Subgroup: Coins of queen Tamar with her signature
Type: Subgroup: Coins of queen Tamar with her signature

Description, picture:
“Irregularly” struck copper. Weight – ex. 14, 97 gr., 16,24 gr.

d≈23/41 mm., 26/31 mm.

Obverse: Signature of Tamar in the centre of a wreathed frame. Asomtavruli marginal legend: ႵႱႾႪႨႧႠႶႧႠႨႵႬႠႽႣႠႨႥႺႾႪႱႨႠႫႱႵႰႩႬჃႦ In the name of God, this silver piece was struck in the K’oronikon 407 (=1187).

Reverse: Arabic legend in five lines:
الملكة المعظمة
جلال الدنيا والدين
تامار بنت كيوركى
ظهير المسيح
اعز الله انصاره
The great queen, glory of the world and faith, Tamar, daughter of Giorgi, champion of the Messiah, may God increase her victories.
Circle around and marginal Arabic legend:
ضاعف الله جلالها و مدّ ظلالها و ايد اقبالها
May God increase her glory, and lengthen her shadow, and strengthen her prosperity.

Scholarly commentary:
    We begin review of the Georgian credit money (12th c.-the 20s of 13th c.) with the copper coins of Demetre I (1125-1156) and end with the copper money of Rusudan (1222-1245). This period in the Georgian numismatics is strictly “copper period”. The so-called “silver famine” in the Middle East was at its highest point at the time and left traces on Georgian numismatics. From the reign of Demetre I to that of Rusudan only copper coins were struck. This is one of the peculiarities of numismatic activity. Another peculiarity is that in 12th c. the face of the coin changed drastically. The coins lost their up-to-then standard feature, round shape. From then on, the large part of the coins were struck as copper plates which had accidental shapes. Often, because of small size of the plates, the die was not placed on the coins in its entirety. This method of coin issue first appeared in the Middle East and was then introduced into Georgia. It was suggested that in trading the so-called “irregularly” struck coins were weighted rather than counted. Simultaneously with the “irregular” coins, round coins were struck too.

       Issues of Demetre I.
       Copper, various shapes, weights and sizes. ex. 0,72 gr., 2,13 gr., 6,11 gr. d≈8 mm., 15/16 mm., 21/22 mm.

1. Obverse: Asomtavruli letter in the centre, which represents first letter of Demetre’s name. Arabic legend above and below: ملك الملوك King of the Kings. Circle around and unreadable Arabic legend.
Reverse: Arabic legend in two lines:
 محمود بن محمد
Mahmud ibn Muhammad (1118-1131).
Almost unreadable Arabic legend around.

2. Obverse: Asomtavruli letter in the centre of octagonal frame. Arabic legend outside the frame:
ملك الملوك
حسام المسيح
King of the Kings, sword of the Messiah – stylized and represents the part of the frame.
Reverse: Arabic legend inside rosette shows the names of Caliph al-Muktafi li-amr Allāh(1136-1160) and the Seljuk sultan Ghias ad-din Masud (1133-1152).

    The date of the issues of Demetre I should be established by the Muslim rulers’ regnal years. Indeed, their names are placed on the coins. Supposedly, Demetre I struck coins in 1125-1131 and 1136-1152.
    “Irregularly” struck copper coin of David V (1155) (Issue of David V) was previously thought to belong to David IV Aghmashenebeli (1089-1125) as the Arabic legend on the reverse was read as Muhammad sultan the mightiest Barq[iaruq]. Sultan Barqiaruq lived at the time of David IV. G. Japaridze read the legend in a following way: Muhammad sultan [the mightiest], son of Mah[mud]. This sultan, Muhammad ibn Mahmud (1153-1159), was a contemporary of David V. Thus, the coin should be undoubtedly attributed to him.

Obverse: Arabic legend in three lines, the following fragments of which are extant:
[م]لك...[الملوك]
[حسام الم[سيح
[داو[د
King of the Kings, sword of the Messiah David... To the right, unknown sign is placed vertically. Fragment of a linear circle and a part of marginal legend.
Reverse: Arabic legend in three lines:
محمد
[السلطان [الاعظم
[بن مح[مود
Muhammad sultan [the mightiest], son of Mah[mud].

