Exhibitions/ Art Object

Dinar of Arab Type

Made in Probably Damascus
Diam: 13/16 in. (2 cm); wt: 4.5 g
Credit Line:
The American Numismatic Society, New York (1970.63.1)
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.
Beginning in the 690s ‘Abd al-Malik (r. 685–705) issued a series of coins depicting a standing caliph. Although the rare precious-metal coins do not bear a mintmark, they were presumably struck in Damascus. The copper coins were issued at sixteen mints. This is the final Umayyad series of coins to depict a human image.
Loosely based on Byzantine coinage, the gold issues replace the figure of the Byzantine emperor with that of the bearded caliph wearing an Arab headdress, possibly a kaffiya, a long robe, and a sword girt around his waist. The shahada, written in Arabic, circles the obverse.
Inscription: In Arabic, on obverse: In the name of God. There is no god but God, and
Muhammad is the messenger of God; on reverse: In the name of God. This dinar was struck in the year 75
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Byzantium and Islam: Age of Transition (7th–9th Century)," March 12, 2012–July 8, 2012.