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Epistolary Literature

(6,060 words)

Author(s): Siglinde Dietz
According to our present knowledge, it was only in the 3rd century bce, during Aśokaʼs reign, that writing began in India. Therefore, letters could not have been written earlier (von Hinüber, 2010, 266). Whereas no original Indian letter of Aśokaʼs time is extant, the scarce indications of official letters written by the Maurya administration were collected by O. von Hinüber, who refers to “covering letters” in connection with Aśoka’s Rock and Pillar Edicts and written messages that were conveyed by dūtas (emissaries), following the example of Hellenistic kings (von Hinüber…