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Full description for Ctesias: On India

  • A Greek doctor serving at the court of the Persian king Artaxerxes II in the fifth century BC, Ctesias met travellers and visitors from the far eastern reaches of the Persian Empire, merchants from along the Silk Road and Indians from near the Indus Valley. His Indika (On India), was the first monograph ever written on India by a western author, introducing its readers to such fantastic creatures as the unicorn and the martichora, along with real life subjects such as the parrot and the art of falconry. Confirming pre-existing conceptions of what were considered to be the edges of the earth, Ctesias' Indika helped shape the Greek view of India. This English translation is accompanied by explanatory notes and includes all extant fragments of the Indika, as well as fragments of Ctesias' other minor works.