Dr. Manuel Albaladejo Vivero

Valencia University, Department of Ancient History
manuel.albaladejo@uv.es

Mediterranean identity and Indian attire

The origin of this line of research can be found in my doctoral thesis, which focused on the depiction in Greek literature of India and Ethiopia. My present goal is to continue that momentum, incorporating other elements of literary knowledge about India so as to present a more complex perspective within the field of historical research, i.e., commercial, political and diplomatic relations between those two geographical and political entities.

The importance of the monsoonal navigation between Africa and India, together with the establishment of the "silk road", allowed for rather stable relations between the Roman Empire and the lands of Central Asia.

The methodology used for the study of these connections will include different techniques. As tools, the knowledge of written, literary and epigraphic sources, such as the Asoka Edicts and the inscriptions of northwest India and Bactria, is fundamental. I explored these in part during my previous years of research, but in this project it will be necessary to compare those sources with the archaeological data. Recently, there have been several excavations in the Egyptian ports of the Red Sea and in the Indian emporia, and we must also bear in mind the growing importance of numismatic findings and recent discoveries in South India and Sri Lanka.

As theme of this research, I would like to focus on attire as an element of ethnic characterization among the Indians by Greek and Roman authors such as Nearcus, Megasthenes, Strabo and Pliny the Elder. Iconographic sources will also be utilised in this study, with the aim of comparing the ideas and imagination of classical author with actual Indian aestethics.