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Headword: Βραχμάν
Adler number: beta,524
Translated headword: Brahman, Brachman
Vetting Status: high
A king, who also gave his name to the country. He wrote the Laws of the Brahmans and a Constitution of the same people in his own language.
"The Brahmans are a very pious people and possess a life quite without possessions, living on an island in the ocean, having been allotted this lot by the decisions of the god. Arriving at this place Alexander of Macedon[1] erected a slab and wrote on it, "I, the great king Alexander, reached this point." On this island dwell the Makrobioi [Long-livers].[2] For they live 150 years on account of the purity and temperateness of the air. Among them there are no domestic animals, no farming, no iron, no house construction, no fire, no gold, no silver, no bread, no wine, no eating of meat. Only the humid, sweet and well-tempered air which relieves them of every sickness and morbidity. Feeding off a little fruit and the pellucid water they worship the god generously and pray continuously. The men live in the region by the ocean, but the women are on the other side of the Ganges,[3] which flows to the ocean in the region of India. So the men cross over to the women in the months of July and August, which for them are more chilly, since the sun passes on high toward us and the north, and becoming more fecund, they say, stir them to passion, just as they say the Nile floods: not in the same way as other rivers, but by inundating Egypt in the middle of summer, since the sun passes completely through the northern zone and blocks up the other rivers and makes them disappear, but has absolutely no effect on this one. After spending 40 days with their wives they cross back over again. But when a women has given birth to two children, her husband no longer crosses over to her, nor indeed does she have relations with any other [man] on account of a great sense of propriety. If it should happen that one of the women is discovered to be barren, for a period of five years her husband will cross over and have intercourse with her. If she does not give birth he will no longer have relations with her. Because of this their land is not highly populated, because of their modest appetites."
And the plural is Βραχμᾶνες and [in the dative plural] Βραχμᾶσι .
Greek Original:
Βραχμάν: βασιλεὺς, ὁ καὶ τῇ χώρᾳ δοὺς τὴν προσηγορίαν. ἔγραψε νόμους Βραχμάνων καὶ πολιτείαν τοῦ αὐτοῦ ἔθνους ἰδίᾳ διαλέκτῳ. ὅτι οἱ Βραχμᾶνες ἔθνος ἐστὶν εὐσεβέστατον καὶ βίον ἀκτήμονα σφόδρα κεκτημένον, ἐς νῆσον τοῦ ὠκεανοῦ κατοικοῦν, καὶ τὸν κλῆρον τοῦτον ἐκ τῶν τοῦ θεοῦ κριμάτων κληρωσάμενον. ἐν ᾧ τόπῳ παραγενόμενος Ἀλέξανδρος ὁ Μακεδὼν καὶ στήσας στήλην ἐπέγραψεν: ἐγὼ μέγας Ἀλέξανδρος βασιλεὺς ἔφθασα μέχρι τούτου. ἐν ᾗ νήσῳ κατοικοῦσιν οἱ Μακρόβιοι. ζῶσι