Antiochus, King of the Yavanas

Bulletin of the School of Oriental Studies
vol. 6:2, p 303-321

p. 303 It is too well known to need more than a formal repetition here that two of the Rock Edicts of Asoka mention as his contemporaries a number of kings of the West, the foremost of which is a certain Antiochus. The most important passage is that of the Edict XIII (P-Q), which I quote from the only version that is here wholly preserved, viz. that of Shahbazgarhi:-- ayi ca mukhamuta(1) vijaye Devanampriyasa yo dhramavijayo so ca puna ladho Devanampriyasa iha ca savesu ca amtesu[a] sasu pi yojanasatesu yatra Amtiyoko nama Yonaraja param ca tena Atiyokena cature 4 rajani Turamaye nama Amtikini nama Maka nama Alikasudaro nama (2) " Now this conquest, viz. the conquest by (preaching) Buddhism, (3) is considered the highest one by the Beloved of the Gods. "And even this conquest 4 has been won by the Beloved of the Gods here 5 and in all the borderlands as far as six hundred yojanas where (lives) Antiochus, king of the Yavanas (Westerners), and beyond this Antiochus(6) four [4] kings, Ptolemy by name, Antigonus by name, Magas by name, Alexander by name." Less illuminating is the passage in the second Rock Edict (Shahbazgarhi):- (A) Amtiyoko nama Yonaraja ya ca amne tasa Amtiyokasa samamta rajano... " Antiochus, king of the Yavanas, and those other kings who are the vassals 7 Of this Antiochus..." ---------------------------- 1. Buhler read mute. 2. The varice lectiones of the Kalsi, Mansehra, and (partly) Girnar versions are unimportant and need not be repeated here. 3. The rendering of dhamma by " morality " etc., is senseless. Dhamma in the Asoka inscriptions never means anything but "Buddhist doctrine, Buddhism" with this I propose to deal in another connection. 4. It is unintelligible to me why Holtzsch rendered the single punah in this sentence by " repeatedly ", a translation that cannot be upheld. 5.This " here " undoubtedly reminds us of Rock Ed. V M, where the other versions have hida (K, M, Dh.) or ia (Sh.) while G has the explanatory Patalipute. 6. With param ca tena A. cf. Rock Ed. V E, param ca tena (in a temporal sense). 7.Buhler, Epigr. Indica, ii, 466, translated samantah by "vassal-kings ", which is undoubtedly the common meaning of the word. Previously Wilson. JRAS. (O.S.) xii, 169, rendered it: "and those princes who are near to (or allied with) that monarch "; Kern, IA. v, 272: " his neighbour kings " (with a foot-note: " in the p. 304 Now, who is this Antiochus, king of the Yavanas? To this question various replies have been given, and it may not be out of the way shortly to review them here. Prinsep, JASB. vii, 156 sqq., when first interpreting these inscriptions, suggested that we have here a mention of Antiochus III wine, during the earlier part of his reign, rightly earned the surname of "the Great". This suggestion was only a natural one; for Antiochus III is the one of all the Seleucids bearing that famous name of whose dealings with the Indians we are aware. As is well known, Polybius, xi, 34, tells us that during his Eastern campaign Antiochus accepted the surrender and the tribute offered by (1) . Subhagasena, was not Asoka,(2) nor is it in any way probable that the "Beloved of the Gods" could have been a contemporary of Antiochus I1I (223-187 B.C.). Prinsep, when making the above-mentioned suggestion, was not yet aware of the contents of Rock Edict XIII. A little later on, having deciphered also this edict, he abandoned his former idea and instead of Antiochus III suggested the first or second king of that name: " of whom the former may have the preference from his close family connection with both Ptolemy and Magas, which would readily give him the power of promising free communication between India, and Egypt."(3) ---------------------------- first place Baktria"); and Senart, Inscriptions de Piyadasi, i, 74: "des rois qui l'avoisinent." Thus Professor D. R. Bhandarkar, JBBrRAS. xxi, 398, in taking exception to the trsnslation of Buhler, was not without predecessors; pointing to the various reading samipam of the Girnar version he strongly advocates the translation "neighbours", This view was endorsed by V. Smith, IA. xxxiv, 245, who had previously (Asoka, 1st ed., p. 115) adopted the translation of Buhler. According to my humble opinion there can be no doubt that Buhler was right; it is only natural that Asoka should think those other princes to have been the vassals of Antiochus, who was, besides himself, the most powerful monarch of the period, and he certainly drew conclusions from the state of his own dominions where there were undoubtedly numbers of half-subdued Samanta's. As for samipam (or pa) cf. the remark of Hultzsch, CII.(2) i, p. 3, n. 3 (according to Michelson,.AJPh. xxx, 183 ff., it is = Skt. samipyam). 1. The identification Subhagasena was suggested already by A. W. von Schlegel, Indische Bibliothek, i, 248; ii, 301. There exists no known Indian prince of that name; cf., however, Subhaga, prince of Gandhara, (with whom cf. CHI. i, 512) in the Mahabharata, vii, 6944 (Bombay). 2 To suggest that, we should want the phantasy of Wilford who in Asiatick Researches, v, 285 sq., concluded that rendered an Indian Sivakasena, which would again be = Asokasena (cf. also Prinsep, loc. cit., p. 162) . Already Wilson scoffed at this rather adventurous idea. 3. JASB. vii, 225 sqq. (reprinted Essays, ii, 20 sq.). p. 305 Wilson, JRAS. (O.S.) xii, 244 ff.. arrived at the queer conclusion that the five kings mentioned in Rock Edict XIII were not contemporaries. To quote his own words (p. 246): " Under this view I should refer Alexander to Alexander the Great, Antigonus to his successor, Magas to the son-in-law of Ptolemy Philadelphus,(1) Ptolemy to either or all of the four first princes of Egypt, and Antiochus to the only one of the number who we know from classical authors did visit India... Antiochus the Great." Wilson afterwards tells us that it seems highly improbable that Asoka should still have been alive in the year 205 B.C., upon which he fixed as being that of Antiochus's Indian campaign; this, consequently, would exclude Antiochus III. And he likewise finds it utterly incredible that the Yavana king could be Antiochus II--this chiefly because of the Bactrian and Parthian rebellions occurring during his reign. As, however, Wilson did not admit the identity of Asoka and Piyadasi, all his arguments must needs end in a non liquet.