Sunday, June 12, 2011

The horsemen of Kharwezm

The local Kings of the Afrigid dynasty rose to power in Khoresm during the early part of the 4th century A.D. and their rule continued for nearly 700 years. In 305 AD Khorezm (a region located between the Caspian Sea, the Aral sea and the Amu Darya) overthrew its Persian suzerainty. Khoresm remaining a free state under the Afrigids right up until AD 995 when the Ma’munids replaced them, under Samanid overlordship.

Their distinctive coinage is identified by their dynastic symbol – a horseman.

Many areas in central Asia used Sasanian or Sasanian-style drachms for their currency. The Khwarazmians instead used drachms of their own design which portray the king wearing a turban-like crown on the obverse and their unique symbol the 'Khwarazmian Horseman' on the reverse.

Some examples of their distinctive coinage below.

CHORESMIA (Ancient KHWAREZM). Ifrighid Dynasty. Unknown king, ca. 6th Century A.D. Tetradrachm. Crowned bust r. wearing bead necklace. A crescent is set on the front of the crown, three lines of beads go across the crown, while a cross-hatched swag is on the back. Fillet and double dash border. Rv. Horseman r.; Khwarezmian legend around MR'Y MLK 'hmw'y'zsy. 7.38 grams. Vainberg type ΓI. Extremely rare

KHWARAZMIA. Bravik (Fravik). 7th century AD. AR Drachm (6.65 g, 12h). Crowned bust right / “Lord King Bravik” in Khwarazmian, laureate king right on horseback, holding whip. Vainberg Type GIII; Rtvelazde 48; Zeimal fig. 7, 1-2. VF, toned. Rare.

KHWARAZMIA. Savshafan. 8th century AD. AR Drachm (3.16 g, 12h). “Savshafan” in Baktrian, crowned bust right / “Lord King Savshafan” in Khwarazmian, laureate king right on horseback, holding whip. Vainberg Type GV; Rtvelazde 49; Zeimal fig. 7, 7. Good VF, glossy dark patina. Rare.

Afrigids : Khwarezm AR drachm, Savshafan with cross. Rare

Ifrighid of Khorezm, Sawshafan (mid-8th cent. AD), silver drachm (Wainberg "GAMMA"/V; Rtvel 49; Mitchiner, Indo-Greeks, type 500, NB 1, ii),Korezmian legend (obv.); king on horseback r. (rev. 3.12g.(CM.83-1999) Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge

KHWARAZMIAN KINGS. Sawshafan. Mid 8th century AD. AR Drachm (3.16 gm). Crowned head of King right / King on horseback right, holding bow. Rtvelazde 49; Zeimal pg. 262, 7; cf. Mitchiner, The Early Coinage of Central Asia, 71. Near EF, lightly toned. Rare.


1. Stacks achieve (

2. Ancient Coin Search (

3. Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge (U.K) see

4. Ebay australia