Gold 1/4 dinar and a tari of Roger II

Sicily, AH 443 / AD 1051-2 and AH 537 / AD 1142-3

The blend of Arab and Norman styles

The island of Sicily first came under Muslim rule in AD 827. In the tenth century it came under the sway of the North African Aghlabid dynasty, and then the Fatimids in 909 who installed the Kalbid emirs to rule it as governors (948-1053). This quarter dinar coin was struck during the reign of the Fatimid caliph al-Mustansir (1036-94). It has a characteristic design of radiating lines.

Arab domination of the island ended following the conquest of Sicily by the Normans in 1091, and the establishment of the Norman kingdom. However, the Arabs were encouraged to remain, and many artisans and craftsmen did so. The resulting blend of Arab and Norman styles is evident, particularly in the architecture of the capital, Palermo. Sicily also became an important centre for the diffusion of Islamic culture into Europe.

The Norman king of Sicily, Roger II (reigned 1130-54) struck gold coins known as tari (from the Arabic meaning 'pure') based on the earlier Fatimid quarter dinars. The Islamic Hijra date (AH) was maintained and the legends are both in Latin and Arabic.

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Gold quarter dinar and a tari of Roger II

Gold dinar from the Fatimid Dynasty

  • Gold tari from Norman rule

    Gold tari from Norman rule


More information


P. Grierson, Coins of Medieval Europe (London, Seaby, 1991)

V. Tarascio, Siciliae Nummi Cuphici (Acireale, 1986)

L. Travaini, La monetazione nellItalia Norm (Rome, Istituto storico Italiano per il medio evo, 1995)


Diameter: 1.500 cm (¼ dinar)
Weight: 0.920 g
Diameter: 1.500 cm (¼ dinar)

Museum number

CM BMC OR IV no. 158;CM 1860.7-3.23



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