ANCIENT GREEK COIN FINDS IN SRI LANKA


GREEK AND INDO PARTHIAN COINS

GREEK COINS

 These were considered as the standard as a means of exchange in the ancient world.Many countries imitated these silver pieces  for trade and circulation, when the genuine coins ran short[Coin Collecting -Greek Coins – J G Milne, C H V Sutherland and D J A Thompson]. Some of these were the Owls of Athens and the Ponies of Corinth. A few example given of the imitations of the famous Owl coin , these coins were minted in different countries as and when they were required  is shown below.

A similar copy found in Sri Lanka  was published by KNV Seyone is shown on a reproduction of an ancient map .

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The coin of Mr Seyone a past President of the Sri Lankan Numismatist Society is shown below, the provenance is not stated and needs further examination.

Another coin published by Mr Seyone in his book 

A A coin belonging to Chandamparan Senicutti found in Jaffna is below

Two Greek coin published by HW Codrington in Coins and Currency of Ceylon page 49 are.

1. Acarnania, Lucus 350-250 BC.

Obv: Head of Apollo facing left.

Rev: Prow of Galley.

AE – Weight: about 39 grains Catalogue of Greek Coins in British Museum[Thessaly] N0 68,ff.

2. Selecid; Seleucus IV, BC 187-175.

Obv:  Daidemed head to right, in bead circle.

Rev: In bead circle elephant head, left., trunk upraised; behind ear a ,tripod; above Greek Letters and below greek letters.

AE;  Weight:60.9 Grains. BMC ., Seleucid Kings, page 33 No 31.

Indo Greek Coins published by Osmund Bopearachchi

Parthian Coins

 Wekipedia on Indo-Parthian rulers were a group of ancient kings from Central Asia, who ruled parts of present day Afghanistan, Pakistan and India, during or slightly before the 1st century AD. For most of their history, the leading Gondopharid kings held Taxila (in the present Punjab province of Pakistan) as their residence, but during their last few years of existence the capital shifted between Kabul and Peshawar(Gandahara). These kings have traditionally been referred to as Indo-Parthians, as their coinage was often inspired by the Arsacid dynasty, but they probably belonged to a wider groups of Iranian tribes who lived east of Parthia.

Drachma of PhraatesIV [BC37/6 -24/3] or Orodes II BC 4/3. HW Codroington CCC pg 49. This coin is much worn and weigh 54.3 grains; it was purchased from a shop, where it is said to have been sold by a villager’ Spolia Zeylanica , Vol VIII, Plaate XXX June 1912.

A drachma of Volgaeses II AD 62-67 , with a punch mark on the obverse, is in the Colombo Museum; it weighs 67.2 grains.

Indo – Parthian

Azes II , with Aspavarma, AD 10.

AE; Type  Obv: Horseman with whip and Bow

                    Revc: Pallas , IMC ., i, plate IX,7. Purchased in Colombo.

Similarties of  Ancient Sri Lankan token /coins with ancient Greek Coinage.

Turtles

The Turtle was a  symbol found on ancient Greek coins.

The Turtle or perhaps a  Tortoise  is found on a few tokens found recently at Tissamaharama ,South of Sri lanka, a few examples are shown below.

Fish

Turtles/ Tortoise  and Fish symbols are also found on ancient Silver Kahapanas or PMC’s. The tortoise  is the Vehicle of Brahma and Fish in the Matsa  Yuwala are auspicious symbol of the ancient Sinhalese. The fish was use on rock inscriptions associated with ancient sinhala royal families.

Fish shape coin were used in ancient China, a few of them off the Singapore Coin Auction- Taisei- Baldwin- Gillio Catalogue 20 is shown below

Few examples of  Fish token which are inscribed in ancient sinhala script are very similar to the Fish Tokens of Olbia , an ancient Greek Island. So fish shape token were used for trade at both ends of the ancient world. It is found in Sri Lanka where the ancient trader mariners  of both countries travelled to.

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