(2) We next come to Lassen, who, in his Ind. Alterthumskunde(2), ii, 253 sqq., seems to think Antiochus II to be the most probable one, though he finds chronological difficulties connected with the mention of Magas and Alexander. Lassen's attitude is a little wavering, and he made no very lucky shot in suggesting that Asoka should have sent enbassies to all these princes already at his coronation--which is, anyhow, totally unwarranted by the existing inscriptions. That it was Antiochus II with whom Asoka entered into relations was also taken for granted by Senart(3) and V. Smith.(4) Hultzsch, in his edition of the Asoka inscriptions, p. xxxv sq., betrays a little undecidedness, but finally fixes upon Antiochus II. Professor Thomas, CHI., i, 502, has taken up no definite position. As far as the present writer is aware-and it seems unnecessary to mention that his information can scarcely be complete on this point--modern classical scholars who have busied themselves with the history of the Seleucids seem to be at one in assuming the king of the Yavanas to have been ----------------------- 1. This sentence contains two rather apparent mistakes: Magas was not the son-in-law but the stepson (and perhaps also the adoptive son) of Ptolemy Soter; his mother, Berenike, was also the mother of Ptolemy Philadelphus. 2. Wilson's arguments were criticized by General Cunningham in The Bhilsa Topes, p. 110 sq., which was an easy enongh task. Cunningham was right in eliminating Antiochus III; but he states, with a slight exaggeration, that Prinsep had definitely fixed upoh Antiochus II (unless we have here possibly a misprint-- II for I). 3. Cf. Inscriptions de Piyadasi, ii, 256 sqq.; IA. xx, 242. 4. Cf. Asoka, 3rd ed., p. 162. p. 306 in reality Antiochus II.(1) Overwhelming consensus of scholarly opinion thus seems to plead the case of this king as having received from his pious neighbour embassies preching the doctrine of the Enlightened One. Before we proceed further a few words should be said concerning those other princes mentioned in Rock Edict XIII. As concerns Turamaya there can happily be no doubt. That it denotes one of the Ptolemies has been taken for granted ever since the days of Prinsep; and it seems quite obvious that none but Ptolemy II Philadelphus, whose long reign covered nearly four decenniums (285-247 B.C.) , would fit into the chronology of Asoka's reign." As for Maka or Maga there existed, no doubt, more than one princeling of the name of Magas; but there can be little doubt that we hare to do here with that Magas of Cyrene whose regnal years fall between c. 300-250 B.C. Already Buhler(3) remarked that Amtekina (G., K.) or Amtikini (Sh.) would rather render a Greek Avtigenes than Avtigenes. However, although we know of atoatof least one Antigenes," he, for obvious reasons, cannot come in here. The old Antigonos who met his fate at Ipsus (301 B.C.) seems to be Out of the question; and thus there remains only his grandson, surnamed from the place of his birth Gonatas, whose reign extended between 276 and 239 B.C. Finally, Alikasudara (or Alikyasudala, K.) has long been taken to be Alexander of Epirus(5) who was the son of Pyrrhus and Antigone,(6) the daughter of Berenike I and sister of Magas; his regnal years are generally given as 272-c. 256 B.C. However, a classical historian of authority has suggested that he should rather be identified with Alexander of Corinth (252-c. 244), the son of Craterus.(7) For such an assumption there exists, as far as I can find out, not the very slightest foundation; and I shall still take it for granted that Alexander of Epirus is the person mentioned here. The chief interest is, however, concentrated upon the identity ------------------------------ 1. Cf. e.g. Bevan, The House of Seleucus, i, 298 etc. 2. It would, of course, be theoretically possible to think also of Ptolemy III Euergetes (247-221 B.C.). That would, however, seriously dislocate the chronology of the three first Mauryas. Ptolemy III, it is quite true, was not, as a ruler. a con- temporary of either Magas or Alexander of Epirus; but that would probably be of little importance in this connection. 3. Cf. ZDMG. xl, 137. 4. Cf. CII. i(2), p. xxx, note 2. 5. Cf. the literature quoted in CII. i(2), p. xxx. 6. Cf. Plutarch, Pyrrhus, c. 4. 7. Cf. Beloch, Griechische Geschichte, iii, 2, p. 105. p. 307 of Antiochus. As we have already mentioned above, modern scholarly opinion seems to have fairly unanimously fixed upon the second monarch of that name. Personally I am inclined gravely to doubt this conclusion as I shall explain presently. As an introductory remark I shall only emphasize my opinion that, whoever be this Antiochus, there is not the slightest reason for assuming that the man mentioned in Rock Edicts XIII and II would not be the same person. Antiochus II, surnamed probably by the grateful Milesians(1) Theos, "the god," was the younger son of Antiochus I Soter, whom he succeeded between October, 262, and April, 261 B.C.(2) at the age of about twenty-four. He died rather suddenly in 246 B.C. (or possibly late in 247, of. Cambridge Ancient Hist., vii, 716) at the age of scarcely more than forty. He, like at least one of his successors, seems to have been a special favourite with the scandalmongers of the period. Phylarchus,(3) most foul-mouthed perhaps amongst Greek historians, tells us shocking stories about his drunken bouts and his inclination towards young men of somewhat dubious accomplishments. Some or even most of this may be true; but we still may do well in taking note of the warning uttered by one of the best modern authorities on the history of the Seleucids.(4) What interests us in this connection is, however, not so much the character of Antiochus II as the main events of his reign. He undoubtedly inherited from his father a war with Egypt, which came to an end only during his very last years, and an unbroken series of troubles with the petty despots and quarrelsome city-states of Asia Minor. As far as the very scanty evidence goes, Antiochus II spent the whole of his reign in the last-named country and in Syria; and there is certainly no evidence whatsoever for his having ever proceeded to the east of the Mesopotamian rivers to visit the outlying provinces of his vast and loosely-knitted empire. Furthermore, we have the direct evidence of the historians, above all that of Justin, the epitomator Pompei Trogi, that during the reign of Antiochus II the most important provinces of the east rebelled, an event which must have entirely cut off the connections between Mesopotamia and the borderlands of India until these were again, for a very short period of time, restored by Antiochus the Great. -------------------------- 1. Appianus, Syr. 65. 