Author Topic: Ghaznavid dirhem  (Read 3441 times)

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Offline EWC

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Re: Ghaznavid dirhem
« Reply #15 on: July 05, 2016, 01:13:06 PM »
Still 978AD seems very early, as Mahmud was born at the end of 971AD.

Actually, 978  is 'late', as 977 is also possible - see Album CL III E1602 note.  I think E1602 is that gigantic billon type?

If so, I was once told all the known specimens of it came from one hoard dispersed around 1840.

Later Edit - I now realise this comment about E1602 is rubbish - please ignore it! 


The most likely dating for the specimen would be 998-999AD i would think.

Why not 997?  Are there any published dated specimens of this type?

Rob
« Last Edit: July 09, 2016, 05:20:42 PM by EWC »

Offline THCoins

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Re: Ghaznavid dirhem
« Reply #16 on: July 05, 2016, 01:59:07 PM »
Quote
Actually, 978  is 'late', as 977 is also possible

edit: Took some time to find the right Album-1602. Still think it is confusing to pile markedly different types under one number. On the E1602 broad fals type i see an earliest date of 368AH. So it seems you are correct.
Remains the fact that it i think it is weird to issue coinage in the name of a 7 year old Governor ? The usually given period for his function of Samanid Governor is 384-387AH (994-997AD). A date of 977AD far better fits with Sebuktegin.
The opening post specimen seems to be Album-1605.

Quote
Why not 997?


Could be, but Nuh II bin Mansur died at the end of July 997, so his son Mansur only ruled the latter half of the year. The battle of Ghazni where Mahmud decisively defeated Isma'il was in March 998AD.

Anthony

Sorry Paul, hope you are not feeling i am hijacking your thread !
« Last Edit: July 10, 2016, 05:16:50 PM by THCoins »

Offline THCoins

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Re: Ghaznavid dirhem
« Reply #17 on: July 06, 2016, 02:38:58 PM »
Adding another early Mahmud Dirham.
On this one Nuh bin Mansur is named as overlord, So, it is Pre-997AD and was issued before the type in the opening post.
Also it bears the title "Sayf al Dawla" "Sword of the Realm" both in text as pictorial. This narrows the dating to 994-997AD when Mahmud was Samanid Governor.

Anthony

Offline EWC

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Re: Ghaznavid dirhem
« Reply #18 on: July 07, 2016, 10:39:13 AM »
Yes - seems to be Album C1602.

The key fact for me here is the fact that Sebuktegin set the policy - followed by Mahmud - of paying the army in cash - when the rest of Islam was feudalising (rather misleadingly called a barter economy by some). 

Perhaps the pattern of the rise of Ghanavid silver minting will spread some light in how this policy was implemented?   Album shares my view (see note under his 1599) that these coins are for the most part better viewed as iconoclastic jitals, and thus tend to derive not from Islamic practice, but from a strand within Hindu economic thought

Rob

Offline THCoins

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Re: Ghaznavid dirhem
« Reply #19 on: July 07, 2016, 04:22:24 PM »
I have not read enough into the economic history of the Ghaznavids to for an opinion on that.
I do feel that the designs show he was open to some experimentation. His first coinage still seems based on that of his Samanid masters. But he decreased the size markedly, and less so the weight. It will be no co-incidence that this metrology resembled that of the Shahi Jitals. Putting a picture of a sword on the last shown specimen i can only see as a conscious PR action to advertise himself. Which only makes sense on coins that were meant to circulate.
I also think Mahmud realised that monetary changes had to be gradual. In this respect i find it interesting that on some of the later Yamini Jitals there still seems to be the "islamic style" edge text. But when looking better there is just a random sequence of O and I's. The later bi-lingual coinage likely was largely an experiment that did not yield a satisfactory result.
I have read that Mahmud's monetary policy was mainly based on the looting of silver from India. It would seem wise to use part of the proceeds of these campaigns directly to pay the army. It also prevents having to grant other favours to military commanders which might work against you at a later time.

Offline Pellinore

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Re: Ghaznavid dirhem
« Reply #20 on: July 08, 2016, 01:22:21 AM »
I'm in awe about what you are finding out about this coin. I just bought it because I found it attractive. But now I see some interesting perspectives. So this is Album 1605, the small yamini dirhem, coined under Mahmud of Ghazni acting as governor for his overlord Mansur II bin Nuh II (997-999), the last but one amir of the Samanids. So it must date from the year 997, when Mahmud was still governor; later that year he was to be sultan.
Here's another pic.

