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XXI

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A Seljuks of Anatolia Hoard Summary

by Stephen Album reprinted with permission from Alex G. Malloy, originally published in Medieval IX, 1973

The Seljuks of Anatolia (Rum) ruled for more than two centuries, independently until 1243, and thereafter as vassals of the Mongol kings of Persia, known a the Ilkhans. From about 1180 until their final absorption into the Mongol kingdom in about 1302, they issued an extensive series of coins, of which the silver series formed the major part. Very little has been done to study this fascinating, and extremely complicated series, especially of the later kings, after the acceptance of Mongol suzerainty, despite the relative abundance of the extant specimens. No hoards have hitherto been analyzed and published. The hoard which forms the subject of this brief article (I shall eventually publish a more detailed analysis) was kindly placed at my disposal for study by Mr. A. Malloy.

The hoard comprises 250 pieces, clearly unsorted, which may or may not represent the entire hoard. Includes are on Ilkhanid coin and 249 Seljuk coins, of the following rulers: Kilic Arslan IV ((sole ruler, AH 655/AD 1257-633/1264; 2 pcs.); Keyhusrev III (663/1264-681/1282; 61 pcs.); and Mes'ud II (681/1282-704/1304; 186 pcs.). The break-down by mints and dates is as follows:

Mint

Quantity

Date AH

Quantity

Date AH

Quantity

Antalya

2

656

1

680

5

Develi

1

662

1

681

6

Erzincan

6

667

1

682

8

Gumusbazar

4

668

3

683

17

Kayseri

7

669

1

685

2

Konya

2

670

2

686

1

Lulua

12

671

1

687

2

Madenbazar

2

672

2

688

5

Madensehir

2

674

2

689

16

Samsun

21

676

2

690

21

Sinop

28

677

4

691

6

Sivas

112

678

4

692

10

Sehirbazar

2

679

8

693

10

Mint Effaced

48

Date Effaced

108

The strong representation of the rare mints of Samsun and Sinop is indicative of a north central Turkish provenance. Of greater interest is the preponderance of Sivas, and virtual absence of Konya. By the 680's, the northern part of the Seljuk kingdom began to separate from the southwestern portion. The former sector, with its capital at Sivas, remained under the Mongols, who ruled through Mes'ud II. The southwest, including Konya at times, gradually slipped from Mongol control, and fell to the hands of local beys, who exercised their rule in the name of a rival Seljuk, Keykubad III. By 693, the date of the hoard, we can observe that the split was deep enough to have interrupted trade, as indicated by the exclusion of southwestern and Konya coins in the hoard; other hoards I have examined would confirm this.

The gap created by the near absence of 684-687 dated coins is less easily explained. Most probably, the original owner of the hoard acquired his wealth in two batches, one in 683 or so, and the other in 693, and mixed the two groups together before he buried them in the ground. Another hoard known to me, which bears a cut-off date of 689 and is strongest in the mints of Sivas and Erzincan, shows no comparable gap, all the years of Sivas from 681 to 689 being well-represented. Thus the gap appears to be fortuitous, not historical.

The metrological properties of the hoard are of special interest. A frequency table of the entire hoard reveals a rather blunt curve peaking at 2.90-2.91 grams. The coins of Mes'ud II dated 679-683 yield a peak at 2.88-2.89, while his 690-693 coins have a peak at 2.90-2.93 grams. All of these figures are close enough to classical Islamic dirham of 2.97 grams to suggest that the latter was the theoretical standard of the Seljuks, up to and including Mes'ud II. However, the 2% observed discrepancy cannot be ascribed to wear, for few of the coins show substantial wear or corrosion; it is likely that somewhat lightweight coins were the rule, perhaps in order to secure extra revenue needed to fulfill the annual tribute obligations to the Mongol overlords.

An examination of the three best-represented date/mint combinations for die linkage (Sivas 683 and 690; Sinop, the last day of Safar 689) reveals that the numbers of dies used was considerable. Thus the Sivas 683 coins show 13 different obverse dies among 14 coins. This would indicate that the quantities issued were sizable, not at all surprising in view of the the relative abundance of extant specimens.

The series dated to "salkh Safar 689" (the last day of the month of Safar) is remarkable, as coins dated to a given day are infrequently seen. The number of dies represented on these coins in the hoard (nos. 155-166) preclude that they should all have been struck on a single day, and may have been minted for several subsequent weeks. Perhaps the day had particular significance for eh city of Sinop, but the paucity of historical records would make it doubtful that mystery shall ever be unraveled. This variety is hitherto unpublished.

