Ilkhans: Mongols of Iran

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Parthicus, Apr 7, 2020.

  1. Parthicus

    Parthicus Well-Known Member

    Ilkhan bird.jpg
    Ilkhans. Astarabad mint. AR dirham (3.05 g, 18 mm). Ghazan Mahmud (694-703 AH) (1295-1304 AD). Dated 697 AH. Obverse: Inscription. Reverse: Falcon with sunface, surrounded by inscription. Album 2168C. This coin: Pars Coins Auction 5 (February 14, 2020), lot 242.

    The Ilkhans were a branch of the Mongols, centered in Persia and controlling most of Iraq, Anatolia, and portions of surrounding countries. The Ilkhanate was founded in 1256 by Hulagu, a grandson of Genghis Khan and brother of Kublai Khan. The Mongol elite were mostly Buddhists, and they generally tolerated a range of religions in their subjects; Islam, Nestorian Christianity, and Buddhism were the main religions in the Ilkhanate. Ghazan was born in 1271 during the reign of his grandfather Abaqa. In 1284 his father Arghun became the Ilkhan and young Ghazan became his viceroy. In 1289, a Muslim Mongol of the Oirat clan named Nawruz began raising rebellion along the Central Asian frontier. Arghun died in 1291, but the throne went to Ghazan's uncle Gaykhatu. Ghazan served as governor of Khorasan loyally, but refused instructions to start issuing paper currency, claiming that the climate in Khorasan was too humid for paper. In 1294, Ghazan forced Nawruz to surrender, and Nawruz quickly became a trusted aide to Ghazan. Gaykhatu was killed by a group of conspirators in 1295, who placed a figurehead on the throne. With the help of Nawruz, Ghazan was able to defeat the conspirators and take the throne for himself just a few months after his father's murder.

    In 1295, the same year he claimed the throne, Ghazan was converted to Islam by Nawruz, taking the new first name Mahmud (Muhammad). Ghazan himself seems to have been inclined to continue the religious tolerance of his predecessors, but Nawruz showed clear preference for Islam, encouraging persecution of Christians and Buddhists. In 1297, Ghazan first arrested a number of Nawruz' supporters on charges of treason, then moved against Nawruz himself. Nawruz sought protection from the Malik of Herat, but was quickly turned over to Mahmud and executed. Ghazan wished to conquer neighboring territories of the Mamluks (based in Egypt and at the time controlling Syria and Palestine), and sought alliances with the Christian rulers of Europe, promising that Jerusalem would be returned to Christian control. While official alliances did not pan out, a number of individual soldiers did enlist in his service. Although Ghazan's army was able to take both Aleppo and Damascus in 1299, further operations bogged down, and lacking large-scale Christian support, Ghazan's troops had difficulty holding the conquered territory. In 1303, Ghazan's army was crushed by the Mamluks at the Battle of Marj al-Saffar near Damascus, and the Mongols were never able to muster another large-scale invasion of Syria. Ghazan died in 1304 of natural causes, and since he had no surviving son the throne went to his brother Oljeitu.

    I like this coin, not only for the history behind it, but also the interesting pictorial design of falcon with sunface. While a lion with sunface is a common motif in Persian culture, and appeared on coins until just before the Islamic revolution of 1979, a falcon with sunface is much less frequent. Please post your coins of the Ilkhans, or whatever else is related.
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  3. Alegandron

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

    @Parthicus , thank you for the great History lesson. I really like the falcon, and I really chuckled about the Sun Face! Reminds me of ELO’s Mr Blue Sky!

    I regret I do not have any Ilkhans!

    How ‘bout I toss in the GrandPappy of Mayhem himself, Mr. Big Khan:

    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
  4. Orielensis

    Orielensis Supporter! Supporter

    This thread deserves a bump. It didn't get the attention it deserves.

    I must have missed your post in April and just stumbled across it when reading your top 10 list. As with most of 2020, spring was a ghastly time... Yet, I guess we are hawk buddies:
    Orient, MA – Ilkhanat, Arghun, AR dirham, Falke:Sonne, Astarabad, A-2149.2..png
    Ilkhanate, under Arghun with Ghazan as viceroy, AR dirham, 1291–1292 AD (690–691 AH), Astarabad mint. Obv: Uyghur protocol in three lines, two above hawk and one below: "[qaghanu]/ nereber/ deletkeguluksen(?)" ('of the Khaqan / in the name of / struck'); Arabic name of the ruler Arghun in central l. field; citing his heir Ghazan in r. field; hawk r., sunface rising behind. Rev: Shiite kalima in three lines in square: "la ilah illa allah / muhammad rasul allah / ali waliun allah", partial mint and date formula for Astarabad in margins. Ref: Album 2149.2. 17.5mm, 2.93g.

    Here is another Ilkhan coin, minted for Hulagu, who is mostly known for destroying Baghdad in 1258 AD:
    Orient, MA – Ilkhanat, Hulagu, Dirham, Mardin?, Album 2122.2.png
    Ilkhanate, under Hulagu (possibly a posthumous issue), AR dirham, ca. 1261–1265 AD (659–663 AH; also struck posthumously until c. 1281 AD/ 679 AH), Mardin mint (?). Obv: kalima: "la ilah illa allah/ wahdahu la sharikalahu/ muhammad rasul allah;" in margin, fragmentary Qu'ran 3:26. R: "qa'an/ al-'azam/ hulagu ilkhan/ al-mu'azam;" in margin, fragmentary mint and date formula. 22.5mm, 2.69g. Ref: Album 2122.2.
  5. Magnus Maximus

    Magnus Maximus Dulce et Decorum est....

    Huh, I missed this post back in April as well. I don’t have a coin of the Ilkhans, but I do have one of the guy who ended them!
    Emir Tamerlane
    AR Tanka
    Minted in Yazd, Persia
    Date of 797AH or 1394
    Weight of 6.00 grams
    Diameter of 26.28 mm
  6. TTerrier

    TTerrier Well-Known Member

    I also missed this thread which was unfortunate as I like these coins and have a number of them from different rulers. I've only had time to properly transcribe one of them, a dirham of Abaqa (son of Hulagu). These coins were struck at dozens of different mints, especially as you get to the later Khans like Abu Sa'id.

    One interesting fact about Abaqa is that he tried to strike an alliance with the Byzantine emperor Michael Palaiologos by marrying his illegitimate daughter, Maria Palaiologina. She was originally going to marry Hulagu but he died before she could make her way to Tabriz. It was Abaqa who made Tabriz the formal capital of the Ilkhans.

    The coin:

    AR dirham
    2.73 gm, 20 mm
    AH 668 (1269 - 1270 AD)
    Mint - Tiflis (according to Diler even though there is no mint on the coins they were struck in Tiflis)
    Album 2127; Diler A-98

    Note that on the obverse the text on the second line of the coin is shown to the right on the diagram below - that is the date info.

    Abaqa obv AH668.jpg Abaqa obverse AH668.jpg Abaqa rev AH668.jpg Abaqa reverse AH668.jpg
    Parthicus likes this.
  7. dltsrq

    dltsrq Grumpy Old Man

    @TTerrier The month is actually Shawwal شوال. Nice coin!
    Parthicus likes this.
  8. TTerrier

    TTerrier Well-Known Member

    Abaqa obverse AH668.jpg Thanks for the correction - I will see if I can upload a picture with the correct month! After checking seems I can't edit the original post but here is the corrected diagram.

    I think this means we can narrow down the date this was issued to the period from May 24, 1270 to June 22, 1270 (using an on-line AH to AD date converter).
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2020
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