After being blown away by a superlative Roman Empire coin back in April, which was the launch coin in their ‘Legacy of the Greatest Empires’ series, we’ve eagerly awaited the second issue. As we suspected, it’s the Mongol Empire this time, rulers of the largest continuous land empire in history, spanning from the east coast of Asia, to the Mediterranean Sea in the west, At its peak, in the early 14th century, it covered an area of some 24 million square kilometres, helped by the Central Asian steppes enjoying the mildest, wettest conditions for over a thousand years.
Led by Genghis Khan, Mongol forces, composed mainly of lightly armoured cavalry, spread out, subjugating city states, and small empires alike. It wasn’t all about war, however, and Genghis Khan introduced a new codified set of laws, forbade the trade in women, encouraged and standardised reading, introduced religious freedom, and encouraged trade. The empire continued for centuries after his death in 1227, growing to a huge size under the almost as famous Kublai Khan, by the end of the 13th century. It was in Europe, the Middle East, and Japan that they met their match, but the empire fell primarily to infighting amongst the many factions.
The coin depicts Genghis Khan, on horseback, clad in his armour, seemingly gazing out as his mounted hordes go on a rampage. Like the Roman Empire coin, there is a wide range of elements packed into this face, including a coloured map of the empire, a gilded banner, and an inscribed coat-of-arms. Despite how busy it is, the elements all flow into each other to form a coherent whole. The common obverse returns, itself full of detail. Another fine release in what is one of our favourite series being released today.