Author Topic: Mamluk, Ali II (al-Mansur `Ala al-Din), AE fals, Trablus, undated.  (Read 4974 times)

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Offline capnbirdseye

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Mamluk AE fals, Ali II (al-Mansur `Ala al-Din), Trablus, undated.

Obv: Stylised fleur-de-lys
Rev: 3 line legend
« Last Edit: December 31, 2014, 04:33:43 PM by THCoins »
Vic

Offline Quant.Geek

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Re: Mamluk, Ali II (al-Mansur `Ala al-Din), AE fals, Trablus, undated.
« Reply #1 on: December 22, 2014, 10:22:19 PM »
I have a similar one of these coins as well, but haven't figured out what the legend is.  This is a particularly interesting coin due to the Crusader fleur-de-lys in a Mamluk coin:

Mamluk Sultanate: al-Ashraf Sha'ban II (AH 764-778) AE Fals, 764AH, Hamáh (Balog-466var; SNAT Hamáh 574-580)

« Last Edit: December 22, 2014, 10:48:29 PM by Quant.Geek »
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Offline capnbirdseye

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Re: Mamluk, Ali II (al-Mansur `Ala al-Din), AE fals, Trablus, undated.
« Reply #2 on: December 22, 2014, 10:33:20 PM »
There are several of this type on zeno as youwill have seen but nobody gives a reading of the legend, it must indicate the mint - zarb hamah i would think
Vic

Offline THCoins

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Re: Mamluk, Ali II (al-Mansur `Ala al-Din), AE fals, Trablus, undated.
« Reply #3 on: December 22, 2014, 10:46:44 PM »
Vic, is yours Balog 504 ? As that seems similar.

Offline capnbirdseye

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Re: Mamluk, Ali II (al-Mansur `Ala al-Din), AE fals, Trablus, undated.
« Reply #4 on: December 22, 2014, 10:57:32 PM »
Vic, is yours Balog 504 ? As that seems similar.

yes, they gave it that number on zeno but i doon't have the book myself
Vic

Offline Quant.Geek

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Re: Mamluk, Ali II (al-Mansur `Ala al-Din), AE fals, Trablus, undated.
« Reply #5 on: December 22, 2014, 11:23:27 PM »
Balog 504 based on http://islamiccoins.ancients.info/mamluk/alMansurAliII.htm.  I, unfortunately, do not have access to Balog as well  :(.  But Vic's coin does have a good match to that coin...



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Offline THCoins

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Re: Mamluk, Ali II (al-Mansur `Ala al-Din), AE fals, Trablus, undated.
« Reply #6 on: December 23, 2014, 11:34:28 AM »
Another nice website for these.

Offline Manzikert

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Re: Mamluk, Ali II (al-Mansur `Ala al-Din), AE fals, Trablus, undated.
« Reply #7 on: December 23, 2014, 12:07:03 PM »
Scan of Balog 504

Alan

Offline Quant.Geek

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Re: Mamluk, Ali II (al-Mansur `Ala al-Din), AE fals, Trablus, undated.
« Reply #8 on: December 23, 2014, 12:35:19 PM »
Thanks Alan!  Can you post Balog 466 as well  ;D...
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Offline Figleaf

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Re: Mamluk, Ali II (al-Mansur `Ala al-Din), AE fals, Trablus, undated.
« Reply #9 on: December 25, 2014, 03:43:42 PM »
The fleur de lis is only indirectly a crusader symbol. As a heraldic element, it is as old as Charlemagne, but it is best known as a French royal symbol.

However, it seems unlikely that this Western symbol struck the fancy of any Mamluk ruler. Isn't it more likely that a Western cataloguer mistook a trident he didn't know for a heraldic lily he did know? Note that QG's specimen in reply 2 has an extra stroke at the base that is not compatible with a heraldic lily, but goes well with a trident.

Peter
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Offline Manzikert

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Re: Mamluk, Ali II (al-Mansur `Ala al-Din), AE fals, Trablus, undated.
« Reply #10 on: December 28, 2014, 10:19:17 PM »
Balog 466 below: sorry for the delay but I was away over Christmas.

As far as I know there has been no evidence to suggest the symbol is not a lys: the outer two points are always turned downwards at the tip which would not be much use for a trident.

Alan
« Last Edit: December 29, 2014, 05:13:26 PM by Manzikert »

Offline Quant.Geek

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Re: Mamluk, Ali II (al-Mansur `Ala al-Din), AE fals, Trablus, undated.
« Reply #11 on: December 29, 2014, 04:45:45 PM »
Much appreciated Alan.  This is exactly what I needed to help me transcribe the coin.  Thanks.
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Offline EWC

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Re: Mamluk, Ali II (al-Mansur `Ala al-Din), AE fals, Trablus, undated.
« Reply #12 on: January 09, 2015, 11:04:22 AM »
I have no idea why this Mamluq type came about, but I have a few general thoughts that might be relevant.  These matters are very controversial, but I have no plan to be inflammatory – just informative.

Balog was Hungarian but lived in Egypt for 40 years, so his guess is probably as good as anyone’s.  Seems to me that any medieval Christian looking at this design would tend to look at it as a Fleur, and thus a symbol of the trinity.  Educated Moslems would certainly know this too.  Alberuni c. 1000 AD wrote a some length about the curious resemblance between Christian and Hindu Trinitarian concepts.

