The Ottoman dirhems, onluks and beshliks in the collection of Odesa Archaeological museum
Authors: Yanov Dmytro
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The Ottoman coins of multiple denominations of akche (basic Ottoman silver currency), called dirhems, onliks and besliks, from the collection
of Odesa Archaeological museum, are introduced in this article. The places where these coins were discovered are unknown. However, as
far as they were presumably discovered somewhere in the territory between Prut and Dnister rivers, some issues concerned the circulation of
these denominations in this region are examined. The dirhems, known in written sources as şhahi or padişhahi, were minted in the eastern
provinces of the Ottoman Empire, annexed by the Ottomans as a result of the conquests of Selim I (1512-1520), Suleiman I (1520-1566) and
Murad III (1574-1595). Dirhems were minted according to the local weight standards, which differed from the Ottoman ones, based on akche.
Although this denomination was introduced during Selim I’s or Suleiman I’s reign, they started to penetrate to the north of Danube river
only after the debasement of akche in 1584-1586. This debasement caused the need of the larger silver currency on the market. The discoveries
of dirhems, mainly issued during Murad III’s reign, both as part of the hoards and as separate findings, are known in quite large amount in
south Romania, and in fewer amounts – in Moldova and in the territories of northwestern Black sea area that were under the Ottoman administration.
Osman II (1618-1622) started to issue onluks – the denomination, patterned after dirhem, which was equal to 10 akche. However, while
the dirhems of 16th c. were issued only on the eastern mints, the onluks were issued on the eastern mints as well as on the capital mint Kostantiniya.
The fraction denomination, called beshlik, equal to 5 akche, has been issued on the eastern mints since Ahmed I’s reign (1601-1617)
and on the Kostantiniya mint – since Murad IV’s reign (1623-1640). Unlike the dirhems of 16th c., the onluks and beshliks of the first half of
17th c. were not so widespread, and their main area of circulation was limited to the territories under control of Ottoman administration of
Silistra-Ochakov Eyaleti. On the basis of known discoveries, we can make an assumption, that the coins from the collection of Odesa Archeological
museum, represented in this article, could be discovered in the area of Lower Dnister or Lower Danube rivers.