Война египетского царя Сесостриса со скифами в труде Мегасфена
The article deals with a noticeably short account about an alleged war waged by the Egyptian king-conqueror of the remote past Sesostris as narrated by Megasthenes in his list of rulers that failed to conquer India before Alexander. The account is quoted at greater length by Strabo (XV. 1.6, p. 686-687) and considerably shorter by Arrian (Ind. 5. 6-6). The king Sesostris approached European Scythia via Caucasian Iberia from Pontus and Thrace but failed to subjugate it and was repulsed by the Scythian king Idanthyrsos as far as Egypt’s eastern frontier. The prototype of the story cannot be precisely identified (the author argued previously that it might be the world history by Theopompus) but is evidently alternative to the account of the wars of the Egyptian king Sesoosis by Hecataeus of Abdera (Diod. I. 55). Taking that Hecataeus wrote as early as 310s B.C. and Megasthenes not before the early 3rd century B.C. one can derive that the latter was reluctant to admit the invasion of Hecataeus’ Sesoosis in invade India earlier than Alexander, as devaluing his deeds. Besides there is a possibility that Megasthenes was influenced by an Egyptian anti-Ptolemaic scheme: the preponderance of Egypt had once been overthrown in Sesostris’ lifetime but in due course it was restored and so it might happen after the downfall of the Macedonian rule in Egypt. The anti-Ptolemaic trend in Megasthenes’ narrative is easily explained with the contradictions between the Seleucid and the Ptolemaic empire that started in the early 3rd century B.C.