Arab-Sassanian Coin Of Yazīd Bin Muʿāwiya, 61 AH / 681 CE

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First Composed: 25th August 2008

Last Modified: 26th August 2008

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Assalamu ʿalaykum wa rahamatullahi wa barakatuhu:

Arab-Sassanian coin issued by Yazīd bin Mu‘āwiya in 61 AH.


61 AH / 681 CE.


Obverse field: Typical Arab-Sassanian bust, i.e., standing profile potrait of Khusraw II, enclosed by double circle. Middle Persian invocation on the left GDH ’FZWT ("Increase of glory"). On the right, in front of the head, a legend in Middle Persian ḤWSLWY ("Khusraw"). Obverse margin: Usual star-and-crescent ornaments with a legend in Middle Persian ’PD ("Excellent").

Reverse field: Typical Arab-Sassanian fire-altar with attendants. The Middle Persian legend on the far left says: ŠNT ’YWK ("Year one"). On the far right it reads: Y YZYT ("Of Yazīd").


There is no mint signature on this coin. Instead the reverse field reads "Year one of Yazīd". Undoubtedly, the novelty of the coin is incontestable for several reasons. Firstly, on the obverse, the name of "Khusraw" ought to have been replaced by that of Yazīd. But in this coin the name of Khusraw has been retained. Secondly, there is no indication of the "Islamic" character of the coin. The Middle Persian character ’PD ("Excellent") is not replaced by kufic formula such as "bism Allāh". Thirdly, the date while occupying the usual position is unusual for couple of reasons.

  1. The dating "Year one of Yazīd" belongs to Sassanian system; the "Year one" being the first year of the current reign. The early Arab-Sassanian coins usually have dates from Yazdgird or post-Yazdgird era, the date is a figure 20 or higher.
  2. On the Sassanian and Arab-Sassanian coins, the date is represented by a number corresponding to the year of the reign or the era used. However, in the Umayyad reformed coinage, the word "sanat" ("year") makes its appearance as a date prefix. The use of the ideogram "ŠNT" ("year") in this coin is unprecedented in Arab-Sassanian coinage.

Not known.

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[1] M. I. Mochiri, "A Sasanian-Style Coin Of Yazīd B. Mu‘āwiya", Journal Of The Royal Asiatic Society, 1982, pp. 137-141, Plate I.

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