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COMMERCE & SCIENCE.
CLASS: THIRD YEAR BACHELOR OF ARTS.
ACADEMIC YEAR: 2008 – 2009
SUBMITED BY: ISHAN MADHUKAR GAIKWAD.
PROJECT GUIDE: Mr. Sunil AlmeIda
THIS IS TO CERTIFY THAT THE PROJECT TITLED THE “PUNCH MARKED COIN’S” IS AN ORIGINAL WORK AND IS BEEN SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT FROM THE BACHELORS DEGREE OF ARTS UNIVERSITY OF MUMBAI. NAME : ISHAN MADHUKAR GAIKWAD
ROLL NO: PLACE DATE : VIRAR. :
SIGNATURE OF STUDENT:
WE HEREBY CERTIFY THAT ISHAN MADHUKAR GAIKWAD OF VIVA COLLEGE SCIENCE “PUNCH ACADEMIC OF ARTS, HIS YEAR COMMERCE IN T.Y.B.A ON IN IN AND HAS THE THE THE THE STUDYING MARKED
PROJECT IS TRUE AND ORIGINAL TO THE BEST OF MY KNOWLEDGE . SUNIL ALMEIDA. (PROJECT GUIDE)
I AM EXTREMELY PLEASED TO THE TEACHERS OF T.Y.B.A (HISTORY), THE SECOND REVISED EDITION OF ELEMENTS OF ARCHEOLOGY, SCIENCE. THE PIONEERING MUSEOLOGY PRESENT TO COINS HOARD ATTEMPT & WORK STUDY AND OF LIBRARY IS A INDIAN
TECHNICAL AND SCIENTIFIC STUDY OF AN SUCH RECOVERED BY TAXILA UNIVERSITY. I HAVE MADE A SINCERE EFFORT TO PRESENT THE VARIOUS CHAPTER IN THIS PROJECT TITLED “PUNCH MARKED COINS” IN AN ORDERLY MANNER IN SIMPLE LANGUAGE.
I ONCE AGAIN THANKFUL TO PROFESSOR SUNIL ALMEIDA FOR ENCOURAGING ME TO PRESENT THIS PROJECT. THIS PROJECT HAS BEEN COMPLETED BECAUSE OF MY FRIEND SIDDHESH PAWAR AND MY PARENTS COOPERATION.
INTRODUCTION. 1 FEATURES OF PUNCHED MARK COINS. 1. 5 INDIAS FIRST COINAGE.
6 1.1 13 1.2 16 2. 18 2.1 19 2.2 20 2.3 21 PUNCH-MARKED KARSHAPANA OF ELECTRUM STATER OF MILETOS. ELECTRUM. THE OLDEST COIN I THE WORLD. POST MAURYAN PERIOD. MAURYAS, THE FIRST EMPRORS.
ASHOKA THE GREAT. 2.4 22 3. COINS. 4. 31 4.1 31 4.2 33 THE VIJAYNAGAR EMPIRE. THE CHOLAS OF TANJAVUR. 27 SOTHERN INDIAN COINS. SOURCES OF ANCIENT INDIAN SYMBOLS.
CONTRIBUTION OF COINS THROUGH HISTORY OF OUR COUNTRY.
History is a study of our past and coins contributed a great deal to it. It may be pertinent to point out that our ancient Indian script Brahmi was deciphered by James Prinsep in 1837 AD on the basis of study of IndoGreek bilingual coins, the same way the Egyptian hieroglyphic script was analysed by French scholars after studying the multilingual inscription found on Rosetta stone. The study of ancient and medieval Indian coins brought to light the names of many kings about whose existence there was no literary or inscriptional evidence. For example the recent discovery of Kotalingala coins in the Karimnagar district of Andhra brought out the coins of unknown Kings namely Gobada, Narana, Kamvayasa , Sirivayasa and Samagopa. These kings ruled part of Andhra after the fall of Mauryan empire and they preceded Satavahanas. It is also true of medieval period
Northwestern India during the rule of some Delhi sultans. These kings were known to the historians as governors of those provinces but their coins prove that they were independent rulers. Same is true of many such kings in different parts of India who came to be known through their coin finds. The coins also helped in corroborating the information provided Baghavata in puranas. and Matsya Vayu, Vishnu, Brahmanda, about puranas mention
Satavahana kings and coins of some of those kings found in different parts of Deccan support the puranas. But facts provided by coins seem to be more accurate than puranas. For example name of the first king of this dynasty is mentioned variously as Chismaka, Sindhuka, Balyhita, Simuka etc in different Puranas but coins name him as Chimuka which must be correct since they were issued during his rule while puranas were written centuries later and hence many inaccuracies crept into them. Coins of some rulers of the family were found which were missed out in the Puranas namely Kumba and Karna. Hence coins help in reconstructing our ancient history much more accurately than what is possible from other sources. The coins also help historians in ascertaining the
religious leanings of those kings. Though Kushan kings helped Buddhism, their leanings were towards Hinduism,
much more so with Shaivism. Their coins depict Siva, Bull and Trisula. The symbols on coins such as tree in railing, arched hill and elephant suggest the ruler was a Buddhist. Such symbols on some of the Satavahana kings clearly demonstrate their faith. Though majority of later rulers of Vijayanagara dynasty favoured Vaishnavite faith and some kings even used 'namam'symbol on their coins, the early rulers leaned toward shaivism. The first dynasty kings of Vijayanagar namely Sangama were shaivites and their coins depicted Bull, Umamaheshwara and Durga. Vaishnavite symbols found on coins of Vijayanagara rulers were: Hanuman, Garuda, Venkateshwara , Balakrishna, Srirama etc. It was no surprise that Tirupathi became very popular during the rule of later Vijayanagar kings and continues to be so. The coins also point out the economic conditions of those times. Delhi sultans namely Alauddin and Qutbuddin of Kalji dynasty issued a wide variety of gold and silver coins in large numbers due to their treasury being full with the loot and plunder of southern kingdoms. Whereas scanty coins of base metals issued by their successors suggest chaotic economic conditions of that period. Coins found in hoards and excavations reveal the trade of those times. For instance punch marked coins discovered in hoards in Andhra revealed that a significant proportion of those coins belonged to the north suggesting that there was a
brisk trade between north and south in the country more than two thousand years ago. Similarly Roman coins were found in Andhra and other areas mixed with coins of local kings implying that there was maritime trade during those years with Rome. Coins also help in finding out the personal traits of individual kings who issued them. For instance Muhammad Bin Tughlaq, who was ahead of his times, issued coins in the name of his dead father whom he killed in remorse in his early years of rule. His successor Firoz brought out coins in the name of his dead son. Some Delhi sultans were megalomaniacs, for example Alauddin called himself the second Alexander and Qutbuddin declared his faith in Islam in grandiose terms and called himself ' the supreme head of the religion of Islam, Khalifa of the lord of heaven and earth'. Some kings issued coins of his predecessor by putting a counter mark on it which helps in finding out who followed whom. For example Gautamiputra Satakarni issued coins of Nahapana with his counter mark corroborating the historical evidence which suggested that he defeated him. All of us now use only token currency but in India such token currency was issued by Muhammad Bin Tughlaq 700 years ago. It was of course a failure since people would not accept it. This was a token coin made of brass and he wanted people to accept it as equivalent to silver which
