Zacour, N. P.; Hazard, H. W. (ed.) / Volume VI: The impact of the Crusades on Europe
XI: Crusader coinage with Arabic inscriptions, pp. 421-473 PDF (5.7 MB)
430 A HISTORY OF THE CRUSADES mid Syrian mints for gold — Tyre, Tripoli, and Acre — are also the most likely locations for the mints that issued the crusader gold imitations. After the Fätimid dinar mints closed, Moslem Syria had little gold coinage of its own. The mint of Damascus began issuing dinars in 530 (1135/6) and continued for about ten years, striking coins of Fätimid style with the names of the ' Abbäsid caliphs and the SelchUkid sultans of the east, but these coins are quite scarce today, suggesting a small issue (p1. XIII, no. 12).23 In 583 (1187/8) dinars were struck for Saladin in Damascus, perhaps to process the booty from Jerusalem and his other conquests in that year, but no other Moslem Syrian gold coins are known until the reign of Baybars (1260_1277).24 For the most part, Syrians used imported Egyptian or crusader (Süfl) dinars in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries.25 In addition to the mints listed in Syria, Egypt, and Mesopotamia, there are also a very few RUm Selchükid issues in gold, from Konya beginning as early as 573 (1177/8), and from Sivas.26 23. Ibn-al-Qal~nisi, Dhail ta'rikh Dimashq, ed. Henry F. Amedroz (Leyden, 1908), P. 257; trans. Roger Le Tourneau, Dam as de 1075 a 1145 (Damascus, 1952), p. 236 (where the text's description of the metal content of the coins is misconstrued as a list of denominations). Published examples of this series are few; one is in Stanley Lane-Poole, Catalogue of Oriental Coins in the British Museum (London, 1887—1890), III, 45, no. 88. 24. For the Damascus dinar issue of Saladin see Balog, Ayyubids, p. 77, no. 79. The first Damascus dinar of Baybars, with an illegible date, has recently been discovered in the collection of the Kuwait National Museum. Otherwise, Mamluk gold coinage in Damascus is known only from the reign of Kalavun (1279—1290) onward (idem, Mamluk Sultans, p. 120). The dinar attributed to Filastin, 592, by Balog, Ayyubids, p. 108, no. 201 (now in the collection of the Kuwait National Museum, where it was reexamined by one of the present authors), is surely misread. The mint name is somewhat unclear but is probably al-Iskandarlyah (Alexandria). It is, incidentally, not impossible that the reintroduction of gold minting at Damascus was a response to the cessation of crusader gold minting in or shortly after 1258. 25. Eliyahu Ashtor, Histoire des prix et des salaires dans l'Orient médiéval (Paris, 1969), pp. 239-240, and Irwin, op. cit., pp. 91-93, provide many citations for the use of MisrT and Sun dinars. For example, the waqfs founded by Nur-ad-Din (d. 1174) yielded in the year 608 (1211/2) 9,000 SUn dinars per month (AbU-ShAmah, Kitdb ar-raudatainfiakhbar ad-daulatain, ed. Mubammad Hilmi Muhammad Ahmad [Cairo, 1956], I, 23). A waqf, of course, is a Moslem pious endowment for some worthy cause, so this is surely an example of the use of Sun dinars among Moslems, which Irwin denies. Another example cited by Irwin himself is a statement of the price of grain in Damascus in 1178/9 in SOrT dinars. The debate over the use of crusader coins by Moslems has perhaps been overdrawn. Since Syria had no mint for gold during most of the 12th and 13th centuries, and since it is known that crusader bezants came into the Moslem territories as tribute, indemnities, and perhaps even trade payments, it can only be assumed that these bezants were used by Moslems in further transactions among themselves. The only alternatives would have been reserving such coins for return transactions with the crusaders or sending them to the Moslem mints in Egypt and Mesopotamia for recoinage. It does not necessarily follow that crusader coins predominated in the gold money in circulation, and only a tiny minority of transactions were large enough to make gold coins appropriate. 26. Ibrahim and Cevriye Artuk, Istanbul arkeoloji muzeleni teshirdeki islâmIsikkeler katalo~u (Istanbul, 1970), no. 1060 (Konya, 573), and passim.
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