Just how many Asokan Pillars were written in Aramaic?

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Just how many Asokan Pillars were written in Aramaic?

Postby Virgo » Sat Sep 15, 2012 3:27 am

Take a look at this video which has footage of the pillar in Kandahar (limited) as well of one in Mardan, Pakistan, and makes mention of others. Are these also Asokan? I've only found mention of one Asokan pillar written in Aramaic elsewhere...

Starts at around 16:30 minutes in. Enjoy.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OQ_oMp8I-k8&feature=related
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Re: Just how many Asokan Pillars were written in Aramaic?

Postby Virgo » Sat Sep 15, 2012 4:47 am

What is becoming clear to me here is that these descendants of Israelites (watch the whole video) inhabited this land during King Asoka's reign and were very possibly Buddhists, or at the very least, practiced Judaism - their traditional faith - in a Buddhist empire. The tribes fled Israel around 700 BC as far as I know (I am not a historian), when it was invaded by the Assyrian empire. These tribes travelled East. When exactly they arrived in Afghanistan, and when they settled where they did is hard to say. They were definitely there, however, during Asoka's reign, which didn't fall totally in Afghanistan until the 11'th century AD when it was taken by Islam, and the Asokan Pillar or Pillars (At least the one in Kandahar) are written in their tongue revealing that they likely had high regard for the Edicts. I'd really be amazed if Buddhist statues or other artifacts aside from the pillars were found in or near the traditional villages of these tribes (I know many artifacts come from Afghanastan generally speaking). It's interesting to think that descendants of Israel, speaking Aramaic, may have been Buddhists...

I'd really like to hear some imput here from those who are more familiar with the Asokan Pillars, or any of the subjects touched on here.

Thanks...

Kevin
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Re: Just how many Asokan Pillars were written in Aramaic?

Postby David N. Snyder » Sat Sep 15, 2012 5:19 am

Cool, the original JuBu's. (Jew-Boos -- for Jewish-Buddhists)

There were two major exiles of the Israelites, one after the destruction of the First Temple and then the big one after the Second Temple; so I suppose it is possible. King Ashoka's missions went as far as Eastern Europe and East Africa as well as Asia. The bilingual edict in Greek and Aramaic is from Kandahar, so could just be Ashoka's missionaries who were versed in various languages for the spreading of Dhamma?
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Re: Just how many Asokan Pillars were written in Aramaic?

Postby Virgo » Sat Sep 15, 2012 5:53 am

David N. Snyder wrote:Cool, the original JuBu's. (Jew-Boos -- for Jewish-Buddhists)

It is possible. The Jews are an incredibly tenacious people, however, and even at that time they had already been through a lot. It's hard to believe they would convert to Buddhism very easily, but it is possible. We can see from the video that in Harat, until the late 1980's the Jewish line was unbroken, so they were not practicing Buddhists. However, their neighbors certainly converted to Islam at some point. At some point were some of the Israeli descendants there practicing Buddhists? So far the only evidence that might point in that direction is the fact that at least one (if not more?) of the Asokan Pillars were created with Aramaic (and it appears to be Jewish Aramaic dialect, I'm not sure but the researcher could read it, and the pillar is not terribly far from Harat, where the Jews lived and worshipped). Of course, that is not definitive evidence by any means, but it does show there is a possibility.

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Re: Just how many Asokan Pillars were written in Aramaic?

Postby Sherlock » Sat Oct 06, 2012 4:31 pm

Speculative source.

Aramaic was the common language of the Achaemenid Empire, who were defeated by Alexander not very long before Ashoka's time. Alexander and his successors left most of the administrative apparatus intact and the people probably didn't change very much, so it's logical that Ashoka would use their language to communicate with them. No need to postulate a "lost tribe" -- there were plenty of non-Jews in the Empire who used it. He used Greek with the Greeks living in his domains as well.
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Re: Just how many Asokan Pillars were written in Aramaic?

Postby Kim O'Hara » Fri Nov 23, 2012 11:25 am

David N. Snyder wrote:Cool, the original JuBu's. (Jew-Boos -- for Jewish-Buddhists)

There were two major exiles of the Israelites, one after the destruction of the First Temple and then the big one after the Second Temple; so I suppose it is possible. King Ashoka's missions went as far as Eastern Europe and East Africa as well as Asia. The bilingual edict in Greek and Aramaic is from Kandahar, so could just be Ashoka's missionaries who were versed in various languages for the spreading of Dhamma?

This novel may amuse you, David:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gentlemen_of_the_Road
It is a "swashbuckling adventure"[1] set in the kaganate of Khazaria (now southwest Russia) around AD 950. It follows two Jewish bandits who become embroiled in a rebellion and a plot to restore a displaced Khazar prince to the throne.

... and it's good fun but not to be taken seriously.

:reading:
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