Origins of the double-truth

Bjarte Kaldhol bjartekal at AH.TELIA.NO
Tue Dec 26 20:02:02 UTC 2000

Dear listmembers,

Like Lars Martin, I conclude that we have been discussing possibilities and
not facts. But I cannot refrain from sharing another quotation with you -
this time from A. Leo Oppenheim's immortal ANCIENT MESOPOTAMIA. PORTRAIT OF
A DEAD CIVILIZATION (revised edition, UCP, 1977, now outdated in many
respects, e.g. chronology). Oppenheim refers to the Indus Valley seven
times. I found the references on pp. 63 and 65 particularly interesting:

"Generally speaking, one may state that in this region [between the Gulf of
Bengal and the Mediterranean, B.K.] some kind of osmotic pressure from east
to west was effective from the earliest periods. It is well known that
domesticated plants and animals and related technological practices moved
through Mesopotamia from some far off center of Eurasian diffusion,
possibly around the Gulf of Bengal. There are, in the historical period,
unmistakable indications of trade contacts via shipping lanes between
southern Mesopotamia (mainly Ur) and those regions to the east to which the
Sumerian and early Akkadian inscriptions refer as Magan and Meluhha." (p.

[Babylonia's victory over Assyria] "coincided with the increasing pressure
exercised by the Iranian peoples on Mesopotamia, a development that was in
some way connected with the disappearance of whatever obstacles had stood
in the way of contacts between India and the Levant. Even before Cyrus
occupied Babylon in 539 B.C., the economic texts from the great sanctuaries
in Sippar, Babylon, and Uruk offer evidence of trade relations that reached
to the Mediterranean (Cilician iron) and even as far as Greece. Persian
domination ushered in the first period in the ancient Near East in which
the geographic horizon extended beyond the limits of the past". (p. 65)

Mesopotamian evidence, then, appears to confirm the idea of intensified
contacts between India and the Mediterranean, including Greece, toward the
end of the sixth century, when we find traces of ideas like karma and
transmigration of souls suddenly appearing in the Greek world "like a drop
of foreign blood".

Best wishes,
Bjarte Kaldhol

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