Featured Ahmir Timur AR Tanka

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Magnus Maximus, May 14, 2020.

  1. Magnus Maximus

    Magnus Maximus Dulce et Decorum est....

    Yersinia pestis is a gram negative bacteria commonly found circulating in rodents in China, Madagascar, the United States, and India. The bacterium was responsible for both the Justinian plague in the 6th century and the Black Death in the 14th. Both events severely disrupted the current socio-economic establishments of their respective times. The Black Death was partially responsible for destabilizing the Mongol successor kingdoms of Genghis Khan. It was in the tumultuous aftermath of the Plague, that Timur of Transoxiana was born into.​

    Timur, which means Iron in Chagatai, was born the son of a minor Transoxianan noble in 1336. Not many details about Timur's early life are known, though he was a petty cattle thief in his adolescence. It was during a cattle raid in 1363 that Timur was allegedly shot in the right leg and arm by an attentive rancher; the wounds never fully healed and Timur would live the rest of his life with a limp. Despite the fact he was crippled, Timur managed to prove himself as a capable general in the constant wars between the Chagatai Khanate and various Mongol warlords. Timur took advantage of one such conflict and switched his loyalty over to an invading hoard and was rewarded with the governorship of Transoxiana and the leadership of his clan. Unfortunately for Timur, he fell out of favor with his overlord and had to flee south to what is now modern day Afghanistan with only his brother-in-law and a handful of followers.​

    The disintegration of the Ilkhanate(Mongol controlled Persia) in the early half of the 14th century led to the rise of numerous successor statelets, and many disgruntled soldiers and administrators without an Khan. Timur used his wit and charm to win over a diverse group of followers in the region and made his way back up to reclaim his territory. Timur and his army successfully invaded Transoxiana and he was in full control of the area by 1366. Timur then had his brother-in-law murdered and set his sights on expanding outward.​

    While Timur was of partial Mongol ancestry, he was not a direct descendent of Genghis Khan, and thus could not take the title of Khan. To complicate things even further, while Timur was a muslim he was not a member of the Arab tribe of the Prophet Muhammed and thus could not take the title of Caliph. To get around all the formalities: Timur married a woman of Genghis's blood line, installed a descendent of Genghis to the powerless position of Khan of the Chagatai, and took the title Ahmir(General). Timur then began a long series of wars against the states in Persia which seemed to have been wrapped up by 1385. The Ahmir initially gained the trait of being lenient and merciful to his conquered Persian subjects, but after they rebelled in 1395 that notion was soon laid to rest. Timur began his reign of terror on the people of Persia with numerous cities sacked and nearly all their inhabitants butchered. The skulls of the victims were staked into dozens of makeshift towers as a reminder to any future rebellions.​

    Timur's blood lust was not yet satiated with his crackdown in Iran as he conquered Mesopotamia, Armenia, and Georgia by 1396. In the year 1398, using the pretext that the muslim sultanate of Delhi treated it's Hindu subjects "to well", Timur invaded India. On his way to sack Delhi, the Ahmir's army captured tens of thousand Indian men, women, and children. As Timur was about to go into battle against the sultanate, a lieutenant told him that the abundant Hindu prisoners represented a security concern for the army. Timur took the subordinates advice to heart and had every prisoner killed, to add insult to injury he made every member of his army carry out the task lest they be considered traitors to him. After capturing the city of Delhi, Timur subjected the city to such a severe sack that it took the city over a century to recover from it. Body counts of Timur's Indian campaign ranged between 100,000 to 200,000 Indians. After his sack of India, Timur put down a rebellion in Bagdad where he killed at least 20,000 people, and then proceeded to sack Damascus. The sack of Damascus was notoriously cruel; with stories of citizens of the city being ground to paste in wine presses, and mothers sold into slavery while their infants starved to death.​

    In 1402 Timur defeated a large Ottoman army near the city of Ankara and took the Sultan Beyezid captive. The last camping the aged Ahmir undertook was against Ming China on the pretext he would restore Mongol rule there. Fortunately for the Chinese, Timur died of complications from the common cold(ironically caused by a type of coronavirus), before he could make headway into central Asia.​

    Timur is an intriguing character from history: on one hand he was the last great nomadic conqueror in history, while on the other hand his campaigns are estimated to have killed between 7 and 20 million people or roughly 5% of the human population at the time. I should not have to explain why this was bad.

