SCOTT SEMANS WORLD COINS
MISCELLANEOUS BOOK REVIEWS     (310)


     This is a storage spot for reivews of or commentaries on published numismatic works. When such reviews are available online from stable sources, I will link to them. Otherwise, I will park them here in no order.



Terrien de Lacouperie, Albert: Catalogue of Chinese Coins from the VIIth Cent BC to AD 621 (British Museum Catalogue)
     Lacouperie's catalog of ancient Chinese coins was a very good work for its time -- the first extensive catalog in a western language of Chinese knife, spade and early round coins. Only a few of the coins listed in this catalog were actually in the British Museum, and some of those were obvious fakes. Lacouperie identified the fakes when he recognized them -- quite an innovation in those days. Most of the coins listed in the catalog are taken from Chinese works, especially Li Tso-hsien's "Ku Ch'uan Hui," which Lacouperie abbreviates K.C.H. By including the listings in Chinese works, Lacouperie was the first westerner to attempt a corpus of all ancient Chinese coins. Many of the readings of the inscriptions on the knife and spade coins are wrong, but Lacouperie was only following the readings in Chinese works. Lacouperie's most original contribution, however, is his theory of Chinese monetary unions. In classical Greek coinage, it is well established that certain Greek city states formed unions and issued coins in the same standards. Lacouperie thought he saw the same situation in Chou dynasty coinage and devotes some space to the subject in the catalog. As far as I know, no one today believes that such monetary unions existed in ancient China. Lacouperie was a believer in the idea of diffusion, which theorizes that all civilizations developed from an original civilization in Mesopotamia. One of Lacouperie's other works attempts to show that Chinese characters are actually derived from Egyptian hieroglyphs or Mesopotamian cuneiform writing. Such ideas were widely held in the 19th century -- supporting the idea of western superiority. In the 20th century, diffusionism was discarded, but now it seems a bit too hastily. For example, it is now pretty well accepted that the ancient Chinese chariot was a direct import from the middle east. And there is the question of how Chinese writing suddenly appeared in the late Shang as a fully developed system, with no apparent precursors. I read somewhere that there was a furor over the appointment of Lacouperie, a Frenchman, to compile the British Museum's Chinese catalog. If I remember correctly, the decision was made, in part, because Lacouperie was in need of an income, and so he was hired to do the job. The catalog does have a handy collection of historical notes about ancient Chinese cities, something not found in western works until Arthur Coole's series of catalogs (Encyclopedia of Chinese Coins, volumes 2-6). Unfortunately Coole chose to make his own reading of the inscriptions on Chinese spade coins, and he was often wrong. His bits of geographical information, from what he called the DG (Geographical Dictionary - a dictionary of historical geography published in the 1930's), are mostly useless because he had the wrong reading of the inscription, or because he chose the wrong place name in the geographical dictionary, or because he did not understand the dictionary's passage and mistranslated the information. As a result, he has attributed some spade coins to places which were not part of ancient China (the far south and Sinkiang) or which did not come into existence till centuries later. Lacouperie's catalog is also useful for his glossary of terms. Though Lacouperie's British Museum catalog has been largely superceeded by later works -- Coole's Encyclopedia in English and various recent works in Chinese -- it is still useful, particularly for identifying ancient Chinese coins in old auction catalogs which use the BMC as a reference.
Source: Bruce W. Smith: Fri Dec 12, 2008: Posting to Ancient_Chinese_Coins@yahoogroups.com


