Diameter: 10.500 mm
Weight: 2.720 g
Room 68: Money
Silver dirham coin
Umayyad dynasty, AH 79 / AD 698-9
Coin reform in the Islamic lands
The reform of Islamic coinage which affected gold coins in AH 77 (AD 696-97) did not seem to affect the silver coinage until two years later. It is only from AH 79 that silver dirhams began to be regularly struck, at over sixty mints across the Umayyad Empire (AD 661-750) which stretched from Spain to Central Asia. The remarkable feature of the dirhams is the extraordinary uniformity of style across such a vast area.
The legends on this example follow a standard Islamic formula. On the obverse (front) is the Islamic profession of faith, the shahada, with the mint and date legend in the margin. On the reverse (back) in the field and around the margins are Qur'anic inscriptions from sura (chapter) 112 and sura 9 v.33.
M. Broome, A handbook of Islamic coins (London, 1985)
J. Walker, A catalogue of the Arab-Sasani (London, 1941)
J. Walker, A catalogue of the Muhammada-1 (London, 1956)
J. Williams (ed.), Money: a history (London, The British Museum Press, 1997)