Abbasid caliph brings byzantines to its knee

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by ernstk, Sep 7, 2020.

  1. ernstk

    ernstk Active Member

    This great movie shows how powerful Abbasid caliph in 9th century almost brought Byzantine empire to its knee. A tribute to the great warrior caliph of Islam Al-Mu'tasim billah.

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  3. Severus Alexander

    Severus Alexander Blame my mother. Supporter

    A great caliph indeed. I don't have a coin of his, but I do have a dirham of his son al-Wathiq, who largely continued his policies:

    Screen Shot 2020-09-07 at 11.14.15 PM.jpg
    al-Wathiq (842-847), Fars mint, dated 231 AH

    al-Mu'tasim is interesting for having created a large unit of Turkish slave soldiers – a fateful move, as it turned out. I also find it interesting that the state promoted a rationalist version of Islam (Mu'tazilism) in this period.
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  4. EWC3

    EWC3 (mood: stubborn)

    Anyone know who is behind edhaje?

    "About" details are scant indeed:

    "Compilation of history of the world from another perspective"

    Yeah - but whose perspective?

    "Location: Isle of Man"


  5. Pellinore

    Pellinore Supporter! Supporter

    A caliph with a doubtful legacy, as this section in the extensive and detailed Wikipedia article states clearly. 'Al-Mu'tasim's military reforms are truly the moment when the Arabs lost control of the empire they created'.

    On the other hand, Al-Mu'tasim's Byzantine wars didn't lead to anything lasting. There were a few years when the caliphs and the emperors were sparring (this cost many thousands of ordinary citizens their lives), and after 845 a period of peace negotiations and quiet occurred.

    I don't have coins from this particular caliph, but this fals is almost contemporary, a bronze coin from a loyal governor (one of the very few) in the far east of the Abbasid state, Abdallah ibn Tahir I (828-845). And naturally, animals were very rarely used on islamic coins.
    Abbasid/Tahirid governors (emirs) of Khwarezm (Kath), AE fals, AH 228 = 843 AD. Аl-amir Mīkāl mawlâ Ṭāhir under Abdallah ibn Tahir I (828-845). Obv. Horse t.r. Rev. Mohammad rasul. 21.5 mm, 1.64 gr. Kath, now Beruniy, was the capital of Khwarezm. Album J1395.

    6055 AB-TA horse ct.jpg
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  6. ernstk

    ernstk Active Member

    Nice coin. I have 2 similar looking coins of Al-Wathiq and Al-Mutawakkil and both come from a hoard I bought from Sphinx. Did you buy yours from Sphinx? It looks very similar to the ones I have from that hoard.
  7. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter I dig ancient coins...

    Turkish slave soldiers or gulams were a big part of al-Mutasim's campaigns.
  8. Pellinore

    Pellinore Supporter! Supporter

    And possibly the reason why Turks are living in Turkey nowadays.
  9. ernstk

    ernstk Active Member

    Turkish Slaves were also a big part of his military success. They were crucial in putting down rebellions of Babak as well as black slave Zanj rebellions. There rebellions were existential threat to caliphate foundations but with the help of Turkish Army , they were all quelled and crushed and their leaders were executed.
  10. Severus Alexander

    Severus Alexander Blame my mother. Supporter

    Yes, that's what I was alluding to when I said it was a fateful move. Kind of like Justinian's military adventurism: successful at the time, but sowed the seeds for a radical decline.

    No, I got that one from Steve Album. But if there were a hoard, he'd be likely to handle some of it at least.
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  11. ernstk

    ernstk Active Member

    It's the same hoard. Sphinx got them from Steve Album he told me.

    Abbasid were a very popular regime I would say one of the very few regimes that enjoyed such a popular support in ancient world. I remember even when Hulagu captured Baghdad, the residents rose up in arms in support of the caliph as he declared jihad against the infidel mongols and that caused mongols lots of casualty in street fights that ensued the Baghdad siege.
  12. Pellinore

    Pellinore Supporter! Supporter

    You must be 800 years old to remember that...

    Old man with beard (and cat).jpg

    I can well imagine the inhabitants of Baghdad rose against Hulagu, they didn't have much choice: fight to your death or be executed anyhow. Don't know about the popularity of the Abbasids: they lasted 500 years and had their ups and downs, their popularity probably just as much.

    I don't have Hulagu coins, but here's a coin of his brother Möngke, minted between 1252 and 1261 (Baghdad was destroyed in 1258).

