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Headword: Γάγγης
Adler number: gamma,4
Translated headword: Ganges
Vetting Status: high
A king of the Ethiopians, whom Alexander [the Great] killed,[1] "[...] 10 cubits tall,[2] with a youthful beauty that no other man has yet matched, son of the river Ganges. His father would flood India, so he turned him toward the Erythraean [Sea][3] and settled his differences with the land so that it brought bounty to him while he lived and vengeance when he was dead.[4] When Homer brings Achilles to Troy for Helen, he says he took 12 cities by sea and 11 by land, and that the woman[5] taken away by the king reduced him to wrath, at which time he seemed unrelenting and cruel; let us compare the Indian with this. Ganges settled 60 cities, which were the most renowned of the ones in that country. If anyone thinks sacking cities is more glorious than founding a city, it is not. Once when Scythians from beyond the Caucasus invaded this land, he drove them out. To appear a good man by freeing one's own land is much nobler than to bring slavery on a city."
Greek Original:
Γάγγης, βασιλεὺς Αἰθιόπων, ὃν ἀπέκτεινεν Ἀλέξανδρος, δεκάπηχυς τὸ μῆκος, τὴν δὲ ὥραν οἷος οὔπω τις ἀνθρώπων, ποταμοῦ δὲ Γάγγου παῖς. τὸν δὲ πατέρα τὸν ἑαυτοῦ, τὴν Ἰνδικὴν ἐπικλύζοντα, αὐτὸς ἐς τὴν ἐρυθρὰν ἔτρεψε καὶ διήλλαξεν αὐτὸν τῇ γῇ, ὅθεν ἡ γῆ ζῶντι μὲν ἄφθονα ἔφερεν, ἀποθανόντι δὲ ἐτιμώρει. ἐπεὶ δὲ τὸν Ἀχιλλέα Ὅμηρος ἄγει μὲν ὑπὲρ Ἑλένης ἐς Τροίαν, φησὶ δὲ αὐτὸν ιβ# μὲν πόλεις ἐκ θαλάττης ᾑρηκέναι, πεζῇ δὲ ια#, γυναῖκα δὲ ὑπὸ τοῦ βασιλέως ἀφαιρεθέντα εἰς μῆνιν ἀπενεχθῆναι, ὅτε δὲ ἀτεράμονα καὶ ὠμὸν δόξαι: σκεψώμεθα τὸν Ἰνδὸν πρὸς ταῦτα. πόλεων μὲν τοίνυν ξ# οἰκιστὴς ἐγένετο, αἵπερ εἰσὶ δοκιμώταται τῶν τῇδε: τὸ δὲ πορθεῖν πόλεις ὅστις εὐκλεέστερον ἡγεῖται τοῦ ἀνοικίζειν πόλιν, οὐκ ἔστιν. Σκύθας δὲ τοὺς ὑπὲρ Καύκασον στρατεύσαντάς ποτε ἐπὶ τήνδε τὴν γῆν ἀπώσατο: τὸ δὲ ἐλευθεροῦντα τὴν ἑαυτοῦ γῆν ἄνδρα ἀγαθὸν φαίνεσθαι, πολλῷ βέλτιον τοῦ δουλείαν ἐπάγειν τῇ πόλει.
The bulk of the entry, from "10 cubits tall.." on, is a quotation from Philostratus, Life of Apollonius of Tyana 3.20.2-3, in a story about how the Ethiopians supposedly came to leave their original homeland in India and move west. In what follows this quotation in the original, the speaker -- Apollonius himself speaking to the Indian sage Iarchas in India -- claims to be a reincarnation of this Ganges. Compare in brief epsilon 807.
[1] Apparently the Suda or its source has confused this king with one of the Indian kings known in Greek sources as Poros (see next note); neither of them, however, was killed by Alexander.
[2] Approx. 15 feet, and thus twice the five-cubit height attributed to Poros (Arrian, Anabasis 5.19.1; Diodorus Siculus 17.88.4; Plutarch, Alexander 60.12, with an un-rounded-up four cubits and one span -- six feet nine inches -- which modern scholars are prepared to accept). But NB: in prosaic fact, Alexander withdrew from India before reaching the Ganges; see A.B. Bosworth, Conquest and Empire: the reign of Alexander the Great (Cambridge 1988) 132-3.)
[3] Not the Red Sea, but the Indian Ocean.
[4] Apollonius had just explained that the Ethiopians killed Ganges and were therefore driven from their home by the angry earth, which refused to produce crops for them, as well as by the ghost of Ganges.
[5] That is Briseis, taken away by king Agamemnon, as related in Book 1 of Homer's Iliad.
Keywords: aetiology; agriculture; biography; children; economics; epic; ethics; gender and sexuality; geography; historiography; history; military affairs; mythology; philosophy; poetry; politics; religion; women
Translated by: Anne Mahoney on 27 March 1999@18:23:29.
Vetted by:
Catharine Roth (modified translation, added keyword) on 5 July 2001@18:49:27.
David Whitehead (augmented notes and keywords; cosmetics) on 6 July 2001@03:33:13.
Catharine Roth (cosmetic) on 6 July 2001@13:30:27.
Catharine Roth (cosmetics) on 30 June 2004@01:52:24.
David Whitehead (augmented n.1) on 30 June 2004@10:03:50.
David Whitehead (tweaked translation) on 25 March 2005@04:28:13.
David Whitehead on 25 March 2005@09:46:03.
William Hutton (modified translation, augmented notes, added keywords, set status) on 5 March 2008@10:23:06.
Catharine Roth (coding) on 19 August 2012@00:01:44.
David Whitehead (another keyword; cosmetics) on 19 August 2012@04:15:14.


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