The numismatic history of the Caucasian kingdom of Georgia and its various principalities extends over more than two thousand years and presents a series of the most diverse types, reflecting the political and cultural influences to which the land was from time to time subjected. Colchis, or western Georgia, was renowned from mythical times as a source of precious metals, a fact illustrated by the legend of the Golden Fleece.
Some four centuries before our era, Greek colonies on Georgia's Black Sea coast were issuing their own currency, which circulated freely among the Georgian clans of the hinterland. The influence of Greek and Roman domination can be seen in a number of curious local imitations of the staters of Alexander the Great and Lysimachus, and later of the denarii of the Emperor Augustus.
During the sixth and seventh centuries after Christ, when Transcaucasia was a battleground between the Sasanian and Byzantine empires, eastern Georgia, the Iberia of the Ancients, began to evolve its own coinage. Starting as an adaptation of a familiar Sasanian model, this first Iberian series soon achieved a significant evolution towards a national, Christian iconography. Before long, however, the Arab conquest imposed a uniformity of style reflecting Georgia's subjection to the new might of Islam. On the decay of the Caliphate, the Emirs of Tiflis asserted their new-found autonomy in coinage of a distinctly particularist type.
By the tenth century, the Georgians were rising to full statehood. Close cultural ties with Byzantium resulted in the adoption of styles which, far from being slavish imitations, show strong and individual developments in Christian imagery. Under King David the Builder and Queen Tʿamar, during the twelfth and early thirteenth centuries, Georgia profited by the weakening of Seljuk power to establish a kingdom extending from the North Caucasus into Anatolia on the one hand, and from the Black Sea into Azerbaijan on the other. In- creasing intimacy with neighbouring Muslim principalities led to the adoption of a mixed style of coinage, embodying both National-Christian and Islamic elements. This did not, during Georgia's Golden Age, imply political dependence on the Muslim powers. Indeed the Georgian dynasts took pride in their Arabic legends in vaunting their role as Defender of the Christian Faith. Sometimes the Caliph's name was included as a gesture of conciliation to Georgia's many Muslim subjects, as well as to the inhabitants of neighbouring states, among whom economic considerations made it desirable that Georgia's coinage should circulate as widely as possible.
The Mongol domination, one of the most demoralizing periods in Georgia's history, is paradoxically enough one of the most fascinating in the history of her coinage. Two main series may be distinguished: the Hulaguid-Christian dirhems, bearing a cross and often the monogram of the Georgian vassal monarch; and the standard Il-Khanid issues, struck in the towns of Tiflis, Akhaltsikhe and Qarā-Aghāch just as in scores of other mint-towns in the Mongol empire of Persia and the Near East.
The onslaughts of Tamerlane, which occurred just when Georgia was recovering from the Mongol occupation, had a disastrous effect on the coinage. The few examples of Georgian national currency of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries which have come to light bear witness to a sadly debased standard of quality and workmanship.
The Ottoman and Safavid empires early strove to subjugate Transcaucasia. The conquest of Georgia by Shah ʿAbbās early in the seventeenth century and the suzerainty subsequently exercised by the court of Isfahan are commemorated by a long series of standard Safavid issues minted at Tiflis. In 1723 the Turks invaded and held the land for a few years, also leaving numismatic traces of their occupancy. The conqueror Nādir expelled the Turks in his turn, an event likewise recorded in the coinage.
Erekle II (1744–98) brought eastern Georgia half a century of somewhat precarious independence, during which time she had to manoeuvre between Persia and Russia. We alternately find on Erekle's coinage the Russian eagle and elements of wholly Persian affinity, though an individual ensemble is often achieved.
The death in 1800 of Giorgi XII, last king of Kʿartʿlo-Kakhetʿi, resulted in the absorption of the country by Russia. For the first three decades of the century, a mint operated in Tiflis under Imperial authority to produce a distinct regional currency for the new province, the inscriptions being in Georgian characters. After 1834, Georgia employed standard Russian currency.
The collapse of the Empire in 1917 was followed by the emergence of small national states from amidst its component parts. One of these was the Georgian Republic, which maintained its independence under the Presidency of the late Noah Jordania until Soviet armed invasion in 1921 brought the country under Bolshevik rule. This was a period of crisis and inflation, as is shown by the note issue of the period. At present, the standard currency of the Soviet Union circulates in Georgia exclusively. Owing to its bulk and heterogeneous nature, however, the description of Georgia's 20th century currency has been reserved for a separate study.
The study of the coinage of Georgia has long attracted the attention of numismatists. The illustrious Fraehn did much to clarify the tangled web of the Il-Khanid period in Georgia. In 1844, a Georgian nobleman in the Russian service, Prince Michael Barataev (Baratashvili) (1784–1856), published the first attempt at a systematic classification of the Georgian coins then known. Barataev's work met with penetrating, if somewhat harsh criticism by the Academician and historian of Georgia, M.-F. Brosset (1802–1880). For his part, Brosset maintained a correspondence on the subject with the eminent numismatist, General J. de Bartholomaei (1812–1870). This correspondence, together with Bartholomaei's letters to Soret on Oriental coins, are among our most valuable guides to Georgian medieval coinage. Meanwhile, the French savant Victor Langlois (1829–1869) was preparing his two historical and descriptive surveys of the coins of Georgia, which appeared in 1852 and i860. In spite of some defects of detail, the second of these remains a valuable work of reference, and has yet to be superseded.
After this deployment of scholarly resource, the subject slumbered for half a century, until there appeared in 1910 the first section of E. A. Pakhomov's treatise on the coinage of Georgia, extending to the reign of Queen Rusudan. The second half, which would have comprised the Mongol and subsequent periods, was completed and printed, but prevented by the vicissitudes of war and revolution from being published. This is greatly to be regretted in view of the admirable thoroughness of the first volume. To this day, Pakhomov continues to do most valuable work by classifying and publishing particulars of hoards dug up in Transcaucasia.
In the West, Professor Joseph Karst of Strassburg published in 1938 a concise but serviceable summary of Georgian numismatic history, together with a study of Georgian metrology.
Finally, we must mention the work of the Coin Room of the Georgian State Museum at Tiflis. In the bulletin of that institution have been appearing over the last decade a series of excellent articles by David Kapanadze and Tʿamar Lomouri, describing new finds and suggesting fresh attributions of known varieties. These articles being written in Georgian, it is to be feared that they will not achieve the notice they deserve in the numismatic world generally. They have been of great service in preparing the following pages.
Until the late eighteenth century, none of the coins of Georgia are dated according to the Christian era. Georgian national chronology as employed during the medieval period is based on a Paschal Cycle of 532 years, known as the Kʿoronikon. The first cycle during which this method of computation was used began in the year 781 a.d. (Kʿoronikons 1 = 781 a.d.).
This was theoretically the thirteenth cycle. In principle, the cyclic series goes back to the Creation, which the Georgians set at 5604 b.c. The scholiasts who evolved this system of chronology, probably early in the ninth century, were able to compute that in the year 780 a.d., exactly twelve cycles had elapsed (5604 plus 780 equals 6384; 6384 divided by 532 equals 12). Why the year 780 was chosen as a point of departure remains obscure; it may have had some historical connection with the establishment of Bagratid rule in Georgia.
The year of the Kʿoronikon is normally inscribed on coins and charters in Georgian ecclesiastical majuscule letters ("asomtʿavruli"), which can readily be equated with their numerical values. To take an example, the silver dirhem of Queen Rusudan bears the date equivalent to 450 of the Kʿoronikon, i.e., 1230 a.d. (780 plus 450 equals 1230). The possibility has to be borne in mind that the date might belong to the next Kʿoronikon, beginning in 1312 a.d. This would bring one to the year 1762 a.d., which can be ruled out, as in other cases, by historical and stylistic evidence.
In addition, the Hijra era is found on most series from the Arab conquest until the Russian occupation. This may occur either instead of or in conjunction with the year of the Georgian Kʿoronikon.
The monetary series of Georgia begins with the coins of Colchis, that area on the eastern shores of the Black Sea which comprises the present-day Mingrelia, Imeretʿi and adjoining territories. As is well known, Greek colonists from Miletus maintained settlements and trading stations there from the seventh century b.c. onwards. The most important of these were Dioscurias, near the present-day Sukhum in Abkhazia, and Phasis, at the mouth of the river of that name, the modern Rion.
Six types of Colchian coin, conveniently termed "Kolkhidki" in the Russian literature, are listed and illustrated in recent articles by the Soviet numismatists A. N. Zograf and D. G. Kapanadze. 1 Three of them are new to science. The ANS has only the best-known and most widely distributed variety of Kolkhidka. Two of the six specimens in the collection are illustrated.
1. Hemidrachm Colchis circa 400 b.c.
Obv. Female head, right, of archaic or archaistic style. Hair falls in three tresses down the back of the neck. Border of dots.
Rev. Bull's head, right, within linear circle.
1 A. Similar to preceding, but head on obverse with four tresses of hair.
The other four specimens in the ANS collection are as follows:—
Head, Historia Numorum, p. 495; Babelon, Traité, II, 2, pp. 1533–36; Grose, McClean Collection, III, p. 2; Wroth, B. M. Catalogue of Greek Coins (Pontus, etc.), p. 4; Pakhomov, Monety Gruzii, Pl. I, Nos. 1–5. Pakhomov also illustrates a variety with the bull's head to left.
Specimens have also been recorded with the Greek letters ΜΟ, Ο, Α or Φ beneath the head on the obverse.
Head's view that this type originated about 400 b.c. is followed by the majority of authorities, though Grose inclines to the period 500–470. The Soviet archaeologist V. M. Skudnova recently published a specimen discovered in excavations in the Tauric Chersonese among some pottery of a period not later than the second half of the sixth century. 1 But this does not prove that the coin itself is anything like as early as this.
These little hemidrachms are dug up in scores in Mingrelia, Guria and Imeretʿi, and have even been used as shot-gun pellets by local hunters. 2 They probably continued to be minted over a considerable period of years, perhaps right up to the second century b.c.
Of much greater rarity is a Colchian didrachm, one of the few known specimens of which, formerly in the Jameson Collection, and later in the possession of Dr. Jacob Hirsch of New York, is now in the collection of Dr. E. S. G. Robinson. 3 Its present owner has kindly allowed us to examine and describe this highly interesting piece.
2. Didrachm Colchis c. 400 b.c.
Obv. Female head, right, with hair falling in tresses down the back of the neck, within linear circle.
Rev. Two female heads, facing one another, each in square incuse.
Babelon, Traité, II, 2, pp. 1535–36, No. 2966; Zograf, "Rasprostranenie nakhodok," Pl. I, No. 3, and p. 36, note 1 (with refs. to earlier literature); Kapanadze, in Vestnik Drevney Istorii, No. 3, 1950, No. 3. Not in Head.
Makalatʿia, a prominent specialist on Georgian folk-lore, makes the interesting suggestion that the long-haired female figure on Colchian coins is to be identified with the Georgian wood goddess Dali, whose cult corresponds to that of Artemis in Greek mythology. 1
The Warren Collection now in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, includes another Colchian didrachm, of a type entirely different from the preceding. It was formerly in the Greenwell Collection. In view of the uncommon interest presented by this coin, its description is repeated here by kind courtesy of the Curator of the Boston Museum's classical collection.
3. Didrachm Colchis 500 b.c. or later.
Obv. Crouching (hermaphrodite) lion, to right, with head turned back. Long mane, prominent teats.
Rev. Kneeling human figure, with bull's or ox's head, somewhat resembling a minotaur, in oblong incuse. Collar around neck.
Boston Museum, Brett Catalogue, No. 1352; W. Greenwell, in NumChron, 1893, p. 88; Head, Historia Numorum, p. 495; Regling, Sammlung Warren, p. 154, No. 973. See also Yakunchikov, Drevne-grecheskie monety, Nos. 48–49; Zograf, "Rasprostranenie nakhodok," Pl. I, Nos. 1–2; Kapanadze, in Vestnik Drevney Istorii, No. 3, 1950, No. 6.
The enigmatic figures depicted on this coin may one day throw light on the primitive beliefs of the Georgians and Abkhazians, in whose cults they probably have their origin. A parallel may be drawn between this bull-headed human figure and some of the monsters depicted in G. Contenau's Glyptique Syro-Hittite.
Another, and so far inedited variety of this coin in the British Museum collection (ex-Feuardent) shows the lion crouching to left, and the kneeling figure in a somewhat different posture. We intend shortly to publish this specimen in a separate study.
To round off the numismatic history of Colchis, we add here particulars of the three new types of Colchian silver coins recently published by Soviet scholars. Illustrations of them will be found on the plate facing page 194 of D. G. Kapanadze's article in the journal Vestnik Drevney Istorii, No. 3, 1950, which is available in the ANS and other scholarly libraries.
(a) Tetradrachm (Kapanadze, No. 1)
Obv. Lion's head, left; mouth open, showing fangs and tongue.
Rev. Winged Pegasus, right, in square incuse.
[Unique. State Museum of Georgia, Tiflis.]
(b) Drachm (Kapanadze, No. 4)
Obv. Lion's head, facing; bristling mane.
Rev. Bull's head, right, as in Nos. 1 and 1A of the present monograph, but in square incuse.
[Unique. Kʿutʿais Museum, Georgia.]
(c) Hemidrachm (Kapanadze, No. 2)
Obv. Lion's head, right; mouth open, showing fangs; long mane.
Rev. Lioness's head, right, in square incuse.
[3 specimens. State Museum of Georgia, Tiflis.]
In addition to these Greek influences from the west, many of the Georgian clans were tributaries of the Persian Achaemenid empire. After its collapse, Iranian overlordship was replaced by that of Alexander of Macedon. Barbarous local imitations of the staters of Alexander and of Lysimachus circulated in Transcaucasia, and are found in Abkhazia, Atchara and Imeretʿi in Western Georgia, as well as in Kʿartʿlo-Kakhetʿi to the east, the Iberia of the ancients. 1
While Georgian imitations of the staters of Lysimachus reach in their latest stage an extreme degree of picturesque distortion, those of the third to second centuries are quite close to their prototype. Two examples are known on which the name of Lysimachus has been, as it were, cut in half, leaving only the final portion: AKOU (or AKHOU). Kapanadze was at first disposed to regard this as the name of a hitherto unknown King of Colchis, but L. P. Kharko made it clear beyond reasonable doubt that it is but the product of a local die-engraver's negligence or whim. 1
The ANS collection has two imitations of the Alexander stater which, though of uncertain provenance, closely resemble the Georgian type. They belong to a late stage of degradation. Their attribution to Georgia is strengthened by their high-rimmed hammered edges, characteristic of other specimens of undisputed Caucasian provenance. They are similar to a couple received from Colchis via Erzerum by Prokesch-Osten in 1859. 2
4. Obv. Head of Athena, right, grotesquely distorted. In field, to left, two pellets; to right, four pellets.
Rev. Degradation of winged Nike. In field, above, one pellet; below, one pellet; to left, five pellets; to right, three pellets.
16 mm. ↗ 2.60 gr. Plate I, 5.
Kapanadze, in Vestnik Drevney Istorii, No. 3, 1949, p. 158, Pl. I, No. 2.
4A. Obv. Head of Athena, right, distorted even further than in preceding example. To left, one pellet; to right, four pellets.
Rev. Degradation of winged Nike. Above, left, two pellets; right, four pellets.
18 mm. ↑ 3.21 gr. Plate I, 6.
Ibid., No. 3.
The ascription of certain groups of Alexander and Lysimachus imitations to Georgia does not, of course, affect the long-established attribution of other groups to the Danubian Celts and other European tribes. This fact is overlooked by Kapanadze when criticizing Forrer and Paulsen for "ignoring" such coins' possible Georgian provenance. 1
At the time of Mithradates Eupator, Colchis fell under the sway of Pontus. From this period dates an interesting bronze issue of the Greek colony of Dioscurias on the Black Sea coast of Abkhazia, two specimens of which are in the ANS collection.
5. Obv. Caps of the Dioscuri, surmounted by six- or eight-pointed stars.
|Δ Ι||Ο Σ|
|Κ Ο Υ||Ρ Ι Α||Thyrsos|
Æ 16 mm. 3.83–5.47 gr. Plate I, 7, 8.
Head, Historia Numorum, p. 496; E. H. Minns, Scythians and Greeks, Cambridge, 1913, p. 632, Pl. IX, No. 28; B. M. Catalogue of Greek Coins (Pontus etc.), Pl. I, Nos. 11–12.
The invasion of Georgia by Pompey in 65 b.c. brought the country firmly into the Roman orbit. Pompey appointed Aristarchus to be dynast of Colchis (c. 63–47 b.c.). A silver coin of Aristarchus in the Leningrad Hermitage shows on the obverse the head of Helios (?), and on the reverse, a seated female figure. 2 The occupation of Georgia by the Roman legions further resulted in local imitations of denarii of the Emperor Augustus. 3
A. N. Zograf, "Rasprostranenie nakhodok antichnykh monet na Kavkaze," in Gosudarstvenny Ermitazh: Trudy Otdela Numizmatiki, tom I, Leningrad, 1945, pp. 29–85, with plates and map; D. G. Kapanadze, "Zametki po numizmatike drevney Kolkhidy," in Vestnik Drevney Istorii, No. 3, 1950, pp. 193–96.
V. M. Skudnova, "Nakhodki kolkhidskikh monet i pifosov v Nimfee," in Vestnik Drevney Istorii, No. 2, 1952, pp. 238–42.
Zograf, "Rasprostranenie nakhodok," p. 35.
Collection R. Jameson , IV, 1932, p. 62, No. 2543 (Pl. CXXXIV); Hess Sale, Lucerne, April 14, 1954, No. 134.
S. Makalatcia, "Kolkhuri didrakʿma," in the Tiflis Museum Moambe, VII, 1933, p. 202. (This article also in English translation: "Colchian Didrachmas," in Georgica, I, Nos. 2–3, London, 1936, pp. 72–77).
A. N. Zograf, "Antichnye zolotye monety Kavkaza," in Izvestiya Gos. Akademii Istorii Material'noy Kul'tury, fasc. no, Moscow-Leningrad, 1935, pp. 178–92; D. G. Kapanadze, "O drevneyshikh zolotykh monetakh Gruzii," in Vestnik Drevney Istorii, No. 3, 1949, pp. 156–69; A. N. Zograf, Antichnye Monety, Moscow, 1951, p. 102, Pl. XII, Nos. 14–18.
D. G. Kapanadze, "Novye materialy k izucheniyu staterov tsarya AKI," in Vestnik Drevney Istorii, No. 1, 1948, and "O dostovernosti imeni, vybitogo na statere Basilevsa Aki," ibid., No. 1, 1949; L. P. Kharko, "Sushchestvoval li tsar' "Ακηϛ?," ibid., No. 2, 1948.
Baron Prokesch-Osten, "Description de quelques médailles grecques," in Revue Numismatique, 1860, p. 274, Pl. XII, Nos. 10–11.
Vestnik Drevney Istorii, No. 3, 1949, p. 156.
Head, Historia Numorum, p. 496; O. Retovsky, "Drakhma Aristarkha Kolkhidskogo iz sobraniya Imp. Ermitazha," in Trudy Moskovskogo Numizmaticheskogo Obshchestva, III, 1905, pp. 1–5.
J. Bartholomaei, Lettres Numismatiques et Archéologiques relatives à la Transcaucasie, St. Petersburg, 1859, p. 25; Pakhomov, Monety Gruzii, Pl. I, No. 7; Zograf, "Rasprostranenie nakhodok," Pl. II, Nos. 2–6.
The evangelization of Georgia by St. Nino at the time of Constantinethe Great profoundly altered the course of the country's political and cultural evolution. Georgia became an outpost of Christendom in the East, in spite of repeated efforts by the Sasanians to bring the country back into the Iranian Mazdeist sphere.
This conflict is exemplified in the coinage of the sixth and seventh century princes of Iberia, Guaram I and Stephen I and II. The various types are all derivations from the drachm of the Sasanian monarch Hormizd IV (a.d. 579–90). They show a steadily increasing tendency towards independence, beginning with the addition to the obverse design of the Georgian prince's monogram, and ending with the substitution of the Christian cross for the sacred flame portrayed upon the fire-altar on the reverse. 1
Two Sasanian-type pieces in the ANS collection which had been taken for Georgian imitations fail on examination to show these characteristic traits. They apparently belong in fact to the Central Asian category. 2
This chapter in Georgian numismatic history was brought to an abrupt end by the capture of Tiflis by the Arabs about the year 655 a.d. The Arab hegemony over Eastern Georgia is marked by a series of dirhems of standard type struck at Tiflis in the name of the Caliphs, beginning with an Umayyad dirhem of A. H. 85.
Of the set of examples described and illustrated by Pakhomov, 3 the single specimen in the ANS collection is a dirhem of the 'Abbāsid Caliph al-Muktafi (A.H. 289–95), struck in the year 294 of the Islamic era.
6. Dirhem Tiflis A.H. 294/906–7 a.d.
لا اله الا
لا شريك له
There is no god but Allāh alone. He has no associate.
Inner margin: بسم الله ضرب هذا الدرهم بتفليس سنة اربع وتسعين ومائتين
In the name of Allāh, this dirhem was struck at Tiflīs in the year 294.
Outer margin: Qurʾān, XXX, 3–4.
To Allāh Muḥammad Is the Messenger Of Allāh al-Muktafī biʾllāh.
Margin: Qurʾān, IX, 33.
Tiesenhausen, Monety Vostochnogo Khalifata, No. 2197; Pakhomov, Monety Gruzii, pp. 42–43, Pl. II, No. 24.
In the year 912, mention is made of a lieutenant of the Caliph at Tiflis by the name of Jaʿfar b. ʿAlī. Following the disintegration of the ʿAbbāsid caliphate towards the middle of the tenth century, control over the city and district of Tiflis remained vested for nearly two centuries in this Jaʿfar's line.
These Jaʿfarid emirs now began to strike a series of silver dirhems in their own name. So far, there have been recorded coins of Manṣūr b. Jaʿfar struck in 342/953–4 and 343/954–5, during the caliphate of al-Muṭīʿ liʾllāh; also of this emir's son Jaʿfar b. Manṣūr, dated 364/974–5, 366/976–7 and 370/980–1, in the caliphate of al-Ṭāʾīʿ liʾllāh. 1
This list has recently been amplified by the discovery near Tiflis of a dirhem minted in 386/996–7 by the emir of Tiflis, ʿAlī b. Jaʿfar, son and successor of Jaʿfar b. Manṣūr. This coin, first published by the Georgian numismatist, D. Kapanadze, 2 does not differ essentially from those of this ruler's father and grandfather. It is of the usual ʿAbbāsid type, with the conventional three-line declaration of faith on the obverse, together with the mint-date formula and an outer margin containing Qurʾān XXX, 3–4. On the reverse as follows: –
على بن جعفر
Muḥammad Is the Messenger of Allāh al-Ṭāʾīʿ liʾllāh al-Amīr al-Muẓaffar ʿA1ī b. Jaʿfar.
And the usual marginal legend.
Kapanadze notes with some surprise that this dirhem, dated A.H. 386, is struck in the name of the Caliph al-Ṭāʾīʿ, who had been deposed five years earlier. This apparent inconsistency is due to the fact that the Baghdad coup d'état of A.H. 381 aroused widespread opposition and a determined legitimist movement in favour of the deposed Caliph. For several years a number of outlying regions of Islam, notably in Persia, refused to recognize the new Caliph, al-Qādir. 3 It is interesting to note that the Emir of Tiflis was among those who stood out against the new order.
A sequel to this story is supplied by a hitherto unchronicled item in the ANS collection. The description of this piece, which formerly belonged to General Starosselsky, is as follows:–
7. Dirhem Tiflis A.H. **4.
لا اله الا
There is no god but Allāh alone.
لا شريك له
He has no associate. al-Qādir biʾllāh.
Inner margin: ………(?) بتفليس سنة اربع (sic) هذالدرهم ……………. this dirhem at Tiflīs, year **4 …… [A.H. 394, 404 or 414]
Outer margin: Qurʾān XXX, 3–4.
[رسول الله الام[ير
To Allāh Muḥammad Is the Messenger of Allāh; the Am[īr)
…… المظفر ابو
[على بن جع[فر
Victorious, Abū ………. ʿAlī b. Jaʿ[far].
Margin: Traces of Qurʾan IX, 33.
This is a coin of thick, somewhat crude fabric. Its individual style of design and layout reflects a distinct trend towards political independence. Note the kunyah, partly effaced on this specimen, not found on the same Emir's standard-type dirhem of A.H. 386. An unusual feature is the horizontal line of thick dots running across the centre of both obverse and reverse.
