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0438 Ancient Khotan : vol.1
Ancient Khotan : vol.1 / Page 438 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000182
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Designation of ruler in Kharo;thi documents.

Personal names in Kharo;thi documents.

Official titles.


no detailed analysis is yet available. But there are indications that accounts, lists of labourers or materials, &c., are frequent among their contents. Considering the administrative duties of the officials whose residences were the main find-places of such documents, it is very likely that some at least of these lists and accounts may have reference to taxation.

The ruler, in whose name the official orders, &c., are issued, is given in the initial formula of the wedge-shaped tablets only the brief title mahanuava maharaya, corresponding to Skr. mahanubhava maharaja ` His Excellency, the Great King.' But in the introductory dating of many of the rectangular tablets, where the year is indicated with reference to the reign of a particular ruler, we find his name besides the above title coupled with the designation of devaputra 9, which recalls the official style of the Kusana or Indo-Scythian kings as observed in their inscriptions in their Indian territories. The royal names, of which two at least can be distinguished in the documents, are to be found neither on the Sino-Kharosthi coins of Khotan nor in the dynastic lists of the Tibetan texts. Yet the constant references in the tablets to Khotan (called Khotamna, Khodana, Kustanaka) show that the district containing this ancient settlement must have formed part of the kingdom of Khotan, and it seems difficult to believe that by the above titles any other ruler but that of Khotan could be meant.

Many of the persons to or by whom documents are dispatched bear names which are either purely Indian, such as Bhima, Bangusena, Nandasena, Samasena, Sitaka, Upajiva, &c.10, or else look like Indian adaptations, e.g. Arigaca, Cuvayalina Phummaseva, Piteya, Sili, Samghila, Samjaka, Somjaka, Sucama, Sughiya11. But others are distinctly un-Indian, e.g. Lipeya, Opgeya, Limira, Mamngaya, Tsmaya12. A few, like Pagaspa and Cinaphara, suggest Iranian influence in their origin or formation 13. It is interesting to see that among the correspondents in N. xvi. 2 there appears a Kusanasena, as if to emphasize some connexion with Indo-Scythian dominion far away to the south-west.

In strange contrast to the names, some of the most frequently-occurring titles borne by these officials are wholly non-Indian, such as Cojhbo, Sothamgha, Kalal4. But the official designations familiar from ancient Indian usage are also met with, e.g. divira clerk', cara (or caraka) `secret agent', rayadvara purasthita ' president of the royal court '15. Letter-carriers (lekhaharaka) are often referred to by their Sanskrit designation, while the duty of the official messengers, for whose requirements en route many of the wedge-shaped tablets were intended to provide, is always spoken of by the term dutiya, derived from their correct Indian appellation of dûtalß. The often-recurring introductory formulas, with their stereotyped greetings, elaborately constructed honorific addresses, and polite inquiries after the health and spiritual welfare of the addressees—the whole corresponding to the verbiage which Anglo-Indian custom in the reproduction of vernacular documents curtly disposes of as ' after compliments '—possess a distinct flavour of that quaint phraseology which Sanskrit epistolary style has always affected, and to which the correspondence of my Kashmirian Pandit friends has accustomed me 17. That official custom, however, knew also

a See, e.g., N. xv. 155 (Plate XCIV); xv. x66 (Plate XCV).

'o See for these names N. i. 104, 105 ; xv. 12 ; xvi. 2, in Prof. Rapson's Specimens, from which also the subsequent references to particular names, &c., are taken.

'I Comp. N. i. 105 ; iv. io8, 136 ; xv. 12, 137, 318. 12 See N. i. 105 ; iv. 136 ; xvi. 2.

1$ Comp. N. xvi. 2.

14 For Cojhbo see N. i. 104, 105 ; iv. 108, 136 ; xv. 137, 318; xvi. 2 ; for Sothamgha (also spelt Sothamga), N. iv. 104, io8, 136; Ka la, N. xvi. 2.

'5 Comp. N. iv. 136 ; xv. 137 ; for the frequently occurring term rayadvara (Skr. râjadvâra) `royal court of justice', see, e.g., N. i. 105 ; xv. 12 ; xvi. 2.

16 See for dutiya, N. i. 104 ; iv. io8 ; xv. 12.

17 The complimentary introductions of the letters in the previously-discussed tablet, N. xvi. 2 (see Prof. Rapson's Specimens, pp. 9 sq.) furnish typical illustrations of this phraseology. Priyadarsana ' whose sight is dear ', priyadevamanusya ' who is dear to gods and men ', devamanusyasampûjita honoured by gods and men ', sunâmaparikirtita' whose