Questioning the origin of an Iltutmish horse Jital. G&GD61 not from Multan ?

Started by THCoins, July 20, 2019, 12:29:43 PM

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In a previous post i questioned the attribution of two copper text Jitals to Multan mint. This made me to review the attribution of two other coins, tentitatively attributed to Multan.

G&GD61/Tye#378 is a scarce Horse Jital. The pictorial side shows a horseman right with "Sri HaMiRa" above. The text side reads "Shams / al-duniya wa al-din / abu 'l muzaffar Iltutmish / al-sultan"
Two examples of this type are shown in the first two pictures below. The horseman has a quite distinctive style. The design on the first specimen seems to have been copied from the Dehli type. The second is more typical for the type, most clearly defined by the clear angle between the horses neck and front shoulder.
The third coin is a specimen in a very similar type. This is &GSS12/Tye#345 Issued in the name of Qarlugh leader Saif al-Hasan Qarlugh. The text here reads "Saif / al-duniya wa al-din / abu 'l muzaffar al-Hasan / Qarlugh".
Both text and style of the Iltutmish and Qarlugh type are very similar. As parts of the name are usually of flan these may be difficult to keep apart. This was also demonstrated in a previous thread here on WoC.

The distinctive style and similarity between the types are given as argument in Tye's Jitals (P57) that both should likely be attributed to the same mint. As al-Hasan Qarlugh overtook the Multan region from Iltutmish it might be inferred that he continued minting of the Iltutmish Multan type there in his own name. Mr Tye also makes clear that the basis of this inference is narrow, by stating after Multan: "(or just conceivably that of some other city in Sind)".

In this thread i will present several arguments why the attribution to Multan is likely not correct.


1 - There are no stylistic links of this type with different and earlier types linked to Multan.
Before Iltutmish defeated Qabacha, this latter ruler also issued coinage, likely from his administrative capitals of Uch and Multan. There is no clear stylistic link  between any Qabacha type and the Tye#345/378 duo. There are also different Jital types issued in the name of Iltutmish often linked to Multan (G&GD57/Tye376.4). Again these are in a different style.
Now ofcourse the absence of evidence of a link to Multan in not the evidence of an absent link. So this is just a minor argument.

2 - History does not fit.
It was suggested that al-Hasan Qarlugh took over control from Iltutmish in the Multan region and just continued minting there, in his own name.
Given the sequence of events according to historic data this explanation is to simple.

After 1224AD, the regions of Binban and Koh-I-Jud came under the control of Qarlughid ruler Saif-ud-din Hasan. He was a general of Jalal al-Din Mangubarni, who stayed behind after the flight of the Kwarezmshah. He governed the territory previously taken from Nasir al-Din Qabacha.
The Binban region was located Southwest of Peshawar with Kurraman to the North. The control of this region controlled the main route from india to Ghazna. The Koh-i-Jud was the salt range region, with Nandana. Likely this was initially given over to the control of Ă–zbeg Bey, another Khwarezm general. A map of the region is given below.
In 1229AD Iltutmish caused the final defeat of Nasir al-din Qabacha. From then, to 1235AD Hasan Qarlugh was a vassal of Dehli. At that time he assumed a royal title for himself and changed allegiance to the Mongols. Iltutmish was not in a position to retaliate, as he died in 1236AD.
In 1238AD Hasan had to accept a Mongol Shahna as steward at his court.
In 1244AD the Qarlughids under Saif-ud-din Hasan conquered Multan for the first time but had to withdraw within a year under pressure of a Mongol army. Hasan died, and was succeeded around 1249AD by his son Nasir. This was also the year the Qarlughids took Multan for the second time, and again held it for only a short period.

So, in fact al-Hasan just gained control of Multan briefly, 8 years after the death of Iltutmish. This was during the rule of Ala al-din Mas'ud Shah of Dehli. It is not likely that the Qarlugh ruler just continued minting in Multan with just changing the name of Iltutmish for that of himself.

3- The forensic evidence; The handwriting tells a different story.
Epigraphic elements may help to pinpoint the origin and dating of historic objects. Writing style of both Sharada/Nagari and Arab script varied markedly over place and time.
Going to the Sharada script first. The text above the horeseman reads "Sri HaMiRa" in a rather crude style. The Ha character is most revealing, as this has the "common" shape which was also used on Dehli coins. In contrast, on coins attributed to Lahore and Multan the "Ha" character has a different form.
However, the Arab script is more important. A lucky thing is that there is a standard title on these coins which is also used on many other contemporary specimen with different origins. That's the "al duniya wa al-din" part. On the Tye#345/378 duo this has some special characteristics. This is most clear in the shape of "al-duniya" and "al-din". Both start at the level of the text baseline (not above) and end with an upstroke. The "dal" is shaped like an inverted square C with a small vertical upstroke at the top end. The back of "dal" is fused to the "lam" in front of it.
Now why are these details relevant ? That is because this text style, according to my research, does certainly not stem from Dehli, but comes from Afghanistan. It is mostly seen on contemporary coins from Ghazna, and just a few attributable to Kurraman mint. An example of a Taj al-din Yildiz coin (Tye#199) attributed to Ghazna is given as example.

It seems highly unlikely that Iltutmish came from the East, and subsequently had a coin designed in Multan with a textstyle coming from beyond the Hindu Kush in the West, far outside the territory under his direct control.

What is the alternative scenario?
al-Hasan Qarlugh had an Afghan stronghold in Ghazna and an Indian capital at Binban. In the Salt range (East of Binban) the Nandana type bull and horseman Jital probably circulated. It seems well conceiveable that al-Hasan issued Horse jitals from the Binban region in the name of Iltutmish, while a vassal of the Dehli sultan at his Western border. After Iltutmish' death there was no reason to use the name of the overlord. The mongols probably tolerated the minting in his own name, at least for some time.

Though this is all just circumstantial evidence, i believe that facts supporting Binban as origin of these coin outweigh the sparse evidence for Multan.