Davidovich, E. A.
Istoriya Denezhnovo Obrashcheniya Srednevekovoi Srednei Azii
(Medniye Moneti XV - Pervoi Chetverti XVI v Maverannakhre)

History of Monetary Circulation in Medieval Central Asia
(Copper Coins of the 15th - First Quarter of the 16th Century in Transoxania)

Izdatel'stvo "Nauka", Glavnaya Redaktciya Vostochnoi Literatury, Moscow, 1983.
Text in Russian.
360 pages. 
Hard cover. 
Edited in 3000 copies. Hard to find.
Fine condition
International shipping by registered airmail worldwide.

Abstract [by J.Farr]

      An in-depth treatment of the copper coinage of the Islamic Shaybanid and Timurid dynasties. The first part of the book is a detailed typology of coin types and countermarks with lists of mints and dates. Arabic legends are written out in full. The second part of the book is a detailed history of coin circulation and metrology. All types are illustrated with line drawings in the text.

SUMMARY [by E.A.Davidovich]

      The basic source materials are 36 copper coin hoards (the majority are unpublished), legal works and documents. The basic method is a comparative analysis of the composition, topography and number of hoards with due acco-unt of the period of, and reasons for, their formation.

      Chapter 1 surveys coin inscriptions and countermarks, the question of the predominance of the Persian language in these inscriptions, mints and their exact location. Some of the mints are new not being referred to in the books of O. Codrington and E. Zambaur. Others were known to them but they did not register mintage under the Timurids and the Shaybanids. A comparative analysis of coin inscriptions, legal works and documents has made it possible to determine the concrete historical significance of "fulus", "dangi" "'adli", "dinar", "dinar kebeki", "miri" and other terms in 15th-16th-century Mawerannahr and to consider the question of the name of copper coins of the basic denomination.

      Chapters 2-3 review the principles of classification and methods of attri-bution of coins and countermarks. Experience has shown that an unfortunate classification mechanically narrows the further research potential whereas a fortunate one forms the basis and instrument of study of many questions of mo-netary policy and circulation. The author has evolved a four-stage classificatory hierarchy, criteria at each classificatory level and signs of the type - the main classificatory unit (third stage of the hierarchy). This is followed by a concrete description of the types of coins of Samarqand, Bukhara, Hisar and Khuttalan as well as of the types of countermarks issued by all mints of Mawerannahr. Some types of coins and the majority of the types of countermark were undated in the inscriptions; on some countermarks and even coins the mints are unnamed. Methods of dating and placing the mintage of such coun-termarks and coins are evolved.

      Chapter 4 treats of the monetary policy. The policy with regard to the weight of copper coins in the 15th century and the first quarter of the 16th century has been found to develop. After a period of domination of the el-marco mintage the last decade of the 15th century brought the prevalence of mintage based on weight standard with a small remedy. The author has introduced and defined two new values ("the average rate of wear" of copper coins and "standard remedy", in their mintage) and evolved a method of clarifying the weight standard through the study of the average weight of single-type coins.

      The study of the coins' average weight made it obvious that since the clo-sing decade of the 15th century the weight standard of the copper coins' basic denomination ("copper dinar") had exhibited repeated changes: the optimal weight standard equaled 5.2 grammes (mithqal and a half of its dang) and the least equaled 2.8 grammes. In addition to the coins of the basic denomination its multiples were in existence. These were at times minted specially, on other occasions they were offered to the market with the aid of countermarks; the fun-ctions of small multiples were also performed by coins declared to be "old". The specially minted multiples of coins of the basic denomination differed from it by a proportionally multiple of the average weight, size and at times type. Since the last decade of the 15th century the number of multiples had been growing: trade was served by double and 1.5 dinars, coins with denominations of half, two-thirds, one-third and one-sixth of the copper dinar.