was 50 times costlier than brass. The idea of token currency then was brilliant but being way ahead of times ended in a fiasco. The chemical analysis of the coins reveal the metals which were available then. Billion coins were issued by many medieval kings and this is an alloy of silver and copper. Lead coins were issued by Andhra Kings more than 2000 years ago and they look well even today proving that our ancestor’s metallurgical knowledge of lead alloys was commendable. To conclude the study of coins is very useful for the reconstruction of our ancient Indian history. The coins reveal many interesting facts about the kings, their dynasties, religious beliefs, personal traits and economic conditions etc of those times.
THE FEATURES OF PUNCH MARKED COINS
The following are the principles of Punch Marked Coin’s:
a) The earliest coin of the India have
devices or symbols. They were in various forms like hills, trees, birds, animals, reptiles, human figures, floral and geometrical patterns, religious symbols etc. they did not contain and inscription.
b) The coins of ancient period have the shapes of the
conceivable liner, geometrical forms, round, oval and elliptical. They bear the stamps from the one to five punches. c) The coins enable us to isolate the coins of one area from those of another one. d) The early silver punch marked coins have been found in large numbers, scattered all over the country.
e) These coins are found only in a particular area or
locality. Some or probably all of the Mahajanpadas might have been using metal as currency and money during the later vedic period. The states which issued the Punch Marked Coin’s were:1) 2) Surasena
3) Uttar Panchala
4) Vatsa 5) Kasi 6) Magadha
8) Vanga 9) Malla
CHAPTER ONE INDIA'S FIRST COINAGE
It is very difficult to know today where the concept of coinage first evolved, but based on available evidences, it appears that the concept of money (as coins, which by definition here would be a piece of metal of defined weight stamped with symbol of authority for financial transaction), was conceived by three different civilizations independently and almost simultaneously. Coins were introduced as a means to trade things of daily usage in Asia minor, India and China in 6th century BC. Most historians agree that the first coins of world were issued by Greeks living in Lydia and Ionia (located on the western coast of modern Turkey). These first coins were globules of Electrum, a naturally occurring alloy of gold and silver.
These were crude coins of definite weight stamped with incuse punches issued by the local authorities in 650 BC. Most likely the first coins of India were minted just before 5th century BC in northern and central India. Although, few historian have suggested (based on vedic records) that India minted perhaps the first coins of the world which were introduced even earlier than Lydian/Ionian coins, in 8th century BC; most scholars do not agree with this theory. Both, literary and archaeological evidence confirm that the Indians invented coinage somewhere between 5th to 6th century BC. A hoard of coins discovered at Chaman Huzuri in 1933 contained 43 silver punch-marked coins (the earliest coins of India) with Athenian (coins minted by Athens city of Greece) and Achaemenian (Persian) coins. Bhir (Taxila) hoard discovered in 1924 contained 1055 punch-marked coins in very worn out condition and two coins of Alexander in mint condition. These archaelogical evidences clearly indicate that the coins were minted in India long before 4th century BC i.e. before Greeks advanced towards India (Alexander's invasion of Persia and India). Panini wrote Ashtadhyayi mentioned in 4h-5th century BC in which he has Satamana, Nishkas, Sana, Vimastika,
Karshapana and it's various sub-divisions to be used in financila transactions. Thus coins are known in ancient Indian literature from 500 BC. There is also a strong belief
that silver as a metal which was not available in Vedic India (pre 600 BC), became abundantly available by 500600 BC. Most of the silver came from Afganistan and Persia as a result of international trade. The earliest coins of India are commonly known as punchmarked coins. As the name suggests, these coins bear the symbols of various types, punched on pieces of silver of specific weight. Interestingly earliest Indian coins have no defined shapes and they were mostly uniface. Secondly, these coins lack any inscriptions written in contemporary languages and almost always struck in silver. These unique characters makes early Indian coins very different than their contemporaries believed that in Greece. of Many coinage early was historians concept
introduced in India by Greeks. But unlike Indian punchmarked coins, Greek coins had inscriptions, they were round in shape, were stamped on both the sides and minted using silver, electrum and gold too. Today we are certain that the concept of coinage was invented in India independent of foreign influence which imparted the unique characteristics to these punch-marked coins, not seen in any other coins of the ancient world. Punch-marked coins are marked with 1-5 (and sometimes more) marks representing various symbols. Two well known numismatists, D. B. Spooner and D.R. Bhandarkar after careful study independently concluded that the
punching of various symbols representing animals, hills, tree and human figures followed a definite pattern and these coins were issued by royal authority. upper small First coin of India (?) Before 5th Century BC Minted in Madhyadesha?, found near Mathura Silver unit Seven punch marks Weight: 7.14 gm In Rig-Vedic period (Rig Ganga states (Ganges). under
most of these were the hereditary monarchs and few republics. These small and large states called and BC, rose in Nikayas follows: sixteen or to preIndia. they Anga, Janapadas century kingdoms imminence Veda is the first out of the four Vedas which contains scriptures and hymns in Sanskrit, composed century kingdoms existance (Kubha in suncontinent in BC), all probably 8th-10th the over from small into the Kabul to Anguttara were as
Mahajanpadas. About 6th Mahajanapadas
According to ancient text
Magadha, Kashi, Koshala, Vajji, Malla, Vatsa, Chedi, Kuru, Avanti, Kamboja. Panchala, Matsya, Ashvaka, Gandhar One of and the Surasena,
earliest coins of india were
1) Ganga River valley :
Kashi Koshala Brij (?)