Puddester, R.P.: Medals of British India with Rarities and Valuations, V.1
Spink Numismatic Circular "As befits India, the jewel in the crown of the British Empire, this is a gem of a book. I have no hesitation in venturing the opinion that it will prove to be one of the numismatic publishing highlights of the year. ....lavishly illustrated and handsomely bound .... printed on high quality paper .... as for the price at £45, it represents outstanding value for money." David Vice Format of Birmingham
   Journal of the Oriental Numismatic Society " Production values are excellent. The book is well bound, with an attractive dust cover. Paper quality is very good and printing very clear. The publishers, Spink, are to be congratulated for the care and attention that has gone into the production. Most of all, the author is to be congratulated for producing an excellent piece of work, that will certainly be the standard reference for this series." S. L. Goron, Editor Oriental Numismatic Society Newsletter
   The Orders and Medals Research Society (London, England) "....compile a magnificent record of 200 years of British military, educational, domestic and social history in India and Burma, as represented by medals. The 562 pages are packed with particulars of some 1,200 medals, of which some 500 .... are illustrated with excellent crisp photographs. It is likely that few in the British and Indian Armies and Volunteers were unaffected by the events covered by these medals-the military commemoratives, life saving rewards, Royal visit, Durbar and Viceroy"s awards, Masonic items, Exhibition, University and School prizes ..... Other strengths are the detailed coverage of the Parsee community, who were so significant in the commercial and charitable life of Bombay, and of the prominent and insignificant British and Indian civilians who comprised the fabric of the sub-continent and the places where they lived." Mr Puddester has become "....the foremost expert on the subject.... producing what will become the standard work on Indian medals". David Mahoney The Orders and Medals Research Society
   World Coin News "Charts the medallic history of the British Empire in India and Burma, featuring more than 1,200 medals, 500 of which are illustrated, commemorating or acknowledging, events, personages, institutions and significant milestones and achievemants of the Raj. A comprehensive work" Editors, World Coin News
   Journal of Orders and Medals Society of America "There is .... much in this volume to interest the collector of wearable and non-wearable awards. Such items include the Viceroys" Medals, the special medal awarded to Herbert Edwardes for his services in the Punjab, the Empress of India Medal, the medals for various Royal Visits, and other military-related awards. Anyone with an interest in the history of India during the British Raj will find it fascinating. The book is profusely illustrated .... he has produced as comprehensive a book on this subject as we are ever likely to see. The quality of this publication is way above that of most "medal books", and the content makes it a "must" for anyone with an interest in British India" Mike Shaw Journal of Orders & Medals Society of America
   Canadian Numismatic Journal (Official Publication of the Canadian Numismatic Association "This is a monumental work consisting of 562 pages loaded with photographs. Adding to its enjoyment are the numerous historical write-ups. Medals are grouped under more than 25 subjects such as royal visits, exhibitions and viceroy presentations as well as major universities with over 200 medals represented." Geoffrey G. Bell, F.C.N.A., F.C.N.R.S. President, Canadian Numismatic Association
   NUMISMATIST (official publication of the American Numismatic Association). ...."hundreds of new medals were uncovered through the author's extensive research at the Calcutta and Bombay Mints. This 562-page, 7 1/2 x 10-inch hardcover work includes 500 black-and-white illustrations, a bibliography and detailed general index, along with an index of medalists, designers, engravers, die-cutters, artists. The book delves into the background of the subjects depicted on the pieces, presenting more than 25 related articles. This handsome text is destined to become a standard reference". The editors, The Numismatist.
   THE INDIAMAN MAGAZINE (the only genealogical & history magazine in the world about the British in India & southern Asia). "Since we received this book in 2003 it has been out on constant loan. That is probably a good indication of how interesting this book is. Robert Puddester has produced a truly unique book that must surely be the definitive guide to Commemorative and Historical medals of British India. ...The Indiaman Magazine is delighted to be able to review this first volume and recommends this book to all of our readers". Paul Rowland, Editor, Indiaman Magazine
Source: Author


Andrew V. Liddle, Coinage of Akbar

Published by the Kapoori Devi Charitable Trust, Gurgaon (India), 2005. In English. Harbound with dust jacket, 89 pages plus 34 color plates.

This is not a comprehensive catalogue of mint/date combinations, but looks like it will be an invaluable aid in identifying the myriad types of Akbar in all three metals. The book contains the following:

Military Campaigns and Conquests (1 Page)
Akbar as Administrator (1 Page)
Religious Policy (1 Page)
Akbar as Patron of Art and Architecture (1 Page)

Coins of Akbar - A list of all mints known on gold, silver and copper, respectively, followed by an alphabetical list of all mints with an approximate location and other pertinent information.

Symbols and Ornaments on Akbar's Coins - Line drawings of 67 symbols found on Akbar's coins along with a list of mints and metals on which the symbols are found. (A very important contribution!) There are notes about the origin and meaning of some of the symbols.

