Phraotes

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Phraotes was an Indo-Parthian king of Taxila, in northern Ancient India, met by the Greek philosopher Apollonius of Tyana around 46 CE according to the Life of Apollonius Tyana written by Philostratus.

Apollonius reported constructions of the Greek type in Taxila, [1] probably referring to Sirkap, and explains that Phraotes speaks Greek fluently, a language he had been educated in while in exile to the east, beyond the river Hyphasis:

"Tell me, O King, how you acquired such a command of the Greek tongue, and whence you derived all your philosophical attainments in this place?" [2]
[...]-"My father, after a Greek education, brought me to the sages at an age somewhat too early perhaps, for I was only twelve at the time, but they brought me up like their own son; for any that they admit knowing the Greek tongue they are especially fond of, because they consider that in virtue of the similarity of his disposition he already belongs to themselves." [3]

Coins of a king "Prahat" or "Prahara", thought to be Phraotes, have been found in the area of Taxila, and it has been suggested that he might be identical with the Indo-Parthian king Gondophares.[4] This is however unlikely, as this king was probably much earlier, but he could have been one of the later Indo-Parthian kings who were also named Gondophares.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Description of the Hellenistic urbanism of Taxila:
    • "Taxila, they tell us, is about as big as Nineveh, and was fortified fairly well after the manner of Greek cities" (Life of Apollonius Tyana, II 20)
    • "I have already described the way in which the city is walled, but they say that it was divided up into narrow streets in the same irregular manner as in Athens, and that the houses were built in such a way that if you look at them from outside they had only one story, while if you went into one of them, you at once found subterranean chambers extending as far below the level of the earth as did the chambers above." (Life of Apollonius Tyana, II 23)
  2. ^ (Life of Apollonius Tyana, II 29)
  3. ^ (Life of Apollonius Tyana, II 31)
  4. ^ Journal of the Numismatic Society of India, 1968, vol. 30, p. 188-190. A. K. Narain