    The amount of pain and suffering that this man caused should certainly not be downplayed and ignored, though nor should his military genius either. In conclusion, Timur and his short lived Kingdom were like a Phoenix rising from the ashes of a decayed world rocked by the devastation caused by Yersinia pestis a generation earlier.

    With respect to the history and with no alternate motives I present a silver coin of Ahmir Timur.​
    AR Tanka
    Minted in Yazd, Persia
    Date of 797AH or 1394
    Weight of 6.00 grams
    Diameter of 26.28 mm

    The Mongol Successor states before the Black Death.

    Timur's empire circa 1400 CE

    In 1941 a Soviet anthropology expedition found Timur's bones and used them to make reconstructions and measurements.
    A photo of Timur's skull being examined by the expedition

    The facial reconstruction the team came up with based on the skull.

    Sources and Reading/Listening

    Now back to my Seleucid King set!:D
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  3. THCoins

    THCoins Well-Known Member

    Very nice write-up, thanks !
    In the margin of the reverse of your coin, starting around 2 o'clock, very nicely readable is the name of Mahmud Khan, the official Chagatai overlord of Timur at the time.
    Magnus Maximus likes this.
  4. Magnus Maximus

    Magnus Maximus Dulce et Decorum est....

    I managed to pick this up for about $40, so I can’t complain.
    Alegandron likes this.
  5. Alegandron

    Alegandron "ΤΩΙ ΚΡΑΤΙΣΤΩΙ..." ΜΕΓΑΣ ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΣ, June 323 BCE Supporter

    Well done, @Magnus Maximus . Great coin snatch, and great writing.

    His is one of the Historical figures I would like to find.

    I remember studying him in one of my History courses in University. There were only 20 of us in the class, and for some odd reason, 6 were gals from Iran (Persia). (YEAH, that was before the Fall of the last Shah.) When we came to this period of time, you could REALLY tell they were uneasy and upset with these lectures.

    Interesting comment about an early derivative of the CoronaVirus... As you view History from 30,000 feet, it is amazing how Humans do not have a Natural Predator anymore. (I think we just got TIRED of those Saber-Tooth Tigers!) Soooo.... we seem to kill ourselves off in massive Wars. THEN, disease sweeps through our populations and kill even MORE of us in the Wars' aftermath.

    I regret that I do not have Timur, but here is the guy who kinda got the Mongol juggernaut started...


    Great Mongols, Genghis (Chingiz) Khan,
    AH 603-624/ AD 1206-1227,
    AE Jital (4.12gm, 2h),
    Ghazna type, undated, citing Genghis as Khaqan and
    citing on the reverse, the 'Abbasid caliph al-Nasir. O: 'adl / khaqan / al-a'zam("the Just and Supreme Khaqan" or "Just [coin] of the Supreme Khaqan"). R: al-Nasir / li-Din Allah / amir al-mu- / -minin ("al-Nasir li-Din Allah, commander of the faithful").
    SICA-9, 1008; Tye 329; Album 1969
    Ex: David L Tranbarger
  6. Magnus Maximus

    Magnus Maximus Dulce et Decorum est....

    A few websites I read mentioned that Timur is still one of the worst insults you could call someone in parts of Iran and Syria. That’s crazy to think about, but not surprising given his insanely high kill count.

    I feel like the saying that “Hard times create strong men. Strong men create good times. Good times create weak men. And, weak men create hard times”, is spot on.

    And yeah, to quote my old microbiology professor “This is their(bacteria) world, we just live in it.”

    Nice coin as well!!
    Alegandron likes this.
  7. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    Somewhere along the way I got two Timurid coins but have not studied them enough to understand exactly what they represent. Any explanations would be appreciated. ID's provided by sellers. I do not know enough to confirm or correct.

    Shah Rukh AR tankah AH816 Herat (Don Zauche 2016)

    another Shah Rukh AH852 Samarqand with countermark of Abu Sa'id (855-873AH) (Only Linda 2010)
  8. THCoins

    THCoins Well-Known Member

    In Doug's first coin the name Shahrukh is written in spiral Kufic script in the small center square. The date is at 12 o'clock.
    I really know nothing about this category but i have some doubts on the attribution of the second. For one, in AH852 Shahrukh already was dead. There are posthumous issues, but i don't think this type from Samarqand. Second, the name Shahrukh is nowhere where i can find it on the coin. It may be obliterated by the countermark. However, the first main legend line starts with "Sultan", the second with "Khaqan" and the third with "Sultan" again. I could find this only for the Samarqand issues of a slightly later Timurid ruler, 'Abd Allah.
    Alegandron likes this.
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