The Arab-Byzantine “Three Standing Imperial Figures” Dīnār From The Time Of Umayyad Caliph ʿAbd al-Malik, 72-74 AH / 692-694 CE
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First Composed: 3rd September 2009
Last Modified: 3rd January 2010
Assalamu ʿalaykum wa rahamatullahi wa barakatuhu:
(a) A general Byzantine prototype of a gold solidus with "three standing imperial figures", viz., Heraclius, Heraclius Constantine and Heraclonas.
(b) An Umayyad imitation of a gold solidus with "three standing imperial figures", Heraclius-type coinage, without the Arabic writing on the reverse side.
(c) An Umayyad imitation of the "three standing imperial figures" Heraclius-type coinage, with the Arabic writing on the reverse side.
72-74 AH / 692-694 CE. This dating was proposed by Michael Bates who based it on the historical sources and numismatic material. Earlier, Walker did not date the gold coins precisely, but believed that in all probability a year or two before 74 AH / 693-694 CE. Miles adopted a similar dating by specifying the years 72-73 AH / 691-693 CE because of its close resemblance in many details to the "standing caliph" dinars of 74-77 AH.
Obverse field: Three standing imperial figures (Figure c).
Reverse field: Staff ending in globe in steps. Reverse margin: bism Allāh lā-ilaha il-Allāh waḥdahu Muḥammad rasūl Allāh ("In the name of God. There is no god but God alone. Muḥammad is the messenger of God").
Weight = 4.42 gms [Figure (c)]. Although there is no mint name, the coin was most likely struck in Damascus in Syria. Compare this dinar with the Arab-Sassanian dirhams from the time of ʿAbd al-Malik minted in Damascus in the years 72 AH and 73 AH.
Figure (a): The Byzantine prototype on the obverse side consists of three imperial figures - Heraclius bearded in the centre flanked by his sons Heraclius Constantine and Heraclonas - standing facing and wearing long robes and cross-surmounted crowns; each holding in his right hand a small globe with cross. On the margin is an outer circle. On the reverse side is a cross potent on three steps; legend around, arranged clockwise beginning in the bottom which says VICTORIA AVGYB. Below is written CONOB (i.e., Constantinopole), which is the name of the mint. On the margin is an outer circle. Weight = 4.330 gms.
Figure (b): An Umayyad imitation of the Byzantine protype is generally similar to that of the original except that the obverse side shows elimination of the crosses on the crowns. The small globe with the cross in the right hand is converted into a globe terminating the vertical line. The reverse side has the mutiliated cross on steps with the elimination of the transverse arm of the cross and substituted by globes on either sides of the vertical line. The Heraclian monogram in the reverse field has been eliminated and the letters I and B appear left and right of the vertical shaft. The legend is arranged clockwise beginning in the bottom which says VICTORIA AVGYB. Below is written CONOB (i.e., Constantinopole) with missing ‘C’. Weight = 4.460 gms.
Figure (c): An Umayyad imitation of the obverse side is generally similar to that of the Byzantine prototype, but with elimination of the crosses on the crowns. The small globe with the cross in the right hand is converted into a globe terminating the vertical line. Thus this gives an impression of the staff, even though the vertical line does in fact join the bottom hem of the robe. The reverse side has the mutiliated cross on steps which occupies the centre of the field and the vertical staff terminates in a globe. B / I on either side of the mutiliated cross. On the reverse margin, starting from top, going clockwise, has basmala with full shahada, perhaps the earliest surviving physical record of it in Arabic on a coin. The margin has an outer circle. Weight = 4.420 gms.
The discussion above highlights various stages of development from the prototype Byzantine to Arab-Byzantine coinage. The initial stage was the elimination of crosses present in the Byzantine prototype coins, but keeping everything else intact. In the subsequent stage, crosses as well as Byzantine formula were removed and instead Arabic formula, i.e., the shahada, was introduced. For the sake of comparison, see Arab-Byzantine imitation of one and two "standing imperial figures" gold solidi where the imitation was confined only to removal or mutiliation of the crosses, keeping everything else almost the same.
Various museums and private collections. For example, the British Museum, London; the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford; The Nasser David Khalili Collection; Dumberton Oaks Collection.
 M. L. Bates, "History, Geography And Numismatics In The First Century Of Islamic Coinage", Revue Suisse De Numismatique, 1986, Volume 65, pp. 243-250.
 J. Walker, A Catalogue Of The Muhammadan Coins In The British Museum, 1956, Volume II - Arab-Byzantine and Post-Reform Umayyad Coins, British Museum: London, pp. 17-18, Plate V.
 G. C. Miles, "The Earliest Arab Gold Coinage", The American Numismatic Society Museum Notes, 1967, Volume 13, pp. 209-211, Plates XLV-XLVI. For dating see p. 227. Miles also published the "three standing imperial figures" Heraclius type Umayyad imitation coin in idem., "Some Early Arab Dinars", The American Numismatic Society Museum Notes, 1948, Volume 3, pp. 93-114, Plates XVII, No. 1.
 M. L. Bates, "History, Geography And Numismatics In The First Century Of Islamic Coinage", Revue Suisse De Numismatique, 1986, op. cit., p. 243; C. Floss, Arab-Byzantine Coins: An Introduction, With A Catalogue Of The Dumberton Oaks Collection, 2008, Dumberton Oaks Byzantine Collection Publications - 12, Harvard University Press, p. 65.
 S. Album & T. Goodwin, Sylloge Of Islamic Coins In The Ashmolean, 2002, Volume I, The Pre-Reformed Coinage Of The Early Islamic Period, Ashmolean Museum: Oxford, Plate 41, Nos. 607.
 T. Goodwin, Arab-Byzantine Coinage, 2005, Studies In The Khalili Collection - Volume IV, The Nour Foundation in association with Azimuth Editions, p. 36.
 C. Floss, Arab-Byzantine Coins: An Introduction, With A Catalogue Of The Dumberton Oaks Collection, 2008, op. cit., p. 65.
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