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Zacour, N. P.; Hazard, H. W. (ed.) / Volume VI: The impact of the Crusades on Europe
(1989)

XI: Crusader coinage with Arabic inscriptions,   pp. 421-473 PDF (5.7 MB)


Page 425

 Ch. XI CRUSADER COINAGE WITH ARABIC INSCRIPTIONS 425 
bAsid, Ttilunid, and Ikhshidid periods.6 In northwestern Africa and Sicily
the Fätimid monetary system included dinars, quarter dinars, and small
silver dirhams. These coins were distinguished from those of the Sunni ' Abbãsid
realms by the presence of certain Shi'i inscriptions, by different weight
standards, and especially by a design so obviously different that even illiterates
in Arabic could distinguish the two coinages. 
 The conquest of Egypt by the Fatimids resulted in the introduction of their
monetary system there, replacing the previous ' Abb~sid-style coinage. Under
al-Mu'izz (in Egypt, 969—975) and al-'Aziz (975—996), the Fãtimid
dinar was closely controlled in weight, and is said by a contemporary to
have circulated by count,7 but under al-Hãkim (996—1021) a series
of changes began. In A. H. 400 (1009/10), and then again in 404, the design
of the dinar was substantially altered. The coinage of his successor, a~-~hir
(1021—1036), was at first much like the last issues of al-H~kim, but
new major changes were made in 420 (1029/30) and 424 or 425. Again, the earliest
coinage of al-Mustansir (1036-1094) is like the third type of a~-ZAhir, but
changes in arrangement and content of inscriptions were made in 430 (103
8/9), 435 (p1. XII, no. 3), and 439, while in 440 (1048/9; p1. XII, no. 4)
and 474 (1081/2; p1. XII, no. 5) radically different designs were introduced.
Under al-Musta'li (1094-1101) in Muharram 490 (1096/7),8 another substantive
change was made in the design of the gold coinage (p1. XII, no. 6). Thereafter
FAtimid gold coinage was unchanged in appearance until the end of the dynasty
(p1. XII, no. 7), except for the issues of a~-ZAfir (1149—1154). 
 The purpose of these new issues is not clear in every instance, and there
is no need to discuss them in detail here, but it can be said in general
that such obvious changes in the appearance of the coinage were not merely
cosmetic, but marked changes in the monetary function of the coins. Contemporaries,
it is clear, regarded the different issues as different monies, related to
each other by fluctuating exchange rates;9 put another way, each new issue
became the standard current legal tender, while the previous issue was usable
only to pay off debts 
 6. Egypt may have minted dinars before 786, but they cannot as yet be identified.
Dinars of the late Ikhshidid period are scarce today, perhaps as a result
of the recoinage of gold forced after the Fätimid conquest, which would
have brought most of the previously circulating dinars to the melting pot
(Ibn-Muyassar, AkhbãrMisr, ed. Ayman Fu'ad Sayyid, II [Cairo, 1981],
164). 
 7. Al-Maqdisi(al-Muqaddasi), Ahsan at-taq~simfima'rzfatal-aqalrm, ed. Martini.
de Goeje (Bibliotheca geographorum arabicorum, III; Leyden, 1906), p. 240.
 8. Ibn-Muyassar, op. cit., II, 65. 
 9. For example, Goitein, op. cit., I, 239, citing a Geniza document of about
1060 which distinguishes between "lined" dinars (the issue or issues of 425—440)
and "concentric" dinars (the 


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