Is Livia a historical Figure?
Historian Sylvain Levi writes: Seleucus…concluded a matrimonial alliance with [Chandragupta] which no doubt introduced a Greek princess into the Mauryan household. How did it happen? After Alexander’s death in 323 BC, Seleucus, one of Alexander’s generals, annexed Persia; Chandragupta Maurya, an ambitious young man then, drove the Greeks out of India, and established the first Indian empire sometime around 320 BC. Seleucus returned and attacked India in 305 BC to recapture the former Greek territories. Chandragupta rushed to the frontier and defeated Seleucus. A treaty was signed by which Seleucus ceded parts of Afghanistan (Kabul, Herat, Kandahar, Bactria) and also gave his daughter (name not known) to Chandragupta. Livia is that daughter in the novel. After his defeat, Seleucus sent his personal friend Megasthenes as ambassador to Chandragupta’s splendid court. Magasthenes has written about the Indian emperor and his court. When emperor, Chandragupta’s son, Bindusar, asked Seleucus’s son, Antiochus, to send him “wine, dried figs, and a sophist.‟ Antiochus, the Persian emperor, graciously replied, “We shall send you the figs and the wine but in Greece, the laws forbid a sophist to be sold.” Regardless, Livia’s presence in the Maurya palace may explain Asoka’s total acceptance of other religions.