Pul-i-Darunteh Aramaic inscription

The Pul-i-Darunteh Aramaic inscription, also called Aramaic inscription of Lampaka, or Laghman I inscription, is an inscription on a rock in the valley of Laghman ("Lampaka" being the transcription in Sanskrit of "Laghman"), Afghanistan, written in Aramaic by the Indian emperor Ashoka around 260 BCE. It was discovered in 1932 at a place called Pul-i-Darunteh. Since Aramaic was the official language of the Achaemenid Empire, which disappeared in 320 BCE with the conquests of Alexander the Great, it seems that this inscription was addressed directly to the populations of this ancient empire still present in northwestern India, or to border populations for whom Aramaic remained the language of use.[1]

Pul-i-Darunteh Aramaic inscription
Lampaka inscription.jpg
Pul-i-Darunteh Aramaic inscription
MaterialNatural stone.
Createdcirca 260 BCE
Period/culture3rd Century BCE
Discovered34°35′05″N 70°11′00″E / 34.5846°N 70.1834°E / 34.5846; 70.1834Coordinates: 34°35′05″N 70°11′00″E / 34.5846°N 70.1834°E / 34.5846; 70.1834
PlacePul-i-Darunteh, Laghman Province, Afghanistan
Present locationPul-i-Darunteh, Laghman Province, Afghanistan
Pul-i-Darunteh Aramaic inscription is located in Afghanistan
Pul-i-Darunteh Aramaic inscription
Location of the Aramaic inscription of Pul-i-Darunteh.
Lampaka valley, Laghman Province.


The discovery of this inscription follows that of several other inscriptions in Aramaic or Greek (or both together), written by Asoka. The most famous is the Bilingual Kandahar Inscription, written in Greek and Aramaic, or the Greek Edicts of Ashoka, also found in Kandahar. Earlier, in 1915, Sir John Marshall had discovered the Aramaic Inscription of Taxila. In 1956, another inscription was discovered in the Laghman Valley about thirty kilometers away, the Aramaic Inscription of Laghman. Then in 1963 an inscription in "Indo-Aramaic" alternating the Indian Prakrit language and the Aramaic language, but using only the Aramaic script, the Aramaic parts translating the Indian parts transcribed in the Aramaic alphabet, was also found in Kandahar. This is the Aramaic Inscription of Kandahar.[1]

Content of the inscriptionEdit

The inscription is incomplete. However, the place of discovery, the style of the writing, the vocabulary used, makes it possible to link the inscription to the other Ashoka inscriptions known in the region. In the light of other inscriptions, it has been found that the Pul-i-Darunteh inscription consists of a juxtaposition of Indian and Aramaic languages, all in Aramaic script, and the latter representing translations of the first.[2] This inscription is generally interpreted as a translation of a passage of the Major Pillar Edicts n°5 or n°7,[3] although others have proposed to categorize it among the Minor Rock Edicts of Ashoka.[4]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b A new Aramaic inscription of Asoka found in the Laghman Valley (Afghanistan), André Dupont-Sommer Proceedings of the Academy of Inscriptions and Belles-Lettres Year 1970 114-1 p.173
  2. ^ Essenism and Buddhism, Dupont-Sommer, André, Proceedings of the Academy of Inscriptions and Belles-Lettres Year 1980 124-4 pp.698-715 p.706
  3. ^ Handbuch der Orientalistik by Kurt A. Behrendt [https: //books.google.com/books?id=C9_vbgkzUSkC&pg=PA39 p.39]
  4. ^ Inscriptions of Asoka from DC Sircar p.33
Edicts of Ashoka
(Ruled 269–232 BCE)
Regnal years
of Ashoka
Type of Edict
(and location of the inscriptions)
Geographical location
Year 8 End of the Kalinga war and conversion to the "Dharma"
Year 10[1] Minor Rock Edicts Related events:
Visit to the Bodhi tree in Bodh Gaya
Construction of the Mahabodhi Temple and Diamond throne in Bodh Gaya
Predication throughout India.
Dissenssions in the Sangha
Third Buddhist Council
In Indian language: Sohgaura inscription
Erection of the Pillars of Ashoka
Kandahar Bilingual Rock Inscription
(in Greek and Aramaic, Kandahar)
Minor Rock Edicts in Aramaic:
Laghman Inscription, Taxila inscription
Year 11 and later Minor Rock Edicts (n°1, n°2 and n°3)
(Panguraria, Maski, Palkigundu and Gavimath, Bahapur/Srinivaspuri, Bairat, Ahraura, Gujarra, Sasaram, Rajula Mandagiri, Yerragudi, Udegolam, Nittur, Brahmagiri, Siddapur, Jatinga-Rameshwara)
Year 12 and later[1] Barabar Caves inscriptions Major Rock Edicts
Minor Pillar Edicts Major Rock Edicts in Greek: Edicts n°12-13 (Kandahar)

Major Rock Edicts in Indian language:
Edicts No.1 ~ No.14
(in Kharoshthi script: Shahbazgarhi, Mansehra Edicts
(in Brahmi script: Kalsi, Girnar, Sopara, Sannati, Yerragudi, Delhi Edicts)
Major Rock Edicts 1-10, 14, Separate Edicts 1&2:
(Dhauli, Jaugada)
Schism Edict, Queen's Edict
(Sarnath Sanchi Allahabad)
Rummindei Edict, Nigali Sagar Edict
Year 26, 27
and later[1]
Major Pillar Edicts
In Indian language:
Major Pillar Edicts No.1 ~ No.7
(Allahabad pillar Delhi pillar Topra Kalan Rampurva Lauria Nandangarh Lauriya-Araraj Amaravati)

Derived inscriptions in Aramaic, on rock:
Kandahar, Edict No.7[2][3] and Pul-i-Darunteh, Edict No.5 or No.7[4]

  1. ^ a b c Yailenko,Les maximes delphiques d'Aï Khanoum et la formation de la doctrine du dhamma d'Asoka, 1990, p. 243.
  2. ^ Inscriptions of Asoka de D.C. Sircar p. 30
  3. ^ Handbuch der Orientalistik de Kurt A. Behrendt p. 39
  4. ^ Handbuch der Orientalistik de Kurt A. Behrendt p. 39