By Charles L. Allen
Ashoka Maurya―or Ashoka the nice as he was once later known―holds a distinct position within the heritage of India.
via his 3rd century BCE quest to control the Indian subcontinent by means of ethical strength on my own, Ashoka reworked Buddhism from a minor sect right into a significant international faith. His daring scan led to tragedy, and within the tumult that the old checklist was once cleansed so successfully that his identify used to be principally forgotten for nearly thousand years.
but, a couple of mysterious stone monuments and inscriptions miraculously survived the purge. In Ashoka: the quest for India’s misplaced Emperor, historian Charles Allen tells the amazing tale of ways a couple of enterprising archaeologists deciphered the mysterious lettering on keystones and recovered India’s old prior. Drawing from wealthy assets, Allen crafts a clearer photograph of this enigmatic determine than ever ahead of.
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Additional info for Ashoka: The Search for India's Lost Emperor
However, this rediscovery makes no sense without examining how it was that ancient India – and Ashoka with it – came to be lost to the outside world; a process exemplifed by the destruction of the great Buddhist university of Nalanda in 1193–4. A brief account of that dreadful visitation provides this book’s opening chapter. Plenty of Muslim historians were present to chronicle these and subsequent events but they were, with two notable exceptions, blinded to any history that did not form part of the advance of Islam.
They may not even have known that an hour’s ride west of Bihar fort was a second seat of power; one without ramparts or garrison but presenting a direct challenge to their belief in the oneness of God. This was the Mahavihara, or ‘Great Monastery’, of Nalanda, known throughout the Buddhist world as the Dharmaganja, or ‘Treasury of the Moral Law’. For centuries Nalanda had been the most important seat of learning in Asia. It contained the most extensive repository of Buddhist knowledge in the world, housed in three multi-storeyed libraries: the Ratnasagara, or ‘Sea of Jewels’; the Ratnadadhi, or ‘Ocean of Jewels’; and the Ratnaranjaka, or ‘Jewels of Delight’.
By the time he graduated from Oxford in 1768, Jones was fluent in thirteen languages and familiar with another twenty-eight. Like his father before him, he turned to the aristocracy for patronage, becoming tutor to the young son and heir of Lord Spencer. Having taught himself Arabic and Persian, he embarked on a number of translations that earned him the sobriquet of ‘Persian’ or ‘Oriental’ Jones and led him to declare that the works of Persian poets such as Firdusi were as worthy of admiration as the works of Homer.
Ashoka: The Search for India's Lost Emperor by Charles L. Allen