Finally the series of Sivas coins provides enlightenment concerning the accession Mes'ud II. By virtue of coin no. 64, dated 679 and in the name of Mes'ud II, that even could have occurred no later than that year. Nor much earlier, for the coins bears Mes'ud's obverse coupled with the reverse type of Keyhusrev III, for the signet inscription in the central reverse area is that of Keyhusrev. But there is a complication, in that the series of cons of the mints of Erzincan Lulua (and others) in the author's and other collections show that Mes'ud succeeded Keyhusrev in 681, for each ruler's coins are known from those mints in that year. Now Ibn Bibi, the historian relied upon most for this period, does mention an even in 679 in which Mes'ud is titled sultan, but nowhere does he refer either to Keyhusrev's death or Mes'ud coronation. A lesser known historian, Aksara'i, provides the solution, for he states that Mes'ud returned from exile in Crimea to the region of Erzincan, from which he joined the camp of the Mongol ruler, Abaqa. Soon afterwards, Abaqa decided to divide the province of Rum into two parts, and in 679, he allowed Mes'ud to travel to Rum, where, accompanied by official patents for Abaqa, he was placed on the throne under the authority of the Mongol governor, Mujir al-Din. This occurred in Sivas, the capital of the province. Bu the local rulers in Erzincan continued to rally behind Keyhusrev (apparently with the tacit approval of the Mongols), until the latter died a natural death in 681. Thus from 679-681, coins were struck in the name of Mes'ud in Sivas and its dependencies, and in the name of Keyhusrev in Erzincan and Lulua. Here is a skeletal tabulation of the coins in the hoard:

Kilic Arslan IV

1. Erzincan 656
2. Develi 662

Keyhusrev III

3. Antalya 67x
4. Erzincan 670
5. Erzincan 671
6. Erzincan date missing
7. Gumusbazar 678
8. Gumusbazar date missing
9. Kayseri 665 or 675
10. Kayseri 679
11. Konya 670
12. Konya 674
13. Lulua 668
14. Lulua 672
15. Lulua 674
16. Lulua 676
17-18. Madensehir date missing
19. Sivas 667
20. Sivas 668
21. Sivas 669
22. Sivas 676
23-25. Sivas 677
26. Sivas 678
27-28. Sivas 679
29-33. Sivas, Muharram 679 (note presence of month)
34-49. Sivas date missing
50-60. mint missing & date missing
61. Kayseri 677 (hexagon type)
62-63. Lulua date missing (hexagon type)

Mes'ud II

Type I (Keyhusrev muling)

64. Sivas 679

Type II (kalima in beaded square)

65-68. Sivas 680
69-73. Sivas 681
74-79. Sivas 682
80-84 Sivas of types 680-682, but date missing
85-98 Sivas 683
99-105. Sivas of type 683, but date missing
106-108. mint missing 682 (probably Sivas)

Type III (mint below kalima, unframed)

109. Sinop 683
110. mint missing 682, perhaps Sinop
111. Sinope date barbarous or illegible
112-113. mint missing and date missing, but Sinop style

Type IV (kalima in square area, unframed, with 7-dot pattern in center)

114-119. Sinop date missing
120-122. mint missing and date missing, Sinop style

Type V (signet within hexafoil)

123. Erzincan date missing
124. Gumusbazar 690
125. Gumusbazar date missing
126-127. Madenbazar date missing
128-131. Samsun 690
132-133. Samsun 693
134-136. Samsun date missing
137. Sivas xx4 (appears to be muling with Kayhusrev reverse of 674)
138-139. Sehirbazar date missing
140-143. mint missing and date missing

Type VI (as V, but no plain circle around hexafoil)

144-146. Samsun 691
147-152. Samsun 692
153-154. Samsun date missing
155-166. Sinop, Salkh Safar 689
167. Sinop 689
168. Sinop 690
169. Sinop 691
170. Sinop 693
171. Sinope date missing
172-180. mint missing and date missing

Type VII (kalima in concave beaded hexigon)

181. Kayseri 681
182. Lulua 682
183. Lulua 683(?)
184. Lulua 686
185-186. Lulua 691
187. Lulua date missing
188. Sivas 688
189-191. Kayseri date missing
192-199. mint missing and date missing

Type VIII (kalima in plain quaterfoil)

200. Sivas 288
201-204. Sivas date missing

Type IX (signet in double circle)

205-206. Sivas 689
207-210. Sivas 690
211-212. Sivas date missing

Type X (long kalima in beaded square)

213. Samsun date missing
214-215. Sinop 687
216-219. mint missing and date missing (style of Sinop)
220-230. Sivas 690
231-232. Sivas 692
233-237. Sivas date missing
238. Sivas(?) 688

Type XI (date below kalima, mint in margin, unframed)

239-245. Sivas 693

Type XII (signet in plain circle)

246. Antalya 683

Type XIII (3-line kalima within plain hexafoil)

247. Erzincan 688

Type XIV (signet surrournde by ring knowts, all in plain circle)

248. Sinop 688
249. mint missing (presumably Sinop)

ILKHANID: Arghun, 1284-1291

250. mint missing 685 (type of BM 66)

THE MUSLIM MONTHS:

1  Muharram
2  Safar
3  Rabi ul-Awwal
4  Rabi ath-Thani
5  Jumada'l-Ula
6  Jumada'l-Akhira
7  Rajab
8  Sha'ban
9  Ramadan
10  Shawwal
11  Dhu'l-Qa'da
12  Dhu'l-Hijja