Bronze coin of Satakarni

Satavahana dynasty, late first century BC
Ujjain, central India

A new dynasty continues old traditions

This coin has one of the commonest designs on Indian coinage of the late second century BC to first century AD: an elephant accompanied by a triangle-headed standard. The design originated in the late Mauryan period (third century BC) and was used on the earliest bronze cast coinage of northern India. From there it spread southwards, ultimately as far as Sri Lanka. The elephant on this bronze coin is contained by a square moat containing a row of fishes.

The inscription, in the Brahmi script, reads 'Ra ... nisa'. The inscription is incomplete, but can be restored from legends on more legible coins as 'Rano Shri Satakanisa', which identifies the issuer of the coin as Satakarni, one of the earliest rulers of the powerful Satavahana kingdom of the Deccan and central India. On the reverse is the ancient Indian symbol of a sacred tree enclosed by a railing. Beside it is a cross with four circles, the emblem of Ujjain, the Satavahana capital.

Find in the collection online

More information


O. Bopearachchi and W. Pieper, Ancient Indian coins (Turnhout, 1998)


Diameter: 33.000 mm
Weight: 11.720 g

Museum number

CM 1889-1-5-938


Gift of L.P. Johnston


Find in the collection online

Search highlights

There are over 4,000 highlight objects to explore