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Anonymous Aniconic Dirham

Not on view

The Byzantine Empire issued the gold solidus, or nomisma, used primarily for large transactions such as tax payments, and several denominations of copper coins, the money of daily business transactions. Mints in Antioch and Alexandria supplied the majority of the coinage circulated in the southern provinces. The newly established Arab government inherited an efficient monetary system and made few changes during its first decades. The caliph ‘Abd al-Malik (r. 685–705) introduced several issues of distinctively Islamic coinage.
In 696/97 ‘Abd al-Malik (r. 685–705) began issuing a series of coins bearing only religious inscriptions in Arabic. Such epigraphic coins are one of the many reforms introduced during his caliphate that laid the foundations for the imagery of the Islamic state.
The silver issues from this series include the mint signature of Damascus. Like the gold dinar, this dirham combines a verse from the Qur’an with the profession of faith.

Anonymous Aniconic Dirham, Silver

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