        “Irregularly” struck copper coins of Giorgi III (1156-1184) (Issues of Giorgi III with Asomtavruli letter) are almost identical to the above-described money of Demetre I with the difference of having another letter for the king’s name. Instead of Asomtavruli there is for Giorgi. It might be a bit surprising that Giorgi III, the mighty king of the united Georgia, placed Arabic legends and the name of a Caliph on his coins. Some scholars think this should point to some sort of dependence on a part of the Georgian king towards the Muslim ruler. However, this argument is largely flawed. Such actions of Demetre I and Giorgi III were dictated mainly by economic factors, since the Georgian money had to reach the Middle Eastern markets, and Arabic legends and name of a Caliph on them would undoubtedly help in it. Simultaneously the contents of the legend conveyed to the Muslim world that Giorgi III was the “King of the Kings” and the “sword of the Messiah”.

Obverse: – first Asomtavruli letter of the name Giorgi inside rosette made up of waving lines and Arabic legend:
 كيوركى، ملك الملوك، حسام المسيح
King of the Kings Giorgi, sword of the Messiah.
Reverse: Arabic legend in waved rosette:
 المقتفى/لامر/لله/ امير/ المومنين
al-Muktafi li-amr Allāh (1136-1160), ruler of the believers.
    
      These coins were issued in 1156-1160.
      Simultaneously with the “irregularly” struck coins, Giorgi III started issuing round shape coins (Coins of Giorgi III – king with falcon on hand). For the first time in the Georgian numismatics Mkhedruli inscription was placed on the money of Giorgi III. Apart from this, there is also date which had not been placed on the coins since the beginning of the 11th c. However, this date was given in Georgian K’oronikon.

Obverse: Giorgi III in Asian-Byzantine dress. Seated cross-legged, facing. His left (sometimes right) hand rests on his thigh, on another hand up lifted sits a falcon. King wears stemma. Georgian Mkhedruli letters for the name of Giorgi (გი, sometimes monogram of ႢႨ is added to it) and Asomtavruli legend ႵႰႩႲႯႣ, in the K’oronikon 394 (=1174).
Reverse: Arabic legend in three lines:
ملك الملوك
كيوركى بن ديمطرى
حسام المسيح
King of the Kings Giorgi, son of Demetre, sword of the Messiah.

        In 1178 Giorgi III made his daughter Tamar co-ruler. Most probably, the below “irregular” copper coin (Coins of Giorgi III and Tamar) belong to their joint rule. These coins represent an exception in the Georgian numismatics as there are only Georgian legends placed on them. The coins should have been struck between 1178 and 1184.

Obverse: In the centre of an ornamented hexagonal rosette two Asomtavruli letters ႢႨ (Giorgi). Asomtavruli legend outside rosette: ႠႣႨ/ႣႬ/ႶႬ/ႫႴ/ႫႴႤ  May God exalt King of the Kings.
Reverse: In the centre of rosette the first letter of the name Tamar or various abbreviations of her name – ႧႰ, ႧႫႰ, ႧႫ. Asomtavruli legend outside rosette: ႠႣႣ/ႬႶႬ/ႫႴႤ/ႣႠ/ႣႤ/ႣႭ/ႪႨ May God exalt king and queen.

     From 1184 onwards Tamar is a sole ruler (Coins of queen Tamar with her signature). The above coins are interesting for several reasons. First of all, such a grand Arabic legend had not been placed on any Georgian coin. One can tell through the contents of this legend how powerful Georgia was by the time.   Secondly, the legend on a copper coin “… this silver piece was struck” probably shows details of the so-called “silver famine”. The K’oronikon 430 (=1210) was placed on another variant. It should be noted that the above-given coins exist in their thousands.
    The below “irregularly” struck copper coin (Coins with the legend “Tamar the queen”) is unique and was part of M. Baratashvili’s collection.

Obverse: Three Asomtavruli letters in a frame made up of five semicircles: ႧႰႣ, Tamar the queen. Cross above.
Reverse: Large dots.

