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Forum LockedThe weakness of ancient Indian literature

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Gun Powder Ma Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05-Sep-2006 at 17:06
I think we are now too much in business of talking away the Megasthenes's quote. It wont go awy from that, though, although it is only a single reference. Still, it has to be taken seriously, since it is hardly credible that someone would make false assumptions on something that obvious like writing.

But why dont we cut a long discussion short and you guys just provide references which point to the existence of written language before Ashoka, because I have just read at Wiki that his pillars actually represent the first extant Indian script sources.

So please list those authors + references here.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Preobrazhenskoe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05-Sep-2006 at 17:45
Originally posted by Gun Powder Ma Gun Powder Ma wrote:


But why dont we cut a long discussion short and you guys just provide references which point to the existence of written language before Ashoka, because I have just read at Wiki that his pillars actually represent the first extant Indian script sources. 

 
No, not the first extant Indian script sources ever, the oldest preserved script sources! Ermm There is a large, large difference between the two (preserved and first extant are pretty self-explanatory). It's like saying that Greek philosophy of the 5th century BC didn't exist until the recopied documents of the medieval period, because all the original philosophical documents written on parishable materials in the 5th century BC had since eroded and were destroyed by the progression of time and weathering. You could argue that, but then you'd have to be insane. Lol. That's similar to saying that Muslims invented Greek philosophy by copying their texts from the originals, and since the originals don't exist anymore and only the medieval Islamic copies do, then by all deductions, Muslims invented Greek philosophy. Silly. 
 
You said you looked at wikipedia.org for Indian Literature?
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Glad to be of service,
Eric


Edited by Preobrazhenskoe - 05-Sep-2006 at 17:57
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Gun Powder Ma Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05-Sep-2006 at 18:15
Originally posted by Preobrazhenskoe Preobrazhenskoe wrote:

It's like saying that Greek philosophy of the 5th century BC didn't exist until the recopied documents of the medieval period, because all the original philosophical documents written on parishable materials in the 5th century BC had since eroded and were destroyed by the progression of time and weathering.


No, it is not. Your comparison is flawed. These works were subject to meticulous copying by scribes. Written works were rewritten, simple as that.

These other Indian works though were orally transmitted. And even if they were as painfully passed on fro generation to generation as described above, the margin of error must have been in the long run still very substantial. 

My question cant be more clear: At what time abandoned India its exclusively oral tradition and began writing down its literature? In the 3rd century BC?

I will look closely into the links, but so far nothing suggests to me that the Indian literary tradition is not rather meager. Imagine I had asked the same question about Greek or Chinese literature? People would have by now showered me with loads of works written many centuries before 300 BC. As things stand, nobody could even refute the Megasthenes evidence by pointing out a single work written down before 300 BC...



 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Preobrazhenskoe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05-Sep-2006 at 18:46
Taken from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Br%C4%81hm%C4%AB

Brāhmī refers to the pre-modern members of the Brahmic family of scripts. The best known inscriptions in Brāhmī are the rock-cut edicts of Ashoka, dating to the 3rd century BC. These were long considered the earliest examples of Brahmi writing, but recent archeological evidence in Sri Lanka and Tamil Nadu, India suggest the dates for the earliest use of Brahmi to be be around the 6th century BC, dated using radiocarbon and thermoluminescence dating methods.

This script is ancestral to most of the scripts of South Asia, Southeast Asia, Tibet, Mongolia, Manchuria, and perhaps even Korean Hangul. The Brāhmī numeral system is the ancestor of the Hindu-Arabic numerals, which are now used world-wide.

