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Arthur Berriedale Keith

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Title: Arthur Berriedale Keith  
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Subject: Savitr, Brahmana, Aranyaka, Shri Rudram Chamakam, Indology, Rajatarangini, N. H. Gibbs, List of people educated at the Royal High School, Edinburgh
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Arthur Berriedale Keith

Arthur Berriedale Keith (1879–1944) was a Scottish constitutional lawyer, scholar of Sanskrit and Indologist. He became Regius Professor of Sanskrit and Lecturer in Constitutional History in the University of Edinburgh.


The third son of a newsagent in Edinburgh, and brother of the administrator in Burma Sir William John Keith, Arthur Berriedale Keith was educated at the Royal High School and the University of Edinburgh before going on to Balliol College, Oxford. Top in the civil service exam of 1901, with marks never bettered, he served in the Colonial Office from 1901 to 1914, with a break at the Crown Agents between 1903 and 1905.

He helped set up the Dominions division of the CO in 1907 and organize the 1911 Imperial Conference, and rose to be private secretary to the Permanent Under-Secretary.He was called to the English bar in his spare time. Was appointed to the Regius Chair of Sanskrit in 1914. He made great contributions to Vedic and classical Sanskrit scholarship, and was called in to advise the Government during the abdication crisis in 1936. He wrote twenty-one books on Commonwealth history with even more on philology and law.

A biography was penned on Berriedale by Ridgway (Jr.) Shinn titled "The Chief Ornament of Scottish Learning", narrating and analyzing "the achievements and failures on one of leading authorities on the constitution of the British Empire". [1]

After his death his sister gifted to the Arthur Berridale Keith Collection.


Constitutional law and history

  • The Theory of State Succession (1907)
  • Responsible Government in the Dominions
    • 1st edition, 1x vol. (1909)
    • "Revised" edition, 3x vols. (1912)
    • "Second" edition, 2x vols. (1928)
  • Imperial Unity and the Dominions (1916)
  • The Belgian Congo and the Berlin Act (1919)
  • The British Cabinet System
  • The Causes of the War
  • The Constitution of England from Queen Victoria to George VI
  • Dominion Home Rule in Practice (1921)
  • War Government of the British Dominions (1921)
  • The Sovereignty of the British Dominions (1929)
  • Speeches and Documents on Colonial Policy 1763–1917
  • Speeches and Documents on the British Dominions 1918–1931
  • The Constitutional Law of the British Dominions (1933)
  • The Governments of the British Empire (1935)
  • The King and the Imperial Crown (1936)
  • A Constitutional History of India (1600–1935), Methuen and Co. Ltd, London (1936)
  • The Privileges and Rights of the Crown
  • The Dominions as Sovereign States

Indian culture and literature

  • Indian Mythology (1917)
  • The Religion and Philosophy of the Veda and Upanishads (1925)
  • The Samkhya System: A History of the Samkhya Philosophy (1918)
  • Buddhist Philosophy in India
  • A History of Sanskrit Literature (1920)


  • The Aitareya Aranyaka (1909)
  • The Veda of the Black Yajus School (Taittiriya Sanhita)
  • Rigveda Brahmanas: the Aitareya and Kausitaki Brahmanas of the Rigveda (1920)


  • Ridgway F. Shinn, Jr., Arthur Berriedale Keith (1879–1944): the chief ornament of Scottish learning
  • Guide to Arthur Berriedale Keith Papers and Correspondence, 1896-1941 (1981).

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