      Mediaeval economists realised that the number of copper coins could not be increased arbitrarily. This determined the forms of usage of the coin rega-lia. Their foundation was a division of all copper coins into two groups - "old" and "new". The "new" coins were those of the latest type or those with the latest type of countermark; only they had a complete rate ("dangi") of circulation. The policy with respect to the "old" coins happened to be dual: in some cases they were simply banned and offered to be exchanged for "new" ones, in others "old" coins functioned as lesser multiples. Thus additional incomes were derived both by the central authority and by the rulers of appanages. Furthermore, the circulation of copper coins happened to be equal all over the state (whatever the place of issue or countermarking). In other periods in large possessions "local" and "alien" coins had different rates. The most interesting phenomenon was the formation of "economic alliances" of possessions: some of them allied themselves with Bukhara, others with Samarqand.

      Chapter 5 discusses the monetary reform of Ulugbek, originated in 832/1428-29. Its first stage was the issue of single-type "new" coins of increased weight in many mints of Mawerannahr, the imposition of a ban on the continued circulation of the "old" coins and their exchange for "new" ones without serious losses for the population. Its second stage was the many-year issue of a series of coins with an unchanged date-832 H.-centralised in Bukhara. The Ulugbek reform ensured the equal circulation of copper coins in all parts of Mawerannahr. It responded to the requirements of developing trade in consumer goods itself promoting its development.

      Chapters 6-7 consider and compare the monetary policy and state of mo-netary circulation in the last decade of the 15th century and the first quarter of the 16th century in two regions of Mawerannahr - central-Mawerannahr (the districts of Bukhara and Samarqand) and in Hisar (the districts of Chaganiyan, Kabadiyan, Wakhsh, Khuttalan and Hisar). Almost throughout this period both the state of monetary circulation and the monetary policy have been found to be different in these two regions. By the turn of the 16th century both regions had exhibited crises pf monetary circulation. In the Hisar region the crisis was deeper but in 907/1501-02 a monetary reform was conducted here. The concrete understanding of the economic situation and social psychology ma-de this reform a complete success: it not only removed the crisis, but ensured a stable state and determined the main specific features of monetary circulation in this region for two decades ahead.

      In central Mawerannahr the appropriate policy pursued in 907/1501-02 was limited to half-hearted measures. This played a role in the ripening of a more serious crisis here after 918/1512-13. Other reasons for this were the political situation, excessive exploitation of the monetary regalia by all expedients, the independent monetary policy of the rulers of Bukhara and Samarqand and the destruction of equal copper coin circulation between these ci-ties. The reform of Kuchkunchi-khan (head of the Shaybanids; his own appa-nage was Samarqand) eliminated the crisis and laid the foundations of the general monetary policy all across Mawerannahr. However, this reform was ef-fected with difficulty, in three phases being completed only by 1525.

      Conclusion. Its four sections discuss the following new questions. Section 1. The sphere of copper coin circulation. Trade in consumer goods has been found to be served precisely by these coins. Section 2. Periodisation and local variants of the minting and circulation of copper coins. Signs of development common to Mawerannahr led to dividing the 15th century and the first quarter of the 16th century into eight stages. In two regions of Mawerannahr (central Mawerannahr and Hisar) local features of development have also been brought out. To each stage has been given a discription which underlines both common and specific signs. Section 3 is devoted to the phenomenon of the Hisar region. It has been discovered that at first this region lagged behind central Mawerannahr both in the total volume of commodity production and in that of trade at all levels. In the 15th century the Hisar region made a great "spurt" but only in some fields: it caught up with central Mawerannahr in the level of trade development in the sphere of copper coin circulation. Section 4 is concerned with the question-of the "peak" development period of small-scale commodity production, trade in consumer goods and maximal involvement of rank-and-odinary citizens and part of the rural population in money-commodity relations in mediaeval Mawerannahr. Numismatic data have the advantage of being comparable diachronically. This has enabled the author to furnish an answer to the above-mentio-ned question: distinct signs had made their appearance by the second quarter of the 15th century whereas "peak" development fell on the last quarter of the 15th century and the first quarter of the 16th century.