Manu (mŭˈnō) [key], semilegendary Hindu lawgiver. Traditionally ascribed to him are the Laws of Manu, best known of the Sanskrit smriti texts (see Sanskrit literature). They were compiled, probably between 200 B.C. and A.D. 200, from diverse ancient sources and provide detailed rules, presumably directed to Brahman priests, governing ritual and daily life. In particular they seek to validate and preserve the high caste position of the Brahmans.

See The Laws of Manu, tr. by G. Bühler (1886, repr. 1967).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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