    In 1188 queen Tamar married David Soslan and the below copper coins  of “regular” shape (Coins of Tamar and David with the “Bagrationi family badge”) belong to them. These coins reached us in large numbers.

The weights range from 4 gr. to 10 gr.

Obverse: Specific badge in the centre –   – which D. Kapanadze thinks to be the “Bargrationi family badge”. To the left and right Asomtavruli letters for the names of Tamar and David –ႧႰ and ႣႧ. Above and below  Asomtavruli letters  ႵႩჃႩ in the K’oronikon 420 (=1200).
Reverse: Arabic legend in four lines:
ملكة الملكات
جلال الدنيا والدين
تامار ابنة كيوري
ظهير المسيح
Queen of the Queens, glory of the world and faith, Tamar, daughter of Giorgi, champion of the Messiah.

        As to the sophisticated figure on the obverse of Tamar and David’s coin, which D. Kapanadze thinks to be the Bagrationi family badge, its significance was explained by a highly-reputated paleographer T. Barnaveli. According to him, the badge includes a monogram consisting of Georgian letters which represent Tamar’s and David’s names. Finally, we will touch upon the date of Tamar’s death, since the numismatic data play an important role in establishing the exact date of this event. Scholars propose different dates for Tamar’s death. According to the numismatic data, the most acceptable date is 1210. Tamar struck coins in 1210. There are also coins of Giorgi IV dated by 1210 with the inscription “Giorgi, son of Tamar” and his the same year issue, showing king in Imperial dress. Therefore the conclusion is that Tamar died in 1210 and her son Giorgi IV ascended the throne in the same year.
        The “irregularly” struck copper coins of Giorgi IV (Coins of Giorgi IV with the legend “Giorgi, son of Tamar”).

Obverse: Asomtavruli legend in the centre of a wreathed frame: ႢႨႻႤ/ႧႫႰႱႠ Giorgi, son of Tamar. Marginal Asomtavruli legend: ႵႱႾႤႪႨႧႠႶႧႠႨႵႬႽႤႣႠႥႺႾႪႱႠႫႱႵႩႱჃႪ In the name of God, this silver piece was struck in the K’oronikon 430 (=1210).
Reverse: Arabic legend in four lines:
الملك الملوك
جلال الدنيا والدين
كيوركى بن تامار
حسام المسيح
King of the Kings, glory of the world and faith, Giorgi, son of Tamar, sword of the Messiah. Circle around. Persian legend outside the circle:
 بنام خداى پاك اين سيمرا زده اند بتاريح چهار صی وسی سا  
In the name of the most saint God this silver piece was struck in the year 430.

          It is an interesting detail that this “irregularly” struck money has a Persian legend on it. There are original samples among the coins of Giorgi IV. To these coins belongs the one with Tamar’s monogram on the obverse, whereas on the reverse – the same legend as on the above-described coins. D. Kapanadze explains this by the possiblity that the workers at the mint confused the dies of the coins of Tamar and Giorgi dated by 1210.
          The “regular” coins of Giorgi IV (Coins of Giorgi IV with the legend “Of king Giorgi…lord of the Javakhs”) are known in smaller quantities. The weights range from ex. 4,5 gr. to 6,5 gr.

Obverse: Asomtavruli legend in four lines: ႵႢႨႫ/ႴႱႠႧႫႰႱႻ/ႱႠႱႠႿႠႥ/ႾႧႳႨႠ Of king Giorgi, son of Tamar, lord of the Javakhs.
Reverse: Arabic legend in four lines:
الملك المعظم
جلال الدنيا والدين
كيوركى بن تامار
حسام المسيح
The great king, glory of the world and faith, Giorgi, son of Tamar, sword of the Messiah.

