Viśākhadatta Analysis

Life

(Literature and the Ancient World, Critical Edition)

Little is known of the life of Viśākhadatta (vee-SHAW-kah-dah-tah), nor is it certain when he lived. Possibly he was a contemporary of Chandragupta II (r. c. 380ûnc415 c.e.) and therefore lived during the golden age of classical Sanskrit literature. He might have been attached to the king’s court, as he says in the prologue of his surviving work that he was the grandson of a provincial governor. A lost play with Chandragupta II as its hero was apparently composed by Viśākhadatta. Various historians have, however, put his date either a generation earlier or even as late as 800 c.e.