Classical Numismatics Discussion
  Early Black Friday 20% Off Store-Wide Sale Already Started!!! Layaway and reserve are not available during the sale. Shop now and save! Welcome Guest. Please login or register. Early Black Friday 20% Off Store-Wide Sale Already Started!!! Please call us if you have questions 252-646-1958. Shop now and save!

New & Reduced


Author Topic: Sandan: Is He a Turki Shahi, Military Commander, or a God?  (Read 152 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Virgil H

  • Caesar
  • ****
  • Posts: 896
Sandan: Is He a Turki Shahi, Military Commander, or a God?
« on: November 18, 2022, 01:43:27 am »
In my quest to find particular coins from medieval Afghanistan, I have come across an interesting coin usually called Western Turks, Sandan. Usually it is listed as an unknown mint in Bactria. I have also seen Sandan as directly related to Kabul and/or Zabul. My searches for history are ongoing, but confusing. The only thing outside of coin listings that I can find is a mention of a Turk Shahi king named Sandan otherwise unknown. I do not find a Sandan listed as a Turki king/shahi for any period covered by Zaid in his book on Sakra votive coins of Gandhara. And Gandhara was within the area of Kabul and other areas of present day Afghanistan during that time period (after 688 AD).

So, I am confused and wonder if a scholar here can help. The coin in question is Vondrovec Type 244. I do not have that book.

For my purposes, all that is needed are the legends, which are as follows:

Obverse: Brahmi legend: sri candana vakhudevah (“His Perfection Candana, Lord of the Oxus”)
Bactrian (outside) legend: “His Perfection, the Lord, the Chiliarch Sandano, His Perfection, the Lord”
Reverse Bactrian legend: “His Perfection, the Lord, his Majesty, the Bactrian Kagan, his Perfection, the Lord”
Pahlavi: “increase”…”from Glory..”

Yet this is always called a Sandan coin. I suppose this may not refer to a king, but is some old convention someone used from the legend. But, if this were a king's coin, wouldn't it be Candana, Lord of the Oxus? Then I discovered that Candana has a huge number of definitions all related to eastern religions, including Gods. Based on my knowledge of what a Chiliarch is, it would appear Sandano (presumably Sandan) is a commander of 1,000 troops. Complicating things is that Kagan appears to refer to a central authority, such as a king/shahi.

So, maybe Candana is a recognition of the divine and Sandano is the shahi who commands the army and is the Kagan. Maybe all three legends are about the same person or at least two of them. One thing for me is that the Turks Shahis were a branch of the Western Turks and, while there entire geographical range is more or less within my interest area, I would prefer coins that are as close to Kabul/Kapisa/Zabul as possible. From what I can tell, this coin type fits that desire. The Western Turk coins are also rare and this one seems to be the most common.

Finally, and I think I am off base here, but the reverse of these and the Nezak Shahi coins, as well as many others in the east, have fire altars. The God Sandan of Hellenic fame was a lion god that used a fire altar. This was a major god in Cilicia (I have one with the altar from Tarsos). I was wondering if this Sandan has any relation to the Turks Shahi Sandan. Probably a big stretch, but the religions the Greek and Roman worlds moved east until at least some point during the later Roman Empire. Plus the Parthian, Sassasiniain, Indian, Chinese, and Persian influences. I thought I would throw the idea out there.

Hope I made sense,

Virgil

Offline Jan P

  • Consul
  • ***
  • Posts: 206
Re: Sandan: Is He a Turki Shahi, Military Commander, or a God?
« Reply #1 on: November 18, 2022, 06:28:15 am »
A couple of pictures added to your text would make it easier digestible, Virgil.
To my humble opinion, in general, there are to many texts on the forum of as well questions as solutions, without picture.
A picture makes the message accessible to every reader, where a naked text will only address the concerned.
I plead for a more instructive forum by the use of pictures more often.
(Sorry, that I write the above on this occasion in your topic, Virgil  ;)).

