Author Topic: Ghorids: Bull's Eye Dirham, Ghazna, 597 AH  (Read 354 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline shiblius

  • Senior Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 215
Ghorids: Bull's Eye Dirham, Ghazna, 597 AH
« on: August 16, 2021, 06:06:52 PM »
Ghorids (Main line – Shansabanids at Ghazna): Muiz Al-Din Muhammad Bin Sam, (Ghazna), 597 AH, AR Bull’s-Eye Type Dirham, 4.95 gm, 28.7-29.4 Album-1770, GG-D3 (S)

Obv:
Outermost circle: Quran 9:33
Inner Circles:  لا الہ الا اللہ محمدؐ رسول اللہ السلطان الاعظم غیاث الدنیا و الدین ابو الفتح محمد بن سام
There is no God except Allah and Muhammad is his messenger — The Sultan, The Supreme, Provider of aid to the world and the (political manifestation of the) Religion, Father of Victory, (hyperbole: The Victorious) Muhammad bin Sam

Rev:
Inner Circles:  الناصر لدین اللہ السلطان المعظم معز الدنیا و الدین ابو المظفر محمد بن سام
Citing the Abbasid Caliph Al-Nasir — The Sultan, The Mighty, honor of the world and the (political manifestation of the) Religion, Father of the victorious (i.e., the victor), Muhammad bin Sam

More details at: https://dastanesikka.wordpress.com/2021/08/16/bulls-eye-dirham-ghazna/
« Last Edit: September 11, 2021, 02:26:51 PM by Saikat »

Offline THCoins

  • Honorary Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6 469
Re: Ghorids: Bull's Eye Dirham, Ghazna, 597 AH
« Reply #1 on: August 17, 2021, 11:22:35 AM »
Thanks for showing this specimen ! It is really worthwhile to take some time to follow the inscriptions and ponder about its implications.
At first sight, the "Muhammad bin Sam" displays the unity of the brothers in the center design.
The 'azam and mu'azzam give one aspect of the hierarchy between the two. Interesting is also that the Kalima, acknowledging the authority of Allah and his Messenger Muhammad, is on the Ghiyath side. While the reference to the Caliph is placed on the Mu'izz side. So, prividing a dual division of hierarchy over the two sides of the coin ?

Offline shiblius

  • Senior Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 215
Re: Ghorids: Bull's Eye Dirham, Ghazna, 597 AH
« Reply #2 on: August 18, 2021, 04:50:05 PM »
Those are great insights @THCoins
I am not sure if the placement of the Kalima and the name of the Caliph induce a ranking similar to Azam vs Muazzam.
One thing that should be kept in mind while talking about political vs religious authority (religion vs state), the demarcation in "Islamic" realms was not that clear.
The office of the Caliph had both religious and political authority. The local Sultans, Maliks inherited the religious inclinations from their overlords (Sunni vs Shiite etc.) and were charged with proclaiming the Caliph's name in the religious institutions (special emphasis on the Friday Sermon (Khutba)).

Offline THCoins

  • Honorary Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6 469
Re: Ghorids: Bull's Eye Dirham, Ghazna, 597 AH
« Reply #3 on: August 19, 2021, 10:21:56 AM »
Quote
One thing that should be kept in mind while talking about political vs religious authority (religion vs state), the demarcation in "Islamic" realms was not that clear.

Very much agree. And indeed there was a third level of authority in the local rulers. Giyath al-din Muhammad did attach a lot of value to his recognition by the caliph and his investiture as legitimate successor of the Ghaznavid overrulers. Partly this will have to do with securing his position relative to the local rulers.

The arrangement of the legend in your coin feels "logical". I would have been surprized if the Kalima was on the Mu'izz side and the caliph's name on the Ghiyath side. I would regard that as a strange "imbalance of power". Maybe that would have been the same for the contemporary public, but ofcourse we can not know that for sure.

