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An Islamic figural bronze: Badr al-Din Lu'lu' of Mosul


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Lu'lu'ids. Mosul mint.  Badr al-Din Lu'lu' (1234-1259 CE/631-657 AH), dated 631 AH.  AE dirham.  Obverse: Classical head left in square, Arabic legend around (partly off flan) giving mint of al-Mawsil and date 631.  Reverse: Central legend in four lines citing the Abbasid caliph al-Mustansir, circular legend around citing Badr al-Din Lu'lu' and his nominal Ayyubid overlords al-Kamil and al-Ashraf.  Album 1874.1, Spengler/Sayles 68, Mitchiner WoI 1131.  This coin: Stephen Album Internet-only Auction 25, lot 401 (2024).
Badr al-Din Lu'lu' is sometimes considered the founder of his own short-lived dynasty, the Lu'lu'ids, and sometimes counted as a usurper within the Zengids of Mosul.  He was a former slave, of Armenian heritage, who converted to Islam and became an administrator under the Zengid emir Nur al-Din Arslan Shah I. In 1211 he became the atabeg (officially tutor, but effectively regent) for the new, still a child, Nur al-Din Arslan Shah II, and then his younger brother and successor Nasir al-Din Mahmud.  In 1233 Nasir al-Din Mahmud disappeared (presumably quietly killed on orders of Lu'lu') and Lu'lu' began to openly rule solo.  He asked the Caliph in Baghdad for official recognition, and in 1234 was proclaimed the sultan of Mosul with the title al-Malik al-Rahim (the Merciful King).  Which, given how he acquired the throne, seems like a misnomer, or perhaps a bad joke.
Despite the way he acquired the throne, Lu'lu's reign was generally a time of prosperity and cultural flowering for the people of his territory, which included a large portion of northern Iraq.  Lu'lu' proclaimed allegiance to the Abbasid Caliph and to the Ayyubids.  In 1243, he would also recognize the authority of the Mongols, which spared Mosul from being destroyed.  In 1258, he would even provide provisions and weapons to Mongol troops passing through his territory for the Siege of Baghdad, which ended with the destruction of the Abbasid Caliphate to which Lu'lu' had pledged his allegiance.  Badr al-Din Lu'lu' died in 1259 and was succeeded by his son Isma'il bin Lu'lu'.  Isma'il would initially continue his father's support of the Mongols, but after the Battle of Ain Jalut in 1260, when the Ayyubids were able to defeat the Mongol forces, Isma'il switched his loyalties to the Ayyubids.  The Mongol leader Hulagu would besiege Mosul for nine months, and in 1262 completely destroyed the city, bringing the Lu'lu'id dynasty to an ignominious end.
I bought this coin, not only for the history behind it, but also because of the very striking portrait on the obverse.  This type was struck only at the mint of Mosul and is only known dated to 631 AH, though given the relative abundance of this type, Spengler and Sayles suggest that the type may have been struck for several years with a frozen date.  They also suggest that the figure on the obverse may be an astrological representation of the sun, though they admit that the evidence for that is weak.  Regardless, this is an attractive and historical coin, and I was happy to win it in auction.  Please post whatever related coins you have.
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Very nice! I love these figural islamic coins. Here is mine with the full legends:


Lu'lu'ids: Badr al-Din Lu'lu' (1233-1258) AE Dirham, al-Mawsil, AH631 (Album-1874.1)

Obv: In beaded square, diademed head in profile facing left, hair in ringlets, eight-pointed star in bottom left corner; in margins -ﺿﺮﺏ ﺑﺎﻟﻤﻮﺻﻞ ﺳﻨﺔ ﺍﺣﺪ ﻭ ﺛﻠﺜﻴﻦ ﻭﺳﺘﻤﺎﺋﺔ (Struck in al-Mawsil the year one and thirty and six hundred)
Rev: In Naskh script, in center - ﺍﻻﻣﺎﻡ ﺍﻟﻤﺴﺘﻨﺼﺮ ﺑﺎﻟﻠﺔ ﺍﻣﻴﺮﺍﻟﻤﺆﻣﻨﻴﻦ (The Imam, al-Mustansir billah, Commander of the Faithful); in margins -ﺑﺪﺮ ﺍﻟﺪﻧﻴﺎﻭﺍﻟﺪﻳﻦ ﻟﻮﻟﻮ ﺍﻟﻤﻠﻚ ﺍﻟﻜﺎﻣﻞ ﺍﻟﻤﻠﻚﺍﻻﺷﺮﻑ (Resplendent Moon of the World and the Faith, Lu‘lu‘, the Perfect King, the Honored King)



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I have been holding out on the gold dinar for a while, since I wanted to get the legends, but I finally found the time to finish up with write-up, so.....


Lu'lu'ids: Badr al-Din Lu'lu' (1233-1258) AV Dinar, al-Mawsil, AH 643 (Album 1871)

Obv Field: الامام لا اله الا الله وحده لا شريك له المستعصم بالله أمير المؤمنين (al-Imam; There is no god but God alone, He has no associate; Al-Musta'sim Billah; Amir al-Mu'minin)
Obv Inner Margin: بسم الله ضرب هذا الدينر بالموصل سنه ثلاثه وأربعين وستمائه  (In the name of God, this dinar was minted in Mosul in the year six hundred and forty-three)
Obv Outer Margin: لله الأمر من قبل ومن بعد ويومئذ يفرح المؤمنون بنصر الله  (The decision of the matter, before and after is only with Allah. And on that day, the believers will rejoice)
Rev Field: لؤلؤ محمد رسول الله صلى الله عليه ركن الدنيا والدين اتابك (Lu'lu'; Muhammad is the Messenger of God, may God bless him and grant him peace; Rukn al-Dunya wa al-Din; Atabeg (of Mosul))
Rev Margin: محمد رسول الله ارسله بالهدى و دين الحق ليظهره على الدين كله ولو كره المشركون (Muhammad is the messenger of God who sent him with guidance and the religion of truth that he might make it supreme over all other religions, even though the polytheists may detest it)



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