The Making of Roman India: Greek Culture in the Roman World

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9780521193962: The Making of Roman India: Greek Culture in the Roman World

Latin and especially Greek texts of the imperial period contain a wealth of references to 'India'. Professor Parker offers a survey of such texts, read against a wide range of other sources, both archaeological and documentary. He emphasises the social processes whereby the notion of India gained its exotic features, including the role of the Persian empire and of Alexander's expedition. Three kinds of social context receive special attention: the trade in luxury commodities; the political discourse of empire and its limits; and India's status as a place of special knowledge, embodied in 'naked philosophers'. Roman ideas about India ranged from the specific and concrete to the wildly fantastic and the book attempts to account for such variety. It ends by considering the afterlife of such ideas into late antiquity and beyond.

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Book Description:

India fascinated the ancient Romans. Drawing on literary and archaeological sources, this book sketches the contours of that India - as much the source of luxury goods and the marker of the end of world empire for both polytheists and Christians as the home of holy men and their special knowledge.

About the Author:

Grant Parker is Assistant Professor of Classics at Stanford University.

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