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Cross Cultural Coins


robinjojo
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There are Greek coins in the Greek style.  There are Roman coins in the Roman style. There are Byzantine coins in the Byzantine style,  There are Islamic coins in the Islamic style.  And then there are coins that really defy an easy classification in terms of style and cultural influences.  This is one such coin, I believe, and I am sure there are many other interesting examples.

It is not surprising that a good portion of what influences the design of a coin can be attributed to the origins of the coin.  Athens has Athena and her owl. The coins of Alexander III and his successors have the deified Alexander in lion headdress and a seated Zeus.  Rome in republican and imperial times have gods and goddesses, mostly borrowed from the Greeks along with the busts of the emperors and empresses. The Byzantine Empire has an emperor and Christian iconography,  Islamic coinage has Arabic calligraphy alluding to the ruler and Allah.  This is pretty much a common thread throughout ancient times and into modern times.

One of the things that I like about the coinage created by the Artuqids of Mardin is that their coins do not conveniently fit into one mold or another, but instead seems to have a footing in western mythology, western style of design, while at the same time being clearly Islamic in origin.

This is a coin that has been on the MA Shops website for many months.  I decided to make an offer to purchase it recently, and the offer was accepted.  For this often crude type, it really has very good detail and style, while being somewhat rough in the surfaces department.

On the obverse, we have a male three-quarters portrait facing slightly left, a definite western design, totally the Islamic coinage of its time.  There is a tiara with what appear to be wings at either side.  Could this be alluding to Mercury?  Spengler and Sayles suggest this.  The style of dress could be Byzantine, or Sassanian.

On reverse we have a female facing portrait, with a three pointed crown, a necklace, and, not mentioned in Spengler and Sayles, what appears to be, at the right bottom, a semi-round object held in the hand of the facing figure, the significance or meaning of which I am not sure.  Spengler and Sayles think this figure could be Virgo, whose astrological relationship with Mercury, as the constellation associated with the planet makes the most sense to Spengler and Sayles. Again, the style of dress of the reverse figure suggests to me a Byzantine influence.

Along with these motifs there is a very long winded Arabic reverse legend of the genealogy of Najm al-Din Alpi around the central figure.

 

Artuqids of Mardin, AE Dirham, Najm al-Din Alpi, AH 558 (1162/63).

SS 29.1

11.33 grams 

1236066345_D-CameraArtuqidsMardinAEDirhamNajmal-DinAlpiAH558TiaraS29_111.33gramsMAShops11-2211-20-22.jpg.ac3437f9eddfafee39590b82a9b877de.jpg

 

What other "cross cultural" are out there?

Edited by robinjojo
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Indo-Roman (Sri Lankan imitation of Roman coins).

Back in the days, merchant ships from Rome would sail using the monsoon winds to South India and stay in the local Tamil kingdoms of the Pandyas, Cheras, and Cholas for months do trade goods, Romans would bring glassware, wine, gold and silver, and buy pepper, pearls, ivory, and it's even possible that they got the tigers from the tropical forests to take back to Rome!There was even a Temple for Augustus built in the Chera port city of Muziris, as described on the 4th century map of Tabula Peutingeriana. So not only the Roman culture was familiar with the natives, but also their coinage, while there are extensive records of 1st century coinage, there isn't much of trade from the 2nd and 3rd century, but there is a resurgence from Constantine era, as even Julian the Apostate recieved ambassadors from the Pandya king around 361 AD.These particular coins came from an unnamed hoard from Sri Lanka, they are dated around 5th century AD when Sri Lanka was ruled by the Pandu kings of the Pandya lineage, and must have been in circulation until the 7th century. These are crude and weighs between 0.8-1.5 grams, while the official coins weigh between 2-3 grams.

s.jpg.12d53ab44c2e2a090d4f030771f0c308.jpg

First coin is based on the FEL TEMP REPARATIO aka fallen horseman type, weighing 0.89 grams, the reverse is mirrored, my guess is the engraver just copied the official coin in the die and when struck, the coin came out like this. I find the style on this coin simple yet elegant.

Second is a coin based on the Gloria Exercitus type, what I like about this coin is that the engraver's attempt to copy the Latin words! It weighs 1.55 g.

