Van Buitenen, J.A.B. Tales of Ancient India. Chicago: Univrsity of Chicago Press, 1959.
The economic structure of the two regions passed through similar stages. The merchant class was important in ancient India, and trade was a vital element in Greek society as well. Trade for the Greeks often meant trade with colonies. Van Buitenen remarks on the importance and prominence of commerce in India in the ancient period and how a literature developed around commerce to tell the stories of those who made good: "A large portion of Indian narrative literature is made up of success stories" (Van Buitenen 5). Both cultures valued sharp trading and the ability of merchants to overcome opposition and succeed. In india, much of the narrative literature was dedicated to telling stories of specific types of business enterprise that other societies marginalize, such as harlotry, always with some ambivalence because while sharp dealing was admired, there was also a sense that such dealing might not always be honest. A successful merchant is the hero of "The tale of Two bawds," a story in which the merchant's son encounters a different sort of merchant in the procuress and shows this ambivalent attitude in the confusion between commerce and love. The son is deemed successful when he returns with a fortune to add to that of his father, while the procuress and her daughter are failures because they lose all their money and their respect (Van Buitenen 71).
The Hellenistic era of Alexander the Great and after was a period of consolidation as Greek culture mixed with Roman culture. The genius of the Romans lay in the military, in government administration, and in the law. The Romans conquered Greece, adopting Greek culture and transmitting it to the medieval world. Unlike the Greeks, they did not develop a philosophical theory of state and society. Instead, they were the practitioners of power and law, and Roman civil law, which reached its peak under the emperors, exc