The bulk of the work is a description of different types in all three metals. There is a good written description of each type along with a list of the mints that produced the type and the range of known dates. There are 42 Gold types, 77 Silver types, and 67 Copper types. There are also notations about errors, two pages of Controversies, and three pages on additional notes on eight new mints.

Then there is a map showing all of Akbar's mint towns, a bibliography and several appendices.

Appendix 1 - Hijri and CE date conversions and Persian word dates
Appendix 2 - Ilahi and Hijri date conversions and Ilahi months written in Persian
Appendix 3 - Mints of Akbar written in Arabic script
Appendix 4 - Mint epithets written in Arabic with a transliteration and translation and mints that used the epithet.
Appendix 5 - Phrases and pious wishes on Akbar's coins. Written in Arabic, transliterated and translated.
Appendix 6 - Couplets on Akbar's coins. Written in Arabic, transliterated and translated.

Finally, the color plates with color photographs of each type, some types showing multiple mints. The photos of gold and silver coins are mostly readable, those of copper coins are often too dark to make out everything. However, the photos are more useful when used in conjunction with the written descriptions of the types and with available museum catalogues.

I can recommend this book to anyone interested in the coins of Akbar or Mughal coins in general. It is not of the caliber of Aman ur Rahman's recent exceptional book on Babur (subject of an earlier email from me), but it is better than anything else I have seen on the coins of Akbar.

Jim Farr from posting to islamic_coins@yahoogroups.com 10/02/05



The Indian Coinage Tradition:origins, continuity and change. By Joe Cribb

     IIRNS Publications, a division of the Indian Institute of Research in Numismatic Studies, P. O. Anjaneri, Dist. Nashik, 422 213, India. 2005. Card covers;24 x 18 cm. , 72 pages, including 9 plates. ISBN 81-86786-22-8. Available from Spink £13

     The IIRNS has a programme of publishing monographs and short books for collectors. These cover a range of Indian coin series and some related subjects. The aim of this book, like the others in the series, is to provide collectors and students with a short and readable survey of the material under consideration.
     The body of Joe Cribb's book bears the title "The Origins of the Indian Coinage Tradition". His survey is based on a paper to the Society for South Asian Studies first published in 1999. He traces several artistic and monetary influences, which have shaped Indian coinage tradition, or traditions, from the earliest period of Indian coinage down to the modern period. He illustrates his discussion with pictures of eighty-seven coins minted in many regions of the Indian sub-continent. He presents a concise survey that should prove useful to students and collectors who wish to know the broad characteristics of the Indian coinage tradition, without entering into the details of individual coin series.
     The main body of the book is preceded by a short introduction in which the author discusses several studies on the earliest period of Indian coinage, which were published after Cribb's paper of 1999.
     The theme of the origin of Indian coinage is continued in two appendices. These are based closely on two papers he wrote in 1983. The dating of India's earliest coinage, like the inter-related dating of the Buddha's nirvana and the dating of India's history for the first millennium BC, has been a controversial subject ever since Alexander Cunningham espoused the early chronology for Buddha's nirvana (c. 486 BC, earlier in the case of some writers) when he was writing in the nineteenth century. Most histories (including numismatic histories)written during the twentieth century accepted this early chronology. Recent research is increasingly showing that the early chronology is wrong by a margin of at least one century. The Buddha's nirvana was later (perhaps close to 360 BC), history has to be down-dated and the origin of Indian coinage has to be down-dated. Cribb's two papers are significant for arguing in favour of the necessary down-dating in the numismatic field.
     Cribb discusses the evidence for dating India's earliest coin series, mainly on the basis of numismatic and literary evidence. Although many scholars will agree that down-dating is warranted, few will agree with the extent to which he down- dates. The pendulum has swung too far and the evidence he cites does not warrant a date as late as "the early 4th century BC " (p. 69)for the introduction of the earliest Indian coinage. Part of the excessive down-dating stems from linking Indian coins with local coins in the Chaman Hazouri (Kabul)hoard, while failing to take account of links between the Chaman Hazouri local coins and archaic Greek coins. Having drawn attention to this point, much of what Joe Cribb wrote in 1983 is as true today as it was when he was writing. His view conforms more closely to current views than much that has been written more recently.
     Considered overall, this is a useful small book that fulfils its purpose in presenting a concise, well written and accurate survey of Indian coinage traditions, with a well reasoned analysis covering the controversial field of the origin of Indian coinage. I am pleased to recommend the book.
     Spink's NUMISMATIC CIRCULAR 10/2005

Coins in India: Power and Communication by Himanshu Prabha Ray (Ed.)

