Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

This is a broad, catch-all category of works that fit best here and not elsewhere. If you haven't found it someplace else, you might want to look here.

Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

Postby admin » Sun Dec 26, 2021 4:10 am

Part 1 of 2

Donation of Constantine
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 12/25/21

Ashoka

The trappings of government set up in Calcutta to cope with the sudden acquisition of Bengal included not only a judiciary but also a mint. It was as Assistant Assay-Master at this mint that James Prinsep arrived in India in 1819. The post was an undistinguished one; Prinsep, far from being a celebrity like Jones, could expect nothing better. He was barely 20 and, according to his obituarist, "wanting, perhaps, in the finish of classical scholarship which is conferred at the public schools and universities of England''. As a child, the last in a family of seven sons, his passion had been constructing highly intricate working models; "habits of exactness and minute attention to detail'' would remain his outstanding traits. He studied architecture under Pugin, transferred to the Royal Mint when his eyesight became strained, and thence to Calcutta. ''Well grounded in chemistry, mechanics and the useful sciences", he was not an obvious candidate for the mantle of Jones and the distinction of being India's most successful scholar.

In the quarter century between Jones' death and Prinsep's arrival the British position in India had changed radically. The defeats of Tippu Sultan, ruler of Mysore, of the Marathas, and of the Gurkhas had left the British undisputed masters of as much of India as they cared to digest. Indeed the British raj had begun. The sovereignty of the East India Company was almost as much a political fiction as that of their nominal but now helpless overlord, the Moghul emperor. Both, though they lingered on for another 30 years, had become anachronisms.

From Calcutta a long arm of British territory now reached up the Ganges and the Jumna to Agra, Delhi and beyond. A thumb prodded the Himalayas between Nepal and Kashmir, while several stubby fingers probed into Punjab, Rajasthan and central India. In the west, Bombay had been expanding into the Maratha homeland; Broach and Baroda were under Britfsh control, and Poona, a centre of Hindu orthodoxy and the Maratha capital, was being transformned into the legendary watering place for Anglo-Indian bores. In the south, all that was not British territory was held by friendly feudatories; the French had been obliterated, Mysore settled, and the limits of territorial expansion already reached.

Visitors in search of the real India no longer had to hop around the coastline; they could now march boldly, and safely, across the middle. Bishop Heber of Calcutta (the appointment itself was a sign of the times; in Jones's day there had not been even a church in Calcutta) toured his diocese in the 1820s. The diocese was a big one -- the whole of India -- and ''Reginald Calcutta", as he signed himself, travelled the length of the Ganges to Dehra Dun in the Himalayas, then down through Delhi and Agra into Rajasthan, still largely independent, and came out at Poona and thence down to Bombay.

The acquisition of all this new territory brought the British into contact with the country's architectural heritage. Two centuries earlier Elizabethan envoys had marvelled at the cities of Moghul India ''of which the like is not to be found in all Christendom". The famous buildings of Agra, Fatehpur Sikri and Delhi, ''either of them much greater than London and more populous", they had described in detail. When, therefore, the first generation of British administrators arrived in upper India they showed genuine reverence for the architectural relics of Moghul power. Instead of the landscapes of Hodges and the Daniells their souvenirs of India would be detailed drawings of the Taj Mahal and the Red Fort. Their curiosity also extended to buildings sacred to the non-Mohammedan population; Khajuraho, Abu and many other sites were discovered between 1810 and 1830. The raw materials for a new investigation of India's past were accumulating. But it was another class of monuments, predating the Mohammedan invasions and with unmistakable signs of extreme antiquity, which would become Prinsep's speciality.

The first of these monuments -- one could scarcely call them buildings -- to attract European attention were the cave temples in the vicinity of Bombay. The island of Elephanta in Bombay harbour had been known to the Portuguese and became the subject of one of the earliest archaeological reports received by Jones's new Asiatic Society.
The cave is about three-quarters of a mile from the beach; the path leading to it lies through a valley; the hills on either side beautifully clothed and, except when interrupted by the dove calling to her absent mate, a solemn stillness prevails; the mind is fitted for contemplating the approaching scene.

The approaching scene was not of some natural cave with a few prehistoric scratchings, but of a spacious pillared hall, with delicate sculptural details and colossal stone figures -- an architectural creation in all but name; for the whole thing was hacked, hewn, carved and sculpted out of solid rock.

North of Bombay, the island of Salsette boasted more groups of such caves. In 1806 Lord Valentia, a young Englishman whose greatest claim to fame must be the sheer weight of his travelogue (four quarto volumes of just on half a hundredweight), set out to explore them. He took with him Henry Salt, his companion and artist, to help clear a path through the jungle that surrounded the caves. Outside the Jogeshwar caves they hesitated before the fresh pug marks of a tiger; according to the villagers, tigers actually lived in the caves for part of the year.

Salt found that the other Salsette caves at Kanheri and Montpezir had also been recently occupied. To the Portuguese, the pillared nave and the trahsepts had spelt basilica; there was even a hole in the facade for a rose window. They had just smothered the fine, but pagan, carving in stucco and consecrated the place. Salt chipped away at the stucco and observed how well it had preserved the sculpture.
Though these figures are by no means well proportioned, yet their air, size and general management give an expression of grandeur that the best sculptors have often failed in attaining; the laziness of attitude, the simplicity of drapery, the suitableness of their situation and the plainness of style in which they are executed . . . all contribute towards producing this effect.

He was getting quite a feeling for ancient art treasures. In Lord Valentia's train he would move on to Egypt, stay on there as British consul, and become so successful at appropriating and selling the art treasures of the Pharoahs that he rivalled the great tomb-robber Belzoni.

Meanwhile in India more rock-cut temples had come to light. The free-standing Kailasa temple at Ellora, cut into the rock from above like a gigantic intaglio, was discovered in the late 18th century. It was followed by the famous caves at Ajanta and Bagh. "Few remains of antiquity," wrote William Erskine in 1813, "have excited greater curiosity. History does not record any fact that can guide us in fixing the period of their execution, and many opposite opinions have been formed regarding the religion of the people by whom they were made." From the statuary at Elephanta and Ellora, particularly the figures with several heads and many arms, it was clear that these at least were Hindu.[???] But why were they in such remote locations and why had they been so long neglected? What, too, of the plainer caves like Kanheri and the largest of all, Karli in the Western Ghats? Lord Valentia was pretty sure that the sitting figure, surrounded by devotees, at Karli was ''the Boddh''; he had just come from Ceylon where Buddhism was still a living religion, though it appeared to be almost unknown in India.

Other critics who looked to the west for an explanation of anything they found admirable in Indian art, insisted that the excellence of the sculpture indicated the presence of a Greek, Phoenician or even Jewish colony in western India. Yet others looked to Africa: who but the builders of the pyramids could have achieved such monolithic wonders? These theories, were based on the idea that such monuments were exclusive to western India, which had a long history of maritime contacts with the West. They became less credible with the discovery of the so-called Seven Pagodas at Mahabalipuram near Madras. Here, a thousand miles away and on the other side of the Indian peninsula, were a group of temples cut not out of solid rock, but sculpted out of boulders. At first glance they looked like true buildings, a little rounded like old stone cottages, but well proportioned -- up to 55 feet long and 35 feet high -- with porches, pillars and statuary. It was only on closer inspection that one realised that each was a single gigantic stone sculpted into architecture. "Stupendous," declared William Chambers who twice visited the place in the 1770s (though his report had to wait for the Asiatic Society's first publication in 1789), ''of a style no longer in use, indeed closer to that of Egypt''.

Five years later, a further account of the boulder temples, or raths, was submitted by a man who had also seen Elephanta. To his mind there was no question that in style and technique the two were closely related. Had he also seen the intaglio temple of Ellora he might have been tempted to postulate some theory of architectural development; first the cave temple, then the free-standing excavation, and finally the boulder style, freed at last from solid rock. It was as if India's architecture had somehow evolved out of the earth's crust. Elsewhere, stone buildings have always evolved from wooden ones; but in India it was as if architecture was a development of sculpture. The distinctive characteristic of all truly Indian buildings is their sculptural quality. The great Hindu temples look like mountainous accumulations of figures and friezes; even the Taj Mahal, for all its purity of line, stays in the mind as a masterpiece of sculpture rather than of construction.

There was yet one other type of ancient monument which had intrigued early visitors. Thomas Coryat, an English eccentric who turned up in Delhi in 1616, was probably the first to take notice of it. South of the Moghul city of Delhi (now Old Delhi) lay the abandoned tombs and forts of half a dozen earlier Delhis (now, confusingly, the site of New Delhi). The ruins stretched for ten miles, overgrown, inhabited by bats and monkeys. But in the middle of this jungle of crumbling masonry Coryat saw something that made him stop; it did not belong. A plain circular pillar, 40 feet high, stuck up through the remains of some dying palace and, in the evening light so proper to ruins, it shone. At a distance he took it for brass, closer up for marble; it is in fact polished sandstone. Of a weight later estimated at 27 tons, it is a single, finely tapered stone, another example of highly developed monolithic craftsmanship. But what intrigued Coryat was the discovery that it was inscribed. Of the two principal inscriptions one was in a script consisting of simple erect letters, a bit like pin-men, which Coryat was sure were Greek. The pillar must then, he thought, have been erected by Alexander the Great, probably "in token of his victorie" over the Indian king Porus in 326 BC.

Fifty years later another such pillar was discovered by John Marshall, an East India Company factor who has been called "the first Englishman who really studied Indian antiquities". He was certainly less inclined to jump to wild conclusions. His pillar was "nine yards nine inches high" [27' 9"] and boasted a remarkable capital: ''at the top of this pillar ... is placed a tyger engraven, the neatliest that I have seene in India''.
It was actually a lion. But perhaps the most interesting thing about this pillar was that it was in Bihar, a thousand miles from Delhi and many more from the rock-cut monuments around Bombay and Madras.

Writing similar to that found on the Delhi pillar was also found on some of the cave temples; and at Karli there was actually a small pillar outside the cave. Clearly all these monuments were somehow connected. But it was doubtful whether Alexander had ever reached Delhi, let alone Bihar. The existence of a similar pillar there put paid to Coryat's idea of their commemorating Alexander's victories, although the possibility that the letters were some corrupt form of Greek would linger on for many years.

With the foundation of the Asiatic Society there was at last a forum in which a concerted investigation into all these monuments could take place. Reports of more pillars and caves were soon trickling in. Jones himself was rightly convinced that the mystery of who created them, when and why, could be solved only if the inscriptions could be translated. Some ancient civilisation, some foreign conqueror perhaps, or some master craftsman, seemed to be crying out for recognition. Another breakthrough seemed imminent; and with it another chunk of India's lost history might be restored.

Thanks to Charles Wilkins, the man who preceded Jones as a Sanskritist, progress was at first encouraging. At one of the earliest meetings of the Society he reported on a new pillar, also in Bihar.
Sometime, in the month of November in the year 1780 I discovered in the vicinity of the Town of Buddal, near which the Company has a factory, and which at that time was under my charge, a decapitated monumental pillar which at a little distance had very much the appearance of the trunk of a coconut tree broken off in the middle. It stands in a swamp overgrown with weeds near a small temple .... Upon my getting close enough to the monument to examine it, I took its dimensions and made a drawing of it. ... At a few feet above the ground is an inscription, engrained in the stone, from which I took two reversed impressions with printer's ink. I have lately been so fortunate as to decipher the character.

Though very different from Devanagari, the modern script used for Sanskrit, it was clearly related to it and Wilkins was not surprised to discover that the language was in fact Sanskrit. To historians the translation was a disappointment; the Buddal pillar told them nothing of interest. But the deciphering was an important development. Nowadays it is recognised that the modern Devanagari script has passed through three distinct stages; first the pin-men script that Coryat thought was Greek (Ashoka Brahmi); second a more ornate, chunky script (Gupta Brahmi); and third, a more curved and rounded script (Kutila) from which springs the washing-on-the-line script of Devanagari. The Buddal pillar was Kutila, and once Wilkins had established that it had some connection with Devanagari, the possibility of working backwards to the earlier scripts was dimly perceived.

As if to illustrate this, Wilkins next surprised his colleagues by teasing some sense out of an inscription written in Gupta Brahmi. It came from a cave near Gaya which had been known for some time though never visited; a Mr Hodgekis, who tried, "was assassinated on his way to it''. Encouraged by Warren Hastings, John Harrington, the secretary of the Asiatic Society, was more successful and found the cave hidden behind a tree near the top of a hill. The character of the inscription, according to Wilkins, was ''undoubtedly the most ancient of any that have hitherto come under my inspection. But though the writing is not modern, the language is pure Sanskrit.'' Wilkins, tantalising as ever about how he made his breakthrough, apparently divined that the inscription was in verse. It was the discovery of the metre that somehow helped him to the successful decipherment. But again, there was little in this new translation to satisfy the historian's thirst for facts.

A far more promising approach to the problem, indeed a short cut, seemed to be heralded in a letter to Jones from Lieutenant Francis Wilford, a surveyor and an enthusiastic student of all things oriental, who was based at Benares. Jones had been sent copies of inscriptions found at Ellora and written in Ashoka Brahmi, the still undeciphered pin-men. He had probably sent them to Wilford because Benares, the holy city of the hindus, was the most likely place to find a Brahmin who might be able to read them. In 1793 Wilford announced that he had found just such a man.

I have the honour to return to you the facsimile of several inscriptions with an explanation of them. I despaired at first of ever being able to decipher them ... However, after many fruitless attempts on our part, we were so fortunate as to find at lazst an ancient sage, who gave us the key, and produced a book in Sanskrit, containing a great many ancient alphabets formerly in use in different parts of India. This was really a fortunate discovery, which hereafter may be of great service to us.

According to the ancient sage, most of Wilford's inscriptions related to the wanderings of the five heroic Pandava brothers from the Mahabharata. At the unspecified time in question they were under an obligation not to converse with the rest of mankind; so their friends devised a method of communicating with them by writing short and obscure sentences on rocks and stones in the wilderness and in characters previously agreed upon betwixt them". The sage happened to have the key to these characters in his code book; obligingly he transcribed them into Devanagari Sanskrit and then translated them.

To be fair to Wilford, he was a bit suspicious about this ingenious explanation of how the inscriptions got there. But he had no doubts that the deciphering and translation were genuine. ''Our having been able to decipher them is a great point in my opinion, as it may hereafter lead to further discoveries, that may ultimately crown our labours with success.'' Above all, he had now located the code book, ''a most fortunate circumstance''.

Poor Wilford was the laughing stock of the Benares Brahmins for a whole decade. They had already fobbed him off with Sanskrit texts, later proved spurious, on the source of the Nile and the origin of Mecca. After the code book there was a geographical treatise on The Sacred Isles of the West, which included early Hindu reference to the British Isles. The Brahmins, to whom Sanskrit had so long remained a sacred prerogative, were getting their own back. One wonders how much Wilford paid his "ancient sage".

Jones was already a little suspicious of Wilford's sources, but on the code book, which was as much a fabrication as the translations supposedly based on it, he reserved judgement until he might see it. He never did. In fact it was never heard of again. But in spite of these disappointments Jones continued to believe that in time this oldest script would be deciphered. He had been sent a copy of the writings on the Delhi pillar and told a correspondent that they ''drive me to despair; you are right, I doubt not, in thinking them foreign; I believe them to be Ethiopian and to have been imported a thousand years before Christ". It was not one of his more inspired guesses and at the time of his death the mystery of the inscriptions and of the monoliths was as dark as ever.


And so it remained until the labours of James Prinsep. Jones had given oriental studies a strongly literary bias and his successors continued to concentrate on Sanskrit manuscripts. Archaeological studies were ignored in consequence, and so were inscriptions. Wilkins' few translations had led nowhere and the most intriguing of the scripts remained undeciphered. Indeed even the translation of the Gupta Brahmi script from the cave at Gaya was forgotten in the general waning of interest; it would have to be deciphered all over again.

During his first twelve years in India Prinsep confined his attention to scientific matters. He was sent to Benares to set up a second mint and while there redesigned the city's sewers. He also contributed a few articles to the Asiatic Society's journal (''Descriptions of a Pluviometer and Evaporameter", ''Note on the Magic Mirrors of Japan", etc).

But in 1830 he was recalled to Calcutta as assistant to the Assay-Master, Horace Hayman Wilson, who was also secretary of the Asiatic Society and an eminent Sanskrit scholar. At the time Wilson was puzzling over the significance of various ancient coins that had recently been found in Rajasthan and the Punjab. Prinsep helped to catalogue and describe them, and it was in attempting to decipher their legends that his interest in the whole question of ancient inscriptions was aroused. Although his ignorance of Sanskrit was undoubtedly a handicap, here, in the deciphering of scripts, was a field in which his quite exceptional talent for minute and methodical study could be deployed to brilliant advantage.

Since Jones' day another pillar like that at Delhi had been found at Allahabad; in addition to a Persian inscription of the Moghul period, it displayed a long inscription in each of the two older scripts (Ashoka Brahmi and Gupta Brahmi). A report had also been received of a rock in Orissa covered with the same two scripts. In 1833 Prinsep prevailed on a Lieutenant Burt, one of several enthusiastic engineers and surveyors, to take an exact impression of the Allahabad pillar inscription.

The facsimiles reached Prinsep in early 1834. With an eminent Sanskritist, the Rev W. H. Mill, he soon resolved the problem of the Gupta Brahmi. This was the script that Wilkins had deciphered nearly 50 years before, though his achievement had since been forgotten. The same thing was not likely to happen again; for this time the inscription had something to tell. Evidently it had been engraved on the instructions of a king called Samudragupta. It recorded his extensive conquests and it mentioned that he was the son of Chandragupta. The temptation to assume that this Chandragupta was the same as Jones' Chandragupta, the Sandracottus of the Greeks, was almost irresistible. But not quite. For one thing Jones' Chandragupta had not, according to the Sanskrit king lists, been succeeded by a Samudragupta; they did, however, mention several other Chandraguptas. But if Prinsep and Mill were disappointed at having to deny themselves the simplest and most satisfying of identifications, there would be compensation. They had raised the veil on a dynasty now known as the Imperial Guptas. According to the Allahabad inscriptions Samudragupta had ''violently uprooted'' nine kings and annexed their kingdoms. His rule stretched right across northern India and deep into the Deccan. Politically, here was an empire to rival that of Jones' Chandragupta. But, more important, the Gupta period, about AD 320-460, would soon come to be recognised as the golden age of classical Indian culture. To this period belong many of the frescoes of Ajanta, the finest of the Sarnath and Mathura sculptures, and the plays and poems of Kalidasa, ''the Indian Shakespeare".


But at the time Prinsep and Mill knew no more about these Guptas than what the pillar told them -- and much of that they were inclined to regard as royal hyperbole and therefore unreliable. Prinsep, anyway, was more interested in the scripts than in their historical interpretation. Unlike Jones, he did not indulge in grand theories. He was not a classical scholar, not even a Sanskritist, but a pragmatic, dedicated scientist.

In between experimenting with rust-proof treatments for the new steamboats to be employed on the Ganges, he wrestled next with the Ashoka Brahmi pin-men on the Allahabad column. Coryat's idea that it was some kind of Greek was back in fashion. One scholar claimed to have identified no less than seven letters of the Greek alphabet and another had actually read a Greek name written in this script on an ancient coin. Prinsep was sceptical. The Greek name was only Greek if read upside down. [???!!!] Turn it round and the pinmen letters were just like those on the pillars.

But as yet he had no solution of his own. ''It would require an accurate acquaintance with many of the languages of the East, as well as perfect leisure and abstraction from other pursuits to engage upon the recovery of this lost language.'' He guessed that it must be Sanskrit and thought the script looked simpler than the Egyptian hieroglyphs. It was still beyond him, though, and he could only hope that someone else in India would take up the challenge ''before the indefatigable students of Bonn and Berlin''.

No one reacted directly to this appeal, but in far away Kathmandu the solitary British resident at the Court of Nepal, Brian Houghton Hodgson, read his copy of the Society's journal and immediately dashed off a pained note. No man made more contributions to the discovery of India than Hodgson, or researched in so many different fields. From his outpost in the Himalayas he deluged the Asiatic Society with so many reports that it is hardly surprising some were mislaid. This was a case in point. "Eight or ten years ago" (so some time in the mid 1820s), he had sent in details of two more inscribed pillars. Prinsep could not find them. But Hodgson also disclosed that he had now found yet a third. It was at Bettiah (Lauriya Nandangarh) in northern Bihar and, like the others, very close to the Nepalese frontier. Could they then have been erected as boundary markers?

More intriguing was the facsimile of the inscription on this pillar which Hodgson thoughtfully enclosed. It was Ashoka Brahmi and Prinsep placed it alongside his copies of the Delhi and Allahabad inscriptions. Again he started to look for clues, concentrating this time on separating the shapes of the individual consonants from the vowels which were in the form of little marks festooning them. Darting from one facsimile to the other to verify these, he suddenly experienced that shiver down the spine that comes with the unexpected revelation. "Upon carefully comparing them, [the three inscriptions] with a view to finding any other words that might be common to them ... I was led to a most important discovery; namely that all three inscriptions were identically the same.''

Any surprise that he had not noticed this before must be tempered by the fact that the inscriptions, all of 2,000 years old, were far from perfect. Many letters had been worn away and in one case much of the original inscription had been obliterated by a later one written on top of it. The copies from which Prinsep worked also left much to be desired. Apart from the errors inevitable when someone tried to copy a considerable chunk of writing in totally unfamiliar characters, one copyist working his way round the pillar had managed to transpose the first and second halves of every line.

By correlating all three versions it was now possible to obtain a near perfect fair copy.
At the same time even the cautious Prinsep could not resist offering a few conjectures ''on the origin and nature of these singular columns, erected at places so distant from each other and all bearing the same inscription''.
Whether they mark the conquests of some victorious raja; -- whether they are, as it were, the boundary pillars of his dominions; -- or whether they are of a religious nature ... can only be satisfactorily solved by the discovery of the language.

Clearly this people, this kingdom, this religion, was of significance to the whole of north India. It was altogether too big a subject to be left to chance. Prinsep, well placed now as Secretary of the Asiatic Society to assess the various materials (Wilson had retired to England), resolved to undertake the translation himself. In 1834 he tried the obvious line of relating this script to that of the Gupta Brahmi which he had just deciphered. For each, he drew up a table showing the frequency with which individual letters occurred, the idea being that those which occurred approximately the same number of times in each script might be the same letters.[???!!!] It was worth a try, but obviously would work only if both were in the same language and dealt with the same sort of subject. They did not, in fact they were not even in the same language, and Prinsep soon gave up this approach.[???!!!]

Next he tried relating the individual letters from each of the two scripts which had a similar conformation. This was more encouraging. He tentatively identified a handful of consonants and heard from a correspondent in Bombay, who was working on the cave temple inscriptions, that he too had identified these and five others. Armed with these few identifications, he attempted a translation, hoping that the sense might reveal the rest. But some of his letters were wrongly identified, and anyway he was still barking up the wrong tree in imagining that the language was pure Sanskrit. The attempt was a dismal failure. Discouraged, but far from defeated, Prinsep returned to the drawing board.

For the next four years he pushed himself physically and mentally towards the brink. Outside his office Calcutta was changing. The Governor-General had a new residence modelled on Kedleston Hall, but considerably grander: the dining-room could seat 200 and over 500 sometimes attended the Government House balls. Society was less boorish than in Jones' day. The hookah had gone out and so had most of the ''sooty bibis''; the memsahibs were taking over. But the only innovation Prinsep would have been aware of was the flapping punkah, or fan, above his desk. Now the Assay-Master, he spent all day at the mint and all evening with his coins and inscriptions or conferring with his pandits. By seven in the morning he was back at his desk. There is no record, as with Jones, of an early morning walk or ride, no mention of leisure. Instead he lived vicariously, through the endeavours and successes of his correspondents.

Jones, as president and founder of the Asiatic Society, and the most respected scholar of his age, had both inspired and dominated his fellows. Prinsep was just the opposite. He was the secretary of the Society, not the President, a plain Mr with few pretensions other than his total dedication. But this in itself was enough. His enthusiasm communicated itself to others and was irresistible. When he asked for coins and inscriptions they came flooding in from every corner of India. Painstakingly he acknowledged, translated and commented upon them. By 1837 he had an army of enthusiasts -- officers, engineers, explorers, political agents and administrators -- informally collecting for him. Colonel Stacy at Chitor, Udaipur and Delhi, Lieutenant A. Connolly at Jaipur, Captain Wade at Ludhiana, Captain Cautley at Sahranpur, Lieutenant Cunningham at Benares, Colonel Smith at Patna, Mr Tregear at Jaunpur, Dr Swiney in Upper India .... the list was long.

It was from one of these correspondents, Captain Edward Smith, an engineer at Allahabad, that in 1837 there came the vital clue to the mysterious script. On Prinsep's suggestion, Smith had made the long journey into Central India to visit an archaeological site of exceptional interest at Sanchi near Bhopal. Prinsep wanted accurate drawings of its sculptural wonders and facsimiles of an inscription in Gupta Brahmi which had not yet been translated. Smith obliged with both of these and, noticing some further very short inscriptions on the stone railings round the main shrine, took copies of them just for good measure.

These apparently trivial fragments of rude writing [wrote Prinsep] have led to even more important results than the other inscriptions. They have instructed us in the alphabet and language of these ancient pillars and rock inscriptions which have been the wonder of the learned since the days of Sir William Jones, and I am already nearly prepared to render the Society an account of the writing on the lat [pillar] at Delhi. With no little satisfaction that, as I was the first to analyse these unknown symbols ... so I should now be rewarded with the completion of a discovery I then despaired of accomplishing for want of a competent knowledge of the Sanskrit language.


Typically, Prinsep then launched into a long discussion of the sculpture and other inscriptions, keeping his audience and readers on tenterhooks for another 10 pages. But to Lieutenant Alexander Cunningham, his protege in Benares, he had already announced the discovery in a letter.
23 May 1837.

My dear Cunningham, Hors de department de mes etudes! [Out of my department studies!] [a reference to a Mohammedan coin that Cunningham had sent him]. No, but I can read the Delhi No. 1 which is of more importance; the Sanchi inscriptions have enlightened me. Each line is engraved on a separate pillar or railing. Then thought I, they must be the gifts of private individuals where names will be recorded. All end in danam [in the original characters] -- that must mean 'gift' or 'given'.[???!!!] Let's see ...

Table 1. John Marshall's phasing at Sanchi.
Phase / Date range / Monuments / Inscriptions / Sculptures

I / 3rd century BC / Stupa 1: brick core; Pillar 10; Temple 40 (apsidal); Temple 18 (apsidal) / Ashokan inscription (c. 269-232 BC) / Elephant capital from Temple 40 (?)

Image
Sanchi Pillar 10

Image
Sanchi Temple 40

Image
Sanchi Temple 18

Image
Elephant capital from East Gate of Stupa 1

Image
Elephant capital from Sankissa, one of the Pillars of Ashoka, 3rd century BCE


II / 2nd-1st century BC / Stupas 2, 3, 4; Stupa 1: casing and railings; Temples 18 and 40 (enlargements); Building 8 (platformed monastery) / Donative inscriptions on Stupa 1, 2, and 3 railings; reliquary inscriptions from Stupas 2 and 3. / Pillar by Stupa 2; Pillar 25.

III / 1st-3rd century AD / Stupa 1: gateway carvings. / Southern gateway inscription of Shatakarni (c. AD 25)....

-- Sanchi as an archaeological area, by Julia Shaw, 2013

He proved his point by immediately translating four such lines, and then turned to the first line of the famous pillar inscriptions: Devam piya piyadasi raja hevam aha, "the most-particularly-loved-of-the-gods raja declareth thus". He was not quite right; the r should have been l, laja not raja. But he was near enough. Danam giving him the d, the n and the m, all very common and hitherto unidentified, had been just enough to tip the balance.

With the help of a distinguished pandit he immediately set about the long pillar inscriptions. It was June, the most unbearable month of the Calcutta year; to concentrate the mind even for a minute is a major achievement. By now the Governor-General and the rest of Calcutta society were in the habit of taking themselves off to the cool heights of Simla at such a time. Prinsep stayed at his desk. The deciphering was going well but he had at last acknowledged the unexpected difficulty of the language not being Sanskrit.[???] As Hodgson had suggested, it was closer to Pali, the sacred language of Tibet, or in other words it was one of the Prakrit languages, vernacular derivations of the classical Sanskrit. This made it difficult to pin down the precise meaning of many phrases. Prinsep also had, himself, to engrave all the plates for the script that would illustrate his account. Nevertheless, in the incredibly short space of six weeks, his translation was ready and he announced it to the Society. As usual he treated them to a long preamble on the discoveries that had led up to it and on the difficulties it still presented. But, unlike other inscriptions, these had one remarkable feature in their favour. There was an almost un-Indian frankness about the language, no exaggeration, no hyperbole, no long lists of royal qualities. Instead there was a bold and disarming directness:[???!!!]
Thus spake King Devanampiya Piyadasi. In the twenty-seventh year of my annointment I have caused this religious edict to be published in writing. I acknowledge and confess the faults that have been cherished in my heart ...

The king had obviously undergone a religious conversion and, from the nature of the sentiments expressed, it was clearly Buddhism that he had adopted. The purpose of his edicts was to promote this new religion, to encourage right thinking and right behaviour, to discourage killing, to protect animals and birds, and to ordain certain days as holy days and certain men as religious administrators. The inscriptions ended in the same style as they had begun.
In the twenty-seventh year of my reign I have caused this edict to be written; so sayeth Devanampiya; ''Let stone pillars be prepared and let this edict of religion be engraven thereon, that it may endure into the remotest ages."

Something about both the language and the contents was immediately familiar: it was Old Testament. Even Prinsep could not resist the obvious analogy -- "we might easily cite a more ancient and venerable example of thus fixing the law on tablets of stone". Perhaps it was just out of reverence that he called them edicts rather than commandments. But the message was clear enough. Here was an Indian king uncannily imitating Moses[???!!!], indeed going one better; as well as using tablets of stone, he had created these magnificent pillars to bear his message through the ages.

But who was this king? "Devanampiya Piyadasi" could be a proper name but it was not one that appeared in any of the Sanskrit king lists. Equally it could be a royal epithet, "Beloved of the Gods and of gracious mien''. At first Prinsep thought the former. In Ceylon a Mr George Turnour had been working on the Buddhist histories preserved there and ad just sent in a translation that mentioned a king Piyadasi who was the first Ceylon king to adopt Buddhism. This fitted well; but what was a king of Ceylon doing scattering inscriptions all over northern India? One of the edicts actually claimed that the king had planted trees along the highways, dug wells, erected traveller's rest houses etc. How could a Sinhalese king be planting trees along the Ganges?

A few weeks later Turnour himself came up with the answer. Studying another Buddhist work he discovered that Piyadasi was also the normal epithet of a great Indian sovereign, a contemporary of the Ceylon Piyadasi, and that this king was otherwise known as Ashoka. It was further stated that Ashoka was the grandson of Chandragupta and that he was consecrated 218 years after the Buddha's enlightenment.

Suddenly it all began to make sense. Ashoka was already known from the Sanskrit king lists as a descendant of Chandragupta Maurya (Sandracottus) and, from Himalayan Buddhist sources, as a legendary patron of early Buddhism. Now his historicity was dramatically established. Thanks to the inscriptions, from being just a doubtful name, more was suddenly known about Ashoka than about any other Indian sovereign before AD 1100. As heir to Chandragupta it was not surprising that his pillars and inscriptions were so widely scattered. The Mauryan empire was clearly one of the greatest ever known in India, and here was its noblest scion speaking of his life and work through the mists of 2,000 years. It was one of the most exciting moments in the whole story of archaeological discovery.


-- "Ashoka," Excerpt from India Discovered, by John Keay


Image
A 13th-century fresco of Sylvester I and Constantine the Great, showing the purported Donation (Santi Quattro Coronati, Rome)

The Donation of Constantine (Latin: Donatio Constantini) is a forged Roman imperial decree by which the 4th-century emperor Constantine the Great supposedly transferred authority over Rome and the western part of the Roman Empire to the Pope. Composed probably in the 8th century, it was used, especially in the 13th century, in support of claims of political authority by the papacy.[1] In many of the existing manuscripts (handwritten copies of the document), including the oldest one, the document bears the title Constitutum domini Constantini imperatoris.[2] The Donation of Constantine was included in the 9th-century collection Pseudo-Isidorean Decretals.

Lorenzo Valla, an Italian Catholic priest and Renaissance humanist, is credited with first exposing the forgery with solid philological arguments in 1439–1440,[3] although the document's authenticity had been repeatedly contested since 1001.[1]

The text is purportedly a decree of Roman Emperor Constantine I, dated 30 March—a year mistakenly said to be both that of his fourth consulate (315) and that of the consulate of Gallicanus (317).[4] In it "Constantine" professes Christianity (confessio) and entitles to Pope Sylvester several imperial insignia and privileges (donatio), as well as the Lateran Palace. Rome, the rest of Italy, and the western provinces of the empire are made over to the papacy.[5]

The text recounts a narrative founded on the 5th-century hagiography the Acts of Sylvester. This fictitious tale describes the sainted Pope Sylvester's rescue of the Romans from the depredations of a local dragon and the pontiff's miraculous cure of the emperor's leprosy by the sacrament of baptism.[5] The story was rehearsed by the Liber Pontificalis; by the later 8th century the dragon-slayer Sylvester and his apostolic successors were rewarded in the Donation of Constantine with temporal powers never in fact exercised by the historical Bishops of Rome under Constantine.

In his gratitude, "Constantine" determined to bestow on the seat of Peter "power, and dignity of glory, vigor, and imperial honor," and "supremacy as well over the four principal sees: Alexandria, Antioch, Jerusalem, and Constantinople, as also over all the churches of God in the whole earth". For the upkeep of the church of Saint Peter and that of Saint Paul, he gave landed estates "in Judea, Greece, Asia, Thrace, Africa, Italy and the various islands". To Sylvester and his successors he also granted imperial insignia, the tiara, and "the city of Rome, and all the provinces, places and cities of Italy and the western regions".[6][7]

The Donation sought reduction in the authority of Constantinople; if Constantine had elevated Sylvester to imperial rank before the 330 inauguration of Constantinople, then Rome's patriarch had a lead of some fifteen years in the contest for primacy among the patriarchates. Implicitly, the papacy asserted its supremacy and prerogative to transfer the imperial seat; the papacy had consented to the translatio imperii to Byzantium by Constantine and it could wrest back the authority at will.[5]
admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 34615
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

Postby admin » Sun Dec 26, 2021 5:51 am

Part 2 of 2

Origin

It has been suggested that an early draft of the Donation of Constantine was made shortly after the middle of the 8th century, in order to assist Pope Stephen II in his negotiations with Pepin the Short, who then held the position of Mayor of the Palace (i.e., the manager of the household of the Frankish king).[8][9] In 754, Pope Stephen II crossed the Alps to anoint Pepin king, thereby enabling the Carolingian family to supplant the old Merovingian royal line. In return for Stephen's support, Pepin gave the pope the lands in Italy which the Lombards had taken from the Byzantine (Eastern Roman) Empire.[10] It is also possible it originated in the chancery of Stephen's immediate successor Paul I.[5] These lands would become the Papal States and would be the basis of the papacy's temporal power for the next eleven centuries.

