[INDOLOGY] Warfare Documentation

Jarrod Whitaker whitakjl at wfu.edu
Thu Aug 28 14:05:37 UTC 2014

Dear Colleagues:
Does anyone know if we have a detailed account of an actual battle in 
terms of military organization and outcome in ancient India (c. 1500 BCE 
- 500 CE)?
I am working on a paper on warfare in ancient India and the editors want 
details, if possible, on one particular war or operation.

Let me be clear. I have examined all the relevant Sanskrit sources 
including Vedas, Sutras, Epics, and Manu, and drawn on general Buddhist 
and Jain views on warfare/violence (e.g., Ashoka's regret re. Kalingas, 
etc, though there may be more in these sources than I am aware). None of 
these sources document actual battles in any detail and much has to be 
inferred about military organizations, warfare, etc. Of course, the 
Arthasastra is our most detailed source on such issues, but it too has 
little on actual campaigns/encounters. I am interested in firsthand 
documentation of an actual battle/campaign, rather than anecdotal 
evidence/mention of wars (perhaps in the same vein as the Anabasis 
Alexandri by the Greek historian Arrian).

I have a general sense that we just don't have such accounts, but want 
to make sure, if this is the position I commit to in the paper: here's 


Jarrod Whitaker, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Asian Religions
Graduate Program Director

Wake Forest University
Department of Religion
P.O. Box 7212
Winston-Salem, NC  27109
whitakjl at wfu.edu
p 336.758.4162

More information about the INDOLOGY mailing list