Third one is curious, the reverse was probably copied from a cross, however we see a Swastika, an auspicious symbol for the Hindu/Buddhist religions. Here we see the locals taking in the Roman culture, however they knew to separate the religion! It weighs 0.82 g.

Also the colonial coins of India, incorporating the European symbolisms and local languages (in this case Tamil).

d.jpg.f41e2ac0c328590de388babbe9df49a7.jpg

From left to right:

1.British East India Company half Anna.

2.(top) French Indian Fleur de lis type, Puducherry mint( city name in Tamil on the reverse). Circa 1700s

(bottom) Rooster type with the same reverse, 1836

3. Danish-Norwegian, minted by the Danish East Indian Company in the city Tranquebar under king Christian V in the late 1600s.

4.(top) Dutch East Indian Company minted ‘duit’ coin, 1766.

(bottom) a 1695 Dutch Indian duit coin minted in the city of Negapatnam, written in Tamil on the reverse with the Hindu god Kali on the obverse

 

Edited by JayAg47
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Regarding the op, I will offer a somewhat different interpretation. The bust on the left image is what I think of as classic "Turkic" style. The Artuqids were one of a number of Turkic dynasties not long removed from Central Asia. Compare this coin of 7th-century Samarkand:

49478075_sam331(1).jpg.233e54888e0ef54a2af595e3a23feafc.jpg

https://www.zeno.ru/showphoto.php?photo=163355

Although some late Byzantine coins feature crowns with pointy elements, I think most would interpret the turreted crown on the opposite side of the op as "Sasanian", not unlike the crown of Shapur l:

63514.jpg.12bc4d2331ab8c0a2239f0b90cc42cc6.jpg

https://www.zeno.ru/showphoto.php?photo=299663

By the way, the 'semi-round object' is apparently a cuirassed shoulder: https://www.zeno.ru/showgallery.php?cat=20394

I agree the coin is cross-cultural but I would argue those cultures are Islamic, Turkic and Persian (Sasanian). That said, the "Turkic" portrait on the Samarkand coin above may itself owe something to Hellenistic art via the Silk Road.

Edited by DLTcoins
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A very interesting idea to explore, @robinjojo, and one that could apply to a lot of my collection.  One important aspect to consider is the use of bilingual legends to appeal to two different audiences.  This AE 21 from the second reign of Seleucid king Demetrios II (129-125 BC) has a thoroughly Hellenistic obverse portrait and reverse depiction of Poseidon, but the reverse legend is in both Greek and Phoenician, indicating the continued importance of the Phoenician language in his realm:

image.jpeg.7c373790db8e957c743671feec1e2d1e.jpegA lot of Bactrian-successor coinages (Indo-Greek, Indo-Parthian, Indo-Scythian etc.) feature a mix of Greek language and Hellenistic imagery with local languages (written in Kharoshthi script) and sometimes Indo-Iranian imagery.  This Indo-Scythian AE of Azilises features bilingual inscriptions (Greek and Kharoshthi) and a very Greek Herakles with club:

image.jpeg.3685c52f3bd917b8a820b80f838aa729.jpegI suppose most Parthian coinage would qualify, with the mix of Greek inscriptions (and sometimes portrait styles and reverse types) with more Parthian/Central Asian nomad-style imagery (the seated archer wearing his baggy horse-riding trousers, and some portrait styles).  This drachm of Phraates IV (38- 2 BC) has a standard Greek inscription that is quite readable despite the double-strike, but the obverse portrait is distinctly Parthian:

image.jpeg.914815c310167c66861eae9aed611ca4.jpeg

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11 hours ago, DLTcoins said:

Regarding the op, I will offer a somewhat different interpretation. The bust on the left image is what I think of as classic "Turkic" style. The Artuqids were one of a number of Turkic dynasties not long removed from Central Asia. Compare this coin of 7th-century Samarkand:

49478075_sam331(1).jpg.233e54888e0ef54a2af595e3a23feafc.jpg

https://www.zeno.ru/showphoto.php?photo=163355

Although some late Byzantine coins feature crowns with pointy elements, I think most would interpret the turreted crown on the opposite side of the op as "Sasanian", not unlike the crown of Shapur l:

63514.jpg.12bc4d2331ab8c0a2239f0b90cc42cc6.jpg

https://www.zeno.ru/showphoto.php?photo=299663

By the way, the 'semi-round object' is apparently a cuirassed shoulder: https://www.zeno.ru/showgallery.php?cat=20394

I agree the coin is cross-cultural but I would argue those cultures are Islamic, Turkic and Persian (Sasanian). That said, the "Turkic" portrait on the Samarkand coin above may itself owe something to Hellenistic art via the Silk Road.

