Author Topic: Ilahi 44 , the year of the comet ?  (Read 1025 times)

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Offline saro

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Ilahi 44 , the year of the comet ?
« on: November 10, 2014, 04:05:17 PM »
(double dam / 41,12g)
I possess this nice tanka of Akbar / mint Bairat, dated Ilahi 44 (month Aban), and I haven't noticed till today that the small star over the date is in fact a comet !

Ilahi 44 / 1006-1007 AH corresponds to 1597-98 AD (Aban : 8th month) and a comet is well reported for the year 1596 and has been observed and described by Tycho Brahe, a danish astronomer (1546-1601) in summer 1596, and it is said that it has been also seen as far as China.

It would be pleasant to think that the reason of this unusual ornament put just over the date was to commemorate this event...

« Last Edit: November 10, 2014, 11:02:47 PM by saro »
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Offline saro

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Re: Ilahi 44 , the year of the comet ?
« Reply #1 on: November 10, 2014, 11:00:58 PM »
The date is Ilahi 44 and not 42 as it seems at first, I have corrected my post.
The question is however the same : is it an ornament to commemorate the passage of the 1596 comet?
"All I know is that I know nothing" (Socrates)

Offline Overlord

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Re: Ilahi 44 , the year of the comet ?
« Reply #2 on: November 11, 2014, 05:16:24 AM »
Interesting theory, but I think if a comet were to be depicted on coins, there were far more prominent candidates.

From Akbar and his India (edited by Irfan Habib):

"During the one and a half centuries that cover the period of the Great Mughals (1556-1707), seven appearances of comets are recorded, being 'remarkable' in the sense of being distinctly visible to the naked-eye. Of these the comets of 1577 and 1618 are reported to have been bright enough to be seen even in daytime....Both these comets are described in Mughal accounts. Other comets (including Halley's comet in its two appearances, 1607 and 1680) were either not noticed or were not held to be of significance enough to find mention in major Indian historical works.

The appearance of the comet of 1577 is recorded by 'Arif Qandahari, writing mainly in 1579, and by Abu'l Fazl, from whom we have two accounts, a short and direct description contained in an earlier draft of his Akbarnama, and an edited, polished one in the final text of the same work. His contemporary Badauni also reports the sighting of this comet. Abu'l Fazl does not seem to have known of or used 'Arif's work. According to his earlier draft, it was in November 1577, when Akbar was just laying down the foundation of a new fort, Mol Manoharnagar, not far from Fatehpur Sikri, that a spectacular comet made its appearance after sunset in the west (but inclining to the north) and visible till two hours before dawn. This strange spectacle shook the hearts of the people, for the appearance of this unfamiliar comet was regarded as an extremely bad omen. The historian Badaunl, in his usual sarcastic vein, writes that since Shah Mansur, Akbar's harsh minister of finance, wore a turban with a long tail he was suitably dubbed a comet (lit. 'tailed star', sitara-i dumbala). He goes on to add that Shah Isma'il of Iran was assassinated and the evil influence of this comet became evident in that country.The emperor Akbar, at this time barely thirty-five years of age, took the matter more seriously. According to the first version of the Akbarnama, he directed his famous minister Raja Todar Mal) to collect astronomers to carry out research on the matter and to predict the consequences. After careful consideration, the astronomers, led by Jotik Rai, an accomplished astrologer, concluded reasonably that the comet held no danger for India."

Offline saro

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Re: Ilahi 44 , the year of the comet ?
« Reply #3 on: November 11, 2014, 10:24:22 AM »
Thank you very much, dear Overlord, it's probably just an ornament in memory of the "Great Comet" of year 1577...
However, I don't know if this small "tailed star" has previously been noticed on Akbar coins?

(I join 2 old illustrations of these events)
"All I know is that I know nothing" (Socrates)

Offline Overlord

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Re: Ilahi 44 , the year of the comet ?
« Reply #4 on: November 11, 2014, 11:04:32 AM »
it's probably just an ornament in memory of the "Great Comet" of year 1577...
Or a rather thick-stemmed "flower". I don't think they would have depicted a comet if they considered them inauspicious...
Incidently, Tycho's supernova also appeared during Akbar's reign.

Offline Figleaf

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Re: Ilahi 44 , the year of the comet ?
« Reply #5 on: November 11, 2014, 01:42:33 PM »
Facts: the sign is there on purpose. There is no second sign like it on the coin. It looks like a comet. It is in a modest place.

Speculation: How about a sign of a responsible officer, who didn't have access to those learned astrologers so didn't know they were supposed to be bad luck? For every one of Akbar's astrologers, there must have been hundreds of village astrologers, all with their own tail ;)

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

Offline Overlord

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Re: Ilahi 44 , the year of the comet ?
« Reply #6 on: November 11, 2014, 03:23:38 PM »
We have, thanks to Abhay, a number of specimens of the same ilahi year for comparison. These would make it "month of the comet" at best. I still think it is a crude "flower" rather than a comet: Bairata (and Narnol) seemed to believe in the principle of quantity over quality. Why celebrate the 1577 comet years later?