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Tuesday, December 13, 2016


The minting of coins began with the Umayyad caliphs. At first, as we have seen, they were based on Persian or Byzantine models, and these often, bear figural designs that are alien to Islamic ways of thought. Later coins tend to have inscriptions only; but that soon became an art form in itself.

From Khurasan, a silver dirham (right) of the Umayyid governor 'Abdullah ibn Khazim, a close copy of a Sasanid coin.



Two coins from later Islamic Spain. Left: a golden dinar of 'And al-Mu'min (524-58/1130-63), first of the Alomobad 'caliphs'. The Almobads were a Berber people who took over Morocco in the early VI/12th century. In 550/1145 'And al-Mu'min established a kingdom in Spain with its capital at Seville. Right: a silver dirham from the last days of the Kingdom of Granada, shortly before 898/1492. The rest of Spain had fallen to the Reconquista two centuries before. Only a combination of diplomacy and luck allowed Granada to survive for so long.

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