1887

Abstract

The field of numismatics has long been a critical component to the field of archaeology. Within this field, there is a particular interest in the coinage of the Sasanian Empire. Moreover, as a sub field, the existence of a particular type of coinage that was created using a Sasanian model, but with the inclusion of Georgian letters. This series of coins has long been under studied, often only being looked at by scholars from the former Soviet Union, particularly Georgia, and therefore has never truly been analysed. The type is often seen in a very nationalistic tone, as being the first real attempts at Georgian independence. This begs the question, is the existence of a particular group of Georgian-Sasanian coins an indicator of a Georgian strive for independence within the Sasanian Empire? It is the intension to show how the Sassanian Empire used coins in order to better control the regions under their control, more specifically that of the region of Georgia. What this research will attempt to understand is the unique style of Sasanian coinage known as Georgian or Georgio-Sasanian that appears around the 6th century AD. In researching this unique issue of coinage, it will become much more evident what meaning the tool of coinage had in the greater scheme of the empire. A major part to this will involve creating a catalogue of the known examples of this coinage, there are around forty known types, from the Georgian National Museum, The American Numismatic Society, The Bode Museum, The Hermitage, and the National Museum in Prague. Creating this catalogue will allow for me to analyse the data in the next part, with literature used as a source to add substance to the claims associated with the coins in question. This analyses will involve studying past interpretations and typologies, such as those of Yevgeni Pakhomov and Medea Tsotselia. With this data, it is the intent to then compare this material culture to what is known from literary sources and other known material culture from the region, in order to formulate a working theory as to the true intention of the coins in question, so whether they truly were an attempt at Georgian independence, or whether they were in fact simply a propaganda tool, used by the Sasanian state to help in their constant warfare against outside forces, such as the Roman Empire. By gaining access to and studying these collections, I will be able to create a new dataset of knowledge about Sasanian coins that in the past has not been accessed properly and in the English language and therefore never studied. This will also involve the inclusion of coins, known as Arab-Sasanian, from the collection of the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha. This inclusion of the coins dating from the early Islamic era will be included in order to show the continued importance of minting and the role it played in establishing and legitimizing rule and community. Adding this, much like the work of Album & Goodwin, Tsotselia, Göbl, and Pakhomov once a clear dataset has been made and complied, it is the intention to include work like pXRF, which would help to highlight issues in the actual minting and metallurgical process, which also were not available to earlier scholars like Göbl and Pakhomov, and arguably has been under used by other scholars in the field. This will also be important to highlight the use that techniques like pXRF have to the field of archaeology and numismatics, since it is a relatively new technique that is still being developed, especially in Qatar. It is important to highlight what additional research in the field of Sasanian numismatics will do. The Sasanian Empire and the time period in which they reigned was a critical point in the history of the Middle East, in part because of their constant warfare with the Roman Empire, and their presence at the coming of Islam. The coinage produced by the Sasanians, and the imitative coins produced by the Caliphs after their emergence, were a central part to the administration and life of people in the periods relevant to them. Without an understanding of coins, it makes the job of understanding the social, economic, and cultural world difficult, as coins were crucial to these aspects of life. Additionally, there is a large gap in the area of expertise in the field of Sasanian Studies and Numismatics as a whole, and by completing this work, I can add to a field that is in desperate need of help. Adding to this is the importance that numismatics has to the field of archaeology, since coinage is a critical aspect to material culture that can help in dating sites. It is also important to note what the issue of Sasanian control over Georgia and the Caucasus region means for the study of archaeology and history. It has importance in a number of reasons, thereby making the coinage a relevant item to study. For political reasons, the area was a key buffer state as seen in the constant flux of control in two ways, political and religious. In the political sense the region was a buffer state that prevented one power from taking complete control, and from outside powers such as the Huns and Turks from entering the heartlands of the Iranian and Roman Empires. As well as the resource of manpower, which for both the Romans and the Iranians was something greatly needed, especially when one looks at the religious creation of a commonwealth. This effected the area even after the area was divided between the two powers in 591 AD. One must also take into account why this region is so important in our understanding of late antiquity. Roman-Iranian relations were one of a few key events in the late ancient world, others being things like the relations between the Eastern and Western Roman Empires as well as the emergence of the non-Roman states of the west and incursions of the steppe peoples in the East. In other words it is a key component of understanding the history of the known world in this period.

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/content/papers/10.5339/qfarc.2016.SSHASP1567
2016-03-21
2019-09-20
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