5561 BCE & Genealogies of Kings/Rulers – Part 2

Understanding Contribution & Limitations of Genealogies

Genealogies from ancient Indian literature is a signficant source of crucial knowledge in recognizing and researching antiquity of Indian civilization.

Variations in lists of Kings/rulers make us aware that no single list is complete. This also tells us that no matter how best our efforts, a timing of an ancient event so determined using ‘Geneolgies of Kings’ can at best provide us with an estimate for the timing of a specific ancient event. The evidence, so determined, can never be used to falsify a timing determined via another evidence/methodology. At the same time, ‘Genealogies of Kings’ are certainly capable of (with luck) corrborating a date, arrived via independent evidence.

Theory – Quick revisit

Let’s look at the mathematical formula (and associated theory) in application of evidence of ‘Genealogies of Kings’:

If we happen to know Number of Kings/Rulers (X), between Events A & B, who ruled on an average for years Y….

Then,

Estimated timing of Event A = X Multiplied by Y, Years before the reference event B.

Brief Summary of past Research

Doubts may be/can be raised against validity of any of these X, Y, and B employed in estimating timing of Event A. This is justified. What is not justified is arbitrary usage (i.e. without providing rationale and supporting data) and assumptions in modifying these X, Y and B.

Indologists have had field day in doing just this. Again, sincere vs. agenda-driven applications of this Genealogy evidence can be easily spotted, however I will leave that subject for another time.

Benefits and Limitations of this approach

Benefits:

(1) Great to know that excellent records of Genealogies of Kings of Ancient India were maintained
(2) The evidence is capable of corroborating a timing of specific event (only as weak secondary corroboration), so determined usign other independent evidence.

Limitations:

(1) The List of Kings will always be incomplete…and even if the list is complete, we will never know that it is complete. (If times perimits, I will illustrate what I mean).
(2) The evidence can NEVER falsify a date determined by another independent evidence.(This is also obvious, but may not be clear at a first glance. Some refelection and meditation will certainly help)
(3) The evidence can provide corrboration fro a date determiend by another independent evidence. Even then, such corroboration is to be considered only a weak corrboration, mainly due to limitation (1) and also next (4) limitation.
(4) While uncertainty always exists about number of kings in a list, their average years for rule (Y) is always going to be an estimate which in turn makes the evidence ‘an estimate’ with no addtional tools/data (Degree of Freedom) to estimate its errors.

I will begin with specific evidence, with next part of this series..

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One thought on “5561 BCE & Genealogies of Kings/Rulers – Part 2

  1. Dear Nilesh,
    Why do you place importance to ‘luck’, for genealogies of Kings being able to corroborate a date arrived with independece evidence….

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