control over Arachosia, Paropanisadae and
Diversity of Asokan Edicts The wide range of Asoka’s edicts, mostly
addressed in first person, directly to his subjects and/or his officers, however,
speaks of diversity in the contents of these inscriptions. These cannot but give
an impression that the edicts probably had a master or central draft, prepared
by the emperor himself at Pataliputra; these were later adopted, extended and
abridged by provincial and local authorities, according to the local needs, but
within the broad framework of the central drafts of the edicts. This is once
again corroborated by the emperor’s own classification of his edicts as vistata
(extended), majhima (medium size) and samkhita (short or abridged). The
Greek and Aramaic edicts were partly translations, transliterations,
explanations and also summaries of Asoka’s ideas and ideals found in his
Prakrit inscriptions written in Brahmi and Kharoshti.
Wide Network of Communications and Transport Though the Maurya
realm was nearly pan-Indian in extent and must have been beset with
problems of contacts, the dispersal and distribution of Asoka’s edicts are
clear pointers to a network of communications and interconnections within
• One of the Aramaic edicts at Laghman has certain contents which do
not figure in most of the inscriptions of Asoka. If read in combination
with another similar Asokan edict at Laghman, it speaks of a royal
road (karapathi, i.e. rajapatha) and officers entrusted with its
maintenance, which was considered as dispensing a meritorious work
• The names of places and distances mentioned in the Laghman edicts
amply bear it out that these were direction signals and distance posts.
• The Laghman edicts provide a striking corroboration of the accounts
of Eratosthenes (an elder contemporary of Asoka) on a Maurya royal
road connecting West Asia with Palimbothra or Pataliputra.
• The impressions of the Classical authors that the Mauryas looked
after proper maintenance of road network and erected direction giving
signals and distance recorders are also strikingly confirmed.
• The Aramaic records also make it clear that the dating method in the
Asokan inscriptions was in the expired year counted from the date of