Later copper plate inscriptions were used as records of land ownership to support a sophisticated system of taxation that is evidence of a well-structured bureaucracy.
Inscriptions represent the earliest written forms of Indian languages and are evidence that these written forms were already well-developed by the time the inscriptions were made.
Important inscriptions include the 33 inscriptions of emperor Ashoka on the Pillars of Ashoka (272 to 231 ), the Hathigumpha inscription, the Rabatak inscription, the Kannada Halmidi inscription, and the Tamil copper-plate inscriptions. These inscriptions have been found in over 35 locations throughout the areas of modern-day Pakistan and northern India, near towns, trade routes and religious centers.
Tamil copper-plate inscriptions are copper-plate records grants of land or other privileges to private individuals or public institutions by the members of the various South Indian royal dynasties.
The ancient practice of inscribing cave walls or stone monuments to commemorate conquests, religious ceremonies and other important events existed in many parts of Asia.
"The Greek king by the name of Antiokos"), beyond whom live the four other kings: "Param ca tena Atiyokena cature 4 rajani Turamaye nama Amtikini nama Maka nama Alikasudaro nama" (lit.
"And beyond Antiochus, four kings by the name of Ptolemy, the name of Antigonos, the name of Magas, the name Alexander." It is not clear in Hellenic records whether these Buddhist emissaries were actually received, or had any influence on the Hellenic world.
Now it is conquest by Dhamma that Beloved-of-the-Gods considers to be the best conquest.
And it (conquest by Dhamma) has been won here, on the borders, even six hundred yojanas away, where the Greek king Antiochos rules, beyond there where the four kings named Ptolemy, Antigonos, Magas and Alexander rule, likewise in the south among the Cholas, the Pandyas, and as far as Tamraparni (Rock Edict Nb13, S. In the Gandhari original Antiochos is referred as "Amtiyoko nama Yona-raja" (lit.
the sixth century , engraved on the faces of cliffs, on pillars, on tablets of stone, drawn in caves and on rocks, some gouged into the bedrock.
Later inscriptions were also made on palm leaves, coins, copper plates, and on temple walls.
In the western part of India, the language used is closer to Sanskrit, using the Kharoshthi script, one extract of Edict 13 in the Greek language, and one bilingual edict written in Greek and Aramaic.
The Ashoka inscriptions represent the first tangible evidence of Buddhism.
The inscriptions proclaim Asoka's beliefs in the Buddhist concept of dhamma and his efforts to develop “dhamma” throughout his kingdom.