Another interpretation holds that the Donation was not an official forgery directed at Constantinople, but was instead a ploy in Roman ecclesiastical politics to bolster the status of the Lateran, which does have historical Constantinian connections, against the rising status of the Vatican, and it may have been composed by a Greek monk working in a Roman monastery.[5] In one study, an attempt was made at dating the forgery to the 9th century, and placing its composition at Corbie Abbey, in northern France.[11]

German medievalist Johannes Fried draws a distinction between the Donation of Constantine and an earlier, also forged version, the Constitutum Constantini, which was included in the collection of forged documents, the False Decretals, compiled in the later half of the ninth century. Fried argues the Donation is a later expansion of the much shorter Constitutum.[11] Christopher B. Coleman understands the mention in the Constitutum of a donation of "the western regions" to refer to the regions of Lombardia, Veneto, and Istria.[12]

Medieval use and reception

What may perhaps be the earliest known allusion to the Donation is in a letter of 778, in which Pope Hadrian I exhorts Charlemagne – whose father, Pepin the Younger, had made the Donation of Pepin granting the Popes sovereignty over the Papal States – to follow Constantine's example and endow the Roman Catholic church. Otto III's chancery denied its authenticity.[13]

The first pope to directly invoke the decree was Pope Leo IX, in a letter sent in 1054 to Michael I Cerularius, Patriarch of Constantinople.[2] He cited a large portion of the document, believing it genuine,[14][15] furthering the debate that would ultimately lead to the East–West Schism. In the 11th and 12th centuries, the Donation was often cited in the investiture conflicts between the papacy and the secular powers in the West.[2]

The document's contents contradicted the Byzantines' notion that Constantine's translatio imperii transferred the seat of imperial authority from Rome to his foundation of Constantinople, named the "New Rome". Consequently, the Donation featured in the east–west dispute over ecclesiastical primacy between the patriarchal sees of Rome and New Rome.[5] Cardinal Humbert of Silva Candida also issued a version of the document to support the papacy's claims against the eastern emperors' and patriarchs' primacy.[5]

By the 12th century the text existed in Greek translation, of which a 14th-century manuscript survives, and Byzantine writers were also using the Donation in their polemics; John Kinnamos, writing in the reign of eastern emperor Manuel I Komnenos, criticized western Staufer emperors as usurpers and denied the popes had the right to bestow the imperial office.[5] Theodore Balsamon justified Michael Cerularius's behaviour in 1054 using the Donation as a rationale for his dismissal of the papal legation and the mutual excommunications that followed.[5]

In 1248, the Chapel of St Sylvester in the Basilica of the Santi Quattro Coronati was decorated with fresco showing the story of the Roman baptism and Donation of Constantine.[16]

In his Divine Comedy, written in the early 14th century, the poet Dante Alighieri wrote:[17]

Ahi, Costantin, di quanto mal fu matre,
non la tua conversion, ma quella dote
che da te prese il primo ricco patre!

(Ah, Constantine, how much evil was born,
not from your conversion, but from that donation
that the first wealthy Pope received from you!)

— Dante Alighieri, Inferno, canto 19, lines 115–117.
Investigation


Image
Workshop of Raphael, The Donation of Constantine. Stanze di Raffaello, Vatican City

During the Middle Ages, the Donation was widely accepted as authentic, although Holy Roman Emperor Otto III did possibly raise suspicions of the document "in letters of gold" as a forgery, in making a gift to the See of Rome.[13] It was not until the mid-15th century, with the revival of Classical scholarship and textual criticism, that humanists, and eventually the papal bureaucracy, began to realize that the document could not possibly be genuine. Cardinal Nicholas of Cusa declared it to be a forgery[18][19] and spoke of it as an apocryphal work.

Image
Lorenzo Valla

Later, the Catholic priest Lorenzo Valla argued in his philological study of the text that the language used in manuscript could not be dated to the 4th century.[20] The language of the text suggests that the manuscript can most likely be dated to the 8th century. Valla believed the forgery to be so obvious that he suspected that the Church knew the document to be inauthentic. Valla further argued that papal usurpation of temporal power had corrupted the church, caused the wars of Italy, and reinforced the "overbearing, barbarous, tyrannical priestly domination."[20]

This was the first instance of modern, scientific diplomatics. Independently of both Cusa and Valla, Reginald Pecocke, Bishop of Chichester (1450–57), reached a similar conclusion. Among the indications that the Donation must be a fake are its language and the fact that, while certain imperial-era formulas are used in the text, some of the Latin in the document could not have been written in the 4th century; anachronistic terms such as "fief" were used. Also, the purported date of the document is inconsistent with the content of the document itself, as it refers both to the fourth consulate of Constantine (315) as well as the consulate of Gallicanus (317).

Pope Pius II wrote a tract in 1453, five years before becoming pope, to show that though the Donation was a forgery, the papacy owed its lands to Charlemagne and its powers of the keys to Peter; however, he did not publish it.[21]

Contemporary opponents of papal powers in Italy emphasized the primacy of civil law and civil jurisdiction, now firmly embodied once again in the Justinian Corpus Juris Civilis. The Florentine chronicler Giovanni Cavalcanti reported that, in the very year of Valla's treatise, Filippo Maria Visconti, Duke of Milan, made diplomatic overtures toward Cosimo de' Medici in Florence, proposing an alliance against the pope. In reference to the Donation, Visconti wrote: "It so happens that even if Constantine consigned to Sylvester so many and such rich gifts – which is doubtful, because such a privilege can nowhere be found – he could only have granted them for his lifetime: the empire takes precedence over any lordship."[citation needed]

Later, scholars further demonstrated that other elements, such as Sylvester's curing of Constantine, are legends which originated at a later time. Wolfram Setz, a recent editor of Valla's work, has affirmed that at the time of Valla's refutation, Constantine's alleged "donation" was no longer a matter of contemporary relevance in political theory and that it simply provided an opportunity for an exercise in legal rhetoric.[22]

The bulls of Nicholas V and his successors made no further mention of the Donation, even when partitioning the New World, though the doctrine of "omni-insular" papal fiefdoms, developed out of the Donation's vague references to islands since Pope Nicholas II's grant of Sicily to Robert Guiscard, was deployed after 1492 in papal pronouncements on the overlapping claims of the Iberian kingdoms in the Americas and Moluccas, including Inter caetera, a bull that resulted in the Treaty of Tordesillas and the Treaty of Zaragoza.[16][23] Valla's treatise was taken up vehemently by writers of the Protestant Reformation, such as Ulrich von Hutten and Martin Luther, causing the treatise to be placed on the index of banned books in the mid-16th century.

The Donation continued to be tacitly accepted as authentic until Caesar Baronius in his Annales Ecclesiastici (published 1588–1607) admitted that it was a forgery, after which it was almost universally accepted as such.[2] Some continued to argue for its authenticity; nearly a century after Annales Ecclesiastici, Christian Wolff still alluded to the Donation as undisputed fact.[24]

See also

• Catholicism portal
• Italy portal
• Vatican City portal
• Constantinianism
• Caesaropapism
• Donation of Sutri
• Donation of Pepin
• Investiture Controversy
• Privilegium maius
• Translatio imperii
• Vatican City
• List of late imperial Roman consuls
• Legacy of the Roman Empire
• Inter caetera
• Treaty of Tordesillas and Treaty of Zaragoza

Notes

1. Vauchez, Andre (2001). Encyclopedia of the Middle Ages. Routledge. p. 445. ISBN 9781579582821.
2. "Donation of Constantine". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. 1913.
3. Whelton, M. (1998). Two Paths: Papal Monarchy – Collegial Tradition. Salisbury, MA: Regina Orthodox Press. p. 113.
4. Select Historical Documents of the Middle Ages.
5. Hollingsworth, Paul A. (1991). "Donation of Constantine". In Kazhdan, Alexander P. (ed.). The Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium (2005 online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/acref/9780195046526.001.0001. ISBN 978-0-19-504652-6.
6. "The Donation of Constantine". Decretum Gratiani. Part 1, Division 96, Chapters 13–14. Quoted in: Coleman, Christopher B. (1922). Discourse on the Forgery of the Alleged Donation of Constantine. New Haven: Yale University Press. (Translation of: Valla, Lorenzo (1440). Declamatio de falso credita et ementita donatione Constantini.) Hosted at the Hanover Historical Texts Project.
7. A slightly more ample summary is given in: Russell, Bertrand (2004). A History of Western Philosophy. Routledge. p. 366. ISBN 9780415325059.
8. Duffy, Eamon (2006). Saints and Sinners: A History of the Popes. Yale University Press. p. 89. ISBN 978-0-300-11597-0.
9. O'Malley, S. W. J. (2009). A History of the Popes: From Peter to the Present. Government Institutes. p. 59. ISBN 978-1-580-51229-9.
10. Schnürer, Gustav (1912). States of the Church. The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.
11. Fried, Johannes (2007). "Donation of Constantine" and "Constitutum Constantini": The Misinterpretation of a Fiction and Its Original Meaning. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter. ISBN 978-3-11-018539-3.
12. Coleman, Christopher Bush (1914). Constantine the Great and Christianity: Three Phases : the Historical, the Legendary, and the Spurious. Columbia University Press.
13. Monumenta Germaniae Historica. DD II 820. pp. 13–15.
14. Migne, Jacques-Paul (1891). Patrologia Latina. Volume 143 (cxliii). Col. 744–769.
15. Mansi, Giovanni Domenico. Sacrorum Conciliorum Nova Amplissima Collectio. Volume 19 (xix). Col. 635–656.
16. Curta, Florin (2016). "Donation of Constantine". In Curta, Florin; Holt, Andrew (eds.). Great Events in Religion: An Encyclopedia of Pivotal Events in Religious History [3 volumes]. vol. II. ABC-CLIO. pp. 407–409. ISBN 978-1-61069-566-4.
17. Dante Alighieri. Inferno. Canto 19, lines 115–117.
18. Toulmin, Stephen; Goodfield, June (1982). The Discovery of Time (Phoenix ed.). Chicago: University of Chicago Press. pp. 104–106. ISBN 0-226-80842-4.
19. Nicholas of Cusa, Paul E. Sigmund (editor and translator) (1991). "The properly ordered power of the Western emperor does not depend on the Pope". The Catholic Concordance. Cambridge Texts in the History of Political Thought. Cambridge University Press. pp. 216–222. ISBN 0-521-40207-7.
20. Prosser, Peter E. (2001). "Church history's biggest hoax: Renaissance scholarship proved fatal for one of the medieval papacy's favorite claims". Christian History. 20 (Journal Article): 35–. ISSN 0891-9666. – via General OneFile (subscription required)
21. Pope Pius II (1883). Opera inedita. pp. 571–81. Cited in: Lea, Henry Charles (1895). "The 'Donation of Constantine'". The English Historical Review 10(37). pp. 86–87. doi:10.1093/ehr/X.XXXVII.86
22. Setz, Wolfram (1976). Lorenzo Vallas Schrift gegen die Konstantinische Schenkung. Weimar. (Translation of: Valla, Lorenzo (1440). De Falso Credita et Ementita Constantini Donatione Declamatio).
23. Wilson, Eric Michael (2008). The Savage Republic: De Indis of Hugo Grotius, Republicanism and Dutch Hegemony Within the Early Modern World-System (c.1600-1619). BRILL. pp. 166ff. ISBN 978-90-04-16788-9.
24. Wolff, Christian. "Append. ad Concilium Chalcedonensem". Opere. ii:261. Cited in: Lea, Henry Charles (1895). "The 'Donation of Constantine'". The English Historical Review 10(37). pp. 86–87. doi:10.1093/ehr/X.XXXVII.86

Further reading

• Camporeale, Salvatore I. "Lorenzo Valla's Oratio on the Pseudo-Donation of Constantine: Dissent and Innovation in Early Renaissance Humanism." Journal of the History of Ideas (1996) 57#1 pp: 9-26. online
• Delph, Ronald K. "Valla Grammaticus, Agostino Steuco, and the Donation of Constantine." Journal of the History of Ideas (1996) 57#1 pp: 55–77. online
• Fried, Johannes, ed. Donation of Constantine and Constitutum Constantini: The Misinterpretation of a Fiction and Its Original Meaning (Walter de Gruyter, 2007)
• Levine, Joseph M. "Reginald Pecock and Lorenzo Valla on the Donation of Constantine." Studies in the Renaissance (1973): 118–143. in JSTOR
• McCabe, Joseph (1939). A History Of The Popes. Watts & Co.
• Valla, Lorenzo. On the donation of Constantine (Harvard University Press, 2007), translation by G. W. Bowersock of 1440 version
• Zinkeisen, F. "The Donation of Constantine as applied by the Roman Church." English Historical Review (1894) 9#36 pp: 625–632. in JSTOR
• Luis R. Donat (PhD) (2004). "Para una historia del derecho canónico-político medieval: la donación de constantino". Revista de estudios histórico-jurídicos (in Spanish). Ediciones Universitarias de Valparaíso (24/2004): 337–358. doi:10.4067/S0716-54552004002600010. ISSN 0716-5455. Archived from the original on August 13, 2018. Retrieved Aug 13, 2018.

External links

• Text of the Constitutum Donatio Constantini (Latin) at The Latin Library
• Text of the Constitutum Donatio Constantini (Latin) at the Bibliotheca Augustana
• Text of the Constitutum Constantini (Latin) at The Roman Law Library
• Lorenzo Valla's Discourse on the Forgery of the Alleged Donation of Constantine
admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 34615
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

Postby admin » Mon Dec 27, 2021 6:23 am

List of all "Maurya Dynasty" fictional kings
Excerpt from "Maurya Empire" and related webpages
by Wikipedia

The first kings of the Dynasty of the Barhadrathas being omitted in the table, are given here from the Harivansa. The famous Uparichara was the sixth in lineal descent from Curu; and his son was
Vrihadratha
Cushagra
Vrishabha
Pushpavan
Satyasahita
Urja
Sambhava
Jara-Sandha.

Jara-Sandha, literally old Sandha or Sandhas, was the lord paramount of India or Maha Raja, and in the spoken dialects Ma-Raj. This word was pronounced Morieis by the Greeks; for Hesychius says, that Morieis signifies king in India, and in another place, that Mai in the language of that country, signified great. Nonnus, in his Dionysiacs, calls the lord paramount of India, Morrheus, and says that his name was Sandes, with the title of Hercules. Old Sandha is considered as a hero to this day in India, and pilgrimages, I am told, are yearly performed to the place of his abode, to the cast of Gaya, in south Bahar, It is called Raja-Griha, or the royal mansion, in the low hills of Raja-giri, or the royal mountains; though their name I suspect to be derived from Raja-Griha The Dionysiacs of Nonnus are really the history of the Maha Bharata, or great war, as we shall see hereafter.

-- Essay III. Of the Kings of Magadha; their Chronology, by Captain Wilford, Asiatic Researches, Volume 9, 1809.

• 322–298 BCE: Chandragupta

Chandragupta's life and accomplishments are described in ancient... Hindu, Buddhist and Jain texts, but they vary significantly....

According to the Jain accounts dated to 800 years after his death, Chandragupta abdicated his throne and became a Jain monk, traveled away from his empire to South India and committed sallekhana or fasting to death....

His main biographical sources in chronological order are:...

• Hindu texts such as the Puranas and Arthashastra; later composed Hindu sources include legends in Vishakhadatta's Mudrarakshasa, Somadeva's Kathasaritsagara and Kshemendra's Brihatkathamanjari.
• Buddhist sources are those dated in 4th-century or after, including the Sri Lankan Pali texts Dipavamsa (Rajavamsa section), Mahavamsa, Mahavamsa tika and Mahabodhivamsa. • 7th to 10th century Jain inscriptions at Shravanabelgola; these are disputed by scholars as well as the Svetambara Jain tradition. The second Digambara text interpreted to be mentioning the Maurya emperor is dated to about the 10th-century such as in the Brhatkathakosa of Harisena (Jain monk), while the complete Jain legend about Chandragupta is found in the 12th-century Parisishtaparvan by Hemachandra.

-- Chandragupta Maurya, by Wikipedia


• 298–272 BCE: Bindusara

Bindusara's life is not documented as well as the lives of these two emperors: much of the information about him comes from legendary accounts written several hundred years after his death....

The 16th century Tibetan Buddhist author Taranatha credits his administration with extensive territorial conquests in southern India, but some historians doubt the historical authenticity of this claim.

Ancient and medieval sources have not documented Bindusara's life in detail. Much of the information about him comes from Jain legends focused on Chandragupta and the Buddhist legends focused on Ashoka. The Jain legends, such as Hemachandra's Parishishta-Parvan were written more than a thousand years after his death. Most of the Buddhist legends about Ashoka's early life also appear to have been composed by Buddhist writers who lived several hundred years after Ashoka's death, and are of little historical value. While these legends can be used to make several inferences about Bindusara's reign, they are not entirely reliable because of the close association between Ashoka and Buddhism.

Buddhist sources that provide information about Bindusara include Divyavadana (including Ashokavadana and Pamsupradanavadana), Dipavamsa, Mahavamsa, Vamsatthappakasini (also known as Mahvamsa Tika or "Mahavamsa commentary"), Samantapasadika, and the 16th century writings of Taranatha. The Jain sources include the 12th century Parishishta-Parvan by Hemachandra and the 19th century Rajavali-Katha by Devachandra. The Hindu Puranas also mention Bindusara in their genealogies of Mauryan rulers. Some Greek sources also mention him by the name "Amitrochates" or its variations.

-- Bindusara, by Wikipedia


• 268–232 BCE: Ashoka

Beyond the Edicts of Ashoka, biographical information about him relies on legends written centuries later, such as the 2nd-century CE Ashokavadana ("Narrative of Ashoka", a part of the Divyavadana), and in the Sri Lankan text Mahavamsa ("Great Chronicle")….

Information about Ashoka comes from ... ancient literature, especially Buddhist texts. These sources often contradict each other… while Ashoka is often attributed with building many hospitals during his time, there is no clear evidence any hospitals existed in ancient India during the 3rd century BC or that Ashoka was responsible for commissioning the construction of any….

Much of the information about Ashoka comes from Buddhist legends, which present him as a great, ideal king. These legends appear in texts that are not contemporary to Ashoka, and were composed by Buddhist authors, who used various stories to illustrate the impact of their faith on Ashoka. This makes it necessary to exercise caution while relying on them for historical information. Among modern scholars, opinions range from downright dismissal of these legends as mythological to acceptance of all historical portions that seem plausible….

All these legends can be traced to two primary traditions:

• the North Indian tradition preserved in the Sanskrit-language texts such as Divyavadana (including its constituent Ashokavadana); and Chinese sources such as A-yü wang chuan and A-yü wang ching.

• the Sri Lankan tradition preserved in Pali-language texts, such as Dipavamsa, Mahavamsa, Vamsatthapakasini (a commentary on Mahavamsa), Buddhaghosha's commentary on the Vinaya, and Samanta-pasadika.

There are several major differences between the two traditions. For example, the Sri Lankan tradition emphasises Ashoka's role in convening the Third Buddhist council, and his dispatch of several missionaries to distant regions, including his son Mahinda to Sri Lanka. However, the North Indian tradition makes no mention of these events, and describes other events not found in the Sri Lankan tradition, such as a story about another son named Kunala.

Even while narrating the common stories, the two traditions diverge in several ways. For example, both Ashokavadana and Mahavamsa mention that Ashoka's queen Tishyarakshita had the Bodhi Tree destroyed. In Ashokavadana, the queen manages to have the tree healed after she realises her mistake. In the Mahavamsa, she permanently destroys the tree, but only after a branch of the tree has been transplanted in Sri Lanka. In another story, both the texts describe Ashoka's unsuccessful attempts to collect a relic of Gautama Buddha from Ramagrama. In Ashokavadana, he fails to do so because he cannot match the devotion of the Nagas who hold the relic; however, in the Mahavamsa, he fails to do so because the Buddha had destined the relic to be enshrined by king Dutthagamani of Sri Lanka. Using such stories, the Mahavamsa glorifies Sri Lanka as the new preserve of Buddhism….

Ashoka's name appears in the lists of Mauryan kings in the various Puranas, but these texts do not provide further details about him…

[Ashoka's] early life, and much of the information on this topic comes from apocryphal legends written hundreds of years after him.… these legends include obviously fictitious details such as narratives of Ashoka's past lives…

The exact date of Ashoka's birth is not certain, as the extant contemporary Indian texts did not record such details….

The Ashokavadana states that Bindusara provided Ashoka with a fourfold-army (comprising cavalry, elephants, chariots and infantry), but refused to provide any weapons for this army. Ashoka declared that weapons would appear before him if he was worthy of being a king, and then, the deities emerged from the earth, and provided weapons to the army…. the gods declared that he would go on to conquer the whole earth….

According to the Mahavamsa, Bindusara appointed Ashoka as the viceroy of present-day Ujjain… This tradition is corroborated by the Saru Maru inscription discovered in central India; this inscription states that he visited the place as a prince….

"The king, who (now after consecration) is called "Piyadasi", (once) came to this place for a pleasure tour while still a (ruling) prince, living together with his unwedded consort." – Saru Mara, by Wikipedia…

According to the Sri Lankan tradition, on his way to Ujjain, Ashoka visited Vidisha, where he fell in love with a beautiful woman. According to the Dipamvamsa and Mahamvamsa, the woman was Devi – the daughter of a merchant. According to the Mahabodhi-vamsa, she was Vidisha-Mahadevi, and belonged to the Shakya clan of Gautama Buddha. The Shakya connection may have been fabricated by the Buddhist chroniclers in an attempt to connect Ashoka's family to Buddha….

Ashoka declared that if the throne was rightfully his, the gods would crown him as the next king. At that instance, the gods did so, Bindusara died, and Ashoka's authority extended to the entire world, including the Yaksha territory located above the earth, and the Naga territory located below the earth….

The Mahavamsa… also states that Ashoka killed ninety-nine of his half-brothers, including Sumana. The Dipavamsa states that he killed a hundred of his brothers, and was crowned four years later….

The figures such as 99 and 100 are exaggerated, and seem to be a way of stating that Ashoka killed several of his brothers. Taranatha states that Ashoka, who was an illegitimate son of his predecessor, killed six legitimate princes to ascend the throne. It is possible that Ashoka was not the rightful heir to the throne, and killed a brother (or brothers) to acquire the throne. However, the story has obviously been exaggerated by the Buddhist sources, which attempt to portray him as an evil person before his conversion to Buddhism….

According to the Sri Lankan texts Mahavamsa and the Dipavamsa, Ashoka ascended the throne 218 years after the death of Gautama Buddha, and ruled for 37 years. The date of the Buddha's death is itself a matter of debate, and the North Indian tradition states that Ashoka ruled a hundred years after the Buddha's death, which has led to further debates about the date….

The Ashokavadana also calls [Ashoka] "Chandashoka", and describes several of his cruel acts:

• The ministers who had helped him ascend the throne started treating him with contempt after his ascension. To test their loyalty, Ashoka gave them the absurd order of cutting down every flower-and fruit-bearing tree. When they failed to carry out this order, Ashoka personally cut off the heads of 500 ministers.

• One day, during a stroll at a park, Ashoka and his concubines came across a beautiful Ashoka tree. The sight put him in a sensual mood, but the women did not enjoy caressing his rough skin. Sometime later, when Ashoka fell asleep, the resentful women chopped the flowers and the branches of his namesake tree. After Ashoka woke up, he burnt 500 of his concubines to death as a punishment….

The 5th century Chinese traveller Faxian states that Ashoka personally visited the underworld to study the methods of torture there, and then invented his own methods.…

Such descriptions of Ashoka as an evil person before his conversion to Buddhism appear to be a fabrication of the Buddhist authors, who attempted to present the change that Buddhism brought to him as a miracle. In an attempt to dramatise this change, such legends exaggerate Ashoka's past wickedness and his piousness after the conversion….

Ashoka's own inscriptions mention that he conquered the Kalinga region during his 8th regnal year…

On the other hand, the Sri Lankan tradition suggests that Ashoka was already a devoted Buddhist by his 8th regnal year, having converted to Buddhism during his 4th regnal year, and having constructed 84,000 viharas during his 5th–7th regnal years. The Buddhist legends make no mention of the Kalinga campaign….

According to Ashoka's Major Rock Edict 13, he conquered Kalinga 8 years after his ascension to the throne. The edict states that during his conquest of Kalinga, 100,000 men and animals were killed in action; many times that number "perished"; and 150,000 men and animals were carried away from Kalinga as captives. Ashoka states that the repentance of these sufferings caused him to devote himself to the practice and propagation of dharma. He proclaims that he now considered the slaughter, death and deportation caused during the conquest of a country painful and deplorable; and that he considered the suffering caused to the religious people and householders even more deplorable.

This edict has been found inscribed at several places, including Erragudi, Girnar, Kalsi, Maneshra, Shahbazgarhi and Kandahar. However, [it] is omitted in Ashoka's inscriptions found in the Kalinga region, where the Rock Edicts 13 and 14 have been replaced by two separate edicts that make no mention of Ashoka's remorse.

Taranatha claims that Ashoka conquered the entire Jambudvipa.

Different sources give different accounts of Ashoka's conversion to Buddhism….

The Dipavamsa states that Ashoka invited several non-Buddhist religious leaders to his palace, and bestowed great gifts upon them in hope that they would be able to answer a question posed by the king. The text does not state what the question was… he met the Buddhist monk Moggaliputta Tissa, and became more devoted to the Buddhist faith. The veracity of this story is not certain. This legend about Ashoka's search for a worthy teacher may be aimed at explaining why Ashoka did not adopt Jainism, another major contemporary faith that advocates non-violence and compassion. The legend suggests that Ashoka was not attracted to Buddhism because he was looking for such a faith, rather, for a competent spiritual teacher….

The A-yu-wang-chuan states that a 7-year-old Buddhist converted Ashoka. Another story claims that the young boy ate 500 Brahmanas who were harassing Ashoka for being interested in Buddhism; these Brahmanas later miraculously turned into Buddhist bhikkus at the Kukkutarama monastery, where Ashoka paid a visit….

Both Mahavamsa and Ashokavadana state that Ashoka constructed 84,000 stupas or viharas….

The Ashokavadana states that Ashoka collected seven out of the eight relics of Gautama Buddha, and had their portions kept in 84,000 boxes made of gold, silver, cat's eye, and crystal. He ordered the construction of 84,000 stupas throughout the earth, in towns that had a population of 100,000 or more. He told Elder Yashas, a monk at the Kukkutarama monastery, that he wanted these stupas to be completed on the same day. Yashas stated that he would signal the completion time by eclipsing the sun with his hand. When he did so, the 84,000 stupas were completed at once.

The Mahavamsa states that Ashoka ordered construction of 84,000 viharas (monasteries) rather than the stupas to house the relics. Like Ashokavadana, the Mahavamsa describes Ashoka's collection of the relics, but does not mention this episode in the context of the construction activities. It states that Ashoka decided to construct the 84,000 viharas when Moggaliputta Tissa told him that there were 84,000 sections of the Buddha's Dhamma. Ashoka himself began the construction of the Ashokarama vihara, and ordered subordinate kings to build the other viharas. Ashokarama was completed by the miraculous power of Thera Indagutta, and the news about the completion of the 84,000 viharas arrived from various cities on the same day.

The number 84,000 is an obvious exaggeration, and it appears that in the later period, the construction of almost every old stupa was attributed to Ashoka….

Ashoka's rock edicts suggest that during his 8th–9th regnal years, he made a pilgrimage to the Bodhi Tree, started propagating dhamma, and performed social welfare activities. The welfare activities included establishment of medical treatment facilities for humans and animals…

The Sri Lankan tradition presents a greater role for Ashoka in the Buddhist community. In this tradition, Ashoka starts feeding monks on a large scale. His lavish patronage to the state patronage leads to many fake monks joining the sangha. The true Buddhist monks refuse to co-operate with these fake monks, and therefore, no uposatha ceremony is held for seven years. The king attempts to eradicate the fake monks, but during this attempt, an over-zealous minister ends up killing some real monks. The king then invites the elder monk Moggaliputta-Tissa, to help him expel non-Buddhists from the monastery founded by him at Pataliputra. 60,000 monks (bhikkhus) convicted of being heretical are de-frocked in the ensuing process. The uposatha ceremony is then held, and Tissa subsequently organises the Third Buddhist council, during the 17th regnal year of Ashoka. Tissa compiles Kathavatthu, a text that reaffirms Theravadin orthodoxy on several points.

The North Indian tradition makes no mention of these events, which has led to doubts about the historicity of the Third Buddhist council….

in his Minor Rock Edict 3, Ashoka recommends the members of the Sangha to study certain texts (most of which remain unidentified)….

In the Sri Lankan tradition, Moggaliputta-Tissa –- who is patronised by Ashoka –- sends out nine Buddhist missions to spread Buddhism in the "border areas" in c. 250 BCE.…

The tradition adds that during his 19th regnal year, Ashoka's daughter Sanghamitta went to Sri Lanka to establish an order of nuns, taking a sapling of the sacred Bodhi Tree with her.

The North Indian tradition makes no mention of these events. Ashoka's own inscriptions also appear to omit any mention of these events…

The Rock Edict XIII states that Ashoka won a "dhamma victory" by sending messengers to five kings and several other kingdoms. Whether these missions correspond to the Buddhist missions recorded in the Buddhist chronicles is debated. Indologist Etienne Lamotte argues that the "dhamma" missionaries mentioned in Ashoka's inscriptions were probably not Buddhist monks, as this "dhamma" was not same as "Buddhism". Moreover, the lists of destinations of the missions and the dates of the missions mentioned in the inscriptions do not tally [with] the ones mentioned in the Buddhist legends….

According to the Ashokavadana, Ashoka resorted to violence even after converting to Buddhism. For example:

• He slowly tortured Chandagirika to death in the "hell" prison.

• He ordered a massacre of 18,000 heretics for a misdeed of one.

• He launched a pogrom against the Jains, announcing a bounty on the head of any heretic; this results in the beheading of his own brother -– Vitashoka.

According to the Ashokavadana, a non-Buddhist in Pundravardhana drew a picture showing the Buddha bowing at the feet of the Nirgrantha leader Jnatiputra. The term nirgrantha ("free from bonds") was originally used for a pre-Jaina ascetic order, but later came to be used for Jaina monks. "Jnatiputra" is identified with Mahavira, 24th Tirthankara of Jainism. The legend states that on complaint from a Buddhist devotee, Ashoka issued an order to arrest the non-Buddhist artist, and subsequently, another order to kill all the Ajivikas in Pundravardhana. Around 18,000 followers of the Ajivika sect were executed as a result of this order. Sometime later, another Nirgrantha follower in Pataliputra drew a similar picture. Ashoka burnt him and his entire family alive in their house…

[T]hese stories of persecutions of rival sects by Ashoka appear to be clear fabrications arising out of sectarian propaganda….

Ashoka's last dated inscription -- the Pillar Edict 4 is from his 26th regnal year. The only source of information about Ashoka's later years are the Buddhist legends….

Both Mahavamsa and Ashokavadana state that Ashoka extended favours and attention to the Bodhi Tree, and a jealous Tissarakkha mistook "Bodhi" to be a mistress of Ashoka. She then used black magic to make the tree wither. According to the Ashokavadana, she hired a sorceress to do the job, and when Ashoka explained that "Bodhi" was the name of a tree, she had the sorceress heal the tree. According to the Mahavamsa, she completely destroyed the tree, during Ashoka's 34th regnal year.

The Ashokavadana states that Tissarakkha (called "Tishyarakshita" here) made sexual advances towards Ashoka's son Kunala, but Kunala rejected her. Subsequently, Ashoka granted Tissarakkha kingship for seven days, and during this period, she tortured and blinded Kunala. Ashoka then threatened to "tear out her eyes, rip open her body with sharp rakes, impale her alive on a spit, cut off her nose with a saw, cut out her tongue with a razor." Kunala regained his eyesight miraculously, and pleaded for mercy on the queen, but Ashoka had her executed anyway. Kshemendra's Avadana-kalpa-lata also narrates this legend, but seeks to improve Ashoka's image by stating that he forgave the queen after Kunala regained his eyesight….

According to the Ashokavadana, the emperor fell severely ill during his last days. He started using state funds to make donations to the Buddhist sangha, prompting his ministers to deny him access to the state treasury. Ashoka then started donating his personal possessions, but was similarly restricted from doing so. On his deathbed, his only possession was the half of a myrobalan fruit, which he offered to the sangha as his final donation….

Various sources mention five consorts of Ashoka: Devi (or Vedisa-Mahadevi-Shakyakumari), Karuvaki, Asandhimitra (Pali: Asandhimitta), Padmavati, and Tishyarakshita (Pali: Tissarakkha).

Kaurvaki is the only queen of Ashoka known from his own inscriptions: she is mentioned in an edict inscribed on a pillar at Allahabad. The inscription names her as the mother of prince Tivara, and orders the royal officers (mahamattas) to record her religious and charitable donations….

According to the Mahavamsa, Ashoka's chief queen was Asandhimitta, who died four years before him. It states that she was born as Ashoka's queen because in a previous life, she directed a pratyekabuddha to a honey merchant (who was later reborn as Ashoka). Some later texts also state that she additionally gave the pratyekabuddha a piece of cloth made by her. These texts include the Dasavatthuppakarana, the so-called Cambodian or Extended Mahavamsa (possibly from 9th–10th centuries), and the Trai Bhumi Katha (15th century). These texts narrate another story: one day, Ashoka mocked Asandhamitta [as she] was enjoying a tasty piece of sugarcane without having earned it through her karma. Asandhamitta replied that all her enjoyments resulted from merit resulting from her own karma. Ashoka then challenged her to prove this by procuring 60,000 robes as an offering for monks. At night, the guardian gods informed her about her past gift to the pratyekabuddha, and next day, she was able to miraculously procure the 60,000 robes. An impressed Ashoka makes her his favourite queen, and even offers to make her a sovereign ruler. Asandhamitta refuses the offer, but still invokes the jealousy of Ashoka's 16,000 other wives. Ashoka proves her superiority by having 16,000 identical cakes baked with his royal seal hidden in only one of them. Each wife is asked to choose a cake, and only Asandhamitta gets the one with the royal seal. The Trai Bhumi Katha claims that it was Asandhamitta who encouraged her husband to become a Buddhist, and to construct 84,000 stupas and 84,000 viharas.

According to Mahavamsa, after Asandhamitta's death, Tissarakkha became the chief queen. The Ashokavadana does not mention Asandhamitta at all, but does mention Tissarakkha as Tishyarakshita. The Divyavadana mentions another queen called Padmavati, who was the mother of the crown-prince Kunala.

As mentioned above, according to the Sri Lankan tradition, Ashoka fell in love with Devi (or Vidisha-Mahadevi), as a prince in central India. After Ashoka's ascension to the throne, Devi chose to remain at Vidisha than move to the royal capital Pataliputra. According to the Mahavamsa, Ashoka's chief queen was Asandhamitta, not Devi: the text does not talk of any connection between the two women, so it is unlikely that Asandhamitta was another name for Devi….

Tivara, the son of Ashoka and Karuvaki, is the only of Ashoka's sons to be mentioned by name in the inscriptions.

According to North Indian tradition, Ashoka had a son named Kunala. Kunala had a son named Samprati.

The Sri Lankan tradition mentions a son called Mahinda, who was sent to Sri Lanka as a Buddhist missionary; this son is not mentioned at all in the North Indian tradition. The Chinese pilgrim Xuanzang states that Mahinda was Ashoka's younger brother (Vitashoka or Vigatashoka) rather than his illegitimate son.

The Divyavadana mentions the crown-prince Kunala alias Dharmavivardhana, who was a son of queen Padmavati. According to Faxian, Dharmavivardhana was appointed as the governor of Gandhara.

The Rajatarangini mentions Jalauka as a son of Ashoka.

According to Sri Lankan tradition, Ashoka had a daughter named Sanghamitta, who became a Buddhist nun. A section of historians, such as Romila Thapar, doubt the historicity of Sanghamitta, based on the following points:

• The name "Sanghamitta", which literally means the friend of the Buddhist Order (sangha), is unusual, and the story of her going to Ceylon so that the Ceylonese queen could be ordained appears to be an exaggeration.

• The Mahavamsa states that she married Ashoka's nephew Agnibrahma, and the couple had a son named Sumana. The contemporary laws regarding exogamy would have forbidden such a marriage between first cousins.