The exact date of the coin cannot be determined, only the last figure of the formula, namely a four, being decipherable. By the time it was minted, ʿAlī b. Jaʿfar had recognized al-Qādir (A.H. 381–422) as Caliph. Since he was still maintaining allegiance to al-Ṭāʾīʿ in 386, we have the possibilities A.H. 394, 404 or 414. Beyond this, one cannot for the moment be more precise.
With regard to the historical background, it is recorded that this ʿAlī b. Jaʿfar pillaged the treasure of the Cathedral of the Living Pillar at Mtskhetʿa. His son, Jaʿfar, took part in an expedition against Ganja in 421/1030 and died about 1046. Jaʿfar's two sons, Manṣūr and Abūʾl Hayjāʾ, quarrelled in their bid for power, and were expelled in 1062 by the Tiflis citizens. They were arrested by the Sultan Alp Arslān on his invasion of Georgia in 1068. 1
By combining the historical and numismatic evidence, we arrive at the following table of Jaʿfarid Emirs of the period, with their approximate dates:
|Jaʿfar b. ʿAlī||A.H. 299||A.D. 912|
|Manṣūr b. Jaʿfar||342–43||953–55|
|Jaʿfar b. Manṣūr||364–70||974–81|
|ʿAlī b. Jaʿfar||386–94||996–1003|
|Jaʿfar b. ʿAlī II||421–38||1030–46|
|Manṣūr b. Jaʿfar II||438–61||1046–68|
A postscript to this account of the Emirs of Tiflis is provided by the twelfth century Arab historian Ibn al-Azraq. Describing the situation at Tiflis in A.H. 515/1121–22, this writers says: "For forty years the latter had been in the hands of the population. Its possessors had been a family of local people called Banū-Jaʿfar for about two hundred years, after which the senior members among them became ruined and their affairs got into confusion, and the administration of Tiflis reverted to the population, of whom every month one administered its affairs. Thus they carried on for forty years. Malik Dāvūd, (who) was the king of the Gurj and the Abkhāz [i.e. King David the Builder, 1089–1125], brought the town to great straits and it got into confusion."
Ibn al-Azraq goes on to tell of the Georgian king David's siege of Tiflis in 1122: "Then he breached the walls from the western side and entered the town by the sword. He burnt it and utterly destroyed it, but after three days granted amān to its people and soothed their hearts and left them alone, in all goodness. For that year he abrogated their taxes, services, payments by instalments and the kharāj. He guaranteed to the Muslims everything they wished, according to the pact which is valid even today. In it (it is stipulated) that pigs should not be brought over to the Muslim side nor to the town, and that they should not be slaughtered there or in the market. He struck dirhams for them, on one side of which stood the names of the sultan and the caliph, and on the other side stood the names of God and the Prophet, on him be peace, (whereas) the king's own name stood on a side of the dirham…. He assessed a Georgian at a rate of 5 dinars per annum, a Jew at 4 dinars, and a Muslim at 3 dinars. He was extremely kind to the Muslims …
"I witnessed all these privileges when I entered Tiflis in the year 548/1153. And I saw how the king of the Abkhāz, Dimitri, in whose service I was, arrived in Tiflis and sojourned there some days. The same Friday he came to the cathedral mosque and sat on a platform opposite the preacher and he remained at his place while the preacher preached and the people prayed and he listened to the khuṭba, all of it. Then he went out and granted for the mosque 200 gold dinars." 1
This is one of the instances where literary and numismatic data coincide and supplement one another. Copper coins fitting Ibn al-Azraq's description, with the Georgian king's name or monogram on the obverse, and the Caliph's name on the reverse, were indeed struck in large numbers under King David's successor, Dimitri (1125–55). We now know that the presence of the Caliph's name was not a sign of political dependence, but a conciliatory gesture to the Muslim inhabitants of the Georgian capital.
One of these two is apparently the identical specimen described in Schulman's catalogue of March 30, 1914, No. 362. Incidentally, there can be little doubt that the coin described as "Georgian"-Sasanian in the Grantley sale catalogue (Schulman, Amsterdam, 1921), No. 1605, is really Central Asian. The second of these two doubtful items in the ANS collection resembles the variety described in the White King catalogue (Schulman, Amsterdam, 1904), No. 855.
Monety Gruzii, pp. 36–48, Pl. II, Nos. 23–29.
Pakhomov, Monety Gruzii, pp. 48–52.
D. Kapanadze, "X saukunis Tʿbiluri drama Ali ben Japʿarisa," in Sakʿartʿvelos sakhelmdsipʿo muzeumis moambe, XIIB, 1944, 183–90.
George C. Miles, Numismatic History of Rayy, New York, 1938, pp. 173–76. The deposed al-Ṭāʾīʿ did not die until A.H. 393.
V. Minorsky, article "Tiflis" in the Encyclopaedia of Islām; V. Minorsky, Studies in Caucasian History, London, 1953, pp. 19, 23, 46.
V. Minorsky, "Caucasica in the History of Mayyāfāriqīn," in Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, XIII, part 1, London, 1949, pp. 31–34.
While the Jaʿfarid Emirs held sway in Tiflis, the energetic scions of the Bagratid house had risen to power in the south-western marchlands of Tao-Klarjetʿi. 1 As a result of their skilful diplomacy and warlike prowess, Bagrat III, King of Kʿartʿli and Kuropalates, found himself from 1008 the ruler of an extensive unified state, including the old kingdom of Abkhazia and parts of south-western Georgia. His authority did not extend to the city of Tiflis itself, which remained the metropolis of the Muslims, though the Georgian dynasts controlled most of the adjoining territory. 2
This situation is reflected in the coinage of Bagrat III. A unique silver coin of his reign in the Hermitage collection, while for the most part a slavish imitation of an obsolete type of early ʿAbbāsid dirhem, bears on the reverse a legend in Georgian ecclesiastical majuscules (asomtʿavruli), reading: O Christ, exalt Bagrat, king of the Abkhazians. This is the only specimen of Bagrat III's coinage to bear a Georgian legend. 3
There is however a relatively common transitional prototype, on which no Georgian legend yet appears. This prototype is simply a slavish Georgian imitation of the ʿAbbāsid dirhem, which had become scarce in Transcaucasia through the drain of silver currency out of the Near East into Russia and Scandinavia. Three specimens are in the ANS collection.
8. Dirhem Tiflis (?) N.D.
Obv. Crudely inscribed.
لا اله الا
(sic) اله اده
(sic) لاشك له
There is no god but Allāh alone. He has no associate.
Margin: Illiterate imitation of Arabic pious legend.
Double border of dots.
Rev. Crudely inscribed.
Muḥammad Is the Messenger Of Allāh
Beneath, on one specimen only:
Margin, between border of dots and outer linear border: Illiterate imitation of Arabic pious legend.
Pakhomov, Monety Gruzii, p. 60, Pl. III, Nos. 38–39.
The specimen bearing the distorted mint name Tiflis beneath the reverse inscription appears to be unique. So far as can be ascertained, Bagrat III was never in control of that capital city. On the other hand, if these imitations had been struck by the Jaʿfarid Emirs, one would have expected a higher degree of literacy in the Arabic inscriptions. However this may be, there is no doubt that these coins were current in Georgia under Bagrat III, to whose reign they may most conveniently be attributed.
Of Bagrat IV (1027–72) we have silver coins of Byzantine affinity, showing on the obverse the Holy Virgin, and having on the reverse a pious formula embodying the king's Byzantine titles of Nobilissimus and Sebastos. His son and successor Giorgi II (1072–89) retained this style of design, inscribing on the reverse his imperial title of Caesar.
During these two reigns, Georgia suffered greatly from the depredations of the Seljuk Turks, who occupied the Armenian capital of Ani in 1064, raided Eastern Georgia in 1068, and defeated the Byzantine army at Manazkert in 1071, capturing the Emperor Romanus Diogenes.
Under David the Builder (1089–1125), important victories were won over the Turks, whose military potential was impaired by the campaigns of the Crusaders in the Levant. The Seljuks were rapidly ejected from most of Georgia, and Tiflis was re-taken from the Muslims in 1122.
David the Builder's coins are extremely rare: the few pieces as yet known retain the image of the Holy Virgin on the obverse, and show on the reverse a cross surrounded by the king's name and titles.
Dimitri I (1125–55) minted copper only. Several patterns of his coinage are known, abandoning Byzantine forms in favour of reversion to a hybrid Georgian-Muslim type. The obverse of one variety has the king's initial "D" in Georgian ecclesiastical majuscule, together with his title "Sword of the Messiah" in Arabic, while the reverse, from motives of political expediency, bears the name of the Caliph of Baghdad. 1
David V's short reign, possibly cut short by assassination, has apparently left us no coins.
On the rare Byzantine-type coins of Davidthe Great of Tao, see Pakhomov, pp. 55–57.
W. E. D. Allen, A History of the Georgian People, London, 1932, pp. 84–85.
Langlois, in Revue de la Numismatique Belge, 1864, pp. 202–5; Pakhomov, Monety Gruzii, pp. 58–60, Pl. III, No. 37.
Giorgi was a monarch of ferocious and determined disposition. He came to the throne after a sanguinary family feud, excluding and suppressing the legitimate heir, Demna, grandson of King Dimitri I.
In the absence of any example of Giorgi's coinage in the ANS collection, the opportunity has been taken to include a copper coin of his reign from the collection of Mr. William L. Clark.
9. Copper [Tiflis] a.d. 1174.
Obv. King seated cross-legged, facing. On his head, a crown with hanging tassels, surmounted by a cross. The king is bearded and attired in a close-fitting tunic, loose trousers after the Persian fashion, and boots. His left hand rests on his thigh, on his right hand uplifted sits a falcon. To the right of the king's head (as viewed by the spectator), in Georgian mkhedruli characters: GiorgI.
Rev. ملك الملوك
گيور گي بن ديمطرى
King of Kings Giorgi, son of Dimitri, Sword of the Messiah.
Border of dots.
Æ 22 mm. 4.96 gr. Plate II, 1.
M. Barataev, Numizmaticheskie fakty Gruzinskogo tsarstva, St. Petersburg, 1844, section III, Pl. I, pp. 6–12; V. Langlois, Essai de Classification des Suites Monétaires de la Géorgie, Paris, 1860, p. 55, Pl. IV, No. 1; Pakhomov, Monety Gruzii, p. 90, Pls. VI, Nos. 107–8 and VII, No. 109.
It is noteworthy that from Dimitri I (1125–55) until the reign of Rusudan, copper only was minted in Georgia. This was a result of the silver famine affecting the entire Near East at this period. "Shortly before the year 1000 A.D., a remarkable, omnipresent shortage of silver affected the Mahometan world. Within a brief space of time it practically ceased to be coined at all in the majority of the Islamic states and fractional currency in base metals took its place alongside of the gold dinars, which continued to circulate." 1 In Georgia, many of these fractional copper coins still bore on them the denomination "vetskhli," which properly signifies a silver piece.
Among the complex causes for this phenomenon features the expansion of the Russian and Scandinavian export trade to the Islamic world, resulting in the draining off of silver currency to the North Western Slavonic and Baltic lands. The effect of this became acute when the Arabs lost control of the Transcaucasian silver mines late in the ninth century, and the local rulers showed themselves deficient in mining and refining technique. Furthermore, the tottering Sāmānid dynasty lost control about the year 975 of the important Zarafshān silver mines in Turkestan, which had supplied the whole Muslim East. The upheavals incident on the disintegration of the ʿAbbāsid caliphate, together with the ruin of the Bulgar kingdom on the Volga, interrupted trade relations between Russia and the Near East. Accumulations of silver by Russian exporters were hoarded, and never returned to their source. The Seljuk invasions of the eleventh century ended by driving a wedge between the Slavonic and Arab worlds. Georgia could not remain unaffected by these developments, though the minting of silver there continued until the reign of David the Builder (1089–1125).
This famine was brought to an end during the thirteenth century. The Mongol conquest of China in 1213 drew off large quantities of silver to the West, where it was seized upon by the trading public and put into circulation. 1 In Georgia, the restoration of the silver supply was to enable Queen Rusudan to reform the coinage by the issue of her famous "Botinats" of the year 1230.
For the monetary series of these reigns, which are not represented in the ANS collection, see Pakhomov, Monety Gruzii, pp. 61–86. Karst's p. 48, No. 10, attributed to David the Builder, really belongs to the two Davids, Narin and Ulugh (c. 1261). Pakhomov's is the only work to do justice to this rather obscure period of Georgia's numismatic history.
Robert P. Blake, "The Circulation of silver in the Moslem East down to the Mongol epoch," in Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies, II, 1937, p. 291.
The name of Tʿamar is endowed with legendary splendor in the annals of Georgia. The military might of the Georgian kingdom made itself felt throughout Persia and Eastern Anatolia, while the national literature reached its apogee in the heroic romance of Shotʿa Rustʿaveli.
The coinage of Tʿamar's reign is disappointing, and fails to reflect the glory of the age. Surprisingly enough, no attempt was made to strike gold. Owing to the silver famine, copper fractional currency provides the only monetary series of the reign. Even here, the work- manship leaves much to be desired. The irregular coppers are little more than rudely fashioned lumps of metal of various sizes, stamped haphazardly with a die often too big or too small for the planchet.
Tʿamar's father, Giorgi III, had already proclaimed her as coregent some six years before his death. Tʿamar's first, husband, a dissolute scion of the Bogolyubskoy family of Suzdal, was also called Giorgi (Yury). There is therefore some difficulty in attributing the earliest type of Tʿamar's coinage, which is inscribed with the names of both Giorgi and Tʿamar, but without date. Pakhomov inclines to the view that this Giorgi is the Bogolyubskoy Prince-Consort while Kapanadze cogently argues for the attribution to Giorgi III reigning with his daughter. 1 As it seems quite inadmissible that the title "King of Kings" borne by the Giorgi on these coins could apply to a mere Prince-Consort, Kapanadze's view is to be preferred.
The first type of the coinage of Tʿamar to be represented in the ANS collection consists of the irregular coppers issued in the Queen's name alone. The legends, fragmentary on each example, have been reconstructed from all four specimens and from the literature.
10. Irregular Copper, cast planchet. a.d. 1187 and 1210.
Margin: In Georgian ecclesiastical majuscules: abbreviated for "Sakhelitʿa ghvtʿisaitʿa ikʿna tcheday vetskhlisi ami Kʿoronikonsa 407": In the name of God, was made the striking of this silver piece in the Kʿoronikon 407, i.e. a.d. 1187.
Border of dots.
Rev. الملكة المعظمة
جلال الدنيا والدين
تامار بنت گيور گى
اعز الله انصار
The great Queen Glory of the World and Faith Tamar daughter of Giorgi Champion of the Messiah May God increase [her] victories. 1
Margin: ضاعف الله جلالها ومدّ ظلالها وايد اقبالها
May God increase her glory and lengthen her shadow and strengthen her beneficence!
Border of dots.
16 mm. 5.00 gr.
11 × 18 mm. 2.48 gr. Counterstamp.
20 × 30 mm. 11.48 gr. Counterstamp.
16 × 40 mm. 10.31 gr. Counterstamp.
Barataev, Num. fakty, section III, Pls. II–III; Langlois, Essai, p. 60, Pl. IV, Nos. 5–9; Pakhomov, Monety Gruzii, pp. 99–100, Pls. VII, Nos. 118–27 and VIII, Nos. 128, 131.
Plate II, 2 (Obv. only), 3–5.
The irregularity and defective workmanship of these coins, one of the commonest of the Georgian series, may reflect hasty improvisation entailed in providing large quantities of currency of low denomination for the extensive territories temporarily annexed during Tʿamar's reign. The rude fabric is similar to that of some of the Shīrvānshāhs' and Kings of Qarabāgh's coppers of the late twelfth and early thirteenth centuries. It may be that some of these irregular coppers were struck under Georgian supervision in the mints of these localities, which were under more or less direct Georgian suzerainty at this period. 1 This would explain the counterstamps found on the vast majority of coins of this type, which in this case could have been applied by the central authority to validate them for general circulation.
The only dates that occur on coins of this issue are 407 and 430 of the Paschal cycle (a.d. 1187 and 1210). There is however no doubt that they were struck intermittently for a number of years. Very often the date falls outside the flan. Of the four specimens in the ANS collection, only one, example (d), can be dated, the letter L, value 30, followed by a cross, being preserved in the obverse margin, giving the year 430, or a.d. 1210.
Three of our four specimens are counterstamped. 2 Examples (b) and (c) have the Georgian ecclesiastical majuscule letter D, with a dot in the centre, in an oblong incuse, thus: —
This counterstamp is peculiar to Tʿamar's irregular coppers. 3
Example (c) has a second counterstamp (Pakhomov's figure 7), which can be identified as part of the cipher of Queen Rusudan, and was doubtless applied during her reign (1223–45): —
Example (d) has a different counterstamp, also representing part of Queen Rusudan's cypher, this time within an ornamental border: 4
After her divorce from the reprobate Giorgi Bogolyubskoy, Tʿamar married in 1193 David Soslan, an Ossetian prince with Bagratid blood in his veins. She bore him the future King Giorgi Lasha and the future Queen Rusudan. David Soslan was a constant source of aid and support in Tʿamar's military and political enterprises until his death in 1208. An important set of coppers, this time of regular planchet, were struck in their joint names.
11. Regular copper, a.d. 1200.
Obv. In centre, a symbol resembling a military standard or a crossbow, upright. To left and right, for Tʿamar – Davitʿ. In the corners, the Georgian ecclesiastical majuscules Kʿ.K.Vi.K, i.e., 420 of the Paschal cycle, or 1200 a.d.
Border of linked dots.
Rev. ملكة الملكات
جلال الدنيا والدين
تامار ابنة گيور گى
Queen of Queens Glory of the World and Faith Tamar daughter of Giorgi Champion of the Messiah.
Border of linked dots.
26 mm. 5.41 gr. Counterstamp.
27 mm. 7.80 gr. 2 Counterstamps.
28 mm. 9.21 gr. Counterstamp.
Barataev, Num. fakty, section III, Pl. III; Langlois, Essai, pp. 65–66, Pl. V, Nos. 1–3; Pakhomov, Monety Gruzii, pp. 103–4, Pl. VIII, Nos. 132–35. There is also a variety without the Georgian date formula.
Plate II, 6–8.
Example (b) has this counterstamp on the obverse, in addition to having the previous one on the reverse.
It is worth noting that these counterstamps are never found on Tʿamar's irregular coppers; nor do those on the irregular series occur on the regular type.
Blake, "The Circulation of silver," p. 328.
Pakhomov, Monety Gruzii, pp. 97–99; D. Kapanadze, "Giorgisa da Tʿamaris sakhelitʿ motchrili pʿulis shesakheb," in Sakʿartʿvelos sakhelmdsipʿo muzeumis moambe, XIIB, 1944, pp. 191–96; Kapanadze, "O mednoy monete s imenami Georgiya i Tamary," in Kratkie soobshcheniya Instituta Istorii Material'noy Kul'tury, fase. XXIV, 1949.
None of the specimens examined or illustrated in the literature has the feminine possessive termination hā-alif. Pakhomov's Nos. 121 and 125 exhibit what seems to be the masculine termination hā, which makes the last line read: "May God increase his victories." This may either be a grammatical oversight, or refer back to the preceding line, where the Queen is given the masculine title of Champion. This confusion is hardly surprising, especially when it is remembered that Tʿamar bore the Georgian title of Mepʿe, which means King.
The first irregular coppers were struck under Dimitri I (1125–55), who employed some mint-masters from Shīrvān (A. Bykov, "Gruzinskie monety XII–XIII vv.," in Pamyatniki epokhi Rustaveli, Leningrad, 1938, p. 80.)
See Pakhomov's comprehensive study of XII–XIII century Georgian counterstamps in Monety Gruzii, chapter V.
Pakhomov, p. 124, figure 2.
Pakhomov, p. 124, figure 6. In addition to the ANS examples, four specimens of this type, from a hoard, have been shown to us by a New York collector. They have semi-regular round planchets, 14–16 mm. in diameter, and weigh between 1.70 and 4.20 grammes, two having the "D with dot" and two the Rusudan cypher counterstamp. They may represent an attempt to standardize the issue, and have been intended to pass as quarter dirhems.
The coins of this monarch are not represented in the ANS collection. They are all copper and, as under Tʿamar, belong to both regular and irregular type.
Giorgi Lasha's irregular coppers bear the date 1210 (430 of the Kʿoronikon), showing that his mother transferred a large part of the royal authority to Giorgi about this time. The obverse resembles that of Tʿamar's irregular issue, except that the centre bears the inscription "GI DZE TʿMRSI", abbreviated for "Giorgi, son of Tʿamar," in ecclesiastical majuscules. The reverse inscription consists of Giorgi's name and titles in Arabic. There is an example of this type in the Chase National Bank Museum of Moneys of the World in New York, with a very clear impression of Queen Rusudan's counterstamp. 1
The regular coppers of Giorgi Lasha have on their obverse an inscription which has not so far been satisfactorily deciphered. The concluding portion of it, which reads "JAVKhTʿOIA", is usually expanded as "JAVAKhTʿ UPʿLISA," or Lord of the men of Javakhetʿi, a region of South-Western Georgia. 2 But there is no historical evidence that Giorgi Lasha had any special connection with this relatively minor section of his kingdom. It would seem more logical to seek the explanation of this enigma in the shape of some religious formula, bearing in mind that the letter J in Old Georgian inscriptions regularly stands for "Jvari," the Christian cross.
Kindly shown to me by the Curator, Mr. Vernon L. Brown. Unfortunately, this specimen proved as a whole to be too much rubbed for reproduction. See full description in Pakhomov, Monety Gruzii, pp. 106–9.
Pakhomov, Monety Gruzii, pp. 109–10.
The reign of Tʿamar's daughter Rusudan was marked by a series of catastrophes, ending in the complete subjugation of eastern Georgia by the Mongols.
Expelled from his Central Asian dominions by the advancing Mongols, the Shah of Khwārazm Jalāl al-Dīn Menküberti occupied most of Persia and in 1225 inflicted a signal defeat on the Georgian army at Garni. In the following year he took Tiflis and captured the royal treasury. The city remained in Khwārazmian hands until 1230. Jalāl al-Dīn was overthrown by the Mongols, and in 1231 assassinated by a Kurd. 1
Jalāl al-Dīn celebrated his conquest of Georgia by overstriking the large quantities of Georgian irregular coppers which fell into his hands.
12. Irregular coppers, overstruck. A.H. 623/1226 a.d.
The Sulṭān Supreme.
Margin: ضرب هذا الدرهم بتاريخ ثلث وعشرين وستماية
This dirhem was struck in the year 623.
Rev. جلال الدنيا
Jalāl al-Dunyā wa'l-Dīn.
Margin: ضاعف الله جلاله ومدّ ظلاله وايد اقباله
May God increase his glory and lengthen his shadow and strengthen his beneficence!
25 × 30 mm. 21.15 gr.
28 × 40 mm. 15.79 gr. (Fish-shaped planchet)
24 × 32 mm. 16.21 gr. Counterstamp.
Barataev, Num. fakty, section III, Pl. VII; Pakhomov, Monety Gruzii, pp. 112–16, Pl. IX, Nos. 151–54.
Plate II, 9 and III, 1–2.
On the reverse of example (a), part of the coin's original obverse legend, namely the Georgian ecclesiastical majuscules of "Vetskhli," is plainly visible beneath the overstrike. This portion of the legend is common to irregular coppers of both Tʿamar and Giorgi Lasha.
The fish-shaped planchet of example (b) suggests that this is an overstrike on a copper of Giorgi Lasha rather than of Tʿamar. Giorgi's irregular coppers assume other fantastic shapes, such as those of birds, crescents, etc. 1
Example (c) is counterstamped with the plain cipher of Queen Rusudan (Pakhomov's figure 7), applied on top of Jalāl al-Dīn's restrike in such a way as to obliterate the end of the word "Sulṭān." Pakhomov affirms that when this counterstamp is found in conjunction with Jalāl al-Dīn's restrike on Georgian irregular coppers, the counterstamp is always seen beneath (i.e., applied previously to) the Khwārazmian Shah's restrike. 2 This conflicts with the evidence of our specimen, as well as that of several illustrated in the literature. 3 An example in a private collection in New York has the counterstamp "D with a dot" applied before Jalāl al-Dīn's restrike, and the Rusudan cipher counterstamp applied on top of Jalāl al-Dīn. Pakhomov must surely be mistaken in thinking that the Rusudan cipher counterstamp was used only up to 1226. The evidence shows conclusively that it was also used afterwards, to revalidate the coins so roughly treated by the invader.
