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Zacour, N. P.; Hazard, H. W. (ed.) / Volume VI: The impact of the Crusades on Europe
(1989)

XI: Crusader coinage with Arabic inscriptions,   pp. 421-473 PDF (5.7 MB)


Page 429

 Ch. XI CRUSADER COINAGE WITH ARABIC INSCRIPTIONS 429 
operation, but in the troubled times of al-'Adid (1160—1171) a mint
was again opened in Cairo and produced the bulk of his issues. This was apparently
the only mint in the city under the Aiytibids and Mamluks. A second regular
mint was established in Egypt at Alexandria in 465 (1072/3)18 and operated
regularly into the fifteenth century. A mint also operated in Qus in Upper
Egypt from 517 (1123/4) to 519. 
 In eleventh-century Syria a number of towns had mints for the Fätimids:
Aleppo, Damascus, Tiberias, Ramla (which used the name Filasttn, Palestine,
on coins), Tyre, Tripoli, Acre, and Ascalon.'9 Of these, only Tyre may have
minted continuously throughout the F~timid period, but even there the record
has gaps. The first four mints mentioned, all located inland, apparently
ceased to operate in the 1060's, probably as a result of the Selchükid
conquests in Syria. Production of Fätimid dinars was left to the port
cities Tyre, Tripoli, and Acre — the latter issued dinars for the first
time just as the inland mints were closing down, perhaps not coincidentally.
The last recorded date for Acre and Tripoli is 495 (1101/2) while production
at Ascalon began in 503 (1109/10), at the time of Tripoli's capture by the
crusaders, and continued until 510 (1116/7). The last date recorded for Tyre
is 517 (1123/4) (p1. XIII, no. 11),20 just before it was taken by the crusaders
(1124). According to a much later Arab writer, the crusaders kept the mint
of Tyre open for three years after its conquest, striking coins in the name
of a!Amir.21 Dfndr ~üri "Tyre dinar", was the generic Arabic term for
the crusader Arabic gold coins, but only a small proportion of these imitations
actually bear the mint-name Sur.22 These last three major F~ti 
 18. The various references in the literature to issues of Alexandria before
465 are all to be dismissed; those that have been carefully examined have
turned out to be misattributions. For example, the coin of the University
Museum, Philadelphia, ascribed by Miles to the year 435 (Miles, Fatimid Coins,
no. 259, p1. III; the coin is on loan to the American Numismatic Society,
1002.1.1083; p1. XVI, no. 46) is an imitation or counterfeit; its date is
indistinct, but its type was not introduced until 474 (1081/2). It may well
be a crusader imitation, as its gold fineness is approximately 78.5 percent
by specific gravity measurement, the same as that of many crusader bezants.
 19. The table in Miles, op. cit., pp. 50—51, is still valid for the
termination dates of Fätimid Syrian issues, except for SUr (Tyre). 
 20. The unique dinar of that date is unpublished, in the collection of the
American Numismatic Society (1955.131.1). 
 21. Ibn-Khallikãn, Kitab wafayat al-a ' yan, ed. Ihsãn ' Abbas
(Beirut, n.d.), V, 301; Fr. trans. MacGuckin de Slane (Paris, 1843—1845),
III, 456; see below, p. 441. 
 22. It seems odd that only a few crusader bezants can be assigned to Tyre,
as will be seen below. Robert Irwin, "The Supply of Money and the Direction
of Trade in Thirteenth-Century Syria," in Coinage in the Latin East: the
Fourth Oxford Symposium on Coinage and Monetary History, ed. Peter W. Edbury
and Metcalf (BAR International Series, no. 77; Oxford, 1980), p. 91, has
explained this anomaly with the suggestion that from the late twelfth century,
if not earlier, the word Sun was a calque on the French term "de Syrie".


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