Author Topic: Khwarezmian dinar 607AH, Muhammad II  (Read 91 times)

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Offline Figleaf

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Khwarezmian dinar 607AH, Muhammad II
« on: November 06, 2019, 10:52:26 AM »
I don't remember ever having paid more for a single coin, but once I'd seen it, I fell in love with it. This is a gold dinar of Muhammad II, Khwarezmshah, MWI 902-904. Mitchiner only mentions that it is in the style of Nishpur, but Wikipedia shows a similar coin with the mint identified as Bukhara. I wonder if my coin can be assigned to a mint also.


Muhammad II is my candidate for the worst diplomat in history. He spent his life beating back a series of pretenders and rebels, eventually destroying the Ghurids in the process. He then turned against his long term allies, the Kara Khitay, capturing Transoxiana, Tashkent, Bukhara, Samarqand and Fergana, where he was so heartily disliked that there was a rebellion in Samarqand, resulting in an estimated 10 000 murders of Khwarezmians. Muhammad promptly had 10 000 natives of Samarqand killed in retaliation. Having assembled an impressive empire, Muhammad marched against the caliph of Baghdad, who had refused him the title shah. After bad weather killed thousands of his warriors, he had to give up, though.

It was it this point, that a diplomatic delegation knocked at the gates of Otrar with gifts and proposals for trade. Muhammad had them accused of espionage, confiscated their goods and eventually had them killed. A follow-up delegation, seeking reparations and punishment of the governor of Otrar was killed also.

This was not to the liking of the ruler who had sent the delegations: Genghis Khan. Genghis invaded Khwarezm, sacked Samarqand and Bukhara, demolished Otrar and (old) Urgench and eventually Baghdad. Muhammad was chased through his empire, found refuge on a small island in the Caspian sea and died there. He had been only the second ruler of his empire.

Peter
« Last Edit: November 06, 2019, 04:06:38 PM by Figleaf »
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Offline jkk

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Re: Khwarezmian dinar 607AH, Muhammad II
« Reply #1 on: November 06, 2019, 03:47:13 PM »
Very interesting coin and a nice find. The typeface calls to mind the jitals of Jinghiz that would soon come, if I have my region and activities right. Does that script (with the curliness of some letters and blockiness of others) have a title in Arabic calligraphy? The ones I remember from college were thuluth (definitely not that), Nasta'aliq (also not that), and Kufic (bears some resemblance to that, but only some).
Jonathan

Offline Figleaf

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Re: Khwarezmian dinar 607AH, Muhammad II
« Reply #2 on: November 06, 2019, 05:32:10 PM »
You may be thinking about dirhams like the one below (Zeno 86989, 6 gram, 37,9 mm, colour changed to make it more readable). However, a few decades earlier, the Qarakhanids were already using this type (compare e.g. MWI 897).

It is likely that Genghis had nothing to do with the coins issued in his name. As a nomad, Genghis counted his wealth in the number of horses he had. He disdained gold and silver. IIRC it was at the siege of Otrar that he got an offer of silver and the governor who had killed his diplomats if he'd just go and play somewhere else. As an answer, he had the emissaries killed with their own silver, molten and poured into their mouths.

The merchants did need coin to reconstruct their livelihood, though, and the subjugated cities resumed making them like earlier types, but with Genghis' name on them. The dirhem below is anonymous, but since it was struck in Bukhara in 666, it must have been ordained by Hulagu (Ilkhan in Khwarezm 654-663), who just mentioned Kubilai's title of Khaqan, but not his name.

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

Offline THCoins

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Re: Khwarezmian dinar 607AH, Muhammad II
« Reply #3 on: November 06, 2019, 06:51:15 PM »
NIce aquisition. I don't see a trace of the mintname though.
The name of hte ruling caliph al-Nasir is in the bottom two lines below the Kalima.
On the reverse the last two lines seem to read "abu 'l-fath Muhammad / bin al-sultan Tekish"

Offline Figleaf

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Re: Khwarezmian dinar 607AH, Muhammad II
« Reply #4 on: November 06, 2019, 07:20:12 PM »
Thanks for a good try, TH. I am flexible enough in my approach to fit it in my timeline anyway.

Trying to find a coin of Muhammad II's son Mangubarni now, so I can claim I got a coin from each member of the dynasty - Muhammad's dad, Tekesh, doesn't count, because he didn't control an area within what is now Uzbekistan or at least claimed it.

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

Offline THCoins

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Re: Khwarezmian dinar 607AH, Muhammad II
« Reply #5 on: November 07, 2019, 09:04:02 AM »
I don't think Mangubarni still controlled any area north of Afghanistan nor do i know of coins minted in his name from this area. Certainly after the battle of Parwan (North of Kabul)in 1221 AD he just roamed the more Southern territories.

Offline Figleaf

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Re: Khwarezmian dinar 607AH, Muhammad II
« Reply #6 on: November 07, 2019, 04:47:08 PM »
Very true indeed. In a strict sense, he never controlled any of the area. He even didn't claim the title shah, but that may have been a sop to the caliph in a bid to get his support to drive out the infidel mongols. However, he did claim to be his father's successor and his father ruled the major part of what is now Uzbekistan. I allow myself some lolling around according to what I find interesting, so that's my excuse for including him. ;)

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