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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 433

 Ch. XI CRUSADER COINAGE WITH ARABIC INSCRIPTIONS 433 
copper, a statement largely confirmed by a small number of modern analyses.33
It seems likely that this was the intended fineness from the beginning. The
weights of these little coins are quite irregular, ranging from less than
half a gram up to more than two grams; for payments, they were weighed against
a standard of about 2.95 grams per monetary dirham. The exchange rate during
the twelfth and early thirteenth centuries was between 35 and 40 monetary
dirhams per dinar.34 In the Aiyubid period, when these dirhams had to be
distinguished from other silver coins, they are often identified specifically
as "black" dirhams, but this term is seldom used earlier — they are
simply called dirhams. A small number of larger round-flan dirhams of twelfth-century
Fãtimid Egypt survive; these have the same design and inscriptions
as the square coins, vary widely in weight (from 2.25 to 3.60 grams), and
judging by appearance (which can be misleading) have the same silver purity
as the square coins (p1. XIII, no. 15).~~ Probably these should be regarded
only as an alternate physical form of the standard dirham with the same monetary
value (weight for weight). These F~timid large black dirhams are not to be
confused with the new dirhams introduced by Saladin, discussed below. The
latter were a currency separate from the black dirham and intended to replace
it. AiyUbid large black dirhams have not been found. 
In 622 (1225/6), under the AiyUbid sultan al-Kãmil, a change was made
in the small dirhams because of certain difficulties with the existing silver
issues, but as contemporary sources make clear, the change was only in the
method of manufacture.~6 The new "round" or 
 33. Ibn-Mammãti, Qawa win ad-dawãwtn, ed. ' Aziz Sury~l ' Atiyah
(Cairo, 1943), pp. 331— 333; al-Makhzumi, Minhãj, trans. Cahen,
"La Frappe des monnaies en Egypte au vle/xlle siècle d'après
le Minhaj d'al-Makhzumi," in Near Eastern Numismatics, Iconography, Epigraphy
and History: Studies in Honor of George C. Miles, ed. Dickran K. Kouymjian
(Beirut, 1974), p. 338; Ibn-Ba'rah, Kashf al-asrar al-'ilmiyah bi-dãr
ad-darb al-misriyah, ed. ' Abd-arRahmfln Fahmi (Cairo, 1966), pp. 83—84,
87, trans. Ehrenkreutz, "Extracts from the Technical Manual on the Ayyubid
Mint in Cairo," Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, xv
(1953), 440-442. For modern analyses see Balog, "History," pp. i22, 128.
 34. Goitein, op. cit., I, 379—383. It is often asserted that the rate
40: 1 corresponds to a rate for pure silver (nuqrah) dirhams of 13 1/3 :
1, but this is mathematically incorrect; 40 : 1 for 30 percent fineness is
equal to 12 : 1 for pure silver. An exchange rate of 13 1/3 : 1 is attested
only for the second half of the 13th century (ibid., I, 386—387, 390);
on the other hand, 12 : 1 is attested by one document of the twelfth century
(ibid., I, 387, no. 90)., 
 35. Balog, "Notes on Some Fatimid Round-Flan Dirhams," Numis. Chr., 7th
ser., 1(1961), 
175—179. 
 36. Described by Ibn-Ba'rah, op. cit., pp. 83—84, who states that
they are to be 30 percent silver. The change may have been a restoration
of the black dirham standard, for al-KAmil's early dirhams are different
in fabric and design from previous black dirhams and may have been less fine
or otherwise unsatisfactory. Al-Kgmil has been unfairly accused of a "colossal
fraud" because al-Maqrizi, two centuries later, erroneously states that his
new dirhams were two-thirds 


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