- About 300+ years before Jesus was born, a greek called Megasthanes wrote a book called Indika.
- Up unto that century, the Western Europeans knew of India as a magical and mystical place of riches and spices through the double veils drawn by accounts of the Arab and and Persian traders and others.
- Then a greek called Alexander decided to attack Persia and Egypt. He never managed to cross the Sindhu. His story was put together 2 centuries after his death by biographers who believed some legends that he defeated a king called Porus (of modern Pakisthan- Kekeya) and but returned his kingdom and a part of an ally’s kingdom back to him. Many Indians believe that Alexander was beaten and that this story was made up. They believe the legends in which Porus won.
- Alexander died without a heir and his conqured kingdom was divided into three parts. One of his generals was a man called Seleucus I, husband of Apama, who became the King of Syria. For details and a geographical insight into the European Angle on Indian history Click Here.
- Seleucus was beaten by a king called Sandrokottus of India and concluded a treaty with him. He sent an ambassodor called Megasthanes to the court of Sandrokottus.
Like the Colonial British in USA and India, the greeks never learnt the local names. They named everything afresh. (Including the Himalayas!) In the few cases where they did use the old names, they used different pronounciations. Luckily for us they did not rule here so those names did not catch on here. See this : http://www.und.ac.za/und/classics/india/arrian.htm So now when we read the fragmented, translated and retold Indika, it is really hard to know ‘where and which and who‘ he is talking about.
One such person is Sandrokottus.
- Mainstream Historians have satisfied themselves that Sandrokottus is Chandragupta Maurya of Magadha
- The new historians challenge this. Some of them suggest that this might be Chandragupta Gupta of Ujjain. Megasthanes mentioned a Samudrakryptos as a son of Sandrokottus. The new wave historians believe that this could be a reference to Samudragupta, son of Chandragupta Gupta.
- Megasthanes is has written that Indians would not even eat with the Mlecchas (foriegners), so would a king have married a Mleccha? The name of this said daughter of Seleucus, Helen or Durdhura, does not match with the daughters of Apama, Seleucus’s wife. It also does not show up as the mother of Bindusara Maurya or as the mother of Samudragupta Gupta.
I am trying to verify the data and come to some conclusions. I don’t know greek and I don’t have access to the transalation of Indika. All I have is the link to Arrian’s Indika which I have shared above. It appears that there are places Megasthanes has visited directly, and there is some hearsay and some misunderstanding (due to losses in translation? eg.. fox sized ants that dig gold!) So this is not easy.
The good bit is that according to Pliny, Megasthanes described 30 walled cities of the powerful Andrae. (Andhras). 5 of these walled cities of the Andhras prior to the Satavahanas have been excavated in Dhulikatta, Karimnagar District. http://www.stonepages.com/news/archives/003019.html (Andrae is how the French pronounce Indra. For my theory on this See: Ksheera Sagara Mathanam (Location) )
How would the Indians have pronounced Megasthanes ? As Maghasthanah! or Makhasthanah!