World of Coins

Medieval and cash coins => Islamic world => Topic started by: capnbirdseye on December 22, 2014, 10:02:06 PM

Title: Mamluk, Ali II (al-Mansur `Ala al-Din), AE fals, Trablus, undated.
Post by: capnbirdseye on December 22, 2014, 10:02:06 PM
Mamluk AE fals, Ali II (al-Mansur `Ala al-Din), Trablus, undated.

Obv: Stylised fleur-de-lys
Rev: 3 line legend
Title: Re: Mamluk, Ali II (al-Mansur `Ala al-Din), AE fals, Trablus, undated.
Post by: Quant.Geek 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)

(http://www.forumancientcoins.com/gallery/albums/userpics/36484/normal_Balog-466var.jpg)
Title: Re: Mamluk, Ali II (al-Mansur `Ala al-Din), AE fals, Trablus, undated.
Post by: capnbirdseye 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
Title: Re: Mamluk, Ali II (al-Mansur `Ala al-Din), AE fals, Trablus, undated.
Post by: THCoins on December 22, 2014, 10:46:44 PM
Vic, is yours Balog 504 ? As that seems similar.
Title: Re: Mamluk, Ali II (al-Mansur `Ala al-Din), AE fals, Trablus, undated.
Post by: capnbirdseye 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
Title: Re: Mamluk, Ali II (al-Mansur `Ala al-Din), AE fals, Trablus, undated.
Post by: Quant.Geek 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...

(http://islamiccoins.ancients.info/mamluk/b504.JPG)

(http://islamiccoins.ancients.info/mamluk/b504x2.JPG)
Title: Re: Mamluk, Ali II (al-Mansur `Ala al-Din), AE fals, Trablus, undated.
Post by: THCoins on December 23, 2014, 11:34:28 AM
Another nice website (http://www.amalhayaty33.virtualave.net/) for these.
Title: Re: Mamluk, Ali II (al-Mansur `Ala al-Din), AE fals, Trablus, undated.
Post by: Manzikert on December 23, 2014, 12:07:03 PM
Scan of Balog 504

Alan
Title: Re: Mamluk, Ali II (al-Mansur `Ala al-Din), AE fals, Trablus, undated.
Post by: Quant.Geek on December 23, 2014, 12:35:19 PM
Thanks Alan!  Can you post Balog 466 as well  ;D...
Title: Re: Mamluk, Ali II (al-Mansur `Ala al-Din), AE fals, Trablus, undated.
Post by: Figleaf 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
Title: Re: Mamluk, Ali II (al-Mansur `Ala al-Din), AE fals, Trablus, undated.
Post by: Manzikert 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
Title: Re: Mamluk, Ali II (al-Mansur `Ala al-Din), AE fals, Trablus, undated.
Post by: Quant.Geek on December 29, 2014, 04:45:45 PM
Much appreciated Alan.  This is exactly what I needed to help me transcribe the coin.  Thanks.
Title: Re: Mamluk, Ali II (al-Mansur `Ala al-Din), AE fals, Trablus, undated.
Post by: EWC 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!   :)
Title: Re: Mamluk, Ali II (al-Mansur `Ala al-Din), AE fals, Trablus, undated.
Post by: Figleaf 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 (http://www.worldofcoins.eu/forum/index.php/topic,7724.0.html) 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
Title: Re: Mamluk, Ali II (al-Mansur `Ala al-Din), AE fals, Trablus, undated.
Post by: EWC 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?
Title: Re: Mamluk, Ali II (al-Mansur `Ala al-Din), AE fals, Trablus, undated.
Post by: capnbirdseye on March 07, 2015, 03:17:00 PM
Another one of these has come my way,   from that Amal Hayati website it looks like this is Balog 525?
Title: Re: Mamluk, Ali II (al-Mansur `Ala al-Din), AE fals, Trablus, undated.
Post by: Manzikert on March 07, 2015, 08:54:13 PM
Balog 525 attached.
Title: Re: Mamluk, Ali II (al-Mansur `Ala al-Din), AE fals, Trablus, undated.
Post by: capnbirdseye on March 07, 2015, 11:08:41 PM
Balog 525 attached.


