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COINAGE AND HISTORY IN THE

SEVENTH CENTURY NEAR EAST


2

EDITED BY
ANDREW ODDY

Proceedings of the 12th Seventh Century Syrian


Numismatic Round Table
held at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge
on 4th and 5th April 2009

Published in 2010 by the Seventh Century Syrian Numismatic Round table, an informal group of
numismatists and historians whose convenors are Tony Goodwin (a.goodwin2@btopenworld.com),
Andrew Oddy (waoddy@googlemail.com), and Marcus Phillips and Susan Tyler-Smith
(senmerv@hotmail.com).
2010: Copyright is held by the individual authors.
Produced and Distributed by Archetype Publications Ltd, 6 Fitzroy Square, London W1T 5HJ
www.archetype.co.uk
Printed by MPG Biddles Ltd, 24 Rollesby Road, Hardwick Industrial Estate, Kings Lynn, Norfolk
PE30 4LS

ISBN 9781904982623

The publication of this volume has been made possible by generous grants from
Tony Goodwin, Ingrid and Wolfgang Schulze, The Royal Numismatic Society, The
UK Numismatic Trust and the Samir Shamma Fund of Oxford University. The
convenors are extremely grateful to them and to the advertisers:
A H Baldwin & Sons Ltd, London
Jean Elsen & ses Fils s.a., Brussels
Morton and Eden Ltd, London
Simmons Gallery Ltd, London
Tim Wilkes, Sussex

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CONTENTS
Preface

iv

The Rise of Islam and Byzantiums Response


James Howard-Johnston

Symbolism on the Syrian Standing Caliph Copper Coins: A contribution to the discussion
Wolfgang Schulze

11

The Standing Caliph Type the object on the reverse


Stefan Heidemann

23

Die Links between Standing Caliph Mints in Jund Qinnasrn


Tony Goodwin

35

A Standing Caliph Fals Issued by Abd al-Rahmn at Sarmn


Tony Goodwin

41

New Fakes of Standing Caliph Coins


Ingrid Schulze

45

Heraclean Folles of Jerusalem


Steve Mansfield

49

New Evidence for Coin Circulation in Byzantine and Early Islamic Egypt
Tasha Vorderstrasse

57

The Single Standing Figure Type of Tiberias/Tabariya


Marcus Phillips

61

More about the coinage in Syria under Persian rule (610-630) (summary)
Henri Pottier

79

Numismatics and the History of early Islamic Syria


Robert G. Hoyland

81

Constantine IV as a Prototype for Early Islamic Coins


Andrew Oddy

95

The al-waf lillh Coinage: A study of style (work in progress)


Ingrid Schulze

iii

111

PREFACE
This volume contains all but one of the papers presented at the 12th meeting of the Seventh Century
Syrian Numismatic Round Table held in Cambridge in April 2009. The Round Table is a forum for
the presentation of new, and not always complete, research, and, as such, for many years was not
formally published. Many of the papers given at these meetings were subsequently published in the
Newsletter, subsequently the Journal of the Oriental Numismatic Society. In fact, the first six
meetings at the British Museum in April 1992, July 1993, December 1995, December 1996, April
1998, March 2000 were held under the auspices of the Oriental Numismatic Society. By the London
meeting of March 2000, however, the Round Table was operating independently and went on to
hold the next meeting, also in London, in October 2001. The meeting of November 2002 was held
in Birmingham and was spread over two days, as have been all the subsequent meetings in
November 2003 at Oxford, April 2005 in Cambridge, May 2007 in Birmingham, and the meeting
reported here in Cambridge.
The study of the so-called Arab-Byzantine coinage struck in Syria (modern Syria, Lebanon, Israel,
The Palestinian Territories and Jordan) has made great strides forward in the last 30 years with the
publication of catalogues of collections in the Ahli Bank in Amman, the Ashmolean Museum in
Oxford, the Khalili Collection in London, the Dumbarton Oaks Collection in Washington DC, and
the University Collection in Tbingen. These monographs, together with innumerable papers in
journals, have revolutionised the study of the coinage struck in Syria following the fall of the
Byzantine Empire in that region. Most rewarding is the increasing attempts to relate the coins to the
known history of the early Islamic State and the Umayyad Empire.
Not least, a number of die studies have shown that the coinages of Scythopolis/Baisan, Baalbek,
Emesa/Hims, and pseudo-Damascus were prolific and clearly produced in well organised mints.
For instance, only a few years ago the coins of Scythopolis were regarded as very rare with only
about 30 recorded. Now that number is well into three figures with new specimens appearing all
the time.
Of course, the growing popularity of Arab-Byzantine coins has its downside in the appearance of
modern forgeries, as exemplified by one paper in this volume. Forgeries of the earliest Islamic gold
dinars have been known for decades, but now numismatists are having to contend with modern
copies of bronze coins, and very convincing some of them are too.
The one great lacuna in the subject is the dearth of coins from excavations or with secure
provenances as a result of field walking. Sadly, most coins available for study can only be localised
according to the origin of the dealer offering specimens for sale, and that is far from reliable as the
number of Arab-Byzantine coins currently offered by a dealer in Dubai testifies. Hence it is not
safe to assume that coins have not crossed modern frontiers before being offered for sale in Europe
or the USA.
On a practical note, I must express my heartfelt thanks to Ingrid and Wolfgang Schulze who
carefully read the final text and discovered numerous mistakes and inconsistencies. Those that
remain are the fault of the editor.
Andrew Oddy

