BC 302: Megasthenes's reference of Kerala

Megasthenes was an ancient Greek historian who came to Indian in 4th century B.C. as an associate or ambassador of Seleucus Nicator. He was stationed in “Palimbothra”, the capital city of Chandra­gupta Maurya for about five decades (302-298 B.C.).

Megasthenes was born in 350 B.C.

Megasthenes has published his guide of Indian and also that of Chandragupta’s rule in his book named “INDIKA”. This guide is not at the moment available but most of its paragraphs are discovered by means of estimates in the documents of various Ancient and Roman authors’ books. From these paragraphs we come to know that Megasthenes had tried to write about everything that he had seen in India—its location, administration, religious beliefs and community.

Most of the historians took his writings as an evidence of ancient administration that prevailed in the society. Megasthenes has published in details about Chandragupta Maurya’s rule as well as the native indian community in the Mauryan period.

Megasthenes on Mauryan Administration:

Megasthenes has given us the following useful details regarding the Mauryan management.

About the King: Megasthenes gives specific information of the individual lifestyle of Chandragupta Maurya. According to his writings, Chandragupta led a very wonderful lifestyle and his palaces were exclusive in its construction. The king did not rest in one palace for two continuous days. He always engaged in conference with the citizens.

About Civil Administration: Megasthenes has published in his book, a lot about the civil management of Chandragupta Maurya. He states that the king was an autocrat and he was the expert with various abilities. He has the power to control the society. He kept himself completely conscious of the primary activities of his kingdom through his agents.

About the Native lndian Society: Besides working with the Mauryan administration, Megasthenes has offered us very precious details regarding the Native indian community in the Mauryan period.

Megasthenes in Kerala: As a part of his campaign in india, Megasthenes visited Pandyan kingdom and thereby mentioned the details of administration and culture of people of kerala at that period.

Megasthenes passed away on 290 B.C.