Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home

Two Notes on Seleucid History

  • W. W. Tarn

Extract

I have long suspected the 500 elephants of Ipsus, as the number is too remote from anything else known. Omitting these, the largest force of elephants which Greeks ever saw in action was the 200 of Porus; the largest force which any Greek ever commanded was the 120 or there-abouts which Eudamus brought to Eumenes; the largest force which any king is recorded on good authority to have possessed is the 150 of Antiochus III. The number which Alexander (who never used them in battle) collected in India cannot be ascertained; but the uniformly modest numbers which, Eudamus' force apart, figure in the history of the Successors before Ipsus show that he cannot have brought away from India anything approaching 200. The vast figures attributed by various writers to Indian kings and peoples may be neglected, though doubtless Chandragupta, reckoning in the forces of his vassal kings, did control a large number. I have now by accident stumbled on something which certainly will explain the number 500 attributed to Seleucus; it remains to be seen whether the explanation be the correct one. I am not claiming to give an exact proof that it is, but there is a very high degree of probability. I had better indicate the proposed explanation first before coming to the Greek evidence about Seleucus.

Copyright

References

Hide All

page 84 note 1 Exact number uncertain. Diod. XIX, 14, 8 gives 120; id. 28, 4 (Paraitakene) 114, but the detailed numbers add up to 125.

page 84 note 2 Jerome's 400 and Appian's 300 (Prooim. 10) for Ptolemy II are worthless; the Appian passage is full of gross exaggerations. But his statement (Lib. 95) that Carthage had stabling for 300 might perhaps be true.

page 84 note 3 Polyb. XI, 34, 12.

page 84 note 4 Przyluski, J., however, in La légende de l'Empereur Açoka (Açoka–Avadāna), 1923, has in his index a considerable special entry under cinq cents.

page 84 note 5 There must of course be a very great deal more. But what I give should suffice.

page 84 note 6 I am indebted to my daughter for going through Jātakas, Cowell's (The Jātaka, trans, by various hands, ed. Cowell, E. B., 6 vols., 18951907) and taking out the figures.

page 84 note 7 Trans, by Davids, T. W. Rhys, 2 vols., in Sacred Books of the Buddhists.

page 84 note 8 Trans, by Davids, T. W. Rhys, 2 vols., in Sacred Books of the East, XXXV, XXXVI.

page 84 note 9 Trans, by J. Przyluski, op. cit., from the Chinese translation; extracts only from the Sanscrit original survive.

page 85 note 10 Jātaka, I, 1, 16, 27, 33, 35, 100, 109, 115, 159, 173, 207, 237, 241, 260, 273, 274, 305. 321; II, 28, 65, 119 (twice), 239; III, 12 (twice), 14, 35, 76, 83, 93, 94 (twice), 113, 154 (twice), 240, 319; IV, 9, 47, 61, 74, 91, 95, 168, 189, 205, 227, 268, 275; V, 66, 136, 219, 254; VI, 20 (often repeated). Dialogues of the Buddha, II, 237, 286, 287, 349. Milindapañha, II, 227 (160). Przyluski, op. cit. 309, 403.

page 85 note 11 Jātaka, III, 281; IV, 227; V, 22. Przyluski, op. cit. p. 309.

page 85 note 12 Przyluski, op. cit. p. 406.

page 85 note 13 Jātaka, I, 6, 7, 10, 73, 135, 212, 220, 239; II, 90; III, 132, 243; IV, 221, 222; V, 12, 42, 86, 256; VI, 20. Dialogues of the Buddha, II, 139, 141. Milindapañha, I, 27 (17), 289 (202).

page 85 note 14 Jātaka, I, 13, 253; II, 290, 294; IV, 9, 157; VI, 54, 123. Przyluski, op. cit. p. 387.

page 85 note 15 Jātaka, I, 52, 64, 106, 109 (2 cases), 166 (3 cases), 314; III, 228; IV, 98, 101; VI, 40. Milindapañha, I, 289 (202). Przyluski, op. cit. p. 401.

page 85 note 16 Jātaka, I, 19, 64, 255; II, 14, 65; III, 261; IV, 102. Przyluski, op. cit. pp. 392, 402.

page 85 note 17 Jātaka, I, 121, 185; II, 264; III, 243; IV, 268. Przyluski, op. cit. p. 390.

page 85 note 18 Jātaka, III, 40, 261; V, 5; VI, 140.

page 85 note 19 Id. II, 65, 278, 287; IV, 32, 71, 183.

page 85 note 20 Id. I, 273; V, 7. Przyluski, op. cit. pp. 415, 417.