     The focus of the book lies on the context of coins and coinage, rather than being a purely numismatic compilation. The book is thus of interest to historians as well as numismatists - in fact it is an attempt at highlighting the historical utility of coins in particular ways. Most of the chapters were presented as papers in a two day conference held last January at the Centre for Historical Studies, Jawahara Lal Nehru University, New Delhi. Contents of the book and the authors are as follows:
     Introduction: Coins as Political and Cultural Documents HIMANSHU PRABHA RAY has degrees in Archaeology, Sanskrit, and Ancient Indian History and teaches at the Centre for Historical Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University.
     Roman Coins in India: A Re-evaluation HIMANSHU PRABHA RAY
     A Tale of Two Dynasties: The Kshaharatas and the Satavahanas in the Deccan SHAILENDRA BHANDARE, Assistant Keeper, South Asian Numismatics, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, has studied Indian numismatics in relation to art, iconography, and archaeology
     Religious Icons and Money: Shiva Images on Kushana Coins RITA DEVI SHARMA, Curator, Numismatics and Epigraphs, National Museum, New Delhi and HIMANSHU PRABHA RAY
     Coinage and Gender: Early Medieval Kashmir DEVIKA RANGACHARI, read History at St Stephen's College, and the Department of History, Delhi University
     Kings and Coins: Money as the State Media in the Indian Sultanates SYED EJAZ HUSSAIN, Associate Professor in History at Visva-Bharati University, Santiniketan, has been working on Islamic coins for two decades
     Muhammad bin Tughluq: A Numismatic Reappraisal of an Enigmatic Persona SANJAY GARG, author of several books on Indian numismatics, works at the National Archives of India, New Delhi
     The Monarch and the Millennium: A New Interpretation of the Alf Coins of Akbar NAJAF HAIDER, Associate Professor of Medieval History at the Centre for Historical Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
     A Metallic Mirror: Changing Representations of Sovereignty on Indian Coins during the Raj SHAILENDRA BHANDARE
     Conducting Excavations and Collecting Coins: Maharaja Ranjit Singh's Kingdom JEAN-MARIE LAFONT researched Greek archaeology and worked on the French presence in the Punjab from 1822 to 1849
     Coins: Some Persistence Issues INDIRA RAJARAMAN, PhD in Economics from Cornell University, holds the RBI Chair at the National Institute of Public Finance and Policy, New Delhi
Published by Marg Publications, renowned since 1946 for their books and magazines on varied subjects of Indological interest, have announced a pre- publication price of Rs. 1400 / US$ 47 inclusive of postagewhen ordered by15th of March, 2006.
Those interested may contact 'Marg' at: Business Development Manager, Marg Publications, Army and Navy Building, 3rd floor, 148, Mahatma Gandhi Road, Mumbai 400 001

