Arab-Sassanian Coin Of Salm Bin Ziyād, 65 AH / 684-685 CE

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First Composed: 27th April 2015

Last Modified: 27th April 2015

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Assalamu ʿalaykum wa rahamatullahi wa barakatuhu:

Arab-Sassanian coin issued by Salm b. Ziyād in 65 AH.


65 AH / 684-685 CE.


Obverse field: Typical late Arab-Sassanian bust. Obverse margin: In an unpointed Arabic script Bism Allāh, Allāhu / Akbar ("In the name of God, God is / Great").

Reverse field: Typical Arab-Sassanian fire-altar with attendants. Reverse margin: In first quadrant of border, ομβιρο.


Weight = 3.31 gms.

This appears to be the earliest known Islamic coin to bear the famous slogan Allāhu Akbar.[1]

Album notes that the word ομβιρο on the reverse ‘must assuredly be the Bactrian form of the city name Anbir’.[2] His explanation for this curious situation whereby the coin apparently has two mint-names - the Pahlawi MRW (Marw) and the Bactrian ομβιρο (Anbir) - is that the Pahlawi legend denotes where the coin itself was struck (Marw), while the Bactrian inscription shows that it was issued under the auspices of the Ephthalites, whose political capital was at Anbir. Further support for this coin having been struck by or for the Ephthalites comes from the presence of a fourth circle on the reverse, outside the four stars-and-crescents. As Album points out, this feature is no to therwise found on regular Arab-Sasanian drachms until the early 70s, but appears on the plentiful Ephthalite imitations of Anahita-type drachms of Khusraw II, struck well before the present coin.[3]


Private collection.

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[1] "Important Coins Of The Islamic World", Morton & Eden Ltd. (In Association With Sotheby's), 2015, Catalogue No. 73 (23rd April 2015), Lot 7.

[2] S. Album & Tony Goodwin, Sylloge Of Islamic Coins In The Ashmolean - The Pre-Reform Coinage Of The Early Islamic Period, 2002, Volume I, Ashmolean Museum: Oxford (UK), p. 23.

[3] This paragraph is taken from ref. 1.

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