4) Southern 2) Upper
valley : Kuru-Panchala.
Narmada river valley): Ashmaka or Ashvaka and Avanti
Takshashila (Taxila) & Each of the kingdom have issued distinct type of silver coins to facilitate the trade. Shown above is possibly the earliest coin of Indian subcontinent which was found near Mathura. This rectagular coin, made of almost pure silver, was issued in central India or Madhyadesha. It has seven distinct punch marks including central `pentagon enclosing a sphere' punch mark. None of those marks show much resemblance to punch marks routinely seen on
coins of other Janapadas. Three other punch-marked coins of India minted by Taxila, Koshala and Ashmaka Janapadas are shown below. These are some of the earliest coins of the India.
grams of silver). A `Ratti' is equivalent to 0.11 gms which is the average Koshala Janapada 600-470 BC Silver, One and Half Karshapana ? Weight: 4.68 gm ( 48 ratti) Reference: Series III, Group A of Hardaker, Rare Ancient Indian coinage was based on `Karshapana' unit that consists of 32 rattis (3.3 weight of a Gunja seed (a bright scarlet colored seed). Subsidiary denominations of Karshapana like half Karshapana (16 ratti), quarter Karshapana (8 ratti) and 1/8 of Karshapana (4 ratti) were also minted. Shown below is a fine example of 1/8th of Karshapana which is as
usual uniface. On obverse is septa-radiate single punch (identical to what is
seen on two ends of Satamana bar).
(modern Gujrath). Shown below example Taxila Janapada 5th Century BC silver, 1/8th Karshapana Septa-radiate single punch Mark, Uniface Weight: 1.4 gm (4 ratti) The Pradyota had kings a of earliest minted is of by a one of beautiful of the India
kingdom in southern India or Deccan. This coin which is considered that of as is double from a in in 90s. was few been recent Karshapana, hoard village Although the
surfaced Ashmaka in type very have the
kingdom covering central and western India. It was prosperous nation due to the sea commerce port at with a Bharoch Mesopotamia through
first published by Elliot in 1870s, until specimens around hoard.
BC. He annexed kingdom of Anga (east Bihar) and married Koshala Ashmaka Janapada 600-350 BC Silver, Double Karshapana Pulley Type, Uniface, Weight: 6.7 gm. Most of these Janapadas were absorbed empire Saisunaga between subsequently into Magadha by BC. dynasty) 600-321 (ruled thereby Nepal. princesses and expanding He was a of his very Vaishali
kingdom to the borders of efficient administrator and built the city of RajGriha (Rajgir Goutam Mahavir in Bihar). Buddha Jain Both, and
their doctrines during his reign. His son Ajatshatru (494-462 including He BC) defeated his city was many of his adversaries humbling the uncle Presanjit of Koshala. founded Pataliputra Patna) which (modern
Pradyotas of Avanti were defeated by Saisunaga in 400 BC. The king was most of remarkable Magadha
(also called Shrenika) who ascended on throne in 545
metropolis of ancient India for next 4 centuries.
In ancient India during 600-321 BC, many Janapadas issued coins with only one symbol like Lion (Shursena of
Braj), humped bull (Saurashtra) or Swastika (Dakshin Panchala). Four symbol coins were issued by Kashi, Chedi (Bundelkhand), Vanga (Bengal) and Prachya (Tripura) Janapadas. Five symbol punch marked coins were first issued by Magadha which were continued during Mauryan expansion. Shown below is a very rare coin of Kalinga Janapada which is in mint condition. This is from a recent hoard which supposedly surfaced from river delta; about half square and rest circular in shape.
200,000 3000 by
infantry elephants had to
Greek evidence), Nandas Kalinga Janapada 500-350 BC Silver, half Karshapana Uniface Weight: 1.6 gm Very Rare Ajatshatru by many eventually was followed who this resort heavy was in taxation found a which new
detested by people. They leader Chandragupta (321-297 BC) Maurya who
eventually with the help of Taxilian Bramhin Kautilya or Chankya overthrew the Nanda ruler and laid the
kingdom to the family of Nandas. To maintain the
dynasty of Maurya.
