CONTENTS: I. The scope and significance of epigraphy in indological studies; II. Writing and scripts in India: 1. General introduction; 2. The Brahmi script and its derivatives; 3. The Kharosthi script; 4. Numbers and numerical notation; 5. Techniques of epigraphic writing; 6. Undeciphered scripts; III. The languages of Indic inscriptions: 1. Middle Indo-Aryan ("Prakrit"); 2. Mixed or "Hybrid" dialects; 3. Sanskrit; 4. The New Indo-Aryan (NIA) languages; 5. Other (Non-Indo-Aryan) languages in Indian inscriptions; 6. Bilingual and multilingual inscriptions; IV. Survey of inscriptions in the Indo-Aryan languages: 1. Typological survey; 2. Survey by form and material; 3. General survey of inscriptions; V. Methods of epigraphic study: 1. The presentation of inscriptional texts; 2. Translation and interpretation of inscriptions; 3. Authentication of inscriptions; 4. Dating of inscriptions; 5. Appendix: eras used in Indo-Aryan inscriptions; VI. The history of Indian epigraphic studies: 1. The pioneering era: early readings of Indian inscriptions (1781-1834); 2. The era of decipherment (1835-1860); 3. The period of maturity (1861-1900); 4. The modern period (1901-1947); 5. Indian epigraphy since independence (1947 to the present); 6. Future prospects and desiderata; VII. Epigraphy as a source for the study of Indian culture: 1. Epigraphy and history; 2. Epigraphy and the study of Indian literature; 3. Epigraphy and the study of religion; 4. Epigraphy and the study of the arts; 5. Epigraphy and linguistics; 6. Epigraphy and geography; 7. Other fields; VIII. Bibliographic survey: 1. Primary sources: notices and editions of inscriptions; 2. Secondary sources: handbooks and reference works; Appendix: Selection of typical inscriptions; Bibliography; Index of inscriptions cited; Index.
This book provides a general survey of all the inscriptional material in the sanskrit, Prakrit, and modern Indo-Aryan languages, including donative, dedicatory, panegyric ritual, and literary texts carved on stone, metal and other materials. This material comprises many thousands of documents dating from a range of more than two millennia, found in and the neighbouring nations of south Asia, as well as in many parts of southeast, central and East Asia. The incriptions are written, for the most part, in the Brahmi and Kharosthi scripts and their many varieties and derivatives.