(Crazy) Sh*t the Suda Says About India

Gangês: A king of the Ethiopians whom Alexander killed. He was ten cubits tall possessing a beauty which no man has rivaled. A son of the river Ganges. His father used to flood India, so he turned him to the Erythean sea and reconciled him with the land so that it brought treasures to him alive and avenged him when he was dead. When Homer sends Achilles to Troy for Helen, he says that he sacked 12 cities by sea and 11 by land and that the woman who was taken from him by the king put him to rage when he seemed to be inconsolable and savage. Let us consider the Indian in comparison. Ganges settled 60 cities which were the most famous of those in his country. If anyone believes sacking cities is more glorious than building them, it is not. Once when the Skythians from beyond the Caucasus attacked this land, he repelled them. To appear a good man by freeing your own country is much better than enslaving another’s city.”

Γάγγης, βασιλεὺς Αἰθιόπων, ὃν ἀπέκτεινεν ᾿Αλέξανδρος, δεκάπηχυς τὸ μῆκος, τὴν δὲ ὥραν οἷος οὔπω τις ἀνθρώπων, ποταμοῦ δὲ Γάγγου παῖς. τὸν δὲ πατέρα τὸν ἑαυτοῦ, τὴν ᾿Ινδικὴν ἐπικλύζοντα, αὐτὸς ἐς τὴν ἐρυθρὰν ἔτρεψε καὶ διήλλαξεν αὐτὸν τῇ γῇ, ὅθεν ἡ γῆ ζῶντι μὲν ἄφθονα ἔφερεν, ἀποθανόντι δὲ ἐτιμώρει. ἐπεὶ δὲ τὸν ᾿Αχιλλέα ῞Ομηρος ἄγει μὲν ὑπὲρ ῾Ελένης ἐς Τροίαν, φησὶ δὲ αὐτὸν ιβ′ μὲν πόλεις ἐκ θαλάττης ᾑρηκέναι, πεζῇ δὲ ια′, γυναῖκα δὲ ὑπὸ τοῦ βασιλέως ἀφαιρεθέντα εἰς μῆνιν ἀπενεχθῆναι, ὅτε δὲ ἀτεράμονα καὶ ὠμὸν δόξαι· σκεψώμεθα τὸν ᾿Ινδὸν πρὸς ταῦτα. πόλεων μὲν τοίνυν ξ′ οἰκιστὴς ἐγένετο, αἵπερ εἰσὶ δοκιμώταται τῶν τῇδε· τὸ δὲ πορθεῖν πόλεις ὅστις εὐκλεέστερον ἡγεῖται τοῦ ἀνοικίζειν πόλιν, οὐκ ἔστιν. Σκύθας δὲ τοὺς ὑπὲρ Καύκασον στρατεύσαντάς ποτε ἐπὶ τήνδε τὴν γῆν ἀπώσατο· τὸ δὲ ἐλευθεροῦντα τὴν ἑαυτοῦ γῆν ἄνδρα ἀγαθὸν φαίνεσθαι, πολλῷ βέλτιον τοῦ δουλείαν ἐπάγειν τῇ πόλει.

Demetrius, a Hellenistic King with an Indo-Greek Kingdom

The Suda’s entry on Indians:


“Indoi: A barbarian people. For war the standards for their cavalry for each body of a thousand was a dragon arranged up a pole with a head made out of silver pictured with grinning teeth and a terrible open mouth. The rest of the body was made of silk,  and was decorated from beginning to end like a real dragon. A cavalryman carrying this standard raises the pole into the air and pursues the cavalry with force. Then it falls as is probable when the wind drives upon it. When it is turned in the folds of the hollow weaving and cannot unfurl because of the covering, it undulates in the air and rotates the decorated standard as if it moved like a real dragon. Note that during the time of Constantine the Great, the inner Indians, the Iberians, and the Armenians were baptized.”

᾿Ινδοί: ἔθνος βάρβαρον. κατὰ δὲ τὸν πόλεμον ἦσαν αὐτοῖς σημαῖαι τῶν ἱππέων καθ’ ἑκάστην χιλιοστὺν δράκων ἐπὶ κάμακος ἀνατεταμένος, οὗ ἀργυρᾶ μὲν ἡ κεφαλὴ πεποίηται, σεσηρότων ὀδόντων καὶ τοῦ χάσματος ἀπειλὴν ἔχοντος· τὸ δὲ ἄλλο σῶμα σηρικόϋφον ἦν, ἔς τε μῆκος καὶ βάθος καὶ τὸ ποικίλον τῆς χρόας ἐς ἀληθινὸν δράκοντα. τοῦτον φέρων ἱππεύς, μετεωρίσας ἐς τὸν ἀέρα τὴν κάμακα ῥύμῃ διώκει τὸν ἵππον. καὶ ἐμπίπτει μὲν ὥσπερ εἰκὸς ἐλαυνόμενον βίᾳ τὸ πνεῦμα· εἰλούμενον δὲ ἐν τοῖς κόλποις τοῦ κοίλου ὕφους καὶ διέξοδον εὑρεῖν διὰ τὸ στεγανὸν οὐ δυνάμενον κυμαίνει τε εἰς τὸν ἀέρα καὶ μετεωρίζον τὸ ποικίλον ἤτριον πάσας ἑλίσσει τροπάς, ὥσπερ ὁλκὸς δράκοντος ἀληθινοῦ. ὅτι ἐπὶ τοῦ μεγάλου Κωνσταντίνου ἐβαπτίσθησαν οἱ ἐνδότεροι ᾿Ινδοὶ καὶ ῎Ιβηρες καὶ ᾿Αρμένιοι,