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Page:Provincial geographies of India (Volume 1).djvu/229

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ARCHAEOLOGY AND COINS

the invasion of India by Alexander, and for the obscure period intervening between the Greek occupation of the Frontier and the Muhammadan conquest, they are our main source of history. The most ancient of the Indian monetary issues are the so-called punchmarked coins, some of which were undoubtedly in existence before the Greek invasion. Alexander himself left no permanent traces of his progress through the Panjab and Sindh, but about the year 200 B.C., Greeks from Bactria, an outlying province of the Seleukidan Empire, once more appeared on the Indian Frontier, which they effectively occupied for more than a century. They struck the well-known Graeco-Bactrian coins; the most famous of the Indo-Greek princes were Apollodotos and Menander. Towards the close of this dynasty, parts of Sindh and Afghanistan were conquered by Saka Scythians from Central Asia. They struck what are termed the Indo-Scythian and Indo-Parthian coins bearing names in legible Greek legends— Manes, Azes, Azilises, Gondophares, Abdagases. Both Greeks and Sakas were overthrown by the Kushans. The extensive gold and copper Kushan currency, with inscriptions in the Greek script, contains the names of Kadphises, Kanishka, Huvishka, and others. In addition to the coins of these foreign dynasties, there are the purely Indian currencies, e.g. the coins of Taxila, and those bearing the names of such tribes as the Odumbaras, Kunindas, and Yaudheyas. The White Huns overthrew the Kushan Empire in the fifth century. After their own fall in the sixth century, there are more and more debased types of coinage such as the ubiquitous Gadhiya paisa, a degraded Sassanian type. In the ninth century we again meet with coins bearing distinct names, the "bull and horseman" currency of the Hindu kings of Kabul. We have now reached the beginning of the Muhammadan rule in India. Muhammad