Abbasid Caliphate: 1st Period

Silver Half Dirham

Obverse

In field: la ilah illa/Allah wahda/la sharik lahu/Tahir “no deity other than the One God, He has no associate, Tahir”

Margin: bism Allah duriba hadha’l-dirham bi-Madinat Barqa sanat ahd ‘ashr wa mi’atayn “in the name of God this dirham was struck in Madinat Barqa the year eleven and two hundred”

Reverse

In field: la ilah illa/Allah wahda/la sharik lahu/Tahir “no deity other than the One God, He has no associate, Tahir”

Margin: bism Allah duriba hadha’l-dirham bi-Madinat Barqa sanat ahd ‘ashr wa mi’atayn “in the name of God this dirham was struck in Madinat Barqa the year eleven and two hundred”

Barqa, a town located close to today’s Benghazi, is an occasional, but very rarely encountered Islamic mint. In Umayyad times a few copper fulus are recorded from the mint, but this is the only known Abbasid issue known in any metal. This was followed by a small number of Fatimid gold dinars. Barqa was a fertile coastal oasis and offered a welcome stopping point for caravans and seaborne traffic between Egypt and Tunisia. It is clear from the legends on this dirham that Barqa was not at this time under the control of the Aghlabid ruler of nearby Ifriqiya, Ziyadat Allah I, because it lacks both his name and the Aghlabid motto ghalab (“conquest”). The name Tahir on the obverse is presumably that of an otherwise unknown governor or local satrap.

Abbasid Caliphate: 1st Period

MaterialSilver
TypeHalf Dirham
RulerAbu-Ja’far ‘Abd Allah al-Ma’mun bin al-Rashid
MintMadinat Barqa
Date211H / 826-827CE
Weight1.40g
Diameter17mm