“Unlawful to Marry Outside Your Class” — Greek History of India

Arrian on Indian Castes, Part II (GO here for Part 1)

Arrian, Historia Indica 11

“The second class after these are farmers who are the most numerous of the Indians. They pay no attention to martial weapons or deeds of war, but instead work the land and pay taxes to the kinds or the cities that are independent. If war should break out among the Indians, it is unlawful for them to touch those who work the land or to ravage the land. While the other Indians are warring against each other and killing each other where they may, the majority of them plow the land at peace, or tend their fines or harvest their crops.

The third class of Indians are herdsmen, shepherds and cowherds. These men do not live in cities or in villages but are nomads living their lives in the hills. They also pay taxes from their possessions. In addition, they hunt birds and wild beasts throughout the country.

The fourth group is made up of craftsmen and shopkeepers. These men do public works and pay tax from their own labors except for the portion that fashions war weapons. These men also receive pay from the common wealth. In this group one also finds shipwrights and the sailors who navigate the rivers.

The warriors form the fifth class of Indians and they are second in number after the farmers although they enjoy special freedom and happiness. These warriors practice only for war. Others make their weapons; others provide their horses; others attend them in the camp to care for their horses, keep their weapons in good order, handle the elephants, tend to the chariots and drive them. When it is necessary, they fight, but they are happy when there is peace. Their pay at the public expense is great enough that they can support others on it with ease.

Men who are called overseers form the sixth class. These men oversee all acts through the country and the city and report on them to the king where there is a king or to the officers where cities are independent. It is unlawful for them to report something false, but no Indian has faced a charge of perjury.

The seventh group are men who deliberate with the kind on the common good or with the leaders in the autonomous cities. This class is small and surpasses all others in wisdom and justice. From the members of the group they select provincial governors, lieutenants, treasurers, generals, admirals, stewards and directors of agriculture.

It is unlawful to marry outside your class. For example, for someone from the artisan class to marry a farmer or the reverse. It is unlawful for one man to pursue two trades or to change classes, as if a herdsman might become a farmer or a craftsman become a herder. It is only permitted for a wise man to come from every class since their jobs is not easy but the most burdensome of all.”

Greek India


δεύτεροι δ’ ἐπὶ τούτοισιν οἱ γεωργοί εἰσιν, οὗτοι πλήθει πλεῖστοι ᾿Ινδῶν ἐόντες. καὶ τούτοισιν οὔτε ὅπλα ἐστὶν ἀρήια οὔτε μέλει τὰ πολεμήια ἔργα, ἀλλὰ τὴν χώρην οὗτοι ἐργάζονται, καὶ τοὺς φόρους τοῖς τε βασιλεῦσι καὶ τῇσι πόλεσιν, ὅσαι αὐτόνομοι, οὗτοι ἀποφέρουσι. καὶ εἰ πόλεμος ἐς ἀλλήλους τοῖσιν ᾿Ινδοῖσι τύχοι,τῶν ἐργαζομένων τὴν γῆν οὐ θέμις σφιν ἅπτεσθαι οὐδὲ αὐτὴν τὴν γῆν τέμνειν, ἀλλὰ οἳ μὲν πολεμοῦσι καὶ κατακαίνουσιν ἀλλήλους ὅπως τύχοιεν, οἳ δὲ πλησίον αὐτῶν κατ’ ἡσυχίαν ἀροῦσιν ἢ τρυγῶσιν ἢ κλαδῶσιν ἢ θερίζουσιν.

τρίτοι δέ εἰσιν ᾿Ινδοῖσιν οἱ νομέες, οἱ ποιμένες τε καὶ βουκόλοι. καὶ οὗτοι οὔτε κατὰ πόληας οὔτε ἐν τῇσι κώμῃσιν οἰκέουσι νομάδες τέ εἰσι καὶ ἀνὰ τὰ ὄρεα βιοτεύουσι. φόρον δὲ καὶ οὗτοι ἀπὸ τῶν κτηνέων ἀποφέρουσι, καὶ θηρεύουσιν οὗτοι ἀνὰ τὴν χώρην ὄρνιθάς τε καὶ ἄγρια θηρία.

