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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)

Page 430

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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