14. Sulṭānī, 16th-Century CE

These undated accounts in Hebrew reference a payment in sulṭānī from a certain R. Yaʿaqov b. Khalīfa, who had died by the time the document was recorded. Besides imitation Venetian ducats, the sulṭānī was the first gold coin ever minted by the Ottoman Empire, in 1477 CE, during the reign of Sultan Mehmed II [1]. The second account entry mentions a quantity of "jadīd" which may have been copper currency minted according to post-1357 standards in the Mamlūk Sultanate. The mention of this coinage type alongside the "qoron[a]" a Spanish excelente or escudo (first minted in 1497 and 1535 CE) makes it possible to estimate the dating of the fragment as sixteenth-century or later [2]. The escudo is attested elsewhere in the Cairo Geniza as a dablūn (דבלון) in AIU: VII.F.39 which parallels early modern terminology in both Spanish (doblón) and English (doubloon). Although the meaning behind these labels is clear as a "two-piece," the usage of "corona" across geniza documents may stem from the nomenclature of the Spanish Habsburg Emperor Carlos V's coinage as "escudos coronados" (or crowned escudos) [3]. The final entry "Ibrahī[imi]" is likely a reference to coinage that was minted according to standards that were implemented by Avraham Castro during his time as the head of the Ottoman imperial mint in Cairo between 1520-1524 CE [4].

[1] Şevket Pamuk, A Monetary History of the Ottoman Empire (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000), 60-61.

[2] For the equivalence of the terms "escudo" and "corona," see especially: Abraham David, "The Role Of Egyptian Jews In Sixteenth-Century International Trade With Europe: A Chapter In Social-Economic Integration In The Middle East," in From a Sacred Source: Geniza Studies in Honour of Professor Stefan C. Reif, eds., Ben Outhwaite and Siam Bhayro (Leiden: Brill, 2010), 112; María del Mar Royo Martínez, "Antecedentes de la reforma monetaria de Felipe II de 1566 a través del proyecto de Francisco de Almaguer y Diego de Carrera," Historia Moderna 11 (1998): 87.

[3] Robert Harden, "The Coins in 'Don Quixote,'" Studies in Philology 59.3 (1962): 532-533.

[4] Simon Shtober, "'On the Issue of Customs Collectors in Egypt'– Jews as Tax Farmers in Ottoman Egypt" (Hebrew), Pe'amim: Studies in Oriental Jewry 38 (1989): 88.

"Accounts," CUL Or.1081 J47r, mid 16th-century CE, Hebrew.

Images provided by Cambridge University Library

1 What I received from R. Yaʿacov b. Khelīfa, m[ay he rest in Eden] | מה שלקחתי מר׳ יעקב ן׳ כליפה נ׳׳ע

2 Sultānī Jadīd Qoron[a] Qoron[a] Ibrahī[mī] | סולתני גדיד קורון קורון אברהי׳

3 2\ 37\ 4\ 3\ 6\ | ב /לז /ד /ג /ו/

(ed. Matthew Dudley)

Sulṭānī from the Princeton Numismatic Collection (Coin: 16513)

Denomination: sultani

Metal: Gold

Region: Ottoman Empire

State: Egypt

City: Misr

Date: 1574 to 1575

Obverse Figure Description: legend in two registers

Reverse Figure Description: legend in three registers

Size: 20mm

Die Axis: 8

Weight: 3.45 grams

Shape: round

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