Offline Virgil H

  • Caesar
  • ****
  • Posts: 896
Re: Sandan: Is He a Turki Shahi, Military Commander, or a God?
« Reply #2 on: November 18, 2022, 08:18:06 am »
Hi Jan,
I agree photos are good. On this inquiry, I didn't think a photo was needed, but I will attach one in case it helps. The thing that confuses me a little is that nothing seems to be known about this particular Shahi, Sandan. Which led me to think maybe it was something else.

Thanks,
Virgil

Offline Jan P

  • Consul
  • ***
  • Posts: 206
Re: Sandan: Is He a Turki Shahi, Military Commander, or a God?
« Reply #3 on: November 18, 2022, 08:43:23 am »
Hey Virgil,
What a wonderful piece ! The first impression it made on me was: "Nezak Huns".
But with its different scripts it is quite something special. I see this for the first time.
I am glad you added this picture and ... yes, it brings this topic very much to life !
I think most of us say: "Hey, what is this  :o !".

Offline Virgil H

  • Caesar
  • ****
  • Posts: 896
Re: Sandan: Is He a Turki Shahi, Military Commander, or a God?
« Reply #4 on: November 18, 2022, 08:48:19 am »
Yes, the Turki Shahis replaced the Nezaks and used many elements of Nezak coins.

Thanks,
Virgil

Offline Jan P

  • Consul
  • ***
  • Posts: 206
Re: Sandan: Is He a Turki Shahi, Military Commander, or a God?
« Reply #5 on: November 18, 2022, 09:38:50 am »
Hey Virgil, by your picture I got interested in the coin, so meanwhile I looked among the Nezaks and found this, which puzzled me.
Maybe the picture you posted is not exactly the one of the coin, your first message is talking about or ...
The legends of both coins underneath, in Brahmi on the obverse and in Pahlavi on the reverse, are the same. The Brahmi seams to say "Vajara", not "Candana".
Yes, as a complete outsider, would I not better stay out of this topic? But I am interested in scripts and I thought: Hé ...

ATTENTION ! I made a mistake here in the second picture.
See for the correction "Reply#10" underneath.

Offline Virgil H

  • Caesar
  • ****
  • Posts: 896
Re: Sandan: Is He a Turki Shahi, Military Commander, or a God?
« Reply #6 on: November 18, 2022, 10:05:14 am »
I appreciate your input. I am no expert on these and am trying to learn. I have to leave for the day in a few minutes and will be back this evening (my time US EST) and will look at this closely. The Zaid book is helpful to some extent with these, including Nezak, but I wish I had Vondrovec. Thank you for posting this and I just wanted to let you know I am not ignoring you but will respond later.

Thanks,
Virgil

Offline Jan P

  • Consul
  • ***
  • Posts: 206
Re: Sandan: Is He a Turki Shahi, Military Commander, or a God?
« Reply #7 on: November 18, 2022, 12:33:20 pm »
I live six hours earlier, so your evening is my night.
At my turn I 'll probably not be able to answer promptly after you post your next message.
I just want you to know  ;).

Offline Virgil H

  • Caesar
  • ****
  • Posts: 896
Re: Sandan: Is He a Turki Shahi, Military Commander, or a God?
« Reply #8 on: November 19, 2022, 12:36:45 am »
Hi Jan,
Thanks for that and I appreciate the politeness we have on this board. I had a long day and am getting ready to travel for the US Thanksgiving holiday, which is a big family holiday in the US. I will respond, but it may be a couple of days or more. Just wanted to let you know, seriously. I don't want to clog up the forum with messages that don't say much, but like I said, I do not like to let people hang waiting and people here are polite that way, as you were with me.

I will respond. This is not a topic I can just throw out responses to, the more I think about it, the more I consider various different things.

Anyone else with comments, please feel free to join in.

Take care,
Virgil

Offline Jan P

  • Consul
  • ***
  • Posts: 206
Re: Sandan: Is He a Turki Shahi, Military Commander, or a God?
« Reply #9 on: November 19, 2022, 04:00:42 am »
Okido, Virgil.
Take your time and when you post an answer, I 'll see it.