• According to the Mahavamsa, she was 18 years old when she was ordained as a nun. The narrative suggests that she was married two years earlier, and that her husband as well as her child were ordained. It is unlikely that she would have been allowed to become a nun with such a young child.

Another source mentions that Ashoka had a daughter named Charumati, who married a kshatriya named Devapala.

According to the Ashokavadana, Ashoka had an elder half-brother named Susima. According to the Sri Lankan tradition, Ashoka killed his 99 half-brothers.

Various sources mention that one of Ashoka's brothers survived his ascension, and narrate stories about his role in the Buddhist community.

• According to Sri Lankan tradition, this brother was Tissa, who initially lived a luxurious life, without worrying about the world. To teach him a lesson, Ashoka put him on the throne for a few days, then accused him of being an usurper, and sentenced him to die after seven days. During these seven days, Tissa realised that the Buddhist monks gave up pleasure because they were aware of the eventual death. He then left the palace, and became an arhat.

• The Theragatha commentary calls this brother Vitashoka. According to this legend, one day, Vitashoka saw a grey hair on his head, and realised that he had become old. He then retired to a monastery, and became an arhat.

• Faxian calls the younger brother Mahendra, and states that Ashoka shamed him for his immoral behaviour. The brother than retired to a dark cave, where he meditated, and became an arhat. Ashoka invited him to return to the family, but he preferred to live alone on a hill. So, Ashoka had a hill built for him within Pataliputra.

• The Ashoka-vadana states that Ashoka's brother was mistaken for a Nirgrantha, and killed during a massacre of the Nirgranthas ordered by Ashoka....

A legend in the Buddhist text Vamsatthapakasini states that an Ajivika ascetic invited to interpret a dream of Ashoka's mother had predicted that he would patronise Buddhism and destroy 96 heretical sects. However, such assertions are directly contradicted by Ashoka's own inscriptions. Ashoka's edicts, such as the Rock Edicts 6, 7, and 12, emphasise tolerance of all sects. Similarly, in his Rock Edict 12, Ashoka honours people of all faiths. In his inscriptions, Ashoka dedicates caves to non-Buddhist ascetics, and repeatedly states that both Brahmins and shramanas deserved respect. He also tells people "not to denigrate other sects, but to inform themselves about them".

In fact, there is no evidence that Buddhism was a state religion under Ashoka. None of Ashoka's extant edicts record his direct donations to the Buddhists….

Historically, the image of Ashoka in the global Buddhist circles was based on legends (such as those mentioned in the Ashokavadana) rather than his rock edicts. This was because the Brahmi script in which these edicts were written was forgotten soon and remained undeciphered until its study by James Prinsep in the 19th century. The writings of the Chinese Buddhist pilgrims such as Faxian and Xuanzang suggest that Ashoka's inscriptions mark the important sites associated with Gautama Buddha. These writers attribute Buddhism-related content to Ashoka's edicts, but this content does not match with the actual text of the inscriptions as determined by modern scholars after the decipherment of the Brahmi script. It is likely that the script was forgotten by the time of Faxian, who probably relied on local guides; these guides may have made up some Buddhism-related interpretations to gratify him, or may have themselves relied on faulty translations based on oral traditions. Xuanzang may have encountered a similar situation, or may have taken the supposed content of the inscriptions from Faxian's writings. This theory is corroborated by the fact that some Brahmin scholars are known to have similarly come up with a fanciful interpretation of Ashoka pillar inscriptions, when requested to decipher them by the 14th century Muslim king Firuz Shah Tughlaq. According to Shams-i Siraj's Tarikh-i Firoz Shahi, after the king had these pillars transported from Topra and Mirat to Delhi as war trophies, these Brahmins told him that the inscriptions prophesized that nobody would be able to remove the pillars except a king named Firuz. Moreover, by this time, there were local traditions that attributed the erection of these pillars to the legendary hero Bhima….

Buddhist legends mention stories about Ashoka's past lives. According to a Mahavamsa story, Ashoka, Nigrodha and Devnampiya Tissa were brothers in a previous life. In that life, a pratyekabuddha was looking for honey to cure another, sick pratyekabuddha. A woman directed him to a honey shop owned by the three brothers. Ashoka generously donated honey to the pratyekabuddha, and wished to become the sovereign ruler of Jambudvipa for this act of merit. The woman wished to become his queen, and was reborn as Ashoka's wife Asandhamitta….

According to an Ashokavadana story, Ashoka was born as Jaya… he gave the Gautama Buddha dirt imagining it to be food. The Buddha approved of the donation, and Jaya declared that he would become a king by this act of merit. The text also states that Jaya's companion Vijaya was reborn as Ashoka's prime-minister Radhagupta…. The Chinese writer Pao Ch'eng's Shih chia ju lai ying hua lu asserts that an insignificant act like gifting dirt could not have been meritorious enough to cause Ashoka's future greatness. Instead, the text claims that in another past life, Ashoka commissioned a large number of Buddha statues as a king, and this act of merit caused him to become a great emperor in the next life.

The 14th century Pali-language fairy tale Dasavatthuppakarana (possibly from c. 14th century) combines the stories about the merchant's gift of honey, and the boy's gift of dirt. It narrates a slightly different version of the Mahavamsa story, stating that it took place before the birth of the Gautama Buddha. It then states that the merchant was reborn as the boy who gifted dirt to the Buddha; however, in this case, the Buddha [gave it to] his attendant Ānanda to create plaster from the dirt, which is used [to] repair cracks in the monastery walls….

Ashoka's inscriptions have not been found at major cities of the Maurya empire, such as Pataliputra, Vidisha, Ujjayini, and Taxila…. the 7th century Chinese pilgrim Xuanzang refers to some of Ashoka's pillar edicts, which have not been discovered by modern researchers….

Ashoka had almost been forgotten, but in the 19th century James Prinsep contributed in the revelation of historical sources. After deciphering the Brahmi script, Prinsep had originally identified the "Priyadasi" of the inscriptions he found with the King of Ceylon Devanampiya Tissa. However, in 1837, George Turnour discovered an important Sri Lankan manuscript (Dipavamsa, or "Island Chronicle") associating Piyadasi with Ashoka:

"Two hundred and eighteen years after the beatitude of the Buddha, was the inauguration of Piyadassi, .... who, the grandson of Chandragupta, and the son of Bindusara, was at the time Governor of Ujjayani."— Dipavamsa....

After Ashoka's death, the Maurya empire declined rapidly. The various Puranas provide different details about Ashoka's successors, but all agree that they had relatively short reigns. The empire seems to have weakened, fragmented, and suffered an invasion from the Bactrian Greeks….

Romila Thapar, have suggested that the extent and impact of his pacifism have been "grossly exaggeratedf."

-- Ashoka, by Wikipedia


• 232–224 BCE: Dasharatha

Dasharatha was a grandson of the Mauryan ruler Ashoka and the son of Tivala. He is commonly held to have succeeded his grandfather as imperial ruler in India although some sources including the Vayu Purana have given different names and numbers of Mauryan Emperors after Ashoka. Of the grandsons of Ashoka, the two most frequently mentioned are Samprati and Dasharatha. The latter is described in the Vishnu Purana as the son and imperial successor of Suyashas (a son of Ashoka)....

The Vayu and Brahmanda Puranas mention three Mauryan rulers—Bandhupalita, Indrapalita and Dasona— whose identification is rather difficult....

The political unity of the Mauryan Empire did not long survive Ashoka's death....According to Taranatha, another Mauryan prince, Virasena declared himself king in Gandhara. Vidarbha also seceded....Epigraphic evidence indicates that Dasharatha retained imperial power in Magadha. [Kenneth Pletcher; The History of India. pg 70: "Ashoka ruled for 37 years. After his death a political decline set in, and half a century later the empire was reduced to the Ganges valley alone. Tradition asserts that Ashoka's son Kunala ruled in Gandhara. Epigraphic evidence indicates that his grandsom Dasharatha ruled in Magadha. [NO CITATION!]]...

According to a Jain text, the provinces of Surashtra, Maharashtra, Andhra, and the Mysore region broke away from the empire shortly after Ashoka's death, but were reconquered by Dasharatha's successor, Samprati (who supposedly deployed soldiers disguised as Jain monks)....

Samprati, who succeeded Dasharatha, was according to the Hindu Puranas, the latter's son and according to the Buddhist and Jain sources, Kunala's son (making him possibly a brother of Dasharatha). The familial relationship between the two is thus not clear although evidently they were closely related members of the imperial family.

-- Dasharatha Maurya, by Wikipedia


• 224–215 BCE: Samprati

According to the Jain tradition he ruled for 53 years. [citation needed] The Jaina text Pariśiṣṭaparvan mentions that he ruled both from Pataliputra and Ujjain. According to a Jain text, the provinces of Surashtra, Maharashtra, Andhra, and the Mysore region broke away from the empire shortly after Ashoka's death (i.e., during Dasharatha's reign), but were reconquered by Samprati, who later deployed soldiers disguised as Jain monks....

While in one source, he is described as nominally a Jain from birth (Sthaviravali 9.53), most accounts emphasize his conversion at the hands of the Jain monk Shri Suhastisuri, the eighth leader of the congregation established by Lord Mahavira Swami....

-- Samprati, by Wikipedia


• 215–202 BCE: Shalishuka

While the Yuga Purana section of the Gargi Samhita mentions him as a quarrelsome, unrighteous ruler, he is also noted as being of "righteous words".

According to the Puranas he was succeeded by Devavarman.

-- Shalishuka, by Wikipedia


• 202–195 BCE: Devavarman

According to the Puranas, he was the successor of Shalishuka Maurya and reigned for a short period of seven years. He was not unrighteous, quarrelsome, very weak, and cruel like his predecessor, Shalishuka. But he was a bit weak, like all the Mauryan emperors who reigned after Ashoka. He was succeeded by Shatadhanvan.

-- Devavarman, by Wikipedia


• 195–187 BCE: Shatadhanvan

According to the Puranas, he was the successor of Devavarman Maurya and reigned for eight years. He was succeeded by Brihadratha Maurya.

-- Shatadhanvan, by Wikipedia


• 187–180 BCE: Brihadratha

According to the Puranas, Brihadratha succeeded his father Shatadhanvan to the throne and ruled for seven years....

Bāṇabhaṭṭa's Harshacharita says that Pushyamitra, while parading the entire Mauryan army before Brihadratha on the pretext of showing him the strength of the army, crushed his master. Pushyamitra killed the former emperor in front of his military and established himself as the new ruler....

A key detail is mentioned by Ceylonese Buddhist monk Badra, pointing that Brihadratha married Demetrius' daughter, Berenisa (Suvarnnaksi in Pali texts)....

The hypothesized Yavana invasion of Pataliputra is based in the Yuga Purana.

-- Brihadratha Maurya, by Wikipedia


-- Maurya Empire, by Wikipedia
admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 34615
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

Postby admin » Mon Dec 27, 2021 9:32 am

Indo-Scythians
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 12/23/21

Indo-Scythian Kingdom
c. 150 BCE–400 CE
Image
Territories (green) and expansion (yellow) of the Indo-Scythian Kingdom at its greatest extent.
Capital: Sigal; Taxila; Mathura
Common languages: Saka,[1]; Greek; Pali (Kharoshthi script); Sanskrit; Prakrit (Brahmi script)
Religion: Hinduism[2]; Buddhism; Ancient Greek religion
Government: Monarchy
King:
• 85–60 BCE: Maues
• 10 CE: Hajatria
Historical era: Antiquity
• Established: c. 150 BCE
• Disestablished: 400 CE
Area
20 est.[3]: 2,600,000 km2 (1,000,000 sq mi)
Preceded by: Greco-Bactrian Kingdom; Indo-Greek Kingdom; Maurya Empire
Succeeded by: Kushan Empire; Sassanid Empire; Indo-Parthians; Gupta Empire

Indo-Scythians (also called Indo-Sakas) were a group of nomadic Iranian peoples of Scythian origin who migrated from Central Asia southward into northern and western regions of ancient India from the middle of the 2nd century BCE to the 4th century CE.

The first Saka king of India was Maues/Moga (1st century BC) who established Saka power in Gandhara, and Indus Valley. The Indo-Scythians extended their supremacy over north-western India, conquering the Indo-Greeks and other local kingdoms. The Indo-Scythians were apparently subjugated by the Kushan Empire, by either Kujula Kadphises or Kanishka.[4] Yet the Saka continued to govern as satrapies,[5] forming the Northern Satraps and Western Satraps. The power of the Saka rulers started to decline in the 2nd century CE after the Indo-Scythians were defeated by the Satavahana emperor Gautamiputra Satakarni.[6][7] Indo-Scythian rule in the northwestern Indian subcontinent ceased when the last Western Satrap Rudrasimha III was defeated by the Gupta emperor Chandragupta II in 395 CE.[8][9]

The invasion of northern regions of the Indian subcontinent by Scythian tribes from Central Asia, often referred to as the Indo-Scythian invasion, played a significant part in the history of the Indian subcontinent as well as nearby countries. In fact, the Indo-Scythian war is just one chapter in the events triggered by the nomadic flight of Central Asians from conflict with tribes such as the Xiongnu in the 2nd century AD, which had lasting effects on Bactria, Kabul, and the Indian subcontinent as well as far-off Rome in the west, and more nearby to the west in Parthia.

Ancient Roman historians, including Arrian[10] and Claudius Ptolemy, have mentioned that the ancient Sakas ("Sakai") were nomadic people.[11] However, Italo Ronca, in his detailed study of Ptolemy's chapter vi, states: "The land of the Sakai belongs to nomads, they have no towns but dwell in forests and caves" as spurious.[12]

Origins

Main article: Saka

Image
Head of a Saka warrior, as a defeated enemy of the Yuezhi, from Khalchayan, northern Bactria, 1st century BCE.[13][14][15]

Image
The treasure of the royal burial Tillya Tepe is attributed to 1st century BC Sakas in Bactria.

The ancestors of the Indo-Scythians are thought to be Sakas (Scythian) tribes.

"One group of Indo-European speakers that makes an early appearance on the Xinjiang stage is the Saka (Ch. Sai). Saka is more a generic term than a name for a specific state or ethnic group; Saka tribes were part of a cultural continuum of early nomads across Siberia and the Central Eurasian steppe lands from Xinjiang to the Black Sea. Like the Scythians whom Herodotus describes in book four of his History (Saka is an Iranian word equivalent to the Greek Scythes, and many scholars refer to them together as Saka-Scythian), Sakas were Iranian-speaking horse nomads who deployed chariots in battle, sacrificed horses, and buried their dead in barrows or mound tombs called kurgans."[16]


The Sakas of Western India spoke the Saka language, also known as Khotanese as it is first attested in the Tarim Basin.[17]

Achaemenid period (6th-4th century BCE)

During the Achaemenid conquest of the Indus Valley circa 515 BCE, the Achaemenid army was not uniquely Persian, and the Sakas probably participated in the invasion of northwestern India. The Achaemenid army was composed of many different ethnicities that were part of the vast Achaemenid Empire. The army included Bactrians, Sakas (Scythians), Parthians, Sogdians.[18] Herodotus gives a full list of the ethnicities of the Achaemenid army, in which are included Sakas together with Ionians (Greeks), and even Ethiopians.[19][18] These ethnicities are likely to have been included in the Achaemenid army which invaded India.[18]

Some scholars, including Michael Witzel[20] and Christopher I. Beckwith[21] suggested that the Shakyas, the clan of the historical Gautama Buddha, were originally Scythians from Central Asia, and that the Indian ethnonym Śākya has the same origin as “Scythian”, called Sakas in India.[18] This would also explain the strong support of the Sakas for the Buddhist faith in India.[21]

The Persians, the Sakas and the Greeks, may have later participated in the campaigns of Chandragupta Maurya to gain the throne of Magadha circa 320 BCE. The Mudrarakshasa states that after Alexander's death, an alliance of "Shaka-Yavana-Kamboja-Parasika-Bahlika" was used by Chandragupta Maurya in his campaign to take the throne in Magadha and found the Mauryan Empire.[22][23][24] The Sakas were the Scythians, the Yavanas were the Greeks, and the Parasikas were the Persians.[23][25]

Yuezhi expansion (2nd century BCE)

In the 2nd century BC, a fresh nomadic movement started among the Central Asian tribes, producing lasting effects on the history of Rome in Europe, Parthia in Western Asia, and Bactria, Kabul, and India in the east in Southern Asia.[citation needed] Recorded in the annals of the Han dynasty and other Chinese records, this great tribal movement began after the Yuezhi tribe was defeated by the Xiongnu, fleeing westwards after their defeat and creating a domino effect as they displaced other central Asian tribes in their path.[26]

Image
Detail of one of the Orlat plaques seemingly representing Scythian soldiers.

According to these ancient sources Modu Shanyu of the Xiongnu tribe of Mongolia attacked the Yuezhi (possibly related to the Tocharians who lived in eastern Tarim Basin area) and evicted them from their homeland between the Qilian Shan and Dunhuang around 175 BC.[27] Leaving behind a remnant of their number, most of the population moved westwards into the Ili River area. There, they displaced the Sakas, who migrated south into Ferghana and Sogdiana. According to the Chinese historical chronicles (who call the Sakas, "Sai" 塞): "[The Yuezhi] attacked the king of the Sai who moved a considerable distance to the south and the Yuezhi then occupied his lands."[28][29]

Sometime after 155 BC, the Yuezhi were again defeated by an alliance of the Wusun and the Xiongnu, and were forced to move south, again displacing the Scythians, who migrated south towards Bactria and present Afghanistan, and south-west closer towards Parthia.

The Sakas seem to have entered the territory of the Greco-Bactrian Kingdom around 145 BC, where they burnt to the ground the Greek city of Alexandria on the Oxus.[citation needed] The Yuezhi remained in Sogdiana on the northern bank of the Oxus, but they became suzerains of the Sakas in Bactrian territory, as described by the Chinese ambassador Zhang Qian who visited the region around 126 BC.[citation needed]

In Parthia, between 138–124 BC, a tribe known to ancient Greek scholars as the Sacaraucae (probably from the Old Persian Sakaravaka "nomadic Saka") and an allied people, the Massagetae, came into conflict with the Parthian Empire. The Sacaraucae-Massagetae alliance won several battles and killed, in succession, the Parthian kings Phraates II and Artabanus I.

The Parthian king Mithridates II finally retook control of parts of Central Asia, first by defeating the Yuezhi in Sogdiana in 115 BC, and then defeating the Scythians in Parthia and Seistan around 100 BC.[citation needed]

After their defeat, the Yuezhi tribes migrated relatively far to the east into Bactria, which they were to control for several centuries,[citation needed] and from which they later conquered northern India to found the Kushan Empire.[30]

Settlement in Sakastan

Image
Map of Sakastan around 100 BC

The Sakas settled in Drangiana, an area of Southern Afghanistan, western Pakistan and south Iran, which was then called after them as Sakastan or Sistan.[31] From there, they progressively expanded into present day Iran as well as northern India, where they established various kingdoms, and where they are known as "Saka".[citation needed]

The mixed Scythian hordes that migrated to Drangiana and surrounding regions later spread further into north and south-west India via the lower Indus valley. Their migration spread into Sovira, Gujarat, Rajasthan and northern India, including kingdoms in the Indian mainland.

The Arsacid emperor Mithridates II (c. 123–88/87 BCE) claimed many successes in battle and added many provinces to the Parthian Empire.[32] Apparently the Scythian hordes that came from Bactria were conquered by him.

Following military pressure from the Yuezhi (precursors of the Kushana), a section of the Indo-Scythians moved from Bactria to Lake Helmond (or Hāmūn), and settled in or around Drangiana (Sigal), a region which later came to be called "Sakistana of the Skythian Sakai [sic]",[33] towards the end of 1st century BC.[34] The region is still known as Seistan. I The presence of the Sakas in Sakastan in the 1st century BC is mentioned by Isidore of Charax in his "Parthian stations". He explained that they were bordered at that time by Greek cities to the east (Alexandria of the Caucasus and Alexandria of the Arachosians), and the Parthian-controlled territory of Arachosia to the south:

"Beyond is Sacastana of the Scythian Sacae, which is also Paraetacena, 63 schoeni. There are the city of Barda and the city of Min and the city of Palacenti and the city of Sigal; in that place is the royal residence of the Sacae; and nearby is the city of Alexandria (Alexandria Arachosia), and six villages." Parthian stations, 18.[35]


Indo-Scythian kingdoms

Pamirs to Taxila


Image
Asia in 100 BC, showing the Sakas and their neighbors

Ahmad Hassan Dani and professor Karl Jettmar, from the petroglyphs left by Saka soldiers at principle river crossings at Chilas and the Sacred Rock of Hunza, have established the route across the Karakoram mountains used by Maues, the first Indo-Scythian king, to capture Taxila from Indo-Greek King Apollodotus II.[36]

The 1st century AD Periplus of the Erythraean Sea describes the Scythian territories there:

"Beyond this region (Gedrosia), the continent making a wide curve from the east across the depths of the bays, there follows the coast district of Scythia, which lies above toward the north; the whole marshy; from which flows down the river Sinthus, the greatest of all the rivers that flow into the Erythraean Sea, bringing down an enormous volume of water (...) This river has seven mouths, very shallow and marshy, so that they are not navigable, except the one in the middle; at which by the shore, is the market-town, Barbaricum. Before it there lies a small island, and inland behind it is the metropolis of Scythia, Minnagara; it is subject to Parthian princes who are constantly driving each other out."[37]


The Indo-Scythians ultimately established a kingdom in the northwest, based near Taxila, with two great Satraps, one in Mathura in the east, and one in Surastrene (Gujarat) in the southwest.

In the southeast, the Indo-Scythians invaded the area of Ujjain, but were subsequently repelled in 57 BC by the Malwa king Vikramaditya. To commemorate the event Vikramaditya established the Vikrama era, a specific Indian calendar starting in 57 BC. More than a century later, in AD 78, the Sakas would again invade Ujjain and establish the Saka era, marking the beginning of the long-lived Saka Western Satraps kingdom.[38]

Gandhara and Punjab

Image
Coin of Maues depicting Balarama, 1st century BC. British Museum.

Image
A coin of the Indo-Scythian king Azes

The presence of the Scythians in north-western India during the 1st century BCE was contemporary with that of the Indo-Greek Kingdoms there, and it seems they initially recognized the power of the local Greek rulers.

Maues first conquered Gandhara and Taxila around 80 BCE, but his kingdom disintegrated after his death. In the east, the Indian king Vikrama retook Ujjain from the Indo-Scythians, celebrating his victory by the creation of the Vikrama era (starting 58 BCE). Indo-Greek kings again ruled after Maues, and prospered, as indicated by the profusion of coins from Kings Apollodotus II and Hippostratos. Not until Azes I, in 55 BC, did the Indo-Scythians take final control of northwestern India, with his victory over Hippostratos.

Sculpture

Image
A toilet tray of the type found in the Early Saka layer at Sirkap

Several stone sculptures have been found in the Early Saka layer (Layer No4, corresponding to the period of Azes I, in which numerous coins of the latter were found) in the ruins of Sirkap, during the excavations organized by John Marshall.

Image
A bronze coin of the Indo-Scythian King Azes. Obverse: BASILEWS BASILEWN MEGALOU AZOU, Humped Brahman bull (zebu) walking right, Whitehead symbol 15 (Z in square) above; Reverse: Kharosthi "jha" to right / Kharosthi legend, Lion or leopard standing right, Whitehead symbol 26 above; Reference: Whitehead 259; BMC p. 86, 141.

Image
The Bimaran casket, representing the Buddha surrounded by Brahma (left) and Śakra (right) was found inside a stupa with coins of Azes inside. British Museum.

Several of them are toilet trays (also called Stone palettes) roughly imitative of earlier, and finer, Hellenistic ones found in the earlier layers. Marshall comments that "we have a praiseworthy effort to copy a Hellenistic original but obviously without the appreciation of form and skill which were necessary for the task". From the same layer, several statuettes in the round are also known, in very rigid and frontal style.

Bimaran casket

Main article: Bimaran casket

Azes is connected to the Bimaran casket, one of the earliest representations of the Buddha. The casket was used for the dedication of a stupa in Bamiran, near Jalalabad in Afghanistan, and placed inside the stupa with several coins of Azes. This event may have happened during the reign of Azes (60–20 BCE), or slightly later. The Indo-Scythians are otherwise connected with Buddhism (see Mathura lion capital), and it is indeed possible they would have commended the work.

Mathura area ("Northern Satraps")

Main article: Northern Satraps

Image
Coin of Rajuvula (c. 10 CE), AE, Mathura. Obv: Bust of King Rajuvula, with Greek legend. Rev: Pallas standing right (crude). Kharoshthi legend.

Image
The Mathura lion capital is an important Indo-Scythian monument dedicated to the Buddhist religion (British Museum).

In northern India, the Indo-Scythians conquered the area of Mathura over Indian kings around 60 BCE. Some of their satraps were Hagamasha and Hagana, who were in turn followed by the Saca Great Satrap Rajuvula.

The Mathura lion capital, an Indo-Scythian sandstone capital in crude style, from Mathura in northern India, and dated to the 1st century CE, describes in kharoshthi the gift of a stupa with a relic of the Buddha, by Queen Nadasi Kasa, the wife of the Indo-Scythian ruler of Mathura, Rajuvula. The capital also mentions the genealogy of several Indo-Scythian satraps of Mathura.

Rajuvula apparently eliminated the last of the Indo-Greek kings Strato II around 10 CE, and took his capital city, Sagala.

The coinage of the period, such as that of Rajuvula, tends to become very crude and barbarized in style. It is also very much debased, the silver content becoming lower and lower, in exchange for a higher proportion of bronze, an alloying technique (billon) suggesting less than wealthy finances.

The Mathura lion capital inscriptions attest that Mathura fell under the control of the Sakas. The inscriptions contain references to Kharahostes and Queen Ayasia, the "chief queen of the Indo-Scythian ruler of Mathura, satrap Rajuvula." Kharahostes was the son of Arta as is attested by his own coins.[39] Arta is stated to be brother of King Moga or Maues.[40]

The Indo-Scythian satraps of Mathura are sometimes called the "Northern Satraps", in opposition to the "Western Satraps" ruling in Gujarat and Malwa. After Rajuvula, several successors are known to have ruled as vassals to the Kushans, such as the "Great Satrap" Kharapallana and the "Satrap" Vanaspara, who are known from an inscription discovered in Sarnath, and dated to the 3rd year of Kanishka (c. AD 130), in which they were paying allegiance to the Kushans.[41]

Pataliputra

Image
Silver coin of Vijayamitra in the name of Azes. Buddhist triratna symbol in the left field on the reverse.

Image
Profile of the Indo-Scythian King Azes on one of his coins.

The text of the Yuga Purana describes an invasion of Pataliputra by the Scythians sometimes during the 1st century BC, after seven great kings had ruled in succession in Saketa following the retreat of the Yavanas. The Yuga Purana explains that the king of the Sakas killed one fourth of the population, before he was himself slain by the Kalinga king Shata and a group of Sabalas (Sabaras or Bhillas).[42]

Kushan and Indo-Parthian conquests

After the death of Azes, the rule of the Indo-Scythians in northwestern India was shattered with the rise of the Indo-Parthian ruler Gondophares in the last years of the 1st century BC. For the following decades, a number of minor Scythian leaders maintained themselves in local strongholds on the fringes of the loosely assembled Indo-Parthian empire, some of them paying formal allegiance to Gondophares I and his successors.

During the latter part of the 1st century AD, the Indo-Parthian overlordship was gradually replaced with that of the Kushans, one of the five tribes of the Yuezhi who had lived in Bactria for more than a century, and were now expanding into India to create a Kushan Empire. The Kushans ultimately regained northwestern India from around AD 75, and the area of Mathura from around AD 100, where they were to prosper for several centuries.[30][citation needed]

Western Kshatrapas

Image
Coin of the Western Kshatrapa ruler Rudrasimha I (c. AD 175 to 197), a descendant of the Indo-Scythians

Main article: Western Kshatrapas

Indo-Scythians continued to hold the area of Seistan until the reign of Bahram II (AD 276–293), and held several areas of India well into the 1st millennium: Kathiawar and Gujarat were under their rule until the 5th century under the designation of Western Kshatrapas. The Khsatrap Rudradaman I was a notable conqueror whose exploits are inscribed in the Junagadh rock inscription of Rudradaman. During his campaigns, Rudradaman conqured the Yaudheyas and defeated the Satavahana Empire. The Western Kshatraps were eventually conquered by the Gupta emperor Chandragupta II (also called Vikramaditya).

Indo-Scythian coinage

Image
Silver tetradrachm of the Indo-Scythian king Maues (85–60 BC).

Indo-Scythian coinage is generally of a high artistic quality, although it clearly deteriorates towards the disintegration of Indo-Scythian rule around AD 20 (coins of Rajuvula). A fairly high-quality but rather stereotypical coinage would continue in the Western Satraps until the 4th century.

Indo-Scythian coinage is generally quite realistic, artistically somewhere between Indo-Greek and Kushan coinage. It is often suggested Indo-Scythian coinage benefited from the help of Greek celators (Boppearachchi).

Indo-Scythian coins essentially continue the Indo-Greek tradition, by using the Greek language on the obverse and the Kharoshthi language on the reverse. The portrait of the king is never shown however, and is replaced by depictions of the king on horse (and sometimes on camel), or sometimes sitting cross-legged on a cushion. The reverse of their coins typically show Greek divinities.

Buddhist symbolism is present throughout Indo-Scythian coinage. In particular, they adopted the Indo-Greek practice since Menander I of showing divinities forming the vitarka mudra with their right hand (as for the mudra-forming Zeus on the coins of Maues or Azes II), or the presence of the Buddhist lion on the coins of the same two kings, or the triratana symbol on the coins of Zeionises.

Depiction of Indo-Scythians

Image
Azilises on horse, wearing a tunic

Besides coinage, few works of art are known to indisputably represent Indo-Scythians. Indo-Scythian rulers are usually depicted on horseback in armour, but the coins of Azilises show the king in a simple, undecorated, tunic.[citation needed]

Several Gandharan sculptures also show foreigners in soft tunics, sometimes wearing the pointed hat typical of Scythians. They stand in contrast to representations of Kushan men, who seem to wear thick, rigid, tunics, and who are generally represented in a much more simplistic manner.[43]

Image
Scythian devotee, Butkara Stupa

Buner reliefs

Indo-Scythian soldiers in military attire are sometimes represented in Buddhist friezes in the art of Gandhara (particularly in Buner reliefs). They are depicted in ample tunics with trousers, and have heavy straight swords as weapons. They wear pointed hoods or the Scythian cap (see Pointed hat), which distinguishes them from the Indo-Parthians who only wore a simple fillet over their bushy hair,[44] and which is also systematically worn by Indo-Scythian rulers on their coins. With the right hand, some of them are forming the Karana mudra against evil spirits. In Gandhara, such friezes were used as decorations on the pedestals of Buddhist stupas. They are contemporary with other friezes representing people in purely Greek attire, hinting at an intermixing of Indo-Scythians (holding military power) and Indo-Greeks (confined, under Indo-Scythian rule, to civilian life).

Another relief is known where the same type of soldiers are playing musical instruments and dancing, activities which are widely represented elsewhere in Gandharan art: Indo-Scythians are typically shown as reveling devotees.

Image
One of the Buner reliefs showing Scythian soldiers dancing. Cleveland Museum of Art.

Image
Indo-Scythians pushing along the Greek god Dionysos with Ariadne.[45]

Image
Hunting scene.

Image
Hunting scene.

Stone palettes

Main article: Stone palette

Image
Gandhara stone palette with Scythians playing music.

Numerous stone palettes found in Gandhara are considered good representatives of Indo-Scythian art. These palettes combine Greek and Iranian influences, and are often realized in a simple, archaic style. Stone palettes have only been found in archaeological layers corresponding to Indo-Greek, Indo-Scythian and Indo-Parthian rule, and are essentially unknown in the preceding Mauryan layers or the succeeding Kushan layers.[46]

Very often these palettes represent people in Greek dress in mythological scenes, a few in Parthian dress (head-bands over bushy hair, crossed-over jacket on a bare chest, jewelry, belt, baggy trousers), and even fewer in Indo-Scythian dress (Phrygian hat, tunic and comparatively straight trousers). A palette found in Sirkap and now in the New Delhi Museum shows a winged Indo-Scythian horseman riding winged deer, and being attacked by a lion.

The Indo-Scythians and Buddhism

The Indo-Scythians seem to have been followers of Buddhism, and many of their practices apparently continued those of the Indo-Greeks.

Royal dedications

Image
The Bajaur casket was dedicated by Indravarman, Metropolitan Museum of Art.[47]

Several Indo-Scythian kings after Azes are known for making Buddhist dedications in their name, on plaques or reliquaries:

• Patika Kusulaka (25 BCE – 10 CE) related his donation of a relic of the Buddha Shakyamuni to a Buddhist monastery, in the Taxila copper plate.
• Kharahostes (10 BCE – 10 CE) is mentioned on the Buddhist Mathura lion capital and on a reliquary.[48][49] His coins were also found in the Bimaran casket, a beautiful Buddhist gold reliquary with an early image of the Buddha, now in the British Museum. Some of his coins bear the Buddhist triratna symbol.
• Vijayamitra (ruled 12 BCE - 15 CE) personally dedicated in his name a Buddhist reliquary.[50][51] Some of his coins bear the Buddhist triratna symbol.
• Indravarman, while still a Prince, personally dedicated in 5-6 CE a Buddhist reliquary, the Bajaur casket, now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
• Zeionises and Aspavarma also used the Buddhist triratna symbol on their coins.
• Rajuvula erected the Mathura lion capital, which incorporates Buddhist symbols and relates the donations by his wife of relics to a stupa.

Butkara Stupa

Image
Buddhist stupas during the late Indo-Greek/Indo-Scythian period were highly decorated structures with columns, flights of stairs, and decorative Acanthus leaf friezes. Butkara stupa, Swat, 1st century BC.[52]

Image
Possible Scythian devotee couple (extreme left and right, often described as "Scytho-Parthian"),[53] around the Buddha, Brahma and Indra.

Excavations at the Butkara Stupa in Swat by an Italian archaeological team have yielded various Buddhist sculptures thought to belong to the Indo-Scythian period. In particular, an Indo-Corinthian capital representing a Buddhist devotee within foliage has been found which had a reliquary and coins of Azes buried at its base, securely dating the sculpture to around 20 BC.[54] A contemporary pilaster with the image of a Buddhist devotee in Greek dress has also been found at the same spot, again suggesting a mingling of the two populations.[55] Various reliefs at the same location show Indo-Scythians with their characteristic tunics and pointed hoods within a Buddhist context, and side-by-side with reliefs of standing Buddhas.[56]

Gandharan sculptures

Other reliefs have been found, which show Indo-Scythian men with their characteristic pointed cap pushing a cart on which is reclining the Greek god Dionysos with his consort Ariadne.

Mathura lion capital

The Mathura lion capital, which associates many of the Indo-Scythian rulers from Maues to Rajuvula, mentions a dedication of a relic of the Buddha in a stupa. It also bears centrally the Buddhist symbol of the triratana, and is also filled with mentions of the bhagavat Buddha Sakyamuni, and characteristically Buddhist phrases such as:

"sarvabudhana puya dhamasa puya saghasa puya"
"Revere all the Buddhas, revere the dharma, revere the sangha"
(Mathura lion capital, inscription O1/O2)


Image
Indo-Corinthian capital from Butkara Stupa, dated to 20 BC, during the reign of Azes II. Turin City Museum of Ancient Art.

Image
Dancing Indo-Scythians (top) and hunting scene (bottom). Buddhist relief from Swat, Gandhara.

