Ctesias' Parrot1

Classical Quarterly 43 (1):321-327 (1993)
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Tall tales abound in Ctesias' Indica, as scholars have not hesitated to emphasize, heaping ridicule on the author's enthusiasm for the fantastic and on his apparent lack of regard for the truth. However, by no means everything in the work is absurd or wrong, and marvels too are no surprise. After all, as a resident of the Persian court for a number of years at the end of the fifth century B.C., Ctesias had seen items from India which would have been truly remarkable to Greeks of his time. He had seen, for example, elephants, which few Greeks before Alexander's Asian campaigns had done, and, it should be added, much of what he says about these animals is quite correct. The following pages discuss what he relates of the bird which he calls the βττακκος, the parrot, or rather what Photius in a not entirely problem-free section of his summary of the work preserves of the original description. As with Ctesias' account of the elephant, this is the first Greek description, so far as we know.



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References found in this work

India in Early Greek Literature.A. K. Narain & Klaus Karttunen - 1992 - Journal of the American Oriental Society 112 (3):515.
Aristotle and the elephant again.J. M. Bigwood - 1993 - American Journal of Philology 114 (4):537-555.
Notes on Gavia_ and _Mergvs in Latin Authors.W. G. Arnott - 1964 - Classical Quarterly 14 (02):249-.
La domestication des animaux à l'époque d'Aristote.Pierre Louis - 1970 - Revue d'Histoire des Sciences 23 (3):189-201.
Notes on Gavia_ and _Mergvs in Latin Authors.W. G. Arnott - 1964 - Classical Quarterly 14 (2):249-262.

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