Bahri Mamluk Rulers of Egypt & Syria

Gold Dinar

Obverse

In field within double linear circle: al-Salihi/al-sultan al-malik/al-Zahir Rukn al-dunya wa’l-din/Baybars qasim amir al-mu’minin “al-Salihi (i.e. a Mamluk of the Ayyubid Sultan al-Salih Ayyub), the sultan, the king, al-Zahir, pillar of the world and the faith, Baybars partner of the commander of the faithful”

The heraldic device of Baybars, a lion or leopard passant to left

In margin largely off flan: la ilah (illa Allah Muhammad rasul Allah arsalahu) bi’l-huda wa din al-haqq li-yuzhirahu “no deity (other than God, Muhammad is the messenger of God, who sent him) with guidance and the religion of truth“ – Surah IX (al-Tauba) verse 33 (in part)

Reverse

In field within double linear circle: bism Allah/al-Imam al-Hakim bi-amr/Allah abu’l-‘Abbas/Ahmad amir al-mu’minin “in the name of God, the Imam al-Hakim bi-amr Allah abu’l-‘Abbas Ahmad, commander of the faithful”

A floral ornament

In margin largely off flan: (bism Allah duriba hadha’l-dinar bi’l-Qahira) sana ahad wa sittin wa sitt mi’a “(in the name of God, this dinar was struck in al-Qahira) the year one and sixty and six hundred”

In his book on the Mamluk Coinage, Balog stated that no gold coins were known in the name of the second Abbasid Caliph in Egypt, al-Hakim I, but this unrecorded dinar proves that for a brief moment al-Zahir Baybars regarded him as his nominal overlord. Al-Hakim was the fifth generation descendant of the Abbasid Caliph al-Rashid II, who somehow managed to turn up in Egypt in 661 H. Baybars, seeking to perpetuate his legitimacy, recognised him after the death of the first Abbasid Caliph in Egypt, abu’l-Qasim Ahmad al-Mustansir bin al-Zahir. The Caliph conferred the royal style al-sultan al-malik upon Baybars, who then described himself as “Partner of the commander of the faithful”. Almost immediately after this coin was struck Baybars decided that it was no longer necessary to recognise the largely fictive caliph on his gold coinage in Cairo, and he replaced al-Hakim’s protocol with the familiar religious legends by which his coins are usually known. However, the succeeding Abbasid caliphs continued to serve as Mamluk court officials until the Ottoman forces under Salim I defeated the Mamluks during the reign of Tumanbay II in 923 H/1517 CE. Baybars and his son Baraka Qan were the only rulers of Egypt to place their personal blazon, a lion passant, on their gold and silver coinage. It would, perhaps, be more correct to call it a leopard, because Baybars literally means “lord leopard”.

Bahri Mamluk Rulers of Egypt & Syria

MaterialGold
TypeDinar
Ruleral-Zahir Rukn al-din Baybars I
Mintal-Qahira (Cairo)
Date661 (1359-1360 CE)
Weight4.94g
Diameter23mm