Online Encyclopedia


Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V03, Page 499 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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CASSIANUS BASSUS, called SCHOLASTIc1IS (lawyer), one of the geeponici or writers on agricultural subjects. He lived at the end of the 6th or the beginning of the 7th century A.D. He compiled from earlier writers a collection of agricultural literature (Geeponica) which was afterwards revised by an unknown editor and published about the year 950, in the reign of Constantine Porphyrogenitus, to whom the work itself has been ascribed. It contains a full list of the authorities drawn upon, and the subjects treated include agriculture, birds, bees, horses, cattle, heep, dogs, fishes and the like. for raising rice and wet crops. In the jungles the Marias, who are among the aboriginal tribes of Gond origin, raise kosra (Panicum italicum) and other inferior grains. Aboriginal races generally follow the migratory system of tillage, clearing the jungle on selected patches, and after taking crops for two or three years abandoning them for new ground. They do not use the plough; nor do they possess buffaloes, bullocks or cows; their only agricultural implement is a long-handled iron hoe. They are a timid, quiet, docile race, and although addicted to drinking not quarrelsome. They inhabit the densest jungles and are very shy, avoiding contact with strangers, and flying to the hills on the least alarm; but they bear a good character for honesty and truthfulness. They are very scantily dressed, wear a variety of trinkets, with a knife, hatchet, spear, bow and arrows, the only weapons they use. Their hair is generally shaved; excepting a topknot; and when not shaved it gets into a matted, tangled mass; gathered into a knot behind or on the crown. The Marias and the Jhurias are supposed to be a subdivision of the true Gond family. All the aboriginal tribes of Bastar worship the deities of the Hindu pantheon along with their own national goddess Danteswari. Bastar is divided into two portions—that held by the Raja or chief himself, and that possessed by feudatory chiefs under him. The climate is unhealthy—fever, smallpox, dysentery and rheumatism being the prevailing diseases. Jagdalpur, Bijapur, Madder and Bhupalpatnam ate the only places of any note in the dependency, the • first (on the Indravati river) being the residence of the raja and the chief people of the state. The principal products are rice, oil-seeds, lac, tussur silk, horns, hides, wax and a little iron. Teak timber is floated down the rivers to the Madras coast. A good road has brought Jagdalpur into connexion with the railway at Raipur.

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