Author Topic: Abbasid dirham of Harun al-Rashid, Baghdad, 193 H  (Read 206 times)

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Offline FosseWay

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Abbasid dirham of Harun al-Rashid, Baghdad, 193 H
« on: May 14, 2019, 09:27:41 PM »
Can someone help me out with the Kufic script? I can make out neither the mint name nor the date though I think, from reading Plant, that I know where they ought to be.
« Last Edit: May 15, 2019, 08:38:10 PM by FosseWay »

Offline maudry

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Re: Umayyad dirham?
« Reply #1 on: May 14, 2019, 10:17:25 PM »
Abbasid, al-Rashid, AR dirham Album 219.2
Please check this one on zeno: Zeno - Oriental Coins Database - ar-Rashid al-Muhammadiya dirham abbasid 188 AH

Offline Manzikert

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Re: Umayyad dirham?
« Reply #2 on: May 14, 2019, 10:20:00 PM »
I hate to disagree with Maudry, but it is Medinat es-Salaam (Baghdad, circled in red), year 196 (I'm not 100% certain of the last digit, but fairly sure, circled in blue), but definitely Abbasid as he says.

Alan

[Edit: sorry, didn't attach the image]

Offline Figleaf

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Re: Umayyad dirham?
« Reply #3 on: May 14, 2019, 11:13:39 PM »
I love it when an id comes together (free after Colonel John "Hannibal" Smith) ;)

Peter
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Offline FosseWay

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Re: Umayyad dirham?
« Reply #4 on: May 15, 2019, 07:29:54 AM »
Thanks very much!

Offline EWC

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Re: Umayyad dirham?
« Reply #5 on: May 15, 2019, 09:32:36 AM »
Just to add a vague memory out of general interest - this coin is very probably from a huge hoard that was distributed on the market - I think in the 1980's?

What I do remember is being at the Coinex coin fair at the Marriott hotel, and wandering off the floor into the cafe - to track someone down.  In the cafe I walked past an unattended table – as best I recall it was round and about 3 feet across.  On it was a heap of these Abbasid dirhems (as I recall the dates tend to run 186 to 205 for the vast bulk of them (Baghdad and al Mohammediyah mints were the vast bulk).  The heap filled the table and was about 8 inches high in the centre.  Perhaps 10,000 coins?  And perhaps that was just part of the find?

To the collector the grade was VF – UNC, but close inspection showed the apparent wear was generally die wear rather than coin wear – so they were all near as struck.

About 10 years or so after that day I started to take a serious interest in coin weight, and got into web debate where I held the theoretical weight of these coins was very close to 2.92g or 2.93g.  I got support from Lutz Ilsch in Germany and criticism from Michael Bates.  Hats off to both gentlemen for their willingness to defend their views in public.

Subsequent researchers have backed away from the question itself.  (Eg Stefan Heidemann and Steve Album).  Why?  One can only guess.  My guess is that the question was politically controversial in  8th century Persia, and remains  politically controversial today

Anyhow – my point is – if only I, or anyone, had weighed and counted those coins!  But to my knowledge - no one did…..

Rob T

Offline toofast

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Re: Umayyad dirham?
« Reply #6 on: May 15, 2019, 10:13:47 AM »
The date is 193 AH. Harun ar-Rashid died in 193 AH.

Offline EWC

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Re: Umayyad dirham?
« Reply #7 on: May 15, 2019, 10:39:25 AM »
The date is 193 AH. Harun ar-Rashid died in 193 AH.

As I recall the Baghdad mint master was changed in 189, and the change was clearly indicated by the change in flan size.  The (small) coins from 190 onwards are very carefully weight adjusted. 

M-es-S  191, 192, 193 were the commonest types in the find

I recall also I found a literary reference to the skill of the new mint personnel associated with that change.  But sadly I since lost track of it

Perhaps you, or anyone, can assist?

Rob T

Offline FosseWay

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Re: Umayyad dirham?
« Reply #8 on: May 15, 2019, 10:45:22 AM »
I'm at work at the moment but I will post precise diameter and weight this evening. Apologies for not giving this information in the OP, which I should really have done.

Offline EWC

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Re: Umayyad dirham?
« Reply #9 on: May 15, 2019, 10:57:05 AM »
I'm at work at the moment but I will post precise diameter and weight this evening. Apologies for not giving this information in the OP, which I should really have done.

