Guide Khazar studies : an historico-philological inquiry into the origins of the Khazars

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Christology in the making: A New Testament inquiry into the origins of the doctrine of the incarnation. Recommend Documents. Lila: an inquiry into morals 'Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance' was like a first child. Maybe that will always be the best-loved one. Both of these studies relied on the examination of the dirhams discovered in coin hoards deposited throughout western Eurasia during the eighth to the eleventh centuries.

Based on the total number of preserved dirhams in each hoard, it was possible to estimate the patterns of mint production of the two mints. This evidence permitted us to identify the peaks and troughs of each mint and, in the case of Bal kh , to determine how long its coins circulated in northern Europe.


For this study, he developed a new method for estimating the production of medieval Islamic mints. The same approach was applied to the examination of the mint outputs of al-Andalus, Bal kh , and Bu kh a r a. The thrust of the argument for such an approach can be summed up below. One approach tries to estimate the total number of dies used for striking the coins from a given mint in any year. It then estimates the number of dirhams produced by each die to project the total mint output in a given year.

While this method has many advantages, especially the projections of total annual mint output, it is a painstaking task to estimate the number of dies used by a mint during any given year and the number of dirhams struck by each die is the subject of great controversy. Consequently, it is difficult using the die-count approach to measure mint production over long periods of time One such alternative was developed by Thomas Noonan and is based on the assumption that the number of dirhams found in hoards reflects mint output over a given time period. In other words, the more coins that are struck in a given year, the greater are the numbers of coins from that year that are found in hoards.

Bengt Thordeman demonstrated the reliability of this approach in a well-known article published many years ago The limitation of this approach is that it only provides relative and not absolute figures. It indicates whether the output of a given mint was greater or smaller in some years than others and it thus suggests the degree of difference in production amongst years in the same mint.

The hoard-count approach does not give us the total output for any given year. Similarly, it compares the relative production of different mints during a given time period. This approach does not provide data on their absolute output. Any large study of mint outputs must therefore attempt to combine both methods. At the same time, the hoard-count method does shed much light on the general patterns of mint output for specific years and the reigns of Islamic rulers. This information can be very useful when discussing the general trends in trade relations between the S a m a nids and northern Europe based on the study of hoards: their chronology, numbers, and compositional profiles.

The mint chosen for the inquiry is Samarqand — one of the key S a m a nid commercial and administrative cities. During the S a m a nid era, Samarqand saw its zenith as it came to be the largest city in area and population , inhabitants in Tranoxania, surpassing even Bu kh a r a. It lay at the junction of key trade routes to India via Bal kh , Persia via Marw, and the Turkish lands Samarqand also had one of the most prolific S a m a nid mints during the tenth century, with an output that was rivaled only by al Sh a sh. In light of the above, the production of dirhams by the mint of Samarqand should be of immense interest to those concerned with the great Viking-age trade between the S a m a nid lands and northern Europe.

Out of these 1, hoards, 1, date from the tenth to the eleventh centuries. An examination of these 1, hoards revealed that of them or half of the total contained S a m a nid dirhams struck in Samarqand and all but one were deposited during the tenth and the eleventh centuries Thus, S a m a nid dirhams struck in Samarqand circulated widely outside of Central Asia during the tenth and eleventh centuries. Table 1. The spatial distribution of S a m a nid Dirhams struck in Samarqand. Of these coins, 12, can be dated to precise years e. Table 2. Dirham mint output of Samarqand by S a m a nid ruler.

Therefore, dirhams minted by the S a m a nid in Samarqand, like those struck in Bal kh and Bu kh a r a by this dynasty, appear to have been coins intended primarily for export. If these coins were struck for local circulation in Central Asia, one would find a much greater number of hoards containing S a m a nid dirhams in the region Thus, the evidence at hand strongly suggests that the overwhelming majority of the dirhams struck in Samarqand gravitated towards northern Europe and that these dirhams were struck specifically for trade with this region.

Between , when the S a m a nid first began to systematically mint dirhams in their own names, and , when the last S a m a nid am i r was deposed, there were only thirteen years for which no dirhams from Samarqand are recorded in our sample — all occurring at the very end of the S a m a nid period.

