Arab-Latin Coinage - Half Solidus With Two Imperial Busts, c. 80-85 AH / 700-704 CE

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First Composed: 8th February 2015

Last Modified: 28th February 2015

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Arab-Latin half solidus, 80-85 AH / 700-704 CE.


80-85 AH / 700-704 CE.


Obverse field: Bust of Emperor Heraclius on left and smaller bust of his son Heraclius Constantine on right, each wearing a crown. Obverse margin: INNDNM [ ] IEST {= "IN Nomine DoMini [ ] non EST"} ("In the name of the Lord. [ ] does not exist").

Reverse field: A globe on top of a column with a base of three steps with a bead below. Reverse margin: [ ] DSNISOLVSDS {= "[ ] DeuS NIsi SOLUS DeuS"} ("[ ] there is no god but the one God").


Weight = 2.00 gm. Known as gold semissis / half solidus / nisf dinār, this was minted in Africa (Ifriqiya).[1] These earliest Islamic coins from North Africa are modifications of those struck by the Byzantines in Carthage immediately before the Muslim conquest. The globe at the top of a column on three steps is the Muslim adaptation of the Byzantine cross on steps. It has been suggested that the globe symbolises the Unity of God. The legends of the coins were inscribed in Latin, but they were different in many details from those in Arabic found in the contemporary coinage in the east. There exists a later variation of this type of coin where there are no busts of Emperor Heraclius and his son Heraclius Constantine. Instead, it is replaced by a Latin inscription.


Private collection.

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[1] J. Walker, A Catalogue Of The Arab-Byzantine And Post-Reform Umaiyad Coins, 1956, The Trustees Of The British Museum, p. 55, No. 144.

[2] An Important Collection Of Islamic And Indian Coins, 2 December 2014, Spink: London, Lot 1.

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