Brāhmī is generally believed to be derived from a Semitic script such as the Imperial Aramaic alphabet, as was clearly the case for the contemporary Kharosthi alphabet that arose in a part of northwest Indian under the control of the Achaemenid Empire. Rhys Davids suggests that writing may have been introduced to India from the Middle East by traders. Another possibility is with the Achaemenid conquest in the late 6th century BC. It was often assumed that it was a planned invention under Ashoka as a prerequiste for his edicts. Compare the much better documented parallel of the Hangul script.[citation needed]

Older examples of the Brahmi script appear to be on fragments of pottery from the trading town of Anuradhapura in Sri Lanka, which have been dated to the early 5th century BC. Even earlier evidence of the Brahmi script has been discovered on pieces of pottery in Adichanallur, Tamil Nadu, India. Radio-carbon dating has established that they belonged to the 6th century BC. [1]

A glance at the oldest Brāhmī inscriptions shows striking parallels with contemporary Aramaic for a few of the phonemes that are equivalent between the two languages, especially if the letters are flipped to reflect the change in writing direction. However, Semitic is not a good phonological match to Indic, so any Semitic alphabet would have needed extensive (and perhaps planned) modification. Indeed, this is the most convincing circumstantial evidence for a link: the similarities between the scripts are just what one would expect from such an adaptation. For example, Aramaic did not distinguish dental from retroflex stops; in Brāhmī the dental and retroflex series are graphically very similar, as if both had been derived from a single prototype. Aramaic did not have Brāhmīs aspirated consonants (kh, th), whereas Brāhmī did not have Aramaic's emphatic consonants (q, ṭ, ṣ); and it appears that Aramaic's extra emphatic letters may have been used to fill in Brāhmī's missing aspirates (Aramaic q for Brāhmī kh, Aramaic for Brāhmī th). And just where Aramaic did not have a corresponding emphatic stop, p, Brāhmī seems to have doubled up for its aspirate: Brāhmī p and ph are graphically very similar, as if taken from the same source. The first letters of the alphabets also match: Brāhmī a looks a lot like Aramaic alef.

A minority position holds that Brāhmī was a purely indigenous development, perhaps with the Indus script as its predecessor; these include the English scholars G.R. Hunter and Raymond Allchin.

 
Pānini (पाणिनि; IPA [pɑːɳɪn̪ɪ]) was an ancient Indian grammarian from Gandhara (traditionally 520460 BC, but estimates range from the 7th to 4th centuries BC). He is most famous for his Sanskrit grammar, particularly for his formulation of the 3,959 rules of Sanskrit morphology in the grammar known as Aṣṭādhyāyī (meaning "eight chapters") is the earliest known grammar of Sanskrit, and the earliest known work on descriptive linguistics, generative linguistics, and perhaps linguistics as a whole. Panini's comprehensive and scientific theory of grammar is conventionally taken to mark the end of the period of Vedic Sanskrit, by definition introducing Classical Sanskrit.
 

Nothing definite is known about Pāṇini's life, not even the century he lived in (he lived almost certainly after the 7th and before the 3rd century BC). According to tradition, he was born in Shalatula, near the Indus river, in Gandhara (now in Pakistan), and lived circa 520460 BC. His grammar defines Classical Sanskrit, so that Pāṇini per definition lived at the end of the Vedic period: he notes a few special rules, marked chandasi ("in the hymns") to account for forms in the Vedic scriptures that had fallen out of use in the spoken language of his time, indicating that Vedic Sanskrit was already archaic, but still a comprehensible dialect.

An important hint for the dating of Pāṇini is the occurrence of the word yavanānī (in 4.1.49, either "Greek woman", or "Greek script"). There would have been no first-hand knowledge of Greeks in Gandhara before the conquests of Alexander the Great in the 330s BC, but it is likely that the name was known via Old Persian yauna, so that Pāṇini may well have lived as early as the time of Darius the Great (ruled 521 BC485/6 BC).

It is not known whether Pāṇini himself used writing for the composition of his work. Some people argue that a work of such complexity would have been impossible to compile without written notes, while others allow for the possibility that he might have composed it with the help of a group of students whose memories served him as 'notepads'. Writing first reappears in India (since the Indus script) in the form of the Brāhmī script from at least the 6th-5th century BC, so it is also possible that he would have known and used a writing system (although these early instances of writing are from Tamil Nadu in Southern India, quite distant from Gandhara; the presence of the Brāhmī script in Northern India prior to the 3rd century BC is uncertain).

 
So there you have it,
 
Eric


Edited by Preobrazhenskoe - 05-Sep-2006 at 18:55
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Gun Powder Ma Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05-Sep-2006 at 19:35
Where I got the idea from that writing was unknown in India before the 3rd century BC?

