Embroidery from Afghanistan, £10.99
Diameter: 3.700 cm
Weight: 20.850 g
CM BMC OR no. 101
Room 68: Money
Multiple dinar of Muhammad bin Sam
Ghurid dynasty, AH 601 / AD 1204
Minted at Ghazna (modern Afghanistan)
The Muslim Ghurid dynasty (1030s-1215) supplanted and conquered territory previously held by the Ghaznavids (977-1186) in Afghanistan. The Ghurids were based in the mountainous and inhospitable region of Ghur, with their capital at Firuzkuh. Today the city contains some outstanding examples of Islamic architecture, such as the minaret of Jam.
In the latter part of his reign, the ruler of the Ghurids, Muhammad bin Sam (reigned 1163-1206), began striking multiple dinars weighing up to about 14 g. The coins were designed with a central inscription enclosed by a square frame. It is based on the style of dinars struck by the Almohad dynasty of North Africa. Indeed, Almohad dinars influenced the design of coinage in many Islamic regions, including the Rasulid sultanate of the Yemen.
Ghurid multiple dinars similar to this one may have reached thirteenth-century England along with other Islamic gold coins known as 'oboli de musc' (dinars of the Almohad rulers of North Africa). This is suggested in references to 'ten penny-weight pieces' in documents from the time of Henry III (reigned 1216-72). Medieval rulers often made religious offerings in gold, and used either their own coins or foreign gold coins for this purpose.
F.R Allchin and N. Hammond, The archaeology of Afghanistan (London, Academic Press, 1978)
P. Grierson, Near Eastern numismatics ico-1 (Beirut, 1974)