No problem.  From time to time I tracked down bunches of 10 or 20 of this type.  I think all were in the 2.90 to 2.95 range, with a very clear big peak close to 2.93g

In part interesting because a theoretical sterling penny is 1.46g.

Actual sterlings tend to be a bit lower - but we know under Edward I the mint (rather secretly) struck at 242 to the pound………...

Traditional British history is quick to point out the honesty of the English Mint policy in comparison with most Continental mints.  Less quick to acknowledge the Arab Caliphs were more honest still

Rob T




Offline toofast

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Re: Umayyad dirham?
« Reply #10 on: May 15, 2019, 11:16:12 AM »
Perhaps you, or anyone, can assist?

Hope the following timeline  will be helpful.

Offline FosseWay

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Re: Umayyad dirham?
« Reply #11 on: May 15, 2019, 08:49:31 PM »
No problem.  From time to time I tracked down bunches of 10 or 20 of this type.  I think all were in the 2.90 to 2.95 range, with a very clear big peak close to 2.93g

You are spot on with the weight - mine is 2.94 g. You didn't mention what the "smaller" size actually was in mm, but mine is 22.1 +/- 0.1 mm (it is slightly irregular and the flan is slightly bent). Does this fit what you were saying earlier?

Quote
In part interesting because a theoretical sterling penny is 1.46g.

As has/will become evident, I know next to nothing about these coins. While I was reading around the denomination structure in use at the end of the second century Hijra, I learnt that the basic Arabic denominations are etymologically descended from Latin and Greek (dinar/denarius, dirham/drachma and fils/follis). On the face of it, it isn't particularly far-fetched to suggest that if the Arabs adopted the Roman/Greek names, they also adopted their weights, finenesses etc. Given that the sterling penny also has its roots in the Roman system, some form of observable relationship between the dirham and the penny is also not enormously surprising. What is more remarkable is the closeness of the two - basically two pennies to the dirham.

(By the way, I've renamed the topic to be less misleading.)

Offline EWC

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Re: Umayyad dirham?
« Reply #12 on: May 16, 2019, 08:31:29 AM »
You are spot on with the weight - mine is 2.94 g.

Not me – the mint master in Baghdad    ;)

You didn't mention what the "smaller" size actually was in mm, but mine is 22.1 +/- 0.1 mm (it is slightly irregular and the flan is slightly bent). Does this fit what you were saying earlier?

Do not have examples to hand – but am very confident that earlier coins will typically be about 2mm bigger

On the face of it, it isn't particularly far-fetched to suggest that if the Arabs adopted the Roman/Greek names, they also adopted their weights,

Plausible, but basically, a rhetorical argument that is factually false

Given that the sterling penny also has its roots in the Roman system,

As regards weight standards – this begs the question.  That the entire weight system of ‘Abd al Malik had been adopted by England was published as fact in 1967 in the HMSO/Science Museum account.  Since 1967 the evidence for this hypothesis has been greatly strengthened – but over the same period – the  academic world has too frequently abandoned facts in favour rhetoric.  Actually, absurd rhetoric, in this particular matter.

What is more remarkable is the closeness of the two - basically two pennies to the dirham.

Its not remarkable if they both use exactly the same system.  I would say - rather - what is remarkable is the extent to which the modern academic world has lost touch not merely with the facts of this case, but with attention to the hard facts of such cases altogether.

But perhaps I get ahead of matters here?  Please feel free to defend an alternative viewpoint regarding sterling weight, if you wish. 

Rob T

Offline EWC

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Re: Abbasid dirham of Harun al-Rashid, Baghdad, 193 H
« Reply #13 on: May 16, 2019, 08:44:07 AM »
Hope the following timeline  will be helpful.

Thanks.  Actually its a bit of text praising the mint master I had in mind.  I feel sure I read it – long since – but cannot locate it any more.  Maybe I dreamt the quote?   ???

Looks to me like the coins you show were not primarily got from US/West European sources?  Several of the ones easily available in mint grade over here are represented by worn specimens.  Possibly some of those are ones from the spread North from Islam via the Caspian, en route for the Baltic?  (At a time when Islam was starting to abandon silver coin use…….)

Rob T