While Jalāl al-Dān and his followers were in control of Tiflis and most of eastern Georgia, Queen Rusudan and her court were at Kʿutʿais in western Georgia, the capital city of Imeretʿi. In all probability, it was there that Rusudan's copper coins of 1227 were first struck. However, the abundance in which they are found and the numerous minor variations in design suggest that they continued to be struck after the Queen's return to Tiflis in 1230, though they all bear the date 1227.
13. Regular coppers. [Kʿutʿais and Tiflis] a.d. 1227.
Rev. الملكة الملوك والملكات
جلال الدنيا والدولة والدين
روسدان بنت تامار ظهير المسيح
اغر الله انصاره
Queen of Kings and Queens, Glory of the World, Kingdom and Faith, Rusudan, daughter of Tamar, Champion of the Messiah, May God increase [her] victories. 1
Border of dots.
Æ 23–28 mm. 3.66, 3.97, 5.05, 5.28, 5.46, 7.15 and 9.49 gr.
Barataev, section III, Pl. VI; Langlois, Essai, p. 72, Pl. VI, Nos. 2–3; Pakhomov, Monety Gruzii, pp. 116–18, Pls. IX, Nos. 156–57 and X, Nos. 158–59. Pakhomov's estimate of the average weight as 2.65 gr. is too low.
Plate III, 3–5.
The reoccupation of Tiflis by Rusudan in 1230 is marked by the resumption of silver minting after the lapse of over a century. Byzantine in affinity of design, this series belongs in format and weight to the Near Eastern dirhem standard.
14. Dirhem [Tiflis] a.d. 1230.
abbreviated for: Sakhelitʿa Ghvtʿisitʿa 1 itchda Kʿ. EB (sic) Vi.N. (450), i.e., In the name of God, was struck in the Kʿoronikon EB (sic) 450, or a.d. 1230.
Border of dots.
Round this, double linear border containing ornamental pattern of stars and crescents.
Outer margin: Traces of الدنيا والدين رسودان بنت تاهار ظهير المسيح (sic)الملكة الملكات جلالة
Queen of Queens, glory of the World and Faith, Rusudan, daughter of Tamar, champion of the Messiah.
Barataev, section III, Pl. VI; Langlois, Essai, p. 73, Pl. VI, Nos. 4–6; Pakhomov, Monety Gruzii, pp. 118–22, Pl. X, Nos. 160–74.
The design of the bust of Christ on the obverse is taken from the nomisma of the Byzantine emperor Nicephorus III Botaniates (1078–81). 2 This explains why these silver dirhems of Rusudan are referred to in Georgian medieval charters as "Botinati" or "Botinauri." 3
They should not however be confused with the gold "Botinati" circulating in Georgia at this period, which are the authentic By- zantine gold pieces of Nicephorus III and are not infrequently discovered within the historical boundaries of Georgia. 1 In the absence of indigenous gold currency, the Byzantine nomisma enjoyed great favor in Georgia, particularly between the eleventh and thirteenth centuries. Besides this gold Botinati, such terms as Kostantinati and Perpera occur in deeds of gift to monasteries, while the will and testament of King David the Builder contains mention of the dukati or ducat, the gold piece of the Emperor Constantine X, Dukas (1059–67). The regular circulation of Byzantine gold in Georgia led the thirteenth century geographer Zakarīyā al-Qazvīnī to conclude that it was actually minted at Tiflis. "One finds there", he says in his Āthār al-bilād, "the dinar which is called perpera. It is a good coin, hollow and of concave shape, bearing Syriac legends and images of idols… It is the money of the land of the Abkhazians and the work of their kings." 2 (It is not hard to recognize behind this quaint description the standard Byzantine scyphate nomisma). It would be wrong to follow Kakabadze in supposing that the Georgians minted their own scyphate gold pieces, 3 for which there is no numismatic evidence. The capture of Constantinople by the Crusaders in 1204 interrupted the direct flow of Byzantine gold into Georgia, with the result that it gradually disappeared from general circulation there.
In addition to these data on the circulation of Byzantine gold within Georgia itself, it is worth noting that the Georgian monks of the Iberian Monastery on Mount Athos were keeping account of gifts from pious benefactors in terms of drahkani or bezants called "Dukati" (after Constantine X), "Romanati" or "Hromanati" (after Romanus IV, Diogenes, 1067–71), "Dukamikhaylati" (after Michael VII, Dukas, 1071–78) and "Votoniati," sometimes corrupted into "Potonati" (after Nicephorus III), as well as hyperpera "Alekʿsiati" (after Alexius Comnenus, 1081–1118). 4
To revert now to the description of Rusudan's silver coin of 1230, it is curious to note that the Queen's name is regularly transliterated on the Arabic legend of this series as Rusūdān, whereas the coppers have Rūsudān. 1 On the specimen in the ANS collection, this part of the legend is effaced. A most curious feature of this example, however, is the insertion into the obverse Georgian legend of what can only be read as the majuscules E.B., between the Kʿ (for Kʿoronikons) and the letters Vi.N., for year 450 of the Paschal cycle. None of the specimens illustrated in the literature has this peculiarity. It can hardly represent the plural suffix -eb(s), since "Kʿoronikon" is invariably used in the singular in such a context. Nor can one seriously entertain the theory that E.B. stands for "Eras Bagrationtʿa" (or "Epokʿis Bagrationtʿa"), for "Era or Epoch of the Bagratids," as such a formula has never been recorded on the hundreds of medieval coins and documents known to us. The solution of this point must await further investigation.
V. Minorsky, article "Tiflis" in E.I.; Nasavī, trans. by Necip Asim, Celālüttin Harezemşah, Istanbul, 1934 (p. 76 on the capture of Rusudan's treasure).
Pakhomov, Monety Gruzii, diagram facing p. 116.
Ibid., p. 127. Bykov, in Pamyatniki epokhi Rustaveli, p. 89, repeats this statement.
W. H. Valentine, Modern Copper Coins of the Muhammadan States, London, 1911, p. 117, No. 37. This example is copied, via Langlois, from Barataev, section III, Pl. VII, No. 1. Cf. also Barataev's Nos. 6, 8 and 10. An example in the Cabinet des Médailles, and several in the British Museum collection, have Rusudan counterstamps clearly applied on top of (i.e., subsequently to) Jalāl's restrike.
The same vagueness of gender occurs here as on the reverse of Tʿamar's irregular coppers, No. 9, q.v. In the formulation of this title, Rusudan has taken a leaf out of the book of her foe, Jalāl al-Dīn.
Most examples have the more correct form Ghvtʿisaitʿa.
Cf. Wroth, Catalogue of the Imperial Byzantine Coins in the B.M., II, London, 1908, p. 535, Pl. LXIII, No. 4.
Langlois, Essai, p. 73.
E. A. Pakhomov, Klady Azerbaydzhana i drugikh respublik i kraev Kavkaza, fasc. II, Baku, 1938, No. 407; Tʿ. Lomouri, in Shotʿa Rustʿavelis epokʿis materialuri kulturaf Tiflis, 1938, pp. 300–1.
Cited by Langlois, Essai, p. 48.
S. Kakabadze, "Sapʿasis istoriisatʿvis Sakʿartʿveloshi," in Saistorio moambe, II, fasc. 1, Tiflis, 1925, pp. 1–35.
M. Janashvili, Atʿonis Iveriis monastris 1074 ds. khelnadseri, aghapebitʿ, Tiflis, 1901, pp. 216–77; R. P. Blake, "Some Byzantine accounting practices illustrated from Georgian sources," in Harvard Studies in Classical Philology, LI, 1940, pp. 11–33.
Pakhomov (Monety Gruzii, p. 117) was the first to notice this.
The latter half of Rusudan's reign was a period of unrelieved disaster. In 1236, the armies of the Mongols, sweeping all before them, advanced from Ganja towards Tiflis. The country had scarcely recovered from the depredations of Jalāl al-Dīn, and its citadels were in no state to resist the invaders. The Queen and her court had to flee once more into Western Georgia, and the land was given over to the conquerors.
After a few years, Rusudan offered her submission to the Mongol noyans. Her son David (sumamed by the Mongols Nārīn, i.e., the slender, well-proportioned) was sent to the Great Khan's headquarters at Karakorum to pay homage and be invested with the vassal kingship of Georgia. Meanwhile, the Mongols defeated Rusudan's son-in-law, the Seljuk Sultan of Iconium, in 1243. This resulted in the liberation of Rusudan's hated nephew, also called David, an illegitimate son of the Queen's late brother, King Giorgi Lasha. The Sultan had been acting as custodian and jailor of this David, whose large, burly stature later caused him to be nicknamed Ūlūgh, the big. A popular movement of hostility towards Rusudan and her heir was cleverly exploited by the Mongol overlords of Georgia, who had Ulugh David crowned at Mtskhetʿa and sent him after his cousin to pay homage at Karakorum. The two Davids were present at the inauguration of Güyük Khan in 1246, after which they returned to Tiflis to rule jointly under Mongol supervision.
Queen Rusudan had already died in 1245, according to some accounts, by suicide, to others, as a result of her notorious debaucheries. The co-kings resided jointly at Tiflis on terms of amiable co-operation, until Hulagu Khan, who arrived in Persia in 1256, took a dislike to David Nārīn. The latter fled to Kʿutʿais and established a separate monarchy in Western Georgia. 1
These events are fully reflected in the monetary history of the period.
The ANS has a number of silver dirhems minted at Tiflis, as well as at Ganja and Tabriz, in A.H. 642–43, by authority of the Commander-in-Chief of the Mongol armies. Queen Turakina, widow of the Great Khan Ogotay (Ögödei), was regent of the Mongol dominions.
15. Dirhem Tiflis A.H. 642/1244–5 a.d.
Obv. Galloping horseman, to left, turned in the saddle and drawing bow to the right; behind, stork; beneath horse, hound. In some cases, the stork is changed into a star or Solomon's seal, and the hound replaced by obscure shapes suggesting either a serpent or foliage. Other examples, of uncertain mint, show the horseman galloping to right instead of to left.
Above: الغ منقل الوش بيك
The Great Mongol Viceroy (Commander-in-Chief)
Border of dots.
Rev. لا اله الا
There is no god but Allāh: Muḥammad Is the Messenger of Allāh.
Margin in four segments has Arabic mint-date formula: Tiflīs, 642.
Border of dots.
S. Lane-Poole, The Coins of the Mongols in the British Museum, London, 1881, No. 1.
The obverse legend, reading "The Great Mongol Alūsh (Ulūsh) Bek," has given rise to some speculation. Unsuccessful attempts have been made to interpret this as a proper name or honorific title. A simpler and more convincing explanation is that Ulūsh Bek, which also occurs in the form Ulīs Bek, is connected with the Uigur word Ulus, Ūlūs or Ulūs, meaning nation, great clan or horde. Radlov gives Ulus and Ulush as alternatives. 1 According to Budagov, Ulūs Bek or Amīr al-Ulūs were titles indicating a rank equivalent to that of a Viceroy of the Caliph in Islam. In this, he follows Ibn Baṭūṭa, who says that "Amīr al-Ulūs" corresponds to "Amīr al-Umarāʿ." 2 The sense of the legend thus amounts simply to "[Money issued by] the Great Mongol Viceroy (Supreme Commander)."
The absence of any reference to the Great Khan of Karakorum need cause no surprise, since nominal power resided with Ogotay's widow Turakina pending the election of a new Great Khan. The Commander-in-Chief in Persia and Transcaucasia was Baiju (Bichui), a nominee of Turakina. There is no need to see, as does Lane-Poole, the minting of these coins as a pretension to sovereignty on some pretender's part. 3
It is worth noting that the galloping bowman design of this Turakina series closely resembles that of the copper coins minted at Erzerum by the local Turkish dynast Muḥammad ibn Salduq (c. 1174–1200), a vassal of the Seljuks of Rum. 4 It is natural that this motif should have appealed to the Mongols, who are in fact known to contemporary Armenian chroniclers as "the nation of the Archers."
While the two cousins were absent at Karakorum, copper coins were already being minted in Georgia in the name of David Narin, son of Rusudan. The first of these were struck in 642/1244–5 at Dmanisi, then an important trading centre, situated in Kʿartʿli about a hundred kilometres to the south-west of Tiflis. The minting of this series was then transferred to Tiflis (A.H. 645,647, 650/1247–53 a.d.). 1
The ANS collection does not include any of David Narin's coppers, but it has an interesting variety of his silver dirhem of 1247.
16. Dirhem Tiflis Year of the Paschal Cycle 467/1247 a.d.
Obv. The king on horseback, left; beneath, foliage and obscure shapes, possibly representing hound. Above, left, royal monogram formed of the two Georgian majuscules , D.Tʿ., for Davitʿ. Above, right Georgian majuscules , for Kʿoronikons 467, or 1247 a.d.
Border of dots.
Rev. بقوة خدا
دولة كو ....ك
By the power of God Dominion of Kūyuk (or Gūyuk) Qāʾān — Slave, Dāʾūd [King.]
Vertically upwards, at right:
ضرب تفليس Minting of Tiflīs.
Border of dots.
Cf. the standard type illustrated by Barataev, Num. fakty, section III, Pl. VIII, Nos. 1–2 and Langlois, Essai, Pl. VII, No. 1.
The design of the obverse belongs to a familiar Anatolian pattern, which also features on a number of issues of the Armenian kingdom of Cilicia. A parallel may be drawn between this Georgian type and that of the coins of Kaikhusrau I, Sultan of Iconium (1192–1200), with which the Georgians were undoubtedly familiar. A clear distinction is to be made between the sedate pose and regal gait of equestrian figures of this group, and the energetic galloping movement of the archer on the Turakina series.
This is the only specimen so far published portraying the king riding to left, instead of to right. 1 The royal monogram and the Georgian date formula have changed places to fit the new arrangement of the design. Some examples of the Turakina galloping archer type show a comparable reversal of the obverse design.
With regard to the reverse, the Persian inscription, except for the word "bandeh", was completely deciphered by Prince Barataev. Langlois tried to improve on Barataev's reading, but produced a rendering which conflicts with the specimens illustrated in the literature, as well as this ANS variant specimen. 2 Langlois's emended version seems to have been accepted unquestioningly by present-day Georgian numismatists. 3 It now seems clear that Barataev's reading, with the word "bandeh" added to the third line, must be adopted in preference to that of Langlois.
While both Davids issued their own coins during their co-regnancy at Tiflis, those of David Ulugh are not represented in the ANS collection. A copper coin, with the date mostly effaced, and minted in the name of David, "son of Giorgi," was attributed by Langlois to King David the Builder (1089–1125), son of Giorgi II. What remains of the date of a specimen published by Langlois was read by him as A.H. 5** (a.d. 1106 onwards), which could well fall in David the Builder's reign. On the other hand, the date can equally well be read from Langlois's engraving as A.H. *5*, which could only be 65*, i.e., 1252 onwards. 4 The more recently accepted view is that this type belongs to Ulugh David, son of Giorgi Lasha. 5
There exists in addition a well authenticated silver series of Ulugh David, minted at Tiflis in A.H. 650, 651, 652 and 654 (1252–56 a.d.). The king is styled David, son of Giorgi, Bagrationi, vassal of the Mongol Great Khan Mangu. 1
To complete this numismatic account of the two Davids, there also exists a silver coin of Byzantine type issued by the two cousins jointly. On the obverse, the kings are shown standing together, while the reverse depicts the Holy Virgin. This coin was probably struck at Kʿutʿais in 1261–62, after Ulugh David had rebelled against the Mongol overlords, and taken refuge with David Narin in Western Georgia. 2
Ulugh David eventually made his peace with the Mongols, returned into Kʿartʿli and died there in 1269 or 1270. David Narin on the other hand lived on in Kʿutʿais, dying at an advanced age in 1293 after a reign of half a century first in Eastern, and then in Western Georgia.
V. V. Radlov, Opyt slovarya Tyurkskikh narechiy, I, St. Petersburg, 1893, pp. 1696–97. In Sino-Mongolian official terminology, "Yeke Mongghol ulus" was regularly used to signify "The Great Mongol Empire" (Francis W. Cleaves, "The Sino-Mongolian inscription of 1362," in Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies, XII, Nos. 1–2, 1949, pp. 94–95.)
Lazar Budagov, Sravnitel'ny slovar' Turetsko-Tatarskikh narechiy, I, St. Petersburg, 1869, pp. 88–89. Ibn Baṭūṭa, ed. Defrémery and Sanguinetti, II, 395.
Cf. Lane-Poole, Coins of the Mongols, p. liii.
Illustrated by Tiesenhausen, Mélanges de numismatique orientale, II (Extrait de la Rev. Num. Belge, 1875), p. 55, also by Lane-Poole, B.M. Or. Cat., IX, No. 310a.
Langlois, Essai, pp. 82–83, erroneously ascribes this series of coppers to David Ulugh, forgetting that David Narin also ruled for several years with his cousin at Tiflis. The mint-name Dmanisi was first read by Professor Giorgi Tseretʿeli of Tiflis University (G. Tseretʿeli, "Dmanisis monetis gamo," in Literaturuli dziebani, II, Tiflis, 1944, 167–72.) It had previously been taken for a misspelling of Tiflis. For further details, see Tʿ. Lomouri, "XIII saukunis Kʿartʿuli pʿulis sakitʿkhtʿa gamo," in the Tiflis Museum Moambe, XB, 1940, pp. 123–24.
There was a specimen in the Gagarin collection (A. Weyl, Verzeichniss der reichhaltigen Sammlung des Fürsten G…, Berlin, 1885, No. 2097).
Barataev, Num. fakty, section III, pp. 139–41; Langlois, Essai, p. 83.
E.g., Tʿ. Lomouri, "XIII saukunis Kʿartʿuli pʿulis sakitʿkhtʿa gamo," in the Tiflis Museum Moambe, XB, 1940, p. 124.
V. Langlois, "Supplement à l'essai de classification des suites monétaires de la Géorgie," in Rev. Num. Belge, 1861, pp. 336–37, Pl. XIX, No. 3.
Pakhomov, Monety Gruzii, pp. 80–81; Tʿ. Lomouri, in Tiflis Museum Moambe, XB, 1940, pp. 125–28.
The coins of the two Davids described in the preceding section are all rare and cannot have been struck in any considerable quantity. Much more common are the dirhems struck at Tiflis between A.H. 650 and 659 (1252–61 a.d.) in the name of the Great Khan Mangu (Möngke) alone, without any mention of his Georgian vassals. Mangu ruled from 1251 to 1259.
17. Dirhems Tiflis Various dates.
Obv. Area, within square of dots:
لا اله الا There is no god but
لا شريك له
Allāh alone. He has no associate.
Margin, in four segments between square and outer circle of dots, con tains date formula.
Rev. Area, within square of dots:
Mungka (Möngke) Qaʿ- ön, the Supreme, The Just.
(alifs omitted, sic).
Margin, in segments between square and circle of dots, contains mint formula.
Fraehn, De Il-Chanorum numis, Nos. 3–6; Lane-Poole, Coins of the Mongols, Nos. 3–5. Since this and virtually all later Mongol series have borders of dots, this feature will not be specifically mentioned in the subsequent descriptions.
Most specimens are decorated with small six-pointed stars, Solomon's Seals, rosettes, leaves and other ornamental motifs worked into the area, either in conjunction with or instead of the damghah.
The Tiflis dirhems of Mangu in the ANS collection bear the following dates:
A.H. 652. 10th. of Shaʿbān Plate IV, 3.
653. 15th. (?) of Ṣafar Plate IV, 4.
654. Safar Plate IV, 5.
657. Rabīʿ II (plus one specimen of 657 with month effaced).Plate IV, 6.
Dhūʾl-Ḥijjah (plus one of 658 with month effaced).Plate IV, 7.
659. Month effaced.
Shaʿbān (marginal legend in part retrograde)
C. M. Fraehn, "De Il-Chanorum seu Chulaguidarum numis," in Mémoires de l'Académie Impériale des Sciences de Saint-Pétersbourg, 6me. série: Sciences Politiques, Histoire et Philologie, II, 1834, p. 492, Nos. 8, 10; p. 494, No. 14; Langlois, Essai, pp. 83–84, Pls. VII, No. 2 and X, No. 2.
Barataev (Num. fakty, section II, Pl. I, No. 1) and Langlois (Essai, pp. 92–93, Pl. VII, Nos. 9–10) published this coin, but failed to arrive at a satisfactory attribution. See the article by Tʿ. Abramishvili, "Ori Davitʿis moneta," in the Tiflis Museum Moambe, XVIB, 1950, pp. 139–43. Illustrations of this coin type accompany D. G. Kapanadze's article, "Tak nazyvaemye Gruzinskie podrazhaniya Trapezundskim aspram," in Vizantiysky Vremennik, III, 1950, Pl. I, Nos. 3 and 8.
At the time of Mangu's death in 1259, his brother Hulagu was commanding the Mongol armies in the Near East. Hulagu now became the autonomous ruler of Persia, Mesopotamia and neighbouring territories conquered by the Mongols, founding the Il-Khanid dynasty which ruled there during the succeeding century. His capital was at Marāgha in Azerbaijan. He died on February 8th., 1265 (A.H. 663). The coins struck by Hulagu and his line at Tiflis and other mints in Georgia form a important and numerous series.
In spite of the practically independent status of Hulagu and his line, they continued for the time being to acknowledge the supreme overlordship of the Great Khaqan Khubilay at Daidu. The formula "Qāʾān al-ʿĀdil" on the coins of Hulagu and Abagha refers not to the Il-Khans themselves, but to Khubilay.
The dirhems struck by Hulagu at Tiflis make a break with the pattern of the Mangu series. Hulagu is not named on them. They have the date formula in the margin, accompanied in some but not all cases by the mint formula of Tiflis. E. A. Pakhomov conveniently terms this series "Kaanniki Type I." 1 Specimens are known with th(dates A.H. 660, 661 and 662 (a.d. 1261–64).
18. "Kaanniki Type I." (Mint-date formula in margin)
Obv. Within ornamented border:
لا اله ا
لا الله وحده لا
There is no god But Allāh alone. He has no associate.
Marginal legend with mint-date formula, viz:-
Rev. Area, within ornamented hexagon:
The Qāʾān The just.
Fraehn, De Il-Chanorum numis, No. 33; Lane-Poole, Coins of the Mongols, No. 47; A. K. Markov, Inventarny katalog Musul'manskikh monet Imperatorskogo Ermitazha, St. Petersburg, 1896, pp. 569–70, Nos. 17–20.
Abagha's first series of Tiflis dirhems differ from those of his father Hulagu by having the date formula in the area of the obverse instead of the margin. The dating is meticulous, the months being regularly specified. The mint is omitted. This series is referred to by Pakhomov as "Kaanniki Type II."
18A. "Kaanniki Type II." (Date in center)
Obv. Within ornamented border, pious formula as in previous example. Between first and second lines of pious formula, date.
Rev. Area, within ornamented hexagon:
Fraehn, Nos. 34, 36–40, 42–51, 53–58; Lane-Poole, Coins of the Mongols, Nos. 43–46; Markov, Inventarny katalog, Nos. 37–60.
The examples of this type in the ANS collection bear the following dates:
A.H. 663. Dhūʾl-Qaʿdah
Dhūʾl-Ḥijjah Plate V, 1.
666. Jumādā I
Rajab Plate V, 2.
670. Ṣafar Plate V, 3.
674. Rabīʿ II Plate V, 4.
680. Rabīʿ I Plate V, 5.
Shaʿbān (2 specimens, one doubtful).
Also two specimens with undeciphered legends in the place usually occupied by the date formula. Plate V, 6.
The foregoing two series of anonymous "Kaanniki" were the only type of coinage minted for Georgia by the Mongols for almost two decades. The Georgian national series struck in the names of the two Davids as vassals of the Mongols had long since been discontinued. Towards 1280, however, Abagha's conciliatory attitude towards the Georgian Christian population is reflected in the coinage. As is well known, Abagha sought alliance with Western Christendom against the Muslim powers. The Georgian chroniclers speak in favourable terms of his treatment of the Christians in the Il-Khanid dominions.
Several series of "Hulaguid-Christian" dirhems were struck at Tiflis from a.d. 1279 onwards. Of those minted under Abagha, the ANS collection has five specimens. It is important to note that the first type described by Langlois, following Fraehn, as pertaining to Abagha and Dimitri the Devoted, turns out on examination of the illustration to belong to Ghāzān Maḥmūd and Wakhtang III (c. 1302). 1
19. Dirhems [Tiflis] c. A.H. 680/1281 a.d.
Obv. Five-line inscription in Mongol written in the Mongol-Uigur character:
Qaghanu nereber Abagha-yin deletkegülüksen
Above inscription, ornamental device of interlaced ovals, etc.
Rev. Area, within square:
In the name of the Father And the Son and the Spirit Holy — God One.
