Re: [INDOLOGY] Brāhmī in Sri Lanka

Matthew Kapstein mkapstei at
Fri Sep 11 12:34:05 UTC 2020

>see my article on the guṇa mādhurya

Dear Herman,

Please be so kind as to send a reference to this interesting article,
or, better, the article itself (or a link to it).

thanks in advance,

Matthew Kapstein
Directeur d'études, émérite
Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, Paris

Numata Visiting Professor of Buddhist Studies,
The University of Chicago
From: INDOLOGY <indology-bounces at> on behalf of Tieken, H.J.H. via INDOLOGY <indology at>
Sent: Friday, September 11, 2020 6:49 AM
To: indology <indology at>
Subject: [INDOLOGY] Brāhmī in Sri Lanka

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

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