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Bactrian coins and Indian dates / by E. Thomas

Bactrian coins and Indian dates / by E. Thomas

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Digital Library Numis (DLN)

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JOURNALOKTHE ROYALASIATICSOCIETY.
Art.I.?Bactrian Coins and Indian Bates.ByE.Thomas,
Esq.,F.R.S.
Ashorttimeago,acasualreferencetothecomplicatedGreekmonogramsstampedonthe earlierBactrian coinssuggestedtome anexplanationofsomeof their less involvedcombinationsbythe testofsimpleGreekletterdates,whichwasfollowedbythecuriousdiscoverythatthe Bactriankingswereinthehabitofrecognizingandemployingcurtaileddates totheoptionalomissionofthefigureforhundreds,whichseemstohavebeen theimmemorialcustominmanypartsofIndia.Mychiefauthorityforthisconclusionwasderived fromachancepassageinAlbiruni,1whosestatement,however,hassincebeenindependentlysupportedbytheinterpretationofaninscriptionof theninthcenturya.d.fromKashmir,2whichillustrates theprovincialuseofacycleofonehundredyears,and hasnow
1Albin'mi,writinginIndiain1031a.d.,tellsus,"Lovulgairc,dunsl'lnde,comptcpar sieclcs,etItssieclcskcplacentl'unapres1*autre. OnappclletelalcSamvatsuruducent.Quanduncentestccotile,onlclaissectTonen commence>unautre.OnappellecelaLoka-k&lu,e'est-a-direcomputdupeuple."?Reiuaud'sTranslation,FragmentsArabes,Paris,1845,p.145.2Thissecondinscriptionendswith thewords SakaKuhigotavdoh720?thatis,"$akaKtlayearselapsed72G,"equivalentto a.d.804,whichisthereforethedatoofthetemple.This datealsocorrespondswith thoyear80 ofthelocaleyile,which istheLoka-kdlaof Kashmfrorcycleof2,700years,countedbycenturiesnamedafterDietwenty-sevennakshatras,orlunarmansions. Thereckoning,therefore,nevergoesbeyond100years,andaseachcenturybeginsinthe25thyearoftheChristiancentury,the80thyearof thelocalcycleisequivalenttothe4thyearoftheChristiancentury.?GeneralA.Cunningham,ArchfcologicalReport,1875,vol.v.p.181.vol.ix.?[newseries.]1
 
2BACTRIANCOINS ANDINDIANDATES.beendefinitivelyconfirmedbyinformation obtainedbyDr.BiihlerlastotheoriginoftheKashmirieraandthecorroborationofthepracticeoftheomissionof "thehundredsinstatingdates" stillprevailingin thatconservativekingdom.2SinceBayer'spremature attempttointerpretthemintmonogrami-p,onapiecoofEucratides,as108,3Numismatistshavenotlostsightofthepossiblediscriminationofdatesasopposedtothepreferentialmint-markssoabundantonthesurfacesof theseissues,thoughthegeneralimpressionhasbeenadversetothepossibilityoftheirfulfillinganysuchfunctions.4
1"Dr. Biihler hasfoundoutthokeytothoKashmireanera:itbeginsinthoyearof theKnliyug25,or307Cn.c,whentheSaptarshisaresaidtohavegonetoheaven.TheKashmirpcoplooftenomit thehundreds instatingdates.Thusthoyear24(Kashmirera)inwhichKalhana wrotehislt&jatarangini,and whichcorrespondedwith?aka1070,standsforA,221."?Atlieuamm,Nov.20,1875,p.675.2Since thiswaswritten,GeneralCunningham'sletteroftho30thMarch,1870,hasappearedin theAthenecum(April 2i)th,1876),from tho textof whichIextract thefollowingpassages.Theseseemtoestablishthefactthattheoptionalomissionof theliuudrcdswas acommonandwell-understoodrulesoearlyasabouttheageof Asoka."Thepassageinwhichthefiguresoccurrunsasfollows intho Snhasarilm text:?iyamchasavanevivntheiiadutcsapannalatisatavivuthati252.ThecorrespondingpassageintheRtipnathtextissomewhatdifferent:?ahalesavavivasetavayaafcivyathenas&vanokatesu52satavivasata.Thecorresponding portionoftheBaivat textislost.Myreasonforlookinguponthesefiguresasexpressingadate isthattheyaroprecededintheUftpnathtextbythe wordkatesu,whichItaketobothoequivulcntoftheSanskritkrunte$hu={*omanyyears)'havingelapsed.'"Idonotstoptofollow GeneralCunuingham's argumentswithregardto thevalueofthefigureswhich heinterpretsas262. Thesignfor60,initshorizontalform,hashitherto been receivedus80,butthatthesamesymbolcame,sooner orlater,torepresent60,whenplacedperpendicularly,issullic.ioiitlyshownbyProf.Kggeling'sPlate,p.52,inVol.VIII.ofourJournal.Ishould,however,takegreatexceptiontothorenderingofthounitas2,which,tojudgobyMr.Baylcy'sletter,mthosamenumberof theAthnueum,Gen.CunninghamandDr.Biihlerhadat firstrightlyconcurredinreadingas6.3Hint,lieg.GrtccorumBaetn'ani,St.Petersburg,1738,p.92:"NumusEucratidis,quernpostea copiosiusexplicabo,annum108.habet,sinedubiocpochaoBactrianae,quiannus exnostrisrationibusa.v.c.606.Scptembrimcusoiniit.IgituvcumhocinnuniovictoriaeejusIndicaccelebrantur,quibusutJustinusait,Indiamwpolestatemredtgit."Secalsopp.38,66,134.*II.II.Wilson,ArianaAntiqua,pp.235,238.GeneralA.Cunningham,NumismaticChronicle,vol.viii.o.s.p.176;andvol. viii. N.8.1868,p.183;vol. ix.n.s.1869,p.230.
 
