18 Jan Epigraphy
Here, The topic “Epigraphy” reflects Indian History and Culture. The article also talks about the reconstruction of ancient Indian History.
Relevance for Prelims: Asokan Era
Relevance for Mains: Relevance and significance of Epigraphy
Epigraphy is the study of inscriptions that are engraved on stone tablets, metal plates, pillars, walls of caves, etc. It serves as primary documentary evidence to establish legal, socio-cultural, literary, religious, archaeological, and historical antiquity based on engravings. On the other hand, Numismatics refers to the study or collection of coins, paper money, and related objects. It gives information about the economic situation, administrative structure, chronological issues, the extent of influence of a particular kingdom, and its relations with distant areas. Epigraphy helped in the Reconstruction of Ancient Indian History
Some examples of how epigraphy has helped in the reconstruction of ancient Indian History are
- The edicts of Asoka, the pillars of Samudragupta and Rudradaman-I are
- Religious and administrative inscriptions that throw light on the cultural mission
- And the administrative maneuverin of the period.
- Inscriptions also throw light on the existing social customs. For example, the
- Brahmadeyam inscription refers to the sati committed by the queen of Rajendra Chola I.
- The Mandatory copper plates, the Sohgaura plate from Gorakhpur district, the
- Aihole inscription of Mahendra-Varman and the Uttiramerur inscriptions of Cholas cast light on trade, taxes, and currency
- Inscription from Jogimara cave depicts the prevalence of the tradition of dance and music.
Epigraphy throws light on the boundaries of kingdoms and empires, the life lived in the past, the nature of society and economy, and the general state of life.
Numismatics helped in the Reconstruction of Ancient Indian History Numismatics has also helped in the reconstruction of history in the following ways
Roman coins discovered in India give us an idea about the existence of contacts with the Roman Empire. Portraits and figures, Hellenistic art, and dates on the coins of the western satraps of Saurashtra are remarkable sources for reconstructing this period.
The Puranic accounts of the Satavahanas are ascertained from the Jogalthambi hoard of coins. Administration under the Sakas and the Pallavas has been reconstructed largely on the basis of coins.
Kharoshti and Brahmi scripts were deciphered with the help of coinage of the Kushan Era.
The purity of gold and silver coins imparts an idea of the economic condition during the rule of the Guptas. The entire argument for instance on the urban decay rests on the paucity of currency and lesser content of precious metals in coins in that period.
Thus, epigraphic and numismatic evidence is one of the most reliable sources for reconstructing ancient history.
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