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The Making of Roman India by Grant (Stanford University, California) Parker


The Making of Roman India by Grant (Stanford University, California) Parker

Latin and especially Greek texts of the imperial period contain a wealth of references to 'India'. Professor Parker offers a survey of such texts, read against a wide range of other sources, both archaeological and documentary. He emphasises the social processes whereby the notion of India gained its exotic features, including the role of the Persian empire and of Alexander's expedition. Three kinds of social context receive special attention: the trade in luxury commodities; the political discourse of empire and its limits; and India's status as a place of special knowledge, embodied in 'naked philosophers'. Roman ideas about India ranged from the specific and concrete to the wildly fantastic and the book attempts to account for such variety. It ends by considering the afterlife of such ideas into late antiquity and beyond.


Review of the hardback: '... deserves to be widely studied and used as a source of inspiration on how to deal with processes of cultural interaction in the Hellenistic and Roman world.
Bryn Mawr Classical Review

'... a very significant contribution to our understanding of the complex processes of portraying cultural difference and negotiating the use of conventional narrative elements in ancient representations of India. It may well become a classic on the subject.'
De novis libris iudicia

'The great virtue of the book is that it admirably demonstrates how, though Roman India never existed as a political reality, the discourse on India helped define Greek and roman culture and history for over a thousand years.'
International Journal of the Classical Tradition

About the Author

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Book Info

Publication date

3rd March 2011


Grant (Stanford University, California) Parker

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Cambridge University Press


374 pages


Asian history
Ancient history: to c 500 CE



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