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.