Featured Clash of Cultures: Islamic M&M

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by ValiantKnight, Mar 13, 2017.

  1. ValiantKnight

    ValiantKnight I AM the Senate! Supporter

    Couldn't help but have my appreciation for Arab-Byzantine coins rekindled when I took these two out and put them together. It helps that they are in better condition than most. As with my Khosrau II 12 nummi coin, I find particularly interesting coinage that reflect two fundamentally different cultures, such as with the Arab-Byzantine series.

    I'll link to my previous threads for the history, but I will mention that (as with other instances in history), the Muslims that conquered much of the Eastern Roman Empire and the whole of the Sassanian Empire needed to keep the native populations of these areas happy to cement their control. One way they did this was the continuation of the existing coinage styles (but with slight alterations to make them more Arab- and Muslim-friendly). The Romans kept their folles and the Persians kept their drachms (refered to as fals and dirham respectively by the Arabs). This situation lasted until the coinage reform enacted by the Umayyad caliph Abd al-malik ibn Marwan in 696-697 AD completely eliminated images from the coins and replaced them entirely with Arabic words and phrases.

    I'm sure you're wondering about part of the thread title. The photo of the reverses might give you a clue :).

    Anonymous, Umayyad Caliphate
    AE fals
    Obv: KA/L/ON in left field, "bi-Hims" (in Arabic) in right field,
    facing bust, beardless, wearing crown and chlamys, holding globus cruciger in right hand
    Rev: Large m, E/M/I in left field, two birds eyes above, C/H/C in right field, "tayyib" (Arabic for "good") in ex
    Mint: Hims (Emessa)
    Date: 680-690 AD
    Ref: Album 110; SICA I, 542


    If you want to read a bit about early Islamic history of the 7th-8th centuries (even if you might not be into Islamic coins you might find some of this interesting):





    Please post your Arab-Byzantines and/or your multicultural coins!
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  3. Sallent

    Sallent Live long and prosper

    Awesome coins. I don't have one of those yet, but I do have an Umayyad dirham

    Umayyad Dirham of Caliph Hisham ibn Abd' al-Malik.jpg
  4. spirityoda

    spirityoda Coin Junky Supporter

    nice grade too. :cool:
  5. ValiantKnight

    ValiantKnight I AM the Senate! Supporter

    These coins have some of the best looking Arabic script (this particular style is called Kufic) I've ever seen. I have one and can't wait to get more.
  6. stevex6

    stevex6 Random Mayhem

    Jango, that's another very cool example from the 7th century (a fairly rare coin-century) ... it's a winner

  7. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    Anonymous, Umayyad Caliphate
    AE fals
    Obv: KA/L/ON in left field, "bi-Hims" (in Arabic) in right field,
    facing bust, beardless, wearing crown and chlamys, holding globus cruciger in right hand
    Rev: Large m, E/M/I in left field, two birds eyes above, C/H/C in right field, "tayyib" (Arabic for "good") in ex
    Mint: Hims (Emessa)
    Date: 680-690 AD

    In case it is not obvious to all, the unusual part of these bilingual coins is the split of Greek and Arabic on the two sides. Kalon on the obverse and tayyib both mean good while EMICHC and Hims are the city name of the mint. When I think of a bilingual coin I would expect a Greek side and an Arabic side but here we see the elements mixed with some on each side. Interesting coins!
  8. Parthicus

    Parthicus Well-Known Member

    Here's my example of the OP's type:
    A different Arab-Byzantine design: the obverse type is referred to as "Standing Caliph", and on the reverse note the cross has turned into something else:
    Standing Caliph.jpg
    And of course a nice Arab-Sasanian drachm I posted recently, where the only Arabic/Islamic elements are the governor's name and the slogan "Bismillah" (In the name of God):
    Arab-Sasanian AH62 Basra.jpg
  9. 7Calbrey

    7Calbrey Well-Known Member

    This one has the letter Epsilon of Emesa ( Hims ) in retrograde. AQraByzan O 001.jpg AQraByzan R 001.jpg
  10. Severus Alexander

    Severus Alexander Blame my mother. Supporter

    These are indeed fascinating, though now they will always make me think of m&m's...

    OP type:
    Screen Shot 2017-03-13 at 1.03.12 PM.png

    An earlier type from the same mint, issued 660-680 under Mu 'awiya (Obv: Standing imperial figure, holding long cross and globus cruciger, bismillah to left; K/A/Λ/O/H to right; Rev: Large M; above, monogram flanked by stars; Δ below, Є/M/H-C/i/C across; tayyib in exergue. Could use some cleaning.):
    Screen Shot 2017-03-13 at 1.03.27 PM.png

    And a standing caliph of Abd al-Malik, 690's (Caliph standing facing, holding hilt of sword; Modified cross potent set on steps, "bi-Halab" to l., "waf" (= full value) to r. of modified cross, not sure about legend around):
    Screen Shot 2017-03-13 at 1.03.40 PM.png
  11. icerain

    icerain Mastir spellyr

    Cool coins, been looking into these since I like Byzantine coins already. Would have been a lot cooler if they kept the early coin size.
    Alegandron likes this.
  12. chrsmat71

    chrsmat71 I LIKE TURTLES!

    these are interesting coins aren't they? i didn't know this one was arab-byzantine until someone told me here at CT!
  13. ValiantKnight

    ValiantKnight I AM the Senate! Supporter

    Thanks all and neat coins! I think of all of the mixed-Arab types of this time era some of the most interesting ones are the Arab-Latin gold series struck in Spain and North Africa:

    arablatin3.jpg arablatin2.jpg arablatin.jpg
    Here's a good page detailing many mixed-Arab types in general (including some more Arab-Latin coins):

    Sardar, Sulla80, Johndakerftw and 4 others like this.
  14. ValiantKnight

    ValiantKnight I AM the Senate! Supporter

    It's in one of my threads but here is my own Standing Caliph example. I was holding out for nice one with a clear caliph so I had to wait a good while until I found this one.

