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Most of the compiled list on sati, by Yule and Burnell, date from 1200 AD through the 1870s AD.The sacrifice of widow(s) or a great man's retainers at his death is attested in various Indo-European cultures outside of India.When inevitably many of these love marriages turned sour, the woman would often poison the husband and find a new lover.To end these murders, a law was therefore instituted that the widow should either join her husband in death or live in perpetual widowhood.A well-known case is that of the 10th-century AD ship burial of the Rus' described by Ibn Fadlan.

The practice is considered to have originated within the warrior aristocracy in India, gradually gaining in popularity from the 10th century AD and spreading to other groups from the 12th through 18th century CE.

Among the fallen was one Ceteus, the commander of Eumenes's Indian soldiers.

Diodorus writes that Ceteus had been followed on campaign by his two wives, at his funeral the two wives competed for the honour of joining their husband on the pyre.

In the province of Bengal, sati was attended by a colonial government official, which states historian A. Salahuddin Ahmed, "not only seemed to accord an official sanction, but also increased its prestige value".

Between 18, the number of sati in Bengal province doubled from 378 to 839.

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