Margin, in segments between square and outer circle, contains date formula. The specimens in the ANS collections bear the dates A.H. 680 (?); Rabīʿ II, 68*; 68*; Muḥarram, 6**; Rabīʿ II, 6**.
Fraehn, Nos. 62 and 63; Langlois, Essai, p. 87, No. 38. E. Drouin expressed the view that Abagha was arrogating to himself the title of Khaqan in the inscriptions of these coins ("Notice sur les monnaies mongoles," in Journal Asiatique, May–June, 1896, p. 507). Professor Francis W. Cleaves of Harvard University kindly informs me, however, that this is not so, and that documentary evidence confirms that the early Il-Khans sedulously maintained their nominal allegiance to the Supreme Khaqan of Daidu. On the title of Il-Khan, see further Mostaert and Cleaves, "Trois documents mongols des Archives Secrètes Vaticanes," in Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies, XV, 1952, p. 454. On some of these coins, as Professor Cleaves further points out to me, the ruler's name appears in the form "Abugha".
E. A. Pakhomov, Klady Azerbaydzhana i drugikh respublik i kraev Kavkaza, fasc. II, Baku, 1938, p. 34, note.
Fraehn, De Il-Chanorum numis, No. 60, Pl. IV, No. 6; Langlois, Essai, p. 85, No. 37.
Abagha was succeeded as Il-Khan by his brother Tegüder ("The Perfect"), who assumed the title of Sulṭān Aḥmad Khan on his official conversion to Islam. Aḥmad's short reign was mainly occupied with wars against his nephew Arghun, who was the son of Abagha and had been designated by that ruler to succeed to the Il-Khanid dominions. King Dimitri of Georgia at first took the side of Aḥmad, who was however defeated by Arghun and put to death in August, 1284. 1
The ANS collection includes one Hulaguid-Christian dirhem struck at Tiflis under Aḥmad, while Dimitri II was vassal king of Eastern Georgia.
20. Dirhem [Tiflis] A.H. 682 (?)/1283–4 a.d.
Obv. Five-line inscription in Mongol written in the Mongol-Uigur character:
Qaghanu nereber Amadun deletkegülüksen
Of the Khaqan In the name By Aḥmad Struck.
Above inscription, ornamental device of interlaced ovals, etc.
Rev. Area, within square, containing Christian pious formula in Arabic as under Abagha, but in place of the Cross, a six-pointed star.
Margin, in segments between square and outer circle, contains date formula: A.H. 682 (?).
Fraehn, Nos. 70–71; Langlois, Essai, p. 87, No. 39; Drouin, "Notice sur les monnaies mongoles," pp. 517–19.
The substitution of a star for the Christian cross on the reverse of Aḥmad's Hulaguid-Christian dirhems may have some connection with his conversion to Islam and consequent lack of sympathy towards the Christian faith. 1
Allen, History of the Georgian People, p. 119; Howorth, History of the Mongols, III, 300–7.
Dimitri had abandoned the cause of Aḥmad in time to make his peace with the victorious Arghun. He was a close friend of Arghun's powerful minister Bukay, Dimitri's daughter being married to Bukay's son. In 1289, however, Bukay was disgraced and executed. Arghun threatened to ravage Georgia as a reprisal for Dimitri's alleged complicity in Bukay's intrigues. To save his people, Dimitri voluntarily surrendered to Arghun, who tortured and executed him.
His devotion earned him the title of "Tʿavdadebuli," the Self-Sacrificed or Devoted.
Dimitri was succeeded on the East Georgian throne by Wakhtang II (1289–92), son of King David Narin of Imeretʿi. Of Wakhtang II no coins are known.
Arghun died, probably poisoned, on March 10, 1291.
The ANS collection contains twenty Hulaguid-Christian dirhems struck for Georgia under Arghun. They resemble previous issues, and bear the Christian cross on the reverse.
21. Dirhems [Tiflis] A.H. 683–86/1284–8 a.d.
Obv. Four-line inscription in Mongol:
Qaghanu nereber Arghunu (in some examples Arghunun) deletkegülk Fifth line:
Of the Khaqan In the name By Arghun Struck. Arghūn
Rev. Area, within square, containing Christian pious formula, concluding with Cross and ornamental motif.
Margin, in segments between square and outer circle, contains date formula, crudely inscribed.
Fraehn, Nos. 77–78; Langlois, Essai, pp. 87–88, No. 40.
On most specimens of the above series, the date formula is so roughly engraved that the following table of dates compiled from the examples in the ANS collection must be considered as provisional:
A.H. 683. Plate V, 10.
685. Plate V, 11.
686. Rabīʿ I Plate V, 12.
(and others of 686 with month effaced).
Langlois further lists the year 687/1288–9 a.d. It is noteworthy that the series comes to an end in the following year, when the Christian king Dimitri was executed by Arghun.
Variations occur in the spelling of Arghun's name in the Mongol inscription. The correct form is "Arghunu," genitive of Arghun. Many examples have the grammatically incorrect "Arghunun." The final element "-sen" of the participle "deletkegülüksen" has been suppressed to make room for the addition of "Arghūn" in Arabic in the fifth line. The remaining portion often reads "deletkegülk-" instead of "deletkegülük-."
Cf. Howorth, History of the Mongols, III, 297.
Wakhtang II of Georgia died in 1292 and was succeeded by David VIII (or, following another system of computation, David VI), son of Dimitri the Devoted.
In the previous year, Arghun had been succeeded as Il-Khan by his brother Gaikhatu, whose title Arinchin Turji or Precious Jewel derives from the Tibetan "rin-chen rdo-rje" and was bestowed on him by the Lamas. Gaikhatu was murdered in 1295 by partisans of his cousin Baidu, who succumbed a few months later to Ghāzān.
The ANS collection has four Hulaguid-Christian dirhems struck at Tiflis under Gaikhatu. This series was formerly attributed to Arghun, because the die-engraver has neglected to change the name of the ruler in the Mongol inscription. 1 Gaikhatu's honorific title written in Arabic characters, "Arīnchīn Tūrjī," replaces the name of Arghun beneath. This leaves no doubt as to the attribution of this series, since the historians of the time inform us that the title was bestowed personally upon Gaikhatu on his accession. 2
22. Dirhems [Tiflis] [c. 1291–95 a.d.]
Obv. Four-line inscription in Mongol as in preceding series, retaining the name of Arghun.
Rev. Area, within square, containing Christian pious formula, concluding with Cross and/or star or other ornamental motif.
Margin, in segments between square and outer circle, contains date formula, crudely inscribed (effaced or illegible in all four specimens).
This type is described by Fraehn, Nos. 80 and 89, but included under Arghun.
Drouin, "Notice sur les monnaies mongoles," pp. 522–25.
Howorth, History of the Mongols, III, 357; Barthold, article "Gaikhātū" in the Encyclopaedia of Islām.
Under Ghāzān, Mongol oppression and a revival of Muslim fanaticism drove David VIII in 1297 to rebel against his overlord and take refuge in the fastnesses of the Caucasus. From 1299 to 1301, the Mongols maintained David's brother Giorgi, later to rule as Giorgi the Brilliant, as their puppet ruler at Tiflis. They later replaced him by another brother, who ruled as Wakhtang III (1301–1308). 1
In general, however, Ghāzān was an energetic and enlightened ruler, under whom the Il-Khanid dominions reached a high point of prosperity. He reformed and standardized the coinage. 2 The Tiflis mint struck silver of both Hulaguid-Christian and standard Muslim types. An important event in Georgian economic history was the establishment of a mint at Akhaltsikhe, the capital of the province of Samtskhe-Saatabago in south-west Georgia.
Ghāzān died near Qazvin on May 17, 1304. His coins are frequently mentioned in Georgian charters under the name of Qazanuri, a term which may also have been loosely applied to other Il-Khanid silver coins circulating in Georgia.
23. Dirhems [Tiflis] A.H. 696/1296–7 a.d.
Obv. پادشاه اعظم
خلد الله ملكه
The most mighty king Sulṭān Maḥmūd Ghāzān Khān, May God prosper his reign.
Rev. Area, within square of dots:
In the name of the Father And the Son and the Spirit Holy — God One. MPʿD (for Mepʿe Davitʿ, King David)
Margin, in segments between square and outer circle, contains date formula. In one case this can be read conjecturally as A.H. 696.
Barataev, Num. fakty, section III, pp. 172–73; Bartholomaei, Lettres Numismatiques, p. 112, Pl. II, No. 7; Langlois, Essai, p. 89, No. 41.
The royal monogram in the reverse area of David VII's coins represents an evolution from the cross and ornament found on earlier series. The fact that the cross now occurs in the centre of the initial letter "D" of the king's name serves to stress his role as defender of the Christian faith.
No coins are known pertaining to the brief first reign of Giorgi V (1299–1301).
With Wakhtang III (c. 1301–1308) we come to the end of the Hulaguid-Christian issues. His reign is represented in the ANS collection by four dirhems, easily distinguishable from earlier types by the lay-out of the reverse.
24. Dirhems [Tiflis] [c. 1301–4 a.d.]
Obv. Qaghanu nereber Ghazanu deletkegülüksen
Of the Khaqan In the name By Ghazan Struck.
Rev. Area, within linear square:
In centre, a Maltese Cross within linear circle (in one example, a small star appears between each arm of the Cross).
Inscription running round Cross:
بسم الاب والابن وروح
In the name of the Father and the Son and the Spirit.
Margin, in segments between square and outer circle, contains degradation of date formula.
Fraehn, No. 86; Langlois, Essai, p. 90, No. 42.
Under Ghāzān, coins with Muslim legends were again minted at Tiflis, after an interval since the reign of Abagha. Note the new formula adopted for the Mongol inscriptions, indicating that Ghāzān no longer set store by acknowledging the suzerainty of the Supreme Khaqan of Daidu. The phrase "tngri-yin küchündür," in Sir Gerard Clauson's view, was taken over by Ghazan from the paizas issued by the Supreme Mongol Khaqan, on which the phrase regularly occurs in the preamble, sometimes in the ḥPʿags-pa and sometimes in the Uigur script. 1
25. Dirhems Tiflis A.H. 701/1301–2 a.d.
Obv. Area, within ornamented pentagon:
لا اله الا
There is no god but Allāh Struck at Tiflīs 1 Muḥammad is the Messenger of Allāh.
Vertically, at sides:
صلى الله عليه
God bless him. (The word الله at the top of the area is read twice).
In segments, between pentagon and linear border, date formula, decipherable in one case as **1, i.e., A.H. 701.
Rev. Five-line inscription in Mongol:
Tngri-yin küchündür Ghazanu deletkegülüksen
Of Heaven By the Power By Ghazan Struck
Between third and fourth lines:
To left, vertically:
Fraehn, No. 103; Lane-Poole, Coins of the Mongols, No. 110.
Various attempts have been made to read the three mysterious characters on the coins of Ghāzān Maḥmūd. They are obviously the special mark or sign which Rashīd al-Dīn records that Ghāzān had included in the design of his coins to prevent counterfeiting. 1 Terrien de la Couperie tried to read them as Ghāzān's name in the ḥPʿags-pa (Passepa) script, 2 but this was contested by Drouin, who thought however that "these unknown signs conceal some religious epithet after the style of Arinchin Turji." 3 This is not very convincing, since if Ghāzān had had some such honorific title bestowed on him by the Lamas of Tibet, he would have had no valid object in wrapping it up in a cryptogram that nobody could read.
Sir Gerard Clauson has examined these coins, and has come to the conclusion that the signs are intended for the word Qaʾan in ḥPʿags-pa, but were designed by someone with a highly imperfect knowledge of the ḥPʿags-pa script. The following observations are quoted by Sir Gerard Clauson's kind permission from notes on the subject addressed to the present writer:
"As regards Ghazan's nīshān, I have no doubt that it is in Pʿags-pa, written by someone who had got the alphabet, but had never seen it written continuously. The main characteristics of the alphabet are that it is written vertically, and that the letters of each word are joined together by running the right vertical downwards.
"Equally I have no doubt that word is meant to be Qaʾan. You will see at the top of the right column on the front of the paiza [reproduced in Yule and Cordier's Marco Polo, 1903 ed., I, plate facing page 352] how the professional wrote it. The alternative—"Ga-za-n"—is so much less like the coins that it seems to me much less probable. I think that the resemblance of the first letter on one coin to the Pʿags-pa syllabary ma is purely fortuitous.
"If I am right in thinking that the appearance of these signs and the adoption of the new formula tngri-yin küchündür 1 coincide, then I think the case is a cast iron one. Ghazan seems to have come to the throne in a.d. 1295; the Pʿags-pa alphabet was invented in China in a.d. 1269, so was still new and wonderful. It may well have reached Ghazan on a paiza of the type illustrated in Yule's The Book of Marco Polo [1903 ed., I, plate facing page 352], which bears both the formula (the Pʿags-pa rendering is "déŋriyin kʿučʿundur") and the word qaghan (there spelt ghaʾan) in Pʿags-pa. As the formula was, so to speak, the Mongol bismillah, it no doubt appeared on all state papers, and Ghazan may have got it and the nīshān that way, but a paiza is likeliest, as it was a sort of metallic diplomatic passport and no doubt the ambassadors from Peking all carried them."
The preceding items of Ghāzān's coinage from the Tiflis mint are no novelties, but it has recently been discovered that another mint existed under Ghāzān in Georgian territory, namely at Akhaltsikhe in the province of Samtskhe. Credit for this important addition to Transcaucasian numismatic history belongs to specialists at the University and State Museum of Georgia at Tiflis. As a result of details published in the Museum's bulletin, it has been possible to attribute a coin in the ANS collection to this Akhaltsikhe mint.
26. Dirhem Akhaltsikhe Date effaced
Obv. As preceding example from the Tiflis mint, but the third line reads:
ضرب الخلسخ (or possibly: اخلسيخ)
Struck at Akhalsikh.
Rev. As preceding example.
Tʿ. Lomouri, "Akhaltsikhis zarapʿkhana," in Sakʿartʿvelos sakhelmdsipʿo muzeumis moambe, XIIB, 1944, p. 214.
The first mention of Ghāzān's Akhaltsikhe mint is found in Bartholomaei's third letter to Soret, the author of which, however, found himself unable to identify the locality in question, which he read tentatively as "Ikhshin." 1 More recently, an Akhaltsikhe dirhem came to light at Erivan in 1939. Pakhomov read the mint as اخلس, but there can be no reasonable doubt that this represents the name of Akhaltsikhe. 2 Nearly a score more specimens were then discovered in Soviet Georgia, on one of which, instead of اخلسخ, the mint reads اخالسخ. This enabled Tʿamar Lomouri of the Tiflis Museum coin room, in consultation with Professor G. Tseretʿeli, to establish beyound doubt that the mint in question is indeed Akhaltsikhe.
The existence of this mint under the Il-Khans is significant as reflecting political developments of the period. The Georgian chronicle records that in 1268 the Atabag of Samtskhe, Sargis Jaqeli, profited by the weakness of King David Ulugh of Georgia to set himself up under Mongol protection as independent dynast at Akhaltsikhe. He was succeeded by his son Bekʿa Jaqeli (1285–1306), whose rule thus coincided with the reign of Ghāzān Maḥmūd, in whose name these coins were struck. In the time of Sargis II Jaqeli (1306–34), King Giorgi the Brilliant re-united the province of Samtskhe to the Georgian crown, the dignity of Atabag remaining in the Jaqeli family. After the Ottoman invasion of 1578, the Jaqelis became hereditary Pashas under the suzerainty of the Turkish Sultan. 3 Many works of geographical description and travel contain material on Samtskhe and the city of Akhaltsikhe. 4
The Akhaltsikhe mint continued to function under the Il-Khan Uljaitu (Öljäitü), who reigned from 1304 to 1316, and was a contemporary of Sargis II Jaqeli. Bartholomaei lists a dirhem of Uljaitu of uncertain date minted at Ikhshin, i.e., Akhaltsikhe. 1 In the catalogue of the von Karabaczek collection, there also occurs a dirhem of Uljaitu struck at Ikhshin/Akhaltsikhe, this time dated A.H. 716/1316–7 a.d. 2
So far this is all that is known about this interesting mint, though it may be conjectured that it was one of the centres for the fabrication of imitations of the Trebizond aspers, which became standard currency in western Georgia during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, after the decay of the Il-Khanid empire. D. Kapanadze has recently discovered a rather dubious coin on which he reads the initials of the Atabag Qwarqware, who ruled at Akhaltsikhe from 1451 to 1498. 3
Howorth, History of the Mongols, III, 421–26; Allen, History of the Georgian People, p. 120.
Howorth, History of the Mongols, III, 524–26; Rashīd al-Dīn, "Povestvovanie o Gazan-Khane," in Sbornik Letopisey, trans. A. K. Arends, vol. III, Moscow-Leningrad, 1946.
Cf. the Uigur-Mongol paiza illustrated in Yule and Cordier, The Book of Ser Marco Polo, 3rd. ed., London, 1903, vol. I, p. 355.
Rashīd al-Dīn, trans. Arends, vol. III, 1946, p. 271: "[Ghāzān] first established according to his judgement the pattern of the coinage, set on it a mark (nīshān) such that nobody would succeed in imitating it, and ordered that throughout his dominions, gold and silver should be struck according to this pattern…" See also Howorth, History of the Mongols, III, 525.
Lane-Poole, Coins of the Mongols, p. lii.
E. Drouin, "Notice sur les monnaies mongoles," p. 532.
On this formula see Mostaert and Cleaves in Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies, XV, 1952, pp. 428 and 486; also Cleaves, in the same journal, XVI 1953, p. 40.
"Troisième lettre de M. le Général de Bartholomaei à M. F. Soret, sur des monnaies koufiques inédites, trouvées en Géorgie," in Rev. Num, Belge, 1862, p. 68, Pl. III, No. 10.
E. A. Pakhomov, Monetnye klady Azerbaydzhana i drugikh respublik, kraev, i oblastey Kavkaza, fasc. IV, Baku, 1949, No. 1158.
M.-F. Brosset, Histoire de la Géorgie, I, St. Petersburg, 1849, pp. 543–86; Prince Wakhusht, "Histoire du Samtzkhé-Saatabago," in Histoire de la Géorgie, II, 1. 1856, pp. 205–6.
Prince Wakhusht, Description géographique de la Géorgie, trans. and ed. Brosset, St. Petersburg, 1842, pp. 85–87; Dubois de Montpéreux, Voyage autour du Caucase, II; Platon Ioseliani, Goroda, sushchestvovavshie i sushchestvuyushchie v Gruzii, Tiflis, 1850, pp. 28–30; Materialy po arkheologii Kavkaza, IV; V. Ivanov, "Gorod Akhaltsikhe," in Sbornik materialov dlya opisaniya mestnostey i plemen Kavkaza, VII.
Sulṭān Uljaitu ("The Fortunate"), known also as Muḥammad Khudābandeh, succeeded his brother Ghāzān and continued his states-manlike policies. At first a Sunnī, he later adopted the Shīʿa persuasion. He transferred the capital of the empire from Tabriz to Sulṭānīya.
Giorgi VI of Georgia, known as Mtsire, "The Little," was an infant son of King David VIII. He reigned nominally in Tiflis under the tutelage of his uncle, the former King Giorgi V, later to reign once more as Giorgi the Brilliant.
The coins struck in Georgia by Uljaitu are purely Muslim in legend and style, bearing no Christian symbol to distinguish them from products of other Il-Khanid mints.
27. Dirhem Tiflis A.H. 705/1305–6 a.d.
Obv. Area, within ornamented cinquefoil:
لا اله الا
There is no god but Allāh Struck at Tiflīs Muḥammad is the Messenger of Allāh.
Vertically, at sides:
God bless him.
صلى الله عليه
The word الله at the top of the area is read twice).
Margin, in segments between cinquefoil and circumscribed circle, contains names of Four Orthodox Caliphs.
Rev. Area, within double linear square:
غياث الدنيا والدين
خلد الله ملكه
The most mighty Sulṭān Ghiyāth al-Dunyā waʾl-Dīn Khudābandeh Muḥammad, May God perpetuate his reign.
Margin, in segments between square and circumscribed circle, contains date formula: A.H. 705.
28. Dirhems Tiflis A.H. 712/1312–3 a.d.
Obv. Area, within circle:
لا اله الا الله
There is no god but Allāh
على ولي الله
Muḥammad is the Messenger of Allāh, ʿAlī is the Viceroy of Allāh.
بسم الله الكريم
In the name of Allāh the All-Bountiful.
Marginal legend contains benediction on the Twelve Imams.
Rev. Area, within quatrefoil:
ايام دولة المولى
السلطان الاعظم ماللك رقاب
الامم اولجايتو سلطان غياث
الدنيا والدين خدابنده محمد
Struck in the days of the rule of the Lord Sulṭān most mighty, having sway over the necks of nations, Ūljāitū Sulṭān Ghiyāth al-Dunyā waʾl-Dīn Khudābandeh Muḥammad, May God perpetuate his reign.
The margin, in segments between quatrefoil and outer circle, is disposed differently in the two specimens in the ANS collection:
Top left: Qurʾān, XXX, 3.
Bottom right: Mint formula: Tiflīs.
Bottom left: Date formula (effaced).
b) Top right: Qurʾān, XXX, 3.
Top left: Date formula: A.H. 712.
Bottom right: Mongol title.
Bottom left: Mint formula: Tiflīs.
Similar to Fraehn, No. 113 and Lane-Poole, Coins of the Mongols, No. 133.
29. Double Dirhem Tiflis A.H. 715/1315–6 a.d.
Obv. Area, within double sixfoil: Shīʿa pious formula.
Marginal legend contains benediction on the Twelve Imams.
Rev. Area, within double sevenfoil, contains enumeration of Uljaitu's titles, similar to preceding example.
Margin, in segments between sevenfoil and outer circle, contains mint-date formula: Tiflīs, A.H. 715.
Similar to Lane-Poole, Coins of the Mongols, No. 147.
In addition to the above series, the ANS collection contains a barbarous imitation of a double dirhem of this reign.
30. Double Dirhem (barbarous work) Tiflis A.H. 708 (?) or 710?().
Obv. Area, within ornamented hexagon, contains Sunnī pious formula.
In segments between hexagon and linear circle, crudely written legend of which only two sections remain, possibly representing the words:
… the prophet, slave…
Rev. Area, within ornamented hexagon, barbarously inscribed:
ضرب في ايام
دولة السلطان الاعظم
محمد خلد الله ملكه
Struck in the days of the rule of the Sulṭān most mighty Ūljāitū Khudābandeh Muḥammad, May God perpetuate his reign.
Margin, in segments between hexagon and outer circle:
و/سبعمئة (or تفليس /-/ ثمان (؟ عشر
700/ and (or 10?) 8 / — / Tiflīs.
Rev. Num. Belge, 1862, pp. 68–69.
Schulman, Amsterdam, November 18th., 1907, p. 67, No. 1133.
D. Kapanadze, "Zogiertʿi gaurkveveli kʿartʿuli pʿulis datʿarighebisatʿvis," in Sakʿartʿvelos sakhelmdsipʿo muzeumis moambe, XIB, 1941, p. 150.
Abū Saʿīd, son of Uljaitu, was the last ruler of the undivided Il-Khanid empire. His reign, the swan-song of the Mongols of Persia, was one of courtly splendour and literary culture, combined with growing political unrest. He reverted to the Sunnī persuasion.
In Georgia, the infant Giorgi the Little having died or otherwise disappeared from the scene, the throne was occupied for the second time by Giorgi V, son of Dimitri the Devoted. Giorgi V is called by the annalists "Brdsqinvale," The Brilliant. At first, he enjoyed high favour at the Persian court and was confirmed in possession of all the Georgian lands. The chronicles give grandiloquent but vague accounts of his military prowess. He is stated to have expelled the Mongols from Georgia and set up his headquarters at Tiflis, as well as re-uniting all western and south-western Georgia to the Crown. 1
The numismatic evidence suggests however that Giorgi's successes were of a more modest nature. An uninterrupted series of standard Il-Khanid silver coins were struck at Tiflis until the 1350's. It seems most likely that the Annals' accounts of Giorgi's battles with the Mongols represent a somewhat garbled version of the events attending the revolt and defeat of Giorgi's protector, the powerful general Chūpān, who was executed in 1327. Chūpān's son Maḥmūd, the Il-Khanid governor of Georgia, was now assassinated by his own troops. 2 Having been associated with the losing side, Giorgi's position in Tiflis would have been perilous. The account of his exploits in western Georgia perhaps reflects the fact that like his predecessors Queen Rusudan and David Narin, Giorgi found it advisable to operate for a time outside the Mongol sphere of influence. Or again it may be that the Muslims continued, as in the days of the Tiflis Emirs, to hold the city as an enclave within the kingdom of Kʿartʿli. 3
No coins struck in the name of Giorgi the Brilliant are known to us, with the somewhat dubious exception of a few specimens of crude fabric from a 14th century hoard published by D. Kapanadze. These are apparently imitations of later Il-Khanid patterns, though Kapanadze's reproductions are not good enough to give a clear impression. A feature of their design is a motif resembling a human eye. On one of them Kapanadze made out the legend "Mepʿetʿa Mepʿe Giorgi" in Georgian ecclesiastical majuscules, and concluded that this is the famous "Giorgauli" coin referred to in a number of medieval legal documents. 1 Experience of the many curious items which occur in hoards of this period suggests, however, the need for caution. It is proposed to return to this subject in the section on Georgian imitations of the aspers of Trebizond, which were the standard currency of western Georgia during this period.
