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

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Iambulus (Iamboulos), a Greek author, who is known for having written a work on the strange forms and figures of the inhabitants of India. (Tzetz. Chil. vii. 144.) Diodorus Siculus (ii. 55, &c.), who seems only to have transcribed Iambulus in his description of the Indians, relates that the latter was made a slave by the Ethiopians, and sent by them to a happy island in the eastern seas, where he acquired his knowledge. The whole account, however, has the appearance of a mere fiction; and the description which Iambulus gave of the east, which he had probably never seen, consisted of nothing but fabulous absurdities. (Lucian, Verae Hist. 3)



Porus, king of the Indian provinces east of the river Hydaspes, which appears to have formed the boundary of his dominions on the west. It was here, accordingly, that he prepared to meet the invader, and, far from following the example of Taxilas and Abisares, who had sent embassies of submission to Alexander, he assembled a large army, with which he occupied the left bank of the river. On the arrival of the king on the opposite Ride, the forces of Porus, and especially his elephants (more than 200 in number), presented so formidable an aspect that Alexander did not venture to attempt the passage in the face of them, but sought by delay, and by repeated feigned attempts at crossing, to lull the vigilance of the Indian monarch into security. These devices were partly successful, and at length Alexander, leaving Craterus with the main body of his army encamped opposite to Porus, effected the passage of the river himself, about 150 stadia higher up, with a force of 6000 foot and 5000 horse. Porus immediately despatched his son, with a select body of cavalry, to check the march of the invaders, while he himself followed with all his best troops. The battle that ensued was one of the most severely contested which occurred during the whole of Alexander's campaigns. Porus displayed much skill and judgment in the disposition of his forces, but his schemes were baffled by the superior generalship of his adversary, and his whole army at length thrown into confusion. Still the Indian king maintained his ground, and it was not till the troops around him were utterly routed, and he himself severely wounded in the shoulder, that he consented to quit the field. Alexander was struck with his courage, and sent emissaries in pursuit of him to assure him of safety. Hereupon Porus surrendered, and was conducted to the conqueror, of whom he proudly demanded to be treated in a manner worthy of a king. This magnanimity at once conciliated the favour of Alexander, who received him with the utmost honour, and not only restored to him his dominions, but increased them by large accessions of territory (Arrian, Anab. v. 8, 9-19, 20, 21; Curt. viii. 13, 14; Diod. xvii. 87-89 ; Plut. Alex. 60; Justin. xii. 8; Strab. xv.).
  From this time Porus became firmly attached to his generous conqueror. He accompanied Alexander on his expedition against the neighbouring Indian tribes; but after he had crossed the Acesines, was sent back to his own territory to raise an additional force, with which he rejoined the king at Sangala, and rendered him effective assistance against the Cathaeans, a tribe with whom he himself was previously on terms of hostility. He subsequently accompanied Alexander with an auxiliary force as far as the banks of the Hyphasis, and after his return contributed actively to the equipment of his fleet. For these services he was rewarded by the king with the government of the whole region front the Hydaspes to the Hyphasis, including, it is said, seven nations, and above two thousand cities (Arrian, Anab. v. 22, 24, 29, vi. 2; Curt. ix. 2.5, 3.22; Diod. xvii. 93). These dominions he continued to hold unmolested until the death of Alexander, and was allowed to retain them (apparently with the title of king) in the division of the provinces after that event, as well as in the subsequent partition at Triparadeisus, B. C. 321. Probably the generals were aware how difficult it would have been to dispossess him. Eudemus, however, who had been left in command of the Macedonian troops in the adjacent province, was able to decoy Porus into his power, and treacherously put him to death (Diod. xviii. 3, xix. 14; Curt. x. 1.20; Arrian, ap. Phot.).
  We are told that Porus was a man of gigantic stature--not less than five cubits in height; and his personal strength and prowess in war were not less conspicuous than his valour.

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Dec 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks

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