Gold Coins

Jan E.M. Houben j_e_m_houben at YAHOO.COM
Thu Aug 7 16:07:35 EDT 2003


Dear Patrick,
Oskar von Hinüber (Der Beginn der Schrift und
frühe Schriftlichkeit in Indien, Wiesbaden &
Stuttgart: Franz Steiner, 1989: 34) and Harry
Falk (Schrift im alten Indien: ein
Forschungsbericht mit Anmerkungen, Tübingen:
Gunter Narr Verlag, 1992: 304) have both used the
archeological evidence of certain types of coins
as a means to date Paa.nini (who in
A.s.taadhyaayii 5.2.120 refers to a specific use
of the term ruupya) at ca. 350 B.C.E. (O.v.H.) or
between 350 and 300 B.C.E. (H.F.). On this
argument to date Paa.nini and its common neglect
cf. Bronkhorst Asiatische Studien / Etudes
Asiatiques 46 (1992): 723f and my Three Myths in
Modern Paa.ninian Studies in Asiatische Studien /
Etudes Asiatiques 57 (2003): 162.
On your more general question on gold coins you
might consult Ellen Raven's Gupta Gold Coins
(Gonda Indological Studies, Groningen 1994) or
consult her directly at Leiden University.
The publications of Raven, von Hinüber and Falk
contain several further references relevant to
your query.
Best regards,
Jan

--- Patrick Olivelle <jpo at UTS.CC.UTEXAS.EDU>
wrote:
> Friends:
>
> Sorry if this reaches you twice through
> Indology and ScholarlyServices.
>
> I have a question regarding the earliest
> issuance of gold coins in
> India. My expertise in numismatics is
> non-existent, but I hope there
> will be some among you out there in cyberspace
> who can throw some
> light on this (preferably with some biblio
> references). I gather from
> some experts that the earliest extant cold
> coins in India (that is
> coins that have been found by archaeologists)
> goes back only to the
> Kushana period. Do you know of any that go
> further back?
>
> And are there any unambiguous references to
> gold coins in literature
> from an earlier period? The mere mention of
> hiranya or suvarna may
> not mean much, because the terms may simply
> refer to gold, gold
> ornaments, precious substances, etc. The
> Arthasastra does not seem to
> have any unambiguous reference to gold coins;
> in fact gold minting is
> not mentioned in its section on minting. Manu
> has several unambiguous
> references to gold coins (see 8.213, 361,
> possible  also 8.393 gold
> masaka) coins. If we can pin down the issue of
> gold coins in
> archaeology, then may be this could be one
> factor in determing the
> age of a text.
>
> Thank you for your help.
>
> Patrick Olivelle


=====
Professor Dr. Jan E.M. Houben,
École Pratique des Hautes Études,
À la Sorbonne,
45-47, rue des Écoles,
75005 Paris -- France.
J_E_M_Houben at yahoo.com
J.E.M.Houben at let.leidenuniv.nl

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