While Samarqand was active as a mint during much of the late ninth and tenth centuries, there are some notable peaks and falls in its output. The very next year, in , mint output in Samarqand suddenly dropped in production and continued to decline steadily for the rest of the tenth century. Overall, From , there was another major drop in production which, in relative terms to the output prior to then, can be considered near catastrophic. This decline continued into the s the exceptions were the years and which will be discussed below and by the s the mint experienced another drop which signified the total collapse in the production of dirhams in Samarqand.

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In the s, few, if any, dirhams were struck at the mint and after no Samarqand dirhams struck by the S a m a nids are recorded in our database. Graph 1. The earliest issues from Samarqand by this am i r come from From this year until the end of his rule in , Samarqand produced ever-increasing quantities of dirhams, reaching a zenith in output by The mint showed a slight increase in activity in and rebounded in to pre levels Graph 2. On the whole, In just the first decade of his rule, This fall in production continued for the remaining years of his reign. During his rule, only 2.

However, the apparent rise in dirham production in and is deceiving since most of the surviving specimens for these two years come from a single and somewhat unusual hoard in its composition and late date of deposit tpq Discovered in Tatarskii Tolkish, Russia former territories of Volga Bul gh a ria , it contained two Indian coins dated to and — exceptionally rare finds for northern Europe 26 — and thirty-three dirhams minted in Samarqand in and seventy-nine in Table 3. Mint output of Samarqand per year on average for each S a m a nid am i r.

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Clearly, under the S a m a nids, the mint was most active from to However, it did continue to strike dirhams with relative intensity from to Thus, by , Under the remaining three amirs who ruled from to , the mint not only declined in output volume only 7. The decline in the volume and intensity in mint output was progressive during the second half of the tenth century.

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Very few, if any, dirhams were minted between these peaks at the two mints. In this way, chronologically, dirham productions at Bal kh and Bu kh a r a were diametrically opposed to each other. Graph 4. When Samarqand was experiencing its heyday as a mint in the first half of the tenth century, Bu kh a r a produced hardly any coins.

It was only in the mids when Bu kh a r a became an active mint and continued to issue dirhams in relatively large volumes until the late s. In light of these falls in production at the two mints, it can be tentatively suggested that the dramatic upsurge and continued albeit diminishing mint output in Bu kh a r a beginning with the mid through the late s was an attempt by the S a m a nid am i rs to supplement the declining production of dirhams in Bal kh and Samarqand.

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After the examination of dirham output of al- Sh a sh and the twenty or so secondary S a m a nid mints, this suggestion can be better tested for accuracy. Thus, the surviving dirhams found in hoards from the mint of Bal kh number 1, from hoards , from Bu kh a r a 1, from hoards , and from Samarqand 14, from hoards. Clearly, Samarqand was by far the more prolific mint of the three and would rank as a primary S a m a nid mint while the other two as secondary.

Book Khazar Studies An Historico Philological Inquiry Into The Origins Of The Khazars

Graph 5. As was suggested in the study dedicated to the mint output of Bu kh a r a , the general decline in the production of dirhams by S a m a nid mints after the ss can be associated with the overall economic and political decay of the S a m a nid realm beginning with the fifth decade of the tenth century and lasting until its total disintegration in the closing years of the tenth century. The diminishing S a m a nid revenues due to the loss of their provinces particularly in the south , agricultural collapse, and endemic rebellions caused a decline in the supply of silver for the striking of dirhams Perhaps more importantly, the overwhelming majority of dirhams struck by the S a m a nids were systematically exported to northern Europe during the first half of the tenth century.

By the sixth decade, the S a m a nids had simply drained their silver resources and came to face a silver crisis. This suggestion is supported by what is known about the silver contents of the later S a m a nid dirhams. In addition to producing fewer and fewer dirhams during the second half of the tenth century, from ca. To explain this debasement, it has been suggested that the S a m a nids had difficulties in supplying the necessary silver for international trade, thereby adding base metals to the coins Indeed, it has recently been determined that a major, progressive decline in S a m a nid trade with northern Europe began with the s and lasted for the remainder of the century.

Just during the decade of the s, trade fell by Overall, it appears that the collapse in dirham production witnessed in the second half of the tenth century in Samarqand and other S a m a nid mints, as well as the notable decline in S a m a nid commerce using dirhams during the same period, can be attributed to the general economic decline and the diminishing supply of silver available in the S a m a nid lands. Thus, it is clear that dirhams struck in Samarqand were destined for trade with this region and that the S a m a nid dirham was primarily an export coin.