Offline EWC

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Re: Ghaznavid dirhem
« Reply #21 on: July 08, 2016, 09:00:44 AM »
I have read that Mahmud's monetary policy was mainly based on the looting of silver from India. It would seem wise to use part of the proceeds of these campaigns directly to pay the army. It also prevents having to grant other favours to military commanders which might work against you at a later time.

I think the second half of this comment is spot on.  The growing tendency in 10th century Islam in general was feudalisation, army commanders got paid by land grants.  It represents a significant abandonment of the market economy.  That, I think, is the real reason so much silver was flowing out into Russia and Scandinavia.  Not so much that the Vikings wanted it, as that it was surplus to requirement in Islam.

The Ghaznavids were the big exception to this and the primary decision had nothing to do with Indian conquests – it was taken by Sebuktegin decades before that happened.  We can only guess at his motives.  In part, markets free up individuals from hierarchical control, and maybe that sort of traditional Islamic egalitarianism played a part in his thinking.  But very important was the fear that land grants were the first steps towards political independence of his regional military commanders, and thus the risk to his own central power base.

There is a curious incident in the later Ghaznavid period that backs up this suggestion – I would have to check – but I think it concerns Mas’ud III (?).  As I recall, by chance we have documents concerning a local military commander who needed cash quickly in connection with putting down a rebellion.  And there was cash, or cash credits, lying with the local tax department, apparently waiting onward payment to the ruler.  So the army commander asked to access the local cash – which of course looks entirely reasonable.  But the request was denied.  It was apparently a cast iron rule of the Ghaznavid state that there was a kind of firewall between regional finance and the regional military.  In the end the commander was permitted to draw down goods (nutmeg was one of the items!) which had been paid in lieu of taxes – and sell them for cash in the market.  But the goods were from a different, adjacent province – thus from a finance department external to his military zone.

I long suspected this sort of philosophy was widespread in the ancient world.  There is an enormous mixing of provincial coin going on in both the Sasanid and Mauryan empires.  It seems to me evidence that similar political philosophies were followed there too – and that all tax coin tended to be paid upwards to the centre and got mixed there, rather than merely circulating locally close to the regional mints.

I published evidence for this concerning late Mauryan PMC’s, but the entire paper was suppressed in the recent Hardaker book.

Rob


Offline THCoins

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Re: Ghaznavid dirhem
« Reply #22 on: July 08, 2016, 10:50:10 AM »
I would think for Sebuktegin that he was simply not in a position to choose between granting favours or directly paying silver. For one, he had no "natural" authority. Having a slave background would not have strengthened his position in dealing with local hereditary nobility. For second, while striving for independence he nominally still was just the Samanid governor. He would have risked the wrath of the Samanids if he overplayed his hand in using his local authority to soon.

Quote
So it must date from the year 997, when Mahmud was still governor; later that year he was to be sultan.
There are some different dates to be found in literature on when Mahmud proclaimed himself sultan. But as said a date between 97 and 99 is most likely. While we usually call these yamini dirhams also, this term originates from the title Mahmud used only after 997AD.

Anthony
« Last Edit: July 08, 2016, 09:59:26 PM by THCoins »

Offline EWC

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Re: Ghaznavid dirhem
« Reply #23 on: July 09, 2016, 02:39:43 PM »
I would think..................

My conclusions derive from sources quoted in Bosworth, principally Shabankara'i. 

Maybe I am just old fashioned? - Uninformed conjectures do not cut it for me, when we have better information to hand

According to Bosworth. Sebuktegin was advised by a traditional Persian civil service - led by his Vazir Abu Ali Kirmani

Kirmani seems to have been in control of day to day government during the periods of Mahmud's minority that you previously commented on

Rob

Offline THCoins

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Re: Ghaznavid dirhem
« Reply #24 on: July 09, 2016, 03:34:14 PM »
I  am afraid you are contradicting yourself. I was stating some likely hypotheses in response to your previous comment:

Quote
We can only guess at his motives.

The paramount importance of family/clan background in political affairs at the time is not an "uninformed conjecture" but based on literary evidence.

