[INDOLOGY] Brahmi and Gupta script

Lubin, Tim LubinT at wlu.edu
Mon Aug 22 16:17:02 EDT 2016

Dear Artur,

I can’t off the top of my head recall someone presenting conclusive evidence on this question, probably because it does not exist.  (Though I have a nagging feeling that I did once see something like that.)  Thapar says it is “possible” that the Guptas could read the edicts [The Past Before Us, p. 341].  The first thing that comes to mind was the Girnar rock that bears the 14 Asokan rock inscriptions, Rudradāman’s famous inscription of 150 CE, and an inscription of Skandagupta.  The latter two (in Sanskrit, rather than Prakrit) relate to the renovation of Sudarśana lake, which is presented by Rudradāman as a Maurya public work begun under Candragupta Maurya and improved by Aśoka.  This seems an explicit effort here to claim the Mauryan mantle, which means that it must at least have been recognized that the rock’s old inscriptions were Mauryan --- though that does not mean that those later kings could *read* them.  There is no explicit reference in the later inscriptions to the content of the edicts.   The same can be said about the Allahabad Pillar Inscription (Asoka’s pillar edicts + “the Queen’s edict" + the Samudragupta inscription).

I do not have access at the moment to Harananda Sastri’s 1936 The Asokan Rock at Girnar (Gaekwad’s Arch. Series, 2) — perhaps he had something to say about it.  Unless I am missing something, standard authorities like Salomon, Falk, et al. don’t seem to address this question directly.

Anyone else know differently?


Timothy Lubin
Professor of Religion and Adjunct Professor of Law
Chair of the Department of Religion
Washington and Lee University
Lexington, Virginia 24450


From: INDOLOGY <indology-bounces at list.indology.info<mailto:indology-bounces at list.indology.info>> on behalf of Artur Karp <karp at uw.edu.pl<mailto:karp at uw.edu.pl>>
Date: Monday, August 22, 2016 at 12:56 PM
To: indology <indology at list.indology.info<mailto:indology at list.indology.info>>
Subject: Re: [INDOLOGY] Brahmi and Gupta script

It might be that the answer to my questions is obvious, so obvious that my query does not deserve any interest.

But, even if it is so, I would be grateful for a few references to books/papers I should get acquainted with.


2016-08-22 9:09 GMT+02:00 Artur Karp <karp at uw.edu.pl<mailto:karp at uw.edu.pl>>:
Dear List,

Is there any evidence for Gupta officials being able to read the Brahmi (Aśokan) script? Having knowledge about Aśoka - directly from his Edicts?

Best wishes,

Artur Karp (ret.)

Chair of South Asian Studies
University of Warsaw

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