Author Topic: Western Satraps: AR drachm of Chastana (ca 78-130 AD), first of the Kardamaka.  (Read 1756 times)

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Offline THCoins

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Recently Mitresh showed some rare copper coins issued under one of the first Western Satrap rulers, Bhumaka. Bumaka was a member of the Ksaharata dynasty. This dynasty came to an end when king Nahapana was defeated by the Satavahana. Concurrently, another Saka family founded the second Western Satrap dynasty, the Kardamaka. This lasted until the last ruler, Rudrasimha III, was defeated by the Gupta ruler Chandragupta II.

The founder of the Kardamaka dynasty was Chastana. His coinage is rare, i could not find a specimen issued under his rule on WOC yet. The coin below is a silver drachm issued under the name of Chastana (ca 78-130 AD). It is in a petty state with a big frament broken of and some nasty scratches. The portrait, however, is largely intact, and there remains enough of the legend to allow for a definite attribution. Therefore, and because its drawbacks made it affordable, i did buy it.

The name of the ruler is not on the flan. It is however easily attributable because the edge legend contains some very characteristic characters. Reading downwards from about 3 o'clock it reads "MaHaKsaTraPaSa GhsaMoTi". This is the beginning of "Ghsamotikaputrasa", or son of Ghsamotika. Ghsamotika is the classical reading, recently the reading of Zamotika is preferred. The reason that "Ghsa" or "Ysa" was written is that Brahmi had no character for the foreign "Za" sound. Zamotika did not issue currency on his own, and is only known as the father of Chastana.

AR 16 mm, 1.95 grams.
« Last Edit: October 04, 2015, 05:11:26 PM by THCoins »

Online Figleaf

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Congratulations on acquiring such a historically important coin. Even more so for being able to deduct the type from the clues on the coin. Such stories read like tiny detective novels and they are great fun.

Peter
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Offline THCoins

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I started this thread with a coin type of Chastana which was attributable thanks to the fact that the name of the father of the ruler was readable in the reverse legend.
Below is a different Chastana coin type. Likely issued earlier, as a Ksatrapa.
The obverse shows a (for this type) very nicely preserved portrait with corrupt greek letters behind the bust.
The reverse is struck quite a bit off-centre. It is a bit of a mess, although the three-arched hill is easily recognized. Only a small part of the edge legend is still readable. Luckily, this just is the part which spells the name of the ruler in Brahmi.

AR 16mm, 2.1 grams.

Online Figleaf

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I am starting to wonder about the "sa" character at the end of many words. Apparently, it doesn't count for the interpretation of the words. So what is its function?

Peter
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Offline THCoins

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In Pakrit and Sanskrit you can not really use the stem of a word unaltered in any sentence. Every word has to have the correct declension (gender, singular/plural, case). In Pakrit this declension is not so formal and complicated yet and in a coin legend you just see "Ksatrapasa Chastanasa". Occasionally you can also encounter legends where proper Sanskrit grammar was used. Then this would become "Ksatrapasya Chastanasa". I can just read the basics of Sanskrit grammar, but just like in Latin, the word endings can profoundly alter the meaning of sentences. In attribution, these grammar rules come in handy as there usually are no spaces between words on the coins. I generally first look for any "Sa" and "Sya" endings in trying to split a line into words.

Online Figleaf

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Thank you TH. That's helpful.

Peter
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Offline coinlover

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The "sya" in Sanskrit and "sa" in Prakrit literally means "of" e.g.  "Chastanasya" in Sanskrit or "Chastanasa" in Prakrit means "of Chastana". This is the Genitive case in Singular number for all words ending with "a" and with Masculine gender (e.g. Chastana, Nara, Baala etc.).


Anjan

Offline THCoins

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Thanks Anjan ! I am just a beginner in Sanskrit. Your explanation confirms what i had understood before. Luckily the legends on coins are not so complicated usually !