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(fl. western India,A. D. 269)

astronomy, astrology,

Sphujidhvaja, who was a Yavanarāja or ,“official in charge of foreigners,” apparently in the kingdom of the Mahāksatrapas of Ujjayinī in western India, wrote a Yavanajātaka in 269, when Rudrasena II (ca. 255–277) was reigning. His work was a versification (in upendravajrā meter) of a prose translation into Sanskrit of a Greek astrological textbook made by Yavaneśvara in 149. This poem became the foundation of genethlialogy and of interrogational astrology in India, adapting the foreign Greco-Egyptian material for an Indian context; with a lost translation of another Greek text available to Satya (ca. 300) it formed the basis of the Vrddhayavanajātaka of Mīnarāja (ca. 325–350 and of the Brhajjātaka of Varāhamihira (ca. 550) But besides this Indianized Greek material from Yavaneśvara, Sphujidhvaja drew upon traditional Indian āyurveda for his materia medica, and upon the Indian adaptations of Mesopotamian astronomy presented in the Jyotisavedān¯ga of Lagadha (fifth or fourth century B.C.?) and of Greco-Babylonian linear planetary theory in his chapter on astronomical computations (see essay in Supplement). His curious mixture of various traditions indifferently comprehended is characteristic of the exact sciences in India.


Several passages from the Yavanajātaka are discussed by D. Pingree in the following articles: “A Greek Linear Planetary Text in India,” in Journal of the American Oriental Society, 79 (1959), 282–284; “The Yavanajātaka of Sphujidhvaja.” in Journal of Oriental Research, 31 (1961–1962), 16–31; ,“The Indian Iconography of the Decansi and Horās,” in Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, 22 (1963), 223–254; and “Representation of the Planets in Indian Astrology,” in Indo-IranianJournal, 8 (1965), 249–267. The text is edited, translated, and furnished with an elaborate commentary by D. Pingree. The Yavanajātaka of Sphujidhvaja, Harvard Oriental Series (Cambridge, Mass., in press).

David Pingree