Quote It is well known that the earliest Brahmi inscriptions in India are dated from the time of Ashoka, ca. 268-232 BC.

A. K. Narain: The Earliest Brāhmī Inscription outside India, in: Journal of the American Oriental Society, Vol. 106, No. 4. (Oct. - Dec., 1986), pp. 797-801 (797)


Quote The earliest deciphered contemporary inscriptions in the Indian subcontinent are the edicts issued by the Mauryan Emperor Asoka and inscribed on rock surfaces and pillars. These date from the 3rd century bc. The earlier script of the third millennium bcthe Harappa script associated with the Indus civilizationis generally believed to be pictographic and found on seals, amulets, and occasionally as graffiti on pots. But these pictographs have yet to be deciphered and in the absence of a decipherment the edicts of Asoka are historically the earliest scripts available for study.

The inscriptions mark the transition from orality to literacy although the date when this happened remains uncertain. The scripts used for engraving the edicts are all phonetic and therefore mark a departure from the earlier pictographic script. Some scholars maintain that a script was invented by the Mauryas in order to facilitate administration, enabling faster communication with distant places and frontier zones. But the invention of scripts is more often associated with trading communities. The invention must have preceded the reign of Asoka since he uses it extensively and presumably there were people who could read the edicts, although he does insist that his officers read them out to his subjects. The inscriptions are generally located in places likely to attract people.

Microsoft Encarta Reference Library 2005. 1993-2004 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.



Quote Several recent publications have questioned prevailing doctrines and offered new views on the antiquity of writing in India and on the source and development of the early Indian scripts (Brahmi and Kharosthi). Most of the new studies agree in assigning the origin of these scripts to a later period, i.e., the early Mauryan era (late fourth to mid third centuries), than has generally been done in the past, and in deriving them from prototypes in semitic or semitic-derived scripts.

There are no securely datable specimens of writing from the historical period earlier than the rock inscriptions of Ashoka from the mid-3rd century BC. Other early inscriptions which have been proposed by various authors as examples of pre-Ashokan writing are of uncertain date at best.


The external testimony from literary and other sources on the use of writing in pre-Ashokan India is vague and inconclusive. Alleged evidence of pre-Mauryan writing has in the past been found by various scholars in such sources as later Vedic literature, the Pali canon, the early Sanskrit grammatical treatises of P.nini's and his successors, and the works of European classical historians. But all of these references are subject in varying degrees to chronological or interpretive problems.

Richard Salomon: Review article of On the Origin of the Early Indian Scripts, in: Journal of the American Oriental Society, Vol. 115, No. 2. (Apr. - Jun., 1995), pp. 271-279



Basically everywhere I am looking, the absence of writing in India before the 3rd century BC is treated as a FACT.

So, again, what evidence is there that the ancient Indian literary tradition should not be viewed as weak and meager compared to other centers of ancient civilisation?


Edited by Gun Powder Ma - 05-Sep-2006 at 19:36
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Preobrazhenskoe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05-Sep-2006 at 20:07
Originally posted by Gun Powder Ma Gun Powder Ma wrote:



There are no securely datable specimens of writing from the historical period earlier than the rock inscriptions of Ashoka from the mid-3rd century BC. Other early inscriptions which have been proposed by various authors as examples of pre-Ashokan writing are of uncertain date at best.


Richard Salomon: Review article of On the Origin of the Early Indian Scripts, in: Journal of the American Oriental Society, Vol. 115, No. 2. (Apr. - Jun., 1995), pp. 271-279
 
First of all, once again, you didn't read my post very carefully. Richard Salomon's On the Origin of Early Indian Scripts was written in 1995, 11 years ago to date, and before new archeological finds in the Tamil region and Sri Lanka. If you read in the main entry, which I've already posted above from wikipedia.org...
 
The best known inscriptions in Brāhmī are the rock-cut edicts of Ashoka, dating to the 3rd century BC. These were long considered the earliest examples of Brahmi writing, but recent archeological evidence in Sri Lanka and Tamil Nadu, India suggest the dates for the earliest use of Brahmi to be be around the 6th century BC, dated using radiocarbon and thermoluminescence dating methods.
 
