It took me about 4 years to finally hunt down a good Chandragupta II drachm with a clear enough name at a palatable price - but thankfully one of my regular sellers just dumped a small hoard onto eBay, most misattributed as his son, Kumaragupta. India, Gupta Empire Chandragupta II Vikramaditya (r. ca. 375 - 415) AR Drachm Obv: Bust of king right in Kshatrap style, degraded Greek legend around Rev: Stylized Garuda (mythical man-bird) standing on platform, sun above left. Brahmi legend around (PaRaMa BhaGaVaTa MaHa)RaJaDhiRaJa Sri ChaNdraGuPta (ViKraMaDiTya) My crude transcription of the legend visible Chandragupta II was the 5th or 6th Gupta king and widely regarded as one of the greatest kings in Indian history, although the details of his reign are fragmentary and heavily diluted in hyperbole and legend. Under his rule, more of India was united under one king than it had been since the time of Ashoka the Great, almost 700 years earlier The story of his succession is partially preserved in a fragmented play called Devichandraguptam, written after the fall of the Gupta Empire. It is generally accepted that it is at best only loosely based on fact, but is such a fun story that would fit right in with modern Bollywood. Chandragupta was said to have been the younger son of the great emperor Samudragupta, who was succeeded by the older Ramagupta, a weak and cowardly king. Ramagupta has been defeated in a military campaign against the Saka king (probably Rudrasimha III) who demands that Ramagupta hand over his wife Dhruvadevi as tribute. Ramagupta deliberates for a while, and then agrees. Chandragupta attempts to talk him out of it, and then decides to take matters into his own hands. He disguises himself in the queen's clothing, and his guard as ladies-in-waiting, and is taken to the enemy camp to be presented to the Saka king. Taking the enemy by surprise, they slay the Saka king and his entire court. Chandragupta later deposes Ramagupta and takes Dhruvadevi as his wife. Exactly how much of that story is true probably can never be known, but it is accepted that Chandragupta II did indeed dethrone the last Western Kshatrap Rudrasimha III in about 395, and probably continued the tradition of minting Indo-Greek standard drachms at their mint, replacing the three-arched hill with the Garuda - prior to this, the Kshatrapas had been the only entity within India to strike silver coins of any type or significant number since the earliest days of the Kushans. Chandragupta is also credited with military conquests in both present-day Afghanistan and Bengal, and is known to have welcomed the famed Chinese Buddhist monk Fa-Hsien who traveled to the homeland of his religion searching for religious texts which he translated to Chinese and brought home with him. The famous Iron Pillar of Delhi (famous for its near complete resistance to corrosion) may have been ordered by Chandragupta and was dedicated to him soon after his death. Curiously, despite his military and political prowess, coins of Chandragupta II are all quite scarce, mostly known from his plentiful gold staters. His silver drachms are relatively rare, and totally eclipsed by the immense number issued by his son Kumaragupta. As always, post those coins and comments!