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Old February 10th, 2018, 12:54 AM   #1
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Post Ashoka and Language


Brahmi script was used during Ashoka's regin but what was the language used, was it Pali or Sanskrit? And what is the oldest known script in which Sanskrit was written?
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Old August 2nd, 2018, 08:53 AM   #2
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Brahmi script was used during Ashoka's regin but what was the language used, was it Pali or Sanskrit? And what is the oldest known script in which Sanskrit was written?
Neither. Asoka's edicts were typically written in Prakit languages, alog with one or 2 written in Greek. Prakrits were Middle Indo-Ayran vernacular langues of India.


Pali is generally thought to derive from Prakit languages, with a heavy influence of Sanskrit, but was a literary language not a vernacular language. Vernacular is a common daily spoken language.
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Old August 2nd, 2018, 11:34 PM   #3
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There was no Sanskrit during the reign of Ashoka, Sanskrit came much later
as an evolution of Ashoka, that was influenced by Ionic, Aramaic and Persian.

The name 'A-So-ka' (Ashoka) in Brahmi (Imperial Aramaic) script c.259 BCE
Click the image to open in full size.

Imperial Aramaic
Click the image to open in full size.

The same script of the Dead Sea Scrolls.
Click the image to open in full size.
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Old August 3rd, 2018, 03:24 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Magus View Post
There was no Sanskrit during the reign of Ashoka, Sanskrit came much later
as an evolution of Ashoka, that was influenced by Ionic, Aramaic and Persian.

The name 'A-So-ka' (Ashoka) in Brahmi (Imperial Aramaic) script c.259 BCE
Click the image to open in full size.

Imperial Aramaic
Click the image to open in full size.

The same script of the Dead Sea Scrolls.
Click the image to open in full size.
Actually, for a change, I think I agree with much of what you said.

While Sanskrit as a literary language of science and philosophy did not exist. it might have existed as a strictly sacred language of religion, restricted solely to the priest, and not used by anyone else. Dr. Wendy Doniger thinks that Sansktiy was never a langunage of orfinary every day speech.

While I think most scholars believe the Brahmi script was derived from the Aramaic script, it is different from them. I have seen the Dead Sea Scrolls in person, and photographs of the Ashoka's edicts, and the 2 scripts are very different looking.
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Old August 4th, 2018, 12:33 AM   #5
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Actually, for a change, I think I agree with much of what you said.

While Sanskrit as a literary language of science and philosophy did not exist. it might have existed as a strictly sacred language of religion, restricted solely to the priest, and not used by anyone else. Dr. Wendy Doniger thinks that Sansktiy was never a langunage of orfinary every day speech.

While I think most scholars believe the Brahmi script was derived from the Aramaic script, it is different from them. I have seen the Dead Sea Scrolls in person, and photographs of the Ashoka's edicts, and the 2 scripts are very different looking.
actually most western scholars think that brahmi script is origin from aramaic,while most indian scholar think it be indigenous in origin
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Old August 4th, 2018, 01:01 AM   #6
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Actually, for a change, I think I agree with much of what you said.

While Sanskrit as a literary language of science and philosophy did not exist. it might have existed as a strictly sacred language of religion, restricted solely to the priest, and not used by anyone else. Dr. Wendy Doniger thinks that Sansktiy was never a langunage of orfinary every day speech.

While I think most scholars believe the Brahmi script was derived from the Aramaic script, it is different from them. I have seen the Dead Sea Scrolls in person, and photographs of the Ashoka's edicts, and the 2 scripts are very different looking.

Darius I created Imperial Aramaic around 522 to 486 BCE and the Ashoka edicts date around 269 BCE to 232 BCE
and thus 200 year period, that's aught to be enough time for the script to diverge.

Bilingual Greek and Aramaic inscription by the Mauryan emperor Ashoka at Kandahar, Afghanistan, 3rd century BC.
Click the image to open in full size.

No spaces between the words and the Aramaic inscription takes less room then Greek, this is the primary reason
why Greek was not a popular language among the merchants.

Click the image to open in full size.
Click the image to open in full size.
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Old August 4th, 2018, 12:00 PM   #7

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Western Afghanistan was under Persian rule and later Greek rule so we can understand the use of Aramaic and Greek in Ashoka's inscriptions. Kharosthi Script was used in Gandhara and the language was Gandhari Prakrit. Beside the Brahmi was written Left to right, while Aramaic was written right to left like Arabic.

Moreover, the Indian phonology is complex and large. The Devanagari alphabets used for Hindi itself has 49 letters compared to just 23 letters used in English.
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Old August 4th, 2018, 12:21 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Devdas View Post
Western Afghanistan was under Persian rule and later Greek rule so we can understand the use of Aramaic and Greek in Ashoka's inscriptions. Kharosthi Script was used in Gandhara and the language was Gandhari Prakrit. Beside the Brahmi was written Left to right, while Aramaic was written right to left like Arabic.

Moreover, the Indian phonology is complex and large. The Devanagari alphabets used for Hindi itself has 49 letters compared to just 23 letters used in English.
Phoenician was written Left to Right, Right to Left or Bi-directional
but they flipped the letters accordingly. Ancient Greek and Latin was
sometimes written that way.

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Old August 8th, 2018, 12:09 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Devdas View Post
Western Afghanistan was under Persian rule and later Greek rule so we can understand the use of Aramaic and Greek in Ashoka's inscriptions. Kharosthi Script was used in Gandhara and the language was Gandhari Prakrit. Beside the Brahmi was written Left to right, while Aramaic was written right to left like Arabic.

Moreover, the Indian phonology is complex and large. The Devanagari alphabets used for Hindi itself has 49 letters compared to just 23 letters used in English.
Although there are 26 letters used in English, English actual phonology is far more complex that that, with 40+ different sounds. English borrowed it's script from Latin, and did not add letters to the sounds not represented by the Latin letters, but used techniques in instead. So the 2 soounds of "the" don't have their own letter, but represented​ by "the". In the Old English runic alphabet which the Latin one replaced, did have unique letters for "the".

In early writing, going from.left to right or right to left was not standardize, so.some early Greek writing going.from left to right on one line, then right to left on the line just below.

When I look at the Brahmin script,. It looks quite a bit different from Aramaic, the Indian scholars might be right.
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