    Anonymous, Umayyad Caliphate
    AE fals
    Obv: Arabic legends, Caliph standing facing with hand on pommel of sword in sheath
    Rev: Arabic legends, transformed cross on steps
    Mint: Halab (Aleppo; struck 693-697 AD)
    Ref: Album 112; SICA I 615-24

  15. Alegandron

    Alegandron "ΤΩΙ ΚΡΑΤΙΣΤΩΙ..." ΜΕΓΑΣ ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΣ, June 323 BCE Supporter

    Are these yours??? Attributes, man. C'mon, that's GOLD you are talkin' about!
  16. ValiantKnight

    ValiantKnight I AM the Senate! Supporter

    Lol I'm not made of that much money to have all of those. But they are on my miles-long list of coins I want of course!
    Alegandron likes this.
  17. Sulla80

    Sulla80 one coin at a time Supporter

    Reviving this link, to share this bilingual Arab-Byzantine coin. Between the C.Foss catalog from DOC and this CT thread (thanks @ValiantKnight and @dougsmit), I have a little better understanding of this coin and where it came from.

    Foss describes it as from "the most extensive issue of the whole of Arab-Byzantine series (at least 59 obverse and 63 reverse dies); coins of Emesa are more common that those of any other mint...". This article, referenced, from W.A. Oddy 1985 on "The Constans II Bust type of Arab Byzantine Coins of Hims" is available on-line.

    "good" a statement that it is "good" for use as currency or of good weight standard...?
    Unknown Byzantine .jpg
    Anonymous, Umayyad (=Mu'Awiya?) Caliphate AD 660-680 (date listed in C. Foss)
    Obv: KA/Λ/ON (good or passes) in left field, "bi-Hims" (Emesa in Arabic) in right field with star below, facing bust, beardless, wearing cuirass and paludamentum (military cape), with cross on diadem, holding globus cruciger in right hand
    Rev: Large m, E/M/I in left field, o*o above, C/H/C in right field, "tayyib" (Arabic for "good") in exergue
    Mint: Hims (Emesa)
    Size: 20.5mm, 3.90g, die axis 6 (ref: C.Foss catalog #65 which is 21mm and 3.93g)
    Johndakerftw and Marsyas Mike like this.
  18. Marsyas Mike

    Marsyas Mike Well-Known Member

    I'm glad you revived this thread - interesting coins and history. I have just begun looking into these Arab-Byzantine imitations and I have no idea what I am looking at most of the time. But I like what I see.

    My interest started with a countermark - attribution is based on my vast pool of inexperience:

    CM Byz Arab - 2 figs A CM Sep 2019 (0).jpg

    CM Byz Arab - 2 figs A CM Sep 2019 (0det).JPG

    Umayyad Caliphate Æ Fals
    Arab-Byzantine Imperial Type
    (c. 680s-700 A.D.)
    Baalbek (Heliopolis) Mint

    Two standing figures, each with cruciform scepter, cross between / Large M; cross (no pellets) inverted crescent below, [H]/Λ/I/OΥ left, H/O/Λ.Є right, ba‘labakk in exergue
    (4.18 grams / 18 mm)

    Attribution Notes:
    Album 3513.2; DOCAB 62 var. (all without pellets).

    Countermark: A incuse in 5mm circle reverse. Similar to CNG Electronic Auction 282, Lot 414: "A within circular incuse...from the J. S. Wagner Collection"

    These might be Arab-Byzantine imitations as well - or just Constans II follises with blundered legends. I'm not sure -

    Arab Byz Imitation - Follis Black Patina Lot Oct 2019  (0) - Copy.jpg

    Arab Byz Imitation - Follis Desert Patina Lot Oct 2019 (0) - Copy.jpg
    Johndakerftw likes this.
  19. Sulla80

    Sulla80 one coin at a time Supporter

    @Marsyas Mike Although I found this book (also here) to have some gaps that I wish it filled in a bit better for the casual reader - it is well worth the ~$25.

    For example your last coin is easy to find on p.27 labelled as a "Close Imitation" from the "Early Caliphate" AD 647-670:
    Obv: Standing Imperial figure of Constan II type, with cross on crown, holding long cross in r.hand, globus cruciger in l. [EN] TɣTO NIKA
    Rev: m, star above, l. AɸA, r: ONΔ; illegible inscription in ex.
    Ref: C.Foss #8 p.124

    Edit: Actually, @Marsyas Mike - not sure - your second coin has an M - maybe the real thing and not a close imitation?
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2019
    Marsyas Mike likes this.
  20. Marsyas Mike

    Marsyas Mike Well-Known Member

    Thank you Sulla80! I appreciate the attribution help and the book recommendation - this type has definitely got my interest.
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