Hellenism In Ancient India
The grand poetry of the Vedas, the Epics and Dramas of the succeeding epochs, the religious and philosophical speculations, the learned grammatical analysis of Panini and Patanjali, all the rich and brilliant intellectual achievements of ancient Indians, akin to the Greeks and in many ways no less richly endowed, remained a closed book to the foreigners until the Indian expedition of Alexander, the Great. It offerred the first opportunity for the closely conscious and fruitful contacts between the East and West. Though the arms of the conqueror subdued no more than a corner of India, but the Hellenic culture to the diffusion of which Alexander devoted attention as great as that bestowed by him on his material conquests, long survived his transitory empire and made even in India its presence felt in many and different directions. What is Hellenism? The word is derived from the Greek Hellenizem, i.e. to imitate the Greeks, who were known as Hellenes, the sons of Ducalion. According to the author the term denotes ancient Greek culture in all its phases and even such elements in modern civilization as are Greek in origin or spirit. The Greek invasion brought India for the first time in contact with European and produced consequences of utmost importance. In this remarkable book, the learned author has given a brilliant account of the kind of post-Alexandrian influence on the civilization of India. It shows that Alexander?s magnificent ambition was to conquer the whole world for the mind even more than to possess its riches and dominions. With descent of Alexander, the Great, upon the Punjab, a golden period commenced for India which entered into far more intimate relations with the foreign nations than has hitherto been the case. The intercourses between two great civilizations brought about magnificent deveopments in arts and architectures, sculpture, resulting into Greeco-Buddhist sculptures of Gandhara, Indian paintings, a new system of lovely coinage, medicine, astronomy, mathematics, culture, literature and even philosophy and religion. This unique work written some eight decades ago, by an outstanding historian will be found not only of great interest by the present day scholars of Indo-Greek history and Arts but even by all those elites who are keen to trace the springs of modern culture and civilization.
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