1:1 MAURYAS, THE FIRST EMPERORS:-
subcontinent. Soon after the death his Mauryan Empire (Asoka the great?) 310-181 BC Silver Karshapana Obverse: 3 deities and peacock Reverse: Peacock on hill Weight: 3.35 gm (32 rattis) Reference: GH, Series VII Scarce. Most likely, emperors of Maurya dynasty ruled the largest empire that ever existed in the Indian of in empire his 312 of Alexander, was divided Seleucus invaded Maurya. a Gandhara and sent to detailed might and
among his generals. One general BC. He assumed the title of King India but was repelled by Chandragupta Seleucus large (modern Pakistan). an part of surrendered Afganistan Seleucus
Magasthenes has written of
Chandragupta's court, who account
pomp of Mauryan empire.
emperor. greatest Muaryan most greatest ambitious southern India, kingdom
the of and the the who
to Jain scripture converted to Jainism and spent his last days at Shravan Belgola in southern India) was followed by his son Bindusara who increased his empire His by annexing Asoka after and as an Deccan. seized his son death himself is a
emperor dynasty certainly figure ruler and including of in
Indian history. He was an annexed a large part of eastern the Kalinga
(modern Orissa) silver Karshapana
(mentioned in ancient Sanskrit treatise Manu smruti being 32 rattis in weight) minted by Mauryan authorities. The most striking feature of this punch-marked coins is presence of 3 deities, struck from single punch. It is very rare to see any human figure or deities on punch-marked coins. Shown below is another coin minted by Mauryan emperor which shows sun, the symbol of Mauryan.
Mauryan Empire 310-181 BC Silver, Punch-marked coin Weight: 2.3 gm
During Asoka's reign, the Mauryan empire reached zenith covering an area from modern Afganistan in west to Assam in east and in north from Himalayas to modern Andhra Pradesh in southern imperial coins discovered regions modern and the India. punch have in which India, all These marked been the cover Pakistan truly
empire. Although, Kalinga war proved to be turning point and produced far in reaching whole Asoka influence his who son consequence eastern came of (or to
the history of India and world. under Buddhist brother?) Sri Tissa the country Lanka king and entire to
philosophy and later sent Mahendra
Devanampiya eventually island Buddhism.
representing the glory of Mauryan
Emperor Asoka drew up a code of laws noted for their humanity and erected hundreds of stone pillars and magnificent Buddhist Stupas (dome shaped monuments). It is believed that Asoka erected almost 85,000 stupas and pillars all carved in stone with teachings of Buddhism engraved on them. After two thousand years, we can still see ruins of them in most states of india including Gujrat, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Tamilnadu. Some of Asoka's edicts , carved on pillars and rocks, form the earliest
known epigraphs in the subcontinent. These pillars are made out of shafts of sandstone and display Buddhist symbols such as the wheel and the lion. These pillars are some of India's earliest major stone sculptures. The great Stupa at Sanchi is perhaps the finest surviving relic of the Mauryan empire. This great stupa is 54 feet in height and surrounded by exquisitely carved stone railings and four gateways. These elaboratley carved gateways depicts events in life of Buddha and also lifestyle of people of that era. A famous Lion-Capital (fourlion pillar which is shown above) gleams in polished white sandstone realistically represents the artistic achievements of Indian artists and patronage of their masters. This Lion-Capital that Asoka erected at Sarnath (in modern madhya Pradesh) has become the national emblem of modern republic of India. All the coins and currency notes of modern India have this four-lion symbol on it. The Mauryan Empire is famous for its great achievements in art, culture architecture and literature. The classics of Indian literature, such as the Arthashastra of Kautilya (a treatise for kings about ruling a state) and the famous Kama Sutra by Vatsayan (unfortunately, today it is considered as just the book for art of Love-Making) were written during Mauryan reign.
1:2 POST-MAURYAN PERIOD:Asoka was the last emperor of Mauryan empire which started it's decline soon after his death. Many kingdom arose out of ruins of this great empire. Northern India was divided into many republics (?) which were controlled by various coins ganas by (tribes) these like Achuyta, Ahicchatra, are very Arjunayana, Ayodhya, Eran, Kaushambi, Kuninda etc.. The issued republics/Kingdoms interesting both historically and numismatically.
Kuninda, which referred as Kulinda literature, in issued ancient very
attractive silver coinage in Amoghbhuti Late 2nd Century BC Silver Drachm, Bilingual Obverse: Deer and Deity, Brahmi Legends Reverse: 6 symbols, Kharoshti legends, Weight: 2.4 gm. late 2nd century BC. These coins were issued by king Amoghbhuti who ruled in the fertile valley of Jamuna, Beas and Sutlaj rivers (modern Punjab in northern India). The obverse of the coins shows a deer and Laxmi (goddess
of wealth) is holding lotus in her uplifted hand. Between horns of deer, a cobra symbol is depicted. The reverse Hill shows and in Y 6 symbols. bull), Swastik river
reverse were in Kharoshti. The legends on obverse reads Rajnah Kunindasya Amoghabhutisya maharajasya. The reverse bears Kharoshti Greek names. Maharajasa script Saka their at in the coins ruler's
below, Nandipada (hoof of tree and railing, shaped
symbol. Interestingly, the coins were bilingual. On obverse, legends were in Prakrit (closely related to
same place where Indoand depicted
These coins represent the first ever effort of an Indian ruler to issue silver coinage which could compete in market with that of Indo-Greek coinage. Indo-Greek kings who ruled in neighboring areas (Bactria and Punjab) issued breathtaking examples of silver coins which, were highly sought after. This made Amoghbhuti to issue coins of purely Indian design but of exceptional beauty to ensure economic superiority over his neighbors. Shown above is this very attractive silver coin of ancient India. Kuninda kingdom was eventually invaded by Kushan and Shakas in middle of first century BC. Both, Indo-Greek and
Kuninda kingdoms were annexed to make next great empire of India, Kushan empire .