2. Cf. Bevan, The House of Seleucus, i, 168 sq.; the date given here is in accordance with the Cambridge Ancient Hist. vii, 709. 3. Ap. Athenaeum, x, 438c; cf. also Aelianus, Var. Hist., ii: 41. 4. Cf. Bevan, loc. cit., i, 172. p. 308 Obscurity unfortunately veils the events which lead up to the foundation of the Parthian and Bactrian kingdoms at a date not far removed from 250 B.C. We, however, know that Arsakes and Tiridates, whatever may have been their somewhat disputed ancestry, killed the satrap Pherecles(1) and ousted the Seleucid troops from Parthia. And we also know that Diodotus, "governor of the thousand cities of Bactria,"(2) revolted and made himself independent of Antiochus II at about the same time. This Diodotus (I) must have reigned for a comparatively short period if the suggestion he correct that his son and successor, Diodotus II, was on the throne during the eastern expedition of Seleucus II.(3) The date 250 B.C. suggested for these important events is, of course, a somewhat arbitrary one, though it cannot be very far from correct. There is, however, scarcely anything to show that just about this date the position of Antiochus II was an especially complicated and dangerous one, a circumstance which would have afforded to the mutinous satraps of the East an easy opportunity for breaking loose. On the contrary, the troubles in --Asia Minor during the later years of Antiochus seem rather to have slightly subsided, and a peace with the none too successful ruler of Egypt was concluded on what seems to have been rather favourable terms just about that date. Seleucid kings have been known to have devoted their attention towards Eastern affairs in circumstances far more critical than those prevailing about 250 B.C. However, Antiochus II, wine-sodden and somewhat inefficient as he undoubtedly was, seems totally to have lacked interest in his Eastern provinces and to have devoted all his spare interest to the affairs of Asia Minor, which were always disastrous to the successors of Seleucus. As far as I am able to form an opinion on these obscure events. the revolts of the Parthians and of Diodotus(4) may well have ------------------------- 1. He seems to be known also by at least two other names, viz. Agathocles or Andragoras, cf. CHI. i, 438. It is not quite sure that they all refer to the same man, though, of course, nothing definite can be suggested here. 2. Justin, xli, 4. 3. Cf. CHI. i, 439 sq. 4. As for Diodotus the following circumstances, even if quite hypothetical, may well be taken into consideration. It seems to me fairly probable that Diodotus was really the satrap of Bactria, who about 274/73 B.C. furnished Antiochus I with some twenty elephants during his war with Ptolemy (CHI. i, 437). If that were the case it seems quite likely that Diodotus had been appointed satrap of his important province already during the viceroyalty of Antiochus I in the East, which came to an end in 281/80 B.C. Diodotus, whose reign seems to have been rather short (cf. above, p. 308), must then have been a fairly old man in 250 B.C.--at least about or well above sixty. The reasons for his rebellion are, of course, unknown; but they may have ultimately been connected in some way or other with the execution p. 309 begun several years earlier than 250 B.C., during the very critical period following upon the death of Antiochus I.(1) What has been summarily put forth here according to my humble opinion decidedly speaks against the suggestion that the Amtiyoko nama Yonaraja mentioned in the Rock Edicts XIII and II should be Antiochus II Theos. He seems to have devoted no interest to his Eastern provinces; at a probably early date during his reign he was despoiled of the most important one, viz. Bactria (with Sogdiana), by the rebellion of Diodotus, perhaps a little later also of Parthia. by the upheaval led by Arsakes and Tiridates. Thus being entirelly cut off from connection with the Further Orient and devoting all his energy to the affairs of Asia Minor, Syria, and Egypt, there was little if any opportunity for Antiochus II to have established connections with the Emperor of the Indians, who was no longer his immediate neighbour. And Asoka, provided he was still continuing his missionary activities outside his own borders, would rather have turned to Bactria than to distant and inaccessible Syria. And now let us turn to the one other Antiochus that would be possible in this connection, viz. Antiochus I Soter, and try to find out whether there are not better reasons for identifying him with Amtiyoka, king of the Yavanas. Antiochus was the son of Seleucus, the most prominent of all the successors of Alexander, the greatest man of all next to the world- conqueror himself,(2) who was cut down by the monstrous Ptolemy Keraunos at the very moment when he seemed able to raise himself into the position of a second and maybe wiser Alexander.(3) His mother was Apama, the daughter of Spitamenes, one of the great lords of Eastern Iran, who had fallen during the Oriental campaign of Alexander; she was given to Seleucus at the great marriage festival ------------------------ of the young Seleucus, the elder son of Antiochus I, who was probably viceroy of Iran, and must have been put to death in the year 263 B.C. (cf. Bevan, loc. cit., i, 150, n. 3, 169; Cambridge Ancient Hist. vii, 709 sq.). What I mean is that Seleucus may have been popular and perhaps even have tried to reign on his own, while Antiochus II was perhaps less well liked throughout the East. 1 Even if such were the case there is no reason for the remark sometimes put forward about Diodotus (and even Arsaces) not being mentioned by Asoka. For Asoka, even if he had happened to hear about some upraising in Bactria, would scarcely have considered its leader worthy of mention as one of the kings connected with Antiochus. 2. Cf. Arrianus, Anabasis, vii, 22, 5. 