Featured 800 years ago: The Mongols are coming!

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Orielensis, May 25, 2020.

  1. EWC3

    EWC3 (mood: stubborn)

    Yes – that is surely part of the story but I think there is more to it than that.

    Muhammad Khwarezm struck a lot of coins of a lot of types – seems to me the most diverse coinage of one ruler I ever saw. Especially important the star dirhem types copying types far to the West, and the base gold dinars copying fabrics far to the East. I long believed part of his economic policy was one of selling licenses to coin to foreign merchant guilds or some such.

    Further – we know from letters found in a cave that he was involved in complex financial chicanery – buying up bullion coinage using fiat billon jitals it seems – under force of law.

    I feel this is probably important in understanding the big historical picture. Toynbee would have I think very accurately explained Muhammed’s fall as being due to two problems – one was the “external proletariat” - the Mongols. But just as important was his problem with the “internal proletariat” - his own citizens. And it seems likely that was in turn linked to his financial/tax dealings with them.

    If I remember it correctly his tax collectors in one city were rounded up and killed by a mob. They then butchered them and hung them in the meat market in parts.

    That sounds like poor popularity ratings to me.

    We read this ancient Chinese advice to emperors in the Guanzi:

    “Your majesty cannot expect men with broken hearts to fight for you”

    Muhammed seems to have figured that out too late, and had to do a runner when Genghis came at him.

    Meanwhile – trying to get into the Mongol mind set – the text of the letter from the attack on Vienna (was that Ogedai?) still exists. The great Khan’s idea was that since God had already granted him the earth, it follows any opposition was heresy.

    Tough to argue with that :)

    THCoins and Loong Siew like this.
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