World of Coins

Ancient coins => Indian subcontinent: Ancient & Pre-sultanate => Topic started by: THCoins on January 04, 2020, 05:37:04 PM

Title: Finding structure in the evolution of the Samanta Devah Bull & Horseman Jitals
Post by: THCoins on January 04, 2020, 05:37:04 PM
In several previous posts i have attempted to find structure in the development of the different types of bull and horseman jitals over time. Unfortunately, the available information is fragmentary. The graph below show some of my current thoughts on the development of one branch of the Jital family. This is characterized by the visarga (":") after the title Samanta Deva, rendering it "Samanta Devah".
This "Samanta Devah" branch may be pinpointed in place and time because of the apparent link to the Amrita Pala Jitals from the second half of the 12th century. These are commonly attributed to a mint at Budaon, a city south-east of Dehli. These in turn are the predecessor of the Muhammad bin Sam Jitals from the same mint.
Design characteristics also suggest a link of the Samanta Devah line to a group of more abstracted late copper jitals. As these characteristically show only part of the design, multiple are displayed here.
Title: Re: Finding structure in the evolution of the Samanta Devah Bull & Horseman Jitals
Post by: Gusev on January 04, 2020, 06:24:34 PM
A good table, very clearly presented. :like:
Title: Re: Finding structure in the evolution of the Samanta Devah Bull & Horseman Jitals
Post by: THCoins on January 04, 2020, 07:42:20 PM
Thanks Gusev !
Title: Re: Finding structure in the evolution of the Samanta Devah Bull & Horseman Jitals
Post by: Figleaf on January 10, 2020, 06:52:14 AM
The graph below show some of my current thoughts on the development of one branch of the Jital family. This is characterized by the visarga (":") after the title Samanta Deva, rendering it "Samanta Devah".

I am not hindered by any knowledge on the subject, but that will not stop me from commenting ;)

What you are doing is not too far off from seeking a statistical correlation. Something like "if B is much like A except for x, I presume that there is a relation between A and B, ruled by x". That is a credible hypothesis, but you can reinforce it by showing that x is a significant detail. Here: if you can show that the visarga was added for a reason, rather than in error, taking it as an explanatory factor becomes more credible, because you have established a cause as well as an effect.

Lack of cause - effect relation is not just often enough a major criticism of big data operations, it is a traditional detail to look at in classical correlation calculations.

Peter
Title: Re: Finding structure in the evolution of the Samanta Devah Bull & Horseman Jitals
Post by: THCoins on January 10, 2020, 10:52:01 AM
Thanks Peter, your line of reasoning holds through in exact science, but is often not applicable in situations where lots of data is missing en we get into the realm of "fuzzy logic". Often it is not possible to ascertain the validity of initial assumptions. Then it may be worthwhile to make as few assumptions as possible.
The way i ordered the series is most akin to fenotypical analysis in classical genetics . This has only two basic assumptions: Physical properties are hereditary, they tend to be largely conserved from generation to generation. This is opposed by the occurrence of mutations.
The balance between conservation and mutation tendencies governs development over generations.
Empirical data suggests some principles of this type of evolution: If a mutation is to big there is a higher chance that it has a negative effect on the sustainability of the species. If a mutation has advantages it has a higher chance to be carried forward.
The "Visarga" was just used as a family characteristic. Though i have an hypothesis for its occurrence.
The gradual evolution also is visible in other details which i did not seek actively. For example, in the beginning of the series the bannerstick of the horseman is fairly oblique and continuous. Gradually this changes to more upright and discontinuous. At the end of the series the horseman sits on top of the lower part of the bannerstick.
Title: Re: Finding structure in the evolution of the Samanta Devah Bull & Horseman Jitals
Post by: THCoins on January 10, 2020, 12:59:44 PM
Returning back to Peter's question, why the visarga on these Samanta Devah types ?

The adding of the visarga changes the pronunciation of the word देव in Sanskrit from DeVa, to देवः Devah. So a voiceless "h" is added at the end. Now why would the coin producers want to change the pronunciation of a word which was traditionally on the coins for a long time ?  It seems highly improbable that this was the main objective.

I have another hypothesis, that is just the opposite. It may have been a conservative measure.

In Sanskrit, Devah is the Singular Nominative declension of DeVa. So in fact, Devah as title on a coin could be grammatically more correct than Deva.
Could the need felt to add the visarga have been a conservative reaction to the change in socio-political and language developments at the time ?

From the tenth century onwards there was a large Turco-Persian Islamic influence in the north of India. This also had its effects on local language wich changed from Pakrit through Apabhramsha dialects to Hindi.
One of the differences between Sanskrit and Hindi is "Schwa deletion".
In Nagari script every character has an implicit unstressed "a" vowel. Therefore देव in Sanskrit is pronounced as DeVa.
In Hindi, the unstressed implicit "a" vowel at the end of a word is not pronounced. This is called "Schwa deletion". So देव in Hindi is pronounced "Dev".

My hypothesis is that the adding of the visarga served multiple purposes. It conserved the link to classical Sanskrit tradition. Adding the visarga opposed "Schwa deletion", so the pronunciation stayed more or less traditional. Lastly, this may partly have been a symbolic gesture against the rising domination of influences perceived as foreign.


And as so often, this is just an hypothesis. I will be happy to trade this in if anyone can provide a better one !
Title: Re: Finding structure in the evolution of the Samanta Devah Bull & Horseman Jitals
Post by: Figleaf on January 10, 2020, 02:08:26 PM
This is exactly the sort of thing I was after, but didn't have the knowledge to do myself. Of course, the grammatical reasoning is a hypothesis only, but even so, it makes your family tree more solid.

I think I understand your alternative reasoning and I can see how it could work, e.g. on Celtic coins, where a Roman prototype, by successive changes, would become a Celtic successor, much more than an imitation of the prototype.

There is an important caveat to keep in mind, though. In my "mathematical" approach (I assure you that finance is about as precise as sociology :)) the successive changes will be uni-directional, changing step by little step, but each step in the same direction, like Roman emperors, going from imitators of Caesar to high priest to the counterpart of his favourite (demi-)god on earth to god after death to god in his lifetime. In your "Darwinian" approach, each step is independent of the previous step and can therefore go in any direction. Your spear example has the lower end of the spear moving towards the rider's behind in small, uni-directional steps, I suppose? Could it be that this happened because die engravers found that the horse's rump was in the way and the lower end of the spear morphed into a stirrup?

Peter
Title: Re: Finding structure in the evolution of the Samanta Devah Bull & Horseman Jitals
Post by: THCoins on January 10, 2020, 02:21:56 PM
The discontinuity of the bannerstick may have depended on multiple factors. First, the horse part was in the way, leading to the discontinuity of the lower and upper part. If successive die makers lost the concept of connection between the parts they will more easily move relative to each other. Once the lower part came close to the butt of the rider it was tempting to make this a continuous structure, because that is easier to engrave. (Most clear in the early Amrita Pala horseman)

Your mathematical example may be uni-directional. But that may be just the reason why many mathematical models in practice turn out to be flawed. Usually they neglect an external factor which in practice causes more erratic behaviour.
Title: Re: Finding structure in the evolution of the Samanta Devah Bull & Horseman Jitals
Post by: Figleaf on January 10, 2020, 05:04:31 PM
I am utterly convinced of the fallibility of mathematical models. More, I can prove that even mere numbers do not exist in reality (with the exception of the number 1). Models are just tools to improve on your thinking by showing the cruder details that human brains tend to overlook - a way to check your thoughts for consistency and make the implicit assumptions you have made. In other words, they may prove you wrong but they cannot prove you right. It's not financial pros who defend models, but actuaries and government officials. Strangely, both professions have an image of being somewhat detached from reality. :D

Pretty young lady (P) to actuary (A): what do you do for a living?
A: I am an actuary. I stumbled into this party looking for the bus
Painful silence
A: What do you do for a living?
P: (sexy whisper) I am a model...
A: Ah! So you don't work!

Peter
Title: Re: Finding structure in the evolution of the Samanta Devah Bull & Horseman Jitals
Post by: THCoins on January 10, 2020, 08:54:50 PM
 ;D
Title: Re: Finding structure in the evolution of the Samanta Devah Bull & Horseman Jitals
Post by: shiblius on January 13, 2020, 08:20:45 PM
@THCoins, is the script used on the Samanta Deva coins, Sharada or Nagari?
Title: Re: Finding structure in the evolution of the Samanta Devah Bull & Horseman Jitals
Post by: THCoins on January 14, 2020, 08:40:41 AM
The script in this line i would call Nagari. There are other types where the script also has Sharada elements.
There was a marked variation in scriptstyle over time and region i think. That makes the distinction between Sharada and Nagari also not as strict as black and white.