Older examples of the Brahmi script appear to be on fragments of pottery from the trading town of Anuradhapura in Sri Lanka, which have been dated to the early 5th century BC. Even earlier evidence of the Brahmi script has been discovered on pieces of pottery in Adichanallur, Tamil Nadu, India. Radio-carbon dating has established that they belonged to the 6th century BC. [1]
 
Either Richard Salomon clearly overlooked this evidence, or this archeological evidence was simply not available yet back in 1995. Simple and plain as simple and plain can be.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Gun Powder Ma Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05-Sep-2006 at 20:41
Come on, Eric, you are better than that. What you are propagating here is a Wikipedia article with some obscure reference. Th earticle just says in one word, it is writing and it looks like Brahmi. Wow. I am impressed. And on Wiki.de and Wiki.fr there is even no mentioning at all of such a new find...

Give me serious references to serious scientific magazine and not this preliminary triumphalist trumpeting.

The Encarta article, in contrast, is by Romila Thapar, emeritus professor of Ancient Indian History at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Dehli and from 2005.

So, again, what evidence is there that the ancient Indian literary tradition should not be viewed as weak and meager compared to other centers of ancient civilisation?






Edited by Gun Powder Ma - 05-Sep-2006 at 21:03
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Preobrazhenskoe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05-Sep-2006 at 22:55
 
The first book under this search for "Brahmi Script Origins," gives The Indo-Aryan Languages by Dhanesh Jain and George Cardona. If you click on the link, the first page it brings you to first gives reference to the Mahasthan Stone Plaque, Sohgaura Bronze Plaque, the Piprawa Vase, etc. (Sircar, 1965: pages 79 - 83), yet these items are still under scrutiny and revolved around some controversey of whether they were made before or after Ashoka. However, what has been discovered at Anuradhapura in Sri Lanka (which I mentioned earlier), is pottery shards in Brahmi script that have been dated to the 4th century BC and perhaps even earlier (Allchin 1995: pages 165, 178-81, 209-11). However, this book also notes that the claim is still controversial, and more mounting evidence will be needed to ensure that Brahmi was a writing system before Ashoka's reign.
 
So now we have these three theories:
 
*Brahmi script evolved from the earlier Harappan/Indus Valley Civilization script, or...
 
*Brahmi script derived from a Semetic writing system, such as Phoenician or Aramaic
 
*Brahmi script was invented and overseen by Ashoka who borrowed aspects of preexisting Aramaic or Greek script
 
What I've wondered all along is before the Brahmi script was created, how did ancient Indians like Panini make grammatical changes to a language without a written script at hand, let alone have the abiltity to spread it without written communication? I wondered if it was because of earlier Persian dominion where Indians might have used the Persian writing system to write down the earliest written accounts. That was until I realized both you and I were missing something very vital here. The Kharosthi Script.
 
 

The Kharoṣṭhī script, also known as the Gāndhārī script, is an ancient abugida (a kind of script) used by the Gandhara culture of historic northwest Indian subcontinent to write the Gāndhārī and Sanskrit languages (the Gandhara kingdom was located along the present-day border between Afghanistan and Pakistan between the Indus River and the Khyber Pass). It was in use from the 4th century BC until it died out in its homeland around the 3rd century AD. It was also in use along the Silk Road where there is some evidence it may have survived until the 7th century in the remote way stations of Khotan and Niya.

Scholars are not in agreement as to whether the Kharoṣṭhī script evolved gradually, or was the work of a mindful inventor. An analysis of the script forms shows a clear dependency on the Aramaic alphabet but with extensive modifications to support the sounds found in Indic languages. One model is that the Aramaic script arrived with the Achaemenid conquest of the region in 500 BC and evolved over the next 200+ years to reach its final form by the 3rd century BC. However, no intermediate forms have yet been found to confirm this evolutionary model, and rock and coins inscriptions from the 3rd century BC onward show a unified and mature form.