τέταρτον δέ ἐστι τὸ δημιουργικόν τε καὶ καπηλικὸν γένος. καὶ οὗτοι λειτουργοί εἰσι καὶ φόρον ἀποφέρουσιν ἀπὸ τῶν ἔργων τῶν σφετέρων, πλήν γε δὴ ὅσοι τὰ ἀρήια ὅπλα ποιέουσιν· οὗτοι δὲ καὶ μισθὸν ἐκ τοῦ κοινοῦ προσλαμβάνουσιν. ἐν δὲ τούτῳ τῷ γένει οἵ τε ναυπηγοὶ καὶ οἱ ναῦταί εἰσιν, ὅσοι κατὰ τοὺς ποταμοὺς πλώουσι.

πέμπτον δὲ γένος ἐστὶν ᾿Ινδοῖσιν οἱ πολεμισταί, πλήθει μὲν δεύτερον μετὰ τοὺς γεωργούς, πλείστῃ δὲ ἐλευθερίῃ τε καὶ εὐθυμίῃ ἐπιχρεόμενον. καὶ οὗτοι ἀσκηταὶ μόνων τῶν πολεμικῶν ἔργων εἰσίν· τὰ δὲ ὅπλα ἄλλοι αὐτοῖς ποιέουσι καὶ ἵππους ἄλλοι παρέχουσι καὶ διακονοῦσιν ἐπὶ στρατοπέδου ἄλλοι, οἳ τούς τε ἵππους αὐτοῖς θεραπεύουσι καὶ τὰ ὅπλα ἐκκαθαίρουσι καὶ τοὺς ἐλέφαντας ἄγουσι καὶ τὰ ἅρματα κοσμέουσί τε καὶ ἡνιοχεύουσιν. αὐτοὶ δέ, ἔστ’ ἂν μὲν πολεμεῖν δέῃ, πολεμοῦσιν, εἰρήνης δὲ γενομένης εὐθυμέονται· καί σφιν μισθὸς ἐκ τοῦ κοινοῦ τοσόσδε ἔρχεται ὡς καὶ ἄλλους τρέφειν ἀπ’ αὐτοῦ εὐμαρέως.

ἕκτοι δέ εἰσιν ᾿Ινδοῖσιν οἱ ἐπίσκοποι καλεόμενοι. οὗτοι ἐφορῶσι τὰ γινόμενα κατά τε τὴν χώρην καὶ κατὰ τὰς πόληας, καὶ ταῦτα ἀναγγέλλουσι τῷ βασιλεῖ, ἵναπερ βασιλεύονται ᾿Ινδοί, ἢ τοῖς τέλεσιν, ἵναπερ αὐτόνομοί εἰσι. καὶ τούτοις οὐ θέμις ψεῦδος ἀγγεῖλαι οὐδέν, οὐδέ τις ᾿Ινδῶν αἰτίην ἔσχε ψεύσασθαι.

ἕβδομοι δέ εἰσιν οἱ ὑπὲρ τῶν κοινῶν βουλευόμενοι ὁμοῦ τῷ βασιλεῖ ἢ κατὰ πόληας ὅσαι αὐτόνομοι σὺν τῇσιν ἀρχῇσι. πλήθει μὲν ὀλίγον τὸ γένος τοῦτό ἐστι, σοφίῃ δὲ καὶ δικαιότητι ἐκ πάντων προκεκριμένον. ἔνθεν οἵ τε ἄρχοντες αὐτοῖσιν ἐπιλέγονται καὶ ὅσοι νομάρχαι καὶ ὕπαρχοι καὶ θησαυροφύλακές τε καὶ στρατοφύλακες, ναύαρχοί τε καὶ ταμίαι καὶ τῶν κατὰ γεωρ-γίην ἔργων ἐπιστάται.

γαμέειν δὲ ἐξ ἑτέρου γένεος οὐ θέμις, οἷον τοῖσι γεωργοῖσιν ἐκ τοῦ δημιουργικοῦ ἢ ἔμπαλιν. οὐδὲ δύο τέχνας ἐπιτηδεύειν τὸν αὐτὸν οὐδὲ τοῦτο θέμις, οὐδὲ ἀμείβειν ἐξ ἑτέρου γένεος εἰς ἕτερον, οἷον γεωργικὸν ἐκ νομέως γενέσθαι ἢ νομέα ἐκ δημιουργικοῦ. μοῦνόν σφισιν ἀνεῖται σοφιστὴν ἐκ παντὸς γένεος γενέσθαι, ὅτι οὐ μαλθακὰ τοῖσι σοφιστῇσίν εἰσι τὰ πρήγματα ἀλλὰ πάντων ταλαιπωρότατα.

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