3. Seleucus, according to the latest available evidence (cf. Cambridge Ancient Hist. vii, 98, n. 1), was murdered some time between 30th November, 281, and March, 280 B.C. p. 310 in Susa (324 B.C.) .(l) And though most other Macedonian nobles seem to have repudiated their Persian spouses after the death of the great conqueror, Seleucus faithfully kept to his Iranian wife.(2) It seems scarcely improbable that, owing to his Iranian parentage, Antiochus from an early age did not feel out of touch with his Eastern subjects, and that they for that same reason clung to him with greater sympathy than to rulers of unmixed Macedonian or Greek origin.(3) Antiochus most probably accompanied his father during at least a part of his great Eastern expedition; for he was with him during the long march that ended on the battlefield of Ipsus (301 B.C.). In that battle, as a youth of little more than twenty, Antiochus unshrinkingly flung himself in the face of the formidable Poliorcetes, his future father-in-law, and to a great extent bore the brunt of the battle, Demetrius no doubt routed him; but while this magnificent condottiere chased his adversary far from the field his aged father, deserted by his own troops, went down before the lancers of Seleucus, and the battle ended in the defeat and temporary downfall of the house of Antigonus. What we next hear about Antiochus is the romantic story, made up in the best Greek style, of him and his step-mother, Stratonice, the daughter of Demetrius, It does not vividly interest us in this connection. What interests us more is that Antiochus, when once married to Stratonice, was set up by his father as his co-regent and as the viceroy of the whole eastern part of the empire from Mesopotamia to the very frontiers of India, His title was that of ; and there are even preserved a few coins with the legend which may most probably date from this very period.(4) The date of his elevation seems to have ------------------------- 1. Cf, Arrianus, Anabasis, vii, 4. Antiochus I thus most probably was born in 323 B.C. and cannot, at the time of his death, have been sixty-four years old (Bevan, loc. cit,, i, 168, quoting Eusebius, i, 259). 2 Cf, Bouche-Leclercq, Histoire des Seleucides, i, 7. 3 In this connection let me quote the following passages: "Antiochus.., had some things to his favour, In the first place, his hold upon the eastern provinces was firm, His mother, it must be remembered, was of Iranian race, and those peoples might naturally cleave to a king who, by half his blood, was one of themselves, Through his mother, many perhaps of the grandees of Iran were his kindred " (Bevan, loc. cit., i, 74). "Antiochos avait sur son pere l'avantage d'etre a demi iranien par sa mere Apama et, peut-etre pour cette raison, moins impopulaire dans l'Iran " (Bouche-Leclercq, loc. cit., i, 40). 4. Cf. CHI, i, 434, with pl. ii, 1, The Cambridge Ancient Hist. vii, 93, correctly remarks that the appointment of Antiochus as viceroy of the East was not without precedence in Achaemenian times. p. 311 been somewhere abont 293 (292) B.C., and his viceroyalty apparently did not come to an end until he succeeded his murdered father in a still more powerful and responsible position. It thus seems obvious that he must have governed the east of the realm during at least some twelve years. And though next to nothing is known of his activities during this period there seems little doubt that they were manifold. The foundations of many Greek cities throughout Iran seem to be to his credit(1); and probably he may have done more for the spread of Hellenism throughout the Far East than anyone else, Alexander himself perhaps excepted. During the time of his eastern viceroyalty Antiochus may have entered into those friendly connections with Bindusara (2) mentioned by Hegesander.(3) It may have been also during this period (roughly 293-281 B.C.) that he dispatched a certain Daimachus of Plataea as his ambassador to the then capital of India.(4) That Antiochus did really spend most of his time in the East seems clear from the circumstance that some time during the years 285-283 B.C. his father wrote to him about the fate of his father-in-law Demetrius; and at that time Antiochus had taken up his residence in Media.(5) Even long after his ascension of the throne Antiochus seems to have upheld his sway over the far-off Eastern provinces, as in 274/73 B.C. the then governor of Bactria, who may well have been Diodotus, sent him elephants to assist him in the war with Ptolemy Philadelphus. Whether during the last years of his reign his hold upon the Far East became less strong it is impossible to ascertain though such a condition seems intrinsically not improbable. From what has been shortly set forth above it is quite obvious that the connections of Antiochus I with the East were of long and solid ---------------------------- 1 Cf. von Gutschmid, Geschichte Irans, p. 26 sq.; the greatest of authorities, the late Ed. Meyer, Hermes, xxxiii, 643, speaks of Antiochus as "der grosse aber in der Ueberlieferung fast verschollene Stadtegrunder". Cf. also Beuan, loc. cit., i, 163. 2 " That this name should be transliterated into Amitrakhada, not ghata, I have tried to prove, following older interpretations, in JRAS. 1928. p. 131 sqq. On Bindusara--or whatever was his name (CHI. i, 495)--cf. the clever but utterly hypo- thetical article by the late Professor Gawronski in Rocznik Orientalistyczny, ii, 21 sqq., which, according to my opinion, affords no tangible results. 