The ANS collection contains sixteen silver coins of Abū Saʿīd minted at Tiflis after standard patterns.
31. Double Dirhem Tiflis A.H. 717/1317–8 a.d.
Obv. Area, within ornamented octagon, contains Sunnī pious formula, interspersed with ornaments.
Margin, in spaces between octagon and outer circle, contains Qurʾān, LXVII, 1.
Rev. Area, within ornamented hexagon:
دولة المولى السلطان
الاعظم ابو سعيد
خلد الله ملكه
Struck in The empire of the Lord Sulṭān Most mighty, Abū Saʿīd, May God perpetuate his reign.
Margin contains mint-date formula: Tiflīs, A.H. 717.
Similar to Lane-Poole, Coins of the Mongols, No. 175.
32. Dirhem Tiflis A.H. 719/1319–20 a.d.
Obv. Area, within ornamental frame portraying a miḥrāb, contains Sunnī pious formula. Beneath, names of the Four Orthodox Caliphs. The miḥrāb frame itself and the legend between the frame and surrounding linear border form Qurʾān, II, 131. 1
Rev. Area, within lobed square:
في ايام دولة السلطان
الاعظم ابو سعيد
خلد الله ملكه
Struck in the days of the rule of the Sulṭān Most mighty, Abū Saʿīd, May God perpetuate his reign.
Around, in lobes of square:
نعم النصر من الله
Excellent is the victory from God.
Margin, in spaces between square and outer circle, contains mint-date formula: Tiflīs, A.H. 719.
Similar to Fraehn, No. 140; Lane-Poole, Coins of the Mongols, Nos. 176–96.
33. Double Dirhems Tiflis A.H. 719/1319–20.
Three specimens in ANS collection.
Design as previous example.
34. Double Dirhems Tiflis A.H. 722 and 723/1322–3 a.d.
Obv. Area, within circle, contains Sunnī pious formula, with the names of the Four Orthodox Caliphs inscribed around. Between first and second, and second and third lines of pious formula:
Struck at Tiflīs.
Rev. Area, within pentagon:
(sic) في اه
يام دولة السلطان الاعظم
ابو سعيد بهادر خان
خلد الله ملكه
In the days Struck Of the rule of the Sulṭān most mighty, Abū Saʿīd Bahādur Khan, May God perpetuate his reign.
Margin, in segments between pentagon and outer circle, contains date formula: A.H. 722 and 723.
Similar to Lane-Poole, Coins of the Mongols, Nos. 197–209.
35. Dirhem Tiflis A.H. 722.
Similar to preceding example.
36. Double Dirhems Tiflis A.H.724 and 725/1323–5 a.d.
Obv. Area, within double square, contains Sunnī pious formula.
Margin, in segments between square and outer circle, contains names of the Four Orthodox Caliphs.
Rev. Area, within double circle:
السلطان ابو سعيد
Struck Sulṭān Abū Saʿīd
بهادر خان خلد ملكه
Bahādur Khan, May his reign be perpetuated, Tiflīs.
Margin, between circle and outer circle, contains date formula: A.H. 724 and 725.
Similar to Lane-Poole, Coins of the Mongols, Nos. 210–16.
37. Dirhem Tiflis A.H. 724
Similar to preceding example.
38. Double Dirhems Tiflis A.H. 729/1328–9 a.d.
Obv. Area, within ornamented octagon, contains Sunnī pious formula, surrounded by the names of the Four Orthodox Caliphs. Linear circle border, with loops.
Rev. Area, within ornamented and looped octagon:
ابو سعيد بهادر خان
خلد الله ملكه
Sulṭān most mighty Abū Saʿīd Bahādur Khan May God perpetuate his reign.
Margin, between octagon and outer circle, contains mint-date formula: Tiflīs, A.H. 729.
39. Double Dirhems Tiflis Year 33 al-Khānīyeh, i.e. 1334–35 a.d.
Year 3* (33 or 34) al-Khānīyeh.
Obv. Sunnī pious formula in Cufic characters arranged to form a square, and embodying the phrase:
صلى الله عليه
God bless him.
Round the Cufic inscription, in ordinary Naskhi characters, are inscribed the names of the Four Orthodox Caliphs.
Rev. السلطان العالم العادل
بهادر خان خلد ملكه
Round the inscription, date formula: In one specimen 33, in the other 3*, of the Il-Khanid era.
Similar to Lane-Poole, Coins of the Mongols, Nos. 173, 238–51.
40. Dirhem Tiflis Year 33 al-Khānīyeh, i.e. 1334–35 a.d.
Similar to preceding.
An attempt must be made here to clarify the concordance of the Khanid and Christian eras, which has been a source of some difficulty in dating these coins of the last years of Abū Saʿīd, the only ruler to employ the Khanian era on his coins. Fraehn and Lane-Poole equate the 33rd year of this Khanian era, invented by Ghāzān Maḥmūd, with 1332–33 a.d. 1 This computation seems untenable, for the authorities agree, with one exception, that Ghāzān based his era on the solar cycle and introduced it on the 12th of Rajab, A.H. 701, or March 13th, 1302. 2 Now if the first year of the Khanian era ran from March, 1302 to March, 1303, the 33rd year must surely have begun in March, 1334 and ended in March, 1335 (A.H. 734–35). This is borne out by modern Persian almanacs, which give, for example, Khānī 634 as the equivalent of a.d. 1935. 1
To turn to the numismatic evidence, we find further support for this system of calculation in some coins of Abū Saʿīd minted at Baghdad, al-Ḥillah and Wāsiṭ, and first published by Codrington, bearing dates in both the Khanian and Muslim eras. In three examples, the date is inscribed as both year 34 al-Khānīyeh and 735 A.H. (September, 1334 to August, 1335). 2
Zambaur lists some coins of Abū Saʿīd dated 35 and even 36 of the Khanian era. 3 These, if our calculations are correct, would date from the years 1336–38 a.d. and represent posthumous issues. Abū Saʿīd died in November, 1335.
It is worth noting that the era is styled الخانية, "al-Khānīyeh," and not ايلخانية, "Īlkhānīeh," as sometimes given.
The ANS collection also contains a double dirhem of unusual type struck at Tiflis under Abū Saʿīd. It is of the square-cufic pattern, but without the Il-Khan's name in Mongol. Nor is any space allotted for a date-formula. So far as can be discovered, this is a unique specimen.
41. Double Dirhem Tiflis N.D.
Obv. Sunnī pious formula in Cufic characters, surrounded by the names of the Four Orthodox Caliphs.
Linear circle border, outer border of dots.
Struck The Sulṫān most mighty,
ابو سعيد بهادر خان
خلد الله ملكه
Abū Saʿīd Bahādur Khan May God perpetuate his reign Tiflīs.
Double linear circle, outer border of dots.
Howorth, History of the Mongols, III, 587; Brosset, Histoire de la Géorgie, I, 640–48; Allen, History of the Georgian People, pp. 121–22.
Ḥāfiż-i Abrū, Chronique des Rois Mongols en Iran, texte persan édité et traduit par K. Bayani, II, Paris, 1936, p. 107.
Cf. Bartholomaei, Lettres numismatiques, pp. 108–9: "Il devient évident que pendant toute la première moitié du XlVme siècle, le joug mongol avait pesé de tout son poids sur la Transcaucasie entière, et que le royaume de Géorgie était devenu de fait une province de l'empire des Houlaguides; que les rois de Géorgie, en commençant par Giorgi-le-Brillant lui-même, n'étaient que des vassaux des kaāns.…" This point is discussed further in Bartholomaei à Soret, III, Rév. Num. Belge, 1862, pp. 95–97.
D. Kapanadze, "Zogiertʿi gaurkveveli kʿartʿuli pʿulis datʿarighebisatʿvis," in the Tiflis Museum Moambe, XIB, 1941, pp. 133–44.
On this design and its symbolism, see George C. Miles, "Epitaphs from an Isfahan graveyard," in Ars Islamica, 1939, p. 156.
Fraehn, De Il-Chanorum numis, p. 528; Lane-Poole, Coins of the Mongols, p. 63.
See W. Hinz, in ZDMG, 1951, p. 250; also Hammer-Purgstall, Geschichte der Ilchane, II, Darmstadt, 1843, pp. 175–76, 357–59; Howorth, History of the Mongols, III, pp. 532–33; E. G. Browne, Literary History of Persia, III, Cambridge, 1928, p. 45; F. K. Ginzel, Handbuch der Mathematischen und Technischen Chronologie, I, Leipzig, 1906, pp. 304–5. Waṣṣāf, the continuator of Rashīd al-Dīn, dissents however, giving the 1st of Rajab, A.H. 700 as the commencing date.
S. H. Taqizadeh "Various eras and calendars used in the countries of Islam," part 2, in Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, X, London, 1939, pp. 118–20. The correspondence 137 Khānī = A. H. 842/1438–39 a.d. is given in a document of the Timurid Shah-Rukh (W. Hinz, in Der Islam, 1949, p. 118).
O. Codrington, Some rare and unedited Arabic and Persian coins, Hertford, 1889, p. 4. Two examples with this double date-formula, from Baghdad and Wāsiṫ, are also in the ANS collection.
E. von Zambaur, "Nouvelles contributions à la numismatique orientale," in Numismatische Zeitschrift, 1914, p. 184.
After the death of Abū Saʿīd, "the throne of Persia became the toadstool on which the puppet sovereigns set up by rival ameers seated themselves, only to find it crumbling beneath them." 1 The Georgian chronicles pass over this troubled era in virtual silence. It is noteworthy that in spite of the prevailing chaos, the Il-Khanid mint at Tiflis continued to function regularly, as well as a new one at Qarā-Aghāch in Kakhetʿi, on Georgia's south-eastern border.
Abū Saʿīd's immediate successor was Arpā Khan, who reigned for only a few months.
42. Double Dirhem Tiflis A.H. 736/1335–6 a.d.
Obv. Sunnī pious formula in Cufic characters, surrounded by the names of the Four Orthodox Caliphs, the whole design being virtually identical with the coins of Abū Saʿīd's last period.
Rev. السلطان الاعظم
ارپا خان خلد الله
ملكه وايد دولته
The Sulṭān most mighty Arpā Khan; may God perpetuate his reign and reinforce his dominion.
Surrounded by mint-date formula: Tiflīs, A.H. 736.
Fraehn, No. 207; Pakhomov, Monetnye Klady, fasc. IV, Baku, 1949, p. 50, No. 1157.
The next of these ephemeral rulers represented in the Tiflis series is Muḥammad Khan, who reigned under the aegis of Shaykh Ḥasan Buzurg, the Jalāʾir chieftain. He was little more than a figurehead, and was killed in 1338, when the Chūpānī, Ḥasan Kūchuk, conquered Azerbaijan and Georgia. 1
43. Double Dirhem Tiflis A.H. 738/1337–8 a.d.
Obv. Within curved border, Sunnī pious formula, surrounded by the names of the Four Orthodox Caliphs.
Rev. Within curved and looped border:
محمد خلد الله
The Sulṭān wise Muḥammad; may God perpetuate his reign and dominion.
Around, mint-date formula: Tiflīs, A.H. 738.
Similar to Lane-Poole, Coins of the Mongols, No. 280.
It is useful for Georgian history to note that the the other contemporary rival dynasts Mūsā, Tughā-Tīmūr and Jāhān-Tīmūr never apparently had control of the Tiflis mint. Abū Saʿīd's sister, the Princess Sātī Beg, struck silver at Tiflis in A.H. 739, 2 but none of her coins from here are in the ANS collection.
The next of the rival puppet Khans represented in our series is Sulaymān, who married Sātī Beg and ruled under the protection of Ḥasan Kūchuk, the Chūpānī, from 1339 until 1343, when Ḥasan was murdered by his own wife. 3 Melik Ashraf, brother of Ḥasan Chūpānī, had rebelled against the latter, fled to Georgia and, on Ḥasan's assassination, now assumed power, appointing one of his partisans to be governor of Georgia. 1
44. Dirhem Tiflis A.H. 741/1340–41 a.d.
Obv. Within eightfoil, Sunni pious formula, surrounded by the names of the Four Orthodox Caliphs.
Rev. Area, within eightfoil:
The SulṭānSuleiman Khan May his reign be perpetuated.
Margin, between eightfoil and linear circle border, contains mint-date formula: Tiflīs, A.H. 741.
Similar to Lane-Poole, Coins of the Mongols, No. 330. The ANS collection has another dirhem of Sulaymān, dated A.H. 741, but of doubtful mint, possibly Tiflis (similar to Lane-Poole's No. 320).
The epigraphy, especially on the reverse, shows signs of debasement.
The last of the decayed Il-Khans was Anūshirvān, or Nūshirvān (1344–1357), a figurehead ruler of dubious pedigree set up at Tabriz by the tyrant Ashraf Chūpānī. His reign was brought to an abrupt conclusion by the invasion of Jānī-Beg of the Golden Horde in 1357. His silver coinage shows progressive signs of degeneration.
45. Dirhems Tiflis A.H. 750 and 751/1349–51 a.d.
Obv. Area, within border design portraying a miḥrāb, contains Sunni pious formula. 2 Around border, names and titles of the Four Orthodox Caliphs, partly effaced.
Rev. Area, within hexagonal border:
خلد الله ملكه
Struck The Sulṭān the just Nūshirvān May God perpetuate his reign.
Margin, in six compartments, contains mint-date formula: Tiflis, A.H. 750 and 751.
46. Dirhem Tiflis A.H. 75*.
Obv. Area, within linear circle, contains Sunnī pious formula, surrounded by the names of the Four Orthodox Caliphs.
Rev. Area, within hexagonal ornamented border:
Struck The Sulṭān Anūshirvān, May his reign be perpetuated, Tiflīs.
Margin, in six compartments, contains the date formula: A.H. 75*.
47. Dirhem Tiflis A.H. 7** (c. 753).
Obv. Area contains Sunnī pious formula in Cufic characters disposed in a square. Around, the names of the Four Orthodox Caliphs.
Rev. Area, within ornamented hexagon:
Tiflīs; May his reign be perpetuated.
Four small stars arranged in pattern in area.
Margin contains date formula: A.H. 7**.
The ANS has on loan from the University Museum in Philadelphia a dirhem of the same design and virtually the same weight (1.03 gr.), dated Tabriz, A.H. 753/1352–3 a.d. It is safe to conclude therefore that the above specimen from the Tiflis mint dates from about this year.
This concludes the series of Il-Khanid Tiflis coins in the ANS collection.
Besides Tiflis, however, the last Il-Khans operated another mint in Georgia, namely at Qarā-Aghāch, or "Black Wood" in Kakhetʿi on the countryʾs south-eastern marchlands. The town is known in Georgian sources as Qaraghaji.
Our study is complicated by the fact that at different periods, the Mongols of Persia had mints in two separate and distinct localities of this name. Under Uljaitu, in A.H. 711 and 713/1311–14 a.d., Anatolian-type silver coins occur with the mint-mark قراغاچ. This can hardly be the Georgian Qarā-Aghāch: the specimen in the ANS collection was found in a hoard of silver coins of Uljaitu, mostly minted at ʿAlāʾyah on the Mediterranean coast of Anatolia. 1 The coin in question from Qarā-Aghāch bears, like the other specimens in the hoard, a Qaramānid counterstamp. 2 This must surely be the Qarā-Aghāch mentioned by Ibn Baṭūṭa in his travels in Asia Minor, as being in the neighbourhood of Qul Ḥiṣār. 3 It is doubtless the "Qarā-Aghāch of Yalvāch" listed by Mostras. 4
The next numismatic mention of Qarā-Aghāch occurs a quarter of a century later, when the Il-Khanid empire was already breaking up. Several dirhems of Muḥammad Khan, the nominee of Shaykh Ḥasan Buzurg, minted at Qarā-Aghāch in A.H. 738/1337–8 a.d., have been recorded. 1 In 740 A.H., Sulaymān, the creature of Ḥasan Kūchuk, was minting there. 2 Under Anushirvān, there occur a whole series of various types and dates, including four in the ANS collection, described below. 3
Several considerations make it impossible for this Qarā-Aghāch to be identical with Uljaitu's mint-town of this name in south-western Asia Minor. From what is known of the troubled history of the period, it would be most surprising for Muḥammad, Sulaymān or Anūshirvān Khan to be in a position to claim even the most shadowy suzerainty over the Qaramānid dominions.
General Bartholomaei was of the opinion that this Qarā-Aghāch should be sought rather in the region of Shīrvān, where a substantial number of the later Il-Khanid mints are situated. 4 Recent discoveries have borne out this view. In 1949, E. A. Pakhomov published details of a hoard found in 1940 at Qaraghaji in the Dsitʿeldsqaro, or "RedSpring" district of Kakhetʿi, in the south-eastern corner of the Georgian Soviet Republic, and close to the historic boundaries of Shirvan. This hoard was made up of dirhems of Sulaymān and Anūshirvān minted at Qarā-Aghāch (Qaraghaji) itself, as well as at Tiflis, Tabriz, Sultānīya, Ardabil, Marāgha, Ganja, Shīrvān, etc., in other words, from centers in Transcaucasia and north-west Persia. 5 It is worth noting also that a similar hoard, found near Kars in Turkish Georgia in 1877, contained coins of Anūshirvān minted at Qarā-Aghāch, Tiflis, Ganja, Nakhchevan, etc., that is to say, again from towns in Transcaucasia. 6 This should be enough to demonstrate that the second Qarā-Aghāch mint is indeed the Georgian Qaraghaji.
This place is well known to Georgian historical geography. Prince Wakhusht, writing in the eighteenth century, stated that it had been ravaged by the Golden Horde leader Bäräkä (Berke) in 1265–66, which shows that it already existed as a township in the Mongol period. 1 It was in the district of Kʿisiq, between the Alazan and Iori rivers, which indeed corresponds to the present-day administrative district of Dsitʿeldsqaro. In the seventeenth century, it became the administrative capital of Kakhetʿi under the Ṣafavīs. The Shahs' viceroys resided there from 1657 until the end of the century and one of them built a palace in the Persian style. From 1703, King David III (Imām-Qūlī-Khān) of Kakhetʿi resided at Qaraghaji, until he removed his capital to Tʿelavi in 1706. Ottoman occupation troops built a fortress there in 1733. 2 The development of the town and fortress of Sighnaghi in a less vulnerable area of Kʿisiq during the latter half of the eighteenth century hastened Qaraghaji's decline to its present-day insignificance.
48. Dirhem Qarā-Aghāch A.H. 746/1345–6 a.d.
Obv. Sunnī pious formula arranged to form a triangle. Within triangle, in the centre, the name of ʿAlī is inscribed, surrounded by the names of the other three Orthodox Caliphs. Outside the triangle, the formula:
بسم الله الكريم
In the name of Allāh the All-Bountiful. The Sulṭān Nushirvan Khan May his reign be perpetuated.
Around, mint-date formula: Qarā-Aghāch, A.H. 746.
Type of Fraehn, Pl. II, No. 232.
49. Dirhem Qarā-Aghāch A.H. 74*.
Obv. Area contains Sunnī pious formula inscribed diagonally within lozenge. In segments between lozenge and outer circle, names of the Four Orthodox Caliphs.
Rev. Area, inscribed diagonally within ornamented lozenge:
The Sulān the just Anūshirvān May his reign be perpetuated.
Around lozenge, mint-date formula: Qarā-Aghāch, A.H. 74*.
Bartholomaei à Soret, IV, Rev. Num. Belge, 1864, No. 142*.
50. Dirhem Qarā-Aghāch A.H. 750/1349–50 a.d.
Obv. Area, within square, contains Sunnī pious formula. Margin, in segments between square and linear circle, contains names of the Four Orthodox Caliphs.
Rev. Area, within oval:
The Sulṭān Nushirvan May his reign be perpetuated.
Above and below oval, mint-date formula: Qarā-Aghāch, A.H. 750.
Bartholomaei à Soret, II, Rev. Num. Belge, 1861, No. *48.
51. Dirhem Qarā-Aghāch A.H. 75*.
Obv. Sunnī pious formula, surrounded by the names of the Four Orthodox Caliphs.
Rev. Area, within hexagon:
Struck Anūshirvān Qarā-Aghāch May his reign be perpetuated.
In segments between hexagon and outer circle, date formula: A.H. 75*.
Lane-Poole, Coins of the Mongols, p. xx. The best account of the period is found in the Taʾrīkh-i Shaikh Uwais, trans. and edit. J. B. van Loon (The Hague, 1954), and prefaced by an excellent historical summary.
Ḥāfiẓ-i Abrū, trans. Bayani, II, 131.
Barataev, Num. fakty, section I, p. 5; Markov, Inventarny Katalog, p. 591, No. 504.
Howorth, History of the Mongols, III, pp. 646–50.
Ḥāfiẓ-i Abrū, trans. Bayani, II, 136, 148.
A similar motif has already been noted as occurring on the coinage of Abū Saʿīd about the year 719 A.H. (see Nos. 32 and 33, above).
Cf. G. Le Strange, The Lands of the Eastern Caliphate, Cambridge, 1930, pp. 150–51.
The other recorded coin of Uljaitu from this Qarā-Aghāch, dated A.H. 711, is listed in Lane-Poole, Coins of the Mongols, No. 146.
Ibn Baṭūṭa, ed. Defrémery and Sanguinetti, II, 270. Cf. Fraehn, in another context: "… Moneta Kara-aghatschae (quod haud scio an oppidum Kara-manae sit)" (De Il-Chanorum nurnis, p. 535).
Fraehn, No. 210; Bartholomaei á Soret, IV, Rev. Num. Belge, 1864, p. 314, No. 75; Markov, Inventarny Katalog, Supplement 4, p. 1036, No. 482a.
Bartholomaei á Soret, IV, Rev. Num. Belge, 1864, p. 318, No. 97*.
See also Markov, Inventarny Katalog, p. 593, No. 547, p. 596, No. 643, Supplement 4, p. 1038, No. 652h.
Bartholomaei á Soret, III, Rev. Num. Belge, 1862, p. 90.
Pakhomov, Monetnye klady, fasc. IV, Baku, 1949, pp. 50–51, No. 1160.
Pakhomov, Monetnye klady, fasc. III, Baku, 1940, p. 51, No. 863.
Wakhusht, Description géographique de la Géorgie , ed. Brosset, St. Petersburg, 1842, p. 309. See also Rashīd al-Dīn, Sbornik Letopisey, trans. Arends, III, 1946, p. 68.
The most powerful of the minor dynasties which carved up the disrupted Il-Khanid empire was that of the Jalāʾirs, the descendants of Shaykh Ḥasan Buzurg. These princes made Baghdad their capital, but gained control over much of Persia and Transcaucasia.
For a short time after the suppression of Anūshirvān, the mints at Tiflis and at Qarā-Aghāch were under Jalāʾirid control. Dirhems struck in the name of Shaykh Ḥasan, and, apparently anonymously, by his successor Uwais were minted in both places in A.H. 757–8/1356–7 a.d. 1
Another discovery of much interest for Georgian history during this turbulent period is that coins of the Golden Horde were also minted at Qarā-Aghāch in A.H. 758/1357 a.d. Azerbaijan had been invaded in 1357 by Jānī-Beg, Khan of the Golden Horde, who seized Tabriz and executed Anūshirvān's patron, the tyrant Ashraf Chū-pānī. Jānī died or was murdered in 1357 by his son and successor Birdī-Beg, who soon after retired to the Qipchaq. Tabriz was then captured by the Jalāʾir Uwais. 2 That Georgia also was involved in this complicated struggle for power is shown by this fresh numismatic evidence. The existence of these Qarā-Aghāch coins of A.H. 758, struck in the names of both Jānī-Beg and Birdī-Beg, was first made known by E. A. Pakhomov. 1 It is important to know that part at least of eastern Georgia was brought at this period, however briefly, under the authority of the Golden Horde.
