Diodorus Siculus, Library of History, Volume II

LCL 303: vi-vii

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introduction

Books II, 35–IV, 58

Book II, 35–42 is devoted to a brief description of India which was ultimately derived from Megasthenes. Although Diodorus does not mention this author, his use of him is established by the similarity between his account of India and the Indica of Arrian and the description of that land by Strabo, both of whom avowedly drew their material from that writer. Megasthenes was in the service of Seleucus Nicator and in connection with embassies to the court of king Sandracottus (Chandragupta) at Patna was in India for some time between 302 and 291 b.c. In his Indica in four Books he was not guilty of the romances of Ctesias, but it is plain that he was imposed upon by interpreters and guides, as was Herodotus on his visit to Egypt. It cannot be known whether Diodorus used Megasthenes directly or through a medium; his failure to mention his name a single time is a little surprising, if he used him directly.1 The Scythians, the Amazons of Asia Minor, and the Hyperboreans are then briefly discussed, and Chapters 48–54 are devoted to Syria, Palestine, and Arabia. It is thought that this last section may go

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