D. D. Kosambi: Indian Numismatics
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The systematic study of coins is an area of specialization even among archaeologists, and statistical numismatics is closer still to the frontiers of human knowledge, daunting all but the most accomplished of scholars. It is the hallmark of D.D. Kosambi’s genius that as early as the 1930s he had already directed his outstanding ability as a statistician to the study of ancient Indian coinage, and had laid the foundation of a branch of research that will preserve the mark of his insight and innovation for decades.
This volume brings together twelve of Kosambi’s major essays on the statistical and analytical study of coins from ancient India. Every one of these essays is of significance today for the general principles of statistical inference, analysis and interpretation that they evoke, as well as for their author’s brilliant historical and socio-economic insights and scintillating wit and style.
Historians, archaeologists and mathematicians will find this volume indispensable.
Damodar Dharmanand Kosambi was born in Portuguese Goa In 1907, in a family given to rigorous learning and to the exemplary cultivation of social relationships. In 1918 the family moved to America when Damodar’s father, a major Buddhist scholar, accepted a teaching assignment at Harvard. Damodar entered the Cambridge (Massachusetts) Latin School at eleven and graduated brilliantly from Harvard in mathematics, history and languages eight years later.
Returning to India in the late 1920s. Kosambi taught for a while at the Banaras Hindu University and then at the Aligarh Muslim University. By 1932 he had settled in at Ferguson College, Pune, and thereafter devoted himself to the pursuit of research in a wide range of subjects: abstract mathematics, applied statistics, genetics, numismatics, Marxist doctrine and theory, socio-economic history, Buddhist culture, the Sanskrit literary tradition, general indological studies, ethnology, archaeology and protohistory. Before his death, Kosambi had four major books, five edited volumes, and a hundred and twenty-seven papers and articles to his credit. A legend in his own lifetime, his reputation has only grown since his premature death in 1966. 159 pages.