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tunate husbandman, and the zeal of the exploring antiquary. A treasure of no less than eighty thousand large gold coin or medals, each of the value of six Roman crowns, was, according to Mountfaucon,* in 1714, discovered near Modena in Italy. They seemed all to have been struck in very early periods of the Roman grandeur, and the least antique of them were those of Julius Cæsar and the Triumvirate. Particular reasons induced M. Fontanini, the correspondent of Mountfaucon, who transmitted him an account of the discovery, to suppose these medals belonged to the military chest of th« army collected by Lucius Antonius and Fulvia against Augustus. The treasures of Roman money also dug up in France, Germany, and Spain, during the middle centuries, were amazingly great; and, during the failure of the ancient sources of wealth, in part supplied the quantity necessary for carrying on the commercial intercourse of Europe.
Before we conclude this Dissertation on the treasures of the ancient world, it is necessary
* See the Supplement to Mountfaucon's Antiquities, book v. >• 3*9
, we should again adveit to those Asiatic regions whence we commenced our survey, and where, especially in India, the same pernicious practice of burying money in vast quantities has immemorially prevailed. And here we may remark, that, although in the vast sums of coined money at different periods dug up in Europe, the overflowing wealth of the Roman capital may, in some degree, be accounted for; yet, as immense treasures must have still remained dispersed over the extensive provinces of Asia, which never found its way into Europe, hoarded in the coffers of the miser, or concealed in the vaults of the palaces of the kings and satraps of the East, far more remains still unaccounted for, or how comes it that such a flender stock of Asiatic coins is to be found in the cabinets of those affluent curiosi, who have spared neither toil nor expense to search for and procure them? Of Darics and Philippi there are very few indeed: of the immense heaps of money coined by the Ptolemies, and the other Greek sovereigns who succeeded Alexander, a very moderate proportion also has reached posterity. India, thou avaricious glutton, whose rapacious jaws, from the first «f time, have
swallowed swallowed the gold and silver of the world, it is thou that hast: caused this dearth: confess thy treachery to the cause of medallic science; they have gone to swell the magnificence of thy pagodas, and, without the least regard to the grandeur of the design, the majesty of the character impressed; or the unequalled beauty of the execution, thy refiners have melted them down in their crucibles to an unanimated mass, of value only proportioned to its weight.
On the plains of India, also, not less than on those of Europe, are supposed to lie buried treasures, principally in bullion, to an incalculable amount, deposited there during the ravages and oppression of successive conquerors, through at least eight centuries of anarchy and tumult; I mean, from the 7th century to the mild and peaceable reign of Akber. These are now and then, though rarely, discovered, and sometimes Greek coins, probably of high antiquity, as the Greeks of Caria and other maritime countries visited the coasts of the peninsula almost as early as the Phœnicians themselves. Mr. Chambers, in his account of the ruins of Mavalipuram, written in 1784, acquaints. us, that he wa?
informed informed by the Kauzy of Madras, that, some years previous to that period, a Ryot, ot husbandman, in ploughing his ground, had found a pot of gold and silver coins, with characters on them which no one in those parts, Hindoo or Mahommedan, (therefore, plainly, neither Arabic nor Sanscreet,) wa« able to decipher. That the Kauzy, however, at the same time informed him, all search for them, then, would be in vain, for they had doubtless long ago been devoted to the crucible, as, in their original form, no one there thought them of any value.* The extensive plains of Tartary are, also, supposed to contain inexhaustible stores of treasure buried by the Arab and Tartar hordes, who range over those wild solitudes, during either their ancient implacable contests with each other, or the invasion of the Parthians and other hostile nations combined against them.
With respect to India, independent of the domestic statues, which, it has already been observed-,;;it was customary with the ancient Indians to form out of the precious metals in fusion, we are well assured that all ! \ :.•',[:.::<. .
* Asiatic Researches) vol. i. p. 158. Calcutta, quarto edition.
the the great pagodas of India had complete sets* amounting to an immense number, of the avatars and deities, which they would probably deem degraded by any baser metals of meaner substance than gold and silver, except in those instances in which their mythological superstition ordained that the deity fabricated should be os stone, as in the instance of Jaggernaut, which Captain Hamilton represents as a pyramidal black stone, (in the fame manner as the ancient Arabians fabricated their deity, though of a square figure, to mark his perfection, while the darkness of the stone indicated the obscurity of his nature,) with, however, the richest jewels of Golconda for eyes; and, in that of Veefhau* in the great bason of Catmandu, in Nepal, sculptured in a recumbent posture, and of blue marble, to represent the primordial spirit, at the commencement of time, floating on the ccerulean surface of the Chaotic waters. In the Ayeen Akbery there is a very curious chapter on the great skill of the Indian artists in working in gold and jewellery, in which it is expreslly affirmed, that the Avatars are frequently made of gold and