1146AD ARAB BYZANTINE Zangid Atabegs JESUS CHRIST Ancient Islamic Coin i56530
1146AD ARAB BYZANTINE Zangid Atabegs JESUS CHRIST Ancient Islamic Coin i56530
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1146AD ARAB BYZANTINE Zangid Atabegs JESUS CHRIST Ancient Islamic Coin i56530

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  • Condition : See Descr.
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  • Start : Wed 01 Mar 2017 16:47:12 (EST)
  • Close : Thu 12 Oct 2017 11:38:14 (EST)
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Seller's Description

Item: i56530
Authentic  Ancient Coin of:

The Zangids (Atabegs) of Aleppo
Nur al din Mahmud ibn Zangi - 541-569 A.H. / 1146-1173 A.D.
Bronze Fals 22mm (3.09 grams)
Reference: Mitchiner (World of Islam), 1132
Two Byzantine figures standing; traces of Greek inscription between them; Arabic  around.
Jesus Christ standing facing; traces of Greek beside; Arabic around.

You are bidding on the exact item pictured,  provided with a Certificate of Authenticity and Lifetime Guarantee of  Authenticity.

he Zengid or Zangid dynasty was a Muslim dynasty of Oghuz Turk origin, which ruled parts of the Levant and Upper Mesopotamia on behalf of the Seljuk Empire.


The dynasty was founded by Imad ad-Din Zengi, who became the Seljuk Atabeg (governor) of Mosul in 1127. He quickly became the chief  Turkish potentate in Northern Syria and Iraq, taking Aleppo from the squabbling Artuqids in 1128 and capturing the County of Edessa from the  Crusaders in 1144. This latter feat made Zengi a hero in the Muslim world, but  he was assassinated by a slave two years later, in 1146.

On Zengi's death, his territories were divided, with Mosul and his lands in  Iraq going to his eldest son Saif ad-Din Ghazi I, and Aleppo and Edessa  falling to his second son, Nur ad-Din, atabeg of Aleppo. Nur ad-Din proved  to be as competent as his father. In 1149 he defeated Raymond of Poitiers, Prince of Antioch, at the battle of Inab, and the next year conquered the  remnants of the County of Edessa west of the Euphrates. In 1154 he capped off these  successes by his capture of Damascus from the Burid dynasty that ruled it.

Now ruling from Damascus, Nur ad-Din's success continued. Another Prince of  Antioch, Raynald of Châtillon was captured, and the  territories of the Principality of Antioch were greatly reduced.  In the 1160s, Nur ad-Din's attention was mostly held by a competition with the King of Jerusalem, Amalric of Jerusalem, for control of the Fatimid Caliphate. Ultimately, Nur ed-Din's Kurdish general Shirkuh was successful in conquering Fatimid  Egypt in 1169, but Shirkuh's nephew and successor as Governor of Egypt, Saladin, eventually rejected Nur ad-Din's  control.

Nur ad-Din was preparing to invade Egypt to bring Saladin under control when  he unexpectedly died in 1174. His son and successor As-Salih Ismail al-Malik was only a child, and  was forced to flee to Aleppo, which he ruled until 1181, when he was murdered  and replaced by his relation, the Atabeg of Mosul. Saladin conquered Aleppo two  years later, ending Zengid rule in Syria.

Zengid princes continued to rule in Northern Iraq well into the 13th century,  ruling Mosul until 1234; their rule did not come finally to an end until 1250.

Nūr ad-Dīn Abū al-Qāsim Maḥmūd ibn ʿImād ad-Dīn Zengī (February 1118 –  15 May 1174), often shortened to his laqab Nur ad-Din (Arabic: نور الدين‎‎, "Light of the  Faith"), was a member of the Turkish Zengid dynasty which ruled the Syrian province of the Seljuk Empire. He reigned from 1146 to 1174.