28 June 2010

iv

A. Oddy (ed.): Coinage and History in the Seventh Century Near East II, Proceedings of the 12th
Seventh Century Syrian Numismatic Round Table held at Gonville and Caius College,
Cambridge on 4th and 5th April 2009 (2010), pp. 45-48

New Fakes of Standing Caliph Coins


Ingrid Schulze 1
In 2007 I published a small series of highly suspicious standing caliph coins2 but at that time, the
question of whether we were dealing with forgeries had not been thoroughly investigated. In the
past two years the hypothesis that these coins are fakes has been confirmed by the appearance on
the market of about 30 more fakes of the same type. Some were struck from the same dies; some
appeared as new dies, partly linked with the already known ones. The new types are presented
here as a warning for numismatists, collectors and dealers to beware of these forgeries.

O1

O2

O6

O3

O7

O4

O8

O5

O9

Fig. 1
Figure 1 shows the obverse types that are known to me, including O1 and O2 from my previous
article. The standing figure varies in size but not in style: the strange girdle band is prominent.
In contrast with the usual design, the Standing Caliph is beardless and his feet are usually
represented as dots. The marginal legend of O8 is very well engraved, but the figure is rather
clumsy, similar to a childs picture. Most remarkable is O9; not only sword and girdle band
change sides but there is also an innovation in the legend. We read the unknown phrase li-abd
al-malik bin amr al-muminn instead of the usual legend li-abd allh abd al-malik amr almuminn. This means the engraver omitted the words abd allh and added the word bin, to read
as son of the commander of the believers.

R1

R6

1
2

R2

R7

R3

R8

R4

R9

R5

R10

R11

Ingrid Schulze is an independent scholar ingridschulze@wg-s.de


I Schulze, Some new (?) Standing Caliph coins, Supplement to ONS Journal 193 (Autumn 2007) 46-48.

R12

R13

R14

R15

R16

Fig. 2
Figure 2 shows 16 different reverse dies; R1 to R5 have already been published but R6 to R16
are new. Some of them look quite normal, claiming to have been struck at the mints of Halab
(R6 and R13), Hims (R8), Manbij (R11 and R15), and Dimashq (R16). On die R7 we most
probably see the attempt to engrave maarrat misrn. R9 fits well with R3 and R5, reading darb
bi-ludd: Ludd is another mint from the jund Filastn, which exclusively shows the cursive m and
not the symbol on steps. Equally suspicious are R10 and R12 bearing the legend bi-jibrn on the
right hand side of the symbol on steps as coins from Jibrn are very rare and completely different
in style. In this context it is interesting that some years ago when many fake countermarks with
names of towns appeared on the market, Jibrn was among them.3 The most dubious mint name
is on R14: it is al-Jisre, a mint already doubted by Walker4 for post-reform silver coins, but
never mentioned for Umayyad copper coins.
We can observe a strange phenomenon on the reverses: comparing the marginal legends of R4,
R5 and R6 it looks as if they were struck from the same die, although the alleged mint names and
the symbol on steps are different. How can we explain this? It might be that the forgers first
produced a die only with the margin legend and then duplicated it and completed the dies with
different features in the central field. But it might also be that the die production is on an up-todate EDP standard.
Nevertheless the craftsmanship of the counterfeiters does lack technical knowledge inasmuch as
they produced fresh cracks on the flans or on coins used as flans when striking. These fresh
cracks show the natural metal colour in contrast to the patina, which usually appears to be old.
Occasionally the patina is clearly artificial, as some fakes are covered with black grease which is
easy to remove.5