    The numismatic activity of Tamar and Giorgi IV needs further commentary: 1. Georgia loses accumulative habitus of monetary market. So, should there be annual emissions? By this aspect, dates 1187 and 1210 oppose the logical economic situation. How should this divergence be explained? In this specific aspect, USSR’s denomination of 1961 is a good parallel. This means that Tamar’s coins were struck every year, but, however, with older date placed on them; 2. Lasha, lord of the Javakhs, is Tamar’s co-ruler and struck coins while she was still alive, in other words, in 1207-1209. A specific princely attribute points to Giorgi IV’s subordinate position within the diarchy. In other diarchies too, for example, that of David Ulugh and David Narin, only name of one ruler is placed on the coins; 3. coin with three Asomtavruli letters – ႧႰႣ – is explained as follows: this money was impossible to be struck after 1187. Tamar married David Soslan in 1188, i.e. this coin is actually the first and is the earliest numismatic activity in her reign. The legend should be read as follows: Tamar the queen. The issue  took place in 1184-1186. 
        The unique copper coin of Giorgi IV (Coins of Giorgi IV – king in Imperial dress). Weight – 5,6 gr.d=23/24 mm.

Obverse: King standing, facing, wearing stemma, with labarum in his right hand and anexikakia, a roll of parchment, wrapped in cloth and filled with dust, a symbol of mortality, in left. Fragments of Asomtavruli legend to both sides of the depiction: ႢႨႻႤ/ႧႫ/ႱႨ/.../.../...Ⴊ Giorgi, son of Tamar ... 30, i.e. in the K’oronikon 430 (=1210)
Reverse: Arabic legend in rosette made up of four leaves:
 سنة / ست/ وست/ مائة
in the year 606 (=1209/1210).
Second Arabic legend in segments between the leaves:
كيوركى بن تامار حسام المسيح
King of the Kings Giorgi, son of Tamar, sword of the Messiah. Circle around.

         Rusudan’s reign was marked by the external pressures. Tbilisi was occupied by Khwarazm shah Jalāl al-Din. Rusudan fled to Kutaisi. These invasions left an indelible trace on Georgian numismatics. It seems, Jalāl al-Din took hold of the state coffers, which he used to strike his own money. Georgian coins were overstruck with a new die.
         A new stage began in the history of the Georgian numismatics under Rusudan’s rule and this was well exemplified by the following: 1) issue of the so-called “irregular” coins was stopped; 2) issue of silver coins was renewed. And now the description of the copper coin of Rusudan is presented.
        The “regularly” struck copper coins of Rusudan. The weights range from ex. 3,66 gr. to 9,49 gr.

Obverse: Asomtavruli letters (abbreviation) – ႰႱႬ – for Rusudan’s name in the centre of an ornamented frame. Above, small-sized twisted sign, which, according to Barnaveli, is Rusudan’s monogram. D. Kapanadze calls this monogram the queen’s “signature”. Between the leaves of the frame date ႵႩႬჃႫႦ in the K’oronikon 447 (=1227).
Reverse: Arabic legend in four lines:
الملكة لملوك و الملكات
جلال الدنيا والدين
روسدان بنت تامار ظهير المسيح
اعز الله انصاره
Queen of the Kings and Queens, glory of the world, kingdom and faith, Rusudan, daughter of Tamar, champion of the Messiah, may God increase her victories. Circle around.

