82. Ties With Rome & Egypt

Indian contacts with the Western world date back to prehistoric times. Trade relations, preceded by the migration of peoples, inevitably developed into cultural relations. On the similar lines Indian-Egyptian bond began ages ago.

Egyptians claim to have migrated from a place called "Punth" from the mysterious land on the shore of Indian Ocean. Historians believe this land to be India. Indian Terrocotta artifacts that were found in the region of sumar in Egypt reveal the Indian connection from second century BC.

At Alexandria, in Egypt, Indian scholars were a common sight: they are mentioned both by Dio Chrysostom (c. 100 AD) and by Clement (c. 200 AD).

There are similarities between place names in Bengal and Egypt and recently an Egyptian scholar, El Mansouri, has pointed out that in both Egypt and India the worship of cow, sun, snake, and river are common.

Max Muller had also observed that the mythology of Egyptians (and also that of the Greeks and Assyrians) is wholly founded on Vedic traditions. Eusebius, a Greek writer, has also recorded that the early Ethiopians emigrated from the river Indus and first settled in the vicinity of Egypt.

The brightest evidence of India's direct relations with Egypt is, however, preserved in the Mauryan Emperor Ashoka's thirteenth rock edict, inscribed in the early decades of the third century BC. In it, Emperor Ashoka refers to his contacts with Ptolemy II Philadelphus of Egypt (285-246 BC), in connection with the expansion of his policy of the propagation of the Law of Righteousness (dharma).

Roman connection with India dates back to 23 AD that happened mostly through Egypt. Trade and commerce flourished between India and Rome; Romans used to buy Indian sesame oil. They purchased indigo dyed clothes, silk, ivory tusk, perfumes and other valuable products from Kashmir.

Aryabhatta, Indian Astronomer (5 AD) refers to the city in Rome as Romika, while describing the sunrise and sunset. Varahamihir (6 AD) in his text "Pancha siddhanta", describes the school of thought called "Romaka" siddhanta. India might have had connections with Rome through Egypt or through Greece during the early centuries of Christian era.


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