Beginnings of writing

Klaus Karttunen KJKARTTU at
Fri Oct 18 13:32:46 UTC 1996

A couple of days ago Robert A. Hueckstedt referred to the Varttika 3 to 
P. 4.1.49 referring to Greek writing, dated it somewhat before 200 BC 
and asked for comments.
Actually, this particular passage has been much discussed during the two 
classical controversies about the date of Panini and Patanjali, first by 
Weber et al. and again in the 1930s (see my India in Early Greek 
Literature 1989 for references). After these, the Greek (and Aramaic) 
versions of Asokan inscriptions found in Kandahar have shown that Greek 
writing was indeed known and used in the Northwest. There is at least 
one further and probably somewhat earlier Greek inscription from 
Kandahar and several from other parts of Afghanistan (see my list in 
South Asian Archaeology 1993). Though not attested epigraphically, Greek 
writing must have been in use in what is now Pakistan during the brief 
period of Achaemenian suzerainty during ten years or so beginning in 
327/326 BC. 

Klaus Karttunen

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