This thesis uses a semantic map model to describe the dative case in Ṛgvedic Sanskrit. A semantic map is a way to visualize the relationships between the various functions of a linguistic form. The maps come about through cross-linguistic comparison and they aim for universality. By looking at comparable linguistic forms in at least a dozen genetically diverse languages, one should arrive at a map that is universally valid. This map should be able to explain the use of a linguistic form in any language, how its various functions relate to each other and predict the path of semantic change when that takes place. A semantic map for the dative function has already been made, and I will test this map against data from the Ṛgveda.
My conclusion will be that the data confirm rather than invalidate the map, and that the map adequately describes the Ṛgvedic state of affairs. I will also argue that the map is not just ordered in a way so as to satisfy typological tendencies, but that the design of the map is sensitive to semantic and pragmatic concerns.