page 85 note 21 Jātaka, II, 65, 218; IV, 94; VI, 253. Dialogues of the Buddha, I, 65.

page 85 note 22 Jātaka, II, 267 (warriors); IV, 94 (chariots); VI, 68 (archers).

page 85 note 23 Id. II, 64 (nymphs), 94 (goblins).

page 85 note 24 Foucher, A., Notes sur la géographie ancienne du Gandhāra, p. 17.

page 85 note 25 Jātaka, V, 221.

page 85 note 26 Milindapañha, I, 182 (121).

page 85 note 27 Id. I, 130 (85); Jātaka, V, 250.

page 85 note 28 Jātaka, VI, 86.

page 85 note 29 Milindapañha, I, 171 (114); II, 129 (283).

page 85 note 30 Demiéville, P., Les versions chinoises du Milindañha, BEFEO, XXIV, 152 (LXXXVI).

page 85 note 31 Horses, Jātaka, I, 19, 22; II, 22, 66. Asses, id. II, 67. Oxen, id. I, 73. Dogs, id. III, 319. Monkeys, id. III, 218; Przyluski, op. cit. p. 309. Stags and deer, Jātaka, I, 35, 39; Przyluski, op. cit. 293 (in the Avadāna of Kunala).

page 85 note 32 Dialogues of the Buddha, I, 65.

page 85 note 33 Jātaka, II, 15.

page 85 note 34 Dialogues of the Buddha, I, 108, 144, 173, 288, 300; II, 284. Milindapañha, I, 298 (207). Przyski, op. cit. p. 266.

page 86 note 35 Dialogues of the Buddha, II, 180, 182, 183, 185, 186.

page 86 note 36 Milindapañha, I, 186 (131).

page 86 note 37 On the treaty itself see Tarn, , The Greeks in Bactria and India, 1938, p. 174, n. 3, and on what Seleucus actually ceded, id. p. 100. ******Appian, Syr. 55 ultimately goes back to the same source, but does not mention the elephants. Fresh light has since been thrown on the circumstances by Newell, E. T., The coinage of the Eastern Seleucid mints from Seleucus I to Antiochus III, 1938, on which see my review in JHS 1939; but it is not material here.

page 86 note 38 It is strange that O. Stein, in his enormously full article Megasthenes in PW, never considers the source of this treaty, though he ascribes to Megasthenes almost every mention of anything Indian in classical literature between the Alexander-historians and Claudius Ptolemy.

page 87 note 39 FHG II, frs. 20, 21, p. 416, and the end of fr. 23, p. 420.

page 87 note 40 The argument that follows would apply equally to any other early Greek writer on India.

page 87 note 41 Though Seleucus could never have manœuvred 500, or 400, elephants on the spur of the moment, I am not using this passage as an argument, as it is possible that he laid a trap: his cavalry may have had orders to fly, which, as they were unbroken, would inevitably draw Demetrius on and enable the elephants, who were waiting for this, to intervene.

page 87 note 42 I take it to be a sound rule that if two texts, derived from a common source, give, on one matter, conflicting accounts, then what the common source gave on that matter is, in the absence of evidence aliunde, unknown.

page 87 note 43 The fragment of a Babylonian Chronicle concerning Antiochus I, in Smith, Sidney, Babylonian Historical Texts, 1924. I gave a full account in JHS XLVI, 1926, p. 157.

page 87 note 44 Lucian, , Zeuxis II; cf. Suidas, , and the Myrina terracotta which I cited, op. cit. p. 157.

page 88 note 45 Pint., Dem. XXV.

page 88 note 46 A Maurya, not a local ruler: Tarn, , Bactria and India, p. 130 and notes.

page 88 note 47 Polyb. XI, 34, 12: . It is not clear whether ἄπαντας means those he had in India at the moment, or all he possessed; but it makes little difference, for nothing shows that when he met Sophagasenos he had any in the West. The 102 he had at Raphia must have been lost there; the demotic version of the trilingual stele concerning Raphia, l. 14, says they were all captured (Spiegelberg, , SB Bayer Ak. 1925, Abh. 4; the Greek version has a lacuna). Spiegelberg, p. 19, indeed says that this cannot be taken literally in view of Polybius' statement (V, 85, 5) that Antiochus had only 5 elephants killed; but this, even if true, only refers to his breaking of Ptolemy's left (which he continued to claim as a personal victory), as is shown by the added statement that he captured most of Ptolemy's elephants, whereas Ptolemy's right had been completely victorious. If one reads Polybius'. account of the battle as a whole, one sees that Antiochus could not have saved many elephants (his own or captured), if any, in the universal flight at the end; the inscription, in saying he lost them all, is substantially correct.