The study of the Kharoṣṭhī script was recently invigorated by the discovery of the Gandharan Buddhist Texts, a set of birch-bark manuscripts written in Kharoṣṭhī, discovered near the Afghanistan city of Hadda just west of the Khyber Pass. The manuscripts were donated to the British Library in 1994. The entire set of manuscripts are dated to the 1st century AD, making them the oldest Buddhist manuscripts in existence.

 

The major conclusion shared by the studies of Fussman, von Hinber, and Falk is that at least the Brhm script, and possibly also Kharo.s.th, originated in the Mauryan period and not earlier. Although they disagree in specifics, especially with regard to the date of the development of Brhm, all three agree that Kharo.s.th, which was a regional script of the far northwest, was older than the pan-Indian Brhm and influenced its formation. The three authors share a sharp skepticism about alleged literary evidence for writing in pre-Ashokan India, and are inclined to interpret the situation empirically, on the grounds of what we definitely know, rather than speculating on what might have been. They are inclined to take the absence of incontrovertible evidence for early writing as an indication that it did not exist, rather than, as have earlier writers, adding up the bits of inconclusive hints and theoretical possibilities to reconstruct a hypothetical pre-history for the early scripts.

Among the four studies discussed here, only Kenneth R. Norman's article on "The Development of Writing in India and its Effect upon the Pli Canon" follows a more traditional path. He analyzes certain patterns of textual variation in Pali texts (e.g. hatthivattika / hattivatika , pp.239--40, and samaya / samja , p.241) which seem to reflect an early redaction in a script which did not represent geminate consonants or differentiate vowel length, and identifies this script as an early prototype of Brhm used in Magadha in pre-Mauryan times (p.243). Norman finds it "difficult to accept that Brhm was devised as a single complete writing system at one and the same time during the reign of Candragupta" (p.245), [8] and considers it "even less likely that Brhm was invented at the time of Ashoka for the specific purpose of writing his inscriptions" (p.246). His objections to what may be referred to as the "invention theory" of the origin of Brhm mainly concern the irregularities and inconsistencies of the graphic system, for instance inconsistencies in the formation of the graphs for aspirate consonants, some of which are clearly based on the corresponding non-aspirates (e.g. .ta and .tha ) while others (e.g. ta and tha [not cited by Norman]) are not so derivable. Such patterns lead Norman to conclude that Brhm " evolved [my emphasis] in a haphazard way, with some of its ak.sara s being borrowed from some other source" (p.245).

But von Hinber in Der Beginn der Schrift... interprets the patterns of textual variation in Pali which underlie Norman's theory quite differently, noting that geminate consonants were still not regularly noted in Indian inscriptions of the 1st century BC when the Pali texts were presumably first written down (p.64), and that long was often left unindicated in early Brhm inscriptions from Sri Lanka (p.66). Von Hinber's arguments are persuasive if we can assume that the orthographic standards of early inscriptions also prevailed in contemporary (i.e. pre-Christian era) religious or literary texts in manuscript form. However, although we do not have any manuscripts this old, it is not impossible that stricter orthographic standards, including the notation of geminates, might have applied in them, in contrast to the standards of inscriptions which at this period were often still treated quite casually in terms of orthography and layout. Nonetheless, it must be conceded that Norman's arguments rest on a largely hypothetical basis and that underlying orthographic inconsistencies reflected in much later manuscripts of the Pali canon are hardly cogent grounds for the reconstruction of a proto-Brhm of the pre-Mauryan era. Norman's position is essentially an affirmation of the more moderate version of the old school of thought, which places the origin of Brhm in or around the 5th century BC. But his arguments for such a position, like the those of others to be discussed below, are cast into doubt by the three other new studies.

