Author Topic: Western Ksatrapas: Dated Lead Unit of Rudrasena III, 348-378 AD.  (Read 982 times)

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Offline THCoins

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Mitresh has started showing some nice scarcer Gupta lead units lately here. I could not stay behind  ;) so added another.
However, the Gupta did not start this practice of issuing small square lead units. They just addapted the earlier lead coinage of the Western Satraps who had held large parts of the later Gupta Western territory. The western Satraps had issued two types of base metal coinage next to the better known silver drachm series.
-In the early years of the dynasty Damasena issued round potin coins with an elephant on one side and a three arched hill on the other. An example of these is shown here.
-Under the later ruler Rudrasena III small square lead coins were issued. These had a bull on one side and the three arched hill on the other. Like the other later satrapal coinage, these units were dated in the Saka era. These coins are thought to originate from the Junagarh province.

This is one of those Rudrasena III lead units. Lead does not age well. This coin may not look like much, but is in fair shape for these. Pb 12x13 mm, 1.84 gr.
The left picture shows a bull facing right (Take my word for it. The horizontal upper border of the back is easiest to see on the left corner. In front of this the head with horn)
The right picture shows the three arched hill, with river below. Below this are two characters. In hand they can be read as the numbers indicating Saka year 280, which equals 358 AD. (edit date corrected)
« Last Edit: October 19, 2014, 09:41:49 PM by THCoins »

Online Figleaf

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Re: Western Ksatrapas: Dated Lead Unit of Rudrasena III, 348-378 AD.
« Reply #1 on: October 19, 2014, 09:12:48 PM »
I needed your description to guide the eye, but once you got it, this is such an interesting coin.

I am confused over the date you give as Saka 280 (285 AD). Wikipedia maintains that Rudrasena III ruled 348-380, you say in the thread title 348-378. Wikipedia seems to say that the difference between the two eras is 78 years, making the date on your coin 358 AD.

Comparing this coin with the familiar Kushan coppers, the gap between the two technologies is amazing, especially since the Kushans ruled a neighbouring territory. Using lead doesn't help, but the ancient symbols can't compare with the Kushan fashion show either. Wikipedia says the Gupta lands may have been a client state of the Kushan empire. This coin would not support that contention.

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

Offline THCoins

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Re: Western Ksatrapas: Dated Lead Unit of Rudrasena III, 348-378 AD.
« Reply #2 on: October 19, 2014, 09:49:00 PM »
You are totally right , where i typed 258 AD, it had to be 358.
The relation between the Kushan and the Western Satraps is not totally clear. However, at these time the hight of the Kushan power had already passed for several decades. The power of the Kushan in a large part of the northern Indian territory was taken over by various small local dynasties. These were no match for the expansion of the Gupta empire when that started.
It's not only the design that's a major difference, but also the metal. The Kushan had a Gold-Copper monetary system. The Western Satraps had mainly a silver based system.

Offline Overlord

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Offline THCoins

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Re: Western Ksatrapas: Dated Lead Unit of Rudrasena III, 348-378 AD.
« Reply #4 on: October 31, 2014, 10:06:31 AM »
You had me angry and sad for a moment when i read in your link that 40 % of gasoline sales in the US were still of leaded fuel. Untill i realized that this was an article from 1985. So humanity seems to have made some progress in this respect in the last 30 years. (Which is merely a blink of an eye in the time of existence of this coin)

Online Figleaf

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Re: Western Ksatrapas: Dated Lead Unit of Rudrasena III, 348-378 AD.
« Reply #5 on: October 31, 2014, 06:00:39 PM »
Much of France is still on lead water pipes, which may be a reason for the popularity of mineral water. Generally, lead piping was discontinued in the fifties in European countries and replacement is a slow and continuing process. In the US, houses built before 1986 are likely to have lead water pipes, according to the EPA.

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