γὰρ ρν# ἔτη διὰ τὴν πολλὴν καθαρότητα καὶ εὐκρασίαν τοῦ ἀέρος: παρ' οἷς οὐδὲν τετράποδόν ἐστιν, οὐ γεώργιον, οὐ σίδηρος, οὐκ οἰκοδομὴ, οὐ πῦρ, οὐ χρυσὸς, οὐκ ἄργυρος, οὐκ ἄρτος, οὐκ οἶνος, οὐ κρεωφαγία: ἀλλὰ τὸν ὑγρὸν καὶ γλυκὺν καὶ εὔκρατον ἀέρα καὶ πάσης ἀρρωστίας καὶ φθορᾶς ἀπηλλαγμένον, καὶ μικρᾶς ὀπώρας καὶ διειδεστάτου ὕδατος ἀπολαύοντες σέβονται γνησίως τὸν θεὸν καὶ ἀδιαλείπτως προσεύχονται. καὶ οἱ μὲν ἄνδρες πρὸς τὸ μέρος τοῦ ὠκεανοῦ προσπαροικοῦσιν, αἱ δὲ γυναῖκες ἐντεῦθέν εἰσι τοῦ Γάγγου, παραρρέοντος εἰς τὸν ὠκεανὸν ἐπὶ τὸ μέρος τῆς Ἰνδίας. οἱ οὖν ἄνδρες περῶσι πρὸς τὰς γυναῖκας Ἰουλίῳ καὶ Αὐγούστῳ μηνί, παρ' οἷς ὑπάρχουσι ψυχρότεροι, τοῦ ἡλίου πρὸς ἡμᾶς καὶ βορρᾶν ὑψωθέντος, οἵγε καὶ εὐκαρπότεροι γινόμενοι πρὸς οἶστρον αὐτοὺς κινεῖν λέγουσιν ὅπερ δὴ καὶ τὸν Νεῖλόν φασιν οὐ κατὰ ταὐτὸν τοῖς ἄλλοις ποταμοῖς πλημμυρεῖν, ἀλλὰ μεσοῦντος τοῦ θέρους ἐπικλύζειν τὴν Αἴγυπτον, ὡς τοῦ γε παντὸς ἡλίου τὴν βορειοτέραν διαθέοντος ζώνην καὶ τοῖς ἄλλοις μὲν παρενοχλοῦντος ποταμοῖς καὶ συγκρύβοντος, τούτου δὲ πλεῖστον ἀπέχοντος. καὶ ποιήσαντες μετὰ τῶν γυναικῶν αὐτῶν ἡμέρας μ# πάλιν ἀντιπερῶσι. τῆς δὲ γυναικὸς δύο παῖδας γεννησάσης οὐκέτι ὁ ἀνὴρ ἀντιπερᾷ πρὸς αὐτήν, οὔτε μὴν ἐκείνη πλησιάζει ἄλλῳ διὰ πολλὴν εὐλάβειαν. εἰ δὲ συμβῇ στεῖραν ἐν αὐταῖς εὑρεθῆναι, μέχρι πενταετοῦς διαπερῶν ὁ ἀνὴρ αὐτῆς καὶ συγγινόμενος αὐτῇ, ἐὰν οὐ τέκῃ, οὐκέτι πλησιάζει αὐτῇ. διὰ τοῦτο οὐδὲ πολυάνθρωπός ἐστιν αὐτῶν ἡ χώρα διὰ τὴν ὀλιγοδεί̈αν. καὶ τὸ πληθυντικὸν Βραχμᾶνες, καὶ Βραχμᾶσι.
The source of this entry's (dubious) opening definition is unidentifiable, but its central paragraph derives from George the Monk, Chronicon 1.35.7-37.6.
[1] a.k.a. Alexander the Great (356-323), alpha 1121. On his encounter with the Brahmans, and who they were, see generally Richard Stoneman, 'Naked philosophers', Journal of Hellenic Studies 115 (1995) 99-114.
[2] Cross-referenced at mu 76.
[3] Ganges: gamma 4.
Keywords: agriculture; architecture; biography; children; Christianity; constitution; daily life; dialects, grammar, and etymology; economics; ethics; food; gender and sexuality; geography; historiography; history; law; medicine; religion; science and technology; women; zoology
Translated by: William Hutton on 21 October 2002@23:01:07.
Vetted by:
Catharine Roth (added cross-reference) on 22 October 2002@00:55:20.
David Whitehead (augmented notes; cosmetics) on 22 October 2002@03:24:52.
David Whitehead (another keyword) on 2 October 2005@11:15:10.
David Whitehead (another keyword) on 11 November 2005@07:32:25.
David Whitehead (more keywords; cosmetics) on 3 June 2012@08:32:55.
Catharine Roth (coding) on 13 August 2012@00:53:34.
David Whitehead (expanded primary note; another keyword; cosmetics) on 23 September 2015@10:30:54.
Catharine Roth (tweak) on 5 March 2016@00:52:00.


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