How the Brahmins Won

From Alexander to the Guptas


This is the first study to systematically confront the question how Brahmanism, which was geographically limited and under threat during the final centuries BCE, transformed itself and spread all over South and Southeast Asia. Brahmanism spread over this vast area without the support of an empire, without the help of conquering armies, and without the intermediary of religious missionaries. This phenomenon has no parallel in world history, yet shaped a major portion of the surface of the earth for a number of centuries. This book focuses on the formative period of this phenomenon, roughly between Alexander and the Guptas.

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Johannes Bronkhorst (PhD Pune 1979, doctorate Leiden 1980) is professor emeritus at the University of Lausanne. He has published numerous research papers and books, including Greater Magadha (Brill, 2007) and Buddhism in the Shadow of Brahmanism (Brill, 2011).
'Con How the Brahmins Won si chiude, forse, il discorso iniziato con la pubblicazione di Greater Magadha, eppure ancora tante sono le finestre appena schiuse, soprattutto quando si cerca di mettere in dialogo fonti sanscrite, prācrite, greche e cinesi. Certamente, questi tre volumi tutti insieme danno un contributo irrinunciabile per cono 150 marianna ferrara scere le operazioni politiche e propagandistiche, le narrative e le retoriche, le storie individuali e collettive attraverso le quali i brahmani sono riusciti a imporre l’ideologia che ne ha preservato l’autorevolezza e l’autorità per secoli. E all’ombra di questa storia apparentemente a lieto fine per la classe brahmanica, tante altre ancora dovranno essere raccontate, non senza sorprese.' Marianna Ferrara, Historia Religionum 11 (2019)
All those interested in Buddhism, Brahmanism, Jainism, cultural history of South and Southeast Asia, history of religion, Sanskrit and Middle Indic philology.