Previous Page [Digital South Asia Library] Next Page

Imperial Gazetteer of India, v. 2, p. 272.

Graphics file for this page
other principal compositions of the class may be dated between
that time and A.D. 700. All the eighteen Puranas were cer-
tainly regarded as works of venerable age when Albirini wrote
his account of India in A.D. Io3I, and the V5ayu Purana-is
known to have ranked as a sacred scripture prior to A.D. 600.
India in The early traditions give us glimpses of India in the sixth
sixth and and seventh centuries B. C. The country, as far as it was
centuries occupied by the more advanced tribes, especially those
a. c. commonly called Aryan, was even then a civilized land, in
a condition far removed from barbarism. We hear of sixteen
great powers or principal states in Northern India, besides
smaller kingdoms and tribal republics. Cities and towns were
numerous, and well equipped with the necessaries and luxuries
of life. Some of the places mentioned in the most ancient
stories, such as Benares and Broach (Bhardch), are important
cities to this day. Others, famous in the olden time, are
now ruinous heaps, and of some the very name and site have
been forgotten. Taxila, for instance, which was celebrated as
one of the greatest cities of the East in the time of Alexander,
was not only the capital of a kingdom two centuries earlier, but
a seat of learning, to which scholars of all classes flocked for
instruction in every branch of knowledge then within the reach of
a student. Its site is now marked by lines of shapeless mounds,
scattered among the villages near Rawalpindi. Sranvasti, the
splendid city where Buddha lived and taught for many years,
lies buried in jungle on the borders of Nepal.
500 B.C. Herodotus, who wrote towards the close of the fifth century
The Indian B. C., gives the first important notice of India by a foreign
Satrapy of
Persia. observer. He did not visit the country personally, and doubt-
less derived his information from Persian sources. Darius, the
son of Hystaspes (521-485 B.c.), having consolidated his power
as master of the Persian empire, sought to extend it over
part of India. He obtained the necessary information by
dispatching Scylax of Karvanda on a voyage of exploration
down the rivers of the Punjab and Sind. The explorer,
starting from a town named Kaspatyros, somewhere near
Attock, in due course reached the sea, and, crossing it westward,
'arrived in the thirtieth month at that place [on the coast of
the Red Sea] where the King of Egypt dispatched the
Phoenicians to sail round Libya.' Unfortunately no more
detailed account has been preserved of this adventurous
voyage, which anticipated the achievement of Alexander and
Nearchus. Darius then attacked India and annexed to his
empire the provinces west of the Indus, and possibly part of

Previous Page To Table of Contents Next Page

Back to Imperial Gazetteer of India | Back to the DSAL Page

This page was last generated on Monday 18 February 2013 at 16:20 by
The URL of this page is: