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Author Topic: O.D. Hoover; Handbook of coins of Bactria and ancient India, 2014  (Read 2500 times)

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Offline THCoins

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Oliver D. Hoover.
Handbook of coins of Bactria and ancient India.
CNG Numismatic group 2013.
ISBN 978-09898254-5-0

This book is Volume 12 in the Handbook of Greek Coinage Series. It is writteh by Oliver D. Hoover, who is known for his work on Eastern Greek and Seleukid coinage, with a foreword by O. Bopearachchi.

The book starts with a general Preface by Scott VanHorn and Bradley R. Nelson. This is mainly about Greek coinage, but interesting to read. It has some usefull tables on different denominations and a part with examples of the different deities appearing on Greek coinage.

The second part is an Introduction to this volume, with some historic backgrounds and again some typical pictorial types and denomination and weight tables. Also this part defines the rarity scale which is used in the classification of each coin.

The third and biggest part is a more or less chronological catalog of the coinage of Graeco-Bactrian and Indo-Greek kings. The section on each ruler starts with a short introduction and historic background. Then examples are shown with photo's of the different coins issued under this ruler. The photos are of sufficient quality, however, not always of pristine specimen. There are no explanatory line drawings. With each coin there is a short description. This includes the legends, written out also in Greek, Kharoshti or Brahmi font. The discription includes the common classifications, here mainly limited to the Bopearachchi series classification. Different subtypes are not discussed.
A nice thing is that for several rulers also the contemporary imitations of their coinage by the Scythians, Yuezhi and Kushan get some attention.

A next, smaller part is devoted to the Indo-Scythian rulers. The quality of this is OK. Here the shown coins specimen are identified with the Senior classification number including subtype.
Even smaller sections give a short overview of contemporary coinage from Sogdiana and the Satrapal regions.

The last section of the book treats the Indigenous coinage of the Indian Janapada's, Cities and empires between 500 BC and 20 AD. It is not so complete as the Pieper catalog. However, it is a good introductory piece on the subject. I also found it easier to read than Pieper, as the introductory text on each Janapada is immediately followed by picture examples of its coinage. (In the Pieper book the catalog part is all put together, seperate from the introductory texts, in the last part of the book)

Is the book perfect ? No, reading more in detail i slowly start to notice little errors and editorial quirks. For example, the pictures of the spearthrower type silver drachms of Menander i think had some mix-up. On page 256, a paragraph suddenly ends in the middle of a sentence.
Is is a book i can recommend ? Yes, If you want one book on the coinage of the indo-greek and their successors, this one is very suited. The part on the Indigenous Indian coinage is a nice bonus.

Anthony

Offline Quant.Geek

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Re: O.D. Hoover; Handbook of coins of Bactria and ancient India, 2014
« Reply #1 on: March 21, 2014, 09:19:33 PM »
Anthony,

Thank you for reviewing this book.  This was another book I wanted in my arsenal.  Is it possible you can scan a page or two and post it to the forum?  Should be OK and within the copyright laws.  Want to see if it is worthwhile getting...

Thanks,

Ram
A gallery of my coins can been seen at FORVM Ancient Coins

Offline THCoins

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Re: O.D. Hoover; Handbook of coins of Bactria and ancient India, 2014
« Reply #2 on: March 21, 2014, 09:53:56 PM »
Here a scan of two pages to give an impression of the general layout.

Offline Quant.Geek

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Re: O.D. Hoover; Handbook of coins of Bactria and ancient India, 2014
« Reply #3 on: March 21, 2014, 09:58:15 PM »
This is perfect, looks like I am getting another book  ;D

Thanks,

Ram
A gallery of my coins can been seen at FORVM Ancient Coins

Offline PeaceBD

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Re: O.D. Hoover; Handbook of coins of Bactria and ancient India, 2014
« Reply #4 on: March 22, 2014, 03:20:22 AM »
Anthony, thanks a lot for a detailed review. Based on your review I think it will be a good reference book who do not have some thing more comprehensive like Bopearachchi. I will be adding it to my library.

Offline mitresh

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Re: O.D. Hoover; Handbook of coins of Bactria and ancient India, 2014
« Reply #5 on: April 21, 2014, 11:58:15 AM »
Yes, I have this book. It's a quick and handy 'ready-reckoner' type book although some sections overlap and are repitative. Overall, a nice book for one's library.
In the quest for Excellence, there's no finish line.

Offline THCoins

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Re: O.D. Hoover; Handbook of coins of Bactria and ancient India, 2014
« Reply #6 on: August 31, 2014, 08:45:52 PM »
Some months ago i wrote a fairly positive review of this book, although i noted several textual and editorial errors.
One of the positive aspects i thought, was that transcriptions of the coin legends were given not only in Greek, but also in Kharosti and Brahmi scripts.
Over the last few months i have been trying to improve my reading skills in Kharosti, with among others, help from this book. I found that was not easy. Often i had no clue what was the connection between the characters on my coins, the textual meaning and the book transcriptions. I am now at a point that i have a fair understanding of the script. However, that makes it neccessary to change my opinion about the quality of the book.
In an unacceptable number of coins the Kharosthi transcription of the texts of the legends in the book is plain wrong ! Words are missing, or the entire Kharosthi transcription belongs with another coin and not the coin where it is placed. Someone seems to have done a very sloppy "copy and paste" job. And no-one knowledgable appears to have checked !
The problems are most clear to me in the Indo-Sythian section, but that may be because i did not read much in the indo-greek section lately.
If you are interested also in the Kharosti inscriptions on your coins: DO NOT BUY OR TRUST this book, it is a mess !

Offline Figleaf

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Re: O.D. Hoover; Handbook of coins of Bactria and ancient India, 2014
« Reply #7 on: August 31, 2014, 10:59:33 PM »
Few people would have noticed this, for lack of knowledge of Kharosti. That makes your comments even more valuable. We know how authors slavishly copy each other and the copied errors easily become accepted truth.

However, is there a better alternative?

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

Offline THCoins

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Re: O.D. Hoover; Handbook of coins of Bactria and ancient India, 2014
« Reply #8 on: September 01, 2014, 10:01:38 AM »
I don't think the problem in this book is copying of information from other authors. I think the problem is that the catalog works with a relative standard list of items with each coin. It is very tempting to copy parts of the information (which often is the same) from one item to the other when writing. However, because the final editor likely did not have an understanding of the contents this has led to nonsense in a lot of items.

Is there a better up-to-date comprehensive alternative on the subject ? No, but especially because of the risk of propagating errors, one should be able to trust a reference. An erroneous introductory reference might lead to more problems than no reference. I would only advise on using it to people who can judge the information very critically.

Offline Matteo

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Re: O.D. Hoover; Handbook of coins of Bactria and ancient India, 2014
« Reply #9 on: December 16, 2016, 03:24:43 PM »
Hi :)

What do you think about this book? Does anyone have an image of the index? I am interested especially in Janapada's coinage and archaic indian coinage, so I don't know if this book is a good choice for me.

This is the description:

Hoover, Oliver D. Handbook of Coins of Baktria and Ancient India, Including Sogdiana, Margiana, Areia, and the Indo-Greek, Indo-Skythian, and Native Indian States South of the Hindu Kush, Fifth Century BC to First Century AD [The Handbook of Greek Coinage Series, Volume 12]. 2013. lxxxiv and 389 numbered pp. Hardbound. (GR, OG, CA) (GR 341)

The latest published volume in the series is Handbook of Coins of Baktria and Ancient India, Including Sogdiana, Margiana, Areia, and the Indo-Greek, Indo-Skythian, and Native Indian States South of the Hindu Kush, Fifth Century Centuries BC to First Century AD (Volume 12 in the series). Beginning with the Kingdom of Baktria, the catalog covers all the Graeco-Bacrian and Indo-Greek kings. This volume includes the Indo-Skythian rulers and satraps, as well as the local coinages of the region. The Indian coinages south of the Hindu Kush are also included. While not obviously Greek coinage, these issues were struck in the context of their Greek neighbors and will add further evidence to the complex monetary systems of the region.

Thanks,
Matteo.


Offline THCoins

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Re: O.D. Hoover; Handbook of coins of Bactria and ancient India, 2014
« Reply #10 on: December 16, 2016, 05:02:46 PM »
I wrote a review about this book some time ago, look here.

Summary: Nice introductory book, downside: for me unacceptable amount of errors.

Anthony

Offline Matteo

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Re: O.D. Hoover; Handbook of coins of Bactria and ancient India, 2014
« Reply #11 on: December 19, 2016, 07:30:28 PM »
I wrote a review about this book some time ago, look here.

Summary: Nice introductory book, downside: for me unacceptable amount of errors.

Anthony

Thanks for your opinion :)

Matteo