Address and specialist needed (Making of Inflammable Arrows)
sudheer_birodkar at hotmail.com
Mon Aug 25 12:47:44 UTC 1997
Here is an extract on the making of inflammable arrows. This comes from
a text "Ancient India as described by Ktesais the Knidian" Transalted
from Greek by J.M.McCrindle, Published by Trubner and Co. London in 1882
(One Thousand Eight Hundred and Eighty Two) P.28.
The Greek text is believed to be dated around the 4th Century B.C.E.
(Before the Common Era). Ktesias was supposed to be a physician at the
court of the Acheamenian (Hakkamanishiya) Kings who ruled Persia from
the 5th Century BCE to the 3rd Century BCE.
Here is his passage:
"There is bred in the Indian river a worm like in appearance to that
which is found in the fig, but seven cubits more or less in length while
its thickness is such that only a boy of ten years old could clasp him
within the circuit of his arms."
In this passage Ktesias is seemingly referring to some species of the
The text further says, "For catching this worm a large hook is employed
to which a kid or lamb is fastened with hooks of iron. The worm being
landed the captors hang up its carcass and placing vessels underneath it
leave it for thirty days. At he end of thirty days they throw the
carcass, and preserving the oil they take it to the king of Indians
alone, for no subject is allowed to get a drop of it. This oil like fire
sets everything ablaze over which it is poured and it consumes not alone
wood but also animals. The flames can be quenched only by throwing over
it a large quantity of clay and that too of a uniform consistency."
This passge describes the process of extraction of body oil from a
python which it describes as highly inflammable. Such oils we are told.
were used in tipping arrows to make them inflammable. This could be the
process of making inflammable arrows which have been referred to as
Agni-astras and agni-bans in Indian epics.
This hypothesis obviously is a only conjecture and need not be taken as
a gospel truth.
>From indology-request at liverpool.ac.uk Mon Aug 25 05:07:21 1997
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>From: Ditte Koenig <ditte.koenig at urz.uni-heidelberg.de>
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>Subject: Address and specialist needed
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>Does 1) anyone know the address (e-mail?) of G. Gropp in Hamburg? And
>does 2) anyone know who is a specialist in questions of pre-islamic
>weapons (axes, bows etc) in India/Pakistan/Afghanistan? =
>Heidelberger Akademie der Wissenschaften
>>Felsbilder und Inschriften am Karakorum Highway<
>Karlstr. 4 D-69117 Heidelberg
>Tel: ++49-6221-543273 Fax: ++49-6221-543355
>mailto:ditte.koenig at urz.uni-heidelberg.de
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