          As to the above-described coins, it should be noted that, despite their large numbers, the date on them is the same and corresponds to 1227. This means that 1227 is the year of the establishment of this specific pattern, and not the year of issue.
          It is interesting to establish the place of issue of the above coins. Jalāl al-Din took Tbilisi first in March 1226. In the same year the Georgian managed to retake the city and left it only in the end of 1227. Thus, the issue of the coins dated by 1227 is very possible to have taken place at Tbilisi mint.
   As it was already said, for a long time in Georgia copper was used as the only monetary metal. We presume that the temporary silver deficit was impossible. We deal here with the Feudal society where it is absurd to assume the lack of raw material. The following might have happened: on a certain level of evolution, silver stocks in the Middle East became much smaller in comparison with the whole amount of commodity. This caused extremely strong purchasing power of the currency. If normal order of social distribution was to be maintained, silver coin weight had to be lowered to the point when problems could arise following its circulation. Very diminished in weight silver unit is the same as copper one according to ratio. So, credit money was founded. And what happened to the stocks of currency? The particular concentration of the hands in ferrous metallurgy and agriculture required certain restrictions in non-ferrous metallurgy. Technological difficulties of silver reception transferred already limited hands to copper to maintain more or less prominent output of non-ferrous metallurgy. Asia strained every nerve to catch Europe. Georgia responded to the problem of Asian neighbours with the credit autoprotectionism.   Oriental legends are the indicators of involvement into the Asian credit system. From Demetre I till the monetary reform in the reign of Rusudan the so-called “irregular” copper coins were issued. The last technical novelty: 1. saves expenses and hands; 2. is a sign of credit category.
Mint: Tbilisi.
Nominal: Copper. Weight – ex. 14, 97 gr., 16,24 gr.
Date: 1187, 1210.
Collection: Simon Janashia Museum of Georgia – ex. QF. (Main Fund of the Georgian Coins, Numismatic Collection, Simon Janashia Museum of Georgia) №133, QF. №№117-124, QF. №№126-128, QF. №№130-133, QF. №3295, QF. №3158; Rustavi Historical Museum – 5 samples; Kazbegi Ethnographical Museum – 3 samples; National Museum of History of Azerbaijan – №4292, №4295, №5984, №11372, №13021, №13087, №13169, №13171, №13694, №20827; Hermitage – 126 samples without number from the Main Fund and 10 samples from the Asian Museum.
Bibliography:
T. Barnaveli.
Development of Specific Figures on the Georgian Coins in High Middle Ages. “Matsne”. Series of History, Archaeology, Ethnography and Art History. №3. Tb. 1974 (in Georg.).

G. Dundua. Georgian Numismatics. I. Tb. 2006 (T. Dundua as co-author) (in Georg.); Georgian Numismatic Dictionary. Tb. 2009 (Ir. Jalaghania as co-author) (in Georg.).

T. Dundua. Georgian Ethnocultural Evolution and the West According to Numismatic Material. Tb. 1997 (in Georg.); Money in Georgia (Georg. and Engl. parallel texts). Tb. 2003 (2nd Edition) (G. Dundua, N. Javakhishvili and A. Eristavi as co-authors).

Ir. Jalaghania. Numismatic Material Found During Archaeological Researches in Tbilisi. Archaeological Monuments of Feudal Georgia. II – Selected Articles. Tb. 1974 (in Georg.).

G. Japaridze. Georgian Coins with Arabic Legends. Copper Coins of David V. “Matsne”. Series of History, Archaeology, Ethnography and Art History. №4. Tb. 1974 (in Georg.).

D. Kapanadze. Georgian Numismatics. Tb. 1969 (in Georg.).

Д. Г. Капанадзе. Грузинская нумизматика. М. 1955.

Е. А. Пахомов. Монеты Грузии. Ч. 1. СПб. 1910.

T. Dundua. Georgia within the European Integration as Seen in Coinage. Catalogue of the Georgian Coins. Tb. 1999.
Imported coins found in Georgia:

Circulation of the 12th c.-early 13th c. foreign coins in Georgia.