Anthony

Offline EWC

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Re: Ghaznavid dirhem
« Reply #25 on: July 09, 2016, 05:04:42 PM »
I  am afraid you are contradicting yourself. I was stating some likely hypotheses in response to your previous comment:
Rob > We can only guess at his motives

Afraid that is not correct.  I would only have contradicted myself if I had said

“We can only guess at his motives, and any guess is just as good as any other.”

Which of course I did not.

The paramount importance of family/clan background in political affairs at the time is not an "uninformed conjecture" but based on literary evidence.

Please tell me more.  My argument was based upon very specific text (Bosworth “The Ghanavids” p 42 and p. 125 principally)  Please cite the texts you have in mind and explain why they are specifically relevant.

I found this comment central to your case particularly inappropriate

Having a slave background……

Maybe Manzikurt will play referee here - and offer an alternative opinion on the status of slaves in medieval Islamic polity?

Rob

Offline THCoins

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Re: Ghaznavid dirhem
« Reply #26 on: July 09, 2016, 06:08:34 PM »
Rob,

I started making a response to you previous post. But i erased it. I experience the tone of your remarks increasingly as condescending and not contributing to a pleasant and open discussion. I do thank you for your previous responses as they encouraged me to delve deeper into the subject looking at multiple secondary, and a few primary sources. I have no need for a referee, as i do not want to be in a contest.

Anthony

Offline Figleaf

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Re: Ghaznavid dirhem
« Reply #27 on: July 10, 2016, 12:10:29 PM »
I wrote a PM to both of you and challenged you to post a joke in WoC. TH is leaving on hols today, so that gives you more time, EWC, ;)

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

Offline EWC

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Re: Ghaznavid dirhem
« Reply #28 on: July 10, 2016, 01:15:19 PM »
I wrote a PM to both of you and challenged you to post a joke in WoC. TH is leaving on hols today, so that gives you more time, EWC, ;)

I am, in this, your humble servant Peter.   :)

Actually its not too difficult - Paul's coin was struck by Mahmud, who one suspects was a rather too serious a guy.  He looted India 17 years on the trot - primarily it appears in the course of hunting down anyone he thought was an insufficiently orthodox  Moslem.  In connection with this he had a big argument with his chief Scientist Alberuni – and sent him into exile (chiefly in Multan)  Anyhow Alberuni spent his time writing a book and there with hundreds of jokes in it – aimed at all sort of folly and bigotry.

The problem I face is that they are mostly so politically incorrect that they are today unquotable.  He does not spare Islam, and makes a comment there which might get me reported to the police if I repeated it today

Here is a passage where I judge he is rather more gently making jokes, at the expense of Hindus.  I hope Hindu members will forgive it – the things he says about Christians and Negro’s are much worse….

It’s the delicate phrasing that gets to me.  Alberuni came 700 years before Voltaire, but his jokes stood the test I time much better - timeless

The text with diagrams is here

http://www.infinityfoundation.com/mandala/images/alberuni.pdf

(Start at 27 on page 106 - Elliot p. 289)

Alberuni writes:

The extension of bodies in space is in three directions: length, breadth, and depth or height. The path of any real direction, not an imaginary one, is limited; therefore the lines representing these three paths are limited, and their six end-points or limits are the directions. If you imagine an animal in the centre of these lines, i.e. where they cut each other, which turns its face towards one of them, the directions with relation t o the animal are before, behind, right, left, above, and below.

If these directions are used in relation to the world, they acquire new names. As the rising and setting of the heavenly bodies depend upon the horizon and the first motion becomes apparent by the horizon, it is the most convenient to determine the directions by the horizon. The four directions, east, west, north, south (corresponding to before, behind, left, and right), are generally known, but the directions which lie between each two of these are less known. These make eight directions, and, together with above and below, which do not need any further explanation, ten directions.

The Greeks determined the directions by the rising and setting places of the zodiacal signs, brought them into relation to the winds, and so obtained sixteen directions.

Also the Arabs determined the directions by the blowing-points of the winds. Any wind blowing between two cardinal winds they called in general Nakbˆa. Only in rare cases they are called by special names of their own.

The Hindus, in giving names to the directions, have not taken any notice of the blowing of a wind; they simply call the four cardinal directions, as well as the secondary directions between them, by separate names. So they have eight directions in the horizontal plane, as exhibited by the following diagram (omitted here) Besides there are two directions more for the two poles of the horizontal plane, the above and below, the former being called Upari, the second Adhas and Tala.