These Tatar invasions help to explain why no coins have come to light bearing the name of the Georgian king David IX (1346–60), the successor of Giorgi the Brilliant. Nor have any been discovered that can be attributed with any confidence to Bagrat V (1360–93).
With regard to Giorgi VII (1393–1407), the doughty adversary of Tamerlane, the numismatic picture is confused. Three small silver pieces published by Langlois were attributed by him, partly on the strength of information supplied to him by Bartholomaei, to Giorgi VII assertedly reigning jointly with and under the aegis of Shaykh Aḥmad Jalāʾir (1382–1410). 2 This ascription has since been tacitly accepted by some later writers. 3 Yet examination of Langlois' illustrations is enough to arouse misgivings. For one thing, the inscription which he read as the name and title of King Giorgi VII in Georgian characters is unmistakably the Sunnī pious formula. A. K. Markov, when preparing his standard history of the Jalāʾirid coinage, sent to the Cabinet des Médailles at the Bibliothèque Nationale, where these coins are preserved, for a fresh report on them. It transpired that their inscriptions contain no mention whatever of any King Giorgi, the only ruler mentioned being a certain Aḥmad. Comparison with known issues of Aḥmad Jalāʾir even led Markov to question whether the specimens in question were of Jalāʾirid type at all, or belonged to some other Aḥmad. 4 However this latter point
may be, it is clear that these coins cannot be admitted into the Georgian monetary series.
E. A. Pakhomov, Klady Azerbaydzhana i drugikh respublik i kraev Kavkaza, fasc. II, Baku, 1938, Nos. 472–73; Bartholomaei à Soret, II, Rev. Num. Belge, 1861, No. *60; A. K. Markov, Katalog Dzhelairidskikh monet, St. Petersburg, 1897, p. LII. For a general survey, see further H. L. Rabino, "Coins of the Jalāʾir, Ḳara Ḳoyūnlū, Mushaʿshaʿ, and Āḳ Ḳoyūnlū dynasties," in Numismatic Chronicle, 1950.
See V. Minorsky, article "Tabrūz," in the Encyclopaedia of Islām.
Pakhomov, Klady Azerbaydzhana, fasc. II, Baku, 1938, No. 472. In the same hoard were found coins of Jānī and Birdī-Beg, also dated A.H. 758, from Bardaʿa, Tabriz, Ganja, Nakhchevan, etc.
V. Langlois, "Supplément à l'essai de classification des suites monétaires de la Géorgie," in Rev. Num. Belge, 1861, Nos. 9–11.
E.g. E. A. Pakhomov, "Kak otrazhalis' istoricheskie sobytiya na monete Gruzii," in Letopis' Gruzii, ed. B. Esadze, Tiflis, 1913, p. 57; Pakhomov, Klady Azerbaydzhana, fasc. II, p. 46; D. Kapanadze, "XV saukunis kʿartʿuli pʿulis Goris gandzi," in the Tiflis Museum Moambe, XB, 1940, p. 302.
A. K. Markov, Katalog Dzhelairidskikh monet, St. Petersburg, 1897, pp. LXIX–LXX. Personal examination of these coins in Paris bears out Markov's view.
The following tables have been drawn up to illustrate the numismatic history of Georgia during the Mongol Great Khan, Il-Khan, Jalāʾirid and Golden Horde dominations. The list is not confined to the specimens from the ANS collection described in detail in the preceding pages. Use has been made of the card-index of Il-Khanid coinage compiled from various sources by Dr. G. C. Miles, as well as recent Soviet publications, which have for the most part been quoted already in footnotes.
|Akhaltsikhe A.H.||694–703||Il-Khanid: Ghāzān.|
|Dmanisi||642||Georgian vassal: David Narin.|
|757||Jalāʾirid: Shaykh Ḥasan Buzurg.|
|Jujid, Golden Horde: Jānī-Beg.|
|Jujid, Golden Horde: Birdī-Beg.|
|Tiflis||642||Great Khan: Queen-Regent Turakina.|
|645 (467 of the Georgian Paschal Cycle, 1247 a.d.)|
|Georgian vassals: David Narin, David Ulugh.|
|Tiflis||647||Georgian vassal: David Narin|
|650||Great Khan: Mangu|
|Georgian vassals: David Narin, David Ulugh.|
|651||Great Khan: Mangu|
|Georgian vassal: David Ulugh.|
|652||Great Khan: Mangu|
|Georgian vassal: David Ulugh.|
|653||Great Khan: Mangu.|
|654||Great Khan: Mangu|
|Georgian vassal: David Ulugh.|
|655||Great Khan: Mangu.|
|656||Great Khan: Mangu.|
|657||Great Khan: Mangu.|
|658||Great Khan: Mangu.|
|659||Great Khan: Mangu.|
|660||Anonymous (Hulagu): "Kaanniki I."|
|661||Anonymous (Hulagu): "Kaanniki I."|
|662||Anonymous (Hulagu): "Kaanniki I."|
|663||Anonymous (Abagha): "Kaanniki II."|
|665||Anonymous (Abagha): "Kaanniki II."|
|666||Anonymous (Abagha): "Kaanniki II."|
|667||Anonymous (Abagha): "Kaanniki II."|
|668||Anonymous (Abagha): "Kaanniki II."|
|669||Anonymous (Abagha): "Kaanniki II."|
|670||Anonymous (Abagha): "Kaanniki II."|
|671||Anonymous (Abagha): "Kaanniki II."|
|672||Anonymous (Abagha): "Kaanniki II."|
|673||Anonymous (Abagha): "Kaanniki II."|
|674||Anonymous (Abagha): "Kaanniki II."|
|675||Anonymous (Abagha): "Kaanniki II."|
|676||Anonymous (Abagha): "Kaanniki II."|
|677||Anonymous (Abagha): "Kaanniki II."|
|678||Hulaguid-Christian: Abagha and Dimitri|
|Anonymous (Abagha): "Kaanniki II."|
|680||Hulaguid-Christian: Abagha and Dimitri|
|Tiflis||Anonymous (Abagha): "Kaanniki II."|
|681||Hulaguid-Christian: Abagha and Dimitri.|
|682||Hulaguid-Christian: Aḥmad and Dimitri.|
|683||Hulaguid-Christian: Aḥmad and Dimitri.|
|Hulaguid-Christian: Arghun and Dimitri.|
|684||Hulaguid-Christian: Arghun and Dimitri.|
|685||Hulaguid-Christian: Arghun and Dimitri.|
|686||Hulaguid-Christian: Arghun and Dimitri.|
|686||Hulaguid-Christian: Arghun and Dimitri.|
|687||Hulaguid-Christian: Arghun and Dimitri.|
|688||Hulaguid-Christian: Arghun and Dimitri.|
|N.D. (c. 691–4)||Hulaguid-Christian: Gaikhatu and David VIII.|
|696||Hulaguid-Christian: Ghāzān and David VIII.|
|701||Il-Khanid standard series: Ghāzān.|
|N.D. (c. 701–3)||Hulaguid-Christian: Ghāzān and Wakhtang III.|
|717||Il-Khanid: Abū Saʿīd.|
|719||Il-Khanid: Abū Saʿīd.|
|722||Il-Khanid: Abū Saʿīd.|
|723||Il-Khanid: Abū Saʿīd.|
|724||Il-Khanid: Abū Saʿīd.|
|725||Il-Khanid: Abū Saʿīd.|
|726||Il-Khanid: Abū Saʿīd.|
|727||Il-Khanid: Abū Saʿīd.|
|728||Il-Khanid: Abū Saʿīd.|
|729||Il-Khanid: Abū Saʿīd.|
|730||Il-Khanid: Abū Saʿīd.|
|Tiflis||732||Il-Khanid: Abū Saʿīd.|
|Year 33 al-Khānīyeh:||734–5||Il-Khanid: Abū Saʿīd.|
|739||Il-Khanid: Princess Sātī-Beg.|
|758||Jalāʾrid: Shaykh Ḥasan Buzurg.|
Sir Henry Howorth, History of the Mongols, Part III: The Mongols of Persia, London, 1888, pp. 23–61; Allen, History of the Georgian People, pp. 112–16; Minorsky, "Tiflis," in E.I.
While the Il-Khans held Eastern Georgia in subjection, David Narin and his posterity maintained a precarious independence as monarchs of Imeretʿi, "the land on the far side" of the Likhi Hills which divide eastern from western Georgia. Their realm soon began to break up, the princes of Mingrelia, Guria and Abkhazia giving reign to their separatist ambitions. About 1330, Giorgi the Brilliant brought western Georgia under his authority. Particularist trends again triumphed after the death of Alexander I (1412–43), the last king of united Georgia. The country remained divided until the Russian annexation early in the nineteenth century.
To the southwest, Georgia bordered at this period on the Empire of Trebizond. The Comneni had set themselves up there with the aid of the Georgian Queen Tʿamar after the fall of Constantinople to the Latins in 1204. Community of faith and interest resulted in the maintenance of close economic and political links between Georgia and Trebizond throughout the two and a half centuries of the Empire's existence. Relations were further cemented by marriages between the Comnenian and Bagratid royal houses.
The first monetary series of Trebizond dates from the reign of John I (1235–38). Under his successor Kyr Manuel I (1238–63), the characteristic type of Trapezuntine silver coinage, the asper, took on definitive form and became well-known and popular in commerce. 1 Authentic aspers are often encountered in hoards dug up in Georgia. 2
The Georgians were hemmed in by the Mongols to east and south and obliged to coin and employ in their transactions the money of their overlords. As a reaction from this state of affairs, it was natural that the Christian iconography of the Trapezuntine asper, with its effigy of the Emperor on one side and Saint Eugenius, patron of Trebizond, on the other, should have made a special appeal to the hard-pressed Georgian population.
Georgian imitations of the asper of John II (1280–97) form an abundant and curious group. Although certain crudely struck aspers of the earlier period have been ascribed to Georgian mints, 1 it was not until this reign that the systematic fabrication of these imitations began in Georgia. It is worth noting in this connection that the throne of Trebizond was seized for a few months in 1285 by Theodora, daughter of Kyr Manuel I by his consort, the Georgian princess Rusudan. 2 Theodora was supported by a Georgian army sent by King David Narin. This episode gave the Georgians even more opportunity of becoming familiar with the coinage of Trebizond.
Once imitation of John II's aspers had begun, no attempt was made to introduce new types from Trebizond. The Georgian fabrications all bear the name of that monarch, or vague shapes representing degradations of it, in Greek characters. In spite of this, they are known as "Kirmaneuli" or "Kilmanauri," i.e., coins of Kyr Manuel, the first Emperor of Trebizond whose coins had enjoyed wide circulation in western Georgia. The widely varying stages of degradation of these imitations, and the rubbed and battered condition of many of the surviving specimens, indicate that they were minted and circulated over a long period. This is confirmed by documentary evidence: throughout the 15th and as late as the 17th century, the "Kirmaneuli tʿetʿri" (i.e. white, or silver piece) is mentioned in charters, often with the qualifying adjective "dzveli" or old. It was the usual monetary unit employed in royal charters laying down the blood money of members of the nobility and other deserving subjects. 3 It seems clear however that quantities of "Kirmaneuli" specified refer not to the number of coins to be paid, but to their total weight in silver: King Bagrat II wrote in a charter in 1472: "For whoever knows not the nature of a Kirmanauli tʿetʿri, a Kirmanauli is the weight of a tʿangi." 1 The average Georgian Kirmaneuli weighs around two grammes, or 2½ tʿangi.
A full description of the innumerable variants encountered in this group will be found in the works of Retovsky and Wroth. 2 It seems sufficient for our purposes to divide them into two categories according to their degree of barbarism, which becomes progressively greater as the series diverges little by little from its Trapezuntine prototype. In extreme examples, the Saint's face assumes a bloated aspect, as if suffering from tooth-ache. Mr. Roland Gray has kindly pointed out the existence in the Whittemore Collection at the Fogg Museum at Harvard of a couple of specimens which surpass in crudity any illustrated in the literature.
The examples in the ANS collection fall into the following categories:
Early phase of degradation (late 13th.–14th. centuries?).
Obv. John II, bearded, standing facing, holding in r. labarum with short shaft, in 1. globus cruciger, distorted in one case to resemble a long cross; wears crown, mantle and tunic and sash passing diagonally across tunic and falling over 1. arm, the robes being decorated with pellets in various combinations. In field, upper r., traces of manus Dei crowning the Emperor, often distorted or effaced. Below, 1. or r., Solomon's Seal.
Inscription in varying degrees of distortion:
Ι ϖ Ν
Κ Ο Ο
Rev. St. Eugenius, bearded and nimbate, standing facing; in r., long cross; 1. holds robe.
Inscription in varying degrees of distortion:
Є Ν Ι
53. "Kirmaneuli tʿetʿri."
Later phase of degradation (fourteenth–fifteenth centuries?).
Obv. John II, standing facing, as in preceding type. Labarum and globus cruciger degenerated into almost meaningless shapes. Features and robes of Emperor more crudely and schematically represented. Below, 1. or r., Solomon's Seal. Inscription further garbled.
Rev. St. Eugenius, standing facing, as in preceding type. Features more crudely represented, taking on swollen appearance. Inscription further garbled.
It is difficult to be anything but sceptical about the attempts which have been made to read Georgian inscriptions on certain examples of this Georgian imitation asper series. In particular, efforts have been made to turn the degraded obverse inscription into the letters MPʿGI, for "Mepʿe Giorgi," or "King Giorgi," in Georgian ecclesiastical majuscules. One such example is attributed by Barataev to King Giorgi III (1156–84), an obvious anachronism, by Bartholomaei and Langlois to Giorgi VIII (1446–66) and by Retovsky, conjecturally, to Giorgi the Brilliant (1315–46). 1 Comparison of the illustrations given in support of this reading with specimens in the ANS and other collections make it more than doubtful whether these "Georgian characters" are anything more than distortions of the Greek inscription, without any particular significance.
Although the attribution to the various Georgian kings named Giorgi cannot be substantiated, there is a strong presumption that the coins were indeed associated with the name Giorgi, not indeed of a king, but of Georgia's patron saint of that name, the famous dragon-slayer martyred by Diocletian, and also patron saint of England. In the code of King Wakhtang VI (early eighteenth century), mention is made of a silver piece of ancient times called "Giorgauli." 2 King Bagrat of Imeretʿi in the fifteenth century establishes the wergeld or blood money of one of his subjects as "80,000 Gogauri (corruption for Giorgauli) tʿetʿri." 3 Now on many of the more degraded specimens of these Georgian "Kirmaneuli" imitations, the only part of the name of St. Eugenius remaining consists of the letters гЄ, which might equally well be the beginning of the name of St. George.
It has to be borne in mind that the cult of St. Eugenius was local and peculiar to Trebizond, and quite unfamiliar in Georgia. In Georgian medieval iconography, St. George is omnipresent. He is not always shown on horseback; often he appears full-face holding a lance. If a long cross be substituted for the lance, his effigy is not unlike that of St. Eugenius on the aspers. (Paradoxically, St. Eugenius also had his equestrian phase: when Alexius II of Trebizond and his successors took to being represented on horseback after the familiar Anatolian pattern, St. Eugenius in sympathy also took to horse on the reverse of the coinage). An ikon of the fourteenth century from the church of Sujuna in Mingrelia shows St. George standing facing, with his name inscribed in Greek thus:
As can be seen, the layout of the lettering resembles that of the Trebizond aspers' reverse. 1 Our theory is, therefore, that the image of St. Eugenius was confused in Georgian popular estimation with the familiar St. George. Father V. Laurent has confirmed in personal discussion that such a transfer of identity of saints or rulers to fit in with local conditions and beliefs was also a frequent occurrence when Imperial Byzantine coinage was imitated by barbarian peoples in the west.
The Atabag of Samtskhe, Aghbugha, who ruled at Akhaltsikhe according to some sources in the late fourteenth, to others in the mid-fifteenth century, alludes in his Code of Laws to the fact that "Qazanuri tʿetʿri" (dirhems ofGhāzān Khan) were current there in his grandfather Bekʿ's time, but that they had now been replaced by coins "of the time of the great King Giorgi," i.e., Giorgi the Brilliant. 2 This statement does not specify that King Giorgi's name actually appeared on the coins. It has been shown in the chapter on the Mongol Period that the Il-Khans established a mint at Akhaltsikhe under Ghāzān, but it had apparently passed out of their hands by the time of Abū Saʿīd, Giorgi the Brilliant's contemporary. It may well be asked whether the mint was simply dismantled, or if not, what money was then minted in Akhaltsikhe. The evidence of coin hoards shows that Samtskhe, the domains of Bekʿa and Aghbugha, was one of the regions where "Kirmaneuli" Trebizond imitations most commonly circulated. The answer in all probability is that in the time of Giorgi the Brilliant, Akhaltsikhe was a centre for the fabrication of imitation aspers, and that these are the coins of which Aghbugha was thinking.
With regard to denomination, Kakabadze concludes that the Kirmaneuli and Giorgauli were of identical value. 1 To have been used in establishing wergeld rates in royal charters, the Giorgauli must have been a coin of recognized pattern and wide circulation. This leads one to doubt whether Kapanadze is justified in identifying certain isolated barbarous imitations of later Il-Khanid issues, on which he tentatively reads the name and title of King Giorgi, with the Giorgauli tʿetʿri, especially as his specimens weigh only 1.01 to 1.08 grammes, about half the weight of the Kirmaneuli. 2
To sum up, our view is that Georgian imitations of the asper of John II, usually called Kirmaneuli, were also known as Giorgauli by confusion of St. Eugenius with St. George, and also served as the general currency of western Georgia in the time of King Giorgi the Brilliant.
It is worth adding that the Sukhum Museum in Abkhazia possessed a unique silver piece of Kirmaneuli type discovered in 1927, and bearing the name of Wamiq Dadiani I (1384–96). This interesting piece has been published by Kapanadze, who provides an adequate illustration. 3 Perhaps it has some connection with the "Tskhumuri" (? for "Sukhumuri") silver pieces referred to in some medieval wergeld charters, though it is hard to come to any conclusion on the basis of a single specimen. 4
W. Wroth, Catalogue of the Coins of the Vandals, Ostrogoths and Lombards and of the Empires of Thessalonica, Nicaea and Trebizond in the British Museum, London, 1911, p. lxxviii.
Tʿ. Lomouri, "Pʿuli Shotʿa Rustʿavelis epokʿashi," in Shotʿa Rustʿavelis epokʿis materialuri kultura, ed. I Javakhishvili, Tiflis, 1938, p. 302. A number of instances will be found in the four fascicules of Pakhomov's Monetnye klady.
It is hard to follow Wroth (Vandals, etc., pp. 255–56) in regarding as Georgian imitations a small group of aspers of Manuel I on which the epithet ὁ ΤρατεζοFύʋтιοϛ is added to the name of St. Eugenius. It seems more likely that a certain lack of elegance in this series arises from its early, experimental stage of development.
O. Retowski (Retovsky): "Die Münzen der Komnenen von Trapezunt," in Numizmatichesky Sbornik, I, Moscow, 1911, p. 244.
S. Kakabadze, "Sasiskhlo sigelebis shesakheb," in Saistorio Moambe, II, Tiflis, 1924, pp. 1–107. As late as 1601, King Rostom of Imeretʿi edicted a blood-price of "80,000 dzveli kirmanauli" (p. 38).
S. Kakabadze, in Saistorio Moambe, II, p. 63. A tʿangi or dangi is the sixth part of a miskhal, or .8 gr. When the Georgian monetary system became identified with that of Persia, the dangi was considered equivalent to the weight of a shāhī or shauri. The Kirmaneuli was then valued at two shauris. (See Karst, Précis de numismatique géorgienne, pp. 15, 30; Prince Wakhusht, Sakʿartʿvelos istoria, ed. Bakʿradze, Tiflis, 1885, p. 299.)
Retovsky, Münzen der Komnenen, pp. 220–41, Pls. VIII–X; Wroth, Vandals, etc., pp. 272–73, Pl. XXXVII, Nos. 6–10.
Barataev, Num. fakty, section II, Pl. I; Bartholomaei, Lettres numismatiques, p. 46; Langlois, Essai, p. 104 (cf. also Langlois, Numismatique de la Géorgie au Moyen Age, Paris, 1852, p. 41); Retovsky, Münzen der Komnenen, p. 221.
Karst, Précis de numismatique géorgienne, p. 12.
Kakabadze, in Saistorio Moambe, II, 1924, p. 58.
E. Tʿaqaishvili, "Sudzhunskaya tserkov' i ee drevnosti," in Khristiansky Vostok, V, 1917, pp. 40–50, Pls. XXVII, XXVIII, XXX, XXXII. See also Georgische Kunst: Ausstellung der Deutschen Gesellschaft zum Studium Osteuropas, Berlin, 1930, Abbildung 7: "HI. Georg aus Oni (XIII Jahrhundert)." This shows an analogous example from Ratcha in Imeretʿi.
Karst, Précis de numismatique géorgienne, p. 14; Kakabadze, in Saistorio Moambe, II, 1924, p. 89.
Kakabadze, in Saistorio Moambe, II, 1924, p. 92.
D. Kapanadze, "Zogiertʿi gaurkveveli kʿartʿuli pʿulis datʿarighebisatʿvis," in the Tiflis Museum Moambe, XIB, 1941, pp. 133–44.
See the Tiflis Museum Moambe, XIIB, 1944, p. 208, Pl. facing p. 203, No. 10; Pakhomov, Klady Azerbaydzhana, II, Baku, 1938, No. 483; Vizantiysky Vremennik, III, 1950, p. 209.
E.g., King Giorgi VIII, 1458: "220,000 dzveli Tskhumuri;" 1463: "400,000 dzveli Tskhumuri" (Kakabadze, in Saistorio Moambe, II, 1924, p. 63.)
The ANS collection contains no coins of the Georgian kingdoms dating from this period. The ravages of Tamerlane had reduced the country to a state of ruin and devastation from which it never completely recovered. What rare coins of this epoch have come to light bear witness to the land's deplorable condition by their crude fabric and the debased silver from which they were struck.
Langlois has published coins of Giorgi VII (1393–1407) and Constantine I (1407–12) from the Lori hoard discovered in 1830 1 . Our knowledge of the later fifteenth century monetary series is based principally on the important Gori hoard found in 1935, containing almost ten thousand pieces. The substantial portion acquired by the Tiflis State Museum has been studied and analysed by Kapanadze in an exceedingly able article. 2 Many of the coins are of types previously unknown, and can be ascribed beyond reasonable doubt to Wakhtang IV (1443–46), Giorgi VIII (1446–66), Bagrat VI (1466–78) and Constantine II (1478–1505). 3 There are also a few which appear to belong to the co-regnancy of Bagrat VI and Constantine II, having traces of the names of both rulers.
The characteristic type of Constantine II's coinage, of which several hundred were recovered from the hoard, shows on one side a lamb bearing on its back a cross, and on the other the King's name or monogram in various combinations of Georgian ecclesiastical majuscules:
The Tiflis Museum also possesses a Georgian coin, so far unpublished, attributed by Kapanadze to David X (1505–25). 1
After David X, the Georgian national coinage seems to have lapsed. The triumph of regional particularism after the death of Alexander I (1412–43) had resulted in the splitting up of Georgia into small principalities, constantly engaged in civil strife. In eastern Georgia, the Bagratids of Kʿartʿli and Kakhetʿi rivalled one another from their capitals at Tiflis and Gremi, failing to form a united front against the new Safavi power in Persia. In the west, Imeretʿi had lost Abkhazia, Mingrelia, Guria and Samtskhe, which were ruled by their own petty dynasts. Samtskhe fell to the Turks in 1578, and the rest of western Georgia suffered from their raids and exactions, which included tributes of male and female slaves, until the Russian occupation in the nineteenth century.
According to a recent report from Tiflis, however, a unique coin bearing the name and effigy of King Giorgi II of Imeretʿi (seventeenth century) has come to light in Svanetʿi. T.ʿ Lomouri is preparing to publish this important find. 2
As compensation for the decline of the national coinage, the money of neighbouring Muslim powers became generally current in Georgia, where coins of the Shīrvānshāhs, Black and White Sheep Turcomans and early Safavis and Ottoman Sultans are constantly dug up, as well as occasional Venetian sequins and other gold pieces current in the Levant.
Langlois, Essai, pp. 94–99, Pl. VII, Nos. 11–18. The dubious coins which Langlois ascribed to Giorgi VII and Aḥmad Jalāʿir have been discussed above, in the chapter on the Mongol period.
D. Kapanadze, "XV saukunis kʿartʿuli pʿulis Goris gandzi," in the Tiflis Museum Moambe, 1940, pp. 279–305.
The engravings of coins of other types ascribed by Langlois to some of these kings (Essai, Pl. VIII, Nos. 1–8) do not inspire confidence, though comparison with the actual coins now in the Cabinet des Médailles, Paris, shows that they are reasonably faithful reproductions. It should be noted that some of them bear a superficial resemblance to early crude types of Russian denʾga.
