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The Legacy of AlexanderPolitics, Warfare, and Propaganda under the Successors$
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A. B. Bosworth

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780198153061

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198153061.001.0001

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Hieronymus' Ethnography: Indian Widows and Nabataean Nomads

Hieronymus' Ethnography: Indian Widows and Nabataean Nomads

(p.169) 5 Hieronymus' Ethnography: Indian Widows and Nabataean Nomads
The Legacy of Alexander

A. B. Bosworth

Oxford University Press

The principal source which is examined for the period after the death of Alexander the Great is Hieronymus of Cardia. He is reputed for his supposedly dispassionate narrative of events, his factual accuracy, backed by verbatim citation of documents. However, Hieronymus had a penchant for digression, enlivening his narrative of men and events with picturesque descriptions of engineering and artistic monuments, the social mores of exotic peoples, and the origins of famous cities. Hieronymus' digressions, it may be argued, had a certain sophistication. They were not written solely to break the narrative and add exotic colour. There was on occasion an implied message, moral or political, which the reader might detect beneath the plain text of the excursus. We may see the method at work in two of the lengthiest ethnographic interludes in Diodorus. The first concerns a description of a deeply impressive event that occurred after the Battle of Paraetacene. The commander of the Indian contingent, a prince named Ceteus, had died heroically in battle, and was given a spectacular funeral. It gives the first recorded instance of the Indian institution of sati (widow burning).

Keywords:   Hieronymus, India, Diodorus, Ceteus, Paraetacene, widow burning, sati, nomads, Diodorus, armies

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