CHAPTER TWO THE OLDEST COIN IN THE WORLD
The heritage of ancient coins is a subject that intrigues and delights collectors and scholars the world over. The oldest coin available today was discovered in Efesos, an ancient Hellenic city and prosperous trading center on the coast of Asia Minor. The 1/6 stater, pictured below, is more than 2,700 years old, making it one of the very earliest coins. Made from electrum, a natural occuring alloy of gold and silver, the coin originated in the area of Lydia. It had a design on one side only, a result of the primitive method of manufacture. This ancient stater was hand struck. A die with a design (in this case a lion's head) for the obverse (front) of the coin was placed on an anvil. A blank piece of metal was placed on top of the die, and a punch hammered onto the reverse. The result was a coin with an image on one side and a punch mark on the other.
earliest to date
from the reign of Alyattes (about 610 - 560 BC) or perhaps Mermnad his predecessor dynasty Sadyattes - both of the The stater is a key exhibit in the Department of Coins and Medals of the British Museum, numismatic which houses one of the world's finest collections, comprising about 1 million feature the Lydian kings' emblem of a roaring lion, almost a "nose always wart," with on a its curious knob, often called forehead.
2:1 ELECTRUM:The Pactolus River beside the slopes of Mount Tmolus in the kingdom of Lydia was one of the most important sources of electrum in the ancient world. According to Greek mythology, the river acquired its electrum when King Midas of nearby Phrygia bathed in it to wash away his golden touch, which had turned even his food into gold, a telling parable about the destructiveness of wealth. In actuality, The Paktolos River acquired its electrum from electrum-laden quartz deposits near Mount Tmolos (called Mount Bozdag today).
The alluvial deposits of gold were mixed with as much as 40% silver and some copper; such a gold-silver mix is called electrum. The earliest coins were made of electrum with a standardized 55% gold, 45 silver and 1-2% copper concentration and had either no design or a some apparently random surface striations on one side and a punch impression on the other. Just as the rulers of the Middle East today have become wealthy from oil, so the ancient Lydian kings became rich by accumulating and minting coins from electrum. The capital city of ancient Lydia was Sardis, and it was a major commercial center linking the Asian kingdoms of the east with the coastal Greek cities of Ionia, including Miletus. It is not an accident that the first coins appeared in the important commercial centers of Lydia and adjacent Ionia, nor that the first system of bimetallic currency - the first system of interrelated gold and silver issues - was also developed there. As the 19th century German historian Ernst R. Curtius wrote, "The Lydians became on land what the Phoenicians were by sea, the mediators between Hellas and Asia."
2:2 ELECTRUM STATER OF MILETOS:The most famous coin type of ancient Miletus, and one of the earliest of all coins that can be attributed to a particular city, is the electrum stater that features a
crouching lion regardant on the obverse, and three incuse punches on the reverse. Although they are not excessively rare, these electrum staters (weighing just over fourteen grams) are understandably very expensive. The fourteengram staters, however, represent only one denomination in a complete denominational series that also included thirds, sixths, twelfths, and twenty-fourths of a stater, and perhaps smaller denominations as well. to facilitate trade by
certifying that the intrinsic value and weight of the metal was guaranteed by the issuing authority. Of these first coins, those of Miletos Several Greek cities, including Miletos, as well as the Lydian kings began minting these first coins by stamping the badge of their city into one side of a standard weight lump of electrum punches and into the various other. like the current example (600-550 BC), are probably the finest from an The artistic lion, perspective. cleverly tail curled
configured with its head reverted and over its haunch to neatly fit within the rectangular frame, is a masterpiece of Archaic Greek art. Mean
These devices were used
Diameter: 21 x 17.5 mm. (0.827 x 0.689"). Weight: 13.91 gm. (0.435 Troy oz.)
2:3 PUNCH-MARKED KARSHAPANA OF ASOKA THE GREAT:-
Five symbols: 1. Sun. 2. Sadaracakra (dynasty wheel) or Dharmacakra (Wheel of Dharma) (type uncertain). 3. Caduceus (Ashoka's royal symbol). 4. Three-arched hill. 5. Triskeles and unknown symbol.
Ashoka's mudra (Caduceus) : the desired weight was
melted and either poured on a flat board to take its own shape or made into pellets, which were then flattened. Chandragupta Prime Minister in Maurya's Kautilya his how metal book the was with into into
(also known as Chanakya) describes Arthashastra made. melted, alkalies, sheets, The
coins of this period were purified beaten and cut
pieces. Subsequently, the symbols were punched on these clipped conform pieces. to to Since the them pieces had to be cut and make a particular
weight, coins were made in all kinds of shapes and sizes. Sometimes, metal of
2:4 SYMBOLS:Initially, the coins carried only one symbol. Gradually, the number of symbols increased to two, and then five. If the coin bore a single symbol, it was placed at the center of the flan. If there were two symbols, they were placed side by side. Four symbols were usually placed in pairs (one pair opposite the other). The flan of the coin was often much smaller than the size of the punches. Therefore, in coins with four or five symbols (such as the one I have posted), you would find parts of the symbols off the flan or overlapping one another. These factors (coupled with the astounding varity of the symbols) often make the correct identification of the symbols very challenging (especially for a newbie like me). Originally, the symbols were punched only on one side of the coin (which may be called the obverse). When the coin became worn, a fresh symbol (or group of symbols) was pressed on the reverse. For coins bearing four or five symbols, the reverse was either blank or bore minute symbols (mostly one or two in number), which are believed to be those of shroffs or money testers. Coins of
later period (bearing five obverse symbols) carried a conpicuous symbol on the center of the reverse, which became quite bold during the Mauryan period. Coins of Magadha (the seat of the powerful Maurya dynasty) can be divided into two periods.
