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Ancient India As Described by Ktesias the Knidian

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Being a translation of the abridgement of his "Indika" by Phôtios, and of the fragments of that work preserved in other writers

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Item Code: HAS471
Author: John W. McCrindle
Publisher: Dev Publishers And Distributors
Language: English
Edition: 2024
ISBN: 9789359440088
Pages: 93
Cover: Paperback
Other Details 8.5x5.5 inch
Weight 130 gm
Book Description
About the Book

The book 'Ancient India as Described by Ktesias the Knidian' by John W. MeCrindle, offers a unique perspective on India through the lens of Ktesias, a native of Knidos and a member of the Asklepiadai, a priestly caste with a hereditary profession in medicine. Ktesias, a contemporary of Hippocrates, spent 17 years in Persia, serving as a physician to the royal court under Darius II and Artaxerxes Mnemon.

Among Ktesias's various works, the most significant was his history of Persia, written in 23 books. Unfortunately, this work is lost, but Photios provided a brief abstract of its contents. Another notable work was the 'Indika' focused on India, which is also lost but abridged by Photios, with fragments preserved by other writers like Elian. Ktesias's 'Indika' aimed to capture India's essence, drawing from reports of Persian officials and possibly Indian sources.

About the Author

John W. McCrindle was a Scottish classical philologist and educator who wrote several major works on references to India in ancient classical writings. He taught at Patna College and later at Krishnagar College.


This little book forms the third volume of the series of Annotated Translations of those works of the Classical writers which relate to Ancient India. The volumes already issued contain Translations of the Fragments of Megasthenes-of the Indika of Arrian and of the Periplûs of the Erythræan Sea; and in those which are to follow will be rendered the Geography of India as given by Strabo and by Ptolemy, and the accounts of the Makedonian Invasion as given by Arrian and by Curtius- and these works will complete the series.


To Ktêsias belongs the distinction of having been the first writer who gave to the Greeks a special treatise of India-a region concerning which they had, before his time, no further knowledge than what was supplied by the few and meagre notices of it which had appeared in the Geography of Hêkataios of Milêtos, and in the History of Herodotos. This Ktêsias was a native of Knidos, an important Lakedemonian colony situate on the sea coast of Karia, and was the son of Kțêsiokhos (or Ktêsiarkhos).¹ His family, as we learn from Galen, was a branch of the Asklėpiadai, a caste of priests settled principally in Kôs and Knidos, with whom medicine was an hereditary profession. He was contemporary with Hippokrates, who like himself was an Asklepiad; but he was very much younger than his illustrious kinsman, though by how many years we know not, as the date of his birth cannot be ascertained. We may conclude, however, that he must have risen to eminence by the practice of his art before the year 416 BC, for about that time he repaired to Persia, probably on the invitation of the king who appointed him physician to the royal court.

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