Image
Butkara doorjamb, with Indo-Scythians dancing and reveling. On the back side is a relief of a standing Buddha[57]

Image
Statue with inscription mentioning "year 318", probably 143 CE.[58] The two devotees on the right side of the pedestal are in Indo-Scythian suit (loose trousers, tunic, and hood).[59]

Indo-Scythians in Indian literature

Main article: Indo-Scythians in Indian literature

The Indo-Scythians were named "Shaka" in India, an extension on the name Saka used by the Persians to designate Scythians. Shakas receive numerous mentions in texts like the Puranas, the Manusmriti, the Ramayana, the Mahabharata, the Mahabhasiya of Patanjali, the Brhat Samhita of Vraha Mihira, the Kavyamimamsa, the Brihat-Katha-Manjari, the Katha-Saritsagara and several other old texts. They are described as part of an amalgam of other war-like tribes from the northwest.

There are important references to the warring Mleccha hordes of the Sakas, Yavanas, Kambojas and Pahlavas in the Bala Kanda of the Valmiki Ramayana. H. C. Raychadhury glimpses in these verses the struggles between the Hindus and the invading hordes of Mlechcha barbarians from the northwest. The time frame for these struggles is the 2nd century BC onwards. Raychadhury fixes the date of the present version of the Valmiki Ramayana around or after the 2nd century AD.[60]

Mahabharata too furnishes a veiled hint about the invasion of the mixed hordes from the northwest. Vanaparava by Mahabharata contains verses in the form of prophecy deploring that "......the Mlechha (barbaric) kings of the Shakas, Yavanas, Kambojas, Bahlikas, etc. shall rule the earth un-righteously in Kali Yuga..."[61]

As with many traditional epics, the two Indian epics Ramayana and Mahabharata, which comprise the Itihasa, have gone through multiple interpolations and redactions since its conception, rendering it impossible to accurately date. It is highly likely that these additions were made with changing political factors and the introduction of new people into society.

Indo-Scythians in Greco-Roman Sources

Image
"Scythia" appears around the mouth of the river Indus in the Roman period Tabula Peutingeriana.

The country of Scythia in the area of Pakistan, and especially around the mouth of the Indus with its capital at Minnagara (modern day Karachi) is mentioned extensively in Western maps and travel descriptions of the period. The Ptolemy world map, as well as the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea mention prominently, the country of Scythia on the Indus Valley, as well as Roman Tabula Peutingeriana. The Periplus states that Minnagara was the capital of Scythia, and that Parthian Princes from within it were fighting for its control during the 1st century AD. It also distinguishes Scythia with Ariaca further east (centred in Gujarat and Malwa), over which ruled the Western Satrap king Nahapana.

Sai-Wang Scythian hordes of Chipin or Kipin

Image
Coin of Azes, with king seated, holding a drawn sword and a whip.

A section of the Central Asian Scythians (under Sai-Wang) is said to have taken southerly direction and after passing through the Pamirs it entered the Chipin or Kipin after crossing the Xuandu (懸度 Hanging Pass) located above the valley of Kanda in Swat country.[62] Chipin has been identified by Pelliot, Bagchi, Raychaudhury and some others with Kashmir[63] while other scholars identify it with Kapisha (Kafirstan).[64][65] The Sai-Wang had established his kingdom in Kipin. S. Konow interprets the Sai-Wang as Śaka Murunda of Indian literature, Murunda being equal to Wang i.e. king, master or lord,[66] but Bagchi who takes the word Wang in the sense of the king of the Scythians but he distinguishes the Sai Sakas from the Murunda Sakas.[67] There are reasons to believe that Sai Scythians were Kamboja Scythians and therefore Sai-Wang belonged to the Scythianised Kambojas (i.e. Parama-Kambojas) of the Transoxiana region and came back to settle among his own stock after being evicted from his ancestral land located in Scythia or Shakadvipa. King Moga or Maues could have belonged to this group of Scythians who had migrated from the Sai country (Central Asia) to Chipin.[68]

Evidence about joint invasions

Image
"Scythian" soldier, Nagarjunakonda.[69][70]

The Scythian groups that invaded India and set up various kingdoms included, besides the Sakas, other allied tribes, such as the Medii, Xanthii, and Massagetae. These peoples were all absorbed into the community of Kshatriyas of mainstream Indian society.[71]

The Shakas were formerly a people of the trans-Hemodos region—the Shakadvipa of the Puranas or the Scythia of the classical writings. Isidor of Charax (beginning of 1st century AD) attests them in Sakastana (modern Seistan). The Periplus of the Erythraean Sea (c. AD 70–80) also attests a Scythian district in lower Indus with Minnagra as its capital. Ptolemy (c. AD 140) also attests to an Indo-Scythia in south-western India which comprised the Patalene and Surastrene (Saurashtra) territories.

The 2nd century BC Scythian invasion of India, was in all probability carried out jointly by the Sakas, Pahlavas, Kambojas, Paradas, Rishikas and other allied tribes from the northwest.[72]

Main Indo-Scythian tribes and rulers

Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Eastern Pakistan, and Kashmir

• Maues, c. 85–60 BC
• Vonones, c. 75–65 BC
• Spalahores, c. 75–65 BC, satrap and brother of King Vonones, and probably the later King Spalirises.
• Spalirises, c. 60–57 BC, king and brother of King Vonones.
• Spalagadames c. 50 BC, satrap, and son of Spalahores.
• Azilises, before 60 BC
• Azes I, c. 60–20 BC
• Zeionises, c. 10 BC – AD 10
• Kharahostes, c. 10 BC – AD 10
• Hajatria

Kshaharatas (Punjab, Pakistan and beyond)

• Liaka Kusuluka, satrap of Chuksa
• Kusulaka Patika, satrap of Chuksa and son of Liaka Kusulaka
• Bhumaka
• Nahapana (founder of the Western Satraps)

Aprācas (Bajaur, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan)

Main article: Apraca

• Vijayamitra (12 BC - AD 15), wife Rukhana
• Indravasu (c. AD 20), wife Vasumitra
• Vispavarman, wife Śiśirena
• Indravarman, wife Uttara
• Aspa (AD 15–45) [73] or Aspavarma (AD 15 - 45)
• Sasan[74]

Pāratas[75] (Balochistan, Pakistan)

Main article: Paratarajas

Image
Drachm of Parataraja Bhimarjuna. Obv: Robed bust of Bhimarjuna left, wearing tiara-shaped diadem. Rev: Swastika with legend surrounding. 1.70g. Senior (Indo-Scythian) 286.1 (Bhimajhuna)

• Yolamira, son of Bagareva (c. 125–150)
• Bagamira, son of Yolamira (c. 150)
• Arjuna, a second son of Yolamira (c. 150–160)
• Hvaramira, a third son of Yolamira (c. 160–175)
• Mirahvara, son of Hvaramira (c. 175–185)
• Miratakhma, another son of Hvaramira (c. 185–200)
• Kozana, son of Bagavharna (and perhaps grandson of Bagamira?) (c. 200–220)
• Bhimarjuna, son of Yolatakhma (and perhaps grandson of Arjuna?) (c. 220–235)
• Koziya, son of Kozana (c. 235–265)
• Datarvharna, son of Datayola I (possible grandson of Bhimarjuna) (c. 265–280)
• Datayola II, son of Datarvharna (c. 280–300)

"Northern Satraps" (Mathura area)

Main article: Northern Satraps

• Hagamasha (satrap, 1st century BC)
• Hagana (satrap, 1st century BC)
• Rajuvula, c. AD 10 (Great Satrap)
• Sodasa, son of Rajuvula
• "Great Satrap" Kharapallana (c. AD 130)
• "Satrap" Vanaspara (c. AD 130)

Minor local rulers

• Bhadayasa
• Mamvadi
• Arsakes (Indo-Scythian)

Western Satraps

Main article: Western Satraps

• Nahapana (119–124)
• Chastana (c. 120), son of Ghsamotika

Image

• Jayadaman, son of Chastana
• Rudradaman I (c. 130–150), son of Jayadaman

Image

• Damajadasri I (170–175)
• Jivadaman (175 died 199)
• Rudrasimha I (175–188 died 197)
• Isvaradatta (188–191)
• Rudrasimha I (restored) (191–197)
• Jivadaman (restored) (197–199)
• Rudrasena I (200–222)

Image

• Samghadaman (222–223)
• Damasena (223–232)
• Damajadasri II (232–239) with
• Viradaman (234–238)
• Yasodaman I (239)
• Vijayasena (239–250)
• Damajadasri III (251–255)
• Rudrasena II (255–277)
• Visvasimha (277–282)
• Bhratadarman (282–295) with

Image

• Visvasena (293–304)
• Rudrasimha II, son of Lord (Svami) Jivadaman (304–348) with
• Yasodaman II (317–332)
• Rudradaman II (332–348)
• Rudrasena III (348–380)
• Simhasena (Indo-Scythian ruler) (380– ?)
• Rudrasena IV (382–388)
• Rudrasimha III (388–395)

Image

Military actions

Descendants of the Indo-Scythians


Tadeusz Sulimirski notes that the Sacae also invaded parts of Northern India.[76] Weer Rajendra Rishi, an Indian linguist[77] has identified linguistic affinities between Indian and Central Asian languages, which further lends credence to the possibility of historical Sacae influence in Northern India.[76][78]

See also

• Ancient India and Central Asia
• Tillya Tepe

Notes

1. Diringer, David (1953) [1948]. The Alphabet: A Key to the History of Mankind (Second and revised ed.). London: Hutchinson's Scientific and Technical Publications. p. 350.
2. The Decline and Fall of the Hindus: The Book on India's Regeneration
3. Taagepera, Rein (1979). "Size and Duration of Empires: Growth-Decline Curves, 600 B.C. to 600 A.D". Social Science History. 3 (3/4): 115–138. doi:10.2307/1170959. JSTOR 1170959.
4. Kharapallana and Vanaspara are known from an inscription discovered in Sarnath, and dated to the 3rd year of Kanishka, in which they were paying allegiance to the Kushanas. Source: "A Catalogue of the Indian Coins in the British Museum. Andhras etc." Rapson, p ciii
5. "The titles "Kshatrap" and "Mahakshatrapa" certainly show that the Western Kshatrapas were originally feudatories" in Rapson, "Coins of the British Museum", p.cv
6. World history from early times to A D 2000 by B .V. Rao: p.97
7. A Brief History of India, by Alain Daniélou p.136
8. India in a Globalised World, by Sagarika Dutt p.24
9. Ancient India, by Ramesh Chandra Majumdar p. 234
10. "Arrian: Anabasis Alexandri: Book VIII (Indica); Section V". Ancient History Sourcebooks. Fordham University. Retrieved 21 January 2019.
11. Ptolemy vi, xiii (1932), p. 143.
12. Ronca (1971), pp. 39, 102, 108.
13. Abdullaev, Kazim (2007). "Nomad Migration in Central Asia (in After Alexander: Central Asia before Islam)". Proceedings of the British Academy. 133: 87–98.
14. Greek Art in Central Asia, Afghan – Encyclopaedia Iranica.
15. Also a Saka according to this source
16. Millward (2007), p. 13.
17. Diringer, David (1948). Alphabet A Key To The History Of Mankind. p. 350.
18. Beckwith, Christopher I. (2015). Greek Buddha: Pyrrho's Encounter with Early Buddhism in Central Asia. Princeton University Press. p. 5. ISBN 9781400866328.
19. Herodotus VII 65
20. Attwood, Jayarava. Possible Iranian Origins for the Śākyas and Aspects of Buddhism. pp. 47–69.
21. Beckwith, Christopher I. (2015). Greek Buddha: Pyrrho's Encounter with Early Buddhism in Central Asia. Princeton University Press. pp. 1–21. ISBN 9781400866328.
22. Mookerji, Radhakumud (1966). Chandragupta Maurya and His Times. Motilal Banarsidass. p. 27. ISBN 9788120804050.; Mookerji, Radha Kumud (1957). "The Foundation of the Mauryan Empire". In K. A. Nilakanta Sastri (ed.). A Comprehensive History of India, Volume 2: Mauryas and Satavahanas. Orient Longmans. p. 4.: "The Mudrarakshasa further informs us that his Himalayan alliance gave Chandragupta a composite army ... Among these are mentioned the following : Sakas, Yavanas (probably Greeks), Kiratas, Kambojas, Parasikas and Bahlikas."
23. Shashi, Shyam Singh (1999). Encyclopaedia Indica: Mauryas. Anmol Publications. p. 134. ISBN 9788170418597.: "Among those who helped Chandragupta in his struggle against the Nandas, were the Sakas (Scythians), Yavanas (Greeks), and Parasikas (Persians)"
24. D. B. Spooner (1915). "The Zoroastrian Period of Indian History". Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland. 47 (3): 416–417. doi:10.1017/S0035869X00048437. JSTOR 25189338.: "After Alexander's death, when Chandragupta marched on Magada, it was with largely the Persian army that he won the throne of India. The testimony of the Mudrarakshasa is explicit on this point, and we have no reason to doubt its accuracy in matter[s] of this kind."
25. Mookerji, Radhakumud (1966). Chandragupta Maurya and His Times. Motilal Banarsidass. p. 210. ISBN 9788120804050.
26. Grousset, Rene (1970). The Empire of the Steppes. Rutgers University Press. pp. 32. ISBN 978-0-8135-1304-1.
27. Shiji, chap. 123 translated in: Burton Watson (1993), p. 234.
28. Han Shu 61 4B Original tex: 西擊塞王。塞王南走遠徙,月氏居其地。
29. Craig Benjamin (October 2003). "The Yuezhi Migration and Sogdia". Transoxiana Webfestschrift Series I: Eran Ud Aneran.
30. Lena Jonson (3 October 2006). Tajikistan in the New Central Asia: Geopolitics, Great Power Rivalry and Radical Islam. I.B.Tauris. p. 25. ISBN 978-1-84511-293-6.
31. Bailey, H.W. (1996) [14 April 1983]. "Chapter 34: Khotanese Saka Literature". In Ehsan Yarshater (ed.). The Cambridge History of Iran, Vol III: The Seleucid, Parthian, and Sasanian Periods, Part 2 (reprint ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 1230–1231. ISBN 978-0521246934.
32. Justin XL.II.2
33. Isodor of Charax, Sathmoi Parthikoi, 18.
34. Political History of Ancient India, 1996, p 693.
35. "Parthian stations". Parthia.com. Retrieved 14 March 2012.
36. Ahmad Hasan Dani. History of Civilizations of Central Asia, Volume 2. Motilal Banarsidass Publ. pp. 191–207.
37. "Periplus of the Erythraean Sea, 38". Fordham.edu. Retrieved 14 March 2012.
38. The dynastic art of the Kushans, John Rosenfield, p 130
39. Kshatrapasa pra Kharaostasa Artasa putrasa. See: Political History of Ancient India, 1996, p 398, H. C. Raychaudhury, B. N. Mukerjee; Ancient India, 1956, pp 220–221, R. K. Mukerjee
40. Ancient India, pp 220–221, R. k. Mukerjee; Corpus Inscriptionum Indicarum, Vol II, Part 1, p 36, D S Konow
41. Source: "A Catalogue of the Indian Coins in the British Museum. Andhras etc..." Rapson, p ciii
42. "A gap in Puranic history". Boloji.com. 14 March 2004. Archived from the original on 14 January 2010. Retrieved 14 March 2012.
43. Francine Tissot "Gandhara", p74
44. Wilcox and McBride (1986), p. 12.
45. Photographic reference here Archived 10 March 2007 at the Wayback Machine.
46. "Let us remind that in Sirkap, stone palettes were found at all excavated levels. On the contrary, neither Bhir-Mound, the Maurya city preceding Sirkap on the Taxila site, nor Sirsukh, the Kushan city succeeding her, did deliver any stone palettes during their excavations", in "Les palettes du Gandhara", p89. "The terminal point after which such palettes are not manufactured anymore is probably located during the Kushan period. In effect, neither Mathura nor Taxila (although the Sirsukh had only been little excavated), nor Begram, nor Surkh Kotal, neither the great Kushan archaeological sites of Soviet Central Asia or Afghanistan have yielded such objects. Only four palettes have been found in Kushan-period archaeological sites. They come from secondary sites, such as Garav Kala and Ajvadz in Soviet Tajikistan and Jhukar, in the Indus Valley, and Dalverzin Tepe. They are rather roughly made." In "Les Palettes du Gandhara", Henri-Paul Francfort, p 91. (in French in the original)
47. Metropolitan Museum of Art notice [1]
48. Ahmad Hasan Dani et al., History of Civilizations of Central Asia, 1999, p 201, Unesco
49. Richard Salomon, "An Inscribed Silver Buddhist Reliquary of the Time of King Kharaosta and Prince Indravarman", Journal of the American Oriental Society, Vol. 116, No. 3 (July - September 1996), pp. 418-452
50. "Afghanistan, carrefour en l'Est et l'Ouest" p.373. Also Senior 2003
51. Des Indo-Grecs aux Sassanides, Rika Gyselen, Peeters Publishers, 2007, p.103 [2]
52. Source:"Butkara I", Faccena
53. "Gandhara" Francine Tissot
54. The Turin City Museum of Ancient Art Text and photographic reference: Terre Lontane O2 Archived 12 December 2006 at the Wayback Machine
55. For the pilaster showing a man in Greek dress File:ButkaraPilaster.jpg.
56. Facenna, "Sculptures from the sacred area of Butkara I", plate CCCLXXI. The relief is this one, showing Indo-Scythians dancing and reveling, with on the back side a relief of a standing Buddha (not shown).
57. Faccenna, "Sculptures from the sacred area of Butkara I", plate CCCLXXII
58. Problems of Chronology in Gandharan Art pp.35-51, 2017
59. Greco-Buddhist Art of Gandhara p.491
60. Political History of Ancient India, 1996, pp 3–4.
61.
viparite tada loke purvarupa.n kshayasya tat || 34 ||
bahavo mechchha rajanah prithivyam manujadhipa |
mithyanushasinah papa mrishavadaparayanah || 35 ||
Andhrah Shakah Pulindashcha Yavanashcha naradhipah |
Kamboja Bahlikah Shudrastath abhira narottama || 36 ||
— (MBH 3.188.34–36).

62. Serindia, Vol I, 1980 Edition, p 8, M. A. Stein
63. H. C. Raychaudhury, B. N. Mukerjee; Early History of North India, p 3, S. Chattopadhyava; India and Central Asia, p 126, P. C. Bagchi
64. Epigraphia Indiaca XIV, p 291 S Konow; Greeks in Bactria and India, p 473, fn, W. W. Tarn; Yuan Chwang I, pp 259–60, Watters; Comprehensive History of India, Vol I, p 189, N. K. Sastri; History and Culture of Indian People, The Age of Imperial Unity, 122; History and Culture of Indian People, Classical Age, p 617, R. C. Majumdar, A. D. Pusalkar.
65. Scholars like E. J. Rapson, L. Petech etc. also connect Kipin with Kapisha. Levi holds that prior to AD 600, Kipin denoted Kashmir, but after this it implied Kapisha See Discussion in The Classical Age, p 671.
66. Corpus Inscriptionum Indicarum, II. 1. XX f; cf: Early History of North India, pp 54, S Chattopadhyaya.
67. India and Central Asia, 1955, p 124, P. C. Bagchi; Geographical Data in Early Puranas, 1972, p 47, M. R. Singh.
68. See: Political History of Ancient India, 1996, p fn 13, B. N. Mukerjee; Chilas, Islamabad, 1983, no 72, 78, 85, pp 98, 102, A. H. Dani
69. "In Nagarjunakonda Scythian influence is noticed and the cap and coat of a soldier on a pillar may be cited as an example.", in Sivaramamurti, C. (1961). Indian Sculpture. Allied Publishers. p. 51.
70. "A Scythian dvarapala standing wearing his typical draperies, boots and head dress. Distinct ethnic and sartorial characteristics are noreworthy.", in Ray, Amita (1982). Life and Art of Early Andhradesa. Agam. p. 249.
71. History and Culture of Indian People, The Vedic Age, pp 286–87, 313–14.
72. Intercourse Between India and the Western World, pp 75–93, H. G. Rawlinson
73. e.g.: Aspa.bhrata.putrasa. See: An Inscribed Silver Buddhist Reliquary of the Time of King Kharaosta and Prince Indravarman, Jounranal of the American Oriental Society, Vol 116, No 3, 1996, p 448, Richard Saloman.
74. An Inscribed Silver Buddhist Reliquary of the Time of King Kharaosta and Prince Indravarman, Jounranal of the American Oriental Society, Vol 116, No 3, 1996, p 448, Richard Saloman.
75. [3] Further Light on the Paratarajas
76. Sulimirski, Tadeusz (1970). The Sarmatians. Volume 73 of Ancient peoples and places. New York: Praeger. pp. 113–114. The evidence of both the ancient authors and the archaeological remains point to a massive migration of Sacian (Sakas)/Massagetan tribes from the Syr Daria Delta (Central Asia) by the middle of the second century B.C. Some of the Syr Darian tribes; they also invaded North India.
77. Indian Institute of Romani Studies Archived 8 January 2013 at archive.today
78. Rishi, Weer Rajendra (1982). India & Russia: linguistic & cultural affinity. Roma. p. 95.

References

• Bailey, H. W. 1958. "Languages of the Saka." Handbuch der Orientalistik, I. Abt., 4. Bd., I. Absch., Leiden-Köln. 1958.
• Faccenna D., "Sculptures from the sacred area of Butkara I", Istituto Poligrafico Dello Stato, Libreria Dello Stato, Rome, 1964.
• Harmatta, János, ed., 1994. History of civilizations of Central Asia, Volume II. The development of sedentary and nomadic civilizations: 700 B.C. to A.D. 250. Paris, UNESCO Publishing.
• Hill, John E. 2004. The Peoples of the West from the Weilue 魏略 by Yu Huan 魚豢: A Third Century Chinese Account Composed between AD 239 and 265. Draft annotated English translation. [6]
• Hill, John E. (2009) Through the Jade Gate to Rome: A Study of the Silk Routes during the Later Han Dynasty, 1st to 2nd Centuries AD. BookSurge, Charleston, South Carolina. ISBN 978-1-4392-2134-1.
• Hulsewé, A. F. P. and Loewe, M. A. N. 1979. China in Central Asia: The Early Stage 125 BC – AD 23: an annotated translation of chapters 61 and 96 of the History of the Former Han Dynasty. E. J. Brill, Leiden.
• Huet, Gerard (2010) "Heritage du Sanskrit Dictionnaire, Sanskrit-Francais," p. 128. [7]
• Litvinsky, B. A., ed., 1996. History of civilizations of Central Asia, Volume III. The crossroads of civilizations: A.D. 250 to 750. Paris, UNESCO Publishing.
• Liu, Xinru 2001 "Migration and Settlement of the Yuezhi-Kushan: Interaction and Interdependence of Nomadic and Sedentary Societies." Journal of World History, Volume 12, No. 2, Fall 2001. University of Hawaii Press, pp 261–292. [8].
• Bulletin of the Asia Institute: The Archaeology and Art of Central Asia. Studies From the Former Soviet Union. New Series. Edited by B. A. Litvinskii and Carol Altman Bromberg. Translation directed by Mary Fleming Zirin. Vol. 8, (1994), pp 37–46.
• Millward, James A. (2007). Eurasian Crossroads: A History of Xinjiang. Columbia University Press, New York. ISBN 978-0-231-13924-3.
• Pulleyblank, Edwin G. 1970. "The Wu-sun and Sakas and the Yüeh-chih Migration." Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies 33 (1970), pp 154–160.
• Ptolemy (1932). The Geography. Translated and edited by Edward Luther Stevenson. 1991 unabridged reproduction. Dover Publications, Mineola, N. Y. ISBN 0-486-26896-9 (pbk)
• Puri, B. N. 1994. "The Sakas and Indo-Parthians." In: History of civilizations of Central Asia, Volume II. The development of sedentary and nomadic civilizations: 700 B.C. to A.D. 250. Harmatta, János, ed., 1994. Paris: UNESCO Publishing, pp 191–207.
• Ronca, Italo (1971). Ptolemaios Geographie 6,9–21. Ostrian und Zentralasien, Teil I. IsMEO — ROM.
• Watson, Burton. Trans. 1993. Records of the Grand Historian of China: Han Dynasty II (Revised Edition). Translated from the Shih chi of Ssu-ma Ch'ien. Chapter 123: The Account of Ta-yüan. Columbia University Press. ISBN 0-231-08167-7
• Wilcox, Peter and Angus McBride (1986). Rome's Enemies (3): Parthians and Sassanid Persians (Men-at-Arms). Osprey Publishing; illustrated edition. ISBN 978-0-85045-688-2.
• Yu, Taishan. 1998. A Study of Saka History. Sino-Platonic Papers No. 80. July 1998. Dept. of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, University of Pennsylvania.
• Yu, Taishan. 2000. A Hypothesis about the Source of the Sai Tribes. Sino-Platonic Papers No. 106. September 2000. Dept. of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, University of Pennsylvania.
• Political History of Ancient India, 1996, H. C. Raychaudhury
• Hindu Polity, A Constitutional history of India in Hindu Times, 1978, K. P. Jayswal
• Geographical Data in Early Puranas, 1972, M. R. Singh
• India and Central Asia, 1955, P. C. Bagchi.
• Geography of Puranas, 1973, S. M. Ali
• Greeks in Bactria and India, W. W. Tarn
• Early History of North India, S. Chattopadhyava
• Sakas in Ancient India, S. Chattopadhyava
• Development of Kharoshthi script, C. C. Dasgupta
• Ancient India, 1956, R. K. Mukerjee
• Ancient India, Vol III, T. L. Shah
• Hellenism in Ancient India, G. N. Banerjee
• Manu and Yajnavalkya, K. P. Jayswal
• Anabaseeos Alexanddrou, Arrian
• Mathura lion capital inscriptions
• Corpus Inscriptionium Indicarum, Vol II, Part I, S. Konow

External links

• "Indo-Scythian dynasties", R. C. Senior
• Coins of the Indo-Scythians
admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 34615
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

Postby admin » Mon Dec 27, 2021 11:11 am

Eucratides I
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 12/28/21

Image
Eucratides I
King of Kings, Basileus
Rendering of Eucratides on a 20-stater gold coin, found in Bukhara and later acquired by Napoleon III. Now held at the Paris Cabinet des Médailles.
King of the Bactrian Empire
Reign: 171–145 BC
Successor: Eucratides II
Successor: Heliocles I
Born: c. 204 BCE, Ai-Khanum (modern day Takhar province, Afghanistan)
Died: 145 BCE (aged 59), Bactria
Spouse: Amastris
Issue : Agathoclea; Eukratides II; Heliokles I; Diodotus III(?)
Dynasty: Diodotid dynasty
Father: Heliokles
Mother: Laodice (daughter of Diodotus I)

Eucratides I (Koinē Greek: Εὐκρατίδης, Eúkratides) (reigned 172/171–145 BC), also known as Eucratides the Great,[1] was one of the most important Greco-Bactrian kings. Eucratides overthrew the Euthydemid dynasty of Bactria (possibly killing Demetrius) and restored the Diodotid dynasty of Diodotus I, allied to the Parthian Empire.[2] Eucratides fought against the easternmost Hellenistic and Indian rulers in India, holding territory in the Indus and as far as Barigaza until he was finally defeated by Menander and pushed back to Bactria. Eucratides minted a vast and prestigious coinage, suggesting a rule of considerable importance and prosperity. His son, Heliocles I was father of Heliocles II, who was the last Greek king to rule in Bactria, as Yuezhi and Saka nomads overran the country c.100 BCE.[3][4]

Biography

Early life


Eucratides was born c.204 BCE in the Hellenistic city of Ai-Khanoum, to “Heliocles” and “Laodice” as depicted on various finds of his coinage. Laodice was of the Diodotid dynasty, probably a daughter of Diodotus I and a sister of Diodotus II. She appears to have been spared from Euthydemus’ violent usurpation in 225 BCE and married a certain Heliocles, of whom nothing is known. It is also unclear as to whether Eucratides and his family held any positions of rank amongst the nobility during the reigns of Euthydemus and Demetrius, or whether he was treated as an ordinary Greek citizen.

Coup d'état

Eucratides came to the throne by overthrowing the Euthydemid dynasty in Bactria, possibly when its king, Demetrius was conquering northwestern India. The king whom Eucratides dethroned in Bactria was probably Antimachus I.

It is unclear whether Eucratides was a Diodotid Bactrian nobleman who raised a rebellion, or, according to the claims of some scholars,[5] a cousin of the Seleucid king Antiochus IV Epiphanes who was trying to regain the Bactrian territory. The Seleucid claim is highly unlikely and has been discredited by modern historians, and it is believed that Eucratides mother, Laodice was solely of the Diodotid dynasty. Justin explains that Eucratides acceded to the throne at about the same time as Mithridates, whose rule is accurately known to have started in 171 BC, thereby giving an approximate date for the accession of Eucratides:

"Around the same time, two great men started to rule: Mithridates among the Parthians, and Eucratides among the Bactrians" Justin XLI,6[6]


Some of the coins of Eucratides represent his parents, where his father is named Heliocles, and his mother, Laodice,[7] who is depicted wearing a royal diadem and therefore of royal descent. Narain and other modern authors propose that she was a daughter of Diodotus I.

Having become master of Bactria after de-throning the Euthydemid dynasty, Eucratides was faced with a Parthian invasion which began when Demetrius I was conquering India. Having taken Tapuria and Margiana from Demetrius in about 170 BCE, the powerful Mithridates I attempted to conquer Bactria itself but was checked by Eucratides who wisely reformed the Diodotid alliance with the Parthia, likely paying a sum of Indian war-Elephants.[8] Having secured his western borders, Eucratides then conquered parts of the India, campaigning as far south as Barigaza (modern day Bharuch), solidifying Greek presence in Northern India with the Indo-Greek Kingdom.[9] According to the single remaining source, Roman historian Justin, Eucratides defeated Demetrius of India, but the identity of this king is uncertain: he could be either Demetrius I, or Demetrius II, but more likely Menander I.

Eukratideion

Image
The "Eukratideion", gold coin of Eucratides I (obverse and reverse)

Image
Coin with flange visible. The largest gold coin of Antiquity was minted by Eucratides I: the 20-stater coin of Eucratides weighs 169.2 grams, and has a diameter of 58 millimeters. It was originally found in Bukhara, and later acquired by Napoleon III. Cabinet des Médailles, Paris.[10][11]

"Eucratides led many wars with great courage, and, while weakened by them, was put under siege by Demetrius, king of the Indians. He made numerous sorties, and managed to vanquish 60,000 enemies with 300 soldiers, and thus liberated after four months, he put India under his rule" Justin XLI,6[12]


Numismatic evidence suggests that Eucratides I was a contemporary of the Indo-Greek kings Apollodotus I, Apollodotus II and Diodotus III. In any case, Eucratides' advances into India are proved by his abundant bilingual coinage that are spread all over northern India and Pakistan.

Eucratides is most likely the founder of Eucratidia - a city of great wealth straddling the Oxus.

Death

Justin ends his account of Eucratides' life by claiming that the warlike king was murdered on his way back from India by his son, who hated Eucratides so much that he mutilated and dragged his dead body after his chariot. This may have been a misinterpretation by Justin, and the regicide could instead have been perpetrated by an Euthydemid prince, Demetrius II, the son and successor of Demetrius I. Justin appears to believe Eucratides was killed by his own son, Heliocles I, but this is unlikely as patricide was uncommon in the Hellenistic age.

"As Eucratides returned from India, he was killed on the way back by his son, who ran his chariot over the blood of the king, and ordered the corpse to be left without a sepulture" Justin XLI,6[13]


The murder of Eucratides probably brought about a civil war amongst the members of the dynasty. The successors to Eucratides were Eucratides II and Heliocles I (145–130 BC), who was the last Greek king to reign in Bactria. Once the Yuezhi tribes overpowered Heliocles, the Greco-Bactrians lost control of the provinces north of the Hindu Kush.

Image
Tetradrachm Eukratides I, obverse; NMAT RN474-1

Two other members of the dynasty were Plato of Bactria and probably Demetrius II, who in that case was not identical with the king Justin claimed was the enemy of Eucratides I.[14]

The rule of the Greco-Bactrians soon crumbled following these numerous wars:

"The Bactrians, involved in various wars, lost not only their rule but also their freedom, as, exhausted by their wars against the Sogdians, the Arachotes, the Dranges, the Arians and the Indians, they were finally crushed, as if drawn of all their blood, by an enemy weaker than them, the Parthians." Justin, XLI,6[13]


However, the rule of the Indo-Greeks over territories south of the Hindu Kush lasted for a further 150 years, ultimately collapsing under the pressure of the Yüeh-chih and Scythian (Saka) invasions in around 10 BC, with the last Indo-Greek ruler Strato II.

Eukratidia

Eucratides founded the city of Eukratidia (Εὐκρατιδία).

Sources

Full account of Justin on Eucratides:

"Almost at the same time that Mithridates ascended the throne among the Parthians, Eucratides began to reign among the Bactrians; both of them being great men. But the fortune of the Parthians, being the more successful, raised them, under this prince, to the highest degree of power; while the Bactrians, harassed with various wars, lost not only their dominions, but their liberty; for having suffered from contentions with the Sogdians, the Drangians, and the Indians, they were at last overcome, as if exhausted, by the weaker Parthians. Eucratides, however, carried on several wars with great spirit, and though much reduced by his losses in them, yet, when he was besieged by Demetrius king of the Indians, with a garrison of only three hundred soldiers, he repulsed, by continual sallies, a force of sixty thousand enemies. Having accordingly escaped, after a five months’ siege, he reduced India under his power. But as he was returning from the country, he was killed on his march by his son, with whom he had shared his throne, and who was so far from concealing the murder, that, as if he had killed an enemy, and not his father, he drove his chariot through his blood, and ordered his body to be cast out unburied."

— Justin, Epitome of the Philippic History of Pompeius Trogus, XLI 6.1-5, IIe CE.[15]


Modern

Image
The coinage of Eucratides has been used in the design of some Afghanistan banknotes between 1979-2002, and is now in the emblem of the Bank of Afghanistan.
Da Afghanistan Bank which is the central bank of Afghanistan, in its seal has a Eucratides I-era coin having the Greek text, "ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ ΜΕΓΑΛΟΥ ΕΥΚΡΑΤΙΔΟΥ" which means “Of the great king Eucratides.”


Coins

Image
The Gold 20-stater coin of Eucratides weighs 169.2 grams, and has a diameter of 58 millimeters. It was originally found in Bukhara, and later acquired by Napoleon III. Cabinet des Médailles, Paris.[16]

Image
Silver tetradrachm of King Eucratides I (171–145 BC). Obv: Bust of Eucratides, helmet decorated with a bull's horn and ear, within bead and reel border. Rev: Depiction of the Dioscuri, each holding palm in left hand, spear in righthand. Greek legend: ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ ΜΕΓΑΛΟΥ ΕΥΚΡΑΤΙΔΟΥ (BASILEŌS MEGALOU EUKRATIDOU) "Of Great King Eucratides". Mint monogram below. Characteristics: Diameter 34 mm, weight 16.96 g, Attic standard.[17]

Image
Bilingual coin of Eucratides in the Indian standard (Greek on the obverse ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ ΜΕΓΑΛΟΥ ΕΥΚΡΑΤΙΔΟΥ "Of Great King Eucratides", Pali in the Kharoshthi script on the reverse)

Image
Coin of Eucratides with parents Heliokles and Laodike. Greek legends: ΒΑΣΙΛΕΥΣ ΜΕΓΑΣ ΕΥΚΡΑΤΙΔΗΣ "Great King Eucratides" and ΗΛΙΟΚΛΕΟΥΣ ΚΑΙ ΛΑΟΔΙΚΗΣ "Son of Heliokles and Laodike".