3. Cf. Fragm. Hist. Graecorum, iv, 421. The story of the Indian king wanting to buy a philosopher, which seems strikingly un-Indian. is apparently meant for a witty sneer at the far-off barbarians, but does not interest us here. 4 The slight discrepancy between CHI. i, 495, where Seleucus and i, 433, where Antiochus I is said to have sent this Daimachus to India is probably of no consequence at all. For he may in reality have been sent by Antiochus acting as the viceroy of his father in the East. 5. Cf. Bevan. loc. cit., i, 69 sq. p. 312 standing. By his mother Apama, the daughter of Spitamenes, ha, was half Iranian, Already in his early youth he had probably visited the East in the train of his great father, and from the age of thirty on he, for about twelve years, held the viceroyalty of all the vast land between Mesopotamia and Afghanistan, between the Jaxartes and the Persian Gulf, Even after having succeeded to the throne he seems to have maintained a firm grip on his eastern provinces. During his term as viceroy he must have entered into relations with his powerful neighbour, the Indian Emperor Bindusara, and sent envoys to his court. Asoka, the son of Bindusara, clearly must have inherited these relations with a friendly and powerful neighbour. Thus there can be little doubt, to the present writer at least, that Antiochus I and no one else is in reality the Amtiyoka, king of the Yavanas, of the Rock Edicts. The five kings mentioned in Rock Edict XIII would thus most probably be the following ones:-- Antiochus I Soter, end of 281 or beginning of 280--0ctober, 262, or April, 261 B.C.; Ptolemy II Philadelphus, 285-January, 246 B.C.; Antigonus Gonatas, 276-239 B.C.; Magas of Cyrene, c. 300-c. 250; Alexander of Epirus, 272-c. 255, the two last ones being, for chronological purposes, without decisive value.(1) If I am right in assuming that Antiochus I is the Yavana king spoken of in the Rock Edicts--and I can scarcely see any reason for doubting this suggestion--this will, of course, have a certain influence upon the fixing of the dates of these edicts. Antiochus I must, as we have already mentioned, have been well known to Bindusara as well as to Asoka himself.(2) There is scarcely any reason for doubting that fairly constant diplomatic connections were upheld between the court of Antiochia and that of Pataliputra. And if that were the case -------------------- l. Most of these princes were closely related to each other. Berenike (I), the daughter of Lagus and Antigone, daughter of Kassander (cf., however, Beloch, Griech. Geschichte, iii, 2, 128), first married a certain Philippus, the father of Magas and of Antigone, wife of Pyrrhus of Epirus. Berenike then married her half-brother Ptolemy I and became the mother of Ptolemy II. Magas thus was the cousin of this ruler; he himself married Apama the daughter of Antiochus I. Pyrrhus and Antigone again were the parents of Alexander of Epirus. 2. Asoka, as governor of some of the western provinces of the empire during the lifetime of his father, may already then have entered upon relations with Antiochus, at that time possibly still the viceroy of the East. p. 313 the death of Antiochus in the current year 262-261 B.C. could not long have been unknown in India. Whether Magas of Cyrene or Alexander of Epirus, known to Asoka probably only through their relationship and other connections with Antiochus, were alive or dead would be of little or no consequence to the ruler of India; and he would probably have cared little more about the fate of Antigonus Gonatas. Nay, it may even have been fairly indifferent to him which one of the Ptolemies was occupying the throne of Egypt. But with the Seleucid king, the greatest prince of the age besides himself, the one ruler who was striving to uphold the traditions of Alexander, it was otherwise, No doubt Asoka would be well aware of his movements; no doubt the death of a Seleucid king would be looked upon as a momentous affair even in distant Pataliputra. The late lamented Senart in his admirable work on the Asoka inscriptions(1) formulated the theory which seems to have been unanimously adopted by later scholars, that all the Rock Edicts were incised at one and the same time. Such a theory seems to be supported by the fairly uniform style of these edicts, as well as by the last one which appears to contain a sort of summing up of the whole code of dharma-lipi's. Senart, however, was far from blind to certain evidence that seems rather to contradict his own theory, though it was only natural that he should try his best to explain it swap. As far as I can understand, it must be quite correct to suggest that the fourteen edicts were really incised at the same time; but this does not at all mean that they were originally composed at the very same date. That this is not the case is my own humble but firm opinion, of which I shall have to say a few words presently.(2) First of all let us turn to the Rock Edict XIII, in a way the most important one of them all, which we continue to quote from the Shabhazgarhi version:-- (1) athavasaabhisitasa Devanapriasa Priadrasisa rano Kaliga vijita || diadhamatre pranasatasahasre ye tato apavudhe satasahasramatre tatra hate bahutavatake va mute ||(2) tato paca adhuna ladhesu Kaligesu tivre dhramasilana dhramakamata dhramanusasti ca Devanapriyasa|| so asti anusocana Devanapriasa vijiniti(3) Kaligani || ------------- 1. Cf. Les Inscriptions de Piyadasi, ii, 243 sqq. 2 In the following I am not concerned with any inscriptions except the fourteen Rock Edicts and the two separate ones of Dhauli and Jaugada. Of the new Mysore version, the discovery of which was announced in the IHQ, v, I have, unfortunately, not been able to gather even the scantiest information, 3.vijinitu Buhler; but cf. tithiti, aloceti (CII. i(2), p. xcvii). p. 314 (8) ayi ca mukhamuta vijaye Devanampriyasa yo dhramavijayo so ca puna ladho Devanampriyasa iha ca savesu ca amtesu, etc. (10)........ savatra Devanampriyasa dhramanusasti anuuvatamti || (11)....... etaye ca athaye ayi dhramadipi nipista kiti putra papotra me asu navam vijayam ma vijetavia manisu..... tam ca yo vija(1) manatu yo dhramavijayo "When the Beloved of the Gods, the King of auspicious countenance, had been eight years anointed, the Kalingas were conquered. One hundred and fifty thousand men were deported thence, one hundred thousand were slain there, many times that number died. After that, now the Kalingas have been taken possession of, there is on the side of the Beloved of the Gods zealous study of Buddhism, love of Buddhism, instruction in Buddhism. This is the repentance of the Beloved of the Gods having conquered the Kalingas." "Now this conquest, viz. the conquest by (preaching) Buddhism, is considered the highest one by the Beloved of the Gods. And even this conquest has been won by the Beloved of the Gods here and in all the borderlands..... everywhere they follow the instruction in Buddhism by the Beloved of the Gods." "And for this purpose has this edict concerning Buddhism been composed, viz. that those sons and (great) grandsons that may be born to me should not deem a new conquest fit to be won.... but that they should hold the conquest by Buddhism (to be) the (true) conquest." Now what do we learn from this edict? First of All that, having been anointed for eight years, i.e. in the year 8/9 after his coronation, Asoka had conquered the Kalinga country where many hundred thousand people died, were slain, or were carried off into captivity. Further, that the Beloved of the Gods, repenting this wholesale slaughter and all the miseries brought upon the innocent population of Kalinga, had now become a zealous Buddhist,(2) who tried to spread --------------------- 1. Kalsi correctly vijayam. 