book announcement: EARLY TAMIL EPIGRAPHY / I. Mahadevan

Dominik Wujastyk ucgadkw at UCL.AC.UK
Mon Mar 17 16:34:39 UTC 2003

>From the Earliest Times to the Sixth Century A.D.



Co-published by Cre-A:, India & Harvard Oriental Series, Harvard
University, U S A

Pages: 760 · Size: 11.0² x 8.5² · 250+ illustrations · Hard cover

EARLY TAMIL EPIGRAPHY is the first definitive edition of the earliest
Tamil inscriptions in the Tamil-Brahmi and Early Vatteluttu scripts dating
from ca. second century B.C. to sixth century A.D. It is based on the
author's extensive fieldwork carried out in two spells between 1962-66 and

The study deals comprehensively with the epigraphy, language and contents
of the inscriptions. The texts are given in transliteration with
translation and extensive word by word commentary. The inscriptions are
illustrated with tracings made directly from the stone, estampages and
direct photographs. Palaeography of Tamil-Brahmi  and Early Vatteluttu
scripts  is described in detail with the help of letter charts. The
special orthographic and grammatical features of the earliest Tamil
inscriptions are described in this work for the first time. A glossary of
inscriptional words and several classified word lists have been added to
aid further research.

The work provides a detailed account of the discovery and decipherment of
the inscriptions and relates their language and contents to early Tamil
literature and society. The  recently discovered Tamil-Brahmi inscriptions
on pottery and objects like coins, seals, rings, etc., have also been
utilised to present a more complete picture of early Tamil epigraphy

IRAVATHAM  MAHADEVAN (b. 1930) is a specialist in Indian epigraphy,
especially in the fields of Indus and Brahmi scripts.  He was awarded the
Jawaharlal Nehru Fellowship in 1970 for his research on the Indus script
and the National Fellowship of the Indian Council of Historical Research
in 1992 for his work on the Tamil-Brahmi inscriptions.

His book, The Indus Script: Texts, Concordance and Tables (1977) is
recognised internationally as a major source book for research in the
Indus script. He has also published  Corpus of the Tamil-Brahmi
Inscriptions 1966 (1968) besides numerous papers on several aspects of
the Indus and Tamil-Brahmi scripts.

He has served as the Co-ordinator, International Association of Tamil
Research, for ten years (1980-90). He was elected the President of the
Annual Congress of the Epigraphical Society of India in 1998 and the
General President of the Indian History Congress for its session in 2001.
He served the Indian Administrative Service and retired voluntarily to
devote himself to full-time academic pursuits.  He lives in Chennai.


crea at

witzel at

The Indian edition is for sale only in India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan,
Bangladesh, Nepal and Maldives.

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