Did you know that a late 2c. BCE pillar standing in Besnagar (central #India) supports an inscription in Prākrit that was commissioned by Heliodoros, a "Greek" ("yona") ambassador of the Indo-Greek king Antialkidas from Taxila (#Pakistan)? ✍🏽🇮🇳🇵🇰🇬🇷#shitancientpeoplewrote
"This Garuḍa pillar of Vāsudeva, the god of gods,
was constructed here by Heliodora [Hēliodoros], the Bhāgavata,
son of Diya [Diōn], of Takhkhasilā [Taxila],
the Greek ambassador who came from the Great King
Aṃtalikita [Antialkidas] ..." 2/
..."to King
Kāsīputra [Kāsīputra] Bhāgabhadra, the Savior,
prospering in (his) fourteenth year."
Salomon 1998 transl., from Rachel Mairs' 2014 excellent book "The Hellenistic Far East" 3/
From Mairs 2014, 133: "[Heliodoros'] inscription does not attempt to disguise the fact that he is a yona, a foreigner, with a foreign name and origin...His position as intermediary with a foreign king is clearly stated..." 4/
"...but his pillar dedication and personal involvement with a local cult - heartfelt or politically-motivated - demonstrates just one of the individual, personal inroads individuals of foreign origin might readily make into a theoretically closed structure." #livingintranslation
Spoiler: This document - like the whole corpus related to the Indo-Greek communities of the Hellenistic Far East, is a guaranteed success in the undergrad classroom; one that helps students realize how wider and more integrated than traditionally assumed the ancient world was.
A few years ago, a students of mine came to my office hour to tell me that her whole family had planned a trip to Heliodoros' inscription. It turns out that it stands close to their Indian hometown, but that they had no idea it existed until she heard about it in class!

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