[INDOLOGY] Brāhmī in Sri Lanka

Tieken, H.J.H. H.J.H.Tieken at hum.leidenuniv.nl
Fri Sep 11 11:49:05 UTC 2020

Dear LIst Members,

In the concluding chapter of a book I have by now nearly finished about the Aśoka inscriptions (I am not a historian, epigraphist or archeologist, but a sanskritist with an interest in, among other things, how the different inscriptions attributed to Aśoka are related among each other) I cannot avoid dealing with the question of the age and origin of the Brāhmī script. It has not taken me long to find out that that is a controversial subject. Maybe, however, I will be able to take the sting out of it. One of the findings in my book will be that the inscriptions are a by-product the correspondence (through letters, that is, movable objects) with which the king (devānaṃpiye piyadasī lājā) communicated with his representatives in the realm. Even if the inscriptions are the earliest surviving specimen of writing in India, underlying them are letters on perishable material. As to the question how much older this practice of writing letters was, I may point to Rock Edict Series 14, which testifies to the existence of a "poetics" of diplomatic letters (see my article on the guṇa mādhurya).


Herman Tieken
Stationsweg 58
2515 BP Den Haag
The Netherlands
00 31 (0)70 2208127
website: hermantieken.com<http://hermantieken.com/>

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