Thank you, it does seem to be the one I think
Title: Re: Mamluk, Ali II (al-Mansur `Ala al-Din), AE fals, Trablus, undated.
Post by: Figleaf on April 23, 2017, 12:15:42 PM
Being unhappy still with the description "fleur de lis", I looked around for a better explanation in Uzbekistan. I think I found it. The first picture is a stamp, used to decorate traditional flat bread (nan), purchased in a Bukhara bazar. The symbol is a pomegranate, cut in half, a traditional islamic symbol for fertility.

The second picture shows another piece of folk art: a carved wooden pillar in a restaurant in Bukhara. This is a stylised pomegranate, intertwined with flowers. he lower part of the pomegranate merges with other parts of the design.

I think pomegranate (leaves) is a more apt description of the design than fleur de lis.

Peter
Title: Re: Mamluk, Ali II (al-Mansur `Ala al-Din), AE fals, Trablus, undated.
Post by: saro on August 12, 2017, 01:44:28 PM
Heraldic "Fleur de Lys" on Mamluks coins  quoted from David Collection :

"Like all Mamluk copper coins, this one struck in Aleppo was intended purely for local use. The Mamluks frequently placed ornaments, arabesques, scrolls or flowerets among the legends of their coins. They also introduced a new feature on the coinage, particularly the copper fulus, which have been described as
heraldry but are actually emblems, or blazons, representing the rulers. When striking large numbers of copper coins it was much easier to limit the legends to the mint name and the name of the ruler on the reverse, with the emblem often taking up the whole of the obverse field. Research shows that as many as twenty-six Mamluk sultans are represented by their blazons.

That of the first Bahri Mamluk ruler was a lion, others chose rosettes, stylised flowers, a form of chalice or birds.

Al-Muzaffar Hajji had only time to place one emblem on his copper, and this was the fleur-de-lys, which was much favoured by Qala‘un and his descendants. Six other rulers chose this device to identify their coins, although most of them employed more than one. For example the coins of al-Ashraf Sha‘ban II bore the fleur-de-lys, two different forms of rosette, a lion, a crescent and a fesse that divides the face of the coin into three segments. Copper coins were often recalled to the mint and restruck with a different design, and then sold to the public in return for silver, which was an effective way of raising revenue
."
Title: Re: Mamluk, Ali II (al-Mansur `Ala al-Din), AE fals, Trablus, undated.
Post by: Figleaf on August 12, 2017, 04:02:20 PM
See replies #9 and 13 above why I doubt that Western authors writing about Eastern symbols get it right, especially in numismatics, where there are long and stubborn traditions copied from one writer to the other.

There is a well known experiment, in which a student was confronted with an Egyptian symbol he didn't know and was asked to copy it. The student's drawings were used on another student, who was also asked to copy it. After a number of iterations, the unknown Egyptian symbol had morphed into a known cat. Humans change what they don't recognise (in this case the stylised half pomegranate) into something they are familiar with (in this the Frankish stylised lily).

However, especially because symbols are so powerful, it is very unlikely indeed that the Mamluks would have accepted the fleur-de-lis, a symbol so close to the hearts of their crusading religious opponents. In modern terms, how likely is it that we will see a mosque on a US coin or a church on an Iranian coin in our lifetimes?

Having argued that it's highly unlikely to be a Frankish heraldic fleur-de-lis, I should come up with an alternative, which I did above. Take into account that I saw the pillar in the company of an Uzbek moslem. I asked him for an explanation and he came up with the pomegranate. Similarly, I bought the bread stamp in the company of an Uzbek woman. She explained the design as a pomegranate. Keep in mind how in moslem decorative art, stems can be elongated or disappear, leaves can be shown longer or shorter to suit the design and there is little or no perspective...

Peter