Vincent Arthur Smith

Irish historian and indologist (1843–1920)

Vincent Arthur Smith, CIE, (* 3. June 1848 in Dublin; † 6. February 1920) was an Irish Indologist and art historian.


  • The most systematic record oflndian Historical tradition is that preserved in the dynastic lists of the Puranas, five out of the eighteen works of this class, namely the Vayu, Matsya, Vishnu, Bramhanda and Bhagvata contain such lists. The Brahmanda and the Vayu as well as the Matsya, which has large later additions, appear to be the earliest and most authoritative.
  • Ancient Tamil literature and the Greek and Roman authors prove that in the first two centuries of the Christian era the ports on the Coromandel or Cholamandal coast enjoyed the benefits of active commerce with both East and West. The Chola fleets.....uncrossed the Indian ocean to the islands of the Malaya Archipelago.
    • Early History of India - By Vincent Smith p. 415
  • ‘In the 7th century of the Christian era,’ Vincent Smith wrote, ‘the Nalanda establishment undoubtedly was the most important and splendid of its kind in India, or, in fact, the world. It was the principal centre of Buddhist learning, and was crowded with students from every quarter. It was truly a great university…’
    • Vincent Smith, quoted in Shourie, Arun (2014). Eminent historians: Their technology, their line, their fraud. Noida, Uttar Pradesh, India : HarperCollins Publishers.
  • The university was the centre of Mahayana learning, of course – so much so that, reviewing its significance, Vincent Smith observed, ‘A detailed history of Nalanda would be a history of Mahayanist Buddhism, from the time of Nagarjuna in the 2nd cent A.D. (?), or possibly even from an earlier date, until the Muhammadan conquest of Bihar in A.D. 1197 – a period well over a millennium. All the most noted doctors of the Mahayana seem to have studied at Nalanda…’
    • Vincent Smith, quoted in Shourie, Arun (2014). Eminent historians: Their technology, their line, their fraud. Noida, Uttar Pradesh, India : HarperCollins Publishers.
  • Summarizing the evidence relating to the slaughter of the Buddhist Monks perpetrated by the Musalman General in the course of his invasion of Bihar in 1197 AD, Mr. Vincent Smith says, "The Musalman General, who had already made his name a terror by repeated plundering expeditions in Bihar, seized the capital by a daring stroke... Great quantities of plunder were obtained, and the slaughter of the 'shaven headed Brahmans', that is to say the Buddhist monks, was so thoroughly completed, that when the victor sought for someone capable of explaining the contents of the books in the libraries of the monasteries, not a living man could be found who was able to read them. 'It was discovered,' we are told, 'that the whole of that fortress and city was a college, and in the Hindi tongue they call a college Bihar.' "Such was the slaughter of the Buddhist priesthood perpetrated by the Islamic invaders. The axe was struck at the very root. For by killing the Buddhist priesthood, Islam killed Buddhism. This was the greatest disaster that befell the religion of the Buddha in India....
    • quoted from B. R. Ambedkar, "The decline and fall of Buddhism," Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar: Writings and Speeches, Vol. III, Government of Maharashtra. 1987, p. 232-233, quoting Vincent Smith
  • Muhammad ibn Tughlaq “led forth his army to ravage Hindostan. He laid the country waste from Kanauj to Dalmau [on the Ganges, in the Rai Baréli District, Oudh], and every person that fell into his hands he slew. Many of the inhabitants fled and took refuge in the jungles, but the Sultan had the jungles surrounded, and every individual that was captured was killed.”
    • Vincent Arthur Smith, The Oxford History of India: From the Earliest Times to the End of 1911 (Clarendon Press, 1920), 241-2. as quoted in Spencer, Robert (2018). The history of Jihad: From Muhammad to ISIS.
  • India beyond all doubts possesses a deep underlying fundamental unity, far more profound than that produced either by geographical isolation or political suzeranity. That unity transcends the innumerable diversities of blood, colour, language, dress, manners and sects? ... The most essential fundamental Indian unity rests upon the fact that the diverse people of India have deyeloped a peculiar type of culture and civilisation utterly different from any type in the world. That civilization may be summed up by the term Hinduism. India primarily is a Hindu country...
    • Vincent Smith as quoted in [1], and in MUSINGS ON INDIA’S UNITY by Michel Danino
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