The 3rd Assemani Symposium was dedicated to the transitional period
of Islamic coinage, aiming at putting in context the Umayyad numismatic
materials. The bulk of the papers published in these Proceedings is therefore
focused on this theme, but the contributions also take into account
Arab-Sasanian and Arab-Byzantine issues, as well as early Umayyad coins
from various regions of the Dār al-Islām (Transoxiana, Sogdiana, Libya,…).
Other papers throw light on different periods and objects of Numismatic
interest (seals, glass stamps, history of collecting), as the vocation of this
Symposium is to be the occasion of a wide-range scientific exchange on Arabic and Islamic Numismatics.
Bruno Callegher: His scientific interests can be defined with in two major
research ambits, one relating to Roman coin finds in North-Eastern Italy,
the other regarding Byzantine coinage. He has been Keeper at the ‘Museo
Bottacin’ in Padua and since 2006 associate professor of Numismatics
at the University of Trieste.
Researcher of Arabic Language and Literature at the
Institute of Oriental Studies, Sapienza – University of Rome. Her domains
of research are Islamic Numismatics and Arabic manuscripts.
Browsing 03 3rd Simone Assemani Symposium on Islamic Coins by Title
In the Sogdian letters, which have been discovered in 1932/33 by Soviet archaeologists on Mount Mug in Tajikistan, there are mentions of payments for different services, usually in drachms (δraxmē). These data are useful to reconstruct the monetary economy of Sogdiana at the dawning of the Arab invasion (beginning of the 8th Century CE).
The present article focuses, in particular, on a peculiar and still puzzling linguistic compound formed by the name ʽdrachmsʼ followed by an adjective, apparently derived from the word dīnār with the suffix -ka. The exact meaning of this unusual expression cannot be ascertained only on philological ground, but it is also necessary to take into consideration the coin circulation of Northern Tokharistan. The author analyzes the typology of the few documents that contain such a compound, “dinaric drachms”, and based on the evidence of local coin hoards, contemporary to the Sogdian letters, suggests that it actually refers to Islamic dirhams or to a standard unit of account of higher value than the Bukhar-khudat silver coins, which circulated abundantly along the Zeravšan Valley.
The arrival of the Arab army in Sogdiana provoked a slow but irreversible introduction of the reformed Islamic coins into the territory; this led, for a certain period, to a double monetary circulation of silver coins with the same nominal value but with different intrinsic content.
The traditional written records from the period uder review are rather scanty and information they provide is far from desired commpleteness and reliabilities; in these conditions, the coins can be considered a primary historical source.
Monnaies et sources littéraires nous apprennent que la réforme monétaire
islamique commença progressivement au premier siècle de l’hégire depuis le
califat d’'Umar b. al-Khittab'. Elle fut achevée sous le calife umayyade ‘Abd al-
Malik b. Marwan dans la partie orientale du monde islamique. Quant au
Maghreb islamique la réforme ne s’atteignit que deux décennies après la date
de l’arabisation finale en 77 H. C’est en effet, vers la fin du I/VII s. et le
début du II/VIII s. que l’arabisation et l’islamisation complètes du système
monétaire ifriqiyen s’aboutirent. Nous possédons un témoignage numismatique appartenant à cette conjoncture et constitue l’objet essentiel de la présente étude; c’est un fals frappé en 100 H./718 au nom d’Atrabuls (Tripolis).
Ce fals est, fort probablement, rare, puisque nous n’en connaissons que trois autres exemplaires: l’un publié par Lane Poole, le deuxième par Ostrup et le troisième par Walker. Étudier ce fals convenablement à la lumière des données textuelles et archéologiques à la disposition des chercheurs notamment les données numismatiques fournies essentiellement par le nombre très réduit de fals
portant le même toponyme est l’objectif de la présente contribution.
The paper wants to pick out one of the probable sources of the passion for
Numismatics of Simone Assemani. His great granduncle, Giuseppe Simonio
Assemani is likely to have excited this passion on him.
Giuseppe Simonio Assemani became famous as great scholar of manuscripts of
many oriental languages: Coptic, Etiopic, Arabic, Persian, Turkish and, above
all, Syrian. He was dispatched by the Pope Clement XI to Egypt and to the
neighbouring countries in order to search those manuscripts. For his reputation,
he became Prefect of the Vatican Library in 1739. Generally, we know
nothing about his particular interest for ancient Numismatics, interest arisen
during his prefecture at the Vatican Library. In those year, in fact, very famous
collections of coins and medals entered the Library: 328 Greek and Roman
Medallions of the collection owned by the cardinal Alessandro Albani, the
collection of medallions, coins and medals of the cardinal Gaspare Carpegna,
with 4.000 pieces; the famous collection of 6.666 casts in sulphur of cameos and
carvings of Pier Leone Ghezzi, the extraordinary collection of more than 5.000
pieces of papal coins of Saverio Scilla. Giuseppe Simonio Assemani was
responsible for arranging and ordering a catalogue of those big collections:
When he died, a great number of Greek and Roman coins was found in his
apartment, together with medals and carvings, collection that shows his private
interest for Numismatics. For these reason, probably he passed this interest on
his great grandchild Simone Assemani, when he was still a child.