1. 133 Georgian and foreign copper coins were found during archaeological excavations in Tbilisi, near 300 Aragveli garden (“Ganjis Kari”), in 1948-49 in a pocket or purse of a dead man. Among the coins there was one sample of Shirwanshah Manuchehr I Kesranid (12th c.).
2. A hoard of 1460 copper coins was found in 1961 in Nichbisi village (Mtskheta district). The chronological frame of the hoard is 12th c.-first quarter of the 13th c. The hoard contains both Georgian and Oriental coins, including 19 samples from Shirwan. Two of them belong to Fariborz II ibn Afridun (1187/88-1203/04), whereas 17 – to Garshasp ibn Farrokhzad (1203/04-1224).
3. A small worn copper coin (date is unknown) was found in Beruantkari village (Dusheti district). According to Evg. Pakhomov, the coin belongs to the second dynasty of the Shirwanshahs – the Kesranids.
4. Four copper coins were found during archaeological excavations in 1956-1957 in Tbilisi, at Erekle II’s square and Shavteli ascent. The coins belong to the Shirwanshah Kesranids. However, it is impossible to make  more detailed attribution.
5. A large hoard of copper coins was found in 1937 in Patara Lilo village (Gardabani district). The chronological frame of the hoard is the second half of the 12th c.-first quarter of the 13th c. Along with the Georgian money there are also foreign coins, including 2 pieces, which are dated by 12th c. and belong to the emirs of Derbent.
6. In the above-mentioned hoard of Nichbisi (see №2) there is one coin, which belongs to the emir of Derbent – Muzaphar ibn Muhammad ibn Khaliphe.
7. Rich numismatic collection was assembled during a number of archaeological excavations in Tbilisi. As a result of the examination of this collection there were identified two silver coins, probably struck at Derbent and dated by the 12th c.
8. A rich numismatic collection was unearthed during Rustavi archaeological excavations in 1949-50, 1959-62, 1965, 1972-75. In the collection five copper coins were found which had been struck at Derbent. All of the five samples are badly preserved thus rendering their precise attribution  impossible.
9. Copper coins of the emirs of Derbent were found along with other coins during Dmanisi archaeological excavations. However, it is impossible to tell the exact number because the coins are badly preseved.
10. A hoard of the 12th-13th cc. Georgian and Oriental coins was found in Dighomi village in 1955. The hoard consisted of 474 samples including one copper coin struck at Derbent.
11. A hoard of the 12th-13th cc. Georgian and Oriental coins was found in Sagarejo district in 1934. The hoard included five coins struck at Derbent.
12. The hoard from Patara Lilo (see №5) had 15 copper coins of the Ildegizids. The chronological frame for the coins is 1186-1225.
13. A large hoard of 12th-13th cc. copper coins was accidentally found in Tbilisi (Krtsanisi) in 1935. The hoard consisted of Georgian, Oriental and Byzantine coins. There were also three copper coins struck in the name of atabeg Abu Bakr (1195-1210).
14. A hoard of copper coins was found in Tbilisi in 1940, near Narikala. Along with the Georgian money and the coins of Jalāl al-Din, there were also 2 copper coins of the Ildegizids. It seems, they belong to Abu Bakr.
15. A large hoard of copper coins was found in Tbilisi (Avlabari) in 1936. The hoard mainly consisted of the 12th-13th cc. Georgian coins. There was also one copper coin of the Ildegizids, namely of atabeg Uzbek (1210-1225).
16. A hoard found at “Ganjis Kari” (see №1) included also 35 copper coins  of the Ildegizids dated by the 12th-13th cc.
17. A hoard of the 12th-13th cc. Georgian coins was found in the early 1900s near Signaghi. The hoard also has some copper coins (exact number is unknown) of the Ildegizids.
18. In a hoard of the 12th-13th cc. Georgian coins  found in Tskneti in 1936 there were 8 copper coins of the Ildegizids.
19. A hoard of the 12th-13th cc. Georgian coins was found at Muslim cemetery (near Botanic Garden) in 1917. There were some synchronous copper coins of the Ildegizids.
20. In the hoard of Nichbisi (see №2) there was one copper coin of the Ildegizids.
21. A hoard found in Sagarejo district (see №11) contained several copper coins of the Ildegizids.
22. Seven 12th-13th cc. copper coins of the Ildegizids were found in 1936-37 during Dmanisi archaeological excavations.
23. Five 12th-13th cc. copper coins of the Ildegizids were found during Rustavi archaeological excavations.
24. Several identical coins were found during the construction of a hydroelectric station at Mtkvari river.
25. A hoard found in Avlabari (see №15) contained one copper coin, which belongs to the Seljuk sultan of Rum,  Kaykaus I (1210-1219).
26. There was a silver coin in a hoard of “Ganjis Kari” (see №1), which belongs to the sultan of Rum  Kaykubad I (1219-1231).
27. One coin of the Seljuks of Rum was in a hoard found in Patara Lilo (see №5).
28. Identical coin was in a hoard found in Dighomi village (see №10).
29. It seems that the silver coins of the Seljuks of Rum were  part of the hoard found in Sagarejo district (see №11).