Review courtesy Sahilen Bhandare 2/2006

Ömer Diler. Islamic Mints: Islam darp yerleri. 3 vols. Istanbul, 2009. ISBN 978-975-8428-2.
   Ömer Diler died rather prematurely in 2005. His widow Emine Nur Diler saw his second book, Ilhanlar: Iran Mogollarini Sikkeleri, to the press in 2006, and has now brought out Diler's magnum opus with the help of two of Ömer's friends, J. C. Hinrichs and Gero Kurkman. The book is in three huge volumes (217 x 305 mm., a total of 1793 numbered pages plus front matter and 8 maps; 5.8 kilograms!) with very attractive card covers. Although the book is privately published (no publisher is named), it is distributed by Spink and has their logo on the back cover. At this time, there is no indication that it is available for public sale, but obviously it will be. This is a major new work for Islamic numismatics.
    Diler began work on the book in the 1970's, but left it unfinished. His wife and friends have finished it as they think he would have wished, using "common sense, numismatic knowledge, and his notes." The production reflects enormous credit on Diler, his wife Emina Nur, and his friends. The book is pretty much bilingual, in English and Turkish, throughout. The English, by Emina Nur, seems to be impeccable.
   Volume I begins with a foreword and acknowledgments; and then a list of abbreviations used in the book with their English and Turkish equivalents; a glossary of terms used; a table of the transcription (actually, transliteration) of Arabic; an English-Turkish dictionary of common terms; a list of Hijri month names and their abbreviations; a table of the diwani numerals; a second table of the Arabic alphabet with the transliteration and name of each letter; a description of the dating systems, Hijri and others, used on Islamic coins; and a "Guide to the Book" explaining the elements of each mint entry. All these lists and tables are reprinted on an eight-page removable pullout in the first volume.
   The listing of mints then begins, with Abarquh. Actually, the first entry, in a different format, is for a mint, Abadan min al-Ahwaz, that has been listed before, by Zambaur in his MŸnzprŠgungen, but is now known not ever to have existed. Such entries are preceded with an asterisk instead of a large-type headline, with a prose explanation of the name, the error, and the correct reading. An important difference between this listing and Zambaur's, and a major improvement, is the inclusion of Islamic mints in South and Southeast Asia.
    The entry for each actual mint gives the mint name in large bold type with full transliteration (macrons and dots), followed by the Turkish name in smaller type, the name in Arabic script, and a map citation (more later on the maps). All of this is in one line. Mints that have had honorific or explanatory additions to the fundamental name have a citation to Diler's book Titles and Epithets of Islamic Towns (Istanbul, 2001) below the heading line. Cross-references, if any, to other names for the same place come next. Below that, for each mint, is a table with five columns. Column one names the dynasties of the rulers whose names appear on the mint's coins, in chronological order; column two lists the known dates; and three columns, one each for gold, silver, and copper, give bibliographical citations of the coins known for each date. Some citations have superscript numbers linking to footnotes that follow the table. All of this is certainly inspired by Zambaur's predecessor work, but is much more elegantly organized, intellectually and visually. The citations give a number for the work cited and the number of the coin or page number. The footnotes usually begin with the name and dates of the ruler who is named on the coin, and may add comments, always in English first and then in Turkish. The citations are not intended to be completethere are only one or two for each date mint combination.
   The citation of the works by number follows Zambaur's practice (but not using his same numbers). These reference numbers in boldface type with parentheses are also used for references to the works in the footnotes and the discussions of each dynasty. The key to the numbers is in volume 3, pages 1695-1744. It begins with some 38 references identified by name; these seem to be copied directly from Diler's book on the Ilkhans, judging by the predominance of rare books on that dynasty and the use of the abbreviation "BMC" to refer only to Lane-Poole's sixth volume, Coins of the Mongols. There are then 1,623 numbered references, including books, articles, and dealer's catalogues, followed by a few hundred other references, pp. 1745-55, that are used rarely in the body of Islamic Mints. The numbered references seem to document a numismatist's career, listing sources in the order they were found and used by Diler. The first number is 0, for "private collection;" when this citation is used in the mint tables, it is usually explained more precisely. The number 1 is missing, but the subsequent low numbers are those of Turkish collections and publications of the sixties and seventies that would have been the first books and articles available to Diler, then moving on to, for example, Stephen Album's price lists, which are listed in batches, item numbers 23-28, 245-55, 289-93, and so on as Diler received and worked on them. Many other auction catalogues and fixed price lists are included. The