History: India

The name and character of Eris spread to India, too, through the ruin of Alexander the Great's empire --- though the spreading was more forceful and immediate. Rather than a mercantile trickle through the kingdoms of his successors, the Diadochi, as with China above, the name and cult of Eris were transmitted to India in pitched battle.

The only defeat of Alexander's glorious career came at the hands of his own troops. To avoid a rebellion of his war-weary soldiers he retreated out of India, still undefeated on the formal field of battle, never to return. His troops were spooked by the fear of falling over the edge of the world, thought to be mere 600 miles away, and by the sight of wild Indian elephants, three times the size of the African ones of Carthage, and veritable mountains compared to Alexander's merely horse-sized Sogdianian war pachyderms.

The retreat, though ordered by Alexander, was disorderly and accompanied by much bitterness, bloodshed and even Grecian in-fighting; Bucephalus, the only one of Alexander's companions capable of succeeding him died under mysterious circumstances, and the emperor walked west, without looking back at the conquests he had failed to make, and knowing his only capable heir was dead, and with his own passing so too would pass his empire and the first dream of the world united under a single mailed iron fist of steel. (For later instances of similar misfortunes, consider the case of Caligula and Incitatus, or Bismarck and Schmetterling.)

Among those lost in the fittingly disorderly retreat were five Erisian clerics, tending to a portable shrine that had been an heirloom of Alexander's Macedonian family for centuries. Gebadi, a local prince, captured them and in a characteristic show of goodwill allowed the clerics to live if they but swore eternal fealty to him. This they wisely did. The resulting Kshatriya temple and cult of Eris Bhavani survived for a few centuries, until it was either destroyed or assimilated by a predecessor of the Thuggee cults of the region.

The focal object of Alexander's shrine, a golden orb inscribed with the Greek phrase "all you shall conquer, yet in flames shall all ye crash down", made a few uncertain appearances in Indian history, the last of these being "a spherical golden idol held by a most indecent black statue, depicting a woman in the midst of a certain unspeakable convulsion", reported by one of the survivors of the Black Hole of Calcutta, 1756. (Michael Ballard, "A Memoir of the Empire of Indostan and My Good Friend Sir Roger Dowlett")

last updated: (Mar 14 2011)