Fig. 3
Figure 3 shows the obverse/reverse die combinations. It is obvious that at least four obverse dies
and eight reverse dies were in use simultaneously. Several duplicates are to be observed: seven

For further faked countermarks cf. W Schulze, Some modern fakes of Islamic countermarks from 7th century
Syria A warning!, ONS Newsletter 180 (Summer 2004) 32 and T Goodwin, Countermarks from after the Arab
Conquest, in: W Schulze and T Goodwin, Countermarking in Seventh Century Syria, Supplement to ONS
Newsletter 183 (Spring 2005) 51 f.
4
J Walker, A Catalogue of the Arab-Byzantine and Post-Reform Umaiyad Coins, London, 1956, 133, Kh. 5 and
footnote 1.
5
The black grease on coin Fig. 2 no. 13 has been partly removed.

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specimens of type O2/R4 and four specimens of the O4/R5 combination are known, one of them
published as fake by Schindel6.
As we have seen, beside the stylistic inaccuracies the forgers commit two main faults: the
invention of a new obverse legend (O9) and the use of a mint name unknown for the production
of copper coins (R13). But there is a third, the most important fault: the less attractive coin
O6/R12 is worth a closer inspection. As already mentioned in my article from 2007, some of the
forgeries show traces of Roman coins having been used as flans.

Fig. 4
The coin O6/R12 also shows traces of the undertype, and there is no doubt that this Standing
Caliph coin was struck on an Ayybid coin7. This is the final proof that the Standing Caliph
coins of these series were not struck in the 7th century.
Returning to my previous article: there was an additional coin associated with the fakes by the
fact that there are some common features, although differences in style (Fig. 5 no. 1). It is
interesting to observe that some more coins of this special rough style and writing have also
recently appeared on the market:

Fig. 5
Figure 5 shows two coins with bi-hims (nos. 2 and 3), one with bi-ludd (no. 4) and the last one
again with jibrn. These coins are also fakes without any doubt.
To complete the picture of new productions I have to go back from the Standing Caliph coins to
the Umayyad Imperial Image coins. The following fakes have appeared during the last two
years:

N Schindel, Die neuesten standing caliph-Mnzen, Mitteilungen der sterreichischen Numismatischen


Gesellschaft 48 (3) (2008) 124-130.
7
The Ayybid coin is attributed to Al-Mansr Muhammad II (642-83 AH = 1244-84 AD). I am grateful to Reinhard
Hther for the identification and for the drawing.

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Fig. 6
Two coins of Tabariya with different diameters (nos. 1 and 2) and five specimens of a
Damascus coin (no. 3) are now known. Another mistake by the fake factory was to link the
Damascus reverse die with a Hims obverse die (no. 4)8. The same Hims obverse was
offered with another faked Hims reverse (no. 5). Without knowledge of the fake no. 4, the no. 5
could have been accepted as a genuine irregular coin of Hims.
Why should we attach any importance to fakes at all?
It is not only to protect ignorant and gullible collectors but also these coins, if taken to be
genuine, might distort future research on the administrative structure of early Umayyad Syria
because they link mints from different junds. As can be seen from the material presented above,
the conclusions today are that we are dealing with a well equipped production place with a high
technical standard, and the distribution is well organised as the coins have been offered all over
the world.
Whats coming next? Maybe novelties in precious metal? A faint cold fear thrills through my
veins9

8
9

Information kindly supplied by Marcus Phillips.


William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet, Act 4, Scene 3.

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