Qutb al-Din Muhammad b. Zengi  (AD 1197-1219)

AE Dirhem. 6.7g, 22.9mm
MINTED: al-Mawsil (Mosul) mint, AH 627 (AD 1229/30)
REF: Spengler & Sayles Type 67; Album 1870.2
OBVERSE: Crowned figure seated facing crosslegged, holding crescent; mint and date flanking.

REVERSE: Kalima and name and titles of Abbasid Caliph al-Mustansir in five lines; name and titles of Mahmud in margins.



Green and brown surfaces. Light scratches. 

The "Watermelon-Eater"

Astrological motifs were commonly featured on the distinctive figural bronze coins of various Zengid and Artuqid Muslim rulers. Here, the seated female figure holding the crescent represents Luna, the Moon. The type is also nicknamed the "watermelon-eater", because of its obvious resemblance to someone eating a slice of watermelon.


Historical Notes:

The Zengids were a dynasty of Turkoman Muslim emirs who controlled much of Syria and northern Iraq between the 12th and 13th centuries.  Under their founder Imad al-Din Zengi (AD 1127-1146), they gained prominence by conquering the County of Edessa, the first of the Crusader states to be established in the region.  After Zengi's death in 1146, his territories were split between two of his sons, one of whom for a time counted amongst his vassals the famous Saladin, then the Governor of Egypt.  Later Zengid emirs, ruling independently from their power bases at Mosul, Aleppo, Sinjar and al-Jazira, would gradually lose control of their territories, until the last of the Zengid cities was taken in 1250 by the Ayubbid emir An-Nasir Yusuf, a great grandson of Saladin.  


Qutb al-Din Muhammad b. Zengi ruled from Sinjar, in frequent conflict with his cousin, Arslan Shah of Mosul.  While he was the first ruler of Sinjar to recognize Ayyubid overlords on his coins, types such as this one only name the Abbasid Caliph al-Nasir, leaving out the Ayyubid Sultan, probably an indication of waning Ayyubid influence over Sinjar at the time. 

ZENGIDS OF MOSUL . Nasir al-Din Mahmud . AE Dirhem . "Watermelon-Eater" type

SKU: 4137
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