page 88 note 48 Polyb. XI, 34, 10.

page 88 note 49 Tarn, , Bactria and India, p. 309.

page 89 note 50 Megasthenes (named ) in Arr., Ind. VIII, 6; Pliny, , H.N. VI, 76, gives the same story. But there is nothing to warrant the belief, which Schwanbeck started (though he himself treated the matter as uncertain) that all the vires gentium in Pliny VI, 66 sqq. are from Megasthenes; the Heracles story stands apart, since it is nothing real, and Pliny, as Müller noticed (FHG II, p. 410, note at the end of fr. 8), was using a number of sources, as he so often did.

page 89 note 51 Polyaenus, IV, 9, 3.

page 89 note 52 Tarn, , JHS XLVI, p. 157.

page 89 note 53 FHG III, p. 474, fr. 30 = Aelian, , N.An. IX, 58, .

page 89 note 54 Id. p. 476, fr. 34 = Philostratus, , Vita Apoll. 13. The brand, τοὐπίσημον, on the tusk was .

page 89 note 1 Tarn, , The Greeks in Bactria and India, 1938, pp. 118sq.

page 89 note 2 It comes from a Thibetan translation of a Sanscrit work: Lévi, S., Journ. Asiatique, 1933, p. 271, n. 1. The original mentions a town Dharmamitra (Demetrias), and the translator says that the name was the origin of Tarmita on the Paksu (Oxus). See further below.

page 90 note 3 Ptol. VI, 12, 6.

page 90 note 4 Barger, E., Geographical Journal, XCIII, 1939, p. 387.

page 90 note 5 Tarn, op. cit. chs. IV–VI, esp. pp. 131–2, 181.

page 90 note 6 References for these cities, Tarn, op. cit., Index under Alexandria.

page 90 note 7 The Peutinger Table also gives a place Thimara in Orissa, near the mouths of the Ganges (see Miller, K., Itineraria Romana, 1916, maps 255, 256 and col. 789), which has sometimes been confused with Tharmata; consequently Tomaschek, , Antiochia, 13 in PW, and Tscherikower, V., Die Hellenistische Städtegründungen, p. 111, said that Antioch Tharmata was near the Ganges mouth (a strange place for an Antioch), though Droysen, , Hellenismus,2 III, 2, p. 323, had already shown that this idea was wrong. Thimara has nothing whatever to do with Antioch Tharmata.

page 90 note 8 Ravennatis Anonymi Cosmographia, ed. Pinder, M. and Parthey, G., p. 141.

page 90 note 9 Miller, op. cit. col. 798.

page 90 note 10 Id. col. 795. Miller himself noted this.

page 90 note 11 Tarn, op. cit. p. 118, n. 8: ‘Antioch Tharmata … possibly a conflation of Antioch–Merv and Demetrias–Termedh which has been misplaced.’ This is wrong. I also think now that it was probably wrong to connect Tharmata with Stephanus' ἄρματα πόλις Ἰνδικῆς; for some MSS of Diodorus, XVII, 103, 1, give Ἄρματα instead of Ἁρματήλια, a town in Sambos' country on the lower Indus.

page 90 note 12 Alexander had traversed the southern part, from Herat to Zarin; and the Suren, in the liquidation of the Saca invasion of 129 B.C., had driven the enemy back along the northern part, Herat–Traxiane–Merv: Tarn, , Seleucid–Parthian Studies (Proc. Brit. Acad. 1930), pp. 1618, Bactria and India, p. 499.

page 91 note 13 Pliny, , H.N. VI, 47; Strabo, XI, 516.

page 91 note 14 Tarn, , Bactria and India, p. 118.

page 91 note 15 Id. p. 291. Junge, J., Saka-Studien, Klio, Beiheft 41, 1939, p. 67, would extend this expression greatly north-eastward. It is not necessary to consider that here.

page 91 note 16 Arr. IV, 1, 3.

page 91 note 17 Syr. 57.

page 91 note 18 Arr. IV, 4, 1.

page 91 note 19 See the reproduction of this section in Miller, op. cit. at cols. 639–42.

page 91 note 20 The name Araxes originally came from the Oxus; it is Ar-axes, ‘river Oxus,’ just as Plutarch's Orexartes (Alex. XLV) is Ar-yaxartes; see Roesler, R., Wien SB LXXIV, 1873, p. 256, n. 3, who gives many parallels of river names beginning with Ar-. But ‘Araxes’ was often used of the Jaxartes after that river became known; and in the Peutinger Table there is no doubt, as the Oxus is given separately by its name.

