Nice Islamic Silver Coin Mamluk Dirham 709-741 AH / 1310-1341 AD Third Reign of Al-Nasir Nasir al-Din Muhammad
Description: A silver coin from the times of Al Nasir Nasir al-Din Muhammad's third reign. Muhammad was the son of Qalaun and ruled Egypt and Syria for three different period ranging from 693 AH (1293AD) and 741 AH (1341 AD). This coin is from his third reign which occurred in the period 709-741 AH / 1310-1341 AD. Al Nasir Muhammad is from the Bahari Mamluk dynasty. This is a dirham weighing about 3 grams and is not circular in shape measuring ~21 x ~19 millimeters. It is in generally fine condition with readable calligraphy on the obverse and the reverse, but showing wear and areas of flatness. The obverse shows the name shows the legend "Qalaun; Al Sultan Al Malik Al Nasir Nasir al-Dunia; ..in Muhammad ibn alMalik..." while the reverse has the legend "duriba bi Hamah; La Elah Ela ..;Muhammad Rassul..; ...." The small flan of the coin does not show a date. However, the coin is similar to Balog 210b. Please carefully review the scans presented as they are part and parcel of our description.
Date: Date off flan, struck in the period 709-741 AH (1310-1341 AD).
Size and Weight: This is a dirham, weighs ~3 grams of silver and is ~21x19 mm in dimensions and is off-round in shape.
References: It is Album #920, is listed in Balog as #210b, and is Wilkes 981.
Condition: For international buyers, please note that on January 20, 2018 the new US postal rates for overseas shipping went into effect for first class shipments, which we are unable to change. Additional charges will be incurred depending on the value of the item. I would grade this coin as a fine or better. The coin itself is much better than the photos show with relatively well defined and legible portions of the calligraphy on both the obverse and reverse. The coin is a bit off round with misshapen edge. The coin shows considerable wear and has strike weakness along the edges and definitely shows the name Muhammad and Qalaun. A normally difficult coin to find, which would make a nice addition to your collection. Please see the photos for additional condition information.
Historic Perspective: The word Mamluks in Arabic means "owned", hence their nickname "Slave Kings". They succeeded the Ayyubids and ruled Egypt and Syria for about 250 years. They had been recruited by the Ayyubids and then, like the Turkish mercenaries of the Abbasid caliphs, had usurped power from their enfeebled masters. Unlike their predecessors, however, they were able to maintain their power, and they retained control of Egypt until the Ottoman conquest in 1517. Militarily formidable, they were also the first power to defeat the Mongols in open combat in 1260, at Ayn Jalut near Nazareth in Palestine.
The Mamluk sultans are usually divided into two dynasties, the Bahris (1250 - 1382 AD), chiefly Turks and Mongols, and the Burjis (1382 - 1517 AD), chiefly Circassians. These names arise from the location of the barracks of the Mamluks within the city of Cairo (Al Kahira). Those originating from the barracks on an island in the Nile are Bahari (sea dwellers) and those who were in the towers of the Cairo Citadel are the Burjis (the tower dwellers). The Bahri sultans were usually selected from a few chief families, but during Burji times there was scant respect for hereditary principle in the selection of rulers. Neither dynasty was able to exercise more than a limited power over the turbulent Mamluk soldiers. The sultans reigned, on average, less than seven years and usually met violent ends. In spite of the dangers that threatened the sultans at home, they usually conducted a vigorous foreign policy. They defeated the last of the Crusaders and repulsed the Mongol invasion of Syria. At times they held all Palestine and Syria and the holy places of Arabia. Even after the Ottomans occupied Egypt they wheeled quite a bit of power until Mohammad Ali massacred the last of them at the Cairo Citadel in the early 1800's.
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