The war against  the Crusaders

Nur ad-Din was the second son of Imad ad-Din Zengi, the Turkic atabeg of Aleppo and Mosul, who was a devoted enemy of the crusader presence in Syria. After the  assassination of his father in 1146, Nur ad-Din and his older brother Saif ad-Din Ghazi I divided the kingdom between  themselves, with Nur ad-Din governing Aleppo and Saif ad-Din Ghazi establishing  himself in Mosul. The border between the two new kingdoms  was formed by the Nahr al-Khabur River. Almost as soon as he  began his rule, Nur ad-Din attacked the Principality of Antioch, seizing several  castles in the north of Syria, while at the same time he defeated an attempt by Joscelin II to recover the County of Edessa, which had been conquered by  Zengi in 1144. (See Siege of Edessa.) In 1146, Nur ad-Din massacred  the entire Christian population of the city and destroyed its fortifications, in  punishment for assisting Joscelin in this attempt. Although according to Thomas Asbridge, the women and children of  Edessa were enslaved. He secured his hold on Antioch after crushing Raymond of Poitiers at the Battle of Inab in 1149, even presenting to the  caliph, Raymond's severed head and arms.

Nur ad-Din sought to make alliances with his Muslim neighbours in northern Iraq and Syria in order to strengthen the Muslim front against their  crusader enemies. In 1147 he signed a bilateral treaty with Mu'in ad-Din Unur, governor of Damascus; as part of this agreement, he also  married Mu'in ad-Din's daughter Ismat ad-Din Khatun. Together Mu'in ad-Din and  Nur ad-Din besieged the cities of Bosra (see Battle of Bosra) and Salkhad, which had been  captured by a rebellious vassal of Mu'in ad-Din named Altuntash, but Mu'in  ad-Din was always suspicious of Nur ad-Din's intentions and did not want to  offend his former crusader allies in Jerusalem, who had helped defend Damascus  against Zengi. To reassure Mu'in ad-Din, Nur ad-Din curtailed his stay in  Damascus and turned instead towards the Principality of Antioch, where he was  able to seize Artah, Kafar Latha, Basarfut, and Balat.

In 1148, the Second Crusade arrived in Syria, led by Louis VII of France and Conrad III of Germany. Nur ad-Din's victories  and the crusaders' losses in Asia Minor however had made the recovery of Edessa  – their original goal – practically impossible. Given that Aleppo was too far  off from Jerusalem for an attack and Damascus, recently allied with the Kingdom of Jerusalem against Zengi, had entered  into an alliance with Nur ad-Din, the crusaders decided to attack Damascus, the  conquest of which would preclude a combination of Jerusalem's enemies. Mu'in  ad-Din reluctantly called for help from Nur ad-Din, but the crusader siege collapsed after only four days.

Nur ad-Din took advantage of the failure of the crusade to prepare another  attack against Antioch. In 1149, he launched an offensive against the  territories dominated by the castle of Harim, situated on the eastern bank of  the Orontes, after which he besieged the castle of Inab. The Prince of Antioch, Raymond of Poitiers, quickly came to the aid of  the besieged citadel. The Muslim army destroyed the crusader army at the Battle of Inab, during which Raymond was  killed. Raymond's head was sent to Nur ad-Din, who sent it along to the caliph in Baghdad. Nur ad-Din marched all the way to the  coast and expressed his dominance of Syria by symbolically bathing in the  Mediterranean. He did not, however, attack Antioch itself; he was content with  capturing all Antiochene territory east of the Orontes and leaving a rump state  around the city, which in any case soon fell under the suzerainty of the Byzantine Empire. In 1150, he defeated Joscelin  II for a final time, after allying with the Seljuk Sultan of Rüm, Mas'ud (whose daughter he also married).  Joscelin was blinded and died in his prison in Aleppo in 1159. In the Battle of Aintab, Nur ad-Din tried but failed  to prevent King Baldwin III of Jerusalem's evacuation of the  Latin Christian residents of Turbessel. In 1152 Nur ad-Din briefly captured Tortosa after the assassination of Raymond II of Tripoli.

Unification of  the Sultanate

It was Nur ad-Din's dream to unite the various Muslim forces between the Euphrates and the Nile to make a common front against the crusaders. In 1149 Saif  ad-Din Ghazi died, and a younger brother, Qutb ad-Din Mawdud, succeeded him. Qutb ad-Din  recognized Nur ad-Din as overlord of Mosul, so that the major cities of Mosul  and Aleppo were united under one man. Damascus was all that remained as an  obstacle to the unification of Syria.

