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Volume 37 Number 2, March 1984

Volume 37 Number 2

Hind and Hellas

George A. Sioris

Saryu Doshi

The Sublime and the Infinite
Lokesh Chandra

    The Emblems of Empire
    R. Vanaja
    Prophesy of the Planets
    M.C. Joshi
    The Arrested Moment
    Lolita Nehru 

    Classical Influence on Indian Coiffure and Jewellery
    M.K. Dhavalikar
    Terracotta Dancing Girls
    Devangana Desai
    Indo-Greek Relations in Besnagar (Vidisha)
    M.D. Khare

Book Reviews

A Cultural Diffusion
Chhaya Haesner 

Sioris, George A.
Vol. 37 No. 2, March 1984, p. 2 [Also in India and Greece: Connections and Parallels edited by Saryu Doshi; Vol. 37 No. 2, December 1985; pp. vi–vii]

When trying to draw parallels between the world of myths in lands as far from each other as Greece and Japan, the writer, the Greek ambassador to India, concurs with Michael Grant's conclusion that myths are "dialects of a single language". The writer is happy that Marg has dedicated an entire issue to the encounter of two of the world's oldest civilizations - India and Greece.

Doshi, Saryu
Vol. 37 No. 2, March 1984, pp. 3-12 [Also in India and Greece: Connections and Parallels edited by Saryu Doshi; Vol. 37 No. 2, December 1985, pp. viii-10. Extended version of article in the book]

More than 2000 years ago Alexander the Great led his conquering armies across the Asiatic lands to the borders of India. He celebrated his triumph by founding the city of Kandahar, originally named Alexandria. This episode in the history of Indo-Greek relations has eclipsed all other events that occurred before or after it. The resulting exchanges led to the many affinities between the 2 cultures, which are apparent in several spheres such as language, literature, philosophy, and the arts. The connections and parallels between India and Greece, as well as the nature and extent of certain reciprocal influences, formed the subject of a seminar organized under the joint auspices of the Governments of India and Greece in Delphi in June 1984. The ensuing discussions served as a catalyst for more detailed analysis of the subject. In this publication, Marg features contributions which examine the direct and indirect influences that flowed between India and Greece. A background to Indo-Greek relations and history is listed under the following sections: The Achaemenid Era, Alexander and the Mauryans, The Indo-Greek Kings, The Shakas and the Parthians, and The Kushanas.

The Sublime and the Infinite
Chandra, Lokesh
Vol. 37 No. 2, March 1984, pp. 13-22 [Also in India and Greece: Connections and Parallels edited by Saryu Doshi; Vol. 37 No. 2, December 1985; pp. 11-20]

In Greece everything tends towards harmony; mathematics and geometry concentrate on the finite and measurable. With India, it is different; everything is immense, sublime, and infinite. In Greece, the world is always brought back to the measure of man. In India, man strives to adapt himself to a phantasmagoria of universes beyond the horizons of the mind. The cultural similarities between Indians and Greeks in Homer reflect a common heritage of 2 peoples. To trace the similarity and affinity of the roots of the cultural heritage of India and Greece, one has to go back to the Byzantine period and come down through the Dark Ages, to the revival of learning in the 15th century. This cultural heritage is further discussed under the following headings: Language Affinity, Myth, Religion and Art, Philosophy, and Cultural Contacts.

Traditions: The Emblems of Empire
Vanaja, R.
Vol. 37 No. 2, March 1984, pp. 23-34 [Also in India and Greece: Connections and Parallels edited by Saryu Doshi; Vol. 37 No. 2, December 1985; pp. 59-70]

The coinage of the Indo-Greeks marks a significant phase in the history of Indian coins and currency systems. These coins belong to the 2nd/1st centuries BCE and, in terms of chronology, are later than the punch-marked coins in silver and copper and the cast copper coins. As the earliest dynastic issues, the Indo-Greek coins influenced coin traditions of India for the next 6 centuries, particularly those of the Kushanas and the Guptas. The fusion of the two cultural streams - Greek and Indian - are reflected in the fabric, legends, and symbols of Indo-Greek coins. Indo-Greek coinage is extremely important in the history of Indian numismatics as it provides a rare instance of coins representing the main source of historical reconstruction. For, were it not for their coins, the Indo-Greeks would have remained largely unknown to history.

Traditions: Prophesy of the Planets
Joshi, M.C.
Vol. 37 No. 2, March 1984, pp. 35-48 [Also in India and Greece: Connections and Parallels edited by Saryu Doshi; Vol. 37 No. 2, December 1985; pp. 71-84]

The traditional structure of Indian astrology changed radically as a result of Greek contact, especially between the 2nd century BCE and the 2nd century CE. Much seems to have been added to the Indian's knowledge of solar astronomy by virtue of their Hellenistic contacts, and, in fact, many of these new astronomical elements and ideas provided the foundation for astrological and horoscopic studies in India. The major Hellenic and Hellenistic contribution to Hindu astrology was the introduction of solar zodiac signs or the 12 rashis.