Tiflis Museum Moambe, XB, 1940, p. 288.
Tiflis Museum Moambe, XVIB, 1950, "Muzeumis kʿronika," p. 281.
The long series of attempts by the Shahs of Persia to bring eastern and southern Georgia by force or cajolement under the Iranian sceptre culminated in 1614 in a systematic effort by Shah ʿAbbās I to depopulate and subjugate Kakhetʿi and Kʿartʿli. King Luarsab of Kʿartʿli was lured into captivity and strangled, and over a hundred thousand Georgians deported to distant parts of Persia. The Shah's garrisons were installed in what remained of the principal towns, and a puppet ruler, Bagrat VII, installed in Tiflis. The doughty King Tʿeimuraz I of Kakhetʿi, however, continued for many years to harass the occupying power.
A Persian Imperial mint had begun to operate in Tiflis even before ʿAbbās's invasion. The earliest coins of the Safavi series minted there bear the date A.H. 1013/1604–5 a.d., 1 and fall in the reign of Giorgi X of Kʿartʿli (1600–5), who had been obliged to acknowledge the Shah's suzerainty following the Persian recapture of Erivan from the Turks in 1602. 2
As these Tiflis Safavi issues follow well-known Persian patterns, fully described in standard works on the coinage of the Shahs of Iran, 3 it has not seemed necessary to describe in detail each item in the ANS collection, beyond giving lists of dates and reigns represented.
54. ʿAbbāsī Tiflis A.H. 1014 (?)/1605–6 a.d.
Irregular oval cast planchet.
Three other specimens:
N.D. 19 mm. 7.09 gr. (thick fabric)
N.D. 23 mm. 7.19 gr. (badly struck)
N.D. 24 mm. 7.54 gr. (irregular fabric).
The inferior workmanship of these pieces suggests that some of them at least are provincial imitations, possibly from western Georgia. The seventeenth century missionary Father Archangelo Lamberti notes in his "Relation de la Mengrellie" that Prince Levan Dadiani of Mingrelia (1605–57) struck money "avec des caractères arabes, semblable à celle qui a cours dans la Perse, nommée Abassi; mais ceux du pays estiment davantage les réaux d'Espagne et les monnaies étrangères." (See M. Thévenot, Relations de divers voyages curieux, tom. I, Paris, 1696, p. 43.)
Autonomous coppers, or fulūs, 1 were struck in every city of importance in Persia from the early seventeenth century. Those of Tiflis are among the earliest examples recorded. Markov and Lane-Poole list a type of A.H. 1012/1603–4 a.d., showing a three-masted ship, and others of subsequent dates depicting the sun rayed, an antelope, a rhinoceros and a lion seizing a bull. 2
55. Fulūs Tiflis A.H. 1014/1605–6 a.d.
Obv. Lion, facing left; above, ornaments, degradation of sun. Around, arabesque.
Rev. Area, within lozenge, having ornament on each side, shows lion facing left.
ضرب فلوس تفليس ١٠١٤
Fulūs struck at Tiflīs, A.H. 1014.
Æ 26 mm. 10.20–10.33 gr. Plate X, 3.
This seems an appropriate point at which to include two coppers of obscure type in the ANS collection, although their attribution to Tiflis is open to question.
56. Fulūs Tiflis(?) N.D.
Obv. Lion, left, and sun rayed. Linear border.
Tiflīs (?) Struck
Æ 26 mm. 8.73 gr. Plate X, 4.
57. Fulūs Tiflis(?) N.D.
Obv. Horse, left, within ornamental border.
Tiflīs (?) fulūs struck.
Æ 25 mm. 8.16 gr. Plate X, 5.
L. Krehl, De numis muhammadanis in numophylacio regio Dresdeni asservatis commentatio, Leipzig, 1856, p. 69.
Allen, History of the Georgian People, p. 165.
Plural of Arabic fals, standardized in Persian monetary terminology in singular sense.
Markov, Inventarny Katalog, pp. 766–67; Poole, Shahs of Persia , p. 235.
Under this monarch, Perso-Georgian relations took a turn for the better. Ṣafī owed his throne to the prompt action of the Georgian prince Khusrau-Mīrzā, the Dārūgha of Isfahan. Khusrau was rewarded with the throne of Kʿartʿli and reigned as King Rostom from 1632 until his death in 1658.
58. ʿAbbāsī Tiflis Date effaced.
During the reign of ʿAbbās II, the aged Rostom died and was succeeded by his adopted son, Wakhtang V, of the Bagratids of Mukhran. Wakhtang reigned under the title of Shahnavaz as a vassal of the Shahs until his death in 1676.
The silver coins in the ANS collection struck by ʿAbbās II in Tiflis bear the following dates: A.H. 1060 (?), 1061, 1064, 1065, 1066, 1071, 1072, 1073, 1074, 1075 and 1076.
59. ʿAbbāsī of five shāhī Tiflis A.H. 1069/1658–9 a.d. onwards.
60. ʿAbbāi Tiflis Before A.H. 1066/1655–6 a.d.
61. Maḥmadī 1 or half ʿabbāsī Tiflis A.H. 1061/1650–51 a.d.
Coins of this Shah struck at Tiflis are rarer than those of preceding and subsequent reigns. This may reflect the troubled situation resulting from the Persian policy of encouraging the rival prince Erekle I in his pretensions to the throne of Kʿartʿli, at the expense of King Giorgi XI.
62. As Ṣafī II. ʿAbbāsī. Tiflis. A.H. 1078/1667–8 a.d.
63. As Sulaymān I. ʿAbbāsī Tiflis. A.H. 1094, 109* and 1104 1682–93 a.d.
64. As Sulaymān I. Shāhī Tiflis. Date effaced.
The reign of Sulṭān Ḥusayn, a prince of exceptional incompetence and superstition, ended in the conquest of Iran by the Afghan invader Maḥmūd and the collapse of the Safavi realm.
The silver coinage of this reign falls, so far as the Tiflis mint is concerned, into three chronological groups, which will be treated in tabular form:
Often called Maḥmūdī, but Rabino (Coins of the Shahs, p. 15) insists that the coin's name is an abbreviated form of "Muḥammadī."
About A.H. 1127/1715 a.d., this series is superseded by an entirely distinct set of silver coinage, of oval planchet. A solitary round shāhī of A.H. 1128 in the ANS collection testifies however that the change was not altogether complete.
The last years of Sulṭān Ḥusayn's reign, A.H. 1130–34, saw a reversion to the conventional round planchet type of currency. Furthermore, the weights of each denomination were substantially reduced. 1
This accords with the statement in the Tadhkirat al-mulūk, ed. V. Minorsky, London, 1943, p. 60: "In the year when the former Shah was starting for Qazvīn (A.H. 1129/1717 a.d.), the weight of an ʿabbāsī was fixed at 7 dāngs," equivalent to one and one sixth mithqāls, or 5.38 grams. See also the editor's commentary, pp. 129–32.
During the early part of Shah Sulṭān Ḥusayn's reign, Kʿartʿli was governed by Erekle I of the Bagratids of Kakhetʿi. In 1703, however, the Mukhranian Bagratids were reinstated. King Giorgi XI of Kʿartʿli was appointed Commander-in-Chief of the Persian army, and his nephew Wakhtang became Regent of Georgia. Giorgi and his successor, Kaikhusrau, were killed in the war against the Afghans of Qandahār, and in 1711 Wakhtang became King of Kʿartʿli asWakhtang VI. In the following year, he went to Isfahan to receive his investiture from the Shah, leaving his brother Simon as Regent in Tiflis.
Simon conceived the idea of reviving a Georgian national monetary series in copper, without of course challenging the standard Safavi silver coinage which was struck at the Shah's Tiflis mint. A convenient precedent was provided by the autonomous coppers struck in all important towns of the Persian empire, including Tiflis itself. The only specifically Georgian feature of the Regent Simon's fulūs, which are dated A.H. 1124/1712–13 a.d., consists of the Georgian mkhedruli characters , for "Simon," worked into the obverse design, which represents a dragon. 1
All these coppers are known in general to the Georgians as "shavi pʿuli," or black money, or simply as "pʿuli," as distinct from "tʿetʿri pʿuli" or simply "tʿetʿri," which means white or silver money. The most common denominations received Georgianized names, such as bisti, for bīstī (large copper, worth 20 dinars), shauri, for shāhī, and abazi, for ʿabbāsī, the two most widely used silver pieces.
As he refused to become a Muslim, Wakhtang was detained in Persia for several years. In 1717, the regency of Georgia was granted to his son Bakʿar, who ruled the country for the next two years, until Wakhtang was allowed to return to Tiflis. Bakʿar introduced an attractive peacock motif on his copper coinage, of which the ANS collection has four specimens. Their legends being partly effaced, these have been reconstructed, as in the case of later eighteenth century coppers, from specimens illustrated in the literature.
75. Fulūs Tiflis A.H. 1130/1717–18 a.d.
Tiflis Struck 1130 Fulūs.
Groups of dots in field.
Æ 23 mm. 7.89–8.07 gr. Plate XI, 4.
Barataev, Num. fakty, section IV, Pl. I, No. 1. The ANS collection's specimens being much rubbed, this example is illustrated by one kindly lent by Professor E. Zygman.
76. Fulūs Tiflis A.H. 1130.
Rev. As in preceding example.
Æ 24 mm. 8.10 gr. Plate XI, 5 (Obv. only).
Barataev, Num. fakty, section IV, Pl I, No. 4; Langlois, Essai, p. 115, No. 59; Valentine, pp. 118–19, No. 50.
77. Fulūs. Tiflis A.H. 1131/1718–19 a.d.
Obv. Peacock to right, etc., as in No. 75.
Rev. As in No. 75, but date: ١١٣١, A.H. 1131.
Æ 24 mm. 6.86 gr. Plate XI, 6.
Barataev, Num. fakty, section IV, Pl. I, Nos. 2–3; Langlois, Essai, p. 115, No. 58; Valentine, pp. 118–19, No. 47. These fulūs of about 7–8 gr. are of 2 qāzbegī = 2 Georgian pʿuli. In the writer's possession is a fulūs of this type, value 1 qāzbegī = 1 Georgian pʿuli, diameter 21 mm., weight 3.99 gr. (date effaced).
Of King Wakhtang VI himself, no coins are known, his residence at Tiflis from 1719 to 1723 being taken up with the conflicts and political complications resulting from the decadence and collapse of the Safavi monarchy.
Bartholomaei, Lettres numismatiques, Pl. II, Nos. 11–12; Langlois, Essai, pp. 110–11, Pl. VIII, Nos. 10–11; W. H. Valentine, Modern Copper Coins of the Muhammadan States, pp. 118–19, Nos. 42–44.
I qāzbegī = 5 dinars = 1/10 shāhī = ¼ bīstī.
Valentine, pp. 118–19, Nos. 45–46.
Profiting by the fall of the Safavi empire, the Turkish Sulṭān Aḥmad III (1703–30) occupied Georgia and most of western Iran in 1723. King Wakhtang VI could not reconcile himself to the exigencies of the occupying power, and in 1724 retired to Russia. Nominal rule under the Turkish authorities was exercised for a time by Wakhtang's renegade brother Iese, who became a Sunnī with the title of Muṣṭafā Pāshā. 1
The Turks set up a mint at Tiflis as well as at Erivan, Ganja and Tabriz. As usual in Ottoman coins of this period, those struck at Tiflis under Aḥmad III at various dates from A.H. 1138/1725–6 a.d. until his abdication in 1143/1730 all bear Aḥmad's accession date 1115/1703. Likewise, those minted at Tiflis from 1730 until about 1735 by Aḥmad's nephew and successor Maḥmūd I (1730–54) all bear Maḥmūd's accession date A.H. 1143. The theory that the rosettes on many of these Ottoman coins conceal letters with numerical value, representing regnal years, is not now held tenable. It is more likely that they are the monograms of the mint-masters.
Interesting details on these Ottoman mints in Persia and Georgia are given in Ghālīb's work on the coinage of Turkey, where he quotes Küchük Chelebi-zāde, the continuator of the chronicle of Meḥmed Rāshid. 2 According to this account, early in the year A.H. 1138 (late 1725), the Seraskier in command at Tabriz, ʿAbdullāh Pāshā Köprülü, acting on authority granted by the Imperial Court, opened a mint there and struck some trial gold pieces. These were sent to the central mint at Constantinople for approval, where they were scrutinized by the experts and found satisfactory as to weight and the fineness of the gold employed. Their workmanship, however, was found deficient; the borders were uneven and the requisite ornamental motifs had been omitted. Dies were therefore cut at the Constantinople mint, bearing the mint-names of Tabriz, Erivan and Tiflis, and sent with a pattern piece of each denomination to the Ottoman commanders at these places, together with technical instructions. 1
78. Altūn or sequin funduqlī Tiflis Aḥmad III, accession: A.H. 1115/1703 a.d.
Rev. ضرب في
Struck at Tiflīs 1115.
Above, ornamental monogram or rosette.
19 mm. 3.44 gr. Plate XI, 7.
Rabino, Album, Pl. XXIX, Nos. 747–48; S. Lane-Poole, The Coins of the Turks in the British Museum, London, 1883, No. 480; Ghālīb, op. cit., No. 645. Another kind of gold coin struck at Tiflis under Aḥmad III, with the "Sulṭān of Two Continents" formula, is described by Ghālīb, No. 644. There are two examples of this latter type in the Garrett Collection in Baltimore.
Ghālīb further mentions that the Ottoman silver coins minted in occupied cities of the Persian empire were specially adapted to conform in weight to the Safavi ʿabbāsī series. The onluq was made to correspond to the ʿabbāsī, the beshlik to the half ʿabbāsī or maḥmadī. 2 This is fully borne out by the examples in the ANS collection, as will be seen by the descriptions given below. No doubt these silver coins were at first struck on planchets remaining in stock at these mints at the time of the Turkish occupation, more being made on the same standard as later required. In some instances, Safavi silver pieces were restruck with the new dies. (The ANS collection has an ʿabbāsī thus overstruck by the Turkish authorities at Tabriz).
This explains the fact that the Ottoman onluq-ʿabbāsī minted in Persia and Georgia regularly weigh about 1.1 gram less than their Constantinople prototype, thus equalling the weight of the ʿabbāsī of Shah Sulṭān Ḥusayn's last period, i. e., 7 dāngs, or 5.38 grams. It also accounts for the existence of a half beshlik (2½ pārā) piece from these Turkish-occupied Persian mints, which is really a Persian shāhī. This denomination does not exist in the monetary series struck in Turkey proper.
79. Onluq-ʿabbāsī Tiflis Accession: A.H. 1115.
Obv. سلطان البرين
Sulṭān of the Two Continents, And Khāqān of the Two Seas, Sulṭān, son of The Sulṭān. (Lane-Poole's "Formula B").
Struck at Tiflis 1115.
Lane-Poole, Coins of the Turks, No. 481; Ghālīb, No. 446; Rabino, Album, Pl. XXX, No. 754.
80. Beshlik-maḥmadī. Tiflis. Accession: A.H. 1115.
As preceding example.
81. 2½ pārā or ½ beshlik-shāhī. Tiflis. Accession: A.H. 1115.
As preceding example.
Ghālīb, No. 647.
Sultan Aḥmad III being deposed in 1730, money continued to be struck at Tiflis by his successor Maḥmūd I, until Tiflis was recaptured by the Persians under Nādir in 1735. The ANS collection does not contain examples of Maḥmūd's Tiflis series, of which however the British Museum and other collections have specimens. 1 The weight standard remained unchanged.
Ismāʿīl Ghālīb, Taqvīm-i Meskūkāt-i ʿOthmānīyeh, Constantinople, 1307, pp. 275–76.
Ghālīb, op. cit., p. 282.
Lane-Poole, Coins of the Turks, No. 539; Ghālīb, No. 705; Rabino, Album, Pl. XXX, No. 755.
Allen, History of the Georgian People, p. 187.
The passages in question occur in the Taʾrīkh-i Rāshid, 2nd. ed., VI, Stambul, 1282, pp. 306, 330. On these historians, see F. Babinger, Die Geschichtsschreiber der Osmanen, Leipzig, 1927, pp. 268–70 and 293–94.
The phenomenal recovery of Persia under Ṭahmāsp-Qūlī-Khān, the future Nādir Shah, culminated in the expulsion of the Turks from Western Iran. Tiflis was recaptured in 1735. The first coins struck there by the conqueror were in the name of the infant Safavi puppet, ʿAbbās III. The silver standard of Sulṭān Ḥusayn's last period and of the Osmanli mints in Persia is maintained.
82. ʿAbbāsī Tiflis A.H. 1148/1735–6 a.d.
Standard type with distich:
"Throughout the universe by grace divine a golden money came, Struck by God's shadow, a new emperor, ʿAbbās the Third by name."
Similar to Poole, Shahs of Persia , Nos. 208–12; see Rabino, Coins of the Shahs, p. 45.
83. Maḥmadī Tiflis A.H. 1148.
As preceding example.
In 1736, Persia's leader officially assumed the royal title, under the name of Nādir Shah. An important and varied series of silver money was struck at Tiflis in his name.
84. ʿAbbāsī Tiflis A.H. 1148/1736 a.d.
Obv. First distich:
"By gold in all the earth his kingship shall be famed, Phoenix (Nādir) of Persia's land, world-conqueror, sovereign named." 1
Rev. Accession chronogram, composed by the Abjad system:
بتاريخ الخير فيها وقع
85. ʿAbbāsī Tiflis A.H. 1149/1736–7 a.d.
Obv. First distich. Below:
Rev. Accession chronogram, but arranged differently from preceding example.
86. ʿAbbāsī Tiflis A.H. 1150/1737–8 a.d. (Two varieties)
Rev. مانوس الخير فيهاوقع
Accession chronogram: The date of the enthronement of honoured prosperity: "Whatever happens is best," i.e., accession date, A.H. 1148. 1150 (date of striking).
Rabino, Album, Pl. XIII, No. 322.
The above belong by their standard, if not by their design, to the new currency series introduced by Nādir in the second year of his reign. The weight of the ʿabbāsī was reduced from seven to six dāngs, i.e. one mithqāl, or 4.64 grams. Coins of 300 dīnārs (six shāhī) and 500 dīnārs (nādirī) weighed 1½ and 2½ mithqāls respectively. 1
87. Sīṣad-dīnār (6 shāhī) Tiflis A.H. 1150/1737–8 a.d.
Obv. Within circle:
Nādir The Sulṭān.
Outer linear circle and border of dots.
May God Perpetuate His reign; Tiflīs, Struck 1150.
Poole, Shahs of Persia, No. 226.
88. Sīṣad-dīnār Tiflis A.H. 1151/1738–9 a.d.
As preceding example, but date ١١٥١, A.H. 1151.
Rabino, Album, No. 374.
89. Nādirī (10 shāhī) Tiflis A.H. 1152/1739–40 a.d.
Obv. Second distich:
"Over Sulṭāns of earth is Sulṭān,
Nādir, Shah of Shahs, Ṣaḥibkerān." 2
Rev. Within circle:
1152 Tiflīs Struck.
Poole, Shahs of Persia, No. 250; Rabino, Album, Pl. XIV, No. 349.
90. Sīṣad-dīnār Tiflis A.H. 1152.
Similar to Nos. 87 and 88, but date: ١١٥٢, A.H. 1152.
91. Nādirī Tiflis A.H. 1159/1746–7 a.d.
Similar to No. 89, but date: ١١٥٩, A.H. 1159.
See the explanation of this chronogram in O. Codrington, Manual of Musalman Numismatics, London, 1904, p. 115.
In this example, the mint-master had neglected to make a new die for the obverse, with the result that mutually contradictory dates appear on the two sides.
See the table in Rabino, Coins of the Shahs, p. 52.
Translation from Poole, Shahs of Persia, p. lxxxv.
Translation from Poole, Shahs of Persia , p. lxxxv.
In recognition of their services to the Persian cause, Nādir bestowed in 1744 the throne of Kʿartʿli on Tʿeimuraz of the Bagratids of Kakhetʿi, and Kakhetʿi on Tʿeimuraz's son Erekle.
Three years later, in 1747, the Shah was assassinated, and Persia relapsed into a state of anarchy.
Soon after his accession, Tʿeimuraz began to strike copper in his name alone, and also, a little later, jointly with that of his son Erekle. 1
92. Fulūs (pʿuli) Tiflis [c. A.H. 1160/1747 a.d.]
Struck Fulūs Tiflīs.
Æ 20 mm. 4.27 gr. Plate XII, 7.
Barataev, Num. fakty, section IV, Pl. I; Langlois, Essai, p. 118, No. 61, Pl. VIII, No. 14; Valentine, pp. 118–19, No. 51.
Although Georgia became virtually independent on the death of Nādir Shah, considerations of economic and political expediency deterred Tʿeimuraz from immediately striking silver in his own name. The Chronicle of Papuna Orbeliani relates that Nādir's nephew, Shah Sulṭān Ibrāhīm (1748–49), who was anxious to cement an alliance with the Georgians, sent a mint-master to Tiflis, where gold and silver pieces were struck in Ibrāhīm's name. 1 Ibrāhīm was soon afterwards overthrown and killed by Nādir's grandson, Shāhrukh.
93. ʿAbbāsī Tiflis A.H. 1162/1748–9 a.d.
Obv. First distich:
"By grace divine he struck a coinage of imperial worth,
Shah Ibrāhīm, his gold sun-like illumining the earth." 2
Rev. Within linear circle:
1162 Tiflīs Struck.
94. ʿAbbāsī Tiflis A.H. 1162.
Obv. Second distich:
"The sun on gold and silver minting set in shame,
Rev. As preceding example, but in one instance, outer border of dots is enclosed in double linear circle.
95. Shāhī Tiflis A.H. 1162.
Rev. Mint-date formula, as preceding examples.
Poole, Shahs of Persia, No. 287; Rabino, Album, Pl. XVI, No. 405.
With judicious impartiality, mingled with political foresight, the Tiflis mint had also begun striking silver in the name of Ibrāhīm's rival, Shāhrukh. The earliest examples were struck in the year of Nādir's death, A.H. 1160/1747 a.d., and thus antedate the coins of Ibrāhīm. The series continued until about A.H. 1170/1756–7 a.d., by which time Shāhrukh's authority no longer extended outside Khorāsān.
96. Shāhī Tiflis A.H. 1160/1747 a.d. (Two varieties)
Obv. Shīʿa pious formula, surrounded in one case by the names of the Twelve Imams, in the other, occupying the whole obverse.
"Throughout the world he struck his coin by grace divine,
Shāh Rukh the watchful hound of ʿAlī Riẓā's shrine." 1
Poole, Shahs of Persia, Nos. 306–7.
97. ʿAbbāsī Tiflis A.H. 1162–1170/1748–57 a.d. (Five examples)
Obv. Shī ʿa pious formula, surrounded in four examples (A.H. 1162, 1163, 1164, 1170) by the names of the Twelve Imams.
Rev. Distich of Shāhrukh. Beneath, mint-date formulae: A.H. 1162, 1163, 1164, 1169, 1170.
Poole, Shahs of Persia, No. 315; Rabino, Album, Pl. XVI, Nos. 419–20.
By 1752, Tʿeimuraz and Erekle had vindicated Georgia's newfound independence in several hard-won battles against competing Persian pretenders. The Georgian princes now judged the time ripe for an issue of silver coinage of independent type for local circulation, and especially for paying the mercenaries in their army. A design was evolved which would be acceptable to Muslim and Christian alike, bearing an unexceptionable Qurʾānic formula, but without mention of either Muḥammad's name or those of the Georgian princes.
The standard of these anonymous Tiflis abazi (ʿ abbāsī) was now reduced from six dāngs to four (i.e. from one mithqāl to 2/3). An official document of 1787 refers to the "abazi of 4 dangi from the new mint." 1 Four dangi or dāngs is equivalent to 3.09 grams. This standard was adhered to until the end of the Bagratid monarchy.
98. Abazi (ʿabbāsī) Tiflis A.H. 1166/1752–3 a.d.
Obv. الحمد لله
Praise to God Lord of The Universe (Qurʾān, I, i).
Ornamental foliage motifs and clusters of dots.
Rev. Within looped ornamental border:
1166 Tiflīs Struck.
Double linear border, with circle of large dots between the two linear circles.
Langlois, Essai, p. 117, Pl. VIII, No. 15.
The latter series, showing a falcon attacking a heron and dated A.H. 1165–69/1751–56 a.d., is not represented in the ANS collection. See Barataev, Num. fakty, section IV, Pl. I; Langlois, Essai, pp. 118–19, Pl. VIII, No. 17; Valentine, pp. 118–19, No. 52.
