Di, 16.04.2024 17:00

Beyond India - about scratchings, scribblings and Buddhists in the west of the Indian Ocean

Hybrid lecture by Ingo Strauch (University of Lausanne) in the "OeAW Georg Bühler Lectures"

In recent years, a considerable number of epigraphic documents have been discovered that originated outside the Indian subcontinent. Most of them are directly related to the commercial activities of Indian merchants and seafarers across the complex network of trade routes that connected the Indian world with the West in the early centuries of the Common Era.

These inscriptions are of various types - from short scratches on broken shards, to scribbled graffiti in a remote natural cave on the isolated island of Socotra, to a recently discovered Buddhist dedication in a temple of Isis on the Red Sea coast. Although many of them are short and not always easy to evaluate, these scattered texts are of eminent importance for our knowledge of Indian Ocean trade links and the role of Indian merchants in these trading activities.

The lecture will reassess the available epigraphic evidence and discuss its implications for the history of intercontinental trade in the first centuries of the Common Era.


Ingo Strauch is Professor for Sanskrit and Buddhist Studies at the University of Lausanne. His research focuses on the history and literature of early South Asian Buddhism and on Indian epigraphy and palaeography. 


Please register here for both on-site and online attendance: https://www.oeaw.ac.at/veranstaltungen/anmeldung/georg-buehler-lectures.
If you have chosen to attend virtually, you will receive an e-mail with the link to the stream a few days before the event.

Georg Bühler lecture series

Georg Bühler (1837–1898) was one of the most eminent Indologists of the 19th century. He conducted pioneering research in the fields of South-Asian epigraphy, paleography, manuscript studies, legal literature, and religious history. He was appointed Chair for Philology and Antiquities of Ancient India, which was newly created at the University of Vienna, and became a member of the Austrian Academy of Sciences. He was thus instrumental in establishing Vienna as an important center for South Asian Studies and Philology. This lecture series marks the 140th anniversary of Georg Bühler’s appointment in Vienna, with a series of six lectures by eminent scholars. Not only will they address Bühler’s intellectual legacy, they will also highlight new research and latest developments in Bühler’s fields of study.

Media report







16 April 2024, 17:00–18:30 CEST

Theatersaal of the Austrian Academy of Sciences (OeAW)
Sonnenfelsgasse 19, 1010 Wien

and online via live stream

Registration link

Birgit Kellner (IKGA, Austrian Academy of Sciences)

Organization and moderation:
Nina Mirnig (IKGA, Austrian Academy of Sciences)
Hannes Fellner (Department of Linguistics, University of Vienna)

Natalie Kapfer-Rupp (Actuarial Office: Learned Society Administration)

Flyer (PDF)

Poster (PDF)