Coinage helps in understanding commercial networks and methods of economic exchange in Indian history.
a. Gold coins were first issued by the Kushanas (c. 1st century CE). Such coins were identical in weight to those issues by contemporary Roman and Parthian rulers. These have been found in several sites in North India and Central Asia, and indicate the enormous value of the transactions taking place across such a wide geographical area. Gold coins were also issued by the Gupta rulers, and they were known for their purity. These facilitated long-distance transactions.
b. From c. 6th century CE onwards, there was a decline in gold coins. Historians are divided on what this indicates – an economic crisis, the downfall of the Roman Empire which resulted in fewer transactions, and new systems of exchange in towns.
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