M.-F. Brosset, Histoire de la Géorgie , II, 2, p. 139; Karst, Précis de numismatique géorgienne, p. 20; Rabino, Coins of the Shahs, p. 54.
Translation from Poole, Shahs of Persia, p. lxxxv.
Rabino, Coins of the Shahs, p. 54. Translated by Dr. G. C. Miles, versified by D.M.L.
Poole, Shahs of Persia, p. lxxxvi.
The venerable King Tʿeimuraz went in 1760 on a fruitless mission to St. Petersburg to seek military and economic aid from the Empress Elizabeth Petrovna. He died in Russia on his return journey, and was
succeeded by his son Erekle. Until then, Tʿeimuraz had reigned in Kʿartʿli and Erekle at Tʿelavi in Kakhetʿi, though the two kings usually worked in close collaboration. Erekle now ruled at Tiflis over the two east Georgian kingdoms reunited.
From a military standpoint, Erekle's reign was a glorious one, though Georgia had much to suffer from the depredations of the Lezghis of Daghestan and their Turkish allies. The economic situation became increasingly critical. In 1783, Erekle signed a treaty of alliance and protectorate with Russia. This brought him little advantage, but provoked the invasion of Āghā Muḥammad Khān Qājār, who sacked Tiflis in 1795. Erekle died at Tʿelavi in 1798.
With the help of Greek artisans from Anatolia, gold, silver and copper mines were operated at Akhtala in the south of Kʿartʿli. The ravages of ʿOmar Khan of the Avars in 1785, however, resulted in the slaughter of many of the skilled workers and the destruction of most of the mining and refining equipment.
The silver minted at Tiflis under Erekle forms an extensive but uniform series. The Tiflis mint was farmed out to an Armenian contractor. In general, the silver coinage was modelled on the type evolved by Tʿeimuraz II in 1752, and described above (No. 98). In the design of the abazi (the Georgian orthography of ʿabbāsī), the only important innovation is the addition of the formula ياكريم [God the] All-Bountiful, which appears in a small cartouche at the head of the reverse.
Use of this formula constitutes a complimentary play on the name of Kerīm Khān Zand, regent of Persia (1759–79), on whose coins it commonly appears. This does not imply any political dependence of Erekle on Kerīm Khān, but is rather a polite gesture of conciliation, calculated no doubt to make the Georgian currency acceptable throughout Persia. The formula became stereotyped, and still appears on Georgian abazi twenty years after Kerīm's death.
The date formula on these Georgian abazi either appears at the top of the reverse inscription, as on the abazi of Tʿeimuraz II, or else is worked more or less haphazardly into the centre or lower area. 1
The half-abazi, often known in Georgia by the Perso-Turkish name of "uzaltʿuni," for yūz-āltūn, a hundred dīnārs, bears on the obverse the formula ياكريم interlaced, occupying the whole area, within an ornamented border. The reverse has the mint-date formula, within a linear circle. 1
99. Anonymous silver of Erekle II Tiflis.
|A.H. 1183/1769–70 a.d.||Abazi||20 mm.||3.07 gr. Plate XIII, 3.|
|Half-abazi||17 mm.||1.36 gr. (holed)|
|1190||Abazi||22 mm.||2.83 gr.|
|1193||Abazi||22 mm.||3.04 gr.|
|Half-abazi||15 mm.||1.39 gr. (holed)|
|1194||Abazi||20 mm.||2.91 gr.|
|1195||Abazi||18 mm.||2.84–2.96 gr.|
|1196||Abazi||20 mm.||2.80 gr. (holed)|
|1197||Abazi||20 mm.||2.81 gr.|
|1198||Abazi||19 mm.||2.85 gr. (holed)|
|1201||Abazi||19 mm.||2.93–2.96 gr.|
|1202||Abazi||20 mm.||2.82 gr.|
|1203||Abazi||19 mm.||2.95 gr.|
|1204||Abazi||21 mm.||2.91 gr.|
|1205||Abazi||21–22 mm.||2.94–3.01 gr. Plate XIII, 4.|
|1206||Abazi||22 mm.||2.94 gr.|
|Half-abazi||15 mm.||1.19 gr. (holed) Plate XIII, 5.|
|1207||Abazi||19 mm.||2.26–2.82 gr.|
|1209||Abazi||19–20 mm.||2.86–3.01 gr.|
|1210||Abazi||18 mm.||2.67 gr.|
|A.H. 1211/1796–7 a.d.||Abazi||19–20 mm.||2.85–2.93 gr. Plate XIII, 6.|
|Half-abazi||16 mm.||1.46 gr.|
The State Coin Cabinet in Munich has specimens bearing the following additional dates: A.H. 1180, 1182, 1184, 1192, 1199, 1208 and 1212. Langlois lists several other years. This proves that the uniform Tiflis silver series originated in or about the year 1180/1766–67, and was minted continuously thereafter.
In his copper coinage, which was intended mainly for local circulation within Georgia, Erekle allowed himself far more liberty. Its iconography gives interesting evidence of Georgia's increasingly stressed Russian orientation.
According to Erekle's grandson, Tʿeimuraz Batonishvili, copper or "shavi pʿuli" ("black money," cf. Persian "pūl-i-siyāh") was struck by Erekle in four denominations:
Bisti (bīstī), worth 4 pʿuli or 4 qāzbegī or 20 dīnārs
The ANS collection has specimens of each denomination except the last, which seems to be very uncommon.
100. Double pʿuli Tiflis A.H. 1179/1765–6 a.d.
Obv. Regal insignia: Above, royal crown. Beneath, scales of justice. Between scales, globus cruciger. Two swords disposed to left and right of crown.
Rev. Above, within ornamental frame, in Georgian ecclesiastical majuscules: , surmounted by sign of abbreviation, "Erekle." Beneath frame, to left and right, two stars. In centre, horizontal bar, below which:
Tifliās 1179 Struck
Æ 23–26 mm. 8.0–8.51 gr. Plate XIII, 7–9.
Barataev, Num. fakty, section IV, Pl. II, Nos. 1–2; Langlois, Essai, p. 123, No. 69; Valentine, pp. 120–21, No. 57. None of the specimens illustrated in the literature shows the final digit "9" of the date, which appears in isolation to the right of the mint-name "Tiflīs," and is clearly discernible on two of the specimens in the ANS collection.
101. Pʿuli Tiflis A.H. 117* (? 1179).
Design as previous example. No counterstamp.
Æ 21 mm. 4.76 gr. Plate XIII, 10.
102. Double pʿuli Tiflis A.H. 119* (? 1190)/1776–7 a.d.?
Obv. Fish between two leaf designs. Double linear border, with circle of dots between the two linear circles.
Tiflīs Struck 119*
Border as obverse.
Æ 25 mm. 11.18 gr. Plate XIV, 1.
Barataev, Num. fakty, section IV, Pl. II, Nos. 3–4; Langlois, Essai, pp. 122-23, No. 68. The last digit on our specimen is effaced. Langlois states that examples of this type are known of most dates between A.H. 1179 and 1206/1765–1792 a.d., but the present writer has seen only the dates A.H. 1190 (specimen in the Chase National Bank Museum of Moneys of the World) and 119*.
103. Pʿuli Tiflis A.H. 11**
As previous example. Oval planchet.
Æ 24 mm. 5.90–5.94 gr. Plate XIV, 2.
104. Bisti Tiflis A.H. 1201 a.d. 1787 Dated by both systems
Obv. Double-headed eagle, holding to left, sceptre, to right, globus cruciger. Below, in European numerals, date: 1787 (effaced on one specimen).
Rev. Erekle's name in Georgian ecclesiastical majuscules, with mint-date formula in Arabic characters below: Tiflīs, 1201/1786–7 a.d.
Æ 27 mm. 16.62 gr.
Barataev, Num. fakty, section IV, Pl. II, No. 6; Langlois, Essai, p. 124, No. 70.
The Russian eagle on this and the following examples reflects Erekle's acceptance of Imperial suzerainty by the Treaty of 1783.
105. Double pʿuli Tiflis A.H. 1201 a.d. 1781 sic.
As previous example, but date on obverse 1781.
Æ 24–25 mm. 8.71–8.85 gr. Plate XIV, 3.
Barataev, Num. fakty, section IV, Pl. II, No. 5.
As Langlois justly observes, the Hijra and Christian dates on the two sides of this series frequently fail to correspond, as a result, no doubt, of the die-engravers' faulty knowledge of comparative chronology.
106.Bisti Tiflis A.H. 1210 a.d. 1796
Obv. Single-headed eagle, holding to right sceptre and to left, globus cruciger.
Below, in European numerals, date: 1796.
Rev. Erekle's name in Georgian ecclesiastical majuscules, with mint-date formula below: Tiflīs, 1210/1795–6 a.d.
Æ 27–29 mm. 19.49–22.32 gr. Plate XIV, 4.
Barataev, Num. fakty, section IV, Pl. II, Nos. 7–8; Langlois, Essai, pp.125-26, No. 72.
On one example, Erekle's monogram as counterstamp in square incuse.
A few specimens of the single-headed eagle type, but with reverse copied from the silver abazi of Erekle's reign, were struck in gold. 1 These were not in general circulation, but were for presentation to the Russian court.
S. Kakabadze, in Saistorio Moambe, II, 1924, p. 279.
Langlois, Essai, pp. 121–22, Nos. 64–66. (Langlois' No. 63 is a rare double-abazi of similar type.); Poole, Shahs of Persia, Nos. 366, 373, 376, 391–93; Rabino, Album, Pl. XVIII, No. 464, Pl. XIX, Nos. 495–96.
Langlois, Essai, p. 122, No. 67; Poole, Shahs of Persia, Nos. 367, 381; Rabino, Album, Pl. XIX, Nos. 476, 498.
Karst, Précis de numismatique géorgienne, p. 28.
Langlois, Essai, p. 125; Karst, Précis de numismatique géorgienne, p. 57.
When he came to the throne, Giorgi was already a sick man. The threat of Persian and Lezghian invasion, coupled with hostile intrigues by rival members of the royal family, compelled him to place the kingdom of Kʿartʿlo-Kakhetʿi under direct Russian rule. The proviso was made that the Bagratid dynasty was to be maintained as hereditary Viceroys under the Tsar. After Giorgi's death in December, 1800, his eldest son David governed as nominal Regent for a few months. By the manifesto of September 12th., 1801, the Emperor Alexander I finally abolished the east Georgian monarchy and removed the Bagratids from power.
The annexation of the western Georgian kingdom of Imeretʿi followed in 1810.
Giorgi XII's silver coinage is simply a continuation of the standard anonymous series minted at Tiflis over the previous half century. The standard of the abazi was maintained at four dangs as before.
107. Abazi Tiflis A.H. 1213/1798–9 a.d.
Obv. Qurʾān, I. i. (As No. 98)
Rev. Mint-date formula: Tiflīs, 1213.
Above, in cartouche, Arabic pious exclamation: "O [God the] All-Bountiful."
Langlois, Essai, p. 126, No. 73; Rabino, Album, Pl. XIX, No. 497.
108. Half-abazi (? shauri) Tiflis A.H. 1213.
Obv. Interlaced Arabic formula: "O [God the] All-Bountiful".
Rev. Mint-date formula: Tiflīs, 1213.
Langlois, Essai, p. 126, No. 74. The ANS specimen is of base silver and crude workmanship, and, if intended for a half-abazi, much under weight. It may well be a counterfeit.
109. Double pʿili Tiflis A.H. 1213.
Obv. Fish between two leaf designs.
Below, mint-date formula: Tiflīs, 1213.
Æ 21–22 mm. 9.04–9.84 gr. Plate XIV, 7.
Barataev, Num. fakty, section IV, Pl. II, Nos. 11–12; Langlois, Essai, pp. 124–27, No. 75.
110. Pʿuli Tiflis A.H. 1213.
Design as preceding example.
Æ 20 mm. 4.43 gr.
Giorgi's son, Prince David, had time to issue only one type of copper coin before the kingdom was absorbed by Russia. Its design revives the peacock motif of Bakʿar's reign. 1 Since, however, the existence of this type is attested by only one specimen, from the Barataev collection, its attribution is subject to caution, especially as the mint-name "Tiflis" is not clearly legible.
See Langlois, Essai, pp. 127-28, Pl. IX, No. 10.
Following the occupation of Georgia, the Russian authorities were soon inconvenienced by the scarcity of money in circulation. It was not found feasible immediately to replace the Georgian monetary system and that of the neighbouring Transcaucasian Khanates by that of Russia. Moreover, the Emperor Alexander felt that the introduction of a distinctive coinage for Georgia would be a concession to the people's national susceptibility and help to reconcile them to their loss of sovereignty. Preparations were made for the reorganization of the old Tiflis mint under Russian control.
Designs for the new coinage were approved by the Emperor in October, 1802. The general direction of the Tiflis mint was entrusted to Count Apollo Musin-Pushkin, the head of the mining department of the Georgian administration. 1 The mint was officially opened on September 15th, 1804, under the auspices of the Commander-in-Chief, Prince Tsitsianov. A commemorative medal struck for the occasion shows the Russian eagle soaring towards Iberia and Colchis, bearing in its claws the Golden Fleece, with the legend: "Pokhishchennoe Vozvrashchaet," i. e., "It restores what was stolen." 2
Details about the staffing of the mint, its budget and technical problems involved in its operation are contained in the important collection of official documents published by the Grand-Duke Georgy Mikhailovich.
The silver standard was fixed at 88/96, or 916⅔ fine. The weights of the various denominations were established as follows:
|Double abazi:||1 zolotnik, 46 doli.||6.3 gr.|
|Abazi:||71 doli.||3.15 gr.|
|Bisti:||3 zolotniks, 62 doli.||15.55 gr|
|Double pʿuli:||1 zolotnik, 79 doli.||7.77 gr.|
|Pʿuli:||87½ doli.||3.88 gr.|
(The Russian pound = 96 zolotniks = 9216 doli 1 zolotnik = 96 doli = 4.266 gr.)
Although somewhat lighter in weight, the abazi was officially equated with the Russian 20 copeck silver piece, and the other denominations in proportion.
The copper series was struck until 1810 only.
Each denomination bears at the head of the reverse a letter of the Georgian mkhedruli alphabet, having a corresponding numerical value computed in terms of the Persian dīnār:
|Double abazi:||letter||, U = 400|
|Abazi:||, S = 200|
|Half-abazi:||, R = 100|
|Bisti:||letter||K = 20|
|Double pʿuli:||, I = 10|
|Pʿuli:||, E = 5|
The following table illustrates the two-fold integration of the new Russo-Georgian currency into the Russian and Persian monetary scales:
|GEORGIAN||PERSIAN||VALUE IN DĪNĀRS||RUSSIAN|
|Tʿumani||Tūmān||10,000||10 roubles (Imperial).|
|Manetʿi or Minaltʿuni (5 abazi)||Mīn-āltūn or Hazār dīnār||1,000||1 rouble|
|Marchili||Shishṣad dīnār||600||60 copecks|
|Double abazi||Dū ʿabbāsī||400||40 copecks|
|Abazi or tʿeltʿi||ʿAbbāsī||200||20 copecks|
|Half-abazi, Uzaltʿuni or Tʿangiri||Maḥmadī or Yūz-āltūn||100||10 copecks|
|Double pʿuli||Fulūs of 2 qāzbegī||10||1 copeck|
|Pʿuli||Qāzbegī||5||½copeck or denga. 1|
The fact that the numerical values of the Georgian characters inscribed on the various denominations of the Russo-Georgian series corresponded to their value on the Persian dīnār scale was pointed out a century ago by M.-F. Brosset. 2 This inescapable truth has since been obscured by patriotic Georgian historians, unwilling it would seem to accept this evidence of Georgia's dependence on the Persian monetary system. A. A. Tsagareli, for example, thought that the numerical values expressed by the letters on the Russo-Georgian coins were in Georgian pʿuli. 3 This is obviously wrong when it is remembered that the single pʿuli, worth five Persian dīnārs, bears the letter "E", value 5, and not the equivalent of the figure 1, which would be the letter "A".
More recently, Professor I. Javakhishvili lent his authority to an equally untenable theory, which gained currency by being summarized in Dr. Joseph Karst's excellent summary of Georgian numis- matic history. 1 According to Javakhishvili, the basis of the Georgian monetary system was not the dīnār, but half a drachm weight of copper. This theory is based on a remark of Dr. J. Güldenstädt of the Russian Academy of Sciences, who visited Georgia in 1771 and observed that the Georgian copper pʿuli weighed 2½ drachms. As the pʿuli in the Russo-Georgian series bore the letter "E" for 5, Javakhishvili assumed that the basic unit was a fifth of this coin's weight in copper (i.e. drachm or 1.86 gr.)
The objections to this system may be summarized as follows:
Professor Javakhishvili's system was challenged by S. Kakabadze in the Tiflis Bulletin Historique. 2 It is based on a series of misconceptions, and must be set aside in favour of the interpretation proposed by Brosset, based on the Persian dīnār scale to which the Georgian currency had been linked during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. 3
Count Musin-Pushkin intended at one point that the unit of the copper series should indeed be the Georgian pʿuli itself, and gave instructions that the bisti should be numbered 4, the double pʿuli 2, and the single pʿuli i. 4 This system was not put into operation.
There exists a rare trial proof of the 1804 abazi struck at the Imperial St. Petersburg mint with the letter , "K", numerical value 20, instead of "S" for 200. 5 This represents an abortive attempt to express the coin's value in copecks, and was not proceeded with.
The Russian letters which appear at the foot of the obverse of the silver issue only are the initials of the mint-masters at Tiflis, viz:
П. З. — Peter Zaytsev (1804–1806)
A. К. — Aleksey Karpinsky (1806–1824)
A. T. — Alexander Trifonov (1810–1831)
B. К. — Vasily Kleymenov (1831–1833) 1
The Grand-Duke Georgy Mikhailovich published statistics showing the quantities of each denomination struck each year. These particulars are summarized in the Courrier Numismatique for March, 1932, No. 27.
The silver pieces have oblique braided (slant-milled) edges. The copper are milled in both directions, forming a lattice pattern. 2
The dates are indicated as follows:
The examples of the series in the ANS collection are as follows:
111. Double abazi Tiflis
Above, mural crown. Below, palm and olive branch, crossed en sautoir.
U = 400 Kʿartʿuli (Georgian) tʿetʿri (white, i.e. silver)
Date: 1804, 1809, 1821, 1827, 1830, 1831, 1833.
Initials of Russian mint-master.
A complete set of illustrations is given in the Grand-Duke Georgy Mikhailovich's definitive work. See also Langlois, Essai, pp. 129–33; Karst, Précis de numismatique géorgienne, pp. 58–60, PI. X.
112. Abazi Tiflis
113. Half abazi Tiflis
Date: 1823, 1828.
114. Bisti Tiflis
Æ 31 mm. 15.80–16.52 gr. Plate XV, 5.
115. Double pʿuli Tiflis
Date: 1805, 1808.
Æ 25–26 mm. 7.24–7.92 gr. Plate XV, 6.
116. Pʿuli Tiflis
Æ 20 mm. 3.99 gr. Plate XV, 7.
The running expenses of the Tiflis mint as well as technical considerations of a fiscal character soon caused the Russian Finance Ministry to press for its closure. In 1824, however, the Emperor Alexander signified his desire that it should be maintained in operation. Under Nicholas I, the Council of State finally decided in 1832 to recommend its suppression as soon as its current stocks of silver were exhausted. Double abazi were struck until February, 1834, though still bearing the date 1833, and the mint's operations then came to an end. 1
Official reports show that these Russo-Georgian coins continued to circulate for many years after the closure of the Tiflis mint, as well as the old abazi of Erekle's time and various Persian and Turkish coins in traditional use. A Georgian acquaintance from Ratcha in Western Georgia states, for example, that the pārā was common there in his youth. Until the 1917 Revolution, however, the official currency was that of the Russian Empire.
GEORGIA AND NEIGHBOURING POWERS IN DURING POWERS IN THE XVIIth CENTURY
[From a contemporary map by H. Laillot in the Collection of H.S.H Prince archil Gourielli]
LIST OF GEORGIAN MINT TOWNS
|Town||Period of mint's operation|
|AKHALTSIKHE||Mongol and Trapezuntine periods|
|DIOSCURIAS (SUKHUM)||Classical; 14th century|
|KʿUTʿAIS||Intermittently, 11th century onwards|
|PHASIS||Classical (? mint for coins of Colchis?)|
|TIFLIS||6th century to Tsarist period|
Grand-Duke Georgy Mikhailovich, Russkie monety chekanennye dlya Prussii (1759–1762), Gvuzii (1804–1833), Pol'shi (1815–1841), i Finlyandii (1864–1890), St. Petersburg, 1893, section II, pp. 6–7.
Karst, Précis de numismatique géorgienne, p. 58, Pl. IX.
Much of this information is taken from Rabino, Coins of the Shahs, pp. 12-18 and Table II. It should be noted that this dīnār scale continued in operation in Persia until 1932, when it was edicted that the dīnār was to be the one thousandth part of the tūmān.
Introduction à l'Histoire de la Géorgie, pp. CLXXXVI–CLXXXVIII.
Grand-Duke Georgy Mikhailovich, Russkie monety … dlya Gruzii, p. III.
I. Javakhishvili, "Kʿartʿuli sapʿas-sazomebis mtsodneoba anu numizmatika," in the journal Chveni metsniereba, Tiflis, 1924; Karst, Précis de numismatique géorgienne, pp. 21–23. It may be observed in parentheses that Professor Javakhishvili's contributions in the numismatic field, which lay outside his main interests, were not wholly happy. It is to be regretted that he failed to see the value of Pakhomov's Monety Gruzii, to which he devoted some ten pages of largely unjustified adverse criticism in the journal Khristiansky Vostok for 1912.
See Rabino, Coins of the Shahs, p. 42, and Table IV: Value Iranian coins would thus have in Foreign currencies.
Saistorio Moambe, II, 1924, pp. 282–88.
That the Georgian local accounting system was based well into the 19th century on this scale is clearly shown by the table of monetary equivalents of letters of the Georgian alphabet given by the Georgian lexicographer D. Chubinov (Chubinashvili) in his Dictionnaire Géorgien-Russe-Français, St. Petersburg, 1840, p. III.
Grand-Duke Georgy Mikhailovich, p. 8.
Grand-Duke Georgy Mikhailovich, No. 2.
Grand-Duke Georgy Mikhailovich, pp. 45–48; F. Kraumann, "Gruzinské mince za carského Ruska," in Numismatické Listy, III, No. 3, Prague, 1948, p. 44; Courrier numismatique, VI, No. 27, 1932, pp. 12–13.
Cf. D. Elliott Smith, "Coin Edges," in The Numismatist, December, 1943 pp. 998–1002.
Grand-Duke Georgy Mikhailovich, pp. IV–V; further documents on the Tiflis mint and related questions of Russian financial policy in Georgia are to be found in the same author's Monety Tsarstvovaniya Imperatora Nikolaya I, St. Petersburg, 1890, Nos. 91, 94, 104, 122, 131, 169, 271, 294, 301.
Names of Georgian mint towns are printed in italics.
GIORGI III (1); QUEEN T'AMAR (2-8); JALAL AL-DIN (9)
JALAL AL-DIN (1-2); QUEEN RUSUDAN (3-6); FIRST MONGOL SERIES (7-8)
FIRST MONGOL SERIES (1); DAVID NARIN (2); MANGU KHAN (3-7); HULAGU KHAN (8-11)
IL-KHANS: ABAGHA (1-8); AHMAD (9); ARGHUN (10-12)
IL-KHANS: ARGHUN (1-2); GAIKHATU (3-4); GHAZAN (5-11); ULJAITU (12)
IL-KHANS: ULJAITU (1-4); ABU SA'ID (5-9)
IL-KHANS: ABU SA'ID (1-7); ARPA (8); MUHAMMAD (9); SULAYMAN (10); ANUSHIRVAN (11)
IL-KHAN: ANUSHIRVAN (1-7); IMITATIONS OF TREBIZOND ASPERS (8-13)
IMITATION OF TREBIZOND ASPERS (1); AUTONOMOUS COPPERS (3-5); SAFAVI SHAHS (6-8)
SHAH SULTAN HUSAYN (1-3); KING BAK'AR (4-6); SULTAN AHMAD III (7-8); SHAH 'ABBAS III (9)
NADIR SHAH (1-6); T'EIMURAZ II (7); SHAH IBRAHIM (8-10)
SHAHRUKH (1); T'EIMURAZ II (2) EREKLE II (3-10)
EREKLE II (1-4); GIORGI XII (5-7)