Umayyad three figure type

Gold Solidus


Three stylised standing figures, similar to those on the previous coin (No. 3), but with their crowns transformed into the wide flat caps of mountain tribesmen. Their hair is more neatly trimmed and the moustache on the central figure is less flamboyant.


In field: A pole on four steps with a globe at its summit flanked by a remnant of the former Byzantine date, B to the left and I to the right.

In margin anticlockwise from 12:00: bism Allah la ilah illa Allah, at 6:00 wahda Muhammad rasul Allah “in the name of God there is no god but God, He is unique, Muhammad is the messenger of God”

It is generally accepted that ‘Abd al-Malik bin Marwan was the first Umayyad caliph to place identifiably Islamic legends on his gold, silver and copper coins.  This is considered to be his first attempt at a uniform gold coinage.  It was inspired by the iconography of the solidus, with Heraclius and his sons on the obverse, and the Umayyad symbol in the centre of the reverse surrounded by the words of the Islamic kalima in the marginal legend.  It is likely that ‘Abd al-Malik chose to continue the three-figure type in order to reassure the coins’ users of their authenticity.  However, this type was quickly superseded by the “standing caliph” coinage struck between 74 and 77 H, followed by the purely epigraphic gold dinar that was first issued in the year 77 H.  It has been said that the three figure coins caused outrage when they were received in Constantinople, because they challenged existing Byzantine coinage conventions, and this added fuel to the development of the ideological struggle between the two empires.

Umayyad three figure type