Thanks!

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After the Mongols conquered China, they began minting bilingual coins.

Obverse: chinese / Reverse: Value in mongolian script

c040g.jpg.7a134a0614434510178c9a2540479a0e.jpg

Emperor: Shun Di 順帝 (Ukhaatu Khan)
Obv: Zhi Zheng Tong Bao 至 正 通 寶
Rev: 10 mongolian script
Value: 10
Year: after 1350
Material: AE, 28.55g, 44mm
Ref.: Hartill 19.115, FD 1808, S1111

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Bilingual Islamic fals; Arabic and Greek.

Marwan II and Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan, Umayyad Caliphate
AE fals
Obv: مِصر ("Misr": Egypt)  over AλE (ALE) in center, finance director's name in margin
Rev: Abbreviated Arabic name of al-Iskandariya "al-Is/rîya" in circle. caliph's name in margin
Mint: al-Iskandariya (Alexandria)
Date: 749 AD
Ref: A-151, W-Kh.9

iskandariya.jpg.48c0c661f09aa9b532560a96277eba38.jpg

 

Late 7th cent AD Umayyad fals overstruck on a late 4th cent AD Roman follis.

Umayyad Caliphate
AE fals (overstruck on a Roman follis of Honorius, Virtvs Exerciti type, RIC X 61)
Obv: The Kalima, in Arabic (D N HONORI [VS P F AVG], pearl-diademed, draped bust right)
Rev: Transformed cross(?) (VIRTVS-EXERCITI, emperor standing left, head right, holding spear and resting left hand on shield. Victory, standing beside him crowning him with a wreath)
Mint: (Constantinople for undertype)
Mintmark: (CON in ex.)
Date: 697-750 AD (post-coin reform; undertype struck 395-401 AD)

honoriusarabvk.jpg.14b7b2b2dab19988bb108ce697231c1a.jpg

Edited by ValiantKnight
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Central Asia and India offer some very unique cross-cultural coins

This copper unit from post-Mauryan Taxila technically predates the arrival of Greeks in the area, but the influence is already there, especially in the dynamic pose of the horse

1552484980_Indiataxilapushkalavatielephanthorse.jpg.2f80fa41a9c9a9b663d250339a581ec7.jpg

The Indo Greek kingdom is famous for being a Hellenistic culture that assimilated into Indian society, and at least a few rulers even took up Buddhism. All Indo Greek coins are bilingual in Greek and Kharosthi

1288513280_ApollodotusIsquaredrachmelephantbull.jpg.39f86c053b3e35a6b6b378f0521d5a75.jpg

A drachm minted to Indo Greek standards by the contemporary Kuninda king Amoghabutiimgonline-com-ua-twotoone-HZxPTOWaJp.jpg.fb5d2cbf99b80cb8eecdcaa95ecb3a36.jpg

A Scythian imitation of a Hermaios tetradrachm

875518844_IndogreekHermaiostetradrachm.jpg.f1ef0bd642e8a5e034ffa014b62d5891.jpg

And a more Scythian styled drachm

1824902613_AzesARdrachm.jpg.3ee3015be0cc3f60451b3eefb1890e1b.jpg

And an Indo-Parthian tet styled after the Indo-Scythian prototype

1160545111_IndoParthianGondopharesBItetradrachm.jpg.1edb6cba7f5a64e33501ada4b6004cdd.jpg

The Scythians survived the rise of the Kushans as a rump state in Gujarat. Nahapana reinstated the Greek-style drachm, trilingual in Brahmi, Kharosthi, and a Greek language transliteration of Brahmi - PANNIW ΣΑHAPATAC NAHAPANAC1089603322_NahapanaARdrachm.jpg.832af09b432e64264bbddc3c15be428f.jpg

He was killed by the Satavahana empire of the Deccan, who intermittently also made Greek-styled drachms

191667683_Yajnasatakarnidrachm.jpg.c245db7c44cd9cab9b8914471e8422dc.jpg

When the Kshatrapas were reinstated under Chastana, they resumed minting drachms, dropping the Kharosthi and the Greek quickly degrading to nonsense

1434229378_WesternSatrapsVisvasimhaasKshatrap.jpg.494c5ee872a462f12f3c5c0b2a721783.jpg

The Kshatrapas were finally overthrown in ca. 415 by the Guptas, who continued to mint the denomination for about another century

1975084194_ChandraguptaIIARDrachm.jpg.d43764d3df2083d889e18804ff166717.jpg

However, at the first sign of struggle, the Maitraka governor/general Bhatarka created a quasi-independent kingdom at Vallabhi in ca. 475 and minted the drachm in his own name and types

611568187_MaitrakasofVallabhiBhatarkaARdrachm.jpg.a08c6153809022e30fa9f5a27e0d7587.jpg

His successors froze the design and it stagnated, possibly until the conclusion of the kingdom in 776.429541432_MaitrakaslatestyleBIdrachm.jpg.bf90b5228a5590dd90b5d8e35d1bef47.jpg

Thus closed nearly 1,000 years of Greek influence on India

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Wonderful examples!  Thank you for posting.

Here is another of my favorite Artuquids of Mardin coins.  It is quite rough and I have been looking for a nicer example, but they are not plentiful and are quite expensive in very nice condition.  Still the main elements of the design are clear.

Apparently the obverse is based on an eclipse event in AH 598, according to Spengler and Sayles.

Here we have on the obverse a centaur with a distinctly Turkic figure, turning to fire an arrow at a creature, a dragon-like head, emerging the tail or rear.  Spengler and Sayles theorize that the archer is Sagittarius, firing an arrow at the moon in an ascending node, referred to as the "Dragon's Tail".  They note that "The Dragon's Head is exalted in Gemini and the Dragon's Tail is exalted in Sagittarius". 

They go on. "The Dragon's Head is considered an unlucky "planet", which may explain why the centaur-archer is depicted attacking, perhaps subduing the beast." 

If this is indeed a reference to an eclipse from the previous year, perhaps then Sagittarius is firing his arrow at the Dragon's Head moon to end the eclipse.  Eclipses were not good press in ancient and medieval times. That's a possible interpretation for the obverse.

For more information about this fascinating coin, please refer to pages 122-126, Turkoman Figural Bronze Coins and Their Iconography, Volume 1  - The Artuqidsby William F. Spengler and Wayne G. Sayles, published by Clio's Cabinet, Lodi Wisconsin, 1992, 

Artuqids of Mardin, AE Dirham,Nasir al-Din Artuq Arslan, AH 599 (1202/03).

SS 38.1

405439194_AEDirhempurchasedMAShops.jpg.7417853c48c54b28c0c1a22bcd96eb20.jpg

Edited by robinjojo
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Wow! All of the coins are great and it seems we all have very similar tastes.  Here are a few in my collection:

Imperial China, Qing Dynasty: Abkai Fulingga (1616-1625) Æ Cash (Hartill-22.2)

Obv: ᠠᠪᡴᠠᡳ ᡶᡠᠯᡳᠩᡤᠠ ᡥᠠᠨ ᠵᡳᡴᠠ (Abkai Fulingga han jiha; Abkai-fulingga Khan's Money) in Manchu/Mongolian
Rev: Plain

normal_Hartill-22_2.jpg

 

Georgian-Hulaguid: Demetre II/Arghun (1284–1291) AR dirham (Album 2151.2)

Obv: Uyghur legend in four lines - ᠬᠠᠭᠨᠤ ᠨᠡᠷᠪᠡᠷ ᠠᠷᠭᠤᠨ ‍ᠪ ᠳᠡᠯᠠᠳᠭᠡᠭᠦᠠᠯᠦᠤ ᠰᠡᠨ (Struck in the name of Khaqan Arghun-u); Arabic legend below - ارغون (Arghun); Small cross above ᠪ in ᠠᠷᠭᠤᠨ ‍ᠪ (Arghun-u)
Rev: Within square, Arabic legend in four lines - بسم الاب و الابن و روح القدس اله واحد (In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Sprit - One God); Cross in lower part, date formula around
Dim:21 mm, 2.40g

normal_Album-2151_2.jpg

 

Tahirids: Talha ibn Tahir (822–828) Æ Fals, Bust, AH 209 (Album 1394)

normal_Album-1394.jpg

Edited by quant.geek
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