A Mixed Arab-Sassanian And Arab-Byzantine Coin From The Time Of Caliph ʿAbd Al-Malik, 75 AH / 694-695 CE

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First Composed: 29th August 2007

Last Modified: 31st August 2007

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Assalamu ʿalaykum wa rahamatullahi wa barakatuhu:

A mixed Arab-Sassanian and Arab-Byzantine coin minted in 75 AH.


75 AH / 694-695 CE.


Obverse field: Typical Arab-Sassanian bust. In the place of Middle Persians legends, there are Arabic letters in unpointed Kufic script ḍuriba fī / sanat khamsa wa sabʿīn ("struck in the year 75"). Obverse margin: bism Allāh / lā-ilaha il-Allāh / waḥdahu Muḥammad ra / sūl Allāh ("In the name of God. There is no god but God alone. Muḥammad is the messenger of God").

Reverse field: In the place of the usual fire-altar and the two attendants, a standing figure of the caliph, bearded and with his right hand resting on his sword-hilt in the attitude of the imām delivering a khutba. Kufic legends on sides running downwards khalfat (sic) Allāh / amīr al-mu'minīn ("khalifa of God, Commander of the Faithful").


The "standing caliph" coin types are well-known in the Arab-Byzantine series, perhaps as early as from the reign of Umayyad caliph Muʿāwiya and most certainly under the later caliph ʿAbd al-Malik ibn Marwān. However, this dirham is remarkable in the sense that it blends the Arab-Sassanian and Arab-Byzantine varieties with both weight and fabric from the former. These coins were struck at the time when ʿAbd al-Malik was contemplating his forthcoming "reformed coinage".

Also it is interesting to note that misspelling of khalfat Allāh for khalīfat Allāh is also found on ʿAbd al-Malik's copper coins of Syria.


Not known.

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[1] J. Walker, "Some New Arab-Sassanian Coins", The Numismatic Chronicle And Journal Of The Royal Numismatic Society, 1952, Volume XII, Sixth Series, p. 110 and Plate IX.

[2] S. Nebehay, "Frühislamische Bildermünzen", Numismatische Zeitschrift, 2005, Volume 113/114, p. 268 and p. 270.

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