Coins of Arbia Felix: Himyarite Kingdom Starter Kit

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Sulla80, Mar 24, 2019.

  1. Sulla80

    Sulla80 one coin at a time Supporter

    Although I am more likely to buy Roman Republican coins or Parthian coins, I fell for this unusual coin. This coin from Ariabia Felix which is from the late 1st century or early second century AD.
    Himyar Mdn Byn Yhqbd.jpg
    There doesn't seem to be much info on these coins on CT, so I am starting this thread to share resources and examples of these coins. This article a nice place to start:

    The alphabet picture at the link above useful for decoding the lettering:

    AR Quinarius South Arabia, Himyar
    Ruler: Amdān Bayān Yuhaqbiḍ
    Date: Circa AD 100-120.
    Mint: RYDN
    Obv: Head within circular torque; monogram to left
    Rev: Head right; MDN BYN ‘scepter’ to right, mint signature RYDN in exergue.
    Size: 12.3mm and 1.41g
    Ref: Munro-Hay 3.4i

    This 2010 Article Coinage of the Caravan Kingdoms edited by Martin Huth and Peter G. van Alfen was my second stop. In which Christian Robin describes six Ḥimyarite rulers that appear on coins.
    • Mubāhil dhu-Raydān (Mbhl ḏ-Rydn) (before 30 BCE)
    • Shammar dhu-Raydān (c. 30 BCE)
    • Karibʾīl Watār Yuhanʿim (c. 40–70 CE)
    • Amdān Bayān Yahaqbiḍ (c. 100–120 CE)
    • Dhamarʿalī Yuhabirr (c. 135–175 CE)
    • Thaʾrān Yaʿūb Yuhanʿim (c. 175–215 CE)
    The coin above is a coin of ʿAmdān Bayān Yuhaqbiḍ who struck coins in the name of either ʿAmdān Yuhaqbiḍ or ʿAmdān Bayān (ʿmdn Byn).

    Although attributions describes RYDN as the mint - this note from Christian Robin's article: "On Ḥimyarite coins, the term ‘Raydān’ (Rydn), invariably placed in the exergue, denotes the Royal palace at Ẓafār. There is little probability that these Royal palaces housed the respective mints of these kingdoms: contrary to the usual practice, Raydān, Ḥarīb, and Shaqir should thus not be interpreted as mint-names."

    Three other resources:
    - 2011 Coinage of the Caravan Kingdoms by Martin Huth, is referenced in the article above
    - 1991: The coinage of Shabwa (Hadhramawt), and other ancient south arabian coinage in the national museum, Aden S.c.h. Munro-Hay
    - 2003: Coinage of Arabia Felix: The Pre-Islamic Coinage of the Yemen by Stuart Munro-Hay

    Images of coins of the Himyarite Kingdom, other references to resources or corrections to the information above are appreciated.
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2019
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  3. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter I dig ancient coins...

    Very interesting @Sulla80 and a nice coin. Wasn't aware that this kingdom struck coins.
  4. Mat

    Mat Ancient Coincoholic

    That's a neat coin, I like it too.
  5. Sulla80

    Sulla80 one coin at a time Supporter

    Here is a coin of Thaʾrān Yaʿūb Yuhanʿim c. 175–215 AD.
    Himyar Tharān Yaūb Yuhanim.jpg

    Tha'rān Ya'ūb Yuhan'im South Arabia, Himyar AR Quinarius
    circa AD 175-215
    Obv: Bare head right; monogram behind, all within dotted border terminated by monogram
    Rev: Diademed head right; South Arabian legend: T'RN YB' (king's name) above, RYDN below, 'scepter' to right.
    Ref: Munro-Hay 3.24i; Huth 449–50
    Size: 11mm 1.75g
  6. Alegandron

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

    @Sulla80 ... Thanks for the great write-up and the great coins. I think I have the last King.

    • Thaʾrān Yaʿūb Yuhanʿim (c. 175–215 CE)

    I got mine from @John Anthony some time ago. Kinda same for me: I really don't collect this area, but I had to have one.

    Arabia Felix, Himyarite Kings, Tha’ Ran Ya’ NB
    Ar Unit (Quinarius), 14mm, 1.5g, 5h; Raidan mint, 2nd Century AD.
    Obv.: Head right, within circular torque, monogram behind.
    Rev.: Head right, scepter before, kings name and mint in South Arabian Script around.
    Reference: Munro-Hay 3.25

    John always had nice little write-ups to 'spice up' the coin...

    6. Here is a small, ancient Yemeni silver coin, of the Himyarite Kingdom. The Himyarites occupied the area of Southern Arabia known to Romans as Arabia Felix. They produced the frankincense that their Arab cousins, the Nabataeans, exported to the northern world. By the time this coin was minted, however, the Romans had discovered a sea route from Alexandria to Arabia Felix, severely limiting the Nabataean overland trade. The Romans traded extensively with the ancient Yemeni, so I don’t believe it’s a coincidence that these coins are roughly the same weight and fineness of early Imperial quinarii. The script is Ancient South Arabian.
    chrsmat71, Finn235, Bing and 3 others like this.
  7. Pellinore

    Pellinore Supporter! Supporter

    Great write-up! As always, there is an elementary introduction on Wildwinds. Here's mine, bought it five years ago.
    Himyarites AR about 1st century AD. Obv. Man’s head with diademe to the left. Rev. Bucranium with antelope's horn and plumes. 17 mm, 2.44 gr.

    5051 HIMy.jpg
  8. Finn235

    Finn235 Well-Known Member

    Nice coins! I only have one, the more common Amdan Bayyin quinarius


    I'm not sure if we know for certain which kingdom made them, but there is also a wide and fascinating series of South Arabian imitatons of Athenian coinage.
    chrsmat71, Ed Snible, Sulla80 and 2 others like this.
  9. chrsmat71

    chrsmat71 I LIKE TURTLES!

  10. Collect89

    Collect89 Coin Collector

    Hello @Sulla80
    Thank you for the great information & for posting the cool coins. I've got a couple:

    Himyarite Unit Collage.jpg
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