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The Lineage of the Raghus

The Lineage of the Raghus


Edited and translated by Csaba Dezső, Dominic Goodall, and Harunaga Isaacson

ISBN 9780674292598

Publication date: 01/02/2024

A new English translation of Raghuvaṃśa by the celebrated Sanskrit poet Kalidasa, who inspired such modern writers as Goethe and Tagore.

For a millennium and a half, Kalidasa’s works—from The Cloud Messenger to The Recognition of Shakuntala—have delighted audiences in India and beyond. Although the renowned poet and dramatist inspired many literary works over the centuries, little is known about his life. He likely lived in central India in the late fourth or early fifth century.

Kalidasa’s The Lineage of the Raghus, or Raghuvaṃśa, belongs to the Sanskrit literary tradition of mahākāvya, or court poem. It recounts the lives of ancient kings in the sūryavaṃśa, the Solar Dynasty who ruled from the capital city of Ayodhya. The poem describes, among other episodes, the quest for offspring by Dilipa, a descendant of the primordial king Manu; the world conquest of his son Raghu, which offers a panorama of the Indian subcontinent; the exploits of the famous Rama, an incarnation of Vishnu; and the debaucheries of Agnivarna, which jeopardize the future of the lineage.

This volume presents a new edition of the Sanskrit text in the Devanagari script alongside a fresh English translation of this enduring epic.


  • A fine edition that should appeal both to the serious Sanskrit reader and the more casually interested English-speaking one.

    —M.A. Orthofer, Complete Review


  • Csaba Dezső is Associate Professor at Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest.
  • Dominic Goodall is Professor at the École française d’Extrême-Orient.
  • Harunaga Isaacson is Professor at the University of Hamburg.

Book Details

  • 608 pages
  • 5-1/4 x 8 inches
  • Harvard University Press