LESSON Wed Jun 28 2007-
(2655 Mon 18 Jun LESSON)
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LESSON Wed Jun 28 2007-
Magadha empire, ~500 BCE
The Magadha kingdom later became part of the Mauryan Empire, one of the world’s largest empires in its time, and the largest ever in the Indian subcontinent.
Mauryan Empire, 265 BCE
Magadhi Prakrit is the official language of the Mauryan court. Its emperor “Ashoka
the Great” (ruled 273- 232 BCE) united continental India. During the
war to conquer Kalinga, the last Southern part of India not subject to
his rule, he personally witnessed the devastation that caused hundred of
thousands of deaths, and began feeling remorse. Although the annexation
of Kalinga was completed, Ashoka embraced the teachings of Buddhism, and renounced war and violence. He sent out missionaries to travel around Asia - his son Mahinda and daughter Sanghamitra, who established Buddhism in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) - and spread Buddhism to other countries.
Stone lion of Ashoka, later became symbol of modern India
Magadhi Prakrit is predominantly the language by which Emperor Ashoka’s edicts were composed in. These edicts were carved on stone pillars placed throughout the empire.
The inscriptions on the pillars described edicts about morality based on Buddhist tenets.
Ashoka Pillar at Feroze Shah Kotla, Delhi, written in Magadhi, Brami and Urdu
the Buddha taught in Magadha, but the four most important places in his
life are all outside of it. It is likely that he taught in several
closely related dialects of Middle Indo-Aryan, which had a high degree
of mutual intelligibility.
The earliest known inscriptions in the Brāhmī alphabet are those of
King Asoka (c.270-232 BC), third monarch of the Mauryan dynasty.
Brāhmī was used to write a variety of languages, including Prakrit.
Asokan Edict - Delhi Inscription
devānaṁpiye piyadasi lājā hevaṁ āhā ye atikaṁtaṁ
aṁtalaṁ lājāne husa hevaṁ ichisu kathaṁ jane
dhaṁmavaḍhiyā vāḍheya nocujane anulupāyā dhaṁmavaḍhiyā
vaḍhithā etaṁ devānaṁpiye piyadasi lājā hevaṁ āhā esame
huthā atākaṁtaṁ ca aṁtalaṁ hevaṁ ichisu lājāne katha jane
Thus spoke king Devanampiya Piyadasi: “Kings of the olden time have gone to heaven under
these very desires. How then among mankind may religion (or growth in grace) be increased?
Yea, through the conversion of the humbly-born shall religion increase”
Information about Brāhmī
The Edicts of King Asoka
ALPHABETUM - a Unicode font
specifically designed for ancient scripts, including classical
& medieval Latin, ancient Greek, Etruscan, Oscan, Umbrian,
Faliscan, Messapic, Picene, Iberian, Celtiberian, Gothic, Runic,
Old & Middle English, Hebrew, Sanskrit, Old Nordic, Ogham,
Kharosthi, Glagolitic, Old Cyrillic, Phoenician, Avestan, Ugaritic,
Linear B, Anatolian scripts, Coptic, Cypriot, Brahmi, Old Persian cuneiform:
The Brahmi script was the
ancestor of all
South Asian writing
addition, many East and Southeast Asian scripts,
such as Burmese, Thai,
Tibetan, and even
Japanese to a very small extent (vowel order),
were also ultimately derived from the Brahmi
script. Thus the Brahmi script was the Indian
equivalent of the Greek script that gave arise
to a host of different systems. You can take a
the evolution of Indian scripts,
the evolution of Southeast Asian scripts.
Both of these pages are located at the very
Languages and Scripts of India.
You can also take a look at
Asoka’s edict at Girnar,
inscribed in the Brahmi script.