A COPPER COIN OF THE ARTUQID RULER NAJM AL-DIN ALPI WITH SIX COUNTERMARKS
Scope of the study. A specific series of copper coins of the Artuqid rulers Hussam al-Din Timurtash and his son Najm al-Din Alpi were extensively countermarked during the twelfth century. The scientific novelty The author discusses this system of countermarking and presents a countermark naming Najm al-Din Alpi, which was applied six times on his own coins.
The Artuqids were a Turkmen dynasty that ruled in Eastern Anatolia, Northern Syria and Northern Iraq in the eleventh and twelfth centuries. On Il-Ghazi’s death in 516 (1122) his kingdom was divided among three heirs, with Timurtash retaining Mardin. He was succeeded by his only son Najm al-Din Alpi in 547 (1152), and the Artuqid kingdom of Mardin became the largest and most enduring, lasting until 812 (1409), when it was seized by Timur (Tamerlane) and later controlled by the Qara Qoyunlu (‘Black Sheep’) Turkmen.
The description of the ‘copper dirhams’ of Husam al-Din Timurtash and Najm al-Din Alpi are given.
One of the well-known problems in the series of the Artuqids of Mardin is the countermarking of the copper dirhams of Husam al-Din Timurtash and his son Najm al-Din Alpi. During the early part of the reign of Najm al-Din Alpi, the coins of his father continued to circulate. However, they were soon countermarked by Alpi, evidently to avoid confusion.
We know of two countermarks, with ‘one line’ or with ‘two lines’ randomly applied on the obverses of Timurtash’s dirhams, sometimes both on the same coin. Alpi’s countermarks on the Timurtash coins could have been used to avoid confusion between the coins of father and son. The reasons of the appearance of the countermarks are described.
Double countermarking did not necessarily occur simultaneously. Apparently, Alpi used the countermarks extensively to differentiate himself from his father and to achieve the greatest possible popularity through the medium of coin. This is also shown by the fact that the old Byzantine coins circulating in Alpi’s dominions were countermarked with his laqab ‘najm’.
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