The best-known Brahmi inscriptions are the rock-cut edicts of Ashoka in north-central India, dated to 250–232 BCE. The script was deciphered in 1837 by James Prinsep, an archaeologist, philologist, and official of the East India Company. The origin of the script is still much debated, with current Western academic opinion generally agreeing (with some exceptions) that Brahmi was derived from or at least influenced by one or more contemporary Semitic scripts, but a current of opinion in India favors the idea that it is connected to the much older and as-yet undeciphered Indus script.:20
The Gupta script of the 5th century is sometimes called “Late Brahmi”. The Brahmi script diversified into numerous local variants, classified together as the Brahmic scripts. Dozens of modern scripts used across South Asia have descended from Brahmi, making it one of the world’s most influential writing traditions.