Mongol Great Khans

Silver Dirham

Obverse

In field within beaded circle in debased calligraphy: la ilah illa/Allah Muhammad/rasul Allah “no deity other than God, Muhammad is the messenger of God”

In margin at 12:00: darb Ganja, at 9:00 sana arba’, at 6:00 wa arba’in, at 3:00 wa sitt mi’a “struck Ganja, year four and forty and six hundred”

Reverse

In field: galloping horse (with mouth agape about to devour something), to left hooded rider turned backwards in the saddle and preparing to discharge an arrow to right, with floral ornament below

In margin: ulugh mughul ulus bik “the Great Khan of the Mongols”

Chingiz Khan divided his empire among his four sons, of whom Ögedei was his favourite. Ögedei was confirmed as the Great Khan in 627 H/1229 CE. When he died in 639/1241, his widow Töregine (Turakina) became regent until the question of who should succeed as Great Khan had been settled. She was determined that the Khanate should go to her son Güyük, and not, as Ögedei had wished, to his grandson Shiramun by another wife named Küchu. Her wish was granted, Güyük was proclaimed Great Khan in 644/1246, and she died shortly thereafter. She is said to have been an able and determined ruler, whose reign saw the disastrous defeat of the Rum Saljuq, Kaykhusraw II at the hands of the Mongol army at the Battle of Köse Dagh, after which Anatolia became a Mongol dependency. The Mongol rulers did not convert to Islam, but this coin, which would have circulated among Muslims, bears the statement of faith, “no deity but God, Muhammad is the messenger of God”. On the reverse it shows a galloping horseman turned in the saddle and drawing his bow so that he could shoot behind him. The Mongols were well known as a nation of archers, and the die sinker caught the movement of the horse and bowman in a particularly lifelike manner.

Mongol Great Khans

MaterialSilver
TypeDirham
RulerRegency of Queen Töregine (Turakina) (widow of Ögedei, regent for her son Güyük Khan)
MintGanja (in Arran north-west of Barda’a on the road to Tiflis)
Date644 H (1246 CE)
Weight2.89g
Diameter22mm