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βουστροφηδόν ஈலலாநதலையனன! 🤓


quant.geek
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I am certain the title will bait readers into this thread 😁.

βουστροφηδόν is Greek for Boustrophedon which basically means writing from left to right and then writing backwards going from right to left, alternating every other line. It was popular in some languages, including Latin.  The following coin took a while for me to decipher as I thought it was all garbled up, but in reality, it was written in Tamil in Boustrophedon. This was the first time I have encountered boustrophedon in an Indian language.

The coin was issued by the Jatavarman Sundara Pandya I (1251-1268) after conquering the southern kingdoms in South India, including their hereditary enemy, the Cholas. Due to this, he took the honorary title ஈலலாநதலையனன (Lord of All). Note the typical "octopus man" in the obverse which dominates the coins of South India at this time and the fish emblem of the Pandyas on the reverse. Pardon the crappy picture. It was taken using a cellphone eons ago. I have to take some time to photograph my older coins...

 

Pandyan Empire: Jatavarman Sundara Pandya I (1251-1268) Æ Kasu (MCSI-385)

 

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Compare with the non-boustrophedon version of the same coin that I acquired recently. It has the legend vertically between two fishes...

 

image.png.b7e8c48b833bfc0eab35f84ce98994df.png

Edited by quant.geek
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Surprised to see Tamil on this site! 

Pandya coins are really hard to come by, even some of mine were misattributed as Chola by the dealers, and the auction houses that do sell them don't ship overseas. There are two types of coins available, Sangam age (300BC-300AD), they're all anonymous square shaped copper, some silver coins, and the other types were minted after their independence from Cholas in early 13th century, most of their coins carry the title Sundara Pandiya, although it's hard to pin down the exact ruler.

Oddly there's no record of a single Pandya gold coin! the only gold where they have their fish symbol is on the Chola issues depicting their capture.

Sangam age, elephant and fish.

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Anepigraphic issue with fish and sceptre, 13th century.

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Jatavarman Sundara Pandiyan with Tamil script on reverse, and a tiny fish next to the king's arm.

normal_pand.png.e87dafaa6f5586400408d4d61f2ac2db.png

And a tiny coin with the name next to the king சுந்த (su-n-da)

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Chola 1/8th Kahavanu with bow, tiger and twin fish.

normal_11th.jpg.9273cba79bc6a54c199c57739d1873ba.jpg

Edited by JayAg47
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