SCYTHIAN, Maues, c. 90-57 BC, hemiobol, elephant head


SCYTHIAN, Maues, c. 90-57 BC, hemiobol, Kohat mint, Obverse: elephant head R in variably beaded circle, Reverse: caduceus, BASILEWS MAUOU, NIKI monogram lower left, bronze, 25mm, 9.45g, S5.1, MA2196, F

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Maues was the first of the “Indo-Scythian” kings.

Scythians (Sakas) were horse nomads who roamed and terrorized from Hungary to China in from the 5th century BC to the 3rd century AD. It seems that we are tending to think these days that they were “Indo-European,” that their women fought and at some level ruled, and that they liked to smoke marijuana. A story goes that they liked to fight naked, even in the winter. In Bactria they took over the Greek bureaucracy and issued coins.

The earliest ancient Indian coins were the “bent bar” punchmarked silvers of the Achaemenid Persians occupying Gandhara in northwest Pakistan. By the 3rd century BC coins were in general use in most of India and Ceylon, and in subsequent centuries struck round coins in gold, silver, and copper came into use throughout the subcontinent and beyond to Southeast Asia and Pacific islands to Java and beyond.