Abbasid Caliphate, Third Period Al-Radi Billah, r. 322-329 AH/934-940 A.D. (324 AH/936/7 A.D.) AR Dirhem, 27.08 mm x 3.0 grams Obv.: Outer Margin: لله الأمر من قبل و من بعد ويومئذ يفرح المؤمنون بنصر الله. Inner Margin: بسم الله ضرب هذا الدرهم بمدينة السلام سنة اربع و عشرين و ثلث مائة. Center: لا شريك له / الله وحده / لا الاه الا Rev.: Margin: محمد رسول الله ارسله بالهدى و دين الحق ليظهره على الدين كله ولو كره المشركون Center: د / الراضى بالله / الله / رسول / محمد / لله Ref.: Album 255.1 (Without Heir) Note: Holed. Potentially from the Vikings. As you can see, my recent purchase contains a piercing which was made in the Middle Ages. This is by no means proof that it was used by the Vikings (the provenance of where it was found has been lost), but the date of issue is in line with other dirhams found in Viking hoards, and the piercing is in a spot unrelated to the legend, which suggests that the person who pierced it was not familiar with Arabic, and was not wearing it for the statement of faith in Allah the coin contains. Trade routes of the Vikings. The Vikings appear to have interacted with the Muslim world regularly, as many Islamic coins have been found in Viking hoards. Image from: https://www.reddit.com/r/MapPorn/comments/4a1tw7/regional_frequency_of_the_cys282tyr_mutation/ Ibn Fadla’s trip to the Rus took place in 922, but Scandinavian trade connections to the Muslim world dates back to the eighth century. However, that trade seems to have slowed by the ninth. This has caused some scholars to speculate that the weakening trade ties might have been what prompted the Viking invasions of the west in the ninth century. If this is the case, then the Scandinavians certainly did find hoards of treasure in the unprotected monasteries off the coast of England. Lindesfarne was first attacked in 793, but perhaps more significant to the coinage was the Battle of Maldon in 991. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle states that a Norwegian chieftain named Olaf (likely Olaf Tryggvason, future king of Norway) defeated the English Earl Byrhtnoth at the battle. Following the Battle, the English King Æthelred Unræd made peace with Olaf, by agreeing to pay a ‘Danegeld’ or tax to the ‘Danes’ of 10,000 pounds of silver. Future Danegelds were also paid in an attempt to maintain a peace. England Athelred II, r. 978-1016 (997-1003) AR Penny, 19.65 mm x 1.8 grams Obv.: +ÆÐELREDREXANGLO[rum]. Bare-headed bust left Rev.: +LEO FRIC MΩO CENT. Voided long cross, each end terminating in three crescents Ref.: SCBC 1151 Note: Peck marked on reverse and holed, likely by the Vikings A surprising amount of this Danegeld must have been in coin. Firstly, English coin types begin being imitated in Scandinavia (included a rare issue from Olaf Tryggvason copying the ‘Crux’ type issued by Æthelred), and we have even found evidence of some of the same dies used for English coins being used in Scandinavian issues. We can also tell that Scandinavians were using English coins due to the presence of ‘peck marks’ found on many coins (such as my example above). The peck marks were a means to check that the coins contained good silver, and weren’t just a simple wash; again, evidence that the Vikings looked to the weight of the metal rather than the supposed value of the coin. This coin also contains a contemporary hole, suggesting that it too was used as jewelry. Peck marks are occasionally found on the obverse, but the location of the hole and lack of marks on the obverse certainly confirm this coin was meant to be worn. So while my two purchases above will never win any beauty contests, their damage is what sets them apart as artifacts used in trade outside of the homeland where they were minted. It is the damage that suggests they were used by Scandinavians who went a Viking, and adds to their story as objects of value beyond a mere coin.