Truth-Serum in Ancient India

More crazy stuff from Ctesias on India:


Photius, Bibliotheca: Codex 72 50a4

“Ctesias records these details and tells these stories and claims that he is writing the truest accounts, insisting that he saw some of the things himself and learned some of the them from others who witnessed them. He says that he left out many other more amazing details because those who had not witnessed them might consider the rest of what wrote incredible.”

Ταῦτα γράφων καὶ μυθολογῶν Κτησίας λέγει τἀληθέστατα γράφειν, ἐπάγων ὡς τὰ μὲν αὐτὸς ἰδὼν γράφει, τὰ δὲ παρ’ αὐτῶν μαθὼν τῶν ἰδόντων, πολλὰ δὲ τούτων καὶ ἄλλα θαυμασιώτερα παραλιπεῖν διὰ τὸ μὴ δόξαι τοῖς μὴ τεθεαμένοις ἄπιστα συγγράφειν. ᾿Εν οἷς καὶ ταῦτα.


“[Ctesias] spends much time on the justice of the Indians, their dedication to their king, and their contempt for death. He also says that there is a spring and when someone draws water from it, it becomes thick like cheese. If an amount of this ‘cheese’ as thick as three obols is crushed and mixed for drinking with water, whoever drinks it will announce everything he has ever done—for he will be out of his mind and crazy for an entire day. The king uses this mixture whenever he wishes to uncover the truth from accused men. If a man admits it, he is ordered to starve to death. If he reveals nothing, he is released.

He also says that no Indian has headaches, eye-disease, toothaches or ulcers in the mouth or anywhere on his body. Indians live 120, 130, 150 and even two hundred years.”

Πολλὰ δὲ λέγει περὶ τῆς δικαιοσύνης αὐτῶν καὶ τῆς περὶ τὸν σφῶν βασιλέα εὐνοίας καὶ τῆς τοῦ θανάτου καταφρονήσεως. Λέγει δὲ ὅτι πηγή ἐστι, καὶ ἐπειδάν τις ἀρύσῃ τὸ ὕδωρ αὐτῆς, πήγνυται ὥσπερ τυρός. Τούτου οὖν τοῦ πηκτοῦ ὅσον τρεῖς ὀβολοὺς ἐὰν τρίψας δῷς ἐν ὕδατι πιεῖν, ἐξαγγέλλει πάντα ὅσα ἔπραξε· παραφρονεῖ γὰρ καὶ μαίνεται ταύτην τὴν ἡμέραν. Χρᾶται δὲ αὐτῷ ὁ βασιλεὺς ἐφ’ ὧν κατηγορουμένων τἀληθὲς εὑρεῖν ἐθελήσει· κἂν μὲν ἐξείπῃ, προστάσσεται ἀποκαρτερῆσαι, ἂν δὲ μηδὲν ἐλεγχθῇ, ἀφίεται.

῞Οτι φησὶν ὡς ᾿Ινδῶν οὐδεὶς κεφαλαλγεῖ, οὐδὲ ὀφθαλμιᾷ οὐδὲ ὀδονταλγεῖ, οὐδὲ ἑλκοῦται τὸ στόμα, οὐδὲ σηπεδόνα οὐδεμίαν ἴσχει· ἡ δὲ ζωὴ αὐτῶν ρκ′ καὶ λ′ καὶ ν′ καὶ ς′ οἱ τὰ πλεῖστα βιοῦντες.


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