SMITH, Vincent Arthur

SMITH, Vincent Arthur. Dublin 3.6.1848 — Oxford 6.2.1920. Irish Indologist, Historian and Art Historian of India, in India (1871–1900) and the U.K. Son of Aquilla Smith (1806–1890), physician and noted numismatist and archaeologist, and Esther Faucett. Educated at Trinity College, Dublin (B.A. 1868) and Cambridge (M.A.). In 1869 joined the I.C.S., came to India in 1871 an was posted in N.W. Provinces and Oudh. From 1889 Magistrate-Collector, from 1895 District and Session Judge, from 1898 Commissioner. Retired rather early, in 1900, in order to concentrate on research. In the U.K. he settled down in Cheltenham, in 1902-03 Reader in Indian History and Hindustani at University of Dublin, in 1910 moved to Oxford and became Curator of the India Institute. Married 1876 Mary Elizabeth Tute, three sons and one daughter. Died after an illness of two months. C.I.E. Hon. Dr. Dublin.

VAS became early interested in archaeology and history as their research was possible in his respective locations. He did first-hand work especially in numismatics, but was mainly a maker of synthesis. Like many in those days, he was keen to find Greek influences in India. The author of the obituary in the ABORI claims that he “wrote without any bias”, but after hundred years this looks different. Especially in art history he had strong Western bias and for him Alexander was central figure in Indian early history. He was a productive author and wrote the first history of Indian art.

Publications: The Settlement Officer’s Manual for the N.W.P. 1881.

Catalogue of Gupta coins in JASB 1884, articles on Gupta coins in JRAS 21, 1889, 1-158 and JRAS 1893, 71-148.

General Index to Cunningham’s Archaeological Survey Reports. Simla 1887.

– “Graeco-Roman Influence on the Civilization of Ancient India”, JASB 58, 1889, 107-198; “The Position of the Autonomous Tribes of the Panjāb conquered by Alexander the Great”, JRAS 1903, 685-702.

The Remains near Kasia in the Gorakhpur District. 1896; The Jain Stūpa and other Antiquities in Mathurā. 1901.

– “Andhra History and Coinage”, ZDMG 56, 1902, 649-675 & 57, 1903, 605-627 & 58, 1904, 157; “The Kushān or Indo-Scythian Period of Indian History, B.C. 165 to A.D. 320”, JRAS 1903, 1-64.

Aśoka, the Buddhist Emperor of India. Oxford 1901, 3rd ed. O. 1920; “Asoka Notes 1–12”, IA 1903-18; transl. The Edicts of Asoka. Broad Campden 1909.

The early history of India from 600 B.C. to the Muhammadan Conquest. 6+389 p. 9 pl. 6 maps Oxford 1904, 2nd 1908, 4th ed. rev. by S. M. Edwards. 548 p. 12 pl. 6 maps Oxford 1924.

Catalogue of the Coins in the Indian Museum, Calcutta. Oxford 1906.

– “The Indo-Parthian Dynasties, from about 120 B.C. to 100 A.D.”, ZDMG 60, 1906, 49-72; “The Śakas in Northern India”, ZDMG 61, 1907 403-421; “The Indian Travels of Apollonius of Tyana”, ZDMG 68, 1914, 329-344.

– “The History of Kanauj and of King Yasovarman”, JRAS 1908, 765-793, 1132; “The Gurjaras of Rajputana and Kanauj”, JRAS 1909, 53-75, 247-281.

Student’s History of India. Oxford 1908 and many edd.

A History of Fine Art in India and Ceylon. Oxford 1911.

Oxford History of England. 1912 (for Indian students).

Akbar, the Great Mogul, 1542–1605. 16+504 p. Oxford 1917.

The Oxford History of India. From the Earliest Times to the end of 1911. 816 p. Oxford 1919, 2nd ed. by S. M. Edwards. 24+814 p. Oxford 1923, 3rd by P. Spear. Oxford 1958, 4th 1981.

numerous articles: 23 in JRAS, 4 in JASB, 14 in IA, 7 in ZDMG, and elsewhere.

Sources: Buckland, Dictionary; W. Crooke, Folklore 31, 1920, 87; D. Murphy, Dict. of Irish Biogr. (dib.cambridge.org); Pargiter, JRAS 1920, 391-395, with bibliography; *Temple, IA 49, 1920, 77f.; ABORI 1:2, 1919-20, 191f.; Wikipedia briefly.

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