volumes of Lane-Poole's British Museum catalogue are listed in the order 9-10, and then 1-8, with the key numbers 61-70, but unfortunately, one would think, a series of subnumbers like 6/1 and 6/8, all referring to books by Tšzen, have been inserted here in numerical order ignoring the slash, 6/1 after 61, 6/2 after 62, instead of putting them after item 5 as was no doubt intended. In sum, the references are listed in numerical order as Diler encountered them, not alphabetically, or according to any systematic classification of the bibliography. Naturally, this makes no difference in the process of looking up a number reference, but it makes it harder to attach some meaning to the numbers with practice so that one need not look up every reference. It seems that with Islamic Mints one will always have to have the third volume open for reference as well as one of the other two.
   Leaving aside peculiarities of the listing, future compilers of any kind of coin index are strongly urged to avoid the numerical reference system entirely. It is very user-unfriendly: the reader is forced, in this case, to juggle two heavy volumes to understand the citations. The use of numeric references invites typographic errors in the preparation of the work: if a number is typed 978 when it should be 987, what proofreader will notice the mistake? Not even the author. Indeed, since the numbers evidently were used by Diler in compiling his reference cards, how often did it happen at the end of a long day that he himself wrote down the wrong number for a reference? For this preliminary notice of the book, no attempt has been made to verify the references; the frequency of error will emerge only with long use of the index. Nevertheless, and surely, it would be better to use mnemonic abbreviations instead of numbers in any kind of index of Islamic coins. BM I, BM II, etc., are just as simple and certainly more human than 63, 64, and so on; Mitchiner's classic The World of Islam is easy to recognize as WI or MWI instead of 20; Album's fixed price lists as SA FPL 43, etc. (or even APL 43). Some abbreviations will necessarily be longer than a four-digit numberin many cases, the modern system "author (year)" will be the best form--but the enormous gain in ease of compilation, use, and immediate clarity for the reader will compensate for the compiler's extra pen- or keystrokes and make it possible for the reader to turn and pull the relevant book off the shelf, or to judge the relevance and reliability of the reference intuitively, instead of first writing down the reference and searching the bibliography list.
   The mints are listed in Arabic alphabetical order, as is traditional. It is not certain that this is the best order, if the sort key word is the Roman alphabet transcription of the mint name; it may impress Arabists, but the rest of the world would probably find the English alphabetical order easier to use. Zambaur used the Arabic form of the mint name as the sort key word, which deals better than the English alphabet with uncertain names, and evades the sometimes problematic question of vowelling (is it Arminiyya or Irminiyya?), but computers still discriminate against Arabic (and to a lesser extent against any language other than English), and many users of a list of mints will find English alphabetical order more instinctive.
   Volume I, pages 1-641, has the mints from alif to za', the first eleven letters of the 29-letter Arabic alphabet as well as the letters pe (three dots under ba') and chim, used in other languages. Volume II, pages 642-1333, has entries for the remaining Arabic letters shin-ya' as well as the Malay form of p (three dots over fa') and the letter ga' used in Turkish and Urdu.
   Volume III has the ancillary matter. First comes a listing of "States" (translated Devletler), which are actually dynasties, in transliteration or common name in English alphabetical order with the Turkish name of each one and, in most cases, the item number in the listing "Dynasties." "States/Devletler" is immediately followed by "Devletler/States" which gives the same information but with the Turkish names first, in Turkish alphabetical order, and the standard transliterated name. In both lists, for some reason, the Spanish dynasties are mostly called by their traditional Spanish names, such as "Algarbe, Taifas of (Reyes Taifas)" instead of their Arabic names, in this case Muluk al-Gharb or Banu Bakr. It is strange that the medieval Spanish names of Muslim polities are still considered to be the "real names" by many writers, and especially strange that a Turkish author would accept this assumption. Why then are the successors of the Fatimid governors in Palermo not listed as "Normanni di Sicilia" (nos. 1737-44)?
   The next listing is the very important tabulation of "Dynasties / Hanedanlar," which has a tabular entry for every separate ruler of each dynasty with five rows:
   1. The number of the entry, the English or transliterated dynasty name, the dates of the dynasty, and the Turkish dynasty name (this row is repeated for every ruler!).
   2. The short form of ruler's name, transliterated, his Hijra dates, and the ordinary Turkish form of the name.
   3. Additional elements of the ruler's name, his CE dates, and the Turkish form of the additional elements.
   4. The ruler's father's name, briefly.
