Name of Object:

Dinar (gold coin)

Location:

Damascus, Syria

Holding Museum:

National Museum of Damascus

About National Museum of Damascus, Damascus

Date of Object:

Hegira 649 / AD 1251

Museum Inventory Number:

ع ر 5354

Material(s) / Technique(s):

Minted gold.

Dimensions:

Diameter 2.3 cm, weight 3.17 g

Period / Dynasty

Crusader

Provenance:

Acre, Palestine.

Description:

A Crusader coin, with the value of a dinar as it is made of gold. Although the Crusaders came as counter-Islamic warriors, they also settled in the region and engaged in commerce quite extensively. In order for their coins to have value and be recognisable within the market economy, they minted coins similar to the ones found in the region and inscribed their minting in Arabic. This coin follows a Fatimid prototype. Its inscription is arranged in three concentric circles. It was minted in Acre in AD 1251 (AH 649), during the rule of King Louis IX (d. AD 1270), the King of France who led the 7th and 8th crusades. The minting of these coins was instigated by the arrival of a new papal legislator to the Latin states in the spring of 1250 who considered it blasphemous to use coins containing the names of the Muslim prophets and the ruling caliphs. He immediately forbade their minting, replacing them with coins portraying Christian symbolism written in deliberate but faulty Arabic language.
The following Arabic inscriptions are recorded on the coin in naskhi script:
Obverse
Middle – the phrase “God is one” is written, although the Arabic word for God (Ilah) is misspelled.
Inner Ring – “The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit”
Outer Ring – “Minted in Acre in the year one thousand two hundred and fifty one, our Lord became incarnate.” This phrase is followed by a cross flanked by two dots.
Reverse
Middle – In the middle of a circle is a cross with dots in opposite quadrants; the upper left and lower right.
Inner Circle – There is a small cross flanked by a pair of dots on each side, located in proximity to the cross in the middle circle. The inscription reads, “Our resurrection, our salvation is in Him, protect us”.
Outer Circle – On the perimeter is an unclear form of a cross with one dot on each side, then the phrase “We are proud of the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, in Him is our peace”.
Note that a number of the words are misspelled and the text has numerous linguistic errors, which makes it difficult to read.

View Short Description

This gold coin, known as a dinar, was minted by the Crusader settlers in Acre. To maintain economic viability the Crusaders minted coins in the Islamic numismatic style, following the Fatimid prototype of Arabic inscriptions arranged in three concentric circles, with the addition of a central cross.

How date and origin were established:

The inscription on the face of the coin specifies the date (1251).

How Object was obtained:

Purchased in 1948.

How provenance was established:

The inscription on the face of the coin specifies that it was minted in Acre.

Selected bibliography:

Delpont, E. (ed), L'Orient de Saladin: l'art des Ayyoubides, Paris, 2001, p.105; fig. 84.

Citation of this web page:

Mona al-Moadin "Dinar (gold coin)" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2017. http://www.discoverislamicart.org/database_item.php?id=object;ISL;sy;Mus01;43;en

Prepared by: Mona Al-Moadin
Translation by: Hilary Kalmbach (from the Arabic)
Translation copyedited by: Mandi Gomez

MWNF Working Number: SY 70

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