Though developed most cogently and completely in these three new publications, the theory of a relatively late (i.e. Mauryan) date for Brhm and Kharo.s.th and the postulation of the former as an "invention" under the stimulus of one or the other of the Mauryan emperors is by no means entirely new. For instance, as noted by Falk (p.163), Max Muller in 1892 (before Bhler!) opined that Brhm was probably "das Werk einer Kommission von Gelehrten, die, wahrscheinlich im Auftrage des Knigs [Ashoka], aus fremden Quellen ein Alphabet entwarfen,...die Laute der gesprochenen Sprache auszudrcken." The old invention theory, which had largely fallen out of favor after Bhler, were revived by S.R. Goyal in 1979 in his essay "Brhm- An Invention of the Early Mauryan Period," [9] who argued "that the Brhm script was invented in the first half of the third century B.C., and that the Indians of the Vedic and early Buddhist periods were illiterate" (p.4), and that "in all probability Brhm was invented in the age of Ashoka and the idea...of writing came from the west" (p.17). Though not entirely original, the data and arguments invoked by Goyal-- the persistent failure of efforts to find and identify actual specimens of pre-Ashokan writing, the testimony of Greek authors (especially Megasthenes) to the absence of writing in India in the early Mauryan period, the evident influence of Indian phonetic and grammatical theory on the structure of the early scripts, and the primitive and uniform appearance of Ashokan Brhm-- prefigure the postions developed at greater length in the newer works. Goyal's essay seems to have served as a stimulus to the recent re-thinking of and revival of interest in these questions, and his essay should be (re-)read in conjunction with those being reviewed here.
 
Wow, you know what? I've actually learned a considerable amount about Indian history while arguing with you. Lol.
 
Eric


Edited by Preobrazhenskoe - 06-Sep-2006 at 01:21
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Preobrazhenskoe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06-Sep-2006 at 03:32
 
Here's a useful link on one of the early great Gupta-Indian era (240 - 550 AD) astronomers and mathematicians. The Gupta era is what most consider India's golden age, an example of high society and culture to match the glory of the Roman Empire or Han Dynasty China in sophistication and cultural achievements. Here are some other good links worth reading...
 
 
And this one...
 
 
And finally...
 
 
Eric


Edited by Preobrazhenskoe - 06-Sep-2006 at 03:37
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Gun Powder Ma Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06-Sep-2006 at 14:57
Originally posted by Preobrazhenskoe Preobrazhenskoe wrote:

Wow, you know what? I've actually learned a considerable amount about Indian history while arguing with you. Lol.
 


Me too. Before I wasn't aware that Indian literacy dates back only as late as the 3rd century BC. But then again, I did not know that the size of orally passed on works was so big. Thats why I am so interested to know when  the oral tradition was put to paper.

 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Preobrazhenskoe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06-Sep-2006 at 19:00
Originally posted by Gun Powder Ma Gun Powder Ma wrote:

Thats why I am so interested to know when  the oral tradition was put to paper.
 
Well, the oral tradition would begin being written down on other materials of writing centuries before paper was introduced to India via trade routes opened to China, but I get your point. For example, the Buddhist manuscripts I mentioned before on birch-bark manuscripts dating to the 1st century AD (the beginning of the Kushan era). The golden age and flourishing Indian civilization under the Gupta Era (240 - 550 AD) no doubt saw multitudes of written material produced, with subjects ranging from art, mathematics, early sciences, engineering, literature such as poetry, epics, theatrical playwrights, etc.
 
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1. A. L. Basham himself has recorded that the so-called Asokan pillars are pre-Asokan.
 
2. He has also mentioned that the flora-fauna designs have inherited from the IVC.
 
3. Recently, Prof. A. Sundara has proved some of the Asokan inscriptions could be dated to c.8th century BCE based on the corresponding archaeological evidences.
 
4. K. D. Sethna has dated to c.850 BCE (New Light on Indian History).
Read "Was Indian Stone art Derived from the Chaldeans, Greeks, Romans or Persians? by Vedaprakash posted by K. V. Ramakrishgna Rao" posted in www.allempires.com.
 
5. The Tamil epic "Manimekhalai" records that the Buddhja was born in the year 1616 without mentioning any era. As it cannot be 1616 CE, it must be 1616 BCE with the adjustment of era either according to Saka or otherwise.
 
6. In case, as literary evidence point to a date wherein if the modern scholars accuse that there was no script -
 
the possibilities are -
 
# The existing stone monuments must have been dated wrongly. The Asokan script has been dated based on the assumed contemporary Greek kings, because no two scholars has ever agreed in identifying the Gereek kings mentioned in the inscriptions.
 