Offline Figleaf

  • Administrator
  • Honorary Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 33 487
Re: Ghorids: Bull's Eye Dirham, Ghazna, 597 AH
« Reply #4 on: August 19, 2021, 11:50:33 AM »
Coins with sides devoted to a different message occur more often in history. You see it happen in the Habsburg empire, where there is a central theme and on the reverse a more or less important reference to the land in which the issuing mint was situated, culminating in Hungarian coins, where the local element dominates. In colonial times one side may be devoted to the issuing colonial power, the other to the local power or tradition. Today, euros have a common side and a side determined mainly by the member-state. The symbolism is very helpful to get a sense of how the balance of power reflected by the two sides evolved.

With that in mind, I wouldn't mind drawing a parallel between the religious and the secular sides on islamic coins and the common and local sides of euro coins. I think in both cases it is not a question of fashion or tradition, but one of acceptance by the users of the coins. They don't think about the pattern unless it changes. They are confronted with the pattern or changes in it, decide to accept it (with temporary loud-mouthed exceptions) and get on with their lives until the pattern is changed again. In general, they wouldn't demand an unchanged pattern, but they will note it and comment on it and reject it if they don't see the use or find it objectionable.

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

Offline shiblius

  • Senior Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 215
Re: Ghorids: Bull's Eye Dirham, Ghazna, 597 AH
« Reply #5 on: August 19, 2021, 05:57:11 PM »
@ THCoins
"Logical" does sound more plausible.

@Peter, those are tricky waters you tread in.
Drawing a parallel between Habsburg, modern Europe and medieval Islamic coinage would lead to noisy conclusions.

Somethings to keep in mind:
Europe / West had a religious institution known as the church, no such institution existed in Islamic realms, where religious clergy was loosely organized as regional networks of scholars 'Ulema', with the Caliphs of the same dynasty often having varied religious inclinations.

Not a lot of the users of these coins were literate and able to distinguish between the quoted authorities and their placements on the coins. The trade networks and general acceptance went mostly by the overall design, hence the employment of the Fatimid inspired concentric circles design on Ghorid issues (both gold and silver), use of the Yamini motif on Ghaznavid coinage etc.

Also, there was no religious / secular sides in the "Islamic" society in general. We can try to understand the social / cultural / religious forces and their dynamics using the lenses we have (modern, western, etc.) however it would just lead to blatantly wrong conclusions, e.g., the colonial historical corpus of India.

Offline Figleaf

  • Administrator
  • Honorary Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 33 487
Re: Ghorids: Bull's Eye Dirham, Ghazna, 597 AH
« Reply #6 on: August 19, 2021, 06:44:32 PM »
We are on different tracks, shiblius. I am not talking about institutions and systems, but about humans and perceptions. The argument is not that you can compare medieval Ghazna and modern Europe. I was going into:

The arrangement of the legend in your coin feels "logical". I would have been surprized if the Kalima was on the Mu'izz side and the caliph's name on the Ghiyath side. I would regard that as a strange "imbalance of power". Maybe that would have been the same for the contemporary public, but ofcourse we can not know that for sure.

No, you can't know for sure, but you can make an educated guess.

It doesn't even matter if the public is or was illiterate. There is overwhelming evidence that people don't look at their coins once they are familiar with them. This why so many Canadian coins circulate in the US, why Japan recently issued a new 500 yen coin (the old design looked like a South Korean coin) and why you can find coins of British outposts in circulation in the UK. What counts is size, weight and pattern and the latter is what I discussed.

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

Offline shiblius

  • Senior Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 215
Re: Ghorids: Bull's Eye Dirham, Ghazna, 597 AH
« Reply #7 on: August 31, 2021, 04:38:13 PM »
........ With that in mind, I wouldn't mind drawing a parallel between the religious and the secular sides on islamic coins and the common and local sides of euro coins.
Peter

I was referring to this particular statement, there is no religious / secular side on Islamic coins. Its an anachronistic fallacy to impose the modern/western religious/secular compartmentalization on coins issued by Muslim rulers in a medieval Islamic society. Also not looking at coins makes zero sense at all in the time period we are talking about, visual motifs and designs were the main identification characteristics used commonly as well as in trade networks to resolve value between a wide variety of coins issued by different authorities / mints etc.