Image
Coin of Eucratides, holding a spear

Image
Eukratides I, imitation by the Scythians of Merv

Image
Eucratides I, Scythian imitation, end of 2nd century BC

Image
Greco-Bactrian and Indo-Greek kings, territories and chronology

See also

• History of Afghanistan
• Heliocles I

Notes

1. "Eucratides | king of Bactria". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 2021-08-12.
2. Marcellinus, xxvii. 6.
3. Foundation, Encyclopaedia Iranica. "Welcome to Encyclopaedia Iranica". iranicaonline.org. Retrieved 2021-08-01.
4. Boyce 1986, pp. 460-580
5. Tarn
6. "Eodem ferme tempore, sicut in Parthis Mithridates, ita in Bactris Eucratides, magni uterque uiri regna ineunt." tml Justin XLI,6[permanent dead link]
7. Astin, A. E. (1990). The Cambridge Ancient History. Cambridge University Press. p. 401. ISBN 978-0-521-23448-1.
8. "Mithradates I (c. 171 - 138 B.C.)". http://www.parthia.com. Retrieved 2021-08-12.
9. "Indo-Greek kingdom | Asian history". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 2021-08-12.
10. "Eucratides I". Oxford Reference. doi:10.1093/oi/authority.20110803095800416.
11. Hollis, Adrian S. (1996). "Laodice Mother of Eucratides of Bactria". Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik. 110: 161. ISSN 0084-5388.
12. Justin on Demetrius: "Multa tamen Eucratides bella magna uirtute gessit, quibus adtritus cum obsidionem Demetrii, regis Indorum, pateretur, cum CCC militibus LX milia hostium adsiduis eruptionibus uicit. Quinto itaque mense liberatus Indiam in potestatem redegit." Justin XLI,6
13. Justin XLI,6
14. "Demetrios II of Bactria and Hoards from Ai Khanoum" by L.M. Wilson (Oriental Numismatic Society newsletter nr 180)
15. Translation: John Selby Watson 1853
16. Homren, Wayne (23 November 2014). "The Biggest Ancient Coins". Vol. 17 no. 48. Numismatic Bibliomania Society. Retrieved 13 April 2018.
17. Monnaie, Eucratide I. (roi de Bactriane) Autorité émettrice de. [Monnaie : 20 Statères, Or, Incertain, Bactriane, Eucratide I].

References

• The Shape of Ancient Thought. Comparative studies in Greek and Indian Philosophies by Thomas McEvilley (Allworth Press and the School of Visual Arts, 2002) ISBN 1-58115-203-5
• Buddhism in Central Asia by B. N. Puri (Motilal Banarsidass Pub, January 1, 2000) ISBN 81-208-0372-8
• The Greeks in Bactria and India, W. W. Tarn, Cambridge University Press.

External links

• Coins of Eucratides
• More coins of Eucratides
• Catalogue of the Coins of Eucratides I
admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 34615
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

Postby admin » Tue Dec 28, 2021 8:33 am

Mathura
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 12/28/21

The Shunga Empire was an ancient Indian dynasty from Magadha that controlled areas of the central and eastern Indian subcontinent from around 184 to 75 BCE. The dynasty was established by Pushyamitra Shunga, after taking the throne of the Maurya Empire....
 
Pushyamitra Shunga ruled for 36 years and was succeeded by his son Agnimitra. There were ten Shunga rulers. However, after the death of Agnimitra, the second king of the dynasty, the empire rapidly disintegrated: inscriptions and coins indicate that much of northern and central India consisted of small kingdoms and city-states that were independent of any Shunga hegemony....
 
Art, education, philosophy, and other forms of learning flowered during this period including small terracotta images, larger stone sculptures, and architectural monuments such as the stupa at Bharhut, and the renowned Great Stupa at Sanchi....
 
Artistry also progressed with the rise of the Mathura art style.... 
 
However, the city of Mathura further west never seems to have been under the direct control of the Shungas, as no archaeological evidence of a Shunga presence has ever been found in Mathura. On the contrary, according to the Yavanarajya inscription, Mathura was probably under the control of Indo-Greeks from some time between 180 BCE and 100 BCE, and remained so as late as 70 BCE.... 
The Yavanarajya inscription, states Sonya Rhie Quintanilla, mentions year 116 of the yavana hegemony (yavanarajya), attesting to the 2nd-century and 1st-century BCE Indo-Greek presence. This makes the inscription unique in that it mentions the Indo-Greeks, and it "may confirm" the numismatic and literary evidence which suggests that Mathura was under the ruler of the Indo-Greeks during the period between 185 BCE-85 BCE....

Quintanilla states that the nearly contemporaneous coinage of Menander I (165-135 BCE) and his successors found in the Mathura region, in combination with this inscription, suggests the hypothesis that there was a tributary style relationship between the Indo-Greek suzerains and the Mitra dynasty that ruled that region at the time.

-- Yavanarajya inscription, by Wikipedia
 
Meanwhile, Kabul and much of the Punjab passed into the hands of the Indo-Greeks...
 
-- Shunga Empire, by Wikipedia

The Western Satraps, or Western Kshatrapas (Brahmi: [x], Mahakṣatrapa, "Great Satraps") were Indo-Scythian (Saka) rulers of ancient India who ruled over the region of Sindh, Makran, Saurashtra and Malwa (in modern Sindh, Balochistan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh of India and Pakistan), between 35 and 405 CE. The Western Satraps were contemporaneous with the Kushans who ruled the northern part of the Indian subcontinent, and were possibly vassals of the Kushans...
 
They are called "Western Satraps" in modern historiography in order to differentiate them from the "Northern Satraps", who ruled in Punjab and Mathura until the 2nd century CE.

-- Western Satraps, by Wikipedia

The Northern Satraps ruled the area from Eastern Punjab to Mathura.

The Northern Satraps (Brahmi: [x], Kṣatrapa, "Satraps" or [x], Mahakṣatrapa, "Great Satraps"), or sometimes Satraps of Mathura, or Northern Sakas, are a dynasty of Indo-Scythian rulers who held sway over the area of Eastern Punjab and Mathura after the decline of the Indo-Greeks, from the end of the 1st century BCE to the 2nd century CE... They are thought to have replaced the last of the Indo-Greek kings in the Eastern Punjab, as well as the Mitra dynasty and the Datta dynasty of local Indian rulers in Mathura.

The Northern Satraps were probably displaced by, or became vassals of, the Kushans from the time of Vima Kadphises, who is known to have ruled in Mathura in 90–100 CE, and they are known to have acted as Satraps and Great Satraps in the Mathura region for his successor Kanishka (127–150 CE).


-- Northern Satraps, by Wikipedia


Country: India
State: Uttar Pradesh
District: Mathura

Mathura is a city and the administrative headquarters of Mathura district in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. It is located approximately 57.6 kilometres (35.8 mi) north of Agra, and 166 kilometres (103 mi) south-east of Delhi; about 14.5 kilometres (9.0 mi) from the town of Vrindavan, and 22 kilometres (14 mi) from Govardhan. In ancient times, Mathura was an economic hub, located at the junction of important caravan routes. The 2011 Census of India estimated the population of Mathura at 441,894.

In Hinduism, Mathura is birthplace of Krishna, which is located at the Krishna Janmasthan Temple Complex.[7] It is one of the Sapta Puri, the seven cities considered holy by Hindus. The Kesava Deo Temple was built in ancient times on the site of Krishna's birthplace (an underground prison). Mathura was the capital of the kingdom of Surasena, ruled by Kansa, the maternal uncle of Krishna. Janmashtami is grandly celebrated in Mathura every year.

Mathura has been chosen as one of the heritage cities for the Heritage City Development and Augmentation Yojana scheme of Government of India.[8]

History

See also: Mathura art

Mathura, which lies at the centre of the cultural region of Braj[5] has an ancient history and is also believed to be the homeland and birthplace of Krishna, who belonged to the Yadu dynasty. According to the Archaeological Survey of India plaque at the Mathura Museum,[9] the city is mentioned in the oldest Indian epic, the Ramayana. In the epic, the Ikshwaku prince Shatrughna slays a demon called Lavanasura and claims the land. Afterwards, the place came to be known as Madhuvan as it was thickly wooded, then Madhupura and later Mathura.[10] The most important pilgrimage site in Mathura was Katra ('market place'), now referred to as Krishna Janmasthan ('the birthplace of Krishna'). Excavations at the site revealed pottery and terracotta dating to the sixth century BCE, the remains of a large Buddhist complex, including a monastery called Yasha Vihara of the Gupta period, as well as Jain sculptures of the same era.[11][12]

Image
Statue of Kanishka I, 2nd century CE, Mathura Museum.

Image
Sculpture of woman from ancient Braj-Mathura ca. 2nd century CE.

Ancient history

Archaeological excavations at Mathura show the gradual growth of a village into an important city during the Vedic age. The earliest period belonged to the Painted Grey Ware culture (1100–500 BCE), followed by the Northern Black Polished Ware culture (700–200 BCE). Mathura derived its importance as a center of trade due to its location where the northern trade route of the Indo-Gangetic Plain met with the routes to Malwa (central India) and the west coast.[13] Archaeologists have discovered a fragment of Mathura red sandstone from Rakhigarhi - a site of Indus Valley civilization dated to 3rd millennium BCE - which was used as a grindstone; red sandstone was also a popular material for historic period sculptures.[14]

By the 6th century BCE Mathura became the capital of the Surasena Kingdom.[15] The city was later ruled by the Maurya empire (4th to 2nd centuries BCE). Megasthenes, writing in the early 3rd century BCE, mentions Mathura as a great city under the name Μέθορα (Méthora).[16] It seems it never was under the direct control of the following Shunga dynasty (2nd century BCE) as not a single archaeological remain of a Shunga presence were ever found in Mathura.[17]

The Indo-Greeks may have taken control, direct or indirect, of Mathura some time between 180 BCE and 100 BCE, and remained so as late as 70 BCE according to the Yavanarajya inscription,[17] which was found in Maghera, a town 17 kilometres (11 mi) from Mathura.[18] The opening of the 3 line text of this inscription in Brahmi script translates as: "In the 116th year of the Yavana kingdom..."[19][20] or '"In the 116th year of Yavana hegemony" ("Yavanarajya")[17] However, this also corresponds to the presence of the native Mitra dynasty of local rulers in Mathura, in approximately the same time frame (150 BCE—50 BCE), possibly pointing to a vassalage relationship with the Indo-Greeks.[17]

Indo-Scythians

After a period of local rule, Mathura was conquered by the Indo-Scythians during the 1st century BCE. The Indo-Scythian satraps of Mathura are sometimes called the "Northern Satraps", as opposed to the "Western Satraps" ruling in Gujarat and Malwa. However, Indo-Scythian control proved to be short lived, following the reign of the Indo-Scythian Mahakshatrapa ("Great Satrap") Rajuvula, c. 10–25 CE. The Mora Well inscription of Mahakshatrapa Rajuvula, of the early decades of the first century CE, found in a village seven miles from Mathura, stated that images pratima(h) of the blessed (bhagavatam) five Vrishni heroes, were installed in a stone shrine of a person called Tosa.[21] The heroes were identified from a passage in the Vayu Purana as Samkarsana, Vasudev, Pradyumna, Samba, and Aniruddha.[22] The English translation of the inscription read:-

. . . of the son of mahakṣatrapa Rāṃjūvula, svāmi . . . The images of the holy paṃcavīras of the Vṛṣṇis is... the stone shrine... whom the magnificent matchless stone house of Toṣā was erected and maintained... five objects of adoration made of stone, radiant, as it were with highest beauty...[23]


The Mathura inscription of the time of Mahakshatrapa Rajuvula's son, Mahakshatrapa Sodasa recorded erection of a torana (gateway), vedika (terrace) and chatuhsala (quadrangle) at the Mahasthana (great place) of Bhagavat Vasudeva.[24] Several male torsos representing the Vrisni heroes were also found in a shrine in Mora dating to the time of Mahakshatrapa Sodasa.[21]

Kushan Empire

During the rule of the great Kushanas, art and culture flourished in the region and reached new heights and is now famously known as the Mathura School of Art. The Kushans took control of Mathura some time after Mahakshatrapa Sodasa, although several of his successors ruled as Kushans vassals, such as the Indo-Scythian "Great Satrap" Kharapallana and the "Satrap" Vanaspara, both of whom paid allegiance to the Kushans in an inscription at Sarnath, dating to the 3rd year of the reign of the Kushan emperor Kanishka the Great c. 130 CE.[25] Mathuran art and culture reached its zenith under the Kushan dynasty which had Mathura as one of its capitals.[26] The preceding capitals of the Kushans included Kapisa (modern Bagram, Afghanistan), Purushapura (modern Peshawar, Pakistan) and Takshasila/Sirsukh/ (modern Taxila, Pakistan). Mathura ateliers were most active during the epoch of the great Kushan emperors Kanishka, Huvishka, Vasudeva whose reign represents the Golden Age of Mathura sculpture.[27] During 3rd century Nagas ruled Mathura after decline of Kushan Empire.[28]

Gupta Empire

In the reign of Chandragupta Vikramaditya, a magnificent temple of Vishnu was built at the site of Katra Keshavadeva.[27] Kalidasa, hailed as the greatest poet and dramatist in Sanskrit, in the fourth-fifth century CE mentioned the groves of Vrindavan and Govardhan hill as:

"...the king of Mathura, whose fame was acknowledged in song even by the devatas... At that moment, though still in Mathura, it appears as if Ganga has merged with Yamuna at the Sangam... In a Vrindavan garden which is superior even to Kubera's garden, known as Chaitra-ratha... You can, as well, during rains, look at the dancing peacocks, while sitting in a pleasant cave of the Goverdhan Mountain"[29]


Chinese Buddhist Monk Faxian mentions the city as a centre of Buddhism about 400 CE. He found the people were very well off, there were no taxes other than for those on farmers who tilled the royal land. He found that people did not kill animals, no one consumed wine, and did not eat onion or garlic. He found that engraved title deeds were issued to land owners. Visiting priests were provided with accommodation, beds, mats, food, drinks and clothes to perform scholarly works.[30][page needed]

Harsha Empire

Xuanzang, who visited the city in 634 CE, mentions it as Mot'ulo, recording that it contained twenty Buddhist monasteries and five Hindu temples.[31] Later, he went east to Thanesar, Jalandhar in the eastern Punjab, before climbing up to visit predominantly Theravada monasteries in the Kulu valley and turning southward again to Bairat and then Mathura, on the Yamuna river.[32]

Medieval History and Islamic Invasions

Early Middle Ages


The famous female Alvar saint, Andal visualized going to a pilgrimage which began at Mathura, then proceeded to Gokul, the Yamuna, the pool of Kaliya, Vrindavan, Govardhan, and finished at Dwarka.[33] The eleventh century Kashmiri poet, Bilhana visited Mathura and Vrindavan after leaving Kashmir en route to Karnataka.[34]

High Middle Ages

The city was sacked and many of its temples destroyed by Mahmud of Ghazni in 1018 CE.[31] The capture of Mathura by Maḥmūd Ibn Sebüktegīn is described by the historian al-Utbi (Abu Nasr Muhammad ibn Muhammad al Jabbaru-l 'Utbi) in his work Tarikh Yamini as follows:

The wall of the city was constructed of hard stone, and two gates opened upon the river flowing under the city, which were erected upon strong and lofty foundations, to protect them against the floods of the river and rains. On both sides of the city there were a thousand houses, to which idol temples were attached, all strengthened from top to bottom by rivets of iron, and all made of masonry work; and opposite to them were other buildings, supported on broad wooden pillars, to give them strength.

In the middle of the city there was a temple larger and firmer than the rest, which can neither be described nor painted. The Sultan thus wrote respecting it :— “ If any should wish to construct a building equal to this, he would not be able to do it without expending an hundred thousand thousand red dinars, and it would occupy two hundred years, even though the most experienced and able workmen were employed.” Among the idols there were five made of red gold, each five yards high, fixed in the air without support. In the eyes of one of these idols there were two rubies, of such value, that if any one were to sell such as are like them, he would obtain fifty thousand dinars. On another, there was a sapphire purer than water, and more sparkling than crystal; the weight was four hundred and fifty miskals. The two feet of another idol weighed four thousand four hundred miskals, and the entire quantity of gold yielded by the bodies of these idols, was ninety-eight thousand three hundred miskals. The idols of silver amounted to two hundred, but they could not be weighed without breaking them to pieces and putting them into scales. The Sultan gave orders that all the temples should be burnt with naphtha and fire, and levelled with the ground.[35]


The temple at Katra was sacked by Maḥmūd Ibn Sebüktegīn. A temple was built to replace it in 1150 CE. The Mathura prasasti (Eulogistic Inscription) dated Samvat (V.S.) 1207 (1150 CE), said to have been found in 1889 CE at the Keshava mound by Anton Fuhrer, German Indologist who worked with the Archaeological Survey of India, recorded the foundations of a temple dedicated to Vishnu at the Katra site:

Jajja, who carried the burden of the varga, together with a committee of trustees (goshtijana), built a large temple of Vishnu, brilliantly white and touching the clouds.


Jajja was a vassal of the Gahadavalas in charge of Mathura, and the committee mentioned in the prasasti could have been of an earlier Vaishnava temple.[36] The temple built by Jajja at Katra was destroyed by the forces of Qutubuddin Aibak, though Feroz Tughlaq (r. 1351–88 CE) was also said to have attacked it.[37] It was repaired and survived till the reign of Sikandar Lodi (r. 1489–1517 CE).

In the twelfth century, Bhatta Lakshmidhara, chief minister of the Gahadavala king Govindachandra (r. 1114–1155 CE), wrote the earliest surviving collection of verses in praise of the sacred sites of Mathura in his work Krtyakalpataru, which has been described as "the first re-statement of the theory of Tirtha-yatra (pilgrimage)".[38] In his Krtyakalpataru, Bhatta Lakshmidhara devoted an entire section (9) to Mathura.[39]

Later on the city was sacked again by Sikandar Lodi, who ruled the Sultanate of Delhi from 1489 to 1517 CE.[40][41] Sikandar Lodi earned the epithet of 'Butt Shikan', the 'Destroyer of Idols'. Ferishta recorded that Sikandar Lodi was a staunch Muslim, with a passion for vandalizing heathen temples:

He was firmly attached to the Mahomedan religion, and made a point of destroying all Hindu temples. In the city of Mathura he caused masjids and bazaars to be built opposite the bathing-stairs leading to the river, and ordered that no Hindus should be allowed to bathe there. He forbade the barbers to shave the beards and heads of the inhabitants, in order to prevent the Hindus following their usual practices at such pilgrimages.[42]


In Tarikh-i Daudi, of 'Abdu-lla (written during the time of Jahangir) said of Sikandar Lodi:

He was so zealous a Musulman that he utterly destroyed divers places of worship of the infidels, and left not a vestige remaining of them. He entirely ruined the shrines of Mathura, the mine of heathenism, and turned their principal Hindu places of worship into caravanserais and colleges. Their stone images were given to the butchers to serve them as meat-weights, and all the Hindus in Mathura were strictly prohibited from shaving their heads and beards, and performing their ablutions. He thus put an end to all the idolatrous rites of the infidels there; and no Hindu, if he wished to have his head or beard shaved, could get a barber to do it. Every city thus conformed as he desired to the customs of Islam.[43]


Vallabhacharya and Chaitanya Mahaprabhu arrived in the Braj region, in search of sacred places that had been destroyed or lost. In Shrikrsnashrayah, that make up the Sodashagrantha, Vallabha said of his age:

The Malechchhas (non-Hindus in this context) have surrounded all the holy places with the result that they have become infected with evil. Besides, the holy people are full of sorrow. At such a time Krishna alone is my way.[44]


Late Middle Ages

The Portuguese, Father Antonio Monserrate (1536 CE-1600 CE), who was on a Jesuit mission at the Mughal Court during the times of Akbar, visited Mathura in 1580–82, and noted that all temples built at sites associated with the deeds of Krishna were in ruins:-

It (Mathura) used to be a great and well populated city, with splendid buildings and a great circuit of walls. The ruins plainly indicate how imposing its buildings were. For out of these forgotten ruins are dug up columns and very ancient statues, of skilful and cunning workmanship. Only one Hindu temple is left out of many; for the Musalmans have completely destroyed all except the pyramids. Huge crowds of pilgrims come from all over India to this temple, which is situated on the high bank of the Jomanis (Yamuna)...[45]


The Keshavadeva temple was rebuilt by the Bundela Rajah Vir Singh Deo at a cost of thirty-three lakh rupees when the gold was priced at around ₹ 10/- per tola.[46] And the grand structure of the temple in Mathura was regarded a "wonder of the age".[47]

The Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb, built the Shahi-Eidgah Mosque during his rule, which is adjacent to Shri Krishna Janmabhoomi believed to be over a Hindu temple.[48] He also changed the city's name to Islamabad.[49] In 1669, Aurangzeb issued a general order for the demolition of Hindu schools and temples, in 1670, specifically ordered the destruction of the Keshavadeva temple. Saqi Mustaid Khan recorded:

On Thursday, 27th January/15 Ramzan (27 January 1670)... the Emperor as the promoter of justice and overthrower of mischief, as a knower of truth and destroyer of oppression as the zephyr of the garden of victory and the reviver of the faith of the Prophet, issued orders for the demolition of the temple situated in Mathura, famous as the Dehra of Kesho Rai. In a short time by the great exertions of his officers, the destruction of this strong foundation of infidelity was accomplished and on its site a lofty mosque was built by the expenditure of a large sum... Praised be the august God of the faith of Islam, that in the auspicious reign of this destroyer of infidelity and turbulence, such a wonderful and seemingly impossible work was successfully accomplished.

On seeing this instance of the strength of the emperor's faith and the grandeur of his devotion to God, the proud Rajas were stifled, and in amazement they stood like images facing the wall. The idols, large and small, set with costly jewels, which had been set up in the temple, were brought to Agra, and buried under the step of the mosque of the Begum Shahib in order to be continuously trodden upon. The name of Mathura was changed to Islamabad.[50]


The Muslim conquest resulted in the destruction of all Buddhist, Jain, and Hindu temples and monuments in and around Mathura. Buddhism, already in decline, never revived, and for the next four hundred years the Jains and Hindus were unable to erect any temples that were not sooner or later demolished.[51] Many of the sites that had been places of religious importance were abandoned and gradually sank beneath the earth. But some of them were not forgotten, owing to the persistence of oral tradition, the refashioning of a temple into a mosque, or the presence of humble shrines, some of which housed sculptural fragments of earlier buildings. Several of them have survived as places of significance in the modern pilgrimage circuit.[51]

The rebellion in Mathurá district seems to have gained ground. “ On the 14th Rajab, 1080, [28th November, 1669], his Majesty left Dihlí for Akbarábád, and almost daily enjoyed the pleasures of the chase. On the 21st Rajab, whilst hunting, he received the report of a rebellion having broken out at Mauza' Rewarah, Chandarkah, and Surkhrú. Hasan 'Ali Khán was ordered to attack the rebels at night, which he did, and the firing lasted till 12 o'clock the next day. The rebels, unable longer to withstand, thinking of the honour of their families, now fought with short arms, and many imperial soldiers and companions of Hasan ’Alí were killed. Three hundred rebels were sent to perdition, and two hundred and fifty, men and women, caught. Hasan ’Alí, in the afternoon, reported personally the result of the fight, and was ordered to leave the prisoners and the cattle in charge of Sayyid Zain ul-'Abidin, the jágirdár of the place. Çaf Shikan Khán also (who after ’Abdunnabí's death had been appointed Faujdár of Mathura) waited on the emperor, and was ordered to tell off two hundred troopers to guard the fields attached to the villages, and prevent soldiers from plundering and kidnapping children. Námdár Khán, Faujdár of Murádábád, also came to pay his respects. Çafshikan Khán was removed from his office, and Hasan 'Ali Khán was appointed Faujdár of Mathura, with a command of Three Thousand and Five Hundred, 2000 troopers, and received a dress of honour, a sword, and a horse. * * * On the 18th Sha'bán [1st January, 1670), his Majesty entered Agrah. Kokilá Ját, the wicked ringleader of the rebels of District*......, who had been the cause of ’Abdunnabí's death and who had plundered Parganah Sa'dábád, was at last caught by Hasan ’Alí Khán and his zealous peshkár, Shaikh Razíuddin, and he was now sent with the Shaikh to Agrah, where by order of his Majesty he was executed. Kokila's son and daughter were given to Jawahir Khán Nazir [a eunuch]. The girl was later married to Shah Quli, the well-known Chelah; and his son, who was called Fázil, became in time so excellent a Hafiz [one who knows the Qorán by heart], that his Majesty preferred him to all others and even chaunted passages to him. Shaikh Razíuddin, who had captured Kokila, belonged to a respectable family in Bhagalpur, Bihár, and was an excellent soldier, administrator, and companion; he was at the same time so learned, that he was ordered to assist in the compilation of the Fatáwá i 'Alamgiri [the great code of Muhammadan laws]. He received a daily allowance of three rupees.”+ (Haásir i ’Alamgiri, pp. 92 to 91.) Hasan ’Alí Khán retained his office from 1080 to Sha'bán 1087 (October, 1676), when Sulțán Qulí Khán was appointed Faujdír of Mathurá., Asiatic Society of Bengal, Proceedings[52]

Early Modern History

According the biographer of Raja Jai Singh, Atmaram, when Jai Singh was campaigning against the Jat Raja Churaman Singh, he bathed at Radha kund on the full moon of Kartik, went to Mathura in the month of Shravan in 1724, and performed the marriage of his daughter on Janmashtami. He then undertook a tour of the sacred forests of Braj, and, on his return to Mathura, founded religious establishments and celebrated Holi.[53]

Pilgrimage by the Family of Peshwa of Maratha Empire

During the period of the expansion of Maratha Empire, pilgrimage to the holy places in the north became quite frequent. Pilgrims required protection on the way and took advantage of the constant movement of troops that journeyed to and back from their homeland for military purposes. That is how the practice arose of ladies accompanying military expeditions. The mother of Peshwa Balaji Baji Rao, Kashitai performed her famous pilgrimage for four years in the north, visiting Mathura, Prayag, Ayodhya, Banaras, and other holy places.[54]

Religious heritage

Mathura is a holy city for Hinduism and is considered the heart of Brij Bhoomi, the land of Krishna.[55][56] The twin-city to Mathura is Vrindavan.

There are many places of historic and religious importance in Mathura and its neighbouring towns.[8]

Krishna Janmasthan Temple Complex is an important group of temples built around what is considered to be the birthplace of Krishna.[57][58] The temple complex contains Keshav Deva temple, Garbha Griha shrine, Bhagavata Bhavan and the Rangabhoomi where the final battle between Krishna and Kans took place.[59][7][9][57]

The Dwarkadheesh Temple is one of the largest temples in Mathura.[7] Vishram Ghat at the bank of river Yamuna is said to be the place were Krishna had rested after killing Kans.[7]

Other notable Hindu religious sites and heritage locations includes the Gita Mandir,[60] Govind Dev temple,[60] ISKCON temple,[7] Kusum Sarovar,[60] Naam yog Sadhna Mandir, Peepleshwar Mahadeo Temple[61][62] and Yum Yamuna Temple[61]

Kankali Tila brought forth many treasures of Jain art. The archaeological findings testifies the existence of two Jain temples and stupas. Numerous Jain sculptures, Ayagapattas (tablet of homage),[63] pillars, crossbeams and lintels were found during archaeological excavations. Some of the sculptures are provided with inscriptions that report on the contemporary society and organization of the Jain community.

Most sculptures could be dated from the 2nd century BC to the 12th century CE, thus representing a continuous period of about 14 centuries during which Jainism flourished at Mathura. These sculptures are now housed in the Lucknow State Museum and in the Mathura Museum.

Jama Mosque, Mathura is a notable site for Islam. It was completed by Abd-un-Nabi, governor of Aurangzeb in 1662.

The Mathura Museum is notable for archaeological artefacts, especially those from the Kushan and Gupta empires. It has sculptures associated with Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism.[9][64]

...

See also

• Brij Bhoomi
• Gokul
• Kankali Tila
• Nandgaon
• Goverdhan
• Sonkh

References

1. "DM PROFILE | District Mathura, Government of Uttar Pradesh | India".
2. "Uttar Pradesh Police | Officials". uppolice.gov.in. Retrieved 9 January 2020.
3. "Mathura-Vrindavan Mayor Election Result 2017 Live Updates: BJP candidate Mukesh Arya is new Mayor". 1 December 2017.
4. "52nd Report of the Commissioner for Linguistic Minorities in India" (PDF). nclm.nic.in. Ministry of Minority Affairs. Archived from the original (PDF) on 25 May 2017. Retrieved 7 December 2018.
5. Lucia Michelutti (2002). "Sons of Krishna: the politics of Yadav community formation in a North Indian town" (PDF). PhD Thesis Social Anthropology. London School of Economics and Political Science University of London. p. 49. Retrieved 20 May 2015.
6. "Mathura City" (PDF). mohua.gov.in. Retrieved 22 November 2020.
7. Prasad, Dev (2015). Krishna: A Journey through the Lands & Legends of Krishna. Jaico Publishing House. p. 22. ISBN 978-81-8495-170-7.
8. "Mathura: Mathura gets five more 'teerth sthals'". The Times of India. 24 May 2018. Retrieved 23 November 2021.
9. Frederic Salmon Growse (1874). Mathura: A District Memoir. British Library.
10. Pargiter, F.E. (1972). Ancient Indian Historical Tradition, Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, p.170.
11. Meenakshi Jain (2019). Flight of Deities and Rebirth of Temples: Episodes from Indian History. Aryan Books International. p. 66. ISBN 978-8173056192.
12. "History | District Mathura, Government of Uttar Pradesh | India". Retrieved 12 January 2021.
13. Upinder Singh (2008). A History of Ancient and Early Medieval India: From the Stone Age to the 12th Century. Pearson Education India. pp. 281, 336. ISBN 978-81-317-1120-0.
14. S.gautam, Mantabya; Law, Randall; Garge, Tejas. "Initial Geologic Provenience Studies of Stone and Metal Artefacts from Rakhigarhi".
15. "Imperial Gazetteer of India. v. 18". Digital South Asia Library. 1908. pp. 63–74.
16. Megasthenes, fragment 23 "The Surasenians, an Indian tribe, with two great cities, Methora and Clisobora; the navigable river Iomanes flows through their territory" quoted in Arrian Indica 8.5. Also "The river Jomanes (Yamuna) flows through the Palibothri into the Ganges between the towns Methora and Carisobora." in FRAGM. LVI. Plin. Hist. Nat. VI. 21. 8–23. 11. Archived 10 December 2008 at the Wayback Machine
17. History of Early Stone Sculpture at Mathura: Ca. 150 BCE – 100 CE, Sonya Rhie Quintanilla, BRILL, 2007, p.8-10 [1]
18. Bulletin of the Asia Institute. Wayne State University Press. 2002. p. 70.
19. B. N. Mukherjee (2004). Kushāṇa studies: new perspectives. Firma KLM. p. 13. ISBN 81-7102-109-3.
20. Osmund Bopearachchi; Wilfried Pieper (1998). Ancient Indian coins. Brepols. ISBN 2-503-50730-1.
21. Meenakshi Jain (2019). Flight of Deities and Rebirth of Temples: Episodes from Indian History. Aryan Books International. p. 64. ISBN 978-8173056192.
22. Jitendra Nath Banerjea (1968). Religion in Art and Archaeology: Vaishnavism and Saivism. University of Lucknow. pp. 12–13.
23. Sonya Rhie Quintanilla (2007). History of Early Stone Sculpture at Mathura: Ca. 150 BCE – 100 CE. BRILL. pp. 260–261. ISBN 978-9004155374.
24. Harihar Panda (2007). Prof. H.C. Raychaudhuri, as a Historian. Northern Book Centre. p. 80. ISBN 978-8172112103.
25. A Catalogue of the Indian Coins in the British Museum. Andhras etc.... Rapson, p. ciii.
26. Singh, Upinder (2008). A History of Ancient and Early Medieval India: From the Stone Age to the 12th Century. Pearson Education India. ISBN 9788131716779. Retrieved 29 March 2017.
27. Vasudeva S. Agrawala (1965). Masterpieces of Mathura Sculpture. Prithivi Prakashan, Varanasi. p. 2.
28. Ashvini Agrawal 1989, p. 54.
29. Rajendra Tandon (2010). Kalidasa: Raghuvamsham. Rupa Publication. pp. 45–51. ISBN 978-8129115867.
30. Beal, Samuel (1884). Si-Yu-Ki: Buddhist Records of the Western World (translated from chinese). London: Truebner & Co.
31. Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Muttra" . Encyclopædia Britannica. 19 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 101–102. (Mathura)
32. Yule, Henry; Douglas, Robert Kennaway (1911). "Hsüan Tsang" . In Chisholm, Hugh (ed.). Encyclopædia Britannica. 13 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 844.
33. Friedhelm Hardy (2001). Viraha-bhakti: The Early History of Kṛṣṇa Devotion in South India. Oxford University Press, Varanasi. p. 424. ISBN 978-0195649161.
34. (trans.) Georg Bühler (1875). The Vikramânkadevacharita, a life of King Vikramâditya – Tribhuvanamalla of Kalyâna by Bilhana. Bombay, Government central book depôt. p. 18.
35. Sir Henry Miers Elliot & John Dowson (1867). The History of India, as told by its own Historians Volume 2. pp. 44–45.
36. Meenakshi Jain (2019). Flight of Deities and Rebirth of Temples: Episodes from Indian History. Aryan Books International. p. 67. ISBN 978-8173056192.
37. Meenakshi Jain (2019). Flight of Deities and Rebirth of Temples: Episodes from Indian History. Aryan Books International. p. 68. ISBN 978-8173056192.
38. K.V. Rangaswami Aiyangar (1942). Krtyakalpataru of Bhatta Lakshmidhara, Vol.8. Oriental Institute, Baroda. p. lxxxvii–lxxxviii.
39. K.V. Rangaswami Aiyangar (1942). Krtyakalpataru of Bhatta Lakshmidhara, Vol.8. Oriental Institute, Baroda. p. १८६-१९४ (186–194).
40. Sultan Sikandar Lodi Archived 4 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine The Muntakhabu-'rūkh by Al-Badāoni (16th-century historian), Packard Humanities Institute.
41. Lodi Kings: Chart The Imperial Gazetteer of India, 1909, v. 2, p. 369..
42. John Briggs (1908). History of the rise of the Mahomedan power in India till the year A.D. 1612 Volume 1. p. 586.
43. Sir H.M. Elliot & John Dowson (1873). History of India, as told by its own Historians: the Muhammadan period Vol.4. p. 447.
44. Richard Barz (1992). Bhakti Sect Of Vallabhacarya. Motilal UK Books of India. p. 16. ISBN 978-8121505765.
45. J. S. Hoyland (trans.), S. N. Banerjee (annotator) (1922). Commentary of Father Monserrate. Oxford University Press. p. 93.
46. "Historical Gold Prices". sdbullion.com. Retrieved 2 February 2021.
47. Jadunath Sarkar (1928). History Of Aurangzib Vol.3. p. 266.
48. Asher, Catherine B (24 September 1992). Architecture of Mughal India. ISBN 9780521267281.
49. Fisher, Michael H. (2018). An Environmental History of India: From Earliest Times to the Twenty-First Century. Cambridge University Press. p. 109. ISBN 978-1-107-11162-2.
50. Jadunath Sarkar (1947). Maasir-i-Alamgiri, A History Of Emperor Aurangzeb by Saqi Mustaid Khan. p. 60.
51. A. W. Entwistle (1987). Braj: Centre of Krishna Pilgrimage (PDF). Egbert Forsten Publishing. pp. 122–124. ISBN 978-9069800165.
52. Asiatic Society of Bengal (1873). Proceedings. Government Press, North-western Provinces and Oudh. p. 14.
53. Ashim Kumar Roy (2006). History of the Jaipur City. Manohar Publishing. p. 228. ISBN 978-8173046971.
54. Govind Sakharam Sardesai (1946). New History of the Marathas, Vol. 2. Phoenix Publication. p. 243.
55. Prasad, Dev (2015). Krishna: A Journey through the Lands & Legends of Krishna. Jaico Publishing House. p. 16. ISBN 978-81-8495-170-7.
56. Lucia Michelutti (2002). "Sons of Krishna: the politics of Yadav community formation in a North Indian town" (PDF). PhD Thesis Social Anthropology. London School of Economics and Political Science University of London. p. 46. Retrieved 14 September 2019.
57. Krishna, Nanditha (2018). The Book of Avatars and Divinities. Penguin Random House India. ISBN 9780143446880.
58. Vemsani, Lavanya (2016). Krishna in History, Thought, and Culture: An Encyclopedia of the Hindu Lord of Many Names: An Encyclopedia of the Hindu Lord of Many Names. ABC-CLIO. pp. 140–141. ISBN 978-1-61069-211-3.
59. Aug 2019, ANI | 24; Ist, 07:07 Pm. "Devotees throng 'Krishna Janmbhumi' in UP's Mathura on occasion of 'Janmashtami'" – via economictimes.indiatimes.com.
60. Gupta, Sonam (15 May 2017). "Mathura Temple – The Famous Temples of Mathura". The Times of India. Retrieved 20 April 2021.
61. "Exploring 5 ancient temples of Mathura". Times of India Travel.
62. Lal, Kanwar(1961). Holy Cities of India, Delhi : Asia Press, p.285.
63. Das 1980, p. 171.
64. Adhikari, Shona (18 August 2002). "Priceless artefacts hidden away from tourists' eyes". Tribune. Retrieved 13 September 2019.
65. Jaiswal, Anuja (3 September 2018). "Over 30 lakh devotees assemble in Mathura to celebrate Krishna Janmashtami". The Times of India. Retrieved 14 September 2019.
66. "One million devotees celebrate Janmashtami in Mathura". Deccan Herald. 28 August 2013. Retrieved 12 September 2019.
67. "Janmashtami 2019: 23rd or 24th Aug- when Mathura is celebrating Lord krishna's birth?". DNA India. 22 August 2019. Retrieved 14 September 2019.
68. "Maps, Weather, and Airports for Mathura, India". Retrieved 3 June 2016.
69. "Station: Mathura Climatological Table 1981–2010" (PDF). Climatological Normals 1981–2010. India Meteorological Department. January 2015. pp. 481–482. Archived from the original (PDF) on 5 February 2020. Retrieved 22 September 2020.
70. "Extremes of Temperature & Rainfall for Indian Stations (Up to 2012)" (PDF). India Meteorological Department. December 2016. p. M220. Archived from the original (PDF) on 5 February 2020. Retrieved 22 September 2020.
71. "Provisional Population Totals Paper 1 of 2011 : Uttar Pradesh". 2011 Census of India. Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. Retrieved 10 February 2013.
72. "C-16 Population By Mother Tongue – Town level". censusindia.gov.in. Retrieved 2 April 2021.
73. "UP Lok Sabha Election | Poll harvest season: Hema Malini starts campaigning from wheat farms in Mathura with sickle in hand". The Economic Times. Retrieved 1 June 2021.
74. Ahmad, F. "12177/Howrah – Mathura Chambal Express – Howrah to Mathura NCR/North Central Zone – Railway Enquiry". indiarailinfo.com.
75. "Mathura to get tram network by 2018". The Times of India. 9 June 2017. Retrieved 20 April 2021.
76. "International airport now at Mathura". Deccan Herald. 22 May 2012. Retrieved 3 June 2016.
77. Srivsatava, Piyush (20 December 2012). "Akhilesh's plan of an international airport in Agra may not take off". India Today. Retrieved 30 January 2020.
78. "Centre invites proposal from UP for airport near Mathura – Times of India". Retrieved 3 June 2016.
79. "Ajit Singh asks Akhilesh Yadav to send proposal for airport at Mathura". The Economic Times. 11 June 2012. Retrieved 16 March 2021.
80. Pike, John. "India – Army Central Command Order of Battle". Retrieved 3 June 2016.
81. "ORGANISATIONAL STRUCTURE". Archived from the original on 19 February 2009. Retrieved 3 June 2016.
82. "www.india-defence.com/reports/3115". Archived from the original on 5 February 2012. Retrieved 3 June 2016.
83. "IndianOil Corporation | Mathura Refinery". Iocl.com. Retrieved 17 November 2013.
84. "Mathura refinery: Latest News & Videos, Photos about Mathura refinery | The Economic Times - Page 1". The Economic Times. Retrieved 1 June 2021.
85. "Mathura University". Upvetuniv.edu.in. 25 October 2001. Archived from the original on 11 December 2013. Retrieved 17 November 2013.
• Mathura-The Cultural Heritage. Edited by Doris Meth Srinivasan, published in 1989 by AIIS/Manohar.
• Konow, Sten. Editor. 1929. Kharoshthī Inscriptions with Exception of those of Ashoka. Corpus Inscriptionum Indicarum, Vol. II, Part I. Reprint: Indological Book House, Varanasi, 1969.
• Mukherjee, B. N. 1981. Mathurā and its Society: The Śaka-Pahlava Phase. Firma K. L. M. Private Limited, Calcutta.
• Sharma, R. C. 1976. Mathura Museum and Art. 2nd revised and enlarged edition. Government Museum, Mathura.
• Growse, F. S. 1882. " Mathura A District Memoir.
• Drake-Brockman, D. L. 1911. "Muttra A Gaztteer".
• The Jain stûpa and other antiquities of Mathura, by Smith, Vincent Arthur, 1848–1920. (1901)
• 1018: Mahmud Ghazni’s invasion of Mathura
• Das, Kalyani (1980), Early Inscriptions of Mathurā