2. We are not here deeply concerned with either the date or the mode of Asoka's conversion, which have been much discussed. That the conversion occurred immediately after the Kalinga campaign there cannot be the slightest doubt. And as even those virtues which Asoka does elsewhere (cf. Rock Edicts IV, IX, etc.) praise as the most meritorious ones are said in xiii, J. to have been practised even among the people of Kalinga, it would be a perfectly justifiable conclusion that Buddhism was at that time widespread in that country, and that the conversion of Asoka did really originate from there. p. 315 his newly adopted faith not only throughout his own realm but also within those of his western and southern neighbours. He also apparently tells us that he had still got no (great) grandsons born to him--it would be rather an unwise conclusion to apply these words also to his sons--which seems to be the case elsewhere (cf. Rock Edicts IV, V, VI, etc.). Finally, it is to be observed that the usual introductory words (Devanampriyah Priyadarsi raja evam aha) are missing here without any visible reason. All these circumstances taken together seem to me to prove that this is in reality the oldest of the edicts hitherto known. It was, according to my humble opinion, made public immediately after the conquest of Kalinga and the conversion that followed upon it, i.e. it may well belong to the ninth year after the abhiseka. And this year must fall several years before the death of Antiochus I for reasons to which we shall return presently. That in the final redaction of the Rock Edicts it came to be counted as the last one-for the fourteenth does not, for obvious reasons, count in the same way as the other ones--seems well explicable as its contents are quite different from those of the previous rescripts.(1) After this earliest of the preserved edicts there can be little doubt what follows, viz. the two separate edicts of Dhauli and Jaugada. At the latter place they both present introductory words of a slightly simpler trend than the usual formula, viz. Devanampiye hevam aha " thus speaketh the Beloved of the Gods"(2); while at Dhauli even this simple introduction has been neglected and substituted by the simple Devanampiyasa vacanena, etc. Which is really the original version cannot now be fully made out, though it seems rather probable that the introductory words at Jaugada may represent a later addition. The separate edicts apparently contain rules and advices for the peaceful administration of the recently conquered Kalinga country and for the pacification of the unconquered border-tribes of that province.(3) From this it seems pretty clear that they must be ascribed ------------- 1. The reason why it was not published in Kalinga is, of course, quite conspicuous and has been pointed out long ago. It would, however, be still more obvious if the edict was really published immediately after the conquest and not several years afterwards. 2. It seems peculiar that the epithet Priyadarsin should occur nowhere in the two separate edicts. For this some local reasons unknown to us may account.,It is also somewhat remarkable that in the second separate edict Dh. has everywhere Devanampriyah where J. uses the word raja (cf. the parallel conditions prevailing in Rock Edict VIII, A; cf. CII. i(2), p. xxx). 3. We are strongly reminded of the existence even to this day of uncivilized hill- tribes within the frontier districts of Orissa, etc. p. 316 to the period immediately following upon the conquest, i.e. to the ninth year after the coronation. The immediate objection to this argument will be that the mahamatras mentioned in these edicts as being sent out at fixed times must in all probability be identical with those of whom we hear in the Rock Edict III, which is dated in the year 12/13 after the abhiseka (cf. also the dharmamahamatra's of Rock Edict V, who were appointed for the first time in the year 12-13 after the abhiseka). Such an objection, however, seems to me to be lacking in validity. The separate edicts simply speak of mahamatra's resident in Tosali(1) or Samapa, of whom one was sent out every fifth year on a general tour of inspection, while at Ujjayini (and Taxila?) every third year was the date of the inspection-tours. The Rock Edict III, again, speaks of yukta, rajuka (rajjuka), and pradesika (whatever they be) to be sent out as inspectors every fifth year sarvatra vijite mama "in the whole of my empire". The inference seems to be that such tours of inspection were at first instituted at Ujjayini and Taxila--perhaps even during the time of Asoka's own viceroyalty or on account of some revolts at those places--and that they were then after the Kalinga conquest further instituted at Tosali and Samapa; finally, under the influence of Buddhism they were extended over the whole of the empire. There need thus be no immediate chronological connection between the two separate edicts and the Rock Edict III. A further reason for thinking the two separate edicts to have been published separately and not at the same time as all the edicts I-X (XII), XIV seems to be found in the prescription (I Sep. Ed. Dhauli V, Jaugada W; II Sep. Ed. Dhauli N, Jaugada O), according to which the edict should be listened to by all on every day of the constellation Tisya.