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Dynasty: Great Seljuqs -Iran
Ruler: Sanjar (Mu‘izz al-Din Abu‘l Harith)
Reigned: 1118-57 (490-491 AH)
Denomination: De-based gold Dinar
Mint: Nishapur?
Obverse: Inscription in 4? lines. Two line concentric inscription.
Reverse: Inscription in 6? lines. One line concentric inscription.
Reference: Album 1687
Weight: 4.2 gms
Diameter: 23.6 mm

Great Seljuqs

Taking advantage of the uncertainty surrounding the Ghaznavid succession when Mahmud died in 421/1030, Tughril Beg the leader of the Seljuqs, one of the bands of Turkish Oghuz soldiers in Ghaznavid service, seized the province of Khwarazm and in 429/1038 took the new title of `sultan' at Nishapur. To the west, the Buyid control of the rest of Persia was disintegrating and Tughril pushed his way steadily towards Baghdad while his brother Chagri Beg established himself in Khurasan. The Shiite views supported by the Buyids were not universally popular and the existence of the rival Fatimid Caliph in Egypt was a threat to the 'Abbasid Caliphate. Tughril's espousal of the traditional Sunni view of Islam was therefore looked upon with favour and in 447/1055 he was invited to Baghdad by the Caliph (or his vizier, his name included in the Friday prayers, and his title as Sultan confirmed. Before he died eight years later Tughril had destroyed the remnants of Buyid influence and dealt with the rival Inali Seljuqs of Hamadan.

Alp Arslan, his nephew, succeeded him and spread Seljuq influence into eastern Anatolia where he attacked Georgia and Armenia and defeated the Byzantines at Manzikert in 463/1071. His son Malik-Shah consolidated the eastern frontiers with the Ghaznavids and displaced the local Shiite dynasties in Syria. Malik-Shah's vizier Nizam al-Mulk created an effective system of government and religious teaching and the court at Nishapur attracted some of the most advanced scientific thinkers of the time. Omar Khayyam, although best known in the West for his poetry, was a skilled mathematician and had studied theology as a fellow pupil of Nizam al-Mulk. He spent most of his life at Nishapur and may have helped with the construction of the reformed solar calendar for Malik-Shah which established the Jalali era dating from 1079.

When Malik-Shah died in 485/1092, disputes over the succession began and although Barkiyaruq ruled from 487-498/1094-1105, at his death the sultanate was effectively divided between Sanjar in Khurasan and Muhammad in Baghdad, with small independent Seljuq dynasties in Aleppo and Kirman. Sanjar was recognised as the formal head of the Seljuq state and ruled from Marw until 552/1157. Towards the end of his reign, the level of taxes levied to pay for the frontier wars resulted in a revolt of the nomadic Ghuzz tribesmen who successfully took Marw and Nishapur and ended Seljuq control in Khurasan. The final blow came in 590/1194 when Tukush, the Seljuq governor of Khwarazm, who had already taken over Khurasan from the Ghuzz, killed the last Seljuq claimant, Tughril III, and ruled supreme as the Khwarazm Shah.

Taken from 'A Handbook of Islamic Coins' by Michael Broome

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