External links

• Entry on Mathura in the Dictionary on Pali Proper Names
admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 34615
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

Postby admin » Tue Dec 28, 2021 10:10 am

Chapter 3: Ashoka, Excerpt from India Discovered
by John Keay
Text copyright © John Keay 1981
Photographs copyright © Colour Library International Ltd. 1981

Image
Jehangir's palace in the Red Fort at Agra.

The trappings of government set up in Calcutta to cope with the sudden acquisition of Bengal included not only a judiciary but also a mint. It was as Assistant Assay-Master at this mint that James Prinsep arrived in India in 1819. The post was an undistinguished one; Prinsep, far from being a celebrity like Jones, could expect nothing better. He was barely 20 and, according to his obituarist, "wanting, perhaps, in the finish of classical scholarship which is conferred at the public schools and universities of England''. As a child, the last in a family of seven sons, his passion had been constructing highly intricate working models; "habits of exactness and minute attention to detail'' would remain his outstanding traits. He studied architecture under Pugin, transferred to the Royal Mint when his eyesight became strained, and thence to Calcutta. ''Well grounded in chemistry, mechanics and the useful sciences", he was not an obvious candidate for the mantle of Jones and the distinction of being India's most successful scholar.

In the quarter century. between Jones' death and Prinsep's arrival the British position in India had changed radically. The defeats of Tippu Sultan, ruler of Mysore, of the Marathas, and of the Gurkhas had left the British undisputed masters of as much of India as they cared to digest. Indeed the British raj had begun. The sovereignty of the East India Company was almost as much a political fiction as that of their nominal but now helpless overlord, the Moghul emperor. Both, though they lingered on for another 30 years, had become anachronisms.

From Calcutta a long arm of British territory now reached up the Ganges and the Jumna to Agra, Delhi and beyond. A thumb prodded the Himalayas between Nepal and Kashmir, while several stubby fingers probed into Punjab, Rajasthan and central India. In the west, Bombay had been expanding into the Maratha homeland; Broach and Baroda were under Britfsh control, and Poona, a centre of Hindu orthodoxy and the Maratha capital, was being transformned into the legendary watering place for Anglo-Indian bores. In the south, all that was not British territory was held by friendly feudatories; the French had been obliterated, Mysore settled, and the limits of territorial expansion already reached.

Visitors in search of the real India no longer had to hop around the coastline; they could now march boldly, and safely, across the middle. Bishop Heber of Calcutta (the appointment itself was a sign of the times; in Jones's day there had not been even a church in Calcutta) toured his diocese in the 1820s. The diocese was a big one -- the whole of India -- and ''Reginald Calcutta", as he signed himself, travelled the length of the Ganges to Dehra Dun in the Himalayas, then down through Delhi and Agra into Rajasthan, still largely independent, and came out at Poona and thence down to Bombay.

The acquisition of all this new territory brought the British into contact with the country's architectural heritage. Two centuries earlier Elizabethan envoys had marvelled at the cities of Moghul India ''of which the like is not to be found in all Christendom". The famous buildings of Agra, Fatehpur Sikri and Delhi, ''either of them much greater than London and more populous", they had described in detail. When, therefore, the first generation of British administrators arrived in upper India they showed genuine reverence for the architectural relics of Moghul power. Instead of the landscapes of Hodges and the Daniells their souvenirs of India would be detailed drawings of the Taj Mahal and the Red Fort. Their curiosity also extended to buildings sacred to the non-Mohammedan population; Khajuraho, Abu and many other sites were discovered between 1810 and 1830. The raw materials for a new investigation of India's past were accumulating. But it was another class of monuments, predating the Mohammedan invasions and with unmistakable signs of extreme antiquity, which would become Prinsep's speciality.

Image
The soaring temples of Khajuraho, then hidden in dense jungle, were among the many architectural wonders to be discovered in the early nineteenth century.

Image
Agra, too, only became familiar to the British following its capture in 1803. The marble lattice-work in the tomb of Shaikh Salim Chishti at Fatehpur Sikri was admired as much as that of the famous screens in the Taj Mahal.
 
The first of these monuments -- one could scarcely call them buildings -- to attract European attention were the cave temples in the vicinity of Bombay. The island of Elephanta in Bombay harbour had been known to the Portuguese and became the subject of one of the earliest archaeological reports received by Jones's new Asiatic Society.
The cave is about three-quarters of a mile from the beach; the path leading to it lies through a valley; the hills on either side beautifully clothed and, except when interrupted by the dove calling to her absent mate, a solemn stillness prevails; the mind is fitted for contemplating the approaching scene.

The approaching scene was not of some natural cave with a few prehistoric scratchings, but of a spacious pillared hall, with delicate sculptural details and colossal stone figures -- an architectural creation in all but name; for the whole thing was hacked, hewn, carved and sculpted out of solid rock.

North of Bombay, the island of Salsette boasted more groups of such caves. In 1806 Lord Valentia, a young Englishman whose greatest claim to fame must be the sheer weight of his travelogue (four quarto volumes of just on half a hundredweight), set out to explore them. He took with him Henry Salt, his companion and artist, to help clear a path through the jungle that surrounded the caves. Outside the Jogeshwar caves they hesitated before the fresh pug marks of a tiger; according to the villagers, tigers actually lived in the caves for part of the year.

Salt found that the other Salsette caves at Kanheri and Montpezir had also been recently occupied. To the Portuguese, the pillared nave and the trahsepts had spelt basilica; there was even a hole in the facade for a rose window. They had just smothered the fine, but pagan, carving in stucco and consecrated the place. Salt chipped away at the stucco and observed how well it had preserved the sculpture.

Image
'Few remains of antiquity have excited greater curiosity.' Some scholars thought these cave temples were Greek, others Egyptian. The mistake is partly explained by the fact their excavation extended over 800 years and their inspiration was both Jain, Hindu (as at cave 29, Ellora ...

Image

Image
... and Buddhist (cave 3 at Kanheri.)

Image
As a progression from the nearby cave temples, the Kailasa temple at Ellora is also cut from solid rock but as a free-standing monument. It is estimated that 20,000 tons of rock had to be excavated. The sculptures clear revealed its inspiration as Hindu, but 'their size, air and general management give an expression of grandeur' which early visitors could only explain by attributing them to some far-flung colony of Greek settlers.

Image

Image
Though these figures are by no means well proportioned, yet their air, size and general management give an expression of grandeur that the best sculptors have often failed in attaining; the laziness of attitude, the simplicity of drapery, the suitableness of their situation and the plainness of style in which they are executed . . . all contribute towards producing this effect.

He was getting quite a feeling for ancient art treasures. In Lord Valentia's train he would move on to Egypt, stay on there as British consul, and become so successful at appropriating and selling the art treasures of the Pharoahs that he rivalled the great tomb-robber Belzoni.

Meanwhile in India more rock-cut temples had come to light. The free-standing Kailasa temple at Ellora, cut into the rock from above like a gigantic intaglio, was discovered in the late 18th century. It was followed by the famous caves at Ajanta and Bagh. "Few remains of antiquity," wrote William Erskine in 1813, "have excited greater curiosity. History does not record any fact that can guide us in fixing the period of their execution, and many opposite opinions have been formed regarding the religion of the people by whom they were made." From the statuary at Elephanta and Ellora, particularly the figures with several heads and many arms, it was clear that these at least were Hindu.[???] But why were they in such remote locations and why had they been so long neglected? What, too, of the plainer caves like Kanheri and the largest of all, Karli in the Western Ghats? Lord Valentia was pretty sure that the sitting figure, surrounded by devotees, at Karli was ''the Boddh''; he had just come from Ceylon where Buddhism was still a living religion, though it appeared to be almost unknown in India.

Other critics who looked to the west for an explanation of anything they found admirable in Indian art, insisted that the excellence of the sculpture indicated the presence of a Greek, Phoenician or even Jewish colony in western India. Yet others looked to Africa: who but the builders of the pyramids could have achieved such monolithic wonders? These theories, were based on the idea that such monuments were exclusive to western India, which had a long history of maritime contacts with the West. They became less credible with the discovery of the so-called Seven Pagodas at Mahabalipuram near Madras. Here, a thousand miles away and on the other side of the Indian peninsula, were a group of temples cut not out of solid rock, but sculpted out of boulders. At first glance they looked like true buildings, a little rounded like old stone cottages, but well proportioned -- up to 55 feet long and 35 feet high -- with porches, pillars and statuary. It was only on closer inspection that one realised that each was a single gigantic stone sculpted into architecture. "Stupendous," declared William Chambers who twice visited the place in the 1770s (though his report had to wait for the Asiatic Society's first publication in 1789), ''of a style no longer in use, indeed closer to that of Egypt''.

Five years later, a further account of the boulder temples, or raths, was submitted by a man who had also seen Elephanta. To his mind there was no question that in style and technique the two were closely related. Had he also seen the intaglio temple of Ellora he might have been tempted to postulate some theory of architectural development; first the cave temple, then the free-standing excavation, and finally the boulder style, freed at last from solid rock. It was as if India's architecture had somehow evolved out of the earth's crust. Elsewhere, stone buildings have always evolved from wooden ones; but in India it was as if architecture was a development of sculpture. The distinctive characteristic of all truly Indian buildings is their sculptural quality. The great Hindu temples look like mountainous accumulations of figures and friezes; even the Taj Mahal, for all its purity of line, stays in the mind as a masterpiece of sculpture rather than of construction.

Image
The Seven Pagadoas of Mahabalipuram near Madras, when painted by Thomas Daniell in the late eighteenth century, were as much a curiosity as the cave temples. Each was cut from a single gigantic boulder. But when, and by whom? 'Of a style no longer in use, indeed closer to that of Egypt,' thought William Chambers in 1770.

There was yet one other type of ancient monument which had intrigued early visitors. Thomas Coryat, an English eccentric who turned up in Delhi in 1616, was probably the first to take notice of it. South of the Moghul city of Delhi (now Old Delhi) lay the abandoned tombs and forts of half a dozen earlier Delhis (now, confusingly, the site of New Delhi). The ruins stretched for ten miles, overgrown, inhabited by bats and monkeys. But in the middle of this jungle of crumbling masonry Coryat saw something that made him stop; it did not belong. A plain circular pillar, 40 feet high, stuck up through the remains of some dying palace and, in the evening light so proper to ruins, it shone. At a distance he took it for brass, closer up for marble; it is in fact polished sandstone. Of a weight later estimated at 27 tons, it is a single, finely tapered stone, another example of highly developed monolithic craftsmanship. But what intrigued Coryat was the discovery that it was inscribed. Of the two principal inscriptions one was in a script consisting of simple erect letters, a bit like pin-men, which Coryat was sure were Greek. The pillar must then, he thought, have been erected by Alexander the Great, probably "in token of his victorie" over the Indian king Porus in 326 BC.

Fifty years later another such pillar was discovered by John Marshall, an East India Company factor who has been called "the first Englishman who really studied Indian antiquities". He was certainly less inclined to jump to wild conclusions. His pillar was "nine yards nine inches high" [27' 9"] and boasted a remarkable capital: ''at the top of this pillar ... is placed a tyger engraven, the neatliest that I have seene in India''.
It was actually a lion. But perhaps the most interesting thing about this pillar was that it was in Bihar, a thousand miles from Delhi and many more from the rock-cut monuments around Bombay and Madras.

Image
Of all the country's monolithic monuments, none were more intriguing than the great pillars of northern India. John Marshall thought the lion capital of the pillar at Lauriya Nandangarh, Bihar, 'the neatliest that I have seene.' Other travellers were more interested in the inscriptions....

Image
They rightly believed that only the deciphering of the unknown script, first noticed on the Delhi pillar, would reveal their origin and purpose.

Writing similar to that found on the Delhi pillar was also found on some of the cave temples; and at Karli there was actually a small pillar outside the cave. Clearly all these monuments were somehow connected. But it was doubtful whether Alexander had ever reached Delhi, let alone Bihar. The existence of a similar pillar there put paid to Coryat's idea of their commemorating Alexander's victories, although the possibility that the letters were some corrupt form of Greek would linger on for many years.

With the foundation of the Asiatic Society there was at last a forum in which a concerted investigation into all these monuments could take place. Reports of more pillars and caves were soon trickling in. Jones himself was rightly convinced that the mystery of who created them, when and why, could be solved only if the inscriptions could be translated. Some ancient civilisation, some foreign conqueror perhaps, or some master craftsman, seemed to be crying out for recognition. Another breakthrough seemed imminent; and with it another chunk of India's lost history might be restored.

Thanks to Charles Wilkins, the man who preceded Jones as a Sanskritist, progress was at first encouraging. At one of the earliest meetings of the Society he reported on a new pillar, also in Bihar.
Sometime, in the month of November in the year 1780 I discovered in the vicinity of the Town of Buddal, near which the Company has a factory, and which at that time was under my charge, a decapitated monumental pillar which at a little distance had very much the appearance of the trunk of a coconut tree broken off in the middle. It stands in a swamp overgrown with weeds near a small temple .... Upon my getting close enough to the monument to examine it, I took its dimensions and made a drawing of it. ... At a few feet above the ground is an inscription, engrained in the stone, from which I took two reversed impressions with printer's ink. I have lately been so fortunate as to decipher the character.

Though very different from Devanagari, the modern script used for Sanskrit, it was clearly related to it and Wilkins was not surprised to discover that the language was in fact Sanskrit. To historians the translation was a disappointment; the Buddal pillar told them nothing of interest. But the deciphering was an important development. Nowadays it is recognised that the modern Devanagari script has passed through three distinct stages; first the pin-men script that Coryat thought was Greek (Ashoka Brahmi); second a more ornate, chunky script (Gupta Brahmi); and third, a more curved and rounded script (Kutila) from which springs the washing-on-the-line script of Devanagari. The Buddal pillar was Kutila, and once Wilkins had established that it had some connection with Devanagari, the possibility of working backwards to the earlier scripts was dimly perceived.[???!!!]
Brahmi Parent systems: Proto-Sinaitic script?; Phoenician alphabet?; Aramaic alphabet?...

Among the inscriptions of Ashoka c. 3rd-century BCE written in the Brahmi script a few numerals were found, which have come to be called the Brahmi numerals. The numerals are additive and multiplicative and, therefore, not place value; it is not known if their underlying system of numeration has a connection to the Brahmi script. But in the second half of the first millennium CE, some inscriptions in India and Southeast Asia written in scripts derived from the Brahmi did include numerals that are decimal place value, and constitute the earliest existing material examples of the Hindu–Arabic numeral system, now in use throughout the world. The underlying system of numeration, however, was older, as the earliest attested orally transmitted example dates to the middle of the 3rd century CE in a Sanskrit prose adaptation of a lost Greek work on astrology....

A list of eighteen ancient scripts is found in the texts of Jainism, such as the Pannavana Sutra (2nd century BCE) and the Samavayanga Sutra (3rd century BCE).[35][36] These Jaina script lists include Brahmi at number 1 and Kharoṣṭhi at number 4 but also Javanaliya (probably Greek)...

Most scholars believe that Brahmi was likely derived from or influenced by a Semitic script model, with Aramaic being a leading candidate. However, the issue is not settled due to the lack of direct evidence and unexplained differences between Aramaic, Kharoṣṭhī, and Brahmi. Though Brahmi and the Kharoṣṭhī script share some general features, the differences between the Kharosthi and Brahmi scripts are "much greater than their similarities," and "the overall differences between the two render a direct linear development connection unlikely", states Richard Salomon...

According to Salomon, the evidence of Kharosthi script's use is found primarily in Buddhist records and those of Indo-Greek, Indo-Scythian, Indo-Parthian and Kushana dynasty era....

Falk sees the basic writing system of Brahmi as being derived from the Kharoṣṭhī script, itself a derivative of Aramaic.... Falk [sees] Greek as ... a significant source for Brahmi... Falk also dated the origin of Kharoṣṭhī to no earlier than 325 BCE, based on a proposed connection to the Greek conquest....we have no specimen of the script before the time of Ashoka, nor any direct evidence of intermediate stages in its development...

As of 2018, Harry Falk refined his view by affirming that Brahmi was developed from scratch in a rational way at the time of Ashoka, by consciously combining the advantages of the pre-existing Greek script and northern Kharosthi script. Greek-style letter types were selected for their "broad, upright and symmetrical form", and writing from left to right was also adopted for its convenience. On the other hand, the Kharosthi treatment of vowels was retained, with its inherent vowel "a", derived from Aramaic, and stroke additions to represent other vowel signs. In addition, a new system of combining consonants vertically to represent complex sounds was also developed.

-- Brahmi script, by Wikipedia

The Kandahar Bilingual Rock Inscription, (also Kandahar Edict of Ashoka, sometimes "Chehel Zina Edict"), is a famous bilingual edict in Greek and Aramaic, proclaimed and carved in stone by the Indian Maurya Empire ruler Ashoka (r.269-233 BCE) around 260 BCE. It is the very first known inscription of Ashoka, written in year 10 of his reign (260 BCE), preceding all other inscriptions, including his early Minor Rock Edicts, his Barabar caves inscriptions or his Major Rock Edicts. This first inscription was written in Classical Greek and Aramaic exclusively. It was discovered in 1958, during some excavation works below a 1m high layer of rubble, and is known as KAI 279.

-- Aramaic Inscription of Laghman [Ashokan Inscriptions], by Wikipedia

Image
The boulder-cut temples, or raths, of Mahabalipuram would remain a mystery until their inscriptions could be read. But their varying styles were soon seen as a clue to later architectural forms....

Image
The nearby Shore Temple was clearly a development from ...

Image
... the Dharmaraja rath.

As if to illustrate this, Wilkins next surprised his colleagues by teasing some sense out of an inscription written in Gupta Brahmi. It came from a cave near Gaya which had been known for some time though never visited; a Mr Hodgekis, who tried, "was assassinated on his way to it''. Encouraged by Warren Hastings, John Harrington, the secretary of the Asiatic Society, was more successful and found the cave hidden behind a tree near the top of a hill. The character of the inscription, according to Wilkins, was ''undoubtedly the most ancient of any that have hitherto come under my inspection. But though the writing is not modern, the language is pure Sanskrit.'' Wilkins, tantalising as ever about how he made his breakthrough, apparently divined that the inscription was in verse. It was the discovery of the metre that somehow helped him to the successful decipherment. But again, there was little in this new translation to satisfy the historian's thirst for facts.

A far more promising approach to the problem, indeed a short cut, seemed to be heralded in a letter to Jones from Lieutenant Francis Wilford, a surveyor and an enthusiastic student of all things oriental, who was based at Benares. Jones had been sent copies of inscriptions found at Ellora and written in Ashoka Brahmi, the still undeciphered pin-men. He had probably sent them to Wilford because Benares, the holy city of the hindus, was the most likely place to find a Brahmin who might be able to read them. In 1793 Wilford announced that he had found just such a man.

I have the honour to return to you the facsimile of several inscriptions with an explanation of them. I despaired at first of ever being able to decipher them ... However, after many fruitless attempts on our part, we were so fortunate as to find at last an ancient sage, who gave us the key, and produced a book in Sanskrit, containing a great many ancient alphabets formerly in use in different parts of India. This was really a fortunate discovery, which hereafter may be of great service to us.

According to the ancient sage, most of Wilford's inscriptions related to the wanderings of the five heroic Pandava brothers from the Mahabharata. At the unspecified time in question they were under an obligation not to converse with the rest of mankind; so their friends devised a method of communicating with them by writing short and obscure sentences on rocks and stones in the wilderness and in characters previously agreed upon betwixt them". The sage happened to have the key to these characters in his code book; obligingly he transcribed them into Devanagari Sanskrit and then translated them.

To be fair to Wilford, he was a bit suspicious about this ingenious explanation of how the inscriptions got there. But he had no doubts that the deciphering and translation were genuine. ''Our having been able to decipher them is a great point in my opinion, as it may hereafter lead to further discoveries, that may ultimately crown our labours with success.'' Above all, he had now located the code book, ''a most fortunate circumstance''.

Poor Wilford was the laughing stock of the Benares Brahmins for a whole decade. They had already fobbed him off with Sanskrit texts, later proved spurious, on the source of the Nile and the origin of Mecca. After the code book there was a geographical treatise on The Sacred Isles of the West, which included early Hindu reference to the British Isles. The Brahmins, to whom Sanskrit had so long remained a sacred prerogative, were getting their own back. One wonders how much Wilford paid his "ancient sage".

Jones was already a little suspicious of Wilford's sources, but on the code book, which was as much a fabrication as the translations supposedly based on it, he reserved judgement until he might see it. He never did. In fact it was never heard of again. But in spite of these disappointments Jones continued to believe that in time this oldest script would be deciphered. He had been sent a copy of the writings on the Delhi pillar and told a correspondent that they ''drive me to despair; you are right, I doubt not, in thinking them foreign; I believe them to be Ethiopian and to have been imported a thousand years before Christ". It was not one of his more inspired guesses and at the time of his death the mystery of the inscriptions and of the monoliths was as dark as ever.


And so it remained until the labours of James Prinsep. Jones had given oriental studies a strongly literary bias and his successors continued to concentrate on Sanskrit manuscripts. Archaeological studies were ignored in consequence, and so were inscriptions. Wilkins' few translations had led nowhere and the most intriguing of the scripts remained undeciphered. Indeed even the translation of the Gupta Brahmi script from the cave at Gaya was forgotten in the general waning of interest; it would have to be deciphered all over again.

Image
The burning ghats of Benares.

During his first twelve years in India Prinsep confined his attention to scientific matters. He was sent to Benares to set up a second mint and while there redesigned the city's sewers. He also contributed a few articles to the Asiatic Society's journal (''Descriptions of a Pluviometer and Evaporameter", ''Note on the Magic Mirrors of Japan", etc).

But in 1830 he was recalled to Calcutta as assistant to the Assay-Master, Horace Hayman Wilson, who was also secretary of the Asiatic Society and an eminent Sanskrit scholar. At the time Wilson was puzzling over the significance of various ancient coins that had recently been found in Rajasthan and the Punjab. Prinsep helped to catalogue and describe them, and it was in attempting to decipher their legends that his interest in the whole question of ancient inscriptions was aroused. Although his ignorance of Sanskrit was undoubtedly a handicap, here, in the deciphering of scripts, was a field in which his quite exceptional talent for minute and methodical study could be deployed to brilliant advantage.

Since Jones' day another pillar like that at Delhi had been found at Allahabad; in addition to a Persian inscription of the Moghul period, it displayed a long inscription in each of the two older scripts (Ashoka Brahmi and Gupta Brahmi). A report had also been received of a rock in Orissa covered with the same two scripts. In 1833 Prinsep prevailed on a Lieutenant Burt, one of several enthusiastic engineers and surveyors, to take an exact impression of the Allahabad pillar inscription.

The facsimiles reached Prinsep in early 1834. With an eminent Sanskritist, the Rev W. H. Mill, he soon resolved the problem of the Gupta Brahmi. This was the script that Wilkins had deciphered nearly 50 years before, though his achievement had since been forgotten. The same thing was not likely to happen again; for this time the inscription had something to tell. Evidently it had been engraved on the instructions of a king called Samudragupta. It recorded his extensive conquests and it mentioned that he was the son of Chandragupta. The temptation to assume that this Chandragupta was the same as Jones' Chandragupta, the Sandracottus of the Greeks, was almost irresistible. But not quite. For one thing Jones' Chandragupta had not, according to the Sanskrit king lists, been succeeded by a Samudragupta; they did, however, mention several other Chandraguptas. But if Prinsep and Mill were disappointed at having to deny themselves the simplest and most satisfying of identifications, there would be compensation. They had raised the veil on a dynasty now known as the Imperial Guptas. According to the Allahabad inscriptions Samudragupta had ''violently uprooted'' nine kings and annexed their kingdoms. His rule stretched right across northern India and deep into the Deccan. Politically, here was an empire to rival that of Jones' Chandragupta. But, more important, the Gupta period, about AD 320-460, would soon come to be recognised as the golden age of classical Indian culture. To this period belong many of the frescoes of Ajanta, the finest of the Sarnath and Mathura sculptures, and the plays and poems of Kalidasa, ''the Indian Shakespeare".


Image
The wall paintings in the cave temples at Ajanta vividly evoke the sophisticated courtly life of India under the Guptas. Dating mainly from the fifth and sixth-centuries AD they constitute one of the greatest picture galleries to survive from the ancient world.

Image

Image

Image

But at the time Prinsep and Mill knew no more about these Guptas than what the pillar told them -- and much of that they were inclined to regard as royal hyperbole and therefore unreliable. Prinsep, anyway, was more interested in the scripts than in their historical interpretation. Unlike Jones, he did not indulge in grand theories. He was not a classical scholar, not even a Sanskritist, but a pragmatic, dedicated scientist.

In between experimenting with rust-proof treatments for the new steamboats to be employed on the Ganges, he wrestled next with the Ashoka Brahmi pin-men on the Allahabad column. Coryat's idea that it was some kind of Greek was back in fashion. One scholar claimed to have identified no less than seven letters of the Greek alphabet and another had actually read a Greek name written in this script on an ancient coin. Prinsep was sceptical. The Greek name was only Greek if read upside down. [???!!!] Turn it round and the pinmen letters were just like those on the pillars.

But as yet he had no solution of his own. ''It would require an accurate acquaintance with many of the languages of the East, as well as perfect leisure and abstraction from other pursuits to engage upon the recovery of this lost language.'' He guessed that it must be Sanskrit and thought the script looked simpler than the Egyptian hieroglyphs. It was still beyond him, though, and he could only hope that someone else in India would take up the challenge ''before the indefatigable students of Bonn and Berlin''.

Image
Thomas Coryat in 1616 had surmised that the characters on the monolithic pillar at Delhi were Greek and that it must therefore be a victory column erected by Alexander the Great. This Greek theory survived until the 1830s when James Prinsep at last set about their decipherment.

No one reacted directly to this appeal, but in far away Kathmandu the solitary British resident at the Court of Nepal, Brian Houghton Hodgson, read his copy of the Society's journal and immediately dashed off a pained note. No man made more contributions to the discovery of India than Hodgson, or researched in so many different fields. From his outpost in the Himalayas he deluged the Asiatic Society with so many reports that it is hardly surprising some were mislaid. This was a case in point. "Eight or ten years ago" (so some time in the mid 1820s), he had sent in details of two more inscribed pillars. Prinsep could not find them. But Hodgson also disclosed that he had now found yet a third. It was at Bettiah (Lauriya Nandangarh) in northern Bihar and, like the others, very close to the Nepalese frontier. Could they then have been erected as boundary markers?

More intriguing was the facsimile of the inscription on this pillar which Hodgson thoughtfully enclosed. It was Ashoka Brahmi and Prinsep placed it alongside his copies of the Delhi and Allahabad inscriptions. Again he started to look for clues, concentrating this time on separating the shapes of the individual consonants from the vowels which were in the form of little marks festooning them. Darting from one facsimile to the other to verify these, he suddenly experienced that shiver down the spine that comes with the unexpected revelation. "Upon carefully comparing them, [the three inscriptions] with a view to finding any other words that might be common to them ... I was led to a most important discovery; namely that all three inscriptions were identically the same.''

Any surprise that he had not noticed this before must be tempered by the fact that the inscriptions, all of 2,000 years old, were far from perfect. Many letters had been worn away and in one case much of the original inscription had been obliterated by a later one written on top of it. The copies from which Prinsep worked also left much to be desired. Apart from the errors inevitable when someone tried to copy a considerable chunk of writing in totally unfamiliar characters, one copyist working his way round the pillar had managed to transpose the first and second halves of every line.

By correlating all three versions it was now possible to obtain a near perfect fair copy.
At the same time even the cautious Prinsep could not resist offering a few conjectures ''on the origin and nature of these singular columns, erected at places so distant from each other and all bearing the same inscription''.
Whether they mark the conquests of some victorious raja; -- whether they are, as it were, the boundary pillars of his dominions; -- or whether they are of a religious nature ... can only be satisfactorily solved by the discovery of the language.

Image
It was Prinsep's discovery that the inscription on the Lauriya Nandangarh (Bihar) pillar was identical to those on the Delhi and Allahabad pillars which sparked such excitement. Suddenly the possibility that they were all the work of some forgotten but mighty sovereign became a probability.

Clearly this people, this kingdom, this religion, was of significance to the whole of north India. It was altogether too big a subject to be left to chance. Prinsep, well placed now as Secretary of the Asiatic Society to assess the various materials (Wilson had retired to England), resolved to undertake the translation himself. In 1834 he tried the obvious line of relating this script to that of the Gupta Brahmi which he had just deciphered. For each, he drew up a table showing the frequency with which individual letters occurred, the idea being that those which occurred approximately the same number of times in each script might be the same letters.[???!!!] It was worth a try, but obviously would work only if both were in the same language and dealt with the same sort of subject. They did not, in fact they were not even in the same language, and Prinsep soon gave up this approach.[???!!!]

Next he tried relating the individual letters from each of the two scripts which had a similar conformation. This was more encouraging. He tentatively identified a handful of consonants and heard from a correspondent in Bombay, who was working on the cave temple inscriptions, that he too had identified these and five others. Armed with these few identifications, he attempted a translation, hoping that the sense might reveal the rest. But some of his letters were wrongly identified, and anyway he was still barking up the wrong tree in imagining that the language was pure Sanskrit. The attempt was a dismal failure. Discouraged, but far from defeated, Prinsep returned to the drawing board.

For the next four years he pushed himself physically and mentally towards the brink. Outside his office Calcutta was changing. The Governor-General had a new residence modelled on Kedleston Hall, but considerably grander: the dining-room could seat 200 and over 500 sometimes attended the Government House balls. Society was less boorish than in Jones' day. The hookah had gone out and so had most of the ''sooty bibis''; the memsahibs were taking over. But the only innovation Prinsep would have been aware of was the flapping punkah, or fan, above his desk. Now the Assay-Master, he spent all day at the mint and all evening with his coins and inscriptions or conferring with his pandits. By seven in the morning he was back at his desk. There is no record, as with Jones, of an early morning walk or ride, no mention of leisure. Instead he lived vicariously, through the endeavours and successes of his correspondents.

Jones, as president and founder of the Asiatic Society, and the most respected scholar of his age, had both inspired and dominated his fellows. Prinsep was just the opposite. He was the secretary of the Society, not the President, a plain Mr with few pretensions other than his total dedication. But this in itself was enough. His enthusiasm communicated itself to others and was irresistible. When he asked for coins and inscriptions they came flooding in from every corner of India. Painstakingly he acknowledged, translated and commented upon them. By 1837 he had an army of enthusiasts -- officers, engineers, explorers, political agents and administrators -- informally collecting for him. Colonel Stacy at Chitor, Udaipur and Delhi, Lieutenant A. Connolly at Jaipur, Captain Wade at Ludhiana, Captain Cautley at Sahranpur, Lieutenant Cunningham at Benares, Colonel Smith at Patna, Mr Tregear at Jaunpur, Dr Swiney in Upper India .... the list was long.