BACTRIANCOINS AND INDIAN DATES.3In1858Ipublished,inmyeditionof"Prinsep'sAssaysonIndianAntiquities,"anoticeofthedetached lettersOTasoccurringon acoinofEucratides(No.3,p.184,vol.ii.),andnrasfoundonthemoneyofHeliocles(No.1,p.182),whichletters,intheirsimpleform,wouldseverallyrepresentthe.figures73 and83;but thedifficultyobtrudeditself thatthesenumbersweretoolowtoaffordanysatisfactoryelucidationofthequestioninvolved intheirapplicationasdynastic
dates.
Amongthe lateracquisitionsofBactrian coinsintheBritishMuseum isapieceofHelioclesbearingthefulltriliteraldate,after themannerof theSyrianmints,ofPilPor183,which,whentestedbytheSeleucidanera(i.e.311?183),bringshisreignundertheconvenient dateofn.c.128,authorizingustousethecoincident abbreviatedfigures,underthesamoterms,asOF=73for173oftheSeleucidanera?n.c.138forEucratides,andtherepeatedIir=83for 183Seleucidan=n.c.128,forHeliocles,1adatewhichis furthersupportedbythoappearanceof thecxccjitionallycombinedopenmonogramJA1{HA),or81for181=B.C.130onhisother
pieces.
Tholastfully-datedpiece,intheBactrianseries,istheuniqueexampleofthemoneyofPlato(bearingthefiguredletterdatePMZ=z147oftheSeleucidoo,orb.c.165).WehavetwodoubtfuldatesB=60andUE=65,onthecoinsofApollodotus;but iftheseletterswereintendedfordates,theywillscarcelyfit-inwiththeSeleucidan scheme. Menander dateshiscoinsinregnalyears.Icantraceextantexamplesfrom1 to8.Butthispracticebyno meansnecessitatesthedisuseoftheSeleucidanerainordinary reckonings,still lessits abandonmentinState documentswheremoreformalprecisionwas
1GeneralCunninghamwascognizantof the datenr=83asfoundonthecoinsotHeliocles,whichheassociatedwiththeyearn.c.164,under theassumptionthat hehaddetectedthetrueinitialdateoftheBactrianera,whichhehudsettledtohisownsatisfaction,"asbeginninginn.c.24G."?Num.Chron.n.r.vol.viii.1808,p.200;ns.vol.ix.18G9,pp.35,230.SeealsoMr.Vaux'snote,N.C.1876,vol.xv.p.3.

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