ISLAMIC, Mongols. Ilkhanids. Hulagu, AH 654-663 / AD 1256-1265. Dirham (Silver, 23 mm, 2.81 g, 11 h), Harran, AH 659 = 1260/1. 'Li-llah Wahdahu / la illah illa Allah shirk lahu / Muhammad Rasul Allah duriba / bi Harran fi sana tis / wa khamsin wa sittami'a' in Arabic. Rev. 'Bi-quwwat Allah / ta'aka wa bi iqbal Mu / nakka wa'an infutihat / al-basita li-akhihi / Hulagu' in Arabic. Diler H-21. Extremely rare and in exceptional condition for the issue. Traces of overstriking on the obverse and with light scratches, otherwise, about extremely fine.
The coast ('al-basita') mentioned in the reverse legend of this issue is none other than the Levantine coast of the Mediterranean Sea, which Hulagu and his Mongols planned to conquer following their capture of Syria. However, six months after the Mongol army, which was supported by Crusader forces under Bohemund VI of Antiochia and an Armenian army under King Hetoum I, had captured the city of Dimashq on the 1st of March 1260, Hulagu's general Kitbuqa was utterly defeated by the future Sultan of Egypt, the infamous Baibars, in the Battle of Ayn Jalut ('Spring of Goliath' in Arabic). The Mamluk victory brought to an end the hitherto unstoppable conquests of the Mongols and deprived the remnants of the once mighty Crusader states of their last hope in their struggle for survival against the forces of Islam. On the other hand, many Christians had not forgotten the terrors of the Mongolian invasion of Europe in 1241, and Pope Alexander IV had in fact forbidden to form an alliance with the dreaded Asian warrior horde. In any case, the Mongolian defeat at Ayn Jalut resulted in their withdrawal from Syria and in the rise of Baibars, who killed the Mamluk Sultan Qutuz soon after the battle and succeeded to the throne.