Sunday, August 26, 2012

King Ashoka's bilingual inscription from Afghanistan

During the  reign of the Indian king Ashoka the Maurya Empire was vast.It stretched from Afghanistan and Pakistan ,covering almost all the Indian subcontinent and up to Bangladesh.

One of his edicts was a bilingual inscription in Greek and Aramaic carved in stone,dated 3rd century B.C.The inscription was discovered at Kandahar and is now lying in the National Museum of Afghanistan.



Greek text
    δέκα ἐτῶν πληρη[....]ων βασι[λ]εὺς
    Πιοδασσης εὐσέβεια[ν ἔδ]ε[ι]ξεν τοῖς ἀν- 
    θρώποις, καὶ ἀπὸ τούτου εὐσεβεστέρους 
    τοὺς ἀνθρώπους ἐποίησεν καὶ πάντα 
    εὐθηνεῖ κατὰ πᾶσαν γῆν• καὶ ἀπέχεται 
    βασιλεὺς τῶν ἐμψύχων καὶ οἱ λοιποὶ δὲ 
    εἲ τινες ἀκρατεῖς πέπαυνται τῆς ἀκρα- 
    σίας κατὰ δύναμιν, καὶ ἐνήκοοι πατρὶ 
    καὶ μητρὶ καὶ τῶν πρεσβυτέρων παρὰ 
    τὰ πρότερον καὶ τοῦ λοιποῦ λῶιον 
    καὶ ἄμεινον κατὰ πάντα ταῦτα 
    ποιοῦντες διάξουσιν.
Aramaic text
שנן 10 פתיתו עביד זי מראן פרידארש מלכא קשיטא מהקשט
מן אדין זעיר מרעא לכלהם אנשן וכלהם אדושיא הובד
ובכל ארקא ראם שתי ואף זי זנה כמאכלא למראן מלכא זעיר
קטלן זנה למחזה כלהם אנשן אתהחסינן אזי נוניא אחדן
אלך אנשן פתיזבת כנם זי פרבסת הוין אלך אתהחסינן מן
פרבסתי והופתיסתי לאמוהי ולאבוהי ולמזישתיא אנסן
איך אסרהי חלקותא ולא איתי דינא לכלהם אנשיא חסין
זנה הותיר לכלהם אנשן ואוסף יהותר
Latin transcription
SHNN 10 PTITW EBID ZI MRAN PRIDARSH MLKA QSHIJA MHQSHJ
MN ADIN ZEIR MREA LKLHM ANSHN WKLHM ADWSHIA HWBD
WBKL ARQA RAM SHTI WAP ZI ZNH KMAKLA LMRAN MLKA ZEIR
QJLN ZNH LMXZH KLHM ANSHN ATHXSINN AZI NWNIA AXDN
ALK ANSHN PTIZBT KNM ZI PRBST HWIN ALK ATHXSINN MN
PRBSTI WHWPTISTI LAMWHI WLABWHI WLMZISHTIA ANSN
AIK ASRHI XLQWTA WLA AITI DINA LKLHM ANSHIA XSIN
ZNH HWTIR LKLHM ANSHN WAWSP IHWTR

English text
    Ten years (of reign) having been completed, King
    Piodasses (Ashoka) made known (the doctrine of)
    Piety (εὐσέβεια, Eusebeia) to men; and from this moment he has made
    men more pious, and everything thrives throughout
    the whole world. And the king abstains from (killing)
    living beings, and other men and those who (are)
    huntsmen and fishermen of the king have desisted
    from hunting. And if some (were) intemperate, they
    have ceased from their intemperance as was in their
    power; and obedient to their father and mother and to
    the elders, in opposition to the past also in the future,
    by so acting on every occasion, they will live better
    and more happily." (Trans. by G.P. Carratelli)
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