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Coins of the Islamic Period

Byzantine coins were still in circulation during the first years of the Arab conquest. The same coins were being struck and it is often not possible to distinguish them from the Byzantine prototypes. Some of them had a Greek inscription MACP - for the Arabic word Masr meaning Egypt or Fustat, indicating that coins were no longer minted in Alexandria but in Fustat instead.

The new Arab coinage avoided the Christian symbolism found on Byzantine coins, and introduced gold and silver coins with the Arabic script. Sometime shortly after AD 699 the first Islamic coinage was minted at Damascus, capital of the Umayyad caliphs. The texts are anonymous, with a religious inscription in Arabic. From about AD 734 - 742 all copper issues had the governor's name. About AD 786 - 787 gold and silver coinage started. With the Fatimid conquest of Egypt in AD 969 a new system was introduced there, based on gold dinars.

UC 49710 UC 49711

compare glass weights

Bates 2001


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