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  • 1 Eötvös Loránd University, Múzeum krt. 6–8, 1088 Budapest, Hungary
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It is commonly held among scholars that Aśoka’s Minor Rock Edicts were the king’s first attempts at engraving his messages on stone, and as such, they represent the earliest evidence for writing in India. While this may be true, it has not been duly emphasised that the text of the Minor Rock Edicts, in several versions as we have it, shows considerable traces of influence by the Major Rock Edicts and Pillar Edicts. Particular instances for such an influence in the text are the intrusion of the key term dhaṃma or the use of a general formulaic language characteristic of the later edicts. In our discussion, we wish to bring out some of these “Major” trends in the Minor Rock Edicts, making proposals for new interpretations and reading in Minor Rock Edicts I and II. On a similar basis, we will propose placing the Greco-Aramaic edict from Kandahar in the context of the Minor Rock Edicts, and try to account for the elements which may be derived from the Major Rock Edicts by the same scribal procedure as can be supposed to have been at work in formulating the text of the Minor Rock Edicts.

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