These directions, and those in use among other nations, are based on general consent. Since the horizon is divided by innumerable circles, the directions also proceeding from its centre are innumerable. The two ends of every possible diameter may be considered as before and behind, and therefore the two ends of the diameter cutting the former at right angles (and lying in the same plane) are right and left.

The Hindus can never speak of anything, be it an object of the intellect or of imagination, without representing it as a personification, an individual. They at once marry him, make him celebrate marriage, make his wife become pregnant and give birth to something. So, too, in this case.  Vishnu –Dharmarelatesthat Atri, the star who rules the stars of the Great Bear, married the directions, represented as one person, though they are eight in number, and that from her the moon was born.

Another author relates: Dakska, i.e. Prajapati, married Dharma, i.e. the reward, to ten of his daughters, i.e. the ten directions. From one of them he had many children. She was called Vasu, and her children the Vasus. One of them was the moon. 

No doubt our people, the Muslims, will laugh at such a birth of the moon. But I give them still more of this stuff. Thus, e.g. they relate: The sun, the son of Ka ́syapa and of Aditya, his wife, was born in the sixth Manvantara on the lunar station Visakha; the moon, the son of Dharma, was born on the station Krittika; Mars, the son of Prajapati, on Purvashadha; Mercury, the son of the moon, on Dhanishtha; Jupiter, the son of Ȧngiras, on Purvaphalgunı; Venus, the daughter of Bhrigu, on Pushya; Saturn on Revatı; the Bearer of the Tail, the son of Yama, the angel of death, on A slesha, and the Head on Revatı. 

According to their custom, the Hindus attribute certain dominants to the eight directions in the horizontal plane, which we exhibit in the following table:

Indra.  East.
Fire. S.E.
Yama. South.
Prithu. S.W.
Varuna.  West.
Vayu.  N.W.
Kuru. North.
Mahadeva. N.E.

The Hindus construct a figure of these eight directions, called Rahucakra, i.e. the figure of the Head, by means of which they try to gain an omen or prophecy for hazard-playing. It is the following diagram:—

The figure is used in this way: First, you must know the dominant of the day in question, and its place in the present figure. Next you must know that one of the eight parts of the day in which you, happen to be. These eighths are counted on the lines, beginning with the dominant of the day, in uninterrupted succession from east to south and west. Thus you find the dominant of the eighth in question. If ,e.g., you want to know the fifth eighth of Thursday whilst Jupiter is the dominus diei in the south, and the line proceeding from the south terminates in north-west, we find that the dominant of the first eighth is Jupiter, that of the second is Saturn, that of the third the sun, that of the fourth the moon, and that of the fifth Mercury in the north. In this way you go on counting the eighths through the day and the night till the end.

When thus the direction of the eighth of the day in which you are has been found, it is considered by them as Rahu; and when sitting down to play, you must place yourself so that you have this direction at your back. Then you will win, according to their belief. It is no affair of the reader to despise a man who, on account of such an omen, in a variety of games stakes all his chances on one cast of the dice. Suffice it to leave to him the responsibility of his dice-playing

Offline EWC

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Re: Ghaznavid dirhem
« Reply #29 on: July 11, 2016, 09:22:06 AM »
The account I gave above of Sebuktegin’s monetary policy was brief, as a fuller version is in Jitals (p. 42), and I knew Anthony had access to that, and assumed he had read it.

My account derives from Bosworth, who got it from Shabankara'i, who, as I understand it, quoted directly from Sebuktegin’s own autobiography “the Pand-nama”.  Bosworth is very clear that the account is consistent with other sources of information, and it clearly matches the coin evidence too.

Given that we apparently have Sebuktegin’ own account of what he did, which is both plausible and consistent with the known facts, we would need a rather strong reason to depart from it.

The reason given however was:

AH > The paramount importance of family/clan background in political affairs - he was simply not in a position to choose between granting favours or directly paying silver. For one, he had no "natural" authority. Having a slave background would not have strengthened his position in dealing with local hereditary nobility

I suggest we should start by considering whether other Turkish slave rulers – such as Aybak and Baybars (in Egypt), or Iltutmish and Balban (in India) were noticeably hampered by this purely hypothetical lack of “natural” authority?

I intend to continue to robustly defend sound scholarship to the best of my ability.  Its sad that the personal abuse I received has not been withdrawn - but to be truthful, I got used to that sort of response long since.

Rob