page 91 note 21 Tarn, op. cit. pp. 231 sq. Of course a town ‘refounded’ did not always stand on the old site.

page 91 note 22 Strabo, XI, 524.

page 91 note 23 Presumably meaning ‘corn-land,’ ‘The Sown.’

page 92 note 24 This story, that the gods forbade Alexander to go any farther here, as they also did at the Beas, is not preserved in any extant Alexander-historian.

page 92 note 25 For the decree see Holleaux, , Rev. E.G. 1923, p. 1.

page 92 note 26 OGIS 213.

page 92 note 27 Holleaux, id.

page 92 note 28 Pliny, H.N. VI, 49 (from Demodamas). Dux is στρατηγός.

page 92 note 29 So again Pliny, VI, 58, Seleuco et Antiocho praefectoque classis eorum Patrocle.

page 92 note 30 Pliny, VI, 49: transcendit eum amnem Demodamas, Seleuci et Antiochi regum dux, quern maxime sequimur in his, arasque Apollini Didymaeo statuit. Fr. Stähelin, Seleukos I n PW, 1921, col. 1231, said that according to Rehm's dating in Milet, I, 3, p. 262, Demodamas' crossing of the Jaxartes must be before 299/8; and Hennig, R., Terrae Incognitae, 1936, p. 173, citing the same passage in Rehm, said that Demodamas' expedition was connected with the campaign which Seleucus undertook in 299/8 to strengthen and widen his rule over Asia. But Rehm has not a word about Demodamas' campaign; what he said, after dating the decree for Apama in 299/8, was ‘wir kommen auf das Jahr nach der Ehrung des Antiochos, für die Anregung des Demodamas (his proposal of the decree) vielleicht sogar in eben dieses Jahr.’ The theory of Stähelin and Hennig is completely refuted by the words Seleuci et Antiochi regum dux; long ago, U. Wilcken dated Demodamas' campaign correctly, Antiochos I in PW, col. 2451. No such campaign of Seleucus' as Hennig supposes is known; 299 was the year of his alliance with Demetrius the Besieger, their meeting at Rhossos, and his marriage to Demetrius' daughter Stratonice.

page 92 note 31 Arr. IV, 4.

page 92 note 32 VI, 49: oppidum … in ultimis eorum (the Sogdians) finibus Alexandria ab Alexandra Magno conditum. Arae ibi sunt & c.

page 92 note 33 I, 2, 5: (Tanais) praeteriens aras ac terminos Alexandri Magni in Rhobascorum finibus sitos.

page 92 note 34 Ibi in Pliny, VI, 49 is ambiguous; it could mean either Alexandria or the fines generally.

page 93 note 35 The wall took only 20 days to build, Arr. IV, 4, 1.

page 93 note 36 Habakkuk, i, 10.

page 93 note 37 Justin, XV, 4, 11.

page 93 note 38 Diod. XIX, 48, 1.

page 93 note 39 The Coinage of the Eastern Seleucid mints from Seleucus I to Antiochus III, 1938, p. 230.

page 93 note 40 Patrocles' date: Pliny, VI, 58, Seleuco et Antiocho (see note 29 above). Strategos of Bactria–Sogdiana: Strabo, II, 74, .

page 93 note 41 Plut. Dem. 47.

page 93 note 42 Memnon 15 (FHG III, 534).

page 94 note 43 Hennig, op. cit. p. 172, thought the list of peoples in Pliny, VI, 50, was from Demodamas. But some names come from Herodotus and the Alexander-story; and it is only one of Pliny's usual lists, combining his notes from many sources; see auctorum, VI, 51.

page 94 note 44 Salles, G., Rev. de Paris, XLIII, 1936, p. 144.

page 94 note 45 In 1932 a fragment of a Graeco-Buddhist sculptured cornice was found in the Oxus, 13 km. below Termez, but seemingly it came from a stupa and is later than the Christian Era: Field, H. and Prostov, E., Amer. Anthropologist, XXXIX, 1937, p. 475. In 1938 M. Masson published from Tashkent four square Greek bases, from places near Termez, which once carried circular disengaged columns, though but little of these remains; thanks to Professor E. H. Minns I have seen his drawing, but it is too small to show details. Of course Greek coins have often been found in the ruins of Old Termez.

Two Notes on Seleucid History

  • W. W. Tarn

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed.