Saljuqs of Rum

Silver Dirham

Obverse

In field within linear circle: a horseman holding a trident galloping to the right with stars above the horse’s head and tail and a floral design below his hooves

In margin anticlockwise from 12:00: la ilah illa Allah Muhammad rasul Allah salla Allah ‘alayhi, al-Nasir li-din Allah amir al-mu’minin “no deity other than God, Muhammad is the messenger of God, may God’s blessing be upon him, al-Nasir li-din Allah, commander of the faithful”

Reverse

In field within linear circle: wa khams mi’a/al-Sultan al-Qahir/abu’l-Fath Sulayman bin/Qilij Arslan burhan/amir al-mu’minin “and five hundred, the Sultan al-Qahir, father of victory, Sulayman son of Qilij Arslan, supporter of the commander of the faithful”

In margin: arsalahu bi’l-huda wa din al-haqq li-yuzhirahu ‘ala al-din kullihi duriba bi-Madinat Qaysariya sana tisa’ wa tisa’in “who sent him with guidance and the religion of truth that he might make it supreme over all other religions, struck in Madinat Qaysariya the year nine and ninety”

On his deathbed Qilij Arslan II heard of the continuing strife that was tearing his family apart. He tried to solve the problem by dividing his lands among his sons. One, Qutb al-din Malik Shah, took control of the capital, Konya and hoped to restore central power by taking the territories allotted to his brothers. He died before accomplishing this and was succeeded by Kaykhusraw I. Conflict continued during Kaykhusraw’s first reign, which ended in 593 H/1197 CE when Rukn al-din Sulayman Shah seized Konya. By the time of his death in 600/1204 only one of his brothers, Muhi al-din Mas‘ud, continued to defy him, but was captured and murdered by Sulayman Shah only to die himself four days later. Succession to the throne still did not go smoothly. Sulayman Shah was succeeded by his three-year-old son ‘Izz al-din Qilij Arslan III who was then replaced by Kaykhusraw I after only one year. This is an outstandingly handsome and rare coin of Sulayman Shah. Such portraiture is rarely found on Islamic coinage, because it violated the precepts against the representation of human or animal figures. This rule was seldom broken because the striking of precious metal coinage was the prerogative of the ruler, who was expected to uphold Islamic conventions as secular leaders of the Muslim Community.

Saljuqs of Rum

MaterialSilver
TypeDirham
RulerRukn al-din Sulayman Shah bin Qilij Arslan II
MintMadinat Qaysariya (the town of Kayseri in Cappadocia)
Date599 H (1202-1203 CE)
Weight2.9g
Diameter29.5mm