Numismatic Source of Ancient Indian History
Numismatic illustrates the socio political and economic condition of ancient India.
Numismatic found so far which are cast of copper, gold and silver or alloys, generate priceless materials for the restructurisation of the history of ancient India. Without the coins, no knowledge could have been gained about the period from 206 B.C. to 300 B.C. The coins, large in number, helps one to know about the private habits of kings, the dates of their succession and conquests, the handwriting during that period and the political history of the respective periods. Some writers are of the observation that Indians had no experience of coinage and because this they owe a lot to the Greeks. But this view cannot be recognised because ancient literature cites words Nashka, Satman and Kastripas for coins. According to Smith and Rapson, these were private coins. But modern scholars have proved that these coins were regular coins and had been released by the individual monarchs.
The coins of Samudra Gupta illustrate him as an orthodox Brahman, a very erudite man and an admirer of music. The coins of Kanishka depicts that he was an adherent of Buddhism. Several coins discovered in Deccan, establish the fact that Indians had trade dealings with the Romans. Much is owed to the coins for restructuring of the Gupta period. Leaving the coins of Indian Kings, coins of foreign kings have also been found. The fact that the Greeks had reigned for several years over the Northwestern provinces and Punjab, is proved by their coins. Coins are the only assets through which one can obtain knowledge about the Greeks, Shakas and Parthians, who had come to India after the decline of the Mauryan Empire.