The Dawn of Indian Coinage

Excerpts from Chapter 6 of the c completed monograph onograph

Jee Francis Therattil

This is when we consider that both the coins were of pure metal and without any seigniorage. Herodotus confirms that: “Darius had refined gold to the “Darius last perfection of purity in order to have coins struck of it” [paragraph 166, Book IV - Melpomene]. Achaemenids could very easily afford to do this. Such was the quantum of treasure accumulated there. From the Fortification Tablets it is known that in 467 BC, no less than 1348 Tablets, , people were employed in the treasury. The treasury - probably not big enough to store the booty of Xerxes' successful wars - was enlarged to the north. Persepolis' second largest building, the Throne Hall [measuring 70 m x 70 m], finished by Xerxes' son Artaxerexes I Makrocheir [465 - 424 BC] changed its function at a later ] stage and it too became a store room, probably because the treasury was again too small to contain everything [Jona Lendering @ Persepolis.htm].

Siglos Siglo The obverse shows an armed Achaemenid king facing to the right. Reverse exhibits a an incuse which is typical to an incision while the blank is still hot.

Photo: An Achaemenid Siglos at the Attic.htm

The difference between the gold to silver ratios in Persia and in India was huge. In Persia, gold was worth 131/3 times silver; so, for every 1 g of gold, India should otherwise give 131/3 g of silver. In India, gold was worth only 4 times silver; so, for every 1 g of gold, India needs to bear only 4 g of silver. Let us now look at the actual figures. According to Herodotus [The Histories, paragraph 94, Book III - Thalia], ng Indians used to pay 360 Talents of gold annually as tribute. = 360 x 60 x 6 Karshas of gold = 360 x 60 x 6 x 8.336 g of gold = 10,80,345.6 g of gold [enough for minting 1,29,600 Dari 80,345.6 Darics!].

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