1. Earlier issues of the time when Magadha was merely a
janapada (small state): These can again be divided into two sub-periods. (a) The period during which Rajagriha was the capital: Coins of this period are of an irregular, roughly rectangular shape. The number of symbols on them varies from one to six. (b) Coins issued after the capital was shifted to Patliputra (Patna): These coins bear four symbols, of which two are the sun and the six-armed symbol (Sadaracakra). The earlier coins of this period are irregular, and the later ones circular.
2. Coins issued during the period of Magadha's imperial
expansion: Thin, broad coins are thought to be earliest in chronology and the thick, smaller ones latest. These coins are found in a variety of shapes, all of which have five different symbols on the obverse, placed in a definite order. More than 450 varieties of these symbols can be
identified on these coins! Based on the symbol groups, the coins can be classifed into about 600 varieties, which can be sub-divided into various classes and, in turn, into six or seven series. Coins of the first four series bear bear minute symbols on the reverse. Coins of series five bear a distinct mark on the reverse, in addition to these minute marks. Coins of series six and seven have a reverse mark as bold as the obverse symbols.
CHAPTER THREE SOURCES OF ANCIENT INDIAN COINS:The coins contributed a great deal to the Indian history. The main sources of ancient Indian coins are treasure troves, excavations, riverbeds and rarely temple collections from devotees. All countries do have treasure trove laws and according to them, any coin, bullion, gold or silver article found hidden in the earth for which no owner can be found belongs to the crown or government. Even in ancient India claims of the king to the treasure troves were supported by the theory that he is the owner of the earth and its protector. The finder of the treasure was entitled to some compensation and Manu declared that the king obtains one half of the hoard. The owner of the land had no rights to the find since the land is the property of the king. During the Muslim rule finder of the treasure was its owner unless its value exceeded one lakh rupees. If the value exceeded one lakh rupees finder was advised to give part of it to charity. Finder of non-Islamic treasure like coins would get the intrinsic value plus 20%. The Indian treasure trove act was passed on 13th February 1978, which authorized the government to claim possession of any treasure unearthed that exceeded ten rupees in value. This act is still in force in various states
as modified in September 1949. In its application to the Andhra Pradesh it is known as Indian treasure trove (Andhra Pradesh Amendment) act 1949. Hoard is a collection of coins left behind as savings, loot or treasure usually buried in receptacles like copper or clay pots. The coins found in such hoards end up in archaeological museums. Bayana hoard of 1821 Gupta gold coins were discovered in Baratpur district of Rajasthan, which yielded types of this dynasty's coins not seen before. The coins belonged to Chandra Gupta II (376414 AD), Kumara Gupta I (415-450 AD) and Skanda Gupta (455-467 AD). Hence these coins were hoarded during the rule of Skanda Gupta and were discovered in 1946 AD. Another large hoard of Satavahana coins was found in Tarhala of Akola district of Maharashtra. This hoard had coins of all the later Satavahana rulers from Gautamiputra Satakarni onwards besides the coins of some rulers of this dynasty, which were missed out in the Puranas. Jogalthembi in Nasik district of Maharastra was another site of major hoard of 13250 silver coins. The coins solely belonged to Nahapana and Nahapana conis restuck by Gautamiputra Satakarni. Majority of coins housed in different museums of our country are these coins from hoards and they are available for academic research which enriches our history. Each museum keeps an inventory of the coin hoards prepared on the basis of
treature trove files. Some museums do by some important coins from the market and some coins may come from voluntary donations. Andhra Pradesh Government museum has over 350000 coins in its cabinets and majority of these were procured from treasure troves and a few were donations from the Durbars of erstwhile princely states and some were given by other museums. Excavations are planned diggings and many sites may yield coins such as at Nagarjunakonda, Amaravati, Veerpuram, Kondapur etc. Bulk of coins found at these four sites were Ikshvaku, punch marked, Maharathi and Satavahana coins respectively. Besides the coins many other artifacts may be found in excavations. Coins found in stratified levels are of great importance in dating the stratum along with it all associated objects resting in the same stratum. Kondapur excavations were carried out in 1940s, which provided a wealth of information of significant historical importance. Coins of Satavahanas namely Gautamiputra and Pulumavi were found along with a datable Roman coin. There were also restruck Satavahana coins at this site. Coin moulds of various materials were found suggesting that this site could have been an ancient Satavahana mint town. Beads of various materials, decorated pottery, seals both inscribed and uninscribed, toys and metal implements were also recovered at this site.
