Trilingual inscription from Sri Lanka

L.S.Cousins L.S.Cousins at NESSIE.MCC.AC.UK
Sat Apr 24 05:06:45 UTC 1999

Erik Seldeslachts writes:

>The "epigraphist" S. Paranavitana is totally untrustworthy. The least you
>can say is that he had a
>lot of fantasy, but he might be better called a scientific fraud.

This is quite wrong. Much of his work is perfectly all right. It would be a
pity if an aberration in old age led people to ignore or undervalue much
important earlier work.

>He also "discovered" a long inscription in Sanskrit made by a Byzantine
>merchant, who gives a
>learned exposition of the Greek and Roman culture and even - very
>anachronistically - propounds
>the theory of the relatednes of the Indo-European languages.
>The text, published in "The Greeks and the Mauryas", Colombo, 1971,  was
>shown to be fake by the
>simple fact that the merchant uses English terms and pronunciations
>instead of Byzantine Greek
>ones in his transcriptions of Greek words (e.g. GrIkabhASA "the Greek
>language" , YuropArAjya
>"Europa"). See the review by Ludo Rocher in JAOS 95, 1975, p.141.

This work was controversial in Ceylon from publication. The most charitable
interpretation possible would indeed be that there is a lot of fantasy here.

Lance Cousins


Email: L.S.Cousins at

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