The inhabitants INDIA (Country) SOUTH ASIAN SUBCONTINENT - GTP - Greek Travel Pages

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The inhabitants (1)

Ancient tribes

Brachmanes

  Brachmanes (Brachmanes, Steph. B.: in other writers generally in the genitive, to ethnos Brachmanon, to phulon Brachmanon: also Brachmai, Steph. B.), the Brahmins, or priestly caste of the Hindoos, called by the Greeks sophistai, and, from their habit of practising bodily asceticism in a state of nudity, Gumnosophistai. In the expedition of Alexander, their peculiar sentiments and practices and position among the natives excited the conqueror's attention, and led to inquiries, the results of which are preserved in the fragments of the contemporary historians, and in the compilations of later writers. The particulars of these accounts, agreeing as they do, to a great extent, with the better information gained through our own intercourse with India, it is superfluous to insert here; the reader who wishes to compare them with modern knowledge must carefully consult the original authorities. It should be observed that Alexander's intercourse, with them was not entirely peaceful; for they are found inciting the natives to resist the invader, and suffering severely in consequence. (Aristob. Fr. 34. p. 105, ed. Didot; ap. Strab. xv. p. 714; Onesicrit. Fr. 10, p. 50, ed. Didot, ap. Strab. xv. p. 715, and Plut. Alex. 65, Fr. 33, p. 57, ap. Lucian. de Mort. Peregr. 25; Nearch. Fr. 7, p. 60, ap. Strab. xv. p. 716, Fr. 11, p. 61, ap. Arrian. Ind. 11, Fr. 37, p. 71, ap. Arrian. Anab. vii. 3. § 8; Cleitarch. Fr, 22. a, p. 83, ap. Diog. Laert. Prooem. § 6; Diod. xvii. 102-107; Strab. xv. pp. 712, foll; Arrian. Anab. vi. 7. § 4, vi. 16. § 5; Lucian. Fugit. 6; Plut. Alex. 69; Aelian, V. H. ii. 41; Curt. viii. 9. §. 31; Cic. Tusc. v. 2. 5; Plin. vi. 21; vii. 2; Apul. Flor. vol. ii. p. 130, Bip.; Suid. s. v.; Schneider, Annot. ad Aristot. de Animal. vol. ii. p. 475; Bohlen, Alt. Ind. vol. i. pp. 279, 287, 319, vol. ii. p. 181; Creuzer, Symbolik, vol.i.p.482; Droysen, Alex. p. 503; Lassen, de Nominibus quibus a veteris alppellantur Indorum philosophy, in the Rhein. Mus. 2nd series, vol. i. p. 171, for 1832.) In several of the passages now cited, the Brachmans are spoken of as a distinct tribe, having their own cities; and various geographical positions are assigned to them. This natural result of imperfect information assumes a definite form in Diodorus (xvii. 102, 103), who mentions Harmatelia (Armatelia) as the last city of the Brachmans on the Indus, and in Ptolemy (vii. 1. § 74), who places the Brachmanai magoi at the foot of a mountain called Bettigo (Bettigo), and says that they extend as far as the Batae, and have a city named Brachma (Brachme).

This text is from: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854) (ed. William Smith, LLD). Cited August 2004 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


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