# Sir Isaac Newton has noted in his work "Chronology of Ancient Kingdoms Amended (Now entire book is available on net) that the the chronology of the Egypts had been expanded by 3000 years, Greeks by 300 years and so on. Therefore, scholars may have to reconsider the chronology of India.
 
So far, historians have not responded to the findings of Newton!
 
# About the gap between IVC and Mauryan empire, the discussion has already been there in Blackhole in Indian history".
 
7. Even in the manuscripts, there has been different versions available for example in the Aryabhatiyam manuscripts, the crucial verse which records the date of Aryabhata has two versions / renderings:
 
* One group of scholars take 60x60=3600-3102=498-23=476 CE.
 
* Another group of scholars take 6x60=360; 3102-360=2742 BCE.
 
Though, 476 CE is accepted by the modern scholars, the manuscripts giving 2714 BCE can be ignored?
 
8. The Sri Lankan Brahmi is dated to c.5th-6th centuries BCE. So how they can go beyond the Asokan, when his Brahmi is dated to 3rd cent.BCE? This also points to some wrong methdology.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Vivek Sharma Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06-Oct-2006 at 07:54
Dear GunPowder, going by your theory, the first written documentation of India is post greek. Meaning two things 1. Indians simply didn't exist before that because their are no written records to show their existence.

2. All of sudden some alien dropped some people in this part of the world, who came with a fully developed script & civilization & wrote those pillars.

3. Or possibly by some magic these ignorant people became super intelligent & discovered a whole civilization in no time.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Decebal Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06-Oct-2006 at 11:26
Originally posted by M. Nachiappan M. Nachiappan wrote:

5. The Tamil epic "Manimekhalai" records that the Buddhja was born in the year 1616 without mentioning any era. As it cannot be 1616 CE, it must be 1616 BCE with the adjustment of era either according to Saka or otherwise.
 
So, the Tamil epics (presumably written a very long time ago - maybe sometime BC?) somehow keep track of time by assigning as their central date the birth of Jesus: a religious figure which was alien to their own religion, and whose birth date was actually first determined by the Venerable Bede: a British monk living in the 7th century AD...
Somehow the argument 1616 BCE does not make much sense as you presented it. Can you elaborate on how exactly the Tamil epics date the birth of the Buddha?
 
Originally posted by M. Nachiappan M. Nachiappan wrote:

# Sir Isaac Newton has noted in his work "Chronology of Ancient Kingdoms Amended (Now entire book is available on net) that the the chronology of the Egypts had been expanded by 3000 years, Greeks by 300 years and so on. Therefore, scholars may have to reconsider the chronology of India.
 
So far, historians have not responded to the findings of Newton!
  
 
Sir Isaac Newton was a physicist and mathematician who lived about 300 years ago: way before Europeans even had an idea of Indian chronology and knew next to nothing of Indian history for that matter, and way before any modern dating methods ever existed. I don't see why historians should have to adjust their chronology based on his writings...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Decebal Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06-Oct-2006 at 11:32
Originally posted by Vivek Sharma Vivek Sharma wrote:

Dear GunPowder, going by your theory, the first written documentation of India is post greek. Meaning two things 1. Indians simply didn't exist before that because their are no written records to show their existence.

2. All of sudden some alien dropped some people in this part of the world, who came with a fully developed script & civilization & wrote those pillars.

3. Or possibly by some magic these ignorant people became super intelligent & discovered a whole civilization in no time.


 
No need to get antagonistic here or make outrageous statements. One question we should ask is: if the earliest Indian scripts that we have proof of were mature, which seems to be the case, then how long does it take for such a script to mature from its initial invention? A couple of centuries in my opinion is ample time for from the development of a script until texts written in that script show standardization of script and grammar (which is what I mean by maturization).
Remember: we are not debating the existence or merits of Indian civilization, but rather the age and scope of Indian literature.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Chilbudios Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06-Oct-2006 at 11:36
Quote
the birth of Jesus: a religious figure which was alien to their own religion, and whose birth date was actually first determined by the Venerable Bede: a British monk living in the 7th century AD...
AFAIK Dionysius Exiguus is the one who was first in rendering AD era since the birth of Jesus to his times.
Also, a little nit pick, though Bede was born in 7th century, most of his works (if not all) were written in the first half of 8th century.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Decebal Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06-Oct-2006 at 12:02
Originally posted by Chilbudios Chilbudios wrote:

the birth of Jesus: a religious figure which was alien to their own religion, and whose birth date was actually first determined by the Venerable Bede: a British monk living in the 7th century AD...
 
