How the Ancient West saw India
India has always been a land that has fascinated travellers, explorers and conquerors alike, and made news all across the ancient world. Its boundless natural reserves, the wisdom and knowledge of its sages, and ‘exotic’ culture have attracted travellers, philosophers and historians since ancient times to study and write about it. Why, even the word ‘India’ was first used by the ancient Greeks to describe the land beyond the river Indus.
In today’s hyper-connected age, it is difficult to imagine how ancient scholars and writers from the West managed to glean so much information about a land so far away. Yet they did, thanks to trade routes, word-of-mouth and by referring to the works of their predecessors. Imagine being in Rome around 2,000 years ago and writing about places like Pataliputra, Madurai, Kalyan and Bharuch.