After the failure of the Second Crusade, Mu'in ad-Din had renewed his treaty  with the crusaders, and after his death in 1149 his successor Mujir ad-Din followed the same policy. In 1150  and 1151 Nur ad-Din besieged the city, but retreated each time with no success,  aside from empty recognition of his suzerainty. When Ascalon was captured by the crusaders in 1153,  Mujir ad-Din forbade Nur ad-Din from travelling across his territory. Mujir  ad-Din, however, was a weaker ruler than his predecessor, and he also agreed to  pay an annual tribute to the crusaders in exchange for their protection. The  growing weakness of Damascus under Mujir ad-Din allowed Nur ad-Din to overthrow  him in 1154, with help from the population of the city. Damascus was annexed to  Zengid territory, and all of Syria was unified under the authority of Nur  ad-Din, from Edessa in the north to the Hauran in the south. He was cautious not to  attack Jerusalem right away, and even continued to send the yearly tribute  established by Mujir ad-Din; meanwhile he briefly became involved in affairs to  the north of Mosul, where a succession dispute in the Sultanate of Rum  threatened Edessa and other cities.

In 1157 Nur ad-Din besieged the Knights Hospitaller in the crusader fortress of Banias, routed a relief army from Jerusalem led  by King Baldwin III, and captured Grand Master Bertrand de Blanquefort. However, he fell ill  that year and the crusaders were given a brief respite from his attacks. In 1159  the Byzantine emperor Manuel I Comnenus arrived to assert his  authority in Antioch, and the crusaders hoped he would send an expedition  against Aleppo. However, Nur ad-Din sent ambassadors and negotiated an alliance  with the emperor against the Seljuks, much to the crusaders' dismay. Nur ad-Din,  along with the Danishmends of eastern Anatolia, attacked the Seljuk sultan Kilij Arslan II from the east the next year,  while Manuel attacked from the west. Later in 1160, Nur ad-Din captured the  Prince of Antioch, Raynald of Châtillon after a raid in the  Anti-Taurus mountains; Raynald remained in captivity for the next sixteen years.  By 1162, with Antioch under nominal Byzantine control and the crusader states  further south powerless to make any further attacks on Syria, Nur ad-Din made a  pilgrimage to Mecca. Soon after he returned, he learned of  the death of King Baldwin III of Jerusalem, and out of respect  for such a formidable opponent he refrained from attacking the crusader kingdom: William of Tyre reports that Nur ad-Din said  "We should sympathize with their grief and in pity spare them, because they have  lost a prince such as the rest of the world does not possess today."

The problem of Egypt

Main article: Crusader invasion of Egypt

As there was now nothing the crusaders could do in Syria, they were forced to  look to the south if they wanted to expand their territory. The capture of  Ascalon had already succeeded in cutting off Egypt from Syria, and Egypt had  been politically weakened by a series of very young Fatimid caliphs. By 1163, the caliph was the young al-Adid, but the country was ruled by the  vizier Shawar. That year, Shawar was overthrown by  Dirgham; soon afterwards, the King of Jerusalem, Amalric I, led an offensive against Egypt, on  the pretext that the Fatimids were not paying the tribute they had promised to  pay during the reign of Baldwin III. This campaign failed and he was forced to  return to Jerusalem, but it provoked Nur ad-Din to lead a  campaign of his own against the crusaders in Syria in order to turn their  attention away from Egypt. His attack on Tripoli was unsuccessful, but he was  soon visited by the exiled Shawar, who begged him to send an army and restore  him to the vizierate. Nur ad-Din did not want to spare his own army for a  defense of Egypt, but his Kurdish general Shirkuh convinced him to invade in 1164. In  response, Dirgham allied with Amalric, but the king could not mobilize in time  to save him. Dirgham was killed during Shirkuh's invasion and Shawar was  restored as vizier.

Shawar immediately expelled Shirkuh and allied with Amalric, who arrived to  besiege Shirkuh at Bilbeis. Shirkuh agreed to abandon Egypt when  Amalric was forced to return home, after Nur ad-Din attacked Antioch and besieged the castle of Harenc. There, Nur  ad-Din routed the combined armies of Antioch and Tripoli, but refused to attack  Antioch itself, fearing reprisals from the Byzantines. Instead he besieged and  captured Banias, and for the next two years continually raided the frontiers of  the crusader states. In 1166 Shirkuh was sent again to Egypt. Amalric followed  him at the beginning of 1167, and a formal treaty was established between  Amalric and Shawar, with the nominal support of the caliph. The crusaders  occupied Alexandria and Cairo and made Egypt a tributary state, but  Amalric could not hold the country while Nur ad-Din still held Syria, and he was  forced to return to Jerusalem.

