Page:A history of Sanskrit literature (1900), Macdonell, Arthur Anthony.djvu/334

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tion of the second century; it must, on the contrary, have passed through a lengthened development before that time. Thus epigraphy not merely confirms the evidence of the Mahābhāshya that artificial court poetry originated before the commencement of our era, but shows that that poetry continued to be cultivated throughout the succeeding centuries.

These results of the researches of the late Professor Bühler and of Mr. Fleet render untenable Professor Max Müller's well-known theory of the renaissance of Sanskrit literature in the sixth century, which was set forth by that scholar with his usual brilliance in India, what can it Teach us? and which held the field for several years.

Professor Max Müller's preliminary assertion that the Indians, in consequence of the incursions of the Çakas (Scythians) and other foreigners, ceased from literary activity during the first two centuries A.D., is refuted by the evidence of the last two inscriptions mentioned above. Any such interruption of intellectual life during that period is, even apart from epigraphical testimony, rendered highly improbable by other considerations. The Scythians, in the first place, permanently subjugated only about one-fifth of India; for their dominion, which does not appear to have extended farther east than Mathurā (Muttra), was limited to the Panjāb, Sindh, Gujarat, Rājputana, and the Central Indian Agency. The conquerors, moreover, rapidly became Hinduised. Most of them already had Indian names in the second generation. One of them, Ushabhadāta (the Sanskrit Ṛishabhadatta), described his exploits in an inscription composed in a mixture of Sanskrit and Prākrit. Kanishka himself (78 A.D.), as well as his successors, was a patron of Buddhism; and national Indian archi-