Richard Salomon, Gāndhārī in the Worlds of India, Iran, and Central Asia

Gāndhārī, originally a local dialect of the Middle Indo-Aryan language family spoken in the northwestern borderland of the South Asian subcontinent, became in the first three centuries of the common era an international lingua franca for administrative purposes as well as a literary language in Buddhist institutions. During this period the use of Gāndhārī spread over a wide range in the eastern Iranian world and in various parts of Central Asia. The article surveys and summarizes the roles Gāndhārī played during this period and examines the historical and geographical factors which led to its brief efflorescence and rapid decline.