home   :    index    :    ancient Persia    :    ancient Greece    :    Alexander

The sanctuary of Nysa


Detail of the Alexander mosaic, found in Pompeii. National Archaeological Museum, Naples (Italy). In 326, Alexander invaded Gandara, where he discovered, near the river Kunar, a town called Nysa that was dedicated to the god of excess, Dionysus (more...; perhaps, this Dionysus was the Indian god Shiva, the destroyer of worlds.) The only description of the temple is to be found in the Life of Apollonius of Tyana by the Greek author Philostratus. This Apollonius may have visited Nysa in the first century, but that is not certain. However, it is certain that Philostratus had access to a reliable source on India. Section 2.8 of the Life of Apollonius was translated by F.C. Conybeare.
Ancient-Warfare.com, the online home of Ancient Warfare magazine
 
They were now in [the country] in which the mountain of Nysa rises, covered to its very top with plantations [...], and you can ascend it, because paths been made by cultivators. They say then that when they ascended it, they found the shrine of  Dionysus, which it is said Dionysus founded in honor of himself, planting round it a circle of laurel trees which encloses just as much ground as suffices to contain a moderate sized temple. He also surrounded the laurels with a border of ivy and vines; and he set up inside an image of himself, knowing that in time the trees would grow together and make themselves into a kind of roof; and this had now formed itself, so that neither rain can wet nor wind blow upon the shrine. And there were sickles and wine-presses and their dedicated to Dionysus, as if to one who gathers grapes, all made of gold and silver. And the image resembled a youthful Indian, and was carved out of polished white stone.
 
 home   :    index    :     ancient Persia    :    ancient Greece    :    Alexander