Author Topic: Deme Raja Reddy, The Emergence and Spread of Coins in Ancient India  (Read 700 times)

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Offline Matteo

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Hi :)

Does anyone know the paper written by Deme Raja Reddy included in the book "Explaining Monetary and Financial Innovation"? https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007%2F978-3-319-06109-2_4

Do you think it is interesting? Unfortunatelly the entire book is a bit expensive, bui it is possible to buy single chapters.

Thanks,
Matteo.

Offline Matteo

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Re: Deme Raja Reddy, The Emergence and Spread of Coins in Ancient India
« Reply #1 on: August 16, 2017, 10:27:06 PM »
I've bought this paper and I've read it. Unfortunately it is not really focused on the beginning of coinage in India as I expected.

Offline EWC

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Re: Deme Raja Reddy, The Emergence and Spread of Coins in Ancient India
« Reply #2 on: August 18, 2017, 10:18:28 AM »
Thanks for the link.  From the abstract it looks to me like  Reddy tended to decide what he wanted to think first, then only afterwards picked out evidence that suited it.

The question about Indus valley weights is important.  They exist in huge numbers.  There ought to be lots of corresponding finds of hacksilver, or hackgold, or some such, if they were for use in a payment system.  Are there such finds?  I do not know, but never saw many reports of them.

Reddy’s  idea that coins evolved seems to me to be just plain wrong – it was revolution not evolution I think.

Professor Biggs (LSE, London) just published a book which takes exactly the same position as Reddy – that coinage slowly evolved.  Apparently that is what many academic want to believe.  Since the facts do not seem back it up – it interesting to wonder - why do they want to believe that?

Rob T

Offline Matteo

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Re: Deme Raja Reddy, The Emergence and Spread of Coins in Ancient India
« Reply #3 on: August 18, 2017, 04:28:49 PM »
Dear Robert,

I've sent to you an email.

Matteo
« Last Edit: August 19, 2017, 05:03:37 PM by Matteo »

Offline EWC

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Re: Deme Raja Reddy, The Emergence and Spread of Coins in Ancient India
« Reply #4 on: August 19, 2017, 11:53:21 AM »
Thanks Matteo,

The paper you sent has some references to back up the claims of early Indian use of bullion in payment systems.  I think it would be worthwhile following those up to see how strong they are.

According to most modern thinking, the author is confused about barter and money.  Most people these days would call payment via weighed metal a money system – not barter - that for instance is part of the main theme of the current form of the British Museum's Money gallery 'permanent' exhibition.

The author does not seem understand weight systems or even coin wear. 

He shows three coins and suggests they are all to 32 ratti standard and the big differences are due to wear.  Two of them are very probably Mauryan  - and therefore yes - I think they are 32 rattis.  But the difference between them is not wear - it is primarily because those coins seem to be produced more or less al marco.  That is to say, the average weight of a big lot will be accurate  (most times I checked it was close to 3.43g) , but there is quite a lot of variation coin to coin.  This actually is rather common in Hindu issues, probably because seigniorage was chiefly got via debasement.  If we look at the silver coins of say Akbar they seem to be more standardised in each coin, (al pezzo) and we know they were pure silver, with the seigniorage got from the weight standards.  So the difference is not due to wear with those two.

The third coin weighs a long way below 3.43g, and is not Magadha/Mauryan.  I do not think it ever was 32 ratti standard.  There is no evidence of heavy wear in the picture.  I fear the author is not actually looking at the coin that is infront of him, just writing what he wants to believe, regardless of the facts.  I notice Peter favouring an undiplomatic approach recently – and there is a lot to be said in favour of being undiplomatic these days – when so often academic diplomacy seems to be assisting in hiding the true facts from readers

Did you understand his weight bar charts?  His Amaravati figures look right – the mean skewed just a little to 3.38g due to worn coins in the long left tail (the mode will be close to 3.43 I think).  But I could not easily figure out what other coins he was studying

I confess I am confused too about this Kabul Hoard matter.  One of your links says the coins were all in Kabul, but another records many as being in Paris.  I mention this because my recollection is that I was shown some of these coins in the trays at the Biblioteque Nationale back around 1990, (legacy of Curiel).  Also the link says all the coins are lost.  Quite a while ago, a friend of mine, the late Prof David Spencer Smith, bought a coin of this type in a London auction.  When he discovered it was loot from Afghanistan he immediately returned it to the authorities there.  So at least one of those should be back………..

Rob T

Offline Matteo

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Re: Deme Raja Reddy, The Emergence and Spread of Coins in Ancient India
« Reply #5 on: August 19, 2017, 05:21:17 PM »
Dear Robert,

This paper was probably too much specialised for me, but in some paragraphes it seems inaccurate also for a beginner like me. I noticed some problems especially when he talks about weight standard, as you said: however it is a very difficult matter. Moreover there isn't a real attempt to date the beginning ok Indian coinage.

However I need more time to study his graphs and the weights standard in use in ancient India (I'll buy your book :) )


Offline Matteo

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Re: Deme Raja Reddy, The Emergence and Spread of Coins in Ancient India
« Reply #6 on: August 19, 2017, 05:30:01 PM »
About the Chaman Hazouri Hoard: I think that several informations in the links could be incomplete or inaccurate. It would be necessary find more reliable sources.

Why did no one create a catalogne of this hoard?