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Fernand Braudel

Sassanid Arab Dirham

datation
7th century AD century (78 H=697 AD)
provenance
Damascus, Baghdad Str.
area
period
materials
themes

During the Umayyad period, the name of the caliph and the names of some of the Muslim rulers began to appear on the coins, inscribed in the Persian language and replacing the name of Khusrau the Persian king. Then, the name of al-Hajjaj bin Youssef al-Thaqafi, the Umayyad governor of Iraq, began to appear on the Sassanid Persian style coins, but using an Arabic script for his name, while still keeping the Persian face.

The following coin is a sample of this kind:

It is a Sassanid Arab coin of al-Hajjaj bin Youssef al-Thaqafi with a profile image of the king wearing a crown. The king is bearded and crowned, his garment is ornamented with necklaces of pearl. The name of al-Hajjaj bin Youssef is inscribed in front of the king’s face in Arabic and a prayer at the back of his head. The image is in a circular frame of two beaded rings, while the crown goes beyond the frame, the Arabic writing is along the outer margin of the frame, and four outward pointing crescents with star also decorate the coin’s face.

The Arabic inscription reads, “Li Allah Al-Hamd” – “Praise be to Allah.” On the opposite face of the coin, there is the image of the Holy Fire in the middle and two priests guarding it. The name of the city and the date in which the coin was minted is written briefly in the space around the image.  

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