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in use when Pantaleon established the Greek dominion in the Kabul valley, and that the earlier coins, which are struck upon one face only, were most probably the current money at the time of Alexander's invasion.
That the punch-marked coins existed before the time of Alexander seems to me quite certain, for they could not have been imitated from any other known coins. In the early Greek money we have only the youth of coinage; but in these punch-marked pieces of India, we see money in its most immature state, in the very infancy of the numismatic art. But the point is placed beyond all dispute by the discovery, about 1853, of a number of silver coins in the Kangra district, comprising specimens. of Antimachus II., Philoxenes, Lysias, Antialkidas, and Menander, together with a few punch-marked pieces, the last being much worn, whilst all the Greek coins were comparatively fresh.24
Let us now examine such coins as we know must have followed the close of the Greek rule in North-west India and Kabul. The first are those of the Indo-Scythians, on which we find the letters, the language, and the mythology of Greece distinctly preserved, even when the king proclaims his devoted adherence to Buddhism by the title of "defender of the true Dharma." Contemporary with the Indo-Scythians were the Satraps of Saurashtra, whose silver coins of the Attic standard bear on the obverse a head, surrounded by barbarous Greek letters. These Satrap coins are undoubted imitations of the Greek money; but they are widely different from the punch-marked silver coins of the indigenous currency.
24 I owe this information to Mr. E. C. Bayley, a highly experienced Numismatist, who was Deputy Commissioner of the Kangra District where the coins were discovered.
Following the Indo-Scythians came the powerful Gupta kings of Northern India. Their earliest gold coins are imitations of the gold money of their predecessors the Indo-Scythians, and their silver coins are imitations of Satrap money of Saurashtra, as the Indo-Scythians had no currency in that metal.
But the Hindus would appear to have struck coins towards the latter end of the Greek rule; for a recent find of 32 silver coins in a field at Jwâla Mukhi, near Kangra, consisted of 27 Philopator hemidrachms of Apollodotus in good condition, with 3 bilingual coins of Amagha-bhuti, 1 of Dhara Ghosha, and 1 of Vamika Rudra Vama. The types of the last are a bull and an elephant, like those of the well-known square hemidrachms of Apollodotus, excepting only that the elephant on the Indian coin has his trunk raised. These 5 Indian coins are also undoubted imitations of hemidrachms of the Attic standard.
From all the evidence which I have brought forward, it appears to me quite clear that the punch-marked silver coins of India were anterior to the expedition of Alexander. We might therefore reasonably expect to find some allusion to Indian money in the records of the Macedonian conquest of the Panjab. This proof I can now produce in a passage of Quintus Curtius describing the reception of Alexander by Amphis, Raja of Taxila. On this occasion he presented golden crowns to Alexander and all his friends, in addition to 80 talents of "coined silver." 25 The words used by Curtius are signati argenti, which cannot possibly bear any other meaning than that of actual coin, as signatus was the special term used by the Romans to denote coined money.
25 Vita Alexandri, viii. 13-41. LXXX talenta dono dedit."
"Præter hæc signati argenti
To this evidence I may add a passage of Arrian, describing the gifts presented to Alexander by the subjects of Sambus, when they opened the gates of Sindomana to the conqueror.2 26 These consisted of elephants and χρήματα ἀπηρίθμησαν, the latter being generally considered as coined money. The word xpμara was χρήματα certainly in common use for money, whatever may have been intended by the qualifying term ἀπηρίθμησαν. Mr. Thomas has pointed out that the usual translation of numeratá pecunia has been objected to, and that one writer proposed to read avapíμnra.27 I believe that all the objectors have been under the impression that the Hindus did not possess a coinage in the time of Alexander, which naturally suggested an attempt to explain away the true meaning of χρήματα. As for ἀπηρίθμησαν I certainly look upon it as equivalent to the Latin numeratá, which was commonly used for ready cash-and I conclude therefore that the presents consisted of actual coin, and not of bullion or crude metal.
But a still further confirmation of the same fact may be derived from one of the common ancient names for the silver karsha, which is used by Manu himself and throughout the Buddhist Sutras. This name is Purána, which means simply the "old." Now I would ask under what possible circumstances could the Indian silver karsha have been called "old" at the time of the compilation of the Buddhist Sutras, about 200 B.C.? I do not hesitate to reply that they must have received this name shortly after the expedition of Alexander, when they were first brought into contact with the Greek money of Alexander's successors. From the common use of the 26 Anabasis, vi. 16.
"Prinsep's Essays, i. 223.
word dramya in after times, I infer that the punch-marked silver coins must have been called purána dramya or "old drachms," in contradistinction to the new drachms of the Greek standard, when they were first introduced by the successors of Alexander. To the same period I would attribute the appellation of shad-vodrika dramya, or "drachm of six vodris," which is found in an inscription so late as A.D. 1216.28 This distinction must certainly have been handed down from an early period, when there were two dramyas, or drachms, of different values in currency at the same time. The punch-marked silver coin must then have been the purána dramya, or “old” drachm of 4 vodris or oboli, while the "new" Greek drachm was the shad-vodrika, or shad-boddika, dramya, or drachm of 6 vodris or obols. If the Hindus had learned the art of coinage from the Greeks, they would never have possessed any other dramya but that of 6 vodris.
In favour of the existence of an indigenous Indian coinage prior to the time of Alexander, I would remark that if the Hindus had derived their knowledge of coinage from the Greeks, the types, shape, and standard of all their money would have been Greek. But instead of this expected imitation we find that the early copper coins of Taxila differ from the Greek money in every single point. They are square in form, different in standard, and indigenous in type. They are besides utterly without inscriptions; and this difference appears to me to offer a really crucial test of the asserted imitation. For I contend that if the Hindus had copied the square copper coins of Pantaleon and Agathokles, they would certainly have adopted inscriptions, as they actually did in after
28 Bengal Asiatic Society's Journal, 1850, p. 455.
times, as we know from the Satrap coins of Saurashtra, and from the still earlier coins of Amægha-bhuti, Dhara Ghosha, and Vâmaka. I therefore look upon the numerous copper coins of Taxila, a province in immediate contact with Kabul, as a purely indigenous currency.
James Prinsep was led to doubt the early existence of Indian money by a statement of the rather credulous chronicler Pausanias, who says, "Indeed even at present, (A.D. 160 to 180), those that sail to India report that Indian equivalents are given for the Grecian commodities which are carried thither, but that the inhabitants are unacquainted with money, though their country abounds with gold and brass.29 Now this assertion is directly contradicted by his contemporary Arrian, the author of the Erythræan Periplus, who says that the Roman gold was exchanged with advantage against the native gold coin called kaltis.30 But the story told by Pliny of the freedman of Annius Plocamus, who was shipwrecked on the coast of Ceylon, about A.D. 50, is a still earlier confutation of the silly gossip preserved by Pausanias. The King of Ceylon, he says, admired and approved some Roman denarii, because they were all of the same weight, although evidently coined at different times, from the various heads that were upon them.31 But this very observation shows that he had been accustomed to the use of other coins which were not of uniform weight.
I have not thought it necessary to do more than allude to the numerous passages in the Buddhist Sutras and chronicles which refer to actual money, because Mr. Thomas has brought these so prominently to notice in his
29 Lakonia, iii. 2.
30 Νόμισμα τε χρυσοῦ, ὁ λεγόμενος Καλτις.
31 Plinii, Nat. Hist., lib. vi. c. 22.