radius of Calcutta, in 1803, despite its ban within Calcutta itself. Historian A. F. Salahuddin Ahmed states Company employees "not only seemed to accord an official sanction, but increased its prestige value", in Bengal, through only prohibiting involuntary immolations in 1813. Between 1815 and 1818, the number of sati in Bengal province doubled from 378 to 839. Under sustained campaigning against sati by Christian missionaries such as William Carey and Brahmin Hindu reformers such as Ram Mohan Roy, the provincial government banned sati in 1829; this was followed up by similar laws by the authorities in the princely states of India in the ensuing decades, with a general ban for the whole of India issued by Queen Victoria in 1861. In Nepal, sati was banned in 1920; the Indian Sati Prevention Act from 1988 further criminalised any type of aiding and glorifying of sati.
Sati is derived from the name of the goddess Sati, who self-immolated because she was unable to bear her father Daksha's humiliation of her and her husband Shiva. The term sati was interpreted as "chaste woman". Sati appears in Hindi and Sanskrit texts, where it is synonymous with "good wife". Sati designates therefore the woman, rather than the rite. Anvarohana is met, as well as satidaha as terms to designate the process. Satipratha is on occasion, used as a term signifying the custom of burning widows alive. Two other terms related to sati are satimata. Sativrata, an uncommon and used term, denotes the woman who makes a vow, vrata, to protect her husband while he is alive and die with her husband. Satimata denotes a venerated widow; the Indian Commission of Sati Act, 1987 Part I, Section 2 defines sati as the rite itself. Few reliable records exist of the practice before the time of the Gupta empire; the Greek historian Aristobulus of Cassandreia, who traveled to India with the expedition of Alexander the Great in c. 327 BCE, recorded that he had heard that among certain tribes widows in Taxila were glad to burn along with their husbands, that those who declined to die were held in disgrace.
According to Greek historian Diodorus, widow-burning was prevalant among the Cathaei people, who lived between the Ravi and Beas rivers. Diodorus mentions that when an Indian captain named Keteus was killed in the Battle of Gabiene, his younger wife died in his funeral pyre. According to Axel Michaels, the first inscriptional evidence of the practice is from Nepal in 464 CE, in India from 510 CE; the early evidence suggests that widow-burning practice was carried out in the general population. Centuries instances of sati began to be marked by inscribed memorial stones called Sati stones. According to J. C. Harle, the medieval memorial stones appear in two forms – viragal and satigal, each to memorialize something different. Both of these are found in many regions of India, but "rarely if earlier in date than the 8th or 9th century". Numerous memorial sati stones appear 11th-century onwards, states Michaels, the largest collections are found in Rajasthan. There have been few instances of sati in the Chola Empire in South India.
Vanavan Mahadevi, the mother of Rajaraja Chola I and Viramahadevi the queen of Rajendra Chola I both committed Sati upon their husband's death by ascending the pyre. A description of sati appears in the Greek 1st-century BCE historian Diodorus Siculus's account of the war fought in Iran between two of Alexander the Great's generals, Eumenes of Cardia and Antigonus Monophthalmus. In 317 BCE Eumenes's cosmopolitan army defeated that of Antigonus in the Battle of Paraitakene. Among the fallen was one Ceteus, the commander of Eumenes's Indian soldiers. Diodorus writes that Ceteus had been followed on campaign by his two wives, at his funeral the two wives competed for the honour of joining their husband on the pyre. After the older wife was found to be pregnant, Eumenes's generals ruled in favour of the younger, she was led to the pyre crowned in garlands to the hymns of her kinsfolk. The whole army marched three times around the pyre before it was lit. According to Diodorus the practice of sati started because Indians married for