Dear Arlo,

There is also the publication of the Kerala (Tamil/"Old Malayalam" in vaṭṭeḻuttu script) copper-plates of the "Privilèges accordés aux Juifs" by Anquetil-Duperron, in his “Discours préliminaire” to the Zend-Avesta, t. 1, première partie, 1771, pp. clxix-clxxi (it corresponds to the year 1758 in his journey). (= Pl. 1)

See the ed. with notes ad loc. by J. Deloche & P.-S. Filliozat, Abraham Hyacynthe Anquetil Duperrron, Voyage en Inde 1754-1762, Paris : EFEO - Maisonneuve & Larose, 1997, pp. 214-216. For an edition and study of these plates, see M.G.S. Narayanan, "The Jewish Copper-Plates of Cochin" in Cultural Symbiosis of Kerala, Trivandrum: Kerala Historical Society, pp. 23-30 and 79-82 = Inscr. A.34 in his “Index to the Cra inscriptions” (Perumāḷs of Kerala, 2013, pp. 451-452).

The French Orientalist, after having furnished a good engraved copy of the Cochin Jewish copper plates, explains in the following pages (pp. clxxi-clxxviii = Deloche & Filliozat, pp. 216-225) that he has searched for a copy of the “Privilèges accordés aux chrétiens de Saint-Thomas”. A ‘Sanskrit translation’, viz. a copy made in Grantha-Malayalam or āryeuttu script (‘ariom’ differing from kōleḻuttu, ‘kole ejouttou’, as explained by Duperron) wrongly supposed by Duperron to be in Sanskrit language, but being possibly a (modern) Malayalam rendering of the original Tamil, was provided to him by a local priest and ‘certified’ by the bishop as being a good and faithful copy of the Quilon copper plates, the original ones being kept within another branch of the St. Thomas Christians. The copy was orally translated in Portuguese by the local priest and put in French by Duperron. This grant is presented as being made of four plates (‘quatre olles de cuivre’). The content of the first one corresponds precisely to the content of the Kollam plate I.01 (standard order), the second = II.01, the third = II.02, and the fourth = I.02. Remarkably, this perfectly confirms the order of the plates adopted in the new edition of the Kollam Plates text, see: Eṃ. Ār. Rāghavavāriyar (M.R. Raghava Varier) & Kēśavan Veḷuttāṭṭ (Kesavan Veluthat), Tarisāppaḷḷippaṭṭayaṃ (caritraṃ)Kottayam: Sāhityapravarttaka - Nāṣaṇal Bukk St̲t̲āḷ, 2013 (cf. ) = Inscr. A.2 and 6 in M.G.S. Narayanan's “Index to the Cra inscriptions”.

Best wishes,


De: Manu Francis via INDOLOGY <>
Objet: Rép : [INDOLOGY] first Sanskrit inscription ever published?
Date: 14 février 2019 à 10:19:49 UTC+1
Répondre à: Manu Francis <>

Dans le premier numéro des Asiatick Researches (1788), publication de traductions d’inscriptions par Jones, Wilkins (p. 123-130, 131-141).

Wilkins, Charles (1788). An Inscription on a Pillar near Buddal. Asiatic Researches 1: 131- 141, with remarks by Sir William Jones pp. 142-4.



Emmanuel Francis
Chargé de recherche CNRS, Centre d'études de l'Inde et de l'Asie du Sud (UMR 8564, EHESS-CNRS, Paris)
Associate member, Centre for the Study of Manuscript Culture (SFB 950, Universität Hamburg)

De: "Tieken, H.J.H. via INDOLOGY" <>
Objet: Rép : [INDOLOGY] first Sanskrit inscription ever published?
Date: 14 février 2019 à 09:34:15 UTC+1
À: Arlo Griffiths <>, INDOLOGY <>
Répondre à: "Tieken, H.J.H." <>

Dear Arlo,
I happen to have an "offprint" from Asiatic Researches Vol. 5 of 1799, pp. 131 ff of an article by a certain Jonathan Duncan, Efq., titled An Account of the Difcovery of Two Urns in the Vicinity of Benares. The text of the article is followed by drawings of the inscriptions. This is volume 5 of Asiatic Researches. I can imagine that in the earlier volumes more can be found.

Herman Tieken
Stationsweg 58
2515 BP Den Haag
The Netherlands
00 31 (0)70 2208127

Le 14 févr. 2019 à 09:10, Marco Franceschini via INDOLOGY <> a écrit :

Dear Arlo,

according to Salomon (Indian Epigraphy, 1998, p. 200), «the first publication of an old Indian inscription was by the "Sanskrit-mad" (Sir) Charles Wilkins» in 1781 (or 1785).

Hope this helps,


Marco Franceschini
Ricercatore a tempo determinato
Università di Bologna
Dipartimento Storia Culture Civiltà
via Zamboni 33 - 40126 Bologna

Il giorno 14 feb 2019, alle ore 07:22, Arlo Griffiths via INDOLOGY <> ha scritto:

Dear colleagues,

Does anyhow know a modern scholarly publication of a Sanskrit inscription older than the one that can be found here in the following?

John Crawfurd, An Inscription from the Kawi or Ancient Javanese Language, Verhandelingen van het Bataviaasch Genootschap der Kunsten en Wetenschappen 8, 1816, Batavia: Government Press.

The volume of the Verhandelingen in question can be found on The title is misleading, and the decipherment utterly unreliable, but the transcription clearly reflects the Sanskrit-text of the 'Calcutta Stone' ( It occurred to me recently that this publication might mark the beginning of Sanskrit epigraphy as a modern scholarly enterprise. But perhaps there is competition from publications by British officers who were posted in India proper rather than in 'Farther India'. Please enlighten me.

Best wishes,

Arlo Griffiths

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