Offline Jan P

  • Consul
  • ***
  • Posts: 206
Re: Sandan: Is He a Turki Shahi, Military Commander, or a God?
« Reply #10 on: November 19, 2022, 07:02:49 am »
In my hasty answer in "Reply#5" here, I made a mistake I want to correct before somebody shoots me here:
At the coin, I circled in orange "shree Va" and I sold it for "Vajara".

How could that happen?
I based my hurried parsing of the legend on the "Va" in Vajara and the beginning and end-"Va" of Vakhudeva.
And I forgot that, unlike Kharosthi, Brahmi is running left to right.

This being said, keep in mind that there is a great difference between Brahmi and Brahmi, from before our era to this Brahmi of the eight century the script has taken a serious evolution. No better witnesses than coins for this  ;) !

Offline Jan P

  • Consul
  • ***
  • Posts: 206
Re: Sandan: Is He a Turki Shahi, Military Commander, or a God?
« Reply #11 on: November 19, 2022, 02:56:47 pm »
Wow ! What a discord, what a muddle  :o !
I went on the search of "Turk Shahi Sandan" on the www and ... yes, I fell on the coin of our topic:

Bactrianumis shows the coin commented with the exact description given by Virgil in his start message and the same comment is shown on Coinarchives' pieces from Web Auction.
Acsearch.info on their coin of Roma Numismatics does not mention Sandan but Shah Tigin.
Commons.wikimedia shows in a series of 20 coins, three times the same coin, yes ours ! : Nr 3 as Tegin Shah (Turk Shahi), Nr 8 as Shahi Tegin (Nezak Huns) and Nr 14 as Turk Shahis, Sandan ...
Unbelievable what a mess ...

Moneta Gallery, on which I fell just before my first message in this topic, gives Vajara Vasudeva as sub-ruler of Shahi Tigin.
I think, their point of view is backed by the coins' legend: "Shree Vajara Vakhudeva".

Offline Virgil H

  • Caesar
  • ****
  • Posts: 896
Re: Sandan: Is He a Turki Shahi, Military Commander, or a God?
« Reply #12 on: November 19, 2022, 06:54:41 pm »
I am bringing the books I have on my travels that start tomorrow morning, so will have, hopefully, something more useful to say in a few days. But, yeah, this does seem a big muddle, which is a reason why I posted in the first place. LOL. I am going to try to get ANS to photocopy the Vondrovec section on the Sandan coins, there is a subsection on them. ANS offers a photocopy service and I am hoping they can copy a copyrighted book section for non-profit (private) use. I will find out, but it is a holiday week in US. I think that will shed some light on the matter. I may also ask Dr Zaid, who wrote the book I have mentioned before and who I have been in touch with before and who is happy to speak with a lay person like me. Very friendly guy. But I don't want to bother him until I have done as much research as I can beforehand.

Another interesting thing about these coins is that many have holes that seem to have been filled with gold. They are small holes and many are now empty, but I have seen some examples that still had the gold. There are others with some crazy and disfiguring countermarks. I want to find out about this. It seems to be an official thing. The coin photo I posted has one of these small holes. This has nothing to do with my original post, but it something I noticed.

Cheers,
Virgil

Offline Jan P

  • Consul
  • ***
  • Posts: 206
Re: Sandan: Is He a Turki Shahi, Military Commander, or a God?
« Reply #13 on: November 23, 2022, 06:10:32 am »
Well yes, I try to keep this topic warm, until Virgil returns with his answers from Dr. Zaid about Sandan.
In my last message, I stood after "Moneta Gallery" where they read the Brahmi legend as "Sri Vajara Vakhudeva". But then again not, when they show the coin under the title "Nezak Huns". With Virgil, I think this is a Turk Shahi coin. Why?
Because of the gold plug, the Brahmi script legend next to the kings' head and the lion's head that replaces the Nezaks' bull skull on top of the crown.

 

All coins are guaranteed for eternity