RAPSON, Edward James. Leicester 12.5.1861 — Cambridge 3.10.1937. British Indologist. Professor in Cambridge. Son of the teacher and future vicar Edward R., educated in Hereford. From 1879 studied at St.John’s, Cambridge. Graduated in classics in 1883 and started now Indology under Cowell. Fellow of St.John’s 1887, brief time in Oxford and still in 1887 entered the numismatic department of British Museum. In 1903-06 Professor of Sanskrit at University College in London, in 1906 succeeded Bendall as Professor of Sanskrit at Cambridge, but continuously worked also with British Museum. Retired in 1936. Member of British Academy 1931. Married 1902 Ellen Daisy Allen, widower 1921.
Rapson was mainly a historian specialized in numismatics and epigraphy. In 1901 he started research on Kharoṣṭhī materials brought by M. A. Stein. Of literature he is said to have known only the most important part. He was characterised as a rather mediocre teacher. Among his students were Burrow, N. Pr. Chakravarty, P. Noble and Turner.
Publications: The struggle between England and France for supremacy in India. 120 p. The “Le Bas” prize essay for 1886. London 1887.
– “Counter-marks on early Persian and Indian coins”, JRAS 1895. 865–877.
– Indian Coins. 56 p. Grundriss II:3B. Strassburg 1897.
– “The coinage of Mahākṣatrapas and Kṣatrapas of Surāṣṭra and Mālava”, JRAS 1899, 357–407.
– “Two Notes on Indian Numismatics”, JRAS 1897, 319-324; “Notes on Indian Coins and Seals”, JRAS 1900, 97–126 & 1901, 97–108; “The Græco-Indian Kings Strato I Soter and Strato II Philopator”, JRAS 1905, 164-167; “Tutelary Divinities of Indian Cities on Graeco-Indian Coins”, JRAS 1905, 783-814; “Coins of the Graeco-Indian Sovereigns, Agathocleia, Strato I Soter and Strato II Philopator”, Corolla Numismatica 1906, 245-258; articles in the NC, etc.
– “In what degree was Sanskrit a spoken Language?”, JRAS 1904, 435-456 (with notes by others, ibid. 457-487 & 747-749).
– Catalogue of the coins of the Andhra Dynasty, the Western Kshatrapas, the Traikutaka Dynasty and the “Bodhi” Dynasty in the British Museum. 208+268 p. 21 pl. L. 1908.
– Ancient India from the Earliest Time to the First Century A.D. 8+199 p. 6 pl. Cambridge 1914.
– With Boyer and Senart: Kharoṣṭhī Inscriptions discovered by Sir M. A. Stein in Chinese Turkestan. 1-2. Oxford 1920-27; with P. Noble: id. liber. 3. Oxford 1929.
– Edited: The Cambridge History of India. Vol. 1. Ancient India. 684 p. Cambridge 1922 (with five chapters written by himself, also contributed to other volumes of C.H.I.).
Sources: *L.D. Barnett, Proc. British Acad. 1938; *T. Burrow & J.B. Katz, Oxford D.N.B.; R.L. Turner & R. Burn, JRAS 1938, 639-643; Wikipedia with poor photo; photo in Sardesai and BSOS 6:2, 1931, 279.
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