Literary and Non-Literary Sources of Ancient Indian History Part 2

Non-Literary Sources

There are numerous non-literary resources of early Indian history, the essential ones are– Inscriptions, Coins, Archaeology, and also the version of visiting international tourists. Let us check out each resource carefully.


  • Inscriptions or Engravings are irreversible works inscribed on a tough surface area such as rock, metal or terracotta. The Examination of engravings is termed epigraphy.
  • The earliest engravings were created on rocks.
  • Some engravings possess dates. Many others are chronicled on the backbone of palaeography or design of writing, with a reasonable quantity of accuracy.
  • Those engravings which are written by poets in appreciation of kings and also clients are referred to as Prashastis.
  • The most ancient engravings are found in Prakrit, a name for a language utilized by common individuals.
  • The Mauryan emperor Ashoka was the initial individual to release engravings. The majority of his engravings remain in Prakrit language composed in the Brahmi manuscript, however, some in the northwest were created in Kharosthi.
  • The engravings of the Satavahana rulers of the Deccan, released from the 1st century B.C, document the land grants bestowed by the kings. Such engravings assist us in learning the spiritual as well as financial events of the phase.
  • Some of these engravings are composed on rocks yet most were created on copper plates.


  • The research study of coins is called numismatics. Old coins were mainly produced in metals such as copper, silver, gold as well as lead.
  •  Coins give valuable details relating to financial history as they were made use of as a monetary system.
  •  Some coins were released by guilds or organizations of the sellers as well as artisans with the consent of the kings.
  •  Coins additionally depict kings as well as gods, and also include spiritual signs, all of which elucidate the art and also religious beliefs of the period.
  •  The earliest coins discovered in India had specific signs and also were termed punch-marked coins. They were constructed from silver and also copper (c. 6th century BC onwards).
  •  The very first coins to carry the titles, as well as photos of kings, were released by the Indo-Greeks, that developed control over the north-western component of the subcontinent (c. 2nd century BC).
  • The initial gold coins were released by the Kushanas in c. 1st century AD. Several of the most magnificent gold coins were circulated by the Gupta kings. Their initial releases are impressive for their pureness of gold quantity.

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