A pictorial coin of the Zengids of Mosul

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Parthicus, May 25, 2024.

  1. Parthicus

    Parthicus Well-Known Member

    Zengids of Mosul. Mint of "al-Jazira". AE dirham (30 mm, 13.94 g). 'Izz al-Din Mas'ud I (1180-1193 CE/576-589 AH), dated 577 AH (1181 CE). Obverse: Helmeted classical male head left, Arabic inscription around of the kalima "la ilaha illa Allah Muhammad rasul Allah" (There is no god but God, Muhammad is the messenger of God). Reverse: Inscription in four lines naming the Abbasid Caliph and the Zengid ruler "Amir al-mu'minin/ al-Nasir li-din Allah/ 'Izz al-Dunya wa al-D/-in Mas'ud" (Commander of the Faithful al-Nasir li-Din Allah, 'Izz al-Dunya wa al-Din Mas'ud), inscription around edge giving mint and date "bismillah duriba bi'l-Jazira sana sab' wa sab'in wa khamsami'a" (in the Name of God [this coin] was struck at al-Jazira, year seven and seventy and five hundred). Spengler and Sayles 62, version 1. Album 1863.1. This coin: Marc R. Breitsprecher, May 2024.

    The Zengids were one of the several Turkish-derived Islamic dynasties beloved by modern collectors for their habit of issuing bronze coins with human figures, unusual in the pre-modern Islamic world. There were several branches of the Zengids, with the issuer of this coin being based in Mosul. Saif al-Din Ghazi II died in 1180, leaving his expected successor his 12-year old son Mu'izz al-Din Sanjar Shah. But the Zengids were being threatened at the time by the powerful Ayyubid ruler Saladin, so Ghazi left instructions that his younger brother 'Izz al-Din Mas'ud should take the throne at Mosul, and the young Sanjar Shah was given territory around the small city of Jazirat ibn 'Umar instead. Saladin besieged Mosul twice, in 1182 and 1185, but failed to capture the city. Nonetheless, Mas'ud was forced to acknowledge Saladin as his overlord. Mas'ud died in 1193 of illness, coincidentally about the same time that Saladin died.

    The design of this coin type is believed to be copied from a silver tetradrachm struck at Side in Pamphylia (southern Turkey) in the second century BCE. This type is the earliest type issued in the name of Mas'ud, and is only known for the one year 577 AH (1181 CE) and the mint of "al-Jazira". The name "al-Jazira" literally means "the island", and the term is sometimes used as a name for northern Mesopotamia, as the position of the land between two rivers is similar to an island. However, in this case it is thought to refer more specifically to the small city of Jazirat ibn 'Umar. Spengler and Sayles argue that the issuance of this coin by Mas'ud at the start of his reign may mean that he stayed there with his army for a time to consolidate his rule, before withdrawing and letting his nephew Sanjar Shah take over the city. They also point out his reference to the Abbasid Caliph, an attempt to claim support that he would need against the powerful Saladin.

    One last note: The same obverse design of a helmeted head left was also used on coins of Saif al-Din Ghazi II (Mas'ud's father), Spengler and Sayles type 61. This coin was sold as Saif al-Din Ghazi II, S/S 61, but close examination of the reverse legend showed it is in fact type 62, of 'Izz al-Din Mas'ud I. This is why it's important to always check the attribution of coins you buy, even from reputable and knowledgeable sellers, as they can make mistakes. Please post whatever related coins you have.
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  3. mrbreeze

    mrbreeze Well-Known Member

  4. mrbreeze

    mrbreeze Well-Known Member

  5. mrbreeze

    mrbreeze Well-Known Member

  6. mrbreeze

    mrbreeze Well-Known Member

  7. Muzyck

    Muzyck Rabbits!

    Qutb al-Din Mawdud,544-564AH (1149-70AD)

    Zangids of Mosul Qutb al-Din Mawdud,544-564AH 1149-70AD obv A-side.jpg
  8. GinoLR

    GinoLR Well-Known Member

    Yes, this monetary type is thought to be copied from hellenistic tetradrachms of Perge, Pamphilia.

  9. GinoLR

    GinoLR Well-Known Member

  10. philologus_1

    philologus_1 Supporter! Supporter

    @GinoLR -- I have the same type (or VERY similar) as the last coin pictured in your post immediately above. What attribution catalogue information do you have for it? I think it's either Album 1202 or 1207, but I'm not sure even about that. I'd greatly appreciate any help with a citation/reference number, and also with dating of the type. I think it's either 1192-1201 AD, or, 1204-1211 AD.
    (Sorry, I don't seem to have diameter or weight in my files for this one, and all my coins are in safe deposit box.)
    robinjojo and Parthicus like this.
  11. GinoLR

    GinoLR Well-Known Member

    I'm so sorry, but I dont' know much about these Turcoman coins... I have no catalogue or reference. I remember I looked for a similar one in acsearch, but where have I noted the result?...
    dltsrq and philologus_1 like this.
  12. dltsrq

    dltsrq Grumpy Old Man

    The horseman coin posted by @philologus_1 is Kaykhusraw I, 1st reign, 1192-1198, Album 1202. The similar coin by @GinoLR is of Sulayman II, 1196-1204, Album 1295.2 (as sultan).
  13. philologus_1

    philologus_1 Supporter! Supporter

    100 "Likes" for your helpful information @dltsrq ! ! !
  14. robinjojo

    robinjojo Well-Known Member

    Here's a fairly recently acquired (November 2023) Turkoman fals.

    Seljuqs of Rum, Sulayman II, AE fals, AH 592-600 (1196-1204).
    Mitchiner 964; Resht 596.
    8.50 grams, 30mm. upload_2024-5-27_22-18-40.png
    Parthicus, philologus_1 and Bing like this.
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