(2) This means that on these occasions it was publicly recited-- "apparently preceded by ceremonial drumming--throughout the towns of Tosali and Samapa; this distinctly points to a date when it was not yet incised on the rocks. but was preserved in the shape of a royal proclamation. ------------------------- 1. On this place cf. B.S. Deo, Quart. J. Andhra Hist. Res. Soc., iii, 41 sqq. 2. It seems somewhat remarkable that several names containing that constellation Tisya belong to the Maurya time. There is Asoka's wicked queen Tisya-raksita, and his brother Tisya (on this name cf. Panini, iv, 3, 34). There is further the contemporary king Tissa of Ceylon (Dipavamsa), and the great divine Tissa Moggaliputta (cf. Geiger, Mahavamsa, p. xlvii sq., etc.). Still further there is Pusyagupta, a viceroy of Candragupta (Epigr. Indica, viii, 46 sq.); and there may be even more names of which I am not aware. The fifth Pillar Edict further tells US that on Tisya castration and branding of animals must not be performed. Unfortunately, I cannot suggest any probable connection of the Maurya family with this constellation though there may well be one. p. 317 As for the other Rock Edicts, they may well be of the same date all of them--with one possible exception, viz. Edict VIII. In this document we are told that Asoka, having been anointed ten years, i.e. in the year 10/11 after the coronation, made a pilgrimage to Sambodhi. I am at one with Professor D.R. Bhandarkar(1) that this word must mean the place where supreme enlightenment was reached by the Buddha Gotama, i.e. Bodh-Gaya.(2) And it seems only natural that Asoka who, after the bloody conquest of Kalinga, had been converted to Buddhism--though most probably a very simple layman's Buddhism--should as soon as possible set out to visit what must perhaps be considered the most sacred spot by the followers of the Tathagata's doctrine. The eighth edict lacks the usual introductory words, and for that reason may possibly have been given, before it was included in the collection of the fourteen rescripts, in a somewhat different form. But of this we, of course, know nothing. All that can be said is that it seems quite possible that this edict was really of a somewhat older date and was originally published shortly after the (first) pilgrimage. to Bodh--Gaya. In spite of various interpretative efforts(3) it is unfortunately, far from clear what is meant by the words Devanampiyasa Priyadasino rano bhage amne of the last sentence. As for the remaining Rock Edicts (I-VII, IX-XII, XIV), two of them, viz. the third and the fourth, clearly state that they were published when Asoka had been anointed for twelve years, i.e. in the year 12/13 after the abhiseka; and the Sixth Pillar Edict furnishes the information that a "rescript on Buddhism" was composed at this very date (duvadasavasa-abhisitena me dhammalipi likhapita). Although it is not, of course, impossible--or perhaps even rather probable--- that some of these edicts should have appeared earlier in a somewhat different form, it seems fairly obvious that in their present shape they were all issued at one and the same date. As concerns their internal arrangement only a few words may be added here. The introductory words of Rock Edict I (iyam dhammalipi Devanampriyena Priyadasina rana lekhapita, Girnar) recur at the beginning of Edict XIV, and are, of course, a phrase put --------------------- 1. Cf. IA. xlii, 159 sq. 2. With this use of the word sambodhi cf. Jataka, iv, 236, 2: mahayitvana sam- bodhim (with mahayitvana cf. mahiyite in the Rummindei and Nigali Sagar inscriptions). Cf. also Mookerji, Asoka, p. 105 sq. 3. Cf. e.g. Luders, Sitz. ber. Preuss. Akad. d. Wiss., 1914, p. 846. p. 318 in by the final redaction The second edict again lacks every sort of introductory sentence. Hence it seems fairly probable that these two are really meant to form one continuous rescript the first part tells us that Asoka had abolished bloody sacrifices as well as the heedless slaughter of animals practised in his own royal kitchens(1): when this edict was published only two peacocks(2) and one deer were killed for making curries, and even these were to be spared in the future. In the second part Asoka tells us that in his own realm and in those of his neighbours he had instituted medical treatment of men and animals, planted herbs of medical use and nourishing roots and fruits, caused wells to be dug, and planted trees for the use of cattle and human beings. These two parts seems to fit very well together. The same seems to be the case with Edicts III and IV. The introductory words of III exactly correspond to the final paragraph of IV; and Edict IV besides lacks the usual introductory sentence. Furthermore, the virtues inculcated in III D are exactly the same ones the absence of which Asoka is deploring in IV A. On the very remarkable contents of this later edict I shall say nothing here as I hope to return to them in another connection. Again the Edicts V and VI both begin with the usual phrase (Devanampriyah Priyadarsi raja evam aha): they are both separate rescripts and seem from that point of view to present no difficulties. As for Edict VII it seems indeed very fragmentary and has in any case got nothing to do with the following one (cf. above). Edict IX again, which starts with the usual introductory sentence, is a complete rescript dealing with the different sorts of mangala's; unfortunately sufficient explanation has not been forthcoming for the very remarkable fact that in the later part of the edict Kalsi and the North-Western versions differ entirely from Girnar and the two Eastern ones. The tenth edict seems to be only a fragment and can scarcely be connected With the preceding one, while the eleventh which, by the way, is of a very undefined and hazy nature--seems to form a piece by itself. Finally, Edict XII lacks the introductory formula, but may originally ------------------- 1. Somewhat similar measures were at times taken by Akbar, cf. Smith, Akbar the Great Mogul, p. 167. 2. To peacock's flesh no doubt magical qualities were ascribed; it was believed to convey immortality, not to decay, etc. Cf. Jataka ii, 36sq.; Johansson, Solpfageln i Indien, p. 78 sq.; Charpentier, Festschrift E. Kuhn, p. 283 n. 4; Mookerji, Asoka, p. 62. p. 319 have been a rescript not to the subjects in general, but to certain religious sects that were at daggers drawn between each other.