In 1168 Amalric sought an alliance with Emperor Manuel and invaded Egypt once  more. Shawar's son Khalil had had enough, and with support from Caliph al-Adil  requested help from Nur ad-Din and Shirkuh. At the beginning of 1169 Shirkuh  arrived and the crusaders once more were forced to retreat. This time Nur ad-Din  gained full control of Egypt. Shawar was executed and Shirkuh was named vizier  of the newly conquered territory, later succeeded by his nephew Saladin. One last invasion of Egypt was  launched by Amalric and Manuel, but it was disorganized and came to nothing.

Domes of Nur al-Din Mahmud's madrasa complex in Damascus (his burial  place)

Death and succession

During this time Nur ad-Din was busy in the north, fighting the Ortoqids, and in 1170 he had to settle a  dispute between his nephews when his brother Qutb ad-Din died. After conquering  Egypt, Nur ad-Din believed that he had accomplished his goal of uniting the  Muslim states, but Saladin did not wish to be subject to his  authority. He did not participate in the invasions led by Nur ad-Din against  Jerusalem in 1171 and 1173, hoping that the crusader kingdom would act as a  buffer state between Egypt and Syria. Nur ad-Din realized that he had created a  dangerous opponent in Saladin, and the two rulers assembled their armies for  what seemed to be the inevitable war.

However, when Nur ad-Din was on the verge of invading Egypt, he was seized by  a fever due to complications from a peritonsillar abscess. He died at the age of 59  on 15 May 1174 in the Citadel of Damascus. He was initially buried  there, before being reburied in the Nur al-Din Madrasa. His young son As-Salih Ismail al-Malik became his legitimate  heir, and Saladin declared himself his vassal, although he really planned to  unify Syria and Egypt under his own rule. He married Nur ad-Din's widow,  defeated the other claimants to the throne and took power in Syria in 1185,  finally realizing Nur ad-Din's dream.


According to William of Tyre, although Nur ad-Din was "a  mighty persecutor of the Christian name and faith," he was also "a just prince,  valiant and wise, and according to the traditions of his race, a religious man."  Nur ad-Din was especially religious after his illness and his pilgrimage. He considered the crusaders foreigners in Muslim  territory, who had come to Outremer to plunder the land and profane its  sacred places. Nevertheless, he tolerated the Christians who lived under his  authority, aside from the Armenians of Edessa and regarded the Emperor Manuel  with deep respect. In contrast to Nur ad-Din's respectful reaction to the death  of Baldwin III, Amalric I immediately besieged Banias upon learning of the  emir's death, and extorted a vast amount of money from his widow.

Nur ad-Din also constructed universities and mosques in all the cities he  controlled. These universities were principally concerned with teaching the Qur'an and Hadith. Nur ad-Din himself enjoyed to have  specialists read to him from the Hadith, and his professors even awarded him a  diploma in Hadith narration. He had free hospitals constructed in his cities as  well, and built caravanserais on the roads for travellers and  pilgrims. He held court several times a week so that people could seek justice  from him against his generals, governors, or other employees who had committed  some crime. In the Muslim world he remains a legendary figure of military  courage, piety, and modesty. Sir Steven Runciman said that he loved, above all  else, justice.

The Damascene chronicler Ibn al-Qalanisi generally speaks of Nur ad-Din  in majestic terms, although he himself died in 1160, and unfortunately did not  witness the later events of Nur ad-Din's reign.

  • Regnal titles
    Preceded by
    Emir of Aleppo
    Succeeded by
    As-Salih Ismail al-Malik
    Preceded by
    Mujir ad-Din
    Emir of Damascus
    Succeeded by
    As-Salih Ismail al-Malik


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    Listing Information

    Listing TypeGallery Listing
    Listing ID#155223895
    Start TimeWed 01 Mar 2017 16:47:12 (EST)
    Close TimeThu 12 Oct 2017 11:38:14 (EST)
    Starting BidFixed Price (no bidding)
    Item ConditionSee Descr.
    Dispatch TimeNext Day
    LocationUnited States
    Auto ExtendNo

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