AFAIK Dionysius Exiguus is the one who was first in rendering AD era since the birth of Jesus to his times.
Also, a little nit pick, though Bede was born in 7th century, most of his works (if not all) were written in the first half of 8th century.
 
Alright, I was bit a little hazy on that detail; but the question about the Tamil chronology still remains...


Edited by Decebal - 06-Oct-2006 at 12:03
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Gun Powder Ma Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10-Oct-2006 at 07:56
Originally posted by Decebal Decebal wrote:

One question we should ask is: if the earliest Indian scripts that we have proof of were mature, which seems to be the case, then how long does it take for such a script to mature from its initial invention? A couple of centuries in my opinion is ample time for from the development of a script until texts written in that script show standardization of script and grammar (which is what I mean by maturization).


The question is whether Brahmi was derived from another script in which case it would take no time at all to mature. It would have been born already as a grown up so to speak. The conventional opinion among scholars is that Brahmi was derived from the Aramean script used by the administration of the Persian Empire. In case of Kharosti, which is probably a bit older than Brahmi, and whose letters look more similar to Aramean, this connection is even unanimously agreed upon.

By the way...the earliest form of many scripts we know of already shows an advanced stages. Out of the top of my head this applies to Minoan Linear A, Egyptian Hieroglyphs, Sumerian pictographs, the Indus valley script and the Chinese characters. But only in case of the Sumerian pictographs we can establish a firm pre-history of their script in the form of clay tokens which were used for counting. As for the rest, their early development lies in the shade of history.

That means we do not know by historical example how long it takes for a script to mature from an embryo to full-fledged writing.


Edited by Gun Powder Ma - 10-Oct-2006 at 08:00
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote M. Nachiappan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14-Nov-2006 at 02:52
I am totally surprised by the interpretation or understanding of CE / BCE notations by DECEBAL.
 
Now, internationally, historians, archaeologists, scholars use this notation to indicate - Before Current Era - BCE and during Current Era - CE and not as understood or interpreted by DEcebal from the Editorial Board.
 
Therefore, his far-fatched imagination to conceive that the author of Manimekhalai mentioned the date of Buddha in Christian era. This totally wrong. If he really does not know about BCE-CE, then, he should have clarified, before jumping to some wrong conception to make wrong conclusion to confuse others.
 
He should read read "THe Chrononology of Amcient Kingdoms Amended", "Ancient Monarchs" etc., before making any comments.
 
I do not know as to the persons who write or post articles in this forum are are "historians" or otherwise.
 
The chronology of the Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, Chinese has been questioned by Newton, as such chronology was constructed based on astronomy.
 
Therefore, what historians or Decebal or editortial staff / moderators of AE forums accept or reject has to be decided.
 
If astronomy as a tool for determining chronology is accepted for one or some civilizations, the same methodology should be adopted to others also. If not, then, everybod has a right to question the chronology of others, particularly, when it has been fixed based on astronomy.
 


Edited by M. Nachiappan - 14-Nov-2006 at 02:53
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Decebal Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14-Nov-2006 at 14:00

Nachiappan, What I'm saying is that you made the following statement:

"The Tamil epic "Manimekhalai" records that the Buddhja was born in the year 1616 without mentioning any era. As it cannot be 1616 CE, it must be 1616 BCE with the adjustment of era either according to Saka or otherwise."


What I asked is why would Tamil epics use a chronology which is christian? After all, CE and BCE are simply recent abbreviations which are meant to replace the eurocentric abbreviations used before (AD and BC, which mean "Anno Domini" and "Before Christ"). Making an argument that because no era was mentioned, it must be 1616 BC is absolutely ludicrous.

What is history but a fable agreed upon?
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