(1) Now if the Rock Edict II, which mentions Antiochus, was in its present form published in the year 12/13 after the abhiseka, which no doubt was the case, this would give us the means not for fixing its actual date, but for fixing the latest date at which it can possibly have been published. The death of Antiochus I occurred between October, 262, and April, 261 B.C.; and there is little or no doubt that it would have been known in India at least in 261/260 B.C. This consequently marks the latest date possible for a rescript that speaks of Antiochus as being still alive. If the present version of the fourteen Rock Edicts were published at such a date -- which is, of course, only a working hypothesis and intrinsically not very probable -- the year of the coronation would be calculated by adding 12/13 to 261/260, by which means we would arrive at 274/272 B.C. as the latest possible date of the abhiseka. And as tradition unanimously asserts that Asoka was raised to the throne four years before his coronation the date of his real accession would fall between the years 278 and 276 B.C. The length of Bindusara's reign is given differently in different sources; but perhaps the most probable one is the calculation of the Puranas, according to which he reigned for twenty-five years. If, now, we reckon with the accession of Asoka as having taken place between 278 and 276 B.C., this would bring the beginning of Bindusara's reign to a date somewhere between 303 and 301 B.C. Considering the accepted date of Seleucus' Indian expedition (305 B.C.)(2) which is, however, nothing but a not incredible hypothesis-and the assertion of Arrian that Megasthenes did repeatedly visit the residence of Candragupta,(3) such a date would seem rather early, --------------------- 1. It is certainly remarkable that this rescript contains at least two words which strongly remind us of Jain terminology, viz. vaci-guti (vaca-guti) in D and kalanagama in J (this, by the way, must mean "possessed of good scriptures", not "pure in doctrine" as rendered by Hultzsch). Of the officials mentioned here the dharma- mahamatra is in all probability the special supervisor of the Buddhist samgha (cf. Delhi-Topra VII Z); the ithijhakha certainly has got nothing to do with the ganikadhyaksa of Kautilya (thus CII. i(2), p. 22 n. 4)-- he may possibly be some sort of overseer of the nuns; the vaca-bhumika is the supervisor of the holy cows (and probably of the pinjrapols, cf. Rock Ed. II), a purely Brahmin official. 2. Cf. CHI. i, 430, 472, 698. 3. It must, however, be observed that these words do not necessarily involve that Candragupta was still alive during all the visits, though the text says The successor of Candragupta, as we know, was not even known to the Greeks by his real name. p. 320 though of that we can form no fixed opinion.(1) As Candragupta, again, is unanimously told to have reigned for twenty-four years, the period of his reign would have to be placed somewhere between 327-325 B.C. and 303-301 B.C.; the dates 325-301 B.C. would in that case seem to be the more probable ones.(2) That the reign of Candragupta should have begun as early as 327, or more probably 325, B.C. will perhaps be considered not very probable. But I fail to find real arguments that could be raised against such an assumption. If the passage in Justin, xv, 4, is to be considered the leading one amongst classical scriptures dealing with Candragupta it tells us the following: first of all he by his insolent behaviour fell out with King Nandrus(3) and fled for his life from him. Then: contrectis latronibus Indos ad novitatem regni sollicitavit; and Indian sources--whatever else may be their value--scarcely contradict the statement that it was with the help of a veritable pack of rascals (latrones) that Candragupta did overthrow the throne of the Nandas.(4) And finally: molienti deinde bellum adversus Alexandri prafectos, etc.; the deinde obviously proves that it was after having assured for himself the realm of the Pracyas that Candragupta turned upon the Punjab and Sindh. The consolidation of the Eastern empire and the recruiting of armies capable to combat the soldiers of Macedonia and Greece and with the strong men of the North-west will have taken some years. Thus it is nowise impossible that Candragupta may have begun his reign in Pataliputra about 325 B.C., or even perhaps a little earlier.(5) ------------------------ 1. There remains the possibility that the four years during which Asoka is said to have reigned before his anointment do in reality mean nothing but a co-regentship with Bindusara (cf. also CHI. i, 503, n. 1). If such were the case the latter's regnal years would come in somewhere between 299/97 and 274/72 B.C. But all this is pure guess-work. 2. On the date of Candragupta cf. also the able paper of Dr. O. Stein: Indologica Pragensia, i, 354 sqq. 3. It is to be sincerely hoped in the interest of Indian ancient history, which is mainly constructive, that the emendation Nandrum for Alexandrum is really the correct one. Otherwise the passage from Justin would tell us an absolutely different tale. 4. Here the Mudraraksasa, which may be of considerable historical value, is especially illuminative. 5. It seems to have been always taken for granted that Agrammes or Xandrames (on whom cf. E. Thomas, JRAS. 1865, p. 447 sqq.), the despicable sovereign of the East who had murdered his predecessor, was in reality a Nanda. But we look out in vain for definite proofs of such a suggestion. Xandrames, as Professor Thomas has rightly remarked (CHI. i, 469 sq.), most probably renders a Sanskrit form Candramas, and this is certainly not far from Candragupta. That Candragupta should have visited Alexander while in the Punjab (Plutarch, Alexander, Ixii) sounds suspiciously like a myth. p. 321 To sum up: I have tried above to make it probable that Antiochus I (281-262/61 B.C.) and not Antiochus II (262/61-246 B.C.) is the Yavana king Amtiyoka mentioned in two of the Rock Edicts of Asoka. Even if such a suggestion cannot, of course, be definitely proved, it still seems fairly probable that such is the case. Certain chronological conclusions may be drawn from this assumption; they are however, lacking in definiteness and are only apt still further to emphasize the profound uncertainty with which the ancient and in general the pre-Mohammadan chronology of India is beset. Let me finally express the sincere wish that these modest lines may present some interest to my dear and revered friend Professor Rapson. Without the splendid work performed by him for the elucidation of crucial points within the ancient history of India--especially as an editor and author of most important chapters of the Cambridge History of India--to produce even the above pages would have proved wellnigh an impossible task.