   5. Citations and remarks. The citations are usually to work no. 1006, listed as Album's Checklist of Popular Islamic Coins, 2nd edition (which does not have the word "Popular" in the title), and work no. 480, Yilmaz Öztuna's Islam Devletleri, and sometimes other specialized references. The cross-reference to the Checklist is very useful and ought to be in any index listing, but one is very surprised not also to find here C. E. Bosworth's New Islamic Dynasties, which ought to be the standard Islamic dynasty reference for everyone, or Zambaur's original Manuel de Genealogie which is still useful. This row also sometimes gives additional information about the person, which is repeated in Turkish. The amount of information varies greatly: most of the Abbasid caliphs just have the two citations, while al-Muhtadi rates the notice "dismissed from office," which is a mild way of saying that he was hunted down and killed by the Turkish soldiers of Samarraand is hardly relevant to numismatics. On the other hand, the Rum Seljuq sultans have long paragraphs of information.
   Remarkably, the rulers are listed in alphabetical order within each dynasty, not in order of succession. One notices further erroneous listings: "Abbasid Revolution" is listed as a dynasty, with three rulers (nos. 40-42): Abd Allah b. Mu`awiya, Abu Muslim, and al-Kirmani; but the first and third of these had nothing to do with the Abbasids or their revolution. Another "dynasty" is "`Arab-Sasani" which is not a dynasty at all, or even a historical reality, but merely a modern classification term invented by Walker. As part of that "dynasty," Abd Allah b. al-Zubayr is identified as a "rival Umayyad caliph," but he was not an Umayyad (the Umayyad caliphs, incidentally, are not listed at all among the dynasties, although most of them are named on coins). There is, fortunately, no dynastic listing for Arab-Byzantine. However, despite some historical inaccuracies, there is a lot of useful information in this ample listing of dynasties (pp. 1358-1690), especially for dynasties of Turkey and some others. One thing one would expect is sadly missing: there is no cross-index from each dynasty or each ruler to the mints each one used.
   Next in volume 3 is the bibliography, which has already been described. The bibliography is followed by the mint index, an indispensable part of the work (pp. 1758-93), which lists all the mint names, both the transliterated and the Turkish forms, in a single English alphabetical order: for example, Acmir under Ac and Ajmir (the same place) under Aj. In the latter instance it makes great sense to list both forms; it's less obvious why Abaran (Turkish without macrons) and Abaran (transliteration with macrons) need to be listed one after the other.
   The third volume and the set are finished off with eight maps, some of which fold out: Anatolia & The Middle East (Anatolia, the Caucasus, and Jazira in detail) Near East (Khurasan and Eastern Iran), North Africa & Spain (apparently exhaustively complete) Balkans, Near East, Yaman, Filastin (a foldout, from Ifriqiyah to Afghanistan, with extremely detailed treatment of the Fertile Crescent and detailed insets for Yemen and Bilad al-Sham [the inset is labeled Filastin, but in fact runs from Qurus to Ghazza]), Caucasia, Near East & Asia (a foldout, from Bagche-Sarai and Ghazza to Yarqand and Lahore, with detailed treatment of western Iran, the Volga, northern Caucasus, and Crimean mints, and Ma wara' al-nahr or Transoxiana), Asia, Baghdad (a foldout, with extremely detailed coverage of everything from the Jazira to Balasaghun, from Tiflis down to Hurmuz; with insets for Iraq, Baghdad, and Samarra; more Iranian mints than any of the other maps; but including many placenames that were not mints), India (a foldout, with South Asia from Farwan to Colombo, with detailed insets for Bengal and the Deccan), United Provinces (the actual territory of the former British government unit, showing the territorial subdivisions but not mints)
   Despite a certain redundance, these taken one by one are the best Islamic mint maps ever produced, both as to appearance and content. Fatih Taspinar is recorded as responsible for the maps: top honors!
   The volumes have card covers, with inside flyleaves front and back almost as deep as the cover itself, effectively doubling the cover; the flyleaves will be useful as bookmarks. The front cover of each volume is different, showing a pile of silver coins of, respectively, the early, middle, and late Islamic periods; the back cover has an attractive photo of the late author and a description of the work. Although the covers are practical and handsome, they unfortunately do not allow the volumes to lie open and flat; a paperweight and a spring clamp will be helpful to keep a volume open to consult it, and plenty of desk space because the numeric reference system requires two volumes to be open simultaneously.
   This is a quick overview, not a careful analysis: I apologize for any errors. For those with a serious commitment to Islamic coin collecting or numismatics, with money to spare for the price, and a sturdy bookshelf with at least one foot vertical clearance, this set is essential. I'm glad to have a copy and expect to use it often.
SOURCE: Michael L. Bates, Curator Emeritus of Islamic Coins, American Numismatic Society, from posting in Islamic Numismatics Group, 2/11/09



WEBSITE DIRECTORY    | | |    INDEX OF ARTICLES    | | |