Dropping of coins into the rivers and fountains has been an age-old tradition all over the world especially into the rivers considered holy. Great many ancient coins have been found in the river beds and people search for them in summer months when water levels of rivers recede. Paithan, ancient Prathistan, on the banks of river Godavari yielded large number of Satavahana and other coins. In recent years Karur on the banks of Amaravathi in Tamil Nadu has been source of large number of Sangam age Tamil coins besides the coins of various. Middle East and European countries. Sometimes the coins may be found way down the riverbed from the site of offering. Majority of such coins ends up with coin collectors and large number of these coins are reported in our numismatic journals. Last and unusual source of ancient coins is from the temple offerings by the devotees. Tirupati being the most popular deity received large numbers of gold coins besides the coins of silver and copper. Usually the authorities sell away the coins of lower denominations and gold coins have been made into chains, which adorn the deities. Late Dr. Ramesan photographed these coin chains and before he could analyze them and report the findings he passed away. There is staggering variety of these gold coins, which were offered by the devotees over the years. These coins belonged to Mughal rulers such as
Akbar (1556-1605 AD), Aurangzib (1658-1707 AD), Shah Alam (1707-1712 AD), and East India Company, British India and very many foreign coins from Vatican, UK, Spain, South Africa etc. The oldest of these coins belong to Akbar and it may be worth noting that this temple became popular during the rule of later Vijayanagar kings. The early Kings of Vijayanagar leaned towards Shaivism while later kings were strong Vaishnavites. One king Venkatapati Raju II even issued coins with 'namam' symbol. There is epigraphic evidence that Krishnadeva Raya (1509-1529 AD) visisted the temple twice and presented offerings to the deity. A detailed study of all the gold coins in the temple may yield many interesting points of historical importance. In many old temples one may find silver and gold coins struck around the doors and floor of the site for decoration. Some tribal women folk like Lambadas use coin pendants and coin chains as ornaments. Coin collection is a hobby with many and the usual sources of coins are the jewelers, saraffs and moneychangers. Rodgers describes beautifully how he was able to collect large variety of rare ancient coins from these sources in Amritsar in the last century where he spent three decades. In recent years there are coin societies to serve the purpose of numismatics.
CHAPTER FOUR SOUTHERN INDIAN COINS 4:1 THE CHOLAS OF TANJAVUR:Cholas is an ancient dynasty of southern India having roots in Indian mythology. It was in 850 AD, Vijayalaya Chola, a feudatory of Pallava captured Tanjore (or Tanjavur) and brought Chola dynasty to prominence once again. His son Aditya Chola (871-907 AD) squarly defeated Pandyas and Pallawas, two other major power brokers of South India to become sovereign ruler of south India. Raja Raja Chola (985-1014 AD) was the greatest ruler of this dynasty. He first destroyed Chera (the rulers of Kerala, south India) navy at Trivendrum, then captured Madura and subsequently defeated Sinhalese (Shri Lankan) king Mahendra V thus occupying northern Cylon (modern Shri lanka). He further went ahead and conquered Maldive islands. His son Rajendra Chola (1012-1044 AD) was very worthy successor. He expanded his inherited empire by occupying whole of Shri Lanka (1018 AD) and later crowning the glory by inflicting a crushing defeat on Shrivijaya, the King of Indonesia, in 1025 AD. His empire consisted of whole of southern India, Sri Lanka, and parts
Sumatran-based Srivijaya Kindgom (modern Indonesia). His successors managed to retain control over Sri Lanka for another 50 years but eventually lost it. Chola kings ruled for another century without losing any of their mainland territory. Eventually Chola empire disintegrated and former feudatories Banas, Kadavas and Pandyas assumed independence. Rajaraja Chola III (1216-1246 AD) was reduced to the rank of minor king. Later his capital was captured by Pandya King Jatavarman Sundara and Chola dynasty came to an end.
Reference: Mitchiner1998:311 Cholas were great patrons of literature, philosophy, art and architecture. Raja Anonymous coin of Sri lanka Prototype Used by Raja Raja Chola 990-1017 AD Gold Kahavanu Minted in Shri Lanka in 933 AD Weight: 4.7 gm Raja I was responsible for construction magnificent Tanjore. Shiva temple This (also of at temple, called is a of
which is dedicated to Lord Bruhadishwara) masterpiece
architecture. It is built out
of the red sandstones with large and number inside of sculptures carved outside involving and a truly immense labour by
tons!!! It is believed that to install this dome on the temple (which is of 190 feet height), a ramp of 5 miles was constructed. A famous Fergusson `Chola like giants has and artists historian written conceived finished
infinite pain. Chola art is characterised massive grandeur
reflected in this massive temple which consists of great `Shikhara' of fourteen stories, crowned by massive dome carved out of a single stone which
like jewellers'. The picture of this magnificent temple is shown above.
Shown above is the gold coin of Sri lanka which was used as prototype by Raja Raja Chola when he conquored Shri Lanka. King (most likely) is shown sitting and holding conch in one hand. He took the title of `Lankavibhu', the Lord of (Sri) Lanka. This title, which was written in Devnagri script, is seen on the obverse of coin. Chola empire was eventually disintegrated and Nayakas (Chola governor) took control of Tanjavur. In 16th century, brother of Shivaji the great, defeated Nayakas and firmly established the Maratha dynasty of Tanjavur which ruled for next 200 years from Tanjavur.