The paper aims at illustrating the results of my latest researches on the life and
coin collection of Ludovico Stanzani. The recent discovery of a plaster bust
informs us, for example, about Stanzani’s affiliation to the Freemasonry and
gives a face to his name. Some handwritten tickets accompanying his coins give
evidence of the numismatic literature used to identify the pieces – probably by
Stanzani himself or by someone who had access to his collection.
In the Appendix figures the catalogue of a group of 150 specimens, among which
Golden Horde issues and anonymous Mongol coins.
In the middle of the 6th/12th century the Saljuq Empire slowly dissolved in
several principalities, some of them still acknowledged the Saljuq sultan as
overlord. Many of you know the Artuqids and Zangids in the Saljuq West.
Other principalities emerged in the eastern part of the empire, where the
Sultan Sanjar was nominally the supreme overlord. The topic of this study is: how does the title (laqab) of Ai-Aba Malik Muluk
al-Umara"’ which was on his gold dinars in Nishapur in 560 AH fits into his
political position of this time.
Questo saggio si propone di illustrare 22 sigilli di piombo di età aghlabita di
provenienza siciliana1. Gli esemplari presi in esame, sebbene inediti, afferiscono
ad una tipologia già delineata in due studi precedenti dei quali il primo,
a firma di P. Balog, risale al 1979 e il secondo, pubblicato da chi scrive, risale
al 2003. I sigilli pubblicati dall'autrice, a differenza di quelli illustrati dal
Balog e dei nuovi che qui mi accingo ad illustrare, costituiscono il frutto di
una campagna di scavo ufficiale condotta nell’area archeologica di Milena
(Sicilia: provincia di Caltanissetta) e hanno dunque, rispetto a tutti gli altri, il
pregio di provenire da un sito studiato a fondo dagli archeologi, il che – come
il lettore si renderà conto presto – avrà importanti refluenze sulla discussione
intorno all’uso di questi manufatti.
Since the publication of A Corpus of Fatimid Coins (Trieste, 2006), a number of dates and types have come to author's attention which are not found in the book, either by way of notice from collectors and auction firms ao because public and private collections previously not studied have been made available to the author.
is practically nothing in the historical sources about his having shown an
interest in minting bronze coins. (WALKER 1956: p. xxv) There has been some
discussion about the issuing authority and chronology of the bronze coinage of Mu‘$wiya’s forty years as governor and caliph. The first bronze issues of
urban mints have a terminus ante quem in the last years of his governorship,
that is, in the 650s CE, to judge from an apparent hoard edited by Phillips and
Goodman. (PHILLIPS-GOODMAN 1997)
The earliest forms of this coinage have been called Type I, Pseudo-
Byzantine or ‘imitative’ issues, which Tony Goodwin has divided into nine
distinct series, Types A-I (GOODWIN 2005: pp. 16-17) An important series of
these, Type B, imitations – often crudely – the obverse of Herakeios’ coins of
Cyprus bearing the triple imperial image of Herakleios, Herakleios Constantine
and Martina (HAHN 1981: 198a-b. FOSS 2008, nos. 3-4. ALBUM-GOODWIN 2002:
nos. 505-506. GOODWIN 2005: no. 2). A more extensive series, Goodwin’s Types I
D-F, bears the obverse image of emperor Constans II copied from the standard
bronze coinage of the mint of Constantinople in first eight years of his reign.
The 3rd Assemani Symposium was dedicated to the transitional period of Islamic coinage, aiming at putting in context the Umayyad numismatic materials. The bulk of the papers published in these Proceedings is therefore focused on this theme, but the contributions also take into account Arab-Sasanian and Arab-Byzantine issues, as well as early Umayyad coins from various regions of the Dār al-Islām (Transoxiana, Sogdiana, Libya,…). Other papers throw light on different periods and objects of Numismatic interest (seals, glass stamps, history of collecting), as the vocation of this Symposium is to be the occasion of a wide-range scientific exchange on Arabic and Islamic Numismatics.
The dual (Chinese and Inner Asian) nature of the Qara Khitay Empire
(Western Liao dynasty) is a well-known and thoroughly investigated fact. The
cited duality was evident in all aspects of life of the Qara Khitay society –
political, economical, social, cultural, etc. No exception in this regard is the
numismatic aspect as well, although the very existence of intrinsic Qara
Khitay coinage has been disputable until recently.
