XI. The Indians generally are divided into seven castes. Those called the wise men are less in number than the rest, but chiefest in honour and regard. For they are under no necessity to do any bodily labour; nor to contribute from the results of their work to the common store; in fact, no sort of constraint whatever rests upon these wise men, save to offer the sacrifices to the gods on behalf of the people of India. Then whenever anyone sacrifices privately, one of these wise men acts as instructor of the sacrifice, since otherwise the sacrifice would not have proved acceptable to the gods. These Indians also are alone expert in prophecy, and none, save one of the wise men, is allowed to prophesy. And they prophesy about the seasons of the year, or of any impending public calamity: but they do not trouble to prophesy on private matters to individuals, either because their prophecy does not condescend to smaller things, or because it is undignified for them to trouble about such things. And when one has thrice made an error in his prophecy, he does not suffer any harm, except that he must for ever hold his peace; and no one will ever persuade such a one to prophesy on whom this silence has been enjoined. These wise men spend their time naked, during the winter in the open air and sunshine, but in summer, when the sun is strong, in the meadows and the marsh lands under great trees; their shade Nearchus computes to reach five plethra all round, and ten thousand men could take shade under one tree; so great are these trees. They eat fruits in their season, and the bark of the trees; this is sweet and nutritious as much as are the dates of the palm. Then next to these come the farmers, these being the most numerous class of Indians; they have no use for warlike arms or warlike deeds, but they till the land; and they pay the taxes to the kings and to the cities, such as are self-governing; and if there is internal war among the Indians, they may not touch these workers, and not even devastate the land itself; but some are making war and slaying all comers, and others close by are peacefully ploughing or gathering the fruits or shaking down apples or harvesting. The third class of Indians are the herdsmen, pasturers of sheep and cattle, and these dwell neither by cities nor in the villages. They are nomads and get their living on the hillsides, and they pay taxes from their animals; they hunt also birds and wild game in the country. XII The fourth class is of artisans and shopkeepers; these are workers, and pay tribute from their works, save such as make weapons of war; these are paid by the community. In this class are the shipwrights and sailors, who navigate the rivers. The fifth class of Indians is the soldiers' class, next after the farmers in number; these have the greatest freedom and the most spirit. They practise military pursuits only. Their weapons others forge for them, and again others provide horses; others too serve in the camps, those who groom their horses and polish their weapons, guide the elephants, and keep in order and drive the chariots. They themselves, when there is need of war, go to war, but in time of peace they make merry; and they receive so much pay from the community that they can easily from their pay support others. The sixth class of Indians are those called overlookers. They oversee everything that goes on in the country or in the cities; and this they report to the King, where the Indians are governed by kings, or to the authorities, where they are independent. To these it is illegal to make any false report; nor was any Indian ever accused of such falsification. The seventh class is those who deliberate abbut the community together with the King, or, in such cities as are self-governing, with the authorities. In number this class is small, but in wisdom and uprightness it bears the palm from all others; from this class are selected their governors, district governors, and deputies, custodians of the treasures, officers of army and navy, financial officers, and overseers of agricultural works. To marry out of any class is unlawful -- as, for instance, into the farmer class from the artisans, or the other way; nor must the same man practise two pursuits; nor change from one class into another, as to turn farmer from shepherd, or shepherd from artisan. It is only permitted to join the wise men out of any class; for their business is not an easy one, but of all most laborious. XIII. Most wild animals which the Greeks hunt the Indians hunt also, but these have a way of hunting elephants unlike all other kinds of hunting, just as these animals are unlike other animals. It is this they choose a place that is level and open to the sun's heat, and dig a ditch in a circle, wide enough for a great army to camp within it. They dig the ditch five fathoms broad, and four deep. The earth which they throw out of the ditch they heap on either side of the ditch, and so use it as a wall; then they make shelters for themselves, dug out of the wall on the outside of the ditch, and leave small windows in them; through these the light comes in, and also they watch the animals coming in and charging into the enclosure. Then within the enclosure they leave some three or four of the females, those that are tamest, and leave only one entrance by the ditch, making a bridge over it; and here they heap much earth and grass so that the animals cannot distinguish the bridge, and so suspect any guile. The hunters then keep themselves out of the way, hiding under the shelters dug in the ditch. Now the wild elephants do not approach inhabited places by daylight, but at night they wander all about and feed in herds, following the largest and finest of their number, as cows do the bulls. And when they approach the ditch and hear the trumpeting of the females and perceive them by their scent, they rush to the walled enclosure; and when, working