Mike Markowitz is my favorite columnist on ancient coins. It's been a while since I've mentioned one of his articles. On November 19, 2019 he published a piece for CoinWeek on coinage of the Gupta Empire. Here's an excerpt; see the complete article online.
Chandragupta I. Dinar, King and Queen type, circa 319-343, AV 7.61 g.
Chandragupta I was the first Gupta king to issue gold coins. Designs were influenced by the coins of the earlier Kushan Empire. In older catalogs (Allan, 1914; Altekar, 1954), many of his coins were attributed to his grandson, Chandragupta II. He made a brilliant political marriage with Kumaradevi, princess of the Licchavi, a powerful neighboring state. They stand together facing one another on the obverse of the “King and Queen” type dinara. Lakshmi, goddess of prosperity, appears on the reverse, seated on a lion. The dinara of about 7.8 grams, struck in nearly pure (94%) gold, was based on the weight of the Roman aureus, a coin that reached India in large quantities to pay for spices and silks.
Chandragupta I. Circa AD 320-335. AV Dinar (7.74 g, 12h). Archer type.
Chandragupta I issued other designs that were copied by subsequent rulers, including the “Archer type” which shows the king standing, holding a curved composite bow in one hand and an arrow in the other. Beside the king is the dynastic emblem, the “Garuda standard”: a staff topped with an image of Garuda, a mythical bird and companion of the god Vishnu. Kumar (2017) suggests this derives from the Roman eagle legionary standard, which would have been familiar to Indians from depictions on Roman coins.
Mike does his homework and he's a great explainer - he can break down complicated topics so it all makes sense somehow.
Work in progress for publication online in the next few months includes articles on the Celtic coinage of ancient Gaul, and on the late Roman and Byzantine coinage of the Ravenna mint.
At the NYINC in January, I will be giving a talk on the coinage of medieval Cilician Armenia, and a presentation on "Why Byzantine Coins Became Cup-Shaped."
To read the complete article, see:
CoinWeek Ancient Coin Series: Coinage of the Guptas
Wayne Homren, Editor
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