Brahmi Inscriptions

Inscriptions 41 and 145

The translations presented here are based on Shrava, which in turn is based on the translations in the Epigraphia Indica.

Inscription 41

Success! Year 15, 3rd month of Summer, Day 1, at this time, a fourfold image of the divine one, the gift of Kumaramita, daughter of... , daughter-in-law of ..., first wife of alderman Veni, mother of Bhattisena, at the request of the venerable Vasula, the female pupil of the venerable Sangamika, the female pupil of the venerable Jayabhuti, out of the mehika kula.


Inscription 145

Year 86, 1st month of Winter, day 12, ... the daughter of Dasa, the wife of Priya, at the request of the venerable Vasula, pupil of the venerable Sangamika, out of the ..ka Kula.

This is one of the few sets of inscriptions where the same person is named. Vasula, the pupil of Sangamika, is almost certainly the same person in both cases. Lohuizen realised that this inscription is therefore of considerable importance, because it can be used to argue for a second century.

The reasoning is this. If we assume that Vasula is very young (say 14) when the first inscription is made. Then, if the inscriptions should be in the order Year 15 - Year 86, she will be 85 when the second inscription is made. Where-as, if the inscriptions were the opposite way round, Year 86 - Year 15, and these were two centuries, the gap is only 29 years and she would only be 43.

This seems a compelling argument given the low life-expectancy of people in the ancient world. However, life expectancy is an age-dependent variable. A persons chances of living to be 43 when they were born are very slim. A person who reached the age of 43 would have a good chance of reaching the age of 85. So we cannot say which order the inscriptions should be placed in on that ground. On the basis that inscription 41 names Sangamika's teacher Jayabhuti (which is an unusual feature) when this pairing was first featured on the site it was assumed that meant Jayabhuti was still alive in the first inscription and not in the second, and that demonstrated that the order should be read Year 15 - Year 86.

However, this pair of inscriptions remains a compelling piece of evidence for the existence of a second Kushan era. though it gives us no clue as to the degree of seperation or overlap between our two sequences of dates.

Contents Page The Second Kushan Century Lohuizen's theory

Robert Bracey.