round the outside edge of the ditch, they find the bridge, they push across it into the enclosure. Then the hunters, perceiving the entry of the wild elephants, some smartly remove the bridge, others hurrying to the neighbouring villages report that the elephants are caught in the enclosure; and the inhabitants on hearing the news mount the most spirited, and at the same time most disciplined elephants, and then drive them towards the enclosure, and when they have driven them thither they do not at once join battle, but allow the wild elephants to grow distressed by hunger and to be tamed by thirst. But when they think they are sufficiently distressed, then they erect the bridge again, and enter the enclosure; and at first there is a fierce battle between the tamed elephants and the captives, and then, as one would expect, the wild elephants are tamed, distressed as they are by a sinking of their spirits and by hunger. Then the riders dismounting from the tamed elephants tie together the feet of the now languid wild ones; then they order the tamed elephants to punish the rest by repeated blows, till in their distress they fall to earth; then they come near them and throw nooses round their necks; and climb on them as they lie there. And that they may not toss their drivers nor do them any injury, they make an incision in their necks with a sharp knife, all round, and bind their noose round the wound, so that by reason of the sore they keep their heads and necks still. For were they to turn round to do mischief, the wound beneath the rope chafes them. And so they keep quiet, and perceiving that they are conquered, they are led of by the tamed elephants by the rope. XIV. Such elephants as are not yet full grown or from some defect are not worth the acquiring, they allow to depart to their own laim, Then they lead of their captives to the villages and first of all give them green shoots and grass to eat; but they, from want of heart, are not willing to eat anything; so the Indians range themselves about them and with songs and drums and cymbals, beating and singing, lull them to sleep. For if there is an intelligent animal, it is the elephant. Some of them have been known, when their drivers have perished in battle, to have caught them up and carried them to burial; others have stood over them and protected them. Others, when they have fallen, have actively fought for them; one, indeed, who in a passion slew his driver, died from remorse and grief. I myself have seen an elephant clanging the cymbals, and others dancing; two cymbals were fastened to the player's forelegs, and one on his trunk, and he rhythmically beat with his trunk the cymbal on either leg in turn; the dancers danced in circle, and raising and bending their forelegs in turn moved also rhythmically, as the player with the cymbals marked the time for them. The elephants mate in spring, as do oxen and horses, when certain pores about the temples of the females open and exhale; the female bears its offispring sixteen months at the least, eighteen at most; it has one foal, as does a mare; and this it suckles till its eighth year. The longest-lived elephants survive to two hundred years; but many die before that by disease; but as far as mere age goes, they reach this age. If their eyes are affected, cow's milk injected cures them; for their other sicknesses a draught of dark wine, and for their wounds swine's flesh roast, and laid on the spot, are good. These are the Indian remedies for them. XV. The Indians regard the tiger as much stronger than the elephant. Nearchus writes that he had seen a tiger's skin, but no tiger; the Indians record that the tiger is in size as great as the largest horse, and its swiftness and strength without parallel, for a tiger, when it meets an elephant, leaps on to the head and easily throttles it. Those, however, which we see and call tigers are dappled jackals, but larger than ordinary jackals. Nay, about ants also Nearchus says that he himself saw no ant, of the sort which some writers have described as native of India; he saw, however, several of their skins brought into the Macedonian camp.Megasthenes, however confirms the accounts given about these ants; that ants do dig up gold, not indeed for the gold, but as they naturally burrow, that they may make holes, just as our small ants excavate a small amount of earth; but these, which are bigger than foxes, dig up earth also proportionate to their size; the earth is auriferous, and thus the Indians get their gold. Megasthenes, however, merely quotes hearsay, and as I have no certainty to write on the subject, I readily dismiss this subject of ants. But Nearchus describes, as something miraculous, parrots, as being found in India, and describes the parrot, and how it utters a human voice. But I having seen several, and knowing others acquainted with this bird, shall not dilate on them as anything remarkable; nor yet upon the size of the apes, nor the beauty of some Indian apes, and the method of capture. For I should only say what everyone knows, except perhaps that apes are anywhere beautiful. And further Nearchus says that snakes are hunted there, dappled and swift; and that which he states Peithon son of Antigenes to have caught, was upwards of sixteen cubits; but the Indians (he proceeds) state that the largest snakes are much larger than this. No Greek physicians have discovered a remedy against Indian snake-bite; but the Indians themselves used to cure those who were struck. And Nearchus adds that Alexander had gathered about him Indians very skilled in physic, and orders were sent round the camp that anyone bitten by a snake was to report at the royal pavilion. But there are not many illnesses in India, since the seasons are more temperate than with us. If anyone is seriously ill, they would inform their wise men, and they were thought to use the divine help to cure what could be cured.