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Tarn. and Menander

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Tarn. and Menander

Postby daivid » Thu Jan 30, 2014 2:07 pm

I have been reading "The Greeks in Bactria and India" by W.W. Tarn.
He offers a very plausible reconstruction of events with Demetrius considering himself having a claim to the Mauran Empire due to marriage connection and relying on Apollodotus and Menander as his subordiantes to mount a pincer movement on what had been the Mauran Empire. His thesis collapses, however, if the alternative dating of Meander that places Meander significantly later is accepted.
In 'Civil Wars and Alliances in Bactria and North-Western India after the Usurpation of King Eucratides' François Widemann considers Tarn's thesis as so discredited to be barely worth arguing against. I am reluctant to take Widemann's word for it as this rejection seems mainly negative. That is to say that the alternative to Tarn seems to be an incoherent list of possible dates of reigns with not even a hint of the motivations behind that.
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Re: Tarn. and Menander

Postby Scribo » Wed Feb 12, 2014 5:25 pm

daivid wrote:I have been reading "The Greeks in Bactria and India" by W.W. Tarn.
He offers a very plausible reconstruction of events with Demetrius considering himself having a claim to the Mauran Empire due to marriage connection and relying on Apollodotus and Menander as his subordiantes to mount a pincer movement on what had been the Mauran Empire. His thesis collapses, however, if the alternative dating of Meander that places Meander significantly later is accepted.
In 'Civil Wars and Alliances in Bactria and North-Western India after the Usurpation of King Eucratides' François Widemann considers Tarn's thesis as so discredited to be barely worth arguing against. I am reluctant to take Widemann's word for it as this rejection seems mainly negative. That is to say that the alternative to Tarn seems to be an incoherent list of possible dates of reigns with not even a hint of the motivations behind that.


I forgot to answer this. Just wanted to say, this all seems interesting but I can't remember much about it. This end of the Hellenistic world sorely, sorely, needs more work but the evidence is scarce and difficult (I think you'd need Greek, Sanskrit, some Prakrits and Aramaic. Wow) and for some reason not popular. All I remember of Tarn's work is his untenable positions on Alexander, the brotherhood of man and all that tosh.

If you search for Menandros as "Milinda" you can find a Buddhist dialogue purported to be, but unlikely obviously, by him regarding all sorts of philosophical principles: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milinda_Panha

Have you read Narain's work on the same topic btw? Its of a similar age to Tarn I believe.
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Re: Tarn. and Menander

Postby daivid » Wed Feb 12, 2014 8:13 pm

Scribo wrote:I forgot to answer this. Just wanted to say, this all seems interesting but I can't remember much about it. This end of the Hellenistic world sorely, sorely, needs more work but the evidence is scarce and difficult (I think you'd need Greek, Sanskrit, some Prakrits and Aramaic. Wow) and for some reason not popular. All I remember of Tarn's work is his untenable positions on Alexander, the brotherhood of man and all that tosh.

His Greeks as standard bearers of brotherhood of man is in evidence in this work to. I agree with you that it is tosh but with Alexander there are plenty of alternative interpretations. For the Greeks in India it is quite hard to find anyone willing to stick their necks out to construct a plausible interpretation of events and so I'm much more ready to forgive Tarn for that here even while taking it with a pinch of salt.
Scribo wrote:If you search for Menandros as "Milinda" you can find a Buddhist dialogue purported to be, but unlikely obviously, by him regarding all sorts of philosophical principles: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milinda_Panha

I've seen that. The one thing it does show is that he was considered to be a great general to be emulated and hence he probably wasn't clueless when commanding troops - despite dying on the battlefield. (But which battlefield and against who - so many unknowns. :( )
Scribo wrote:Have you read Narain's work on the same topic btw? Its of a similar age to Tarn I believe.

I shall look out for that, thanks.
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