Egypt was for a long time, under the Fatimids, the centre of Shia thought, and it has been suggested that the Fatimids had ideas which paralleled some aspects of trinitarianism.  This is associated with a sura from the Koran which mentions three gifts to mankind, as best I recall these are the book, the sword and the scales, I can track it down if people are interested.

All this is relevant to coins, as it has been suggested that this idea had some bearing upon the bull’s-eye design of most Fatimid coins.  And back in the 19th century, leading authorities on European coins, Engel and Serrure, suggested that a very important European coin design  - the French Gros Tournois – (Trinitarian in concept?), and was inspired by earlier Fatimid coin design.

One of the notable things about the Gros Tournois is that the outer ring is just a large number of Fleurs – and I think that is the first time the Fleur becomes prominent of French coinage.  However I seem to recall the Gross Tournois appears at a time when Florentine bankers are becoming very influential in France, and the Fleur was already very prominent as a symbol of Florence, especially on its coins (it is a pun on the city name).  Hmmmmm.

Also the Fleur is by far the most common design on the medieval lead weights used in the North of England.  This too is quite interesting, because, these weights are avoirdupois and  (on the traditional understanding of such matters) appear as the troy-tower weight system being replaced by the avoirdupois system, for most commodities in trade.  And the avoirdupois system is the weight system of Florence and Rome, which was introduced to England as Florentine Bankers took control of English finance in the 14th century.

The idea that avoirdupois weights have a French origin is quite widespread.  The Oxford English dictionary for instance dwells on the Norman-French origins of the word, and makes no mention of the fact the system is almost certainly of Italian – Florentine – in origin. 

Of course , all of this might be completely  irrelevant to the Mamluq design in question!   :)

Offline Figleaf

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Re: Mamluk, Ali II (al-Mansur `Ala al-Din), AE fals, Trablus, undated.
« Reply #13 on: January 09, 2015, 11:14:18 PM »
Very interesting! Thank you.

First, the French connection. The fleur de lis is a Carolingian symbol. It still occurs on Aachen cathedral. French kings have used as a reference to Charlemagne, but not on coins until Louis VII (1137-1180), when it became a heraldic device, used between the arms of the cross. Indeed, it became prominent on the coins of Louis XI (1245-1270). There were ten of them on the tournois d'or, seven on a shield, making clear that the fleur de lis was used on the king's shield. Louis went to Egypt in 1248, was made a prisoner there. He returned to France only in 1254. There should not be any doubt that the fleur de lis was known in Egypt.

I have attached a sketch of a gros tournois of Louis XI, as I think you referred to this coin. This is a thoroughly European coin. The Frankish castle must have been known from the double tournois, like the short cross. In other words, there is nothing on the coin that would appeal to Muslims in any way.

As for the Florentine fiorino d'oro that became the ubiquitous florin, I think there is a stronger case there. It first appeared in 1252, was used in all of Europe and widely imitated. It's one of these "hey, I am money" sort of symbols. It must have been known in Egypt. Taking the Leeuwendaalders as an example and the Arabic influences in Venetian art and architecture as an argument, you can build a case for the lily of Florence being used in Egypt as a symbol of money. However, there are two counter-arguments. One is the same as above: the heraldic lily was well known as a Christian symbol and the Florentine lily was used on gold only.

I don't know enough about British weights, so I'll pass on that one.

Peter
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Offline EWC

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Re: Mamluk, Ali II (al-Mansur `Ala al-Din), AE fals, Trablus, undated.
« Reply #14 on: January 10, 2015, 09:42:32 AM »
Many thanks for the thoughts.

Your position here 

I have attached a sketch of a gros tournois of Louis XI, as I think you referred to this coin. This is a thoroughly European coin.

seems to me to contradict that taken by Engel and Serrure.  Actually, my French is terrible, but that is what I seem to read on page 947 of their catalogue – where they seem clearly to endorse the view of Blancard that the Gros Tournois was in part inspired by the ‘monnais arabes’ of 'Egypte'.

Personally, I am not inclined to take strong positions on matters to do with coin design.  Scholarship should surely to tread a careful line between excess credulity and excess skepticism.  On coin design often we do not know - all we can do is sketch possibilities – and the possibilities are endless.

Bear in mind both Christian and Muslim philosophers owe a big debt to Plato, and that matter is not unconnected to trinitarianism.  And also that neo-Platonism was connected to geomancy in the ancient and medieval mind.

In part in jest I will point out that (as I recall) Charlemagne asked Alcuin of York to create a ‘New Athens’ at Aachen.  And the ‘Platonistic tendencies’ of the men surrounding Alcuin are I think well recognised, and strangely resemble the Bloomsbury group around Keynes.  Its almost as if History herself is a joker.  But enough of that surely

There is a French tradition associated with Charlemagne that is possibly more intellectually accessible – especially to those who read French better than I.  I have it in mind to start some threads of weight standards, in the hope to get some assistance with criticism from Continental Europe, but will put my toe in the water here, to see if there is any interest

The BN I believe has a set of weight called the ‘Pile de Charlemagne’.  Munro (at Toronto) claimed this set of weights is possibly only 15th century.  Grierson (at Cambridge) suggested it does not represent the pound used by Charlemagne at all (that its pound is actual 9/8 of Charlemagne’s commodity pound).  But I cannot find out what authorities in France think about this matter.  I have Hocqet’s collected papers, but he does not seem to mention it.  Witthoft in Germany has of course written on Charlemagne’s weights, but even in German (which I also cannot read) he seemed to make the topic extraordinarily complicated, and very different from Grierson.

Anyone want to discuss this?