It was from one of these correspondents, Captain Edward Smith, an engineer at Allahabad, that in 1837 there came the vital clue to the mysterious script. On Prinsep's suggestion, Smith had made the long journey into Central India to visit an archaeological site of exceptional interest at Sanchi near Bhopal. Prinsep wanted accurate drawings of its sculptural wonders and facsimiles of an inscription in Gupta Brahmi which had not yet been translated. Smith obliged with both of these and, noticing some further very short inscriptions on the stone railings round the main shrine, took copies of them just for good measure.
These apparently trivial fragments of rude writing [wrote Prinsep] have led to even more important results than the other inscriptions. They have instructed us in the alphabet and language of these ancient pillars and rock inscriptions which have been the wonder of the learned since the days of Sir William Jones, and I am already nearly prepared to render the Society an account of the writing on the lat [pillar] at Delhi. With no little satisfaction that, as I was the first to analyse these unknown symbols ... so I should now be rewarded with the completion of a discovery I then despaired of accomplishing for want of a competent knowledge of the Sanskrit language.

Typically, Prinsep then launched into a long discussion of the sculpture and other inscriptions, keeping his audience and readers on tenterhooks for another 10 pages. But to Lieutenant Alexander Cunningham, his protege in Benares, he had already announced the discovery in a letter.
23 May 1837.

My dear Cunningham, Hors de department de mes etudes! [Out of my department studies!] [a reference to a Mohammedan coin that Cunningham had sent him]. No, but I can read the Delhi No. 1 which is of more importance; the Sanchi inscriptions have enlightened me. Each line is engraved on a separate pillar or railing. Then thought I, they must be the gifts of private individuals where names will be recorded. All end in danam [in the original characters] -- that must mean 'gift' or 'given'.[???!!!] Let's see ...

Table 1. John Marshall's phasing at Sanchi.
Phase / Date range / Monuments / Inscriptions / Sculptures

I / 3rd century BC / Stupa 1: brick core; Pillar 10; Temple 40 (apsidal); Temple 18 (apsidal) / Ashokan inscription (c. 269-232 BC) / Elephant capital from Temple 40 (?)

Image
Sanchi Pillar 10

Image
Sanchi Temple 40

Image
Sanchi Temple 18

Image
Elephant capital from East Gate of Stupa 1

Image
Elephant capital from Sankissa, one of the Pillars of Ashoka, 3rd century BCE

II / 2nd-1st century BC / Stupas 2, 3, 4; Stupa 1: casing and railings; Temples 18 and 40 (enlargements); Building 8 (platformed monastery) / Donative inscriptions on Stupa 1, 2, and 3 railings; reliquary inscriptions from Stupas 2 and 3. / Pillar by Stupa 2; Pillar 25.

III / 1st-3rd century AD / Stupa 1: gateway carvings. / Southern gateway inscription of Shatakarni (c. AD 25)

IV / 4th-6th century AD / Temples 17 and 19; Stupas 28 and 29. / Inscription of Chandragupta II (Gupta year 131, or AD 450-1) / Stupa 1 pradaksinapatha Buddha images; Pillar 25 and crowning Vajrapani image; two Padmapani to the north Stupa 1; Naga, Nagini, and yaksa sculptures. Various others now in the SAM.  

V / 7th-8th century AD / Stupas 4, 5, 11, 12, 13, 14, and 16. Temples 18 and 40 (additions); Temples 20, 22 and 31. Monastery complex beneath Building 43; Monasteries 36, 37 and 38, and other newly excavated structures in the southern area; Monastery 51 (?); / -- / --

VI / 9th-12th century AD / Eastern platform, surmounting monasteries (46 and 47), and temple (45), and boundary wall; Building 43. / Building 43 inscription (mid' to late 9th century AD). / Buddha and Bodhisattva images from Temple 45. Numerous other images in SAM.

-- Sanchi as an archaeological area, by Julia Shaw, 2013

He proved his point by immediately translating four such lines, and then turned to the first line of the famous pillar inscriptions: Devam piya piyadasi raja hevam aha, "the most-particularly-loved-of-the-gods raja declareth thus". He was not quite right; the r should have been l, laja not raja. But he was near enough. Danam giving him the d, the n and the m, all very common and hitherto unidentified, had been just enough to tip the balance.
Progress resumed in 1834 with the publication of proper facsimiles of the inscriptions on the Allahabad pillar of Ashoka, notably containing Edicts of Ashoka as well as inscriptions by the Gupta Empire ruler Samudragupta.

James Prinsep, an archaeologist, philologist, and official of the East India Company, started to analyse the inscriptions and made deductions on the general characteristics of the early Brahmi script essentially relying on statistical methods.[136] This method, published in March 1834, allowed him to classify the characters found in inscriptions, and to clarify the structure of Brahmi as being composed of consonantal characters with vocalic "inflections". He was able to correctly guess four out of five vocalic inflections, but the value of consonants remained unknown. Although this statistical method was modern and innovative, the actual decipherment of the script would have to wait until after the discovery of bilingual inscriptions, a few years later.

The same year, in 1834, some attempts by Rev. J. Stevenson were made to identify intermediate early Brahmi characters from the Karla Caves (circa 1st century CE) based on their similarities with the Gupta script of the Samudragupta inscription of the Allahabad pillar (4th century CE) which had just been published, but this led to a mix of good (about 1/3) and bad guesses, which did not permit proper decipherment of the Brahmi.

The next major step towards deciphering the ancient Brahmi script of the 3rd-2nd centuries BCE was made in 1836 by Norwegian scholar Christian Lassen, who used a bilingual Greek-Brahmi coin of Indo-Greek king Agathocles and similarities with the Pali script to correctly and securely identify several Brahmi letters. The matching legends on the bilingual coins of Agathocles were:
Greek legend: ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ / ΑΓΑΘΟΚΛΕΟΥΣ (Basileōs Agathokleous, "of King Agathocles") Brahmi legend:[x] (Rajane Agathukleyesa, "King Agathocles").

James Prinsep was then able to complete the decipherment of the Brahmi script. After acknowledging Lassen's first decipherment, Prinsep used a bilingual coin of Indo-Greek king Pantaleon to decipher a few more letters. James Prinsep then analysed a large number of donatory inscriptions on the reliefs in Sanchi, and noted that most of them ended with the same two Brahmi characters: "[x]". Prinsep guessed correctly that they stood for "danam", the Sanskrit word for "gift" or "donation", which permitted to further increase the number of known letters. With the help of Ratna Pâla, a Singhalese Pali scholar and linguist, Prinsep then completed the full decipherment of the Brahmi script. In a series of results that he published in March 1838 Prinsep was able to translate the inscriptions on a large number of rock edicts found around India, and provide, according to Richard Salomon, a "virtually perfect" rendering of the full Brahmi alphabet.

-- Brahmi script, by Wikipedia

Image
The chance discovery of some short inscriptions on the stone railings at Sanchi provided Prinsep with the vital clues that led to the deciphering of the pillar inscriptions. These in turn revealed the existence of India's first classical era, the importance of Buddhism, and the towering personality of Ashoka (c.273-232 BC).

With the help of a distinguished pandit he immediately set about the long pillar inscriptions. It was June, the most unbearable month of the Calcutta year; to concentrate the mind even for a minute is a major achievement. By now the Governor-General and the rest of Calcutta society were in the habit of taking themselves off to the cool heights of Simla at such a time. Prinsep stayed at his desk. The deciphering was going well but he had at last acknowledged the unexpected difficulty of the language not being Sanskrit.[???] As Hodgson had suggested, it was closer to Pali, the sacred language of Tibet, or in other words it was one of the Prakrit languages, vernacular derivations of the classical Sanskrit. This made it difficult to pin down the precise meaning of many phrases. Prinsep also had, himself, to engrave all the plates for the script that would illustrate his account. Nevertheless, in the incredibly short space of six weeks, his translation was ready and he announced it to the Society. As usual he treated them to a long preamble on the discoveries that had led up to it and on the difficulties it still presented. But, unlike other inscriptions, these had one remarkable feature in their favour. There was an almost un-Indian frankness about the language, no exaggeration, no hyperbole, no long lists of royal qualities. Instead there was a bold and disarming directness:[???!!!]
Thus spake King Devanampiya Piyadasi. In the twenty-seventh year of my annointment I have caused this religious edict to be published in writing. I acknowledge and confess the faults that have been cherished in my heart ...

The king had obviously undergone a religious conversion and, from the nature of the sentiments expressed, it was clearly Buddhism that he had adopted. The purpose of his edicts was to promote this new religion, to encourage right thinking and right behaviour, to discourage killing, to protect animals and birds, and to ordain certain days as holy days and certain men as religious administrators. The inscriptions ended in the same style as they had begun.
In the twenty-seventh year of my reign I have caused this edict to be written; so sayeth Devanampiya; ''Let stone pillars be prepared and let this edict of religion be engraven thereon, that it may endure into the remotest ages."

Something about both the language and the contents was immediately familiar: it was Old Testament. Even Prinsep could not resist the obvious analogy -- "we might easily cite a more ancient and venerable example of thus fixing the law on tablets of stone". Perhaps it was just out of reverence that he called them edicts rather than commandments. But the message was clear enough. Here was an Indian king uncannily imitating Moses[???!!!], indeed going one better; as well as using tablets of stone, he had created these magnificent pillars to bear his message through the ages.

But who was this king? "Devanampiya Piyadasi" could be a proper name but it was not one that appeared in any of the Sanskrit king lists. Equally it could be a royal epithet, "Beloved of the Gods and of gracious mien''. At first Prinsep thought the former. In Ceylon a Mr George Turnour had been working on the Buddhist histories preserved there and ad just sent in a translation that mentioned a king Piyadasi who was the first Ceylon king to adopt Buddhism. This fitted well; but what was a king of Ceylon doing scattering inscriptions all over northern India? One of the edicts actually claimed that the king had planted trees along the highways, dug wells, erected traveller's rest houses etc. How could a Sinhalese king be planting trees along the Ganges?

Image
After Prinsep's discoveries other Ashoka columns came to light. This one at Sanchi had been broken up for use as rollers in a gigantic sugar-cane press. Another was apparently used as a road roller.

A few weeks later Turnour himself came up with the answer. Studying another Buddhist work he discovered that Piyadasi was also the normal epithet of a great Indian sovereign, a contemporary of the Ceylon Piyadasi, and that this king was otherwise known as Ashoka. It was further stated that Ashoka was the grandson of Chandragupta and that he was consecrated 218 years after the Buddha's enlightenment.


Suddenly it all began to make sense. Ashoka was already known from the Sanskrit king lists as a descendant of Chandragupta Maurya (Sandracottus) and, from Himalayan Buddhist sources, as a legendary patron of early Buddhism. Now his historicity was dramatically established. Thanks to the inscriptions, from being just a doubtful name, more was suddenly known about Ashoka than about any other Indian sovereign before AD 1100. As heir to Chandragupta it was not surprising that his pillars and inscriptions were so widely scattered. The Mauryan empire was clearly one of the greatest ever known in India, and here was its noblest scion speaking of his life and work through the mists of 2,000 years. It was one of the most exciting moments in the whole story of archaeological discovery.
admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 34615
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

Postby admin » Wed Dec 29, 2021 10:18 am

Chapter 4: Black and Time-Stained Rocks
by John Keay
Text copyright © John Keay 1981
Photographs copyright © Colour Library International Ltd. 1981

xxx
admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 34615
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

Postby admin » Thu Dec 30, 2021 5:57 am

VI.--”Interpretation” Highlights, from "VI.—Interpretation of the most ancient of the inscriptions on the pillar called the lat of Feroz Shah, near Delhi, and of the Allahabad, Radhia [Lauriya-Araraj (Radiah)] and Mattiah [Lauriya-Nandangarh (Mathia)] pillar, or lat, inscriptions which agree therewith."
by James Prinsep, Sec. As. Soc. &c.
1837

Image
[George Turnour] Thanks for the lift!
[James Prinsep] Think nothing of it!
[Pandit Kamalakanta] Whatever you say, Babu!
[Lauriya Nandangarh Pillar] Aye!
[Feroz Shah Pillar] Aye!
[Lauriya Areraj Pillar] Aye!
[Allahabad Pillar] Aye!
"When legends are consulted, Pillars Will Agree", by Tara and Charles Carreon


James Prinsep is a legend, a man whose linguistic achievements were unprecedented, because he assayed to do what no one had ever done before -- ignore all the impediments to decoding the numerous stone carvings of unknown scripts that had frustrated others. Those impediments were that no one knew who had written which carvings, when they had written them, in what alphabet they had written, and what language they had used (since ancient Indian scripts encode a variety of languages using a single phonetic system). His efforts were unusually strenuous, if entirely wrong-headed in a number of ways, and continued for years, until they were crowned with a "success" he would not allow to elude him. Today, his "interpretations," which he later claimed were "translations," are celebrated as miraculous, precisely because no one can repeat them. As the picture above illustrates, Prinsep carried the fantasies of George Turnour's Dipavamsa from the pages of Ceylonese dynastic fiction across a tightrope of daring assumptions, claiming to draw from the tumbled stones of India, proof that it had once been ruled by Ashoka, whose name until then had been among the most minor kings of India’s Puranic dynastic history. The evidence of Prinsep’s own writing shows how he and Turnour determined the meanings to be applied to pillar inscriptions, and that Turnour was the dominant partner in the interpretive project, being more than willing to impute Buddhist hagiographic language to the epigraphs. Although Turnour’s “identification” of Devanampriya Priyadarsi as Ashoka took Prinsep by surprise, because Turnour had previously published the Mahavamsa, that identified Devanampriya Priyadarsi as a Ceylonese ruler, Prinsep quickly adapted, and ceded the point to Turnour in the pages of his own Asiatic Journal.

With the assistance of compliant Brahminical "scholars" who knew no better than Prinsep himself the language they were claiming to decipher, and the bizarre imputation of Indian historical significance to the Ceylonese Dipavamsa (and ignoring Turnour’s contrary statements in the Mahavamsa that both Turnour and Prinsep had previously embraced), the pair hijacked Indian history for Ashoka and his imaginary father, "Chandragupta Maurya." So that these imaginary rulers would not be without material achievements, they transferred to them the achievements of Alexander's Diadochi, who ruled the mountain kingdoms of Swat and Gandhara that now are occupied by Northwestern India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. Being the works of the Diadochi, who integrated both Persian and Greek linguistic abilities within their domain, the alleged "Ashokan" rock pillars and edicts are scribed in Kharosthi (an Aramaic-derivative that reads right to left), or an unknown script that has been dubbed "Brahmi" (a script that reads left to right, and has a likely Greek origin). Unaware of the nature of these scripts, Prinsep (who had no personal linguistic ability) directed his men to compare them all with Sanskrit and Pali (assuming a Buddhist origin). Further, even if the script, be it Brahmi or Kharoshthi, was decoded by Prinsep, these were only alphabets, and he had no dictionary, nor did he know which language these scripts had been used to encode. He did not know where words ended and began. And he claimed the amazing ability to know just when it was okay to change one symbol to another, changing word lengths, spellings and meanings just as needed to solve his Buddhist crossword puzzle.

Prinsep, in his energetic, creative ignorance, crammed all epigraphic evidence into the Procrustean mold of the Dipavamsa's Ashokan fantasy, extracting the image of a "Buddhist ruler" from numerous fragments that he conveniently combined into a single message which he later claimed, without evidence, appears in the same form on all pillars -- an insupportable conjecture that the entire world of Indic studies appears to have swallowed whole. Prinsep further ignored the already-established fact that all of the coins in this region were minted by the Diadochi, and all of the archaeological finds in this area conclusively establish a continuity of Persian rule followed by Greek rule, followed by Sakan rule, followed by Kushan rule, leaving no room for mythical Mauryan rule during the disputed period of 350 BC through 185 BC.

Whatever might be said of Prinsep, he was not shy about his claimed achievements. The method he used to "interpret" the pillar inscriptions was a one-off achievement that he declared successful only because he met his own preconceived goals of proving that Ashoka was responsible for the carvings on various of the pillars. He did not develop a methodology that anyone has applied to decipher epigraphs elsewhere. Because his conclusions were so convenient to the political demands of the moment, when the British East India Company was eagerly defining the future of India by defining its past, they have never been scrutinized. And thus the absurd hubris inherent in the title above-quoted, that the pillar inscriptions themselves "agree" with his conclusions, has never been remarked upon. Until now.


"Interpretation" Highlights:

The difficulties with which I have had to contend… the orthography is sadly vitiated [the spelling is spoiled]… the language differs essentially from every existing written idiom… a degree of license is therefore requisite in selecting the Sanskrit equivalent of each word, upon which to base the interpretation — a license dangerous in the use unless restrained within wholesome rules; for a skilful pandit will easily find a word to answer any purpose if allowed to insert a letter or alter a vowel ad libitum…. some substitutions authorized by analogy to the Pali… have for their adoption the only excuse, that nothing better offers…

[F]rom the incompleteness of the lines on the right hand the context cannot thoroughly be explained… We might translate the whole of the first line [x] … and other insulated words can be recognized but without coherence…. The general object of Devanampiya's series of edicts is, according to my reading, to proclaim his renunciation of his former faith, and his adoption of the Buddhist persuasion… He addresses to his disciples, or devotees, (for so I have been obliged to translate rajaka, as the Sanskrit [x], though I would have preferred rajaka, ministers, had the first a been long … the chief drift of the writing seems directed to enhance the merits of the author…

It is a curious fact that… the name of the author of that religion is nowhere distinctly or directly introduced as Buddha, Gotama, Shakya muni, &c…. the expression Sukatam kachhati, which I have supposed to be intended for sugatam gachhati, may be thought to contain one of Buddha's names as Sugato… but the error in spelling makes the reading doubtful… In another place I have rendered a final expression …'shall give praise to Agni' — a deity we are hardly at liberty to pronounce connected with the Buddhist worship…

It is only by the general tenor of the dogmas inculcated, that we can pronounce it to relate to the Buddhist religion…. The sacred name constantly employed…. is Dhamma (or dharma), 'virtue;'… Buddhism was at that time only sectarianism; a dissent from a vast proportion of the existing sophistry and metaphysics of the Brahmanical schools, without an absolute relinquishment of belief in their gods, or of conformity in their usages, and with adherence still to the milder qualities of the religion… The very term Devanampiya, 'beloved of the gods,' shews the retention of the Hindu pantheon generally… The word [dhamma] is here evidently used in its simple sense of "the law, virtue, or religion"… though … there is no worship offered to it, no godhead claimed for it….

The word dhamma is in the document before us generally coupled with another word, vadhi… The most obvious interpretation of the word vadhi is found in the Sanskrit vriddhi, increase… 'the increase of virtue,' 'the expansion of the law,' in allusion to the rapid proselytism which it sought and obtained…. Against this interpretation, if it be urged that the dental dh is in other cases used for the Sanskrit dh, as in the word dharmma itself; in vadha, murder; bandha, bound, &c., such objection may be met by [x]… It is hardly possible to imagine that two expressions so strikingly similar in orthography as dhammavadhi and dhammavatti or vadai, yet of such opposite meaning, should be applied to the same thing. One must be wrong, and I should have had no question which to prefer…

I requested my pandit Kamalakanta to look into … this expression 'wheel of the law'… the actual employment of the term dharma vriddhi was wanting… the pandit met with many instances of the word vriddhi occurring in connection with bodhi, which as applied to the Buddhist faith was nearly synonymous with dharma… the growth of knowledge, or metaphorically the growth of the bodhi or sacred fig tree…. Daya is written taya: idavala, ajavala, and samaguni, samagini: in fact the whole volume is so full of errors of transcription that it was with difficulty Kamalakanta could manage to restore the correct reading…. This passage is corrupt and consequently obscure, but it teaches plainly that dharmavriddhi of our inscription may always be understood, like bodhivridhi, in the general acceptation of 'the Buddhist religion.' Proselytism, turning the wheel, or publishing the doctrines, whichever is preferred, was evidently a main object of the Buddhist system, and it is pointed at continually in the pillar inscription….

[ B]rahmans, the arch-opponents of the faith, are also named, under the disguise of the corrupt spelling babhana… I have said that the founder of the faith is not named. Neither is the ordinary title of the priesthood, bhikhu or bhichhu, to be found…

The words mahamata, (written sometimes mata) and dhamma mahamata, seem used for priests, 'the wise men, the very learned in religion.'… The same epithet is found in conjunction with bhikhu in the interesting passage quoted by Mr. Turnour… But it is possible that this expression has been misunderstood by the pandit… Mr. Hodgson's epitome, above alluded to, gives us another mode of interpretation perhaps more consonant with the spirit of the system… the great mother of Buddha — the universal mother, omniscience, illusion, maya, &c. — and as such may be more correctly supposed to pervade than mahamata the priests…

[T]here is no allusion to the vihara by name, nor to the chaitya, or temple: no hint of images of Buddha's person, nor of relics preserved in costly monuments. The spreading fig tree and the great dhatris, perhaps in memory of those under which his doctrines were delivered, are the only objects to be held sacred…

The edict prohibiting the killing of particular animals is perhaps one of the most curious of the whole…. Many of the names in the list are now unknown, and are perhaps irrecoverable, being the vernacular rather than the classical appellations…. I have pointed out such endeavours as have been made by the pandits to identify them… Others of the names in the enumeration of birds not to be eaten will remind the reader of the injunctions of Moses to the Jews on the same subject. The list in the 11th chapter of Leviticus comprises 'the eagle, the ossifrage, the ospray, the vulture and kite: every raven after his kind, the owl, night hawk, cuckoo and hawk; the little owl, cormorant and great owl: the swan, pelican, and gier-eagle; the stork, heron, lapwing and bat… The verse immediately following the catalogue of birds, "All fowls that creep upon all four shall be an abomination unto you," presents a curious coincidence with the expression of our tablet… which comes after … the tame dove….

But the edict by no means seems to interdict the use of animal food… It restricts the prohibition to particular days of fast… The sheep, goat, and pig seem to have been the staple of animal food at the period… but merit is ascribed to the abstaining from animal food altogether…. Ratna Paula tells me no similar rules are to be found in the Pali works of Ceylon, nor are the particular days set apart for fasting or upavasun in the inscription, exactly in accordance with modern Buddhistic practice… All the days inserted are, however, of great weight in the Hindu calendar of festivals… the two lunar days mentioned in the south tablet, tishya (or pushya) and punarvasu, though now disregarded, are known from the Lalitu Vistara to have been strictly attended to by the early priests… proving that the luni-solar system of the brahmans was the same as we see it now, three centuries before our era, and not the modern invention Bentley and some others have pretended….

(If I have read the passage aright) opposition was contemplated as conversion should proceed… royal benevolence was exercised in a way to conciliate the Nanapasandas, the Gentiles of every persuasion, by the planting of trees along the roadsides, by the digging of wells, by the establishment of bazars and serais, at convenient distances. Where are they all? On what road are we now to search for these venerable relics… [that] would enable us to confirm the assumed date of our monuments? The lat of Feroz is the only one which alludes to this circumstance, and we know not whence that was taken to be set up in its present situation by the emperor Feroz in the 14th century… This cannot be determined without a careful re-examination of the ruinous building surrounding the pillar… The chambers described by Captain Hoare as a menagerie and aviary may have been so adapted from their original purpose as cells for the monastic priesthood… The difficulties and probably cost of its transport, which, judging from the inability of the present Government to afford the expense even of setting the Allahabad pillar upright on its pedestal, must have fallen heavily on the coffers of the Ceylon monarch!...

The Allahabad version is cut off after the 3 first letters of the 19th line… The Mathia and Radhia lats contain it entire, adding only iti at the conclusion, and after Sache Sochaye in the 12th line…. The second part of the Allahabad inscription begins to be legible at the 12th letter of the 14th line. The whole is to be found on the Radhia pillar… The termination at Mathia differs in having inserted after the 3rd letter of the 20th line the words [x]… The word Ajakanani at the end of the 7th line seems accidently to have been omitted in the Feroz lat. It is supplied from the Radhia and Mathia pillars. The Allahabad version is erased from the 3rd letter of the 6th line…. The Mathia and Radhia inscriptions terminate with the tenth line. The remainder of this inscription and the following running round the Column are peculiar to the Delhi monument….

Translation of the Inscription of the North compartment….

The whole of the northern tablet, although composed of words individually easy of translation, presents more difficulties in a way of a satisfactory interpretation than any of the others. This first sentence particularly was unintelligible to Ratna Paula, who for Dusampati would have substituted Dasabala, 'the tea (elephant) powered,' a name of Buddha. The pandit's reading seems more to the purpose… The sense of this passage, although at first sight obvious enough, recedes as the construction is grammatically examined. I originally supposed that Annata was meant for Ananta, the anuswara being placed by accident on the left, and had adopted the nearest literal approach to the text in Sanskrit for the translation… but in this it was necessary to omit two long vowels, in parikhaya and sususaya to place them in the third case. By making them of the fifth case, (in Sanskrit the nyabalope panchami), and by reading Anyata, every letter can be exactly preserved with the sense given in the present translation… the most doubtful words are usritena and chaksho; the latter Ratna Paula would break into cha-kho, 'and certainly' (kho for khalu); the former may be replaced by 'by perseverance,' but this is hardly an improvement. It is also a question whether Dhamma kama is to be applied in a good sense as 'intense desire of virtue,' or in a bad, as 'dominion of the sensual passions.'… This sentence is equally simple in appearance, though ambiguous in meaning from the same cause; kamata is however here applied in the good sense with dharma…. Either 'having obtained devout meditation,' or, which is nearer the text [x], from 'abstinence from passion,' the participle termination twa from the prefixing of pra, becomes yap, or is changed to [x]… mahamata, supremely wise, may be made nearer to the text, where the third a is long, by reading mahamatra, being the holiest act of brahmanical reverence, accompanied by the closing of every corporeal orifice… This passage is somewhat obscure, but it is tolerably made out by attention to the cases of the pronouns and the four times repeated Dharma in the third case… but the aspirated d and the separation of ya would favor the reading, 'this is the true path, or rule,' &c. In either case there are errors in the genders of the pronouns…. Apasinavai… alluding either to the words [x], or the non-omission of deeds just mentioned, or to what follows…. But I prefer the more simple acts, in the neuter like the preceding kiyam: the Sanskrit kriya is however feminine…. [x] may also be read, of the same signification, purity from passion or vice. Chakhuradan is explained in Wilson's Dictionary as 'the ceremony of anointing the eyes of the image at the time of consecration', but it is also allegorically used for any instruction, or opening of the eyes derived from a spiritual teacher…. A very easy sentence; the construction is as that of the Latin ablative absolute, 'many kindnesses being done of me, towards the poor,' &c…. This is also equally clear: aprana may here allude to vegetable life, or to that which doth not draw breath; benevolence to inanimate things. For [x] also grain, food, may be intended. A better sense for apana may be obtained by reading pleasing and conciliatory demeanour…. If ye and se are here preferred, the verbs must be plural, otherwise ya and sa are required. In this, the only method of reading the text, there is a corrupt substitution of k for g twice: but other instances of the same substitution occur elsewhere…. In the translation I have supposed iyam to be ayam, in the neuter, and have taken dekhati, as allied to the vernacular dekhna, which in Sanskrit changes in this tense to drishyate or, is seen…. this is called Asinava, a word of unknown meaning. The pandits would read adinava, transgressions, but the word is repeated more than once with the same spelling, and must therefore be retained…. An obscure passage, chakho (written chukho) being neuter does not agree with esa m., overruling this as an error, we may make dekhiya, is precisely the modern Hindi subjunctive, 'may or shall it see.'… The ti does not exist on the Feroz lat though it is retained on the others. Asinava gamini is the former unknown term, which seems here to mean the nine asa or petty offences…. Some of these agree with the nine kinds of subordinate crimes enumerated in Sanscrit works, which are as follows: ignorance, deceit, envy, inebriety, lust, hypocrisy, hate, covetousness, and avarice….

Translation of the West inscription….

Had the a been long the preferable reading would have been rajaka, assemblies of princes or rulers, quasi courtiers or rulers…. [x] is the pandit’s reading, making rajaka in the vocative, 'oh devotees who are come in many souls, in hundreds of thousands of people', but in this reading janasi, which is found alike in all the texts, must be placed in the 7th case plural, … (Pali janasi ayata), 'having come into this knowledge', is, I think, preferable, and is accordingly adopted…. If the i be long, the word would signify, 'without fear, fearless.'… 'circumambulations must be practised', or 'pious acts,' will be closer to the original. To the termination evu the other lats add ti in this and the following instances. The former agrees with the vernacular hove, 'let be,' the latter with the Sanskrit 'is to be.'… 'shall they become prosperous or unfortunate,' according to the pandit; but a nearer approach to the construction of the text may be formed, 'shall know good or bad fortune.'… It is best to regard [x] as a compound of dharma and ayatam, length, endurance, — or (from ayat), 'the coming.' The word viyo is unknown to either the Sanskrit or the Pali scholar, they suppose it to be a term of applause attached to 'they shall say,' as in the modern Hindvi tumko bhala kahengi, they shall say 'well' to you, they shall applaud you. To praise, may be the root of the expression. It also something resembles the Io of the Greeks, which however like eheu, is used as an expression of lamentation, and this meaning accords also with the word viyo in Clough's Singhalese Dictionary. — Viyo, viyov, viyoga, 'lamentation, separation, absence.' Viyo-dhamma is translated 'perishable things' by Mr. Turnour in a passage from the Pitakattayan… perhaps the 'some little' given of the inhabitants of the village, and preserved shall be on account of worship,' (or they shall give trifling presents to make puja?)… This passage is rather obscure in its application to the preceding; the pandit reads 'the devotees also speak,' but the letter p is uncertain, and I would prefer, ‘shall receive, and having proceeded my devotees shall obtain the sacred offering of chandan’; [x] being read by the pandit as sandal-wood, an unctuous preparation of which is applied to the forehead in pujas, but the aspirated ch makes this interpretation dubious: chhandani are solitary private (occupations) or desires…. An unknown letter in the word chayanti or chapanti leaves this sentence in the same uncertainty. Adopting the former we have, 'by which my devotees (may) accumulate for the purpose of the worship, to pay the expenses of the worship from the accumulated nazars and offerings.'… A new subject here commences, 'moreover let my people frequent the great myrobalan trees (which also the Hindus prize very highly and desire to die under) in the night.' Thus reads the pandit, but the last word is [x], not yatu; and it may be an adverb implying, 'occasionally', or prohibiting altogether. Viyataye may also mean 'for the learned,' viyata in Pali being a scholar, in which case I should understand [x] as the name of some third tree (like the nyctanthes tristis or the white water-lily which opens its petals (or smiles at night) so as to connect the dhatri with the asvattha, or holy fig-tree, thus, 'the dhatri, nisijati and asvatha shall be for the learned.'… The same expression here recurs: 'my people accumulates (or plants?) the auspicious, or the great myrobalan'; perhaps 'caresses' is to be preferred in both places…. A new enjoinder, [x] or, following the Bakra and Mathia texts, may mean, 'the pleasure of drink (vinous liquor) is to be eschewed,’ but for this sense the words should be inverted, as [x]. The exact translation as it stands is, 'pleasure, as wine must be abandoned,' a common native turn of expression, — 'do this (as soon) take poison.'… A curiously introduced parenthesis, 'much to be desired is such glory!’... something is wanting to make the next word intelligible, avaite, &c., as if 'but they shall not be put to death by me.'… 'of men deserving of imprisonment or execution, pilgrimage (is) the punishment (awarded)?' This, the only interpretation consonant with the scrupulous care of life among the Buddhists, is supported by the genitive case of munisanam, yet a closer adherence to the letter of the text may be found in 'the adjudged punishment.' If by [x] pilgrimage be intended, 'banishment,' there is no such disproportion being the punishment awarded as might be at first supposed. It is in the eyes of natives the heaviest infliction…. The general meaning of this sentence can easily be gathered, but its construction is in some parts doubtful, the words [x] follow the same idiom as above, the three days of (or for) the highway robbers or murderers; my, generally placed before the verb or participle (as me kate passim) inclines me to read yote as [x] or [x], though usually written vute … Dine natikavakani is transcribed by the pandit 'among the poor people, blasphemies, or atheistical words,' but this does not connect with the next word ni ripayihanti, where we recognize the 3rd plural of the future tense of root to hurt or injure with the prohibitive ‘not’ prefixed. Perhaps it should be understood 'neither among the poor or the rich shall any whatever (criminals) be tortured (or maimed).' … Here are two other propositions coupled together; tanam I think should be beating, and destroying; jivitayetaram might thus be cruelty to living things. But I adopt this correction only because I see not how otherwise sense can be made…. [x] must be the vernacular corruption of 'they shall pay a fine, or give an alms.'… A doubtful passage for which I venture thus: 'It is my desire thus that the cherishing of these workers of opposition shall be for the (benefit) of the worship,' meaning that the fines shall be brought to credit in the vihara treasury?... The wind-up is almost pure Sanskrit …

Translation of the Inscription on the Southern compartment….

