In 4th-5th century Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece, Rome were having their own banking activities which were becoming more specialized private and public bodies. Temples also started undertaking more financial activities governed by specific rules and regulations. In INDIAN history Manu Samriti provides rules for trading, commerce and money. The Arthshastra by Kautylaya also prescribed extensively the norms of trading, commerce, lending and borrowing money along with taxation.

Although the history of banking goes back much further than the history of coinage but with the invention of coins functioning of banking became more systematic. Invention of coins not only provided means of a standard type of units to measure the value of money, it was widely accepted as medium of exchange or say payment. Coins were durable enough to store for a long time.

The first coin said to have been minted in Lydia(Turkey) was made of Gold and Silver known as Electrum. Each had its own pre decided weight to determine its value. Around 570-550 BC the king of Lydia introduced pure Siler and Gold coins also. Alexander The Great (330-320) BC introduced coins in the entire lands captured by him.

These coins were not only made for money but these depicted many facets of each Civilization, Kings, Rulers etc. In Rome coins depicted imperial families,. Roman emperors used coins even for political purposes, Ghyn Devies writes.


“Coins were by far the best propaganda weapon available for advertising Greek, Roman or any other civilization in the days before mechanical printing was invented”. During middle age (300-340) AD the christen Church had become more forceful than the Empire. During this era coins depicted Christ, The Virgin and various other saints.

Coins in addition to money value has contributed much to the ancient history also. Indian BRAHMI SCRIPT was deciphered on the basis of Indo-Greek bilingual coins. This also establishes the trade and commerce activities between India and Greek. The coins reveal a number of events mentioned in Puranas, Veds and also in New Testament as well.

In ancient India a study of Harrapa and Mohanjodaro (2500-1700BC) reveals the use of coins for trade and commerce activities. Most of these coins were made of silver and were marked stamped or punch marked to differentiate their value. During Kushan Dynasty during 176-156 BC Kushan Kings introduced Gold and silver coins.

In fact Kushan were neomadic people and word is derived from Chines hoistorical writings. Due to dynastic disunion among Palvas the Kushans established their Dynasty in north-west part of India. Their kingom flourished and trade expanded to china, Central Asia, Egypit, Rome etc.


In 4th-6th AD Gupta coinage depicting Kings and Deities were made in Brahmi script. Samudragupta, Chandegupta and Kumargupta were icon of coins of their periods. There is long records of coins in India thereafter also. In post Gupta period 6-12 century coin of Harsh were also made. Presence of Byzantine coins in western India shows the signs of trade with Eastern Roman Empire.

Among South India coins belonging to Chalukas, Palva, Chola, Pandya etc. were introduced during 12-15 century. During Mughul & Medieval history of Indian Coins did not depict any image of King, Queen or human being as it was banned in ISLAM.

As such Ayats of Kuran in calligraphy were inscribed on coins In 1300-1400AD under the empire of Khilji and Tughlak coins issued were having value less than the value of metal used to make these coins. These were known as token Money or fiduciary coins.

In India each dynasty or kingdom had there own coins with different values difficult to measure the value of money contained in them. It was during Mughul period that some type of uniformity was brought for consolidation system of coins. It was during the time of Sher Shah Suri 1540-1545 AD that the coins made of silver known as Rupiya which even today is legal tender in Indian currency