More unsubstantiated stories?

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marcus
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More unsubstantiated stories?

Postby marcus » Wed Jul 04, 2007 6:23 pm

From today's RogueClassicism:

It is said that discovery of rock salt in Khewra area dates back to as early as circa 326 BC. According to a legend, the army of Alexander the great was resting in Khewra area after a battle with Raja Porus. Some horses of Alexander’s army were then seen licking rock salt in the area. Somebody from Alexander’s army noted down the incident in his ledger or diary and hence we came to know that salt was discovered here circa 326 BC. History is however silent on which language this incident was recorded in (Greek?) or where is that diary now.


I don't remember hearing this one before, although I have to confess that my knowledge of events after leaving Bactria is less intimate than it is of those previous ...

And here's another, also from RogueClassicism today:

Cultivation of sugar cane dates back some 12,000 years to New Guinea. By the time of the Greeks, it had spread to Europe.

"There's a description going back to Alexander the Great," Mintz said. "One of his generals writes about finding it in India. He talks about this reed which has this sweet juice in it."


Nope, don't remember that one, either! :cry:

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Postby amyntoros » Wed Jul 04, 2007 10:03 pm

Ooh, ooh ... I can quickly answer this post (as opposed to the time it is taking me to compose a response for other threads). Strabo (15.1.20) has the information on “sugar cane” in India and for some reason it has always stuck with me.

An abundance of fruit is produced by trees; and the roots of plants, particularly of large reeds, possess a sweetness, which they have by nature and by coction; for the water both from the rains and rivers, is warmed by the sun’s rays. The meaning of Eratosthenes seems to be this, that what among other nations is called the ripening of fruits and juices, is called among these coction, and which contributes as much to produce an agreeable flavour as the coction by fire. To this is attributed the flexibility of the branches of trees from which wheels of carriages are made, and to the same cause is imputed the growth upon some trees of wool. Nearchus says that their fine clothes were made of this wool, and that the Macedonians used it for mattresses and the stuffing of saddles. The Serica also are of a similar kind, and are made of dry byssus, which is obtained from some sort of bark of plants. He says that reeds yield honey, although there are no bees, and that there is a tree from the fruit of which honey is procured, but that the fruit eaten fresh causes intoxication.


The legend of Alexander’s horses and the salt-lick may be a local legend, methinks, although Strabo (15.1.30) does mention the discovery of salt in India, presumably during Alexander’s visit. It’s not beyond the realms of possibility that the salt was discovered in said manner, I suppose, but I don’t know of a source to support it.

It is said, that in the territory of Sopeithes there is a mountain composed of fossile salt, sufficient for the whole of India. Valuable mines also both of gold and silver are situated, it is said, not far off among other mountains, according to the testimony of Gorgus, the miner (of Alexander). The Indians, unacquainted with mining and smelting, are ignorant of their own wealth, and therefore traffic with the greater simplicity.


I have no idea if the salt mines at Khewra are in the (former) territory of Sopeithes as I know little of ancient or modern geography of India and Pakistan, unfortunately. :oops:

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Postby marcus » Thu Jul 05, 2007 4:04 pm

amyntoros wrote:I have no idea if the salt mines at Khewra are in the (former) territory of Sopeithes as I know little of ancient or modern geography of India and Pakistan, unfortunately. :oops:


Not good enough! :wink:

But thanks for the comments otherwise ... As I said, the Indian period is the one I am least familiar with - need to do some more reading of that (and of Strabo, obviously).

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Youth And Greatness

Postby jasonxx » Thu Jul 05, 2007 5:42 pm

Lately i have been reading the lifes and times of Augustus caesar, and the similarity I see with Alexander is there young ages of Achievement. Augustus was around 19 years old by the time he was making a great noise for himself. it also turned out that he became a long lived and the most succesful of the Roman Emperors creating Stability in Rome that lasted 200 years.

Its been said about Alexander living longer. Its fair to say once hed finished his world conquest whos to say he wouldnt have been a great diplomat and organiser as Augustrus.Is it fair to say Alexander was as politically astute and as good an organiser as Philip I would say so.

Its fair to say Alexander treated subdugated people far better than most conquerers indeed if they towed the line. The so called purges when he returned were basically abainst those taking the pee when he was away.

I always rated Julius caeasr as the Greatest Roman general. But Augustus was the Greatest Roman Empire. Young like Alexander ,

kenny

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Postby jasonxx » Thu Jul 05, 2007 5:46 pm

Marcus

there was always something i read with Alexander which I would like to believe but am unsure of its roots.

i read somewhere that once Alexander had his domains it was his goal to put an end to war. Do you think this realistic from a man bred to fight and to be of war. If so its a marvelous idea. from the Greatest practitioner of war to end wars.

Not that it would have worked Humans have always found reason to exterminate each other.

kenny

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The Oath at Opis!

Postby rjones2818 » Thu Jul 05, 2007 7:05 pm

THE OATH
"Now that the wars are coming to an end, I wish you to prosper in peace. May all mortals from now on live like one people in concord and for mutual advancement. Consider the world as your country, with laws common to all and where the best will govern irrespective of tribe. I do not distinguish among men, as the narrow-minded do, both among Greeks and Barbarians. I am not interested in the descendance of the citizens or their racial origins. I classify them using one criterion: their virtue. For me every virtuous foreigner is a Greek and every evil Greek worse than a Barbarian. If differences ever develop between you never have recourse to arms, but solve them peacefully. If necessary, I should be your arbitrator. You must not consider God like an autocratic despot, but as a common Father of all; so your behavior may resemble the life siblings have in a family. On my part I should consider all equals,white or blacks, and wish you all to be not only subjects of the Commonwealth, but participants and partners. As much as this depends on me, I should try to bring about what I promised. The oath we made over tonight’s libations hold onto as a Contract of Love".
- Alexander the Great at Opis.