Traditions: The Arrested Moment
Nehru, Lolita
Vol. 37 No. 2, March 1984, pp. 49-68 [Also in India and Greece: Connections and Parallels edited by Saryu Doshi; Vol. 37 No. 2, December 1985; pp. 85-104]

Thousands of coins and innumerable sculptures were discovered early in the 19th century. This series of chance discoveries in the northwestern regions of India opened a new and exciting chapter in Indian history. Most of the sculptures were carved in stone, others in stucco, terracotta, and clay, and a few in bronze. The most remarkable feature of these finds was the clearly Western Classical mould in which they had been made. These discoveries spread over an area which consisted of the furthest limits of the ancient kingdom of Gandhara. Western elements are not the only ingredients in Gandharan art and most of the sculptures are Buddhist. Aspects of Gandharan art are discussed in the following sections: The Concept of Time, Distribution of Space, Spatial Depth, The Concept of the Human Form.

Notes: Classical Influence on Indian Coiffure and Jewellery
Dhavalikar, M.K.
Vol. 37 No. 2, March 1984, pp. 69-71

With the invasion of Alexander the Great in 327 BCE, India came into close contact with the Classical world. After his death, his Satraps became independent and ruled as sovereign chiefs over Alexander's erstwhile Asiatic territories for nearly 2 centuries. Indian subjects were affected to a considerable extent by the Hellenistic influence. The Greek and Roman influence continued to assert itself in the Indian lifestyle even during the early centuries of the Common Era. Among the various aspects of Indian culture which reveal Classical influence, those of coiffure and jewellery have gone largely unnoticed. The different types of hairstyles and jewellery, their popularity, and the historical sources are discussed.

Notes: Terracotta Dancing Girls
Desai, Devangana
Vol. 37 No. 2, March 1984, pp. 72-74

The art of terracotta had been associated earlier with ritual snake figurines and Mother goddesses. Suddenly, around the 3rd century BCE at Pataliputra, tall and graceful female dancers appeared in terracotta. There were not more than a dozen such figures until, recently, one more figure of this type was excavated from Sonpur. For the first time in the history of Indian terracotta, we see terracottas treated as objects of art. The tall and slender bodies, flying drapery, and scarf-like headdress remind one of the Hellenistic terracottas of Tanagra in Boeotia of the 3rd century BCE and of Myrina in Asia Minor of about the 2nd/1st century BCE. The several similarities and differences between the Hellenistic figures and the Pataliputra terracottas are discussed in this note.

Notes: Indo-Greek Relations in Besnagar (Vidisha)
Khare, M.D.
Vol. 37 No. 2, March 1984, p. 75

Vidisha is now a small, slumbering town in Madhya Pradesh, but it was once a bustling town with many rich merchants. A pillar left by Heliodoros, a Greek ambassador from Taxila attests the influence of the Greeks on this town. The pillar is inscribed in two parts. The excavations carried out at Vidisha reveal several structures including a Vishnu temple assignable to the 4th/3rd century BCE, a huge palace wall of c. the 2nd century BCE, and a fortification wall with high bastions, constructed during the 2nd century BCE. The inscriptions on the pillar and other excavations reveal the social, religious, and political history of that time and the acceptance of Indian rituals and religion by the Greek foreigners.

Vol. 37 No. 2, March 1984, pp. 76-77

The Ganga Trail by Jagmohan Mahajan, reviewed by A.P. Mahindra; East Indian Art Styles by B. N. Mukherjee, reviewed by Madeleine Perriot.

A Cultural Diffusion
Haesner, Chhaya
Vol. 37 No. 2, March 1984, pp. 78-84 [Also in India and Greece: Connections and Parallels edited by Saryu Doshi; Vol. 37 No. 2, December 1985; pp. 105-118]

The Gandhara school represents a current of art that developed in the northwestern region of India (now in Pakistan), and Afghanistan. The art of this region, interestingly, exhibits a close relationship with Greek art. The seed of the amalgamation of Hellenistic and Indian art elements was implanted when Alexander the Great touched the soil of India in 327-26 BCE. He brought with him the great artist Lysippus to India. This style took shape in the 1st century BCE and reached its apogee between the 2nd and 3rd centuries CE during the time of the Kushana king, Kanishka. It endured for almost 8 centuries from the 1st century BCE to the 6th/7th centuries CE. The political atmosphere is described under the following sections: The Greco-Bactrian and Indo-Greek Rulers and the Shakas and the Kushanas. The art of that time is further discussed under the following headings: Greco-Bactrian Art, Importance of Gandhara - a Centre of Art, and Gandhara Art and its Influence on Central Asian Art.