Page:A history of Sanskrit literature (1900), Macdonell, Arthur Anthony.djvu/426

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With regard to the Epics, we find the statement of the Greek rhetorician Dio Chrysostomos (50-117 A.D.) that the Indians sang in their own language the poetry of Homer, the sorrows of Priam, the laments of Andromache and Hecuba, the valour of Achilles and Hector. The similarity of some of the leading characters of the Mahābhārata, to which the Greek writer evidently alludes, caused him to suppose that the Indian epic was a translation of the Iliad. There is, however, no connection of of any kind between the two poems. Nor does Professor Weber's assumption of Greek influence on the Rāmāyaṇa appear to have any sufficient basis (p. 307).

The view has been held that the worship of Kṛishṇa, who, as we have seen, plays an important part in the Mahābhārata, arose under the influence of Christianity, with which it certainly has some rather striking points of resemblance. This theory is, however, rendered improbable, at least as far as the origin of the cult of Kṛishṇa is concerned, by the conclusions at which we have arrived regarding the age of the Mahābhārata (pp. 286-287), as well as by the statements of Megasthenes, which indicate that Kṛishṇa was deified and worshipped some centuries before the beginning of our era. We know, moreover, from the Mahābhāshya that the story of Kṛishṇa was the subject of dramatic representations in the second or, at latest, the first century before the birth of Christ.

It is an interesting question whether the Indian drama has any genetic connection with that of Greece. It must be admitted that opportunities for such a connection may have existed during the first three centuries preceding our era. On his expedition to India, Alexander was accompanied by numerous artists, among