    6576 Mongke Otrar wo.jpg

    This is a very large coin, that was once silvered:
    AE broad dirham Möngke Khan (1251-1259). Otrar, AH 650-658. 40 mm, 8.35 gr. Album 1978C.1. Zeno 100842.
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  13. ernstk

    ernstk Active Member

    As you said they rules for 500 years not even Roman empire last that long. A regime that can last 500 years means they had a huge popular supports. Why Umayyad last only 100 years? Because they were not popular. The word of abbasid caliph meant alot for average muslims of his days. The amount of Mongols died in capturing Baghdad by Muslims were much more than amount of Muslim died . But why history doesn't mention that?? because Mongols wrote the surviving version of history of that period.
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  14. ernstk

    ernstk Active Member

    I do have some vague memory of scenes of the street fights against Mongols in Baghdad . I had these visions since I was a teenager and I feel it could be related to my previous life experiences in that time. It's like deja vu
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  15. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter I dig ancient coins...

    I believe the Abbasid caliph and family were executed by being placed under carpets and trampled under the hooves of the Mongol horse. I don't remember this though because I was not alive. I read about it in The Venture of Islam, Vol II by the scholar Marshall Hodgson.
  16. dltsrq

    dltsrq Grumpy Old Man

    Regarding the popularity of the 'Abbasid caliphs, it's good to remember that the 'Abbasid caliphs were not only temporal rulers but the spiritual heads of Sunni Islam. In much the same way that Roman Catholics understand the Popes to be inheritors of the spiritual authority given to St. Peter by Christ, Sunni Muslims understood the 'Abbasid Caliphs to be inheritors of the divine authority given by Allah to the Prophet Muhammad.

    The story goes that the last 'Abbasid caliph was rolled in a carpet and trampled to avoid the spilling of royal blood, a Mongol taboo. Another story recounts that the caliph was locked in his treasury where he starved to death because by refusing to surrender, he had valued his wealth more than his people.

    By the way, only the western provinces of the Roman empire "fell" in AD 476. The imperial capital had already moved to Constantinople, which endured until 1453. The last titular emperor of Rome was Francis II of Austria who abdicated in 1806.
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2020
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  17. EWC3

    EWC3 (mood: stubborn)

    Thanks for this. I sure cannot comment upon 500 years of Islamic history (I ain’t that clever). But here are a few thoughts on Al-Mu'tasim and coinage.

    Back around 78H ‘Abd al Malik created the canonical Islamic coinage. My current opinion is that he got his chief advice from a Jewish guy called Samir. It encompassed a somewhat unified system in gold silver and copper, and so at a basic level he did something a bit similar to say Augustus, Akbar and the English restoration gvt in 1672.

    This all seems seems to fall apart around the time of Al-Mu'tasim. Copper issue almost entirely ceases, and silver coin starts to move away from counted individual coins to bags of weighed bullion. All this surely the start of the rot that would lead to serfdom - the disappearance of coin and markets within Islam under Turkish feudal lords by around 1000 AD.

    My recollection also is that after 500 years the Abbasid realm was indeed bigger than Vatican city – but that is not saying much is it?

    Thanks for this too. A useful antidote to the mysterious and rather sinister bit of Youtube propaganda linked at the start of this thread.

    I still chiefly wonder - where does the cash come from for edhaje?

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  18. ernstk

    ernstk Active Member

    I clearly remember at time of mongol attack the quality of abbasid coinage was good. We used to use the high quality silver and gold at the time of Al-Nasir to Al-Mustasim . I clearly remember that in market merchants were happy with exchanging the coinage and there was no inflation at all at that time. I remember after the mongols captured the city they collected all coins of rich merchants of the city and used those coins to mint their own. I remember how Mongol officers fought together over the gold coins of caliph minister and officers of the imperial guards. If the quality was not good? Then why Mongols fought each other over them?? I was there as eye witness of it
  19. willieboyd2

    willieboyd2 First Class Poster

    Caliph Harun al-Rashid (AD 786-809) was the caliph of the "Arabian Nights" or "One Thousand and One Nights".

    Abbasid Dinar Harun al-Rashid Baghdad AD 802 (AH 186)
    Gold, 18.5 mm, 4.02 gm
    Mint: Not named but Madinat Al Salam "City of Peace" (Baghdad)

    Ring outer: Muhammad is the messenger of Allah. He sent him with the Guidance and a religion of the truth in order that he might cause it to be bright over the existing religion, although the polytheists disliked it
    Field: Three lines, There is no god but Allah, He is One and has no partner, and Muhammad is His Messenger

    Ring outer: In the name of God, this dinar was minted in the year 186
    Ring inner: Ordered by Amir al-Amin Muhammad son of the Commander of the Faithful
    Field: Three lines, Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah

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  20. ernstk

    ernstk Active Member

    Nice coin willie. I am 90% confident your coin is legit. but to be sure, can you send a magnified image of surface? and edges? Have you checked the gold content in it? If is 23 or 24 carat?
  21. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    I'm afraid that your personal memories have no evidentiary value on this issue!
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