I have it over to the side at my blog: rjones2818.blogspot.com.

There is argument as to if he actually gave this, or if it was put in his mouth by one of Hadrian's generals (Arrian) as propaganda. Either way, it's one of the finest statements of how people should interact with each other that I've ever read.

Go Alexandros! :twisted:

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The whole point being, of course,

Postby rjones2818 » Thu Jul 05, 2007 7:12 pm

that if Alexander ruled the whole world, there would be no reason for wars. He's the closest to come to that, so I can see him saying that!

You might want to read Jai Sen's "The Golden Vine" for an idea as to what such a world might have been like should he have lived to old age.

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Re: The whole point being, of course,

Postby Paralus » Fri Jul 06, 2007 2:52 am

rjones2818 wrote:that if Alexander ruled the whole world, there would be no reason for wars. He's the closest to come to that, so I can see him saying that!


Ooh, I think the Romans had a decent shot at it. Didn't stop the wars either.

Alexander will have died of ennui had there been no further peoples to subdue or wars to fight methinks.
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Wicked men, you sin against your fathers, who conquered the whole world under Philip and Alexander.

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Postby amyntoros » Sun Jul 08, 2007 7:56 pm

rjones2818 wrote:
THE OATH
"Now that the wars are coming to an end, I wish you to prosper in peace. May all mortals from now on live like one people in concord and for mutual advancement. Consider the world as your country, with laws common to all and where the best will govern irrespective of tribe. I do not distinguish among men, as the narrow-minded do, both among Greeks and Barbarians. I am not interested in the descendance of the citizens or their racial origins. I classify them using one criterion: their virtue. For me every virtuous foreigner is a Greek and every evil Greek worse than a Barbarian. If differences ever develop between you never have recourse to arms, but solve them peacefully. If necessary, I should be your arbitrator. You must not consider God like an autocratic despot, but as a common Father of all; so your behavior may resemble the life siblings have in a family. On my part I should consider all equals,white or blacks, and wish you all to be not only subjects of the Commonwealth, but participants and partners. As much as this depends on me, I should try to bring about what I promised. The oath we made over tonight’s libations hold onto as a Contract of Love".
- Alexander the Great at Opis.


I have it over to the side at my blog: rjones2818.blogspot.com.

There is argument as to if he actually gave this, or if it was put in his mouth by one of Hadrian's generals (Arrian) as propaganda. Either way, it's one of the finest statements of how people should interact with each other that I've ever read.

Go Alexandros! :twisted:


I think then that you might want to direct your admiration towards a modern Greek gentleman! :) The problem with the oath is that it is not historical. Its internet origins probably lie in a book written by Nicholas Martis, The Falsification of Macedonian History. In his book, Martis says that "This oath is given by Zolakostas in his book Alexander the Great, Precursor of Christ" who referenced the 3rd book of Pseudo Callisthenes and the philosopher Eratosthenes.

Pseudo Callisthenes is, of course, the author of the fictional Alexander Romance, and if the oath was to be found in its pages it still could not be verified as historical. To date, however, I haven’t found any translation of the Romance that contains the piece, and there is no extant work of Eratosthenes which contains the oath (so Zolakostas could not have read it there either).

All that Arrian (the sole source for any "prayer" at Opis, I believe) has to say is:

Arrian 7.2.6-9 On this Alexander sacrificed to the gods to whom it was his custom to sacrifice, and gave a public banquet, seated all the Persians, and then any persons from the other peoples who took precedence for rank or any other high quality, and he himself and those around him drank from the same bowl and poured the same libations, with the Greek soothsayers and Magi initiating the ceremony. Alexander prayed for various blessings and especially that the Macedonians and Persians should enjoy harmony as partners in government. The story prevails that those who shared the banquet were nine thousand and that they all poured the same libation and gave the one victory cry as they did.


So, in essence, the oath is not to be found in any of the sources and is a work of modern fiction reflecting an author's view of Alexander. That same author may be channeling Plutarch's On the Fortune or the Virtue of Alexander by the way, :wink: but the actual words in the oath are not Alexander's.

(With grateful acknowledgement to the members of Alexandriaeschate for the information on Martis and Zolakostas.)

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Postby Callisto » Mon Jul 09, 2007 12:10 am

Better the acknowledgement should go to Jason C Mavrovitis who was the one who pointed it out in first place.

http://www.helleniccomserve.com/alexand ... sited.html

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Postby amyntoros » Mon Jul 09, 2007 3:37 am

Callisto wrote:Better the acknowledgement should go to Jason C Mavrovitis who was the one who pointed it out in first place.

http://www.helleniccomserve.com/alexand ... sited.html


Well, I thought about putting in the link - thought about it a lot, actually, but I was concerned about lines in the website such as "The purpose of this article is to contest Martis’ questionable scholarship and propagandistic rhetoric." Seems to me when words such as propagandistic are used there's always the possibility of a Pothos debate veering in a different and perhaps unpleasant direction. For the purposes of my post I was only concerned with the non-historical basis of the "Oath," and I didn't think the believed reasons why Martis (or even Zolakostas) included the oath as fact to be relevant. Maybe I was wrong, but it was a judgment call to refer instead to Alexandriaeschate (where the link and also the contributing member's name can be found). I figured that anyone really interested would follow through.

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