Name of Object:

Dinar (solidus)

Location:

Rabat, Morocco

Holding Museum:

Numismatic Museum of the al-Maghreb Bank

About Numismatic Museum of the al-Maghreb Bank, Rabat

Date of Object:

Hegira 98 / AD 715–6

Museum Inventory Number:

4

Material(s) / Technique(s):

Cast and struck gold.

Dimensions:

Diameter 1.2 cm, weight 4.28 g

Period / Dynasty

Umayyad

Workshop / Movement:

Coining workshop, Ifriqiya (Tunisia).

Provenance:

Ifriqiya (Tunisia).

Description:

Beautifully made gold dinar, which belongs to the first and most original Umayyad coins. Issued in Ifriqiya under the rule of Sulayman (AH 96–99 / AD 715–17), son of 'Abd al-Malik, this coin includes the features that his father established for coining: the introduction of the dinar as an official currency, abolition of iconographic representations and an exclusive use of Arabic inscription. Thus, in accordance with contemporary practice, the most noticeable areas of the coin, the centre of the obverse and reverse, are inscribed with the professions of the Islamic faith in archaic kufic script: 'La ilaha ill allah' (There is no god but Allah) and 'Muhammad Rassul Allah' (Muhammad is God's prophet). However, contrary to prevailing practice, the circular legends on the obverse and reverse are written in abbreviated Latin characters, as on Byzantine coins from Africa. The obverse rim includes the monetary value, 'Solidus' (dinar), the place of striking, 'Feritus in Africa' (made in Africa) and the Hegira year it was struck 'Anno: XCVIII' (year 98). The circular legends in Latin script on the reverse proclaim God's uniqueness, 'In nomine Domini' (In the name of God), 'Non Deus Nisi Solus Deus' (there is no god but the one God), 'Non Deo Socius' (God has no equal). This demonstrates that the province of Ifriqiya was not entirely arabicised in that period. Moreover, there were some parts of its non-Islamised people that spoke only Latin. The authorities, governors named by the Umayyads, were obliged to strike dinars with Latin–Arabic legends and they had to use a language other than Arabic so as to spread the profession of the Islamic faith. Coins, essential for trading, were therefore used for religious propaganda.

View Short Description

This dinar follows the rules laid down for Islamic coinage: iconographic representations were forbidden, and the profession of faith is in Arabic, although Latin is used for the value of the coin, its date and the proclamation of the oneness of God. Its originality lies in the way bilingualism is used as propaganda.

Original Owner:

J.D. Brèthes

How date and origin were established:

The year is displayed in roman numerals on the obverse rim.

How Object was obtained:

The Bank of Morocco (al-Maghreb Bank) bought this dinar along with the rest of the Moroccan coins in the Brèthes collection. An enlightened numismatist, Brèthes lived in Morocco in the first half of the 20th century, and built up an important collection of coins found in Morocco from periods throughout its history, from Antiquity to 1940.

How provenance was established:

The circular inscription on the obverse gives the place where the coin was struck.

Selected bibliography:

Brèthes, J. D., Contribution à l'histoire du Maroc par les recherches numismatiques, Casablanca, 1939.
The Umayyads: The Rise of Islamic Art, pp.173–5.
Ifriqiya: Thirteen Centuries of Art and Architecture in Tunisia.

Citation of this web page:

Naima El Khatib-Boujibar "Dinar (solidus)" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2017. http://www.discoverislamicart.org/database_item.php?id=object;ISL;ma;Mus01_F;1;en

Prepared by: Naima El Khatib-BoujibarNaima El Khatib-Boujibar

Archéologue et historienne de l'art, titulaire d'une licence en lettres (française), N. Elkhatib-Boujibar a également étudié l'archéologie et l'histoire de l'art à l'Institut d'art et d'archéologie de Paris, l'art islamique et la muséologie à l'École du Louvre (Paris), et suivi des cours à l'Institut d'ethnographie de l'Université de Neuchâtel (Suisse). Elle a occupé plusieurs postes de responsabilité, parmi lesquels directrice des Musées et de l'Archéologie, inspectrice générale des Musées et de l'Archéologie, déléguée régionale du ministère de la Culture.
Elle a dirigé un chantier de fouille durant 20 ans et enseigné à l'Institut national marocain des sciences de l'archéologie et du patrimoine (INSAP). Elle a organisé différentes expositions sur le patrimoine marocain, au Maroc comme à l'étranger, et animé des cycles de conférence, dont celui sur l'art islamique à la “Villa des Arts” à Casablanca.
N. El Khatib-Boujibar a publié différents articles sur le patrimoine archéologique, artistique et architectural marocain, mais aussi sur d'autres sites islamiques et sur les arts mobiliers. Elle a également participé à la rédaction du catalogue Musée Sans Frontières Le Maroc andalou, à la rencontre d'un art de vivre.

Copyedited by: Margot Cortez
Translation by: Laurence Nunny
Translation copyedited by: Monica Allen

MWNF Working Number: MO 02

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