[INDOLOGY] Question

Madhav Deshpande mmdesh at umich.edu
Mon Feb 8 04:27:15 UTC 2021

Pāṇini refers to the formation *yavanānī *which Kātyāyana interprets as a
reference to the script of the Yavanas.  Assuming that Pāṇini belongs to
the pre-Alexander period, where would this familiarity with the Yavana
script come from?  I read the following information in Wiki on Bactria:

"Under Persian rule, many Greeks were deported to Bactria, so that their
communities and language became common in the area. During the reign of Darius
I <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darius_I>, the inhabitants of the Greek
city of Barca <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barca_(ancient_city)>, in
Cyrenaica <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyrenaica>, were deported to
Bactria for refusing to surrender assassins.[10]
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bactria#cite_note-10> In addition, Xerxes
also settled the "Branchidae" in Bactria; they were the descendants of
Greek priests who had once lived near Didyma
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Didyma> (western Asia Minor) and betrayed
the temple to him.[11]
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bactria#cite_note-11> Herodotus
also records a Persian commander threatening to enslave daughters of
the revolting
Ionians <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ionian_Revolt> and send them to
Bactria.[12] <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bactria#cite_note-12> Persia
subsequently conscripted Greek men from these settlements in Bactria into
their military, as did Alexander later.[13]

Is this something one could consider for possible connection of Pāṇini's
awareness of the Yavana script?  Where can I find some more detailed
references to Yavanas in the regions of Bactria and Gandhara before

Madhav M. Deshpande
Professor Emeritus, Sanskrit and Linguistics
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA
Senior Fellow, Oxford Center for Hindu Studies
Adjunct Professor, National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bangalore, India

[Residence: Campbell, California, USA]

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