4:2 THE VIJAYNAGAR EMPIRE:Foundation of Vijaynagar empire is certainly the most significant event in the history of medieval India. It lasted for 3 centuries and successfully prevented the extension of Muslim sultanetes in south. History of Vijaynagar empire is truly an unbroken era of bloody wars with Bahamani and other Muslim rulers. Two brothers Harihara and Bukka laid the foundation of the Vijaynagar city on the southern bank of Tungabhadra river near Anegundi fortress. A sage Madhav Vidyaranya and his brother Sayana (his commentry on Vedas is famous) were the inspirational source for the foundation of this Hindu empire. Bukka sent an embassy to China in 1374 and after his death was succeded by Harihara II. Harihara II extended this newly founded kingdom by conquoering almost whole of southern India, including Mysore, Kanara, Chingalpet, Trichinopally and Kanchivaram. Harihara II was devotee of Virupaksha (Shiva) but was tolerant to all other religions. He was the first King of Vijaynagar empire who assumed the title of Maharajadhiraj Rajaparmeshwara. In 1486, Vir Narasimha of Chandragiri, who had rose into promienance, took control of the Vijaynagar empire. This led to the direct rule of the Tuluva dynasty over
Vijaynagar empire. His younger son Krishanadev Raya is certainly the greatest ruler of Vijaynagar and one of the most famous kings in the history of India (In my opinion, other 3 would be Asoka, Vikramaditya and Shivaji). He was gallant warrior and like Vikramaditya, he was always successful in the wars which he waged throughout his reign. He was a fine statesman and treated the defeated enemy with honour. First, in 1511-1512 AD, he captured southern Mysore, Shivasamudram fortress and Raichur. In 1513 AD, he humbled the king of Orissa Gajapati and in 1514 AD he captured Udaigiri. Eventually he captured Vishakapatnam and completely abolished the authority of King of Orissa. His greatest and most celebrated military achievement was crushing defeat of Ismail Adil Shah on 19th March 1520. This ended the muslim dominance in south and made him master of whole of south India.
Balakrishna (baby Krishna) Reverse: Legends in Devnagri script Krishanadev Raya 1509-1530 AD Half Gold Pagoda Obverse: Seated Weight: 1.7 gm Reference: Mitchiner1998:641
to Vijaynagar coins till the begining of the eighteenth century. Shown below is another fine example of Krishnadev cm in Raya's diameter to 1.3 cm coin as of which is unusually large (2 compared
shows Balakrishna seated on obverse of coins while on reverse his name is written in Nagri script. The coins of Vijaynagar empire were were even very used after popular as its and prototype decline.
regular kind) showing four armed garuda on reverse. On obverse is his name `Pratapa Krishna Raya' in Devnagari script.
Most dynasties in south (which include British and other European colonies) issued coins very similar
Mitchiner1998:645 Scarce During all Krishanadev Raya 1509-1530 AD Copper, five jitals Obverse: Garuda Reverse: Legend in Devnagri Script Weight: 16.48 gm and his his last days, in the He friendly with and granted to
Krishanadev Raya devoted attention organization of his empire improving administration. maintained relationship Portugese some concessions
Reign of Krishanadev Raya reached to its zenith not only in terms of expanse of the empire, but also in terms music, Raya of art growth and and development of literature, culture. was an poet, himself
architecture. The famous Hazara temple built during his reign is one of the most perfect example of Hindu architecture. temple style is of Temple Vithalswami another fine
example of the Vijaynagar architecture. Krishandev Raya and all other rulers of this empire were pious Hidus and were devoted to Dharma, but they had very liberal outlook for other religions. According to Barbosa, a historian `the would Kings and allows many such contemporary travellers,
musician, scholar and was fluent in Sanskrit, Telugu and Kannada (and perhaps Tamil too!). He wrote a immensely (both religiously) important and book historically
Amuktamalyada in Telugu. He patronized many poets which Ashtadigajas of Telugu) and includes (eight scholars
freedom that every man live without suffering and annoyance, whether he is a Christian, Jew, Moor or Hindu'.
elephants, the great poets like Tenalirama. His reign also saw the remarkable
Shown above is another coin of Krishnadevraya, the reverse of it shows a dagger with chakra on left Krishnadev Raya Copper Jital Obverse: Dagger and conch Reverse: Legends in Devnagri script Weight: 1.3 gm Mitchiner1998:767 and right. Shankh On (conch) obverse on is
Vrishabha (bull). It is well executed coin with finer details clearly visible.
Achyut Raya succeeded as the ruler of empire but soon lost control to his brother-in-law Tirumala. Eventually, the power was trasferred to prime minister Ram Raya who seized the throne for himself. Finally, three muslim sultanetes of Deccan, Bijapur, Ahmadnagar and Golkonda formed a coalition and met the massive Vijaynagar Army (half a million!) near village Tagdi on 23rd January 1565 AD. In spite of the vast numerical superiority over allied forces, Vijaynagar lost the war. A small group of muslim soldiers separated the elephant of Ram Raya from his army in a swift move. He was at once beheaded by Husain Nizam Shah. The whole army in confusion left the battle ground and 250 years old empire was lost in few hours . What followed was one of the greatest plunder and destruction in the history of India. According to historian, Sewell `After victory, muslims reached capital and for next five month Nothing they destroyed to and plundered them. They relentlessly. seemed escape
burned magnificent buildings, pavillions and finally the beautiful Vithalswami temple near the river. With swords, crowbars and axes they smashed exquisite stone sculptures. Never perhaps in history of the world such havoc has been wrought on so splendid city, teeming with a wealthy and industrious population. City was seized, pillages and reduced to ruins, amid scenes of savage massacre and horrors beggaring description'.
The ruins of Vijaynagar city can be seen today near Hampi in Karnataka which realisticly reflects the splendour and opulance during the reigns of Rayas of Vijaynagar.This so called battle of Talikota was one of the decisive battles in the history of India. It destroyed the Hindu supremacy in southern India till rise of Marathas in seventeen century. In spite of the tremendous damage, Vijaynagar did survive but the old grandeur was lost. Coalition muslim forces did not gain much in spite of all out victory. Alliance was soon dissolved and brother of Rama Raya took this opportunity and tried to bring back the old glory to the kingdom. After death of Venkata II in 1614, the kingdom disintegrated and went into total obscurity.