Author Topic: Anonymous Jital citing "Malik of Kurzuwan", Genghis Khan Siege issue, AH618  (Read 330 times)

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Offline Overlord

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Anonymous Jital citing "Malik of Kurzuwan", minted in the month Rabi, 618 AH (May/June 1221 AD) in Kurzuwan in Khwarezm when it was besieged by Ghengiz Khan, Tye 324.1, Nyamaa 31, Album 1971 (Ex Robert Tye, 3.5 g, 20 mm)

This is a siege issue, minted while the city was beseiged by Ghengis Khan. The coins were minted in the name of the "Malik of Kurzuwan", an enigmatic title. It is not certain who it belonged to, but it seems that someone within the city assumed the royal power of "malik" (King), while probably keeping a nominal allegience to Sultan Mangurbani. There are two types of this coin, one type dated Rabi II, and one dated Jumada I. This is the more common, and earlier month. Going by the scarcity of the coins, it is reasonable to suspect that the city fell sometime in Jumada I, literally weeks after the minting of this coin. Ghengis Khan completely destroyed the city and slaughtered the population. The strike on these is often weak and off center, not surprising given the circumstances of the minting.

Obverse: (central circle) Al-Malik (the king), (around) tarikh rabi al-ak(har sanat thaman asbar wa) sin mi'at (dated Rabi II, of the year 618)
Reverse: (in four lines) Kurzuwan/La ilaha illa allah/muhammad rasool/allah
« Last Edit: October 24, 2018, 10:39:51 AM by THCoins »

Offline THCoins

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Nice addition ! the jade gree color of the metal corrosion gives a very appealing contrast with the text.
Whether this should be called a "Jital" is something which might be matter of discussion to some. Design and metrology are only remotely related to the Bull & Horseman Jitals of the Kabuls Shahi. As we do not know how the users called these, i am not so strict in terminology in these matters.
This is one of those issues which signifies a turning point in history. That is why it appeals to many collectors i think.

Offline Figleaf

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I take another road and reach the same conclusion. This is a magnificent document of a pivotal time. Ghengis was amassing the largest empire the world would ever know with a savage policy of mass murder, with indifference to contempt for money, wealth, luxury, knowledge and walls, something that would tear his very empire apart with and after Kublai. Is there a better way to show how he got so much so very wrong than this pathetic attempt at normalcy in the face of terminal disaster? Mankind at its most dramatic.

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

Offline EWC

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A few rather random comments

1)  As the Mongolian army approached, the ruling Khwarezm Shah fled, instructing the cities to look to themselves.  At Kurzuwan and elsewhere, it was apparently thus left to the local town council to try arrange a defence.  This “malik” was presumably just the local mayor or some such, doing his best.

2)  The psychology of Ghengis, and the later Great Khans, seems to be this:  God had already granted them world dominion.  Thus any opponents who attempted to defend themselves were already misguided heretics

3)  The psychology of the generals in the Mongol army seems to be this:  early on one of them accepted the surrender of a city, and afterwards that city rebelled, breaking the terms.  So Ghengis had the general involved himself executed.  Thenceforward generals apparently did not risk sparing cities.

4)  The near contemporary accounts of the war in Afghanistan are from the “Islamic” side, primarily Juzjani.  Thus it is prudent to consider they might exaggerate the genicide – a normal part of war propaganda. However, subsequent Chinese pilgrims passing through do mention deserted cities, wild dogs the only inhabitants.  Also coin issue almost ceases after the conquest.  Thus broadly, they seem to be correct

5)  Resistance must have gone on for a few years – Mangubarni attempted a reconquest for the Khwarezmians.  Coins were struck in small quantities at a number of cities in Afghanistan, which must have lasted at least a short while.  But the whole matter remains rather obscure

Just my own opinions - and from memory - in case of interest

Rob T

Offline THCoins

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Adding to the numismatic evidence from this obscure period;
Below is a Jital attributed to Dawar mint (Tye#279). The obverse names Ala al-Din Muhammad Khwarezm shah. The reverse has a reference to Caliph al-Nasir.
There's something remarkable about this issue i think. In the form of the first coin below, this type is quite rare. The second coin below is of the same type, but the caliph side is present also as incuse on the other side. This seems like an incidental minting error, where the previous coin stuck to the hammer when striking the next.
The remarkable aspect is that misstruck coins of this type seem far more prevalent than normal ones.
As a first example from Zeno, this coin has a clear caliph side. The Khwarezmshah side is struck so far off-centre that it is difficult to recognize. This has also lead to the coin being misclassified and ending up in the Chingis Khan coins category.
A second example from Zeno is this one shown by Vaxtankava. Here the reference to caliph al-Nasir is struck on both coin sides.
I can not prove this without doubt, but i think surviving coin evidence might indicate a deliberate strategy of the mint here. Once the Mongol takeover was underway the mint may have adapted by slowly removing the reference to the former ruler from their coins that might be offensive to the new power in charge ?
« Last Edit: October 07, 2018, 10:58:42 AM by THCoins »