The problem of coin production and money circulation in the state of
Western Liao still belongs to the least studied, first of all due to particular
difficulties with singling the proper Qara Khitay coins out of the entire
numismatic legacy of pre-Mongol Central Asia. For the moment being we
know about a few coin issues undertaken in the Muslim (Qarakhanid) state,
just most of those issues could be related to the Qara Khitays only on the basis
of other sources witnessing that in the given years, mostly within the 2nd
half of the 12th century, those towns or regions – in particular, Balkh and
Tirmidh (modern Termez/Termiz) – were ruled by the Qara Khitay khans;
however, the coins proper may not bear such indications at all – neither
specific names nor any other obvious features; equally scarce are the
respective publications on the topic [FEDOROV 2000; KOCNEV 2001; FEDOROV 2004;
We discovered, presented and reviewed seven completely new specimens of the
coin type issued by a certain Davit, King of Kings and Sword of Messiah, and
represented by a unique piece before.
The study of this coinage is far from being complete due to the poor state of
preservation of the extant specimens, particularly of their margins (future
discoveries of the bigger pieces may shed more light upon this issue). However,
the reexamination and reconsideration of the central legends led to their
alternative reconstruction, providing valuable data and indicating that Davit
V, son of Dimitri (I) minted no coinage (or that none survived), and the coin
type previously attributed to this Georgian King was in effect issued by Davit IV
the Builder, son of Giorgi (II); most probably, despite some discrepancies, it
constituted the currency described, albeit somewhat imprecisely, by Al-F!riq".
The incessant, as it was thought earlier, 12th-13th c. emissions of the Georgian
monarchs now are interrupted at the short reign of Davit V; however, on the
other hand, the numismatic legacy of Davit IV reign was enriched by a very
noteworthy coin type, providing very valuable information for the research of
the numismatic, and, more generally, political, economical and cultural history
of Georgia and the whole region in that epoch.
Talvolta le monete arabo bizantine sono state prodotte da modifiche eseguite
su monete autentiche con l’arte del cesello, ma oltre ad esse sono state
emesse anche monete prodotte da rielaborazione di coni bizantini obsoleti e
da nuovi coni appositamente incisi. Sono noti i solidi d’oro con iscrizioni
greche e con l’effigie dell’imperatore Foca, di Eraclio con Eraclio Costantino e
di Eraclio, Eraclio Costantino ed Eracleona, che precedono di pochi anni le
prime monete d’oro con iscrizioni interamente arabe. Sono note anche le
monete globulari nordafricane, con legende latine.
L’idea di prendere in approfondita considerazione la serie di monete che si
possono definire Arabo-Bizantine è cominciata mezzo secolo fa con gli studi
di John Walker e ha ricevuto un nuovo impulso nel settimo Arab-Byzantine
Forum che, nel Dumbarton Oaks, ebbe luogo nel 1999.
Ce trésor couvre une grande période étalée de la période du souverain sassanide
Khusro II (590/1-628) jusqu’à l’année 331H/941. La quantité des pièces qu’il
renferme offre d’utiles renseignements tant sur la diversité des ateliers
monétaires que sur les années de frappe, dont certaines sont rares, voire
inédites. Le fait qu’un grand nombre de pièces ont été frappées au même atelier,
permet des observations d’ordre statistique sur la métrologie. Il faut mentionner
la grande importance de ce trésor, car il est le premier trésor du dixième
siècle, découvert dans la région d’al-Djaz!ra. Comme il est bien connu, les pays
du moyen orient et l'Asie central n'ont présenté que 10% des trésors découverts
dans le nord et l’est de l'Europe et dans les pays du Scandinavie. Ce trésor est la
plus récent des trésors du dixième siècle qui contienne à la fois des monnaies
sassanides, arabo-sassanides et des monnaies abbasides.
This contribution intends to present some Umayyad and ‘Abbasid glass stamps, from a
large private collection, probably made in Egypt during the 8th-9th century AD,
supposedly by the office of weights and measures (d!r al-‘iy!r). Some of them name
people that are well known from historical sources (Caliphs, Governors, Finance
Directors...), others bear less known names (of executives and, especially, of artisans of
Coptic origins). Last but not least, the group also contains anonymous exemplars, as
well as disks with pious formula or crude imitative legends.
The present paper tries to provide a rough overview over lead coins roughly
dating to the Umayyad period (ca. 700-750 AD). Lead coins can be either issued
alongside copper coins like in Baalbek or Jurjan as part of the regular petty
coinage, they can be a local currency like in the Persian Gulf region, or they can
have been produced in unofficial local workshops as a remedy against a need
for petty cash. Some examples for these three categories are presented and
Both history sources as well as archaeological objects tell us about the past of
The writing of the Islamic history started already during the third quarter of
the seventh century by Syrian writers who wrote about the Islamic conquests.
But those books have been lost, and they are only mentioned in treaties written
in the 9th and 10th centuries (ELAD 2003). Historical sources writing about Umayyad Palestine are non-existing except for one Samaritan source that was written in Arabic in 1355 C.E. This source
only seldom writes about other communities other then the Samaritans.