The words iyam dhamma lipi likhapita are here to be understood; otherwise the abstaining from animal food, and the preservation of animal life prescribed below must be limited to the year specified, and must be regarded as an edict of penance obligatory on the prince himself for that particular period…. In Sanskrit this sentence will run [x]. The Radhia and Mathia versions have avadhyani, the y being subjoined… the last is not to be found in dictionaries, but I render it 'owl,' on the authority of Kamalakant, who says rightly that this bird may alone challenge the title of bull-faced!… The nearest Sanskrit ornithological synonyme to gera a is the giddh or vulture, which I have accordingly adopted…. Amba kapilika is unknown as a bird. The name may be compounded of the Sanskrit words mother, and a tree bearing seed like pepper (pothos officinalis), perhaps therefore some spotted bird may have received the epithet…. The next two names are equally unknown, but the former may represent the dandi kak, or raven of Bengal, and the latter in this case may be safely interpreted the common crow, 'the thing of no value,' as the word imports… The next word vedaveyake may be easily Sanskritized as ‘disbelieving the Vedas,’ but such a bird is unknown at the present day…. The ganga puputaka seems to designate a bird which arrived in the valley of the Ganges at the time of the swelling of its waters, or in the rains; as such it may be the 'adjutant,' a bird rarely seen up the country but at that season…. The sankujamava, and the two names following it in the enumeration, are no longer known. The epithet karhatasayake might be applied to the chikor, quasi, sleeping with its head on one side, a habit ascribed in fable to this bird according to the pandit, or it might be rendered the Numidian crane. The panasasesimala may derive its name from feeding on the panasa or jak fruit…. I feel strongly inclined to translate these three in a general way as the perchers, the waders, or web-footed, and those that assort in pairs. The first epithet might also apply to the common fowls in the sense of capon. The mention of the wild and tame pigeon immediately after the above list obliges us to regard all included between the known names at the commencement, and these winding up the list, as birds, or nearly allied to the feathered race; otherwise panasasesimare might easily be broken into a monkey and the gangetic porpoise; and in the same way rekapade might be aptly translated ‘frog;’ sandak, sadaka, or salaka, the porcupine…. The sense requires that a new paragraph should begin with this word although from the final e of the preceding list they might seem all to be classed together in the locative case. As a noun of number, savechatupade may remain singular; in Sanskrit the sentence would run [x]; ye should equally govern a plural verb in the text, where perhaps the anuswara is omitted accidentally in eti and chakhadiyati…. This paragraph as translated in the text would run in Sanskrit with very slight modification [x]. But the expression is awkward from the repetition, (particularly in the original) of the participle kakate with its gerund kataviye. Another very plausible reading occurs to the pandit, making asanmasike vadhi kakate represent the three holy months of the Buddhist as of the brahmanical year, in the months of Aswina, Bhadra, and Karkata (or Kartik), to which these prohibitions would particularly apply; but there are two strong objections to this reading, 1st, that the order of the months is inverted, Kartik, the first in order being found last in the enumeration; and 2nd, the gerund kataviye would be left without specification of the act prohibited. Neither of these is however an insuperable objection, as the act had been just before set forth, and the months may be placed in the order of their sanctity…. This passage varies little from the Sanskrit [x], from the root ‘to hurt, or injure.’ I was led to this root from the impossibility of placing the letter [x] of the inscription in any other place in our alphabet than as [x]. In the Girnar inscription the ordinary r is rendered by [x], which is not to be found in the lats of Delhi, Allahabad, &c., where r is always expressed by l, or a curved form of r, nearly similar in figure. Adding the vowel mark i, we have precisely [x] to express the short sharp ri, in which the burring sound of the r is not convertible so easily into the more liquid sound of l. The aspirated letter ph must necessarily be represented by simple p; at least the corresponding aspirate has not yet been met with on the stone…. The Sanskrit version of this passage hardly differs from the Magadhi, [x]. The termination differs only from the circumstance of the Sanskrit masculine or feminine being replaced by the neuter in the vernacular, as in the Pali language. The contrast, "whether useless, or whether for amusement," does not sound to us so striking as 'whether for use or for amusement,' might have done; but the meaning of the injunction is that even the uselessness of the object shall not be an excuse for depriving it of life…. Jivenajive might admit of three interpretations: 'alive or not alive', jiva najive, i.e., either living or dead, but this is at [x], Sanskrit not to be nurtured. Again [x] is one name for a pheasant, or chakor. But the most obvious and most accordant interpretation is 'that which liveth by life,' to wit a carnivorous animal, which a strict Buddhist could not countenance with consistency…. We now come to the specification of those days wherein peculiar observance of the foregoing rules is enjoined. [X] seems to embrace the whole year, 'in the three four-monthly periods, or seasons;' the expression tisayam punnamasiyam might admit of translation as 'the third full moon,' but a closer agreement with the Sanskrit is adopted in the text by making the [x], which in fact on the stone is separated from the rest, an expletive, quasi 'the evening of the full moon' generally, and this agrees with the Hindu practice; see Sir William Jones' note on the calendar (As. Res. III. 263) where a syamapuja is noted for the 15th or full moon of Aswina (Kartika), a day set apart for bathing and libations to Yama, the judge of departed spirits. It will be remarked that the numbers tinni, chawudasam, pannadasam, are almost as near to the modern Hindi words tin, chauda, pandara, as to the genuine Pali, tini (neuter), chuddasa and pannarasa, three, 14th and 15th. The patipad, Sanskrit [x], is the first day after the full; the Hindus keep particularly the pratipat of the month Kartika (dyuta pratipat) when games of chance are allowed. Dhavaye I have translated 'current', Sanskrit [x], although this word has rather the signification of 'running' in an active sense…. The anuposatham, or rather uposatha, is a religious observance peculiar to the Buddhists; a fast, hardly expresses enough; it requires an abstinence from the five forbidden acts to the laity, or the 8 and 10 obligatory on the upasikas, disciples, and Samaneras, (priests.) 1, destroying life; 2, stealing; 3, fornication; 4, falsehood; 5, intoxication; 6, eating at unpermitted times; 7, dancing, singing and music; 8, exalted seats; 9, the use of flowers and perfumes; 10, the touch of the precious metals. The affix machhe, is equivalent to the Sanskrit [x], or the Pali majjhe, 'midst,' for in our alphabet the jh is always found replaced by chh; had it been separated in the text from anuposatham, it might have been construed with the ensuing words, 'fish unkilled are not to be exposed for sale’ (during the days specified). As it stands, however, avadhya must refer either to 'things unkilled,' or the things whose slaughter is above interdicted must not be sold. The Buddhist scriptures count among the uposatha divasani, or fast days, the panchami, atthami, chatuddasi and pannaras,i or full moon of every month. The first of these is not alluded to in our text, and the pratipat is perhaps included in the 15th day which begins with the evening of the full and reaches into the day after…. The interdiction is here extended to snakes and alligators, the most noxious and destructive reptiles; at least nagavansi, and kevatabhogasi, Sanskrit [x], 'the generation of nagas, and the feeders on fish,' admit of no better explanation…. athamipakhaye, Sanskrit [x], means the eighth day of each paksha or half-month, but perhaps it alludes particularly to the goshthashtami of Kartika, when according to the Bhima parakrama, 'cows are to be fed, caressed and attended in their pastures; and the Hindus are to walk round them with ceremony, keeping them always to the right-hand’… As punavasune, is one of the nakshatras or lunar asterisms, (the 7th,) the preceding word tisaye must be similarly understood as the asterism Pausha. For the reverence paid to this lunar day see the preliminary remarks. Otherwise, it might be rendered trinsye (tithi) on the 30th or full moon, as pannadasa the 15th is employed for the amavasi, or new moon; but against this reading it may be urged that the vowel i should be long (as in the Hindi tisain), and again the enumeration of the days in the luni-solar calendar is never carried beyond the 15th, for as the lunar month contains only 28-1/2 solar days, there would be great trouble in adopting the second period of 15 tithis, or lunar days, to them continuously without an adjustment on the day of change…. Sans. [x], 'cattle shall not be looked at,' or regarded with a view to employment. Were the word simply no-rakhitaviye it would imply that they were not to be 'kept' for labour on such days…. 'On the tishya and punarvasu days of the nakshatric system' must here be understood; as the term 'of every four months,’ and every four half-months would otherwise be unintelligible. The division of the Zodiac into 28 asterisms, each representing one day's travel of the moon in her course, is the most ancient system known, and peculiar to the Hindus. From the motion of the earth it will follow that the moon will be in the same stellar mansions on different days of her proper month at different times of the year, hence the impossibility of fixing their date otherwise than is here done. Although the nakshatras days do not seem now to be particularly observed, yet they are constantly alluded to in the narration of the first acts of the priests. See observations on this head in the preface. We find the word rakhane now introduced, so that it was purposely reserved for application to the beasts of burthen in the climax of the prohibitory law, 'horses and oxen shall not be tied up in the stall on these days!' The termination in e in this and the former instances is curious. It is the 7th case used like the Latin ablative absolute, even with the gerund…. 'Moreover by me having reigned for twenty-seven years, at this present time, five and twenty liberations from imprisonment (are) made.' The verb 'are' or 'shall be' being understood. It is perhaps ambiguous whether 'in this interval' applies to the duration of the 27th year, or to the time previously transpired, yavat signifying both 'until, up to,' and 'as long as, when.'…

Translation of the Inscription on the Eastern compartment….

The omission of the demonstrative pronoun iyam, this, which in the other tablets is united to dhammalipi, requires a different turn to the sentence, such as I have ventured to adopt in the translation: ‘In the 12th year of his reign the raja had published an edict, which he now in the 27th considered in the light of a sin.’ His conversion to Buddhism then must have been effected in the interval, and we may thus venture a correction of 20 years in the date assigned to Piatissa's succession in Mr. Turnour's table, where he is made to come to the throne on the very year set down for the deputation of Mahinda and the priests from Asoka's court to convert the Ceylon court…. I have placed the stop here because the following word, setam, seemed to divide the sentence, 'an edict was promulgated in the 12th year for the good of my subjects, so this having destroyed, or cancelled, I’… Apahata (is) abandoned: viz. the former dhammalipi setam (neuter) is perhaps used for sa-iyam (feminine) so, that; or supplying the word [x] it may run in the neuter [x] and continuing (Pali tam-tam) [x] this (being) as it were a sin according to dharma vardhi (my new religion, so), the expression being connected by tatpurusha samasa…. The text has petavakhati, which may be either read hitavakhati, S. [x], ‘a description for the benefit’, or hetu vakhati, S. [x], ‘description for the sake,' to wit of mankind. Pati vekhami (vakhami), S. [x], ‘I now formally renounce,’ — the affix prati gives the sense of recantation from a former opinion… Sanskrit, [x], ‘among lords, companions, and lieges.’ The last word may also be read, ‘among the sincere or faithful (adherents)’…. Hemeva, for imanva or imaneva, Sanskrit, [x], nikaya, an assembly, may signify the congregations at each of the principal viharas or monasteries…. The construction of this passage is not quite grammatical: echa must he read evamcha; then in Sanskrit [x], 'this (is) for the following after (or obedience) of the soul (myself) as connected with my faith or desire of salvation;' the word upagamane in what is called the nimitta saptami case. I have given what appears the obvious sense. The inscriptions at Allahabad, Mathia and Bakra all end with this sentence, and there is an evident recommencement in the Feroz tablets as if the remainder had been superadded at a later period…. I am by no means confident that the precise sense has been apprehended in the following curious paragraph. The word katham, ‘how’, implies a question asked, to which the answer is accordingly found immediately following, and a second question is proposed with the same preliminary ‘thus spake the raja,’ and solved in like manner, each term rising in logical force so as to produce a climax, that by conversion of the poor the rich would be worked upon, and by their example even kings' sons would be converted, thus shewing the necessity and advantage of continual preaching. For atikata, my pandit reads atikranta, making the whole line; [x]? ataran 3rd. per. pl. 1st. pret. from [x], ‘went to heaven,’ 'as ancient princes went to heaven under these expectations (departed in the faith), how shall religion increase among men through the same hopes?'… The first syllable of this word should perhaps be read no, nochajanne, though differently formed from the usual vowel o; nor will the meaning in such case be obvious. By adopting the pandit's modification, nichajanne, 'vile born,' we have a contrast with the sujanne, ‘well born’ of the next sentence: thus [x]; but though the tha of the word vadhitha belongs only to the second person plural and requires the noun to be placed in the objective case, 'you increase religion,' I incline to read it as a corruption of the future tense vadhisati, or the potential vadheyat…. The letter h in esa mahurtta (an hour, 15th of the day or night) being rather doubtful, I at first took it for a p and translated, 'as my sons and relations'. But it was remarked that only for the anuswara, thrice repeated, the word antikantan would be precisely the same as atikata, above rendered by atikranta. The same meaning would be obtained again by making putha the Sanskrit [x], ‘pure, virtuous’, 'my virtuous ancestors;' but on the whole muhurtha is to be preferred as being nearest to the original…. The verb is here written vadheyati, the ti being perhaps the intensitive or expletive [x] or [x] added to the vadheya of the preceding sentence…. 'what (may not be effected) towards the convincing and converting of the upper classes?' The word anupatipajaya however, from former analogy, will be better rendered by the Sanskrit anupratipadye, which will then require [x] to agree with sujane…. This sentence is unintelligible from the imperfection of two of the letters. The pandit would read [x], but this appears overstrained and without meaning. The last two words ‘dharm shall increase’ point out a meaning, that as (religion and conversion?) go on, virtue itself shall be increased. Adya may perhaps be read Aja…. 'at this time I have ordered sermons to be preached (or to my sons? or virtuous sermons), and I have established religious ordinances.'… 'so that among men there shall be conformity and obedience.' It may be read, 'which the people having heard (shall obey),’ and I have preferred this latter reading because it gives a nominative to the verb…. The anomalous letter of the penultimate word seems to be a compound of gni and anuswara, which would make the reading agnim namisati 'and shall give praise unto Agni,' but no reason can be assigned for employing such a Mithraic name for the deity in a Buddhist document. A facsimile alone from the pillar can solve this difficulty, for we have here no other text to collate with the Feroz lat inscription. It is probably the same word which is illegible in the 19th line. The only other name beginning with a which can well be substituted is Aja, a name of Brahma, Vishnu, or Siva, or in general terms, 'God.' Perhaps Aja, 'illusion personified as Sakti—(Maya),’ may have more of a Buddhistic acceptation….

Inscription round the shaft of Feroz's Pillar. Translation of Inscription round the column….

The only word suitable here is opposition; Ratna Paula would read wisdom. There is no such word as [x] with a cerebral dh. The more proselytism succeeded, the greater opposition it would necessarily meet…. Savapitini should doubtless be savapitani, 'caused to be heard.'… Anusathini (subauditur valhyani), ‘ordinances’, would be the more correct expression, ‘ordered, commanded’…. Yataya papi bahune anasin ayata. The first three letters are inserted in dots on the transcript in the society's possession; it is consequently doubtful how to restore the passage; a nominative plural masculine is required to agree with ayata and govern vadisanti, thus [x]. The meaning of paliye or paliyo is very doubtful: it resembles or contrasts with the viyo of a former part of the inscription. The pandit would have 'on all sides', viz. that they should become missionaries after their own conversion…. Perhaps, 'they shall employ others in speaking' (or preaching)…. The word vadatha being in the second person plural, the rajaka beginning the sentence must be in the vocative, 'oh disciples.' But even this requires a correction from vadatha to vadatha. Ayata and anapita are equivalent to the Sanskrit [x] and [x], ‘having come and being admitted by me,’ — or [x], ‘to them is commanded’, which is best because it leads to the imperative conjunction vadatha…. 'religious establishments are made,' or perhaps pillars, made neuter according to the idiom of the Pali dialect?... the very learned in religion are made, i.e. wise priests appointed. The succeeding word is erased, and it is unnecessary to fill it up, as the sense is complete without. From the last line of the inscription, where thambani occurs, the missing letter may perhaps be read dh, dhara…. Abavadikya of the small or printed text is in the large facsimile ambavabhikya, which leads us to the otherwise hazardous reading of 'mangoe trees;' the word ropapita (applied just before to the planting of trees) confirms this satisfactory substitution…. Several letters are here lost, but it is easy to supply them conjecturally having the two first syllables, nisi and the participle kalapita, ‘and houses to put up for the night in are caused to be built;’ apanani are taverns or places for drinking. Space for one letter follows [x], probably tata tata, Sanskrit [x], ‘here and there’…. literally, 'for the entertainment of beast and man.' The five following letters are missing, which may be supplied by [x], or some similar word…. This neat sentence will run thus in Sanskrit, altering one or two vowels only, [x]. In this the only alteration made are yatha for ya; and rajibhi from rajihi (natural to the Pali dialect,) the third case of raji, ‘a line or descent.’ The application of nama indefinitely is quite idiomatical. The ta may be inserted after hi, but it will read without, 'this people as they take pleasure under my dynasty on account of the various profit and well-being by means of entertainment in my town (or country), (tatha must be here understood) so let them take cognizance of (or partake in) this the fame (or laudable effect) of my religion.' Purihi rajihi may also be understood as in ‘town and country,’ in the translation…. The large facsimile corrects the vowels, te for ta, vidhesu for vidhasu, &c. of the printed transcript; mata is the same in both, but in other places we find mata. The passage may run [x]; the word 'among unbelievers' cannot well be admitted here; 'with kindnesses and favors' may be the word intended, which though feminine in Sanskrit is here used in the neuter. For vayapata, R. P. would read, ‘obtaining age, or growing old’; in the latter case the sense will be that the 'wise unto salvation' growing old in the manifold riches of my condescension and in the favors of the ascetics and the laity growing old — they in the sanghat (sanghatasi for sangha te) or places of assembly made by me — shall attain old age? But mahamata will be much more intelligible if rendered ‘tenets or doctrines’, in lieu of ‘teachers.’ (See preliminary remarks.) Should sanghat be a right reading, it gives us the aspirated g, which is exactly the form that would be deduced from the more modern alphabets; but if an h, the sense will be the same. From the subsequent repetition of the proposition ime vyapata hahanti, with so many nouns of person in the locative case, it seems preferable to take arthesu and pasandesu in the same sense, which may be done by reading the former either as, ‘among the afflicted or frightened, or the rich.’ The verb variously written papanti, hohanti, hahanti, &c. may be [x] rather than [x]; in the yanluk tense, 'shall be occasionally.' [X] here also and further on has the meaning of 'on account of.'… We have here undoubtedly the vernacular word for brahman babhanesu for among brahmans (those without trade), and laity (those following occupations)… The pandit would read, 'do ye enter in or go amongst' (or stedfastly pursue their object), meaning the mahamatas among the people; but this is inconsistent with the te te which require, 'among these several parties respectively, these my several wise men and holy men shall find their way.' The double expression throughout is peculiar, as is the addition after the verb of 'and among all other classes of the Gentiles.' … Here the word [x] is substituted for [x], meaning 'the finished practitioners in religious ceremonial'; for Kamakha read kamaka, or kamatha, [x]; but if mahamata be made 'doctrines', kamaka must be rendered ceremonial…. Devinam S. [x], 'among the whole of my queens', in contradistinction to ni (?) rodhanasi, which may mean 'concubines’… 'with the utmost respect and reverence,' there is evidently a letter wanting after a, which is supplied by a d… The pandit here also enables me to supply a hiatus of several letters: ‘patita (yantu) let them (the priests) thus discreetly or respectfully make their efforts (at conversion)’, — yatanam, exertion pratita, respectful. ...... hida cheva disasu, 'in heart and abroad, within and without;' the application is dubious. I prefer [x] 'with the eyes,' cha dalakanam. The pandit suggests [x] from wife (whence may be formed [x] possessively) of inferior wives, women, but I find 'a son' in Wilson's dictionary, and necessarily prefer a word exactly agreeing with the text…. 'of other queens and princes;' danavisagesu is here put in the plural, which makes it doubtful whether the former should not also be so…. These two words in the 4th case must be connected with the preceding sentence, for the purpose of religious abstraction, apadanam, 'restraining the organs of sense,' has however the second a long. [X] (fem.) is a nazar or present, a calamity; 'for the due ascertainment of dharma,' for a regular religious instruction?... Iyam, feminine, agreeing with pratipatti, the worthier of the two as in Latin…. Of these three coupled qualities the two first are known from the north tablet. The third in the large facsimile reads mandave sadhame, which may be rendered 'among the squalid-clothed, the outcasts (lokasa) of the world.' But though agreeing letter for letter, the sense is unsatisfactory, and I have preferred a translation on the supposition that the derivation of the words is from madhava, sweet, bland, and sadhu, honest. Sadhu is also a term of salutation used to those who have attained arahat-hood…. 'rendering service to father and mother, and the same to spiritual guides;' the next word vaya mahalakanam, is interpreted by R. P. as, 'the very aged'; there is no corresponding Sanskrit word; [x] may be the bald-headed, from forehead. A great man is called barra kapal, from a notion that a man's destiny is written on his forehead; thus, in the Naishadha, when the swan bringing a message from Damoyanti is caught by Nala raja, it laments: "Why, oh Creator! with thy lotus hand, who makest the tender and the cold wife, hast you written on my forehead the burning letter which says, thou shalt be separated from thy mate?"… Duwehi for two-fold, viz.: first 'ia form', the second, niritiya for nrite, dancing according to the pandit; but I would prefer dwihi akarehi (in the Pali 3rd case plural), 'by two signs or tokens;' viz. by voluntary practice of its observances, and secondly 'by freedom from violence, security against persecution.' The Sanskrit would be [x] in the dual…. The half effaced word cannot well be explained; the second is 'let it be reverenced', or 'let reverence be,' probably the word is repeated here as before…. The final sentence I did not quite understand when writing my first notice, having supposed silathabhani to represent the Sanskrit silasthapana. After careful reconsideration with the pandit, we recognize the Pali as rather the exact equivalent for silastambha, a stone pillar (made neuter); the sentence may therefore thus be transcribed [x]. The translation is given in the text, Adhara, a receptacle, a stone intended to contain a record. The words silathabhani and siladhalakani, however, being in the plural and neuter, require kataviyani, also neuter, which may be effected by altering the next word ena to ani; ena being superfluous though admissible as a duplication of esa…. shall proclaim it on all sides (?)… address on all sides (or address comfortably?)… and (resting-places?) for the night… Let the priests deeply versed in the faith (or let my doctrines?) penetrate… I have observed the ordinances myself as the apple of my eye (?)…

**************************

James Prinsep's references to George Turnour in “Interpretation” article:

1. I have said that the founder of the faith is not named. Neither is the ordinary title of the priesthood, bhikhu or bhichhu to be found, though the word is so frequently met with among the Bhilsa danams. The words mahamata, (written sometimes mata) and dhamma mahamata seem used for priests 'the wise men, the very learned in religion.' — The same epithet is found in conjunction with bhikhu in the interesting passage quoted by Mr. Turnour in the preceding article on the Pitakattayan, (see page 506.)

2. But I must now close these desultory remarks, in the hope of hereafter rendering them more worthy of the object by future study and research; and proceed to lay before the Society, first a correct version of the inscription in its own character, and then in Roman letters which I have preferred to Nagari, because the Pali language has been already made familiar to that type by MM. Bournouf and Lassen, as well as by Mr. Turnour's great edition of the Mahavansa, now just issued from the press.

3. 7 / viyo vadisanti 9. [It is best to regard [x] as a compound of dharma and ayatam, length, endurance, — or (from ayat), 'the coming.' The word viyo is unknown to either the Sanskrit or the Pali scholar, they suppose it to be a term of applause attached to [x] 'they shall say,' as in the modern Hindvi tumko bhala kahengi, they shall say 'well' to you, they shall applaud you. [x] to praise, may be the root of the expression. It also something resembles the Io of the Greeks, which however like eheu is used as an expression of lamentation; and this meaning accords also with the word viyo in Clough's Singhalese Dictionary. — Viyo, viyov, viyoga, 'lamentation, separation, absence.' Viyo-dhamma is translated 'perishable things' by Mr. Turnour, in a passage from the Pitakattayan. See p. 523.]

4. 2 / vasa abhisitename, dhammalipi likhapita 1 [The omission of the demonstrative pronoun iyam, this, which in the other tablets is united to dhammalipi, requires a different turn to the sentence, such as I have ventured to adopt in the translation: In the 12th year of his reign the raja had published an edict, which he now in the 27th considered in the light of a sin. His conversion to Buddhism then must have been effected in the interval, and we may thus venture a correction of 20 years in the date assigned to Piatissa's succession in Mr. Turnour's table, where he is made to come to the throne on the very year set down for the deputation of Mahinda and the priests from Asoka's court to convert the Ceylon court.]
admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 34615
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

Postby admin » Fri Dec 31, 2021 7:58 am

"Editor" James Prinsep's notes to "Further notes on the inscriptions on the columns at Delhi, Allahabad, Betiah, &c.
by the Hon'ble George Turnour, Esq. of the Ceylon Civil Service*
The Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, Vol. VI, Part II, Jul-Dec
1837



[James Prinsep: We consider it a duty to insert this paper, just received, in the same volume with our version of the inscription, adding a note or two in defence of the latter where we consider it still capable of holding its ground against such superior odds!]

George Turnour: The thorough investigation of this subject is of such paramount importance and deep interest, and as (if I have rightly read the concluding sentence of "the fifth inscription round the shaft of Feroz's pillar," which appears for the first time in the July journal,) we have yet five more similar columns to discover in India, I venture to suggest that you should publish my translation also, together with the text in the ancient character, transposed literatim from my romanized version.

[James Prinsep: (Re 10 pillars) We know of five, therefore three remain — the Bhittri may be a fragment of one; that at Bakrabad, and one near Ghazeepore are without inscriptions.

(Re publishing Turnour’s translation of Feroz’s pillar) To this we must demur: we have examined the greater part from perfect facsimiles, and cannot therefore consent to publish a version which we know to deviate materially from the original text.]


George Turnour: The substantive "patipadaye," however, which you convert into a verb, does not, I am confident, in the Pali language, admit of the rendering "I acknowledge and confess" in the sense of renunciation.

[James Prinsep: The objection to consider patipadaye as a verb does not seem very consistent with the three examples given, all of which are verbs — patipajjamati (the double jj of which represents the Sanskrit dy not d) S. pratipadyama iti or in atmani pada amahe; — and twice, patipajjitubanti (S. Pratipadyatavyam iti). Pada is certainly the root of all; which with the prefix pati (S. prati) takes the neuter sense of 'to follow after (or observe);' while by lengthening the a, pada, it has the active or causal sense of to make observance, to declare, ('padyate, he goes, padayati or padayate, he makes to go,) the only alteration I bespoke was palate to palatam, to agree with dosam — but as the anuswara is very doubtful in the Allahabad copy, I incline to read (Sanskritice hidayatapalatah dosahpatipadaye, 'I declare (what was) the sin cherished in my heart' — with a view of course to renunciation. The substitution of u for o has many examples: — but I never pretended that the reading of this passage was satisfactory.]

George Turnour: The following example is also taken from the Parinibbanan sutan in the Dighanikayo, containing the discourses of Buddho delivered while reclining on his deathbed, under the sal trees at Kusinara. The interrogator Anando was his first cousin, and favorite disciple. “Kathan Mayan, Bhante, Matugame patipajjamati*?”

[James Prinsep: By permutation d becomes jj, (rather dy.]

George Turnour: It is evident, therefore, that the substantive "patipadaye" signifies "observance and adherence" and cannot be admitted to bear any signification which implies "renunciation." It is almost immaterial whether the next word be the adjective "annata" or the adjective "ananta" — I prefer the latter. But "agaya," cannot possibly be the substantive "aghan" "sin," in the accusative case plural.

[James Prinsep: My critic has here been misled by my looseness of translation— had he followed my Sanskrit, he would have seen that aghaya was never intended as an accusative plural of agham: I must parse and construe the whole, premising that the texts differ in regard to the final a of the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th words, which in some copies of the Delhi inscription are long, while on the Allahabad facsimile they are all short. In the former case (the one I previously adopted) the reading is (Sanskritice.)

adj. fem. s. 5.
Anyata-aghaya
subs. fem. s. 5.
dharmakamataya,
sub. nt. s. 4
aghaya,
sub. fem. s. 5.
parikshaya,
ditto
aghaya
ditto,
susrusaya
3rd case
aghena
sub. s. 3
bhayena,
sub. s. 3
aghena utsahena,
pro. 1
esa —
sub. s. 1
chakshuh,
pro. 6
mama
verb pot. s. 3.
anustheyat

"from the all-else-sinful religion-desire, from examination to sin, from desire to listen to sin (sc. to hear it preached of) by sin-fear, by sin-enormity, — thus may the eye of me be confirmed."

In this translation I have preserved every case as in the Sanskrit, and I think it will be found that the same meaning is expressed in my first translation.

If the short a be preferred, the 5th case, kamataya and parikshaya, both feminine substantives must be changed to the 3rd, Sans. kamatayai and parikshayai (in Pali, kamataya and parikhaya) — and the sense will be only changed to "by the all-else-sinful desire of religion, — by the scrutiny into the nature of sin, &c. That kamata (not kama) is the feminine noun employed (formed like devata from deva) is certain: because the nominative case is afterwards introduced 'dharma-preksha, dharma kamata cha, &c. Mr. Turnour converts these into plural personal nouns, "the observers of dharma, the delighters in dharma" — but such an interpretation is both inconsistent with the singular verb (varddhisati), and with the expression suve suve (svayam svayam) 'each of itself '— I therefore see no reason to give up any part of my interpretation of the opening sentence of the inscription.]


George Turnour: The absence of the aspirate would not be a serious objection, but "aghan*" is a neuter noun of the 12th declension. The accusative plural would be "agani or age" and not "agaya," which I read "agaya" the dative singular.

[James Prinsep: Aghan is said to be sometimes masculine, agho which makes aghe in the accusative plural.]

George Turnour: It would be unreasonable to multiply quotations which I could readily do, for pronouncing that Piyadaso, Piyadasino or Piyadasi, according as metrical exigencies required the appellation to be written, was the name of Dhanmasoko before he usurped the Indian empire; and it is of this monarch that the amplest details are found in Pali annals.

[James Prinsep: Piyadassino is the genitive case of Piyadasi]

George Turnour: The five short insulated lines at the foot of the Allahabad pillar, having reference to this second empress, is, by its position in the column, a signal evidence of the authenticity, and mutual corroboration of these inscriptions and the Pali annals. As Dhanmasoko married her in the 34th year of his reign, she could not have been noticed in the body of the inscriptions which were recorded on the 27th. I fear we do not yet possess a correct transcript of these five lines*.

[James Prinsep: See page 966 which had not reached the author when the above was written.

The five short lines in the old character that follow the Dharmalipi at a short distance below (see Capt. Burt's lithograph) were the next object of my inspection, I have represented what remains of them faithfully in fig. 1, of PI. LVI. which will be seen to differ considerably from Lieut. Burt's copy of the same. The reading is now complete and satisfactory in lines 1, 2, and 5. The 3rd and 4th lines are slightly effaced on the right hand. We can also now construe them intelligibly, though in truth the subject seems of a trivial nature to be so gravely set forth.
Devanampiyasa vachanena savata mahamata
Vataviya: Eheta dutiyaye deviye rane
Ambavadika va alameva danam: Ehevapati. . .
Kichhiganiya titiye deviye senani sava. . .
Dutiyaye deviyeti ti valamatu karuvakiye

'By the mandate of Devanampiya, at all times the great truth (Mahamata* [See page 574. In Sanskrit [x] (or perhaps rather [x] by his desiring, wishing) [x] (fit or proper to be said,) meaning perhaps that this object had been provided for by pecuniary endowment.]) is appointed to be spoken. These also, (namely) mango-trees and other things are the gift of the second princess (his) queen. [[x].] And these for. . . of Kichhigani the third princess, the general (daughter's . . . ?) Of the second lady thus let the act redound with triple force [[x], corresponding as nearly as the construction of the two languages will allow.].

Unable to complete the sentence regarding the third queen, it is impossible to guess why the second was to enjoy so engrossing a share of the credit of their joint munificence, unless she did the whole in the name and on the behalf of them all! — It will be interesting to inquire whether by any good chance the name of queen Kichhigani is to be found in the preserved records of Asoka's reign, which are so circumstantial in many particulars. It is evident the Buddhist monarch enjoyed a plurality of wives after his conversion, and that they shared in his religious zeal.

As for the interlineation, it may be dismissed with a very few words. Instead of being a paraphrase or translation of the ancient text as from its situation had been conjectured, it is merely a series of unconnected scribblings of various dates, cut in most likely by the attendants on the pillar as a pretext for exacting a few rupees from visitors,—and while it was in a recumbent position. In the specimen of a line or two in plate LVI. the date Samvat 1413 is seen along with the names of Gopala putra, Dhanara Singh and others undecipherable. In plate LV. also may be seen a Bengali name with Nagari date 1464 and a bottle-looking symbol; and another below [x] Samvat 1661 Dhamaraja. These may be taken as samples of the rest which it would be quite waste of time to examine.

It is a singular fact that the periods at which the pillar has been overthrown can be thus determined with nearly as much certainty from this desultory writing, as can the epochs of its being re-erected from the more formal inscriptions recording the latter event. Thus, that it was overthrown, sometime after its first erection as a Silasthambha or religious monument by order of the great Asoka in the third century before Christ, is proved by the longitudinal or random insertion of several names (of visitors ?) in a character intermediate between No. 1. and No. 2. in which the m, b, &c. retain the old form, as in the Gujerat grants dated in the third century of the Samvat. Of these I have selected all I can find on the pillar:—they are easily read as far as they go. Thus No. 7, under the old inscription in Plate LVI. is [x] narasa. It was read as Baku tate in the former copy. No. 8 is nearly effaced: No. 9 may be Malavadi ro lithakandar (?) prathama dharah. The first depositor of something ? No. 10, is a name of little repute: [x] ganikakasya, 'of the patron of harlots.' No. 11 is clearly [x] Narayana. No. 12,[x] Chandra Bhat. No. 13 appears to be halachha seramal. And No. 14 is not legible though decidedly in the same type.

Now it would have been exceedingly inconvenient if not impossible to have cut the name, No. 10, up and down at right angles to the other writing while the pillar was erect, to say nothing of the place being out of reach, unless a scaffold were erected on purpose, which would hardly be the case since the object of an ambitious visitor would be defeated by placing his name out of sight and in an unreadable position.

This epoch seems to have been prolific of such brief records: it had become the fashion apparently to use seals and mottos; for almost all (certainly all the most perfect) yet discovered have legends in this very character. One in possession of Mr. B. Elliott of Patna, has the legend lithographed as fig. 15, which may be read [x] Sri Lokanavasya, quasi 'the boatman of the world.' General Ventura has also brought down with him some beautiful specimens of seals of the same age, which I shall take an early opportunity of engraving and describing.

Image
Selections From the Allahabad Column

But to return from this digression. The pillar was re-erected as 'Samudra gupta's arm' in the fourth or fifth century, and there it probably remained until overthrown again by the idol-breaking zeal of the Musalmans: for we find no writings on it of the Pala or Sarnath type, (i.e. the tenth century), but a quantity appear with plain legible dates from the Samvat year 1420, (A.D. 1363) down to 1660, odd: and it is remarkable that these occupy one side of the shaft, or that which was uppermost when the pillar was in a prostrate position. There it lay, then, until the death of the Emperor Akber; immediately after which it was once more set up to commemorate the accession (and the genealogical descent) of his son Jehangir.

A few detached and ill executed Nagari names, with Samvat dates of 1800, odd, shew that even since it was laid on the ground again by general Garstin, the passion for recording visits of piety or curiosity has been at work, and will only end with the approaching re-establishment of the pillar in its perpendicular pride under the auspices of the British government.

-- VII. Note on the Facsimiles of the various Inscriptions on the ancient column at Allahabad, retaken by Captain Edward Smith, Engineers, by James Prinsep, Sec. As. Soc. &c. &c., The Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, Vol. VI, Part II, July to December, 1837.]


George Turnour: I have not had time to examine the fifth inscription round the Delhi column carefully, and I apprehend that the transcript is not altogether perfect yet. The last line and half of this inscription, I should be disposed to read thus:
"Dewananpiya delivered this (injunction). Thereafter eight stone columns have been erected in different quarters like the inscriptions on Dhanmo established at Wesali. By this means this (inscription) will be perpetuated forever."

If this reading be correct*, as I have said before, we have still five more of these columns to discover in India.

[James Prinsep: This reading involves so many alterations of the text that I must demur to it
, especially as on re-examination I find it possible to improve my own reading so as to render it (in my own opinion at least) quite unobjectionable. The correction I allude to is in the reading of atha, which from the greater experience I have now gained of the equivalents of particular letters, I am inclined to read as the Sanskrit verb astat (Pial atha). — The whole sentence Sanskritized will be found to differ in nothing from the Pali — except in that stambha is masculine in the former and neuter in the latter: — and that the verb kataviya is required to agree with it. Iyam dharmalipi ata astat, sila-stambha (ni)va siladharika(ni)va tatah kartaviya (ni), ena (or yena) esha chirasthiti syat. "In order that this religious edict may stand (remain), stone pillars and stone slabs (or receptacles) shall be accordingly prepared;— by which the same may endure unto remote ages." Atha might certainly be read as ashto eight, but the construction of the sentence is thereby much impaired, and further it is unlikely that any definite number should be fixed upon, without a parallel specification of the places where they should be erected.]

George Turnour: The Inscription fronting West….
9. rodhanani paticharisanti; tepi chakkena wiyowadisanti ye na me rajjaka


[James Prinsep: The letter chh is read as r throughout; and the letter u as ru.]

George Turnour: 20. wadhati: wiwidhadanmacharane; sayame danasan wibhagoti."

[James Prinsep: By comparing this version with that published in July [VI.—Interpretation of the most ancient of the inscriptions on the pillar called the lat of Feroz Shah, near Delhi, and of the Allahabad, Radhia [Lauriya-Araraj (Radiah)] and Mattiah [Lauriya-Nandangarh (Mathia)] pillar, or lat, inscriptions which agree therewith, by James Prinsep, Sec. As. Soc. &c., The Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, Vol. VI, Part II, July to December, 1837], it will be seen to what extent the license of altering letters has been exercised. The author has however since relinquished the change of the Raja's name, in consequence of his happy discovery of Piyadasi's identity.
admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 34615
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

PreviousNext

Return to Articles & Essays

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 9 guests

cron