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* The Persian Aavikn is described as being somewhat heavier than the Attic. It was therefore the same coin as the Indian Tangka, which weighed 14 grains, although it contained only 11.2 grains of pure silver.

XIII.

SASSANIAN COINS.

(Continued from p. 286, vol. xii.)

I REVERT to the description of the coins of Firoz interrupted at p. 286. I have already noticed the dates of the year of the reign, now for the first time inserted on the public money of this King, and a simultaneous multiplication of the coinage itself is indicated, apart from the manifold extant examples, in the increased number of mints exhibited on the circulating media. For a long time a discussion was maintained as to whether the crypto-biliteral monograms, to the right of the altar on the reverse, constituted in any sense the initials of the mint city,' but I myself have never felt shaken in my faith that they were added to the die illustration for the purpose of marking the locality and attesting the standard accepted in situ, whether the mint was administered directly by government officials or collectively by town guilds.

The simple proof that these truncated initiatory letters were designed to supply the place of the full name of the locality, is manifested in the additions that were made to the original curt records as cities multiplied or the conventional Pehlvi speech was intruded upon by other dialects, which made it requisite to add to the

1 M. de Bartholomæi Mélanges Asiatiques (1858), iii. pp. 149-349.

normal bilingual symbol continuative letters, that should leave no doubt about the still merely introductory pronunciation thus covered ; and, as time progressed, we find when the Arabs took possession of the Sassanian mints, and their foreign speech demanded so much more obvious and comprehensive a Pehlvi definition, that the name of the given city or province was expressed in full, letter by letter. We likewise discover that, at this period, cities and groups of townships were in the habit of extending mutual "acceptances” by indorsing the original piece of a neighbouring mint with a contremarque or hall-mark bearing the designation of the guaranteeing community :: a proceeding which was clearly needed if we are to credit the assertion that at the time of the Arab conquest each “city” had its own independent standard. The difficulty of identifying many of the earlier abbreviations is readily overcome in all such cases as we can trace the consecutive development of the germ, and the true site of some of the unexpanded biliteral prototypes may often be approximately determined by their ultimate retention on the coins of the Arab governors, whose subject provincial divisions are better ascertained. 4

a

? For instance, the addition of the Merv-al-rúd hall-mark to the Meru mintages is very frequent (J.R.A.S., xii. p. 294, No. 16). The attestation of the former city is found upon western coins indifferently with the Kufic 7:"current" of the conquerors (J.R.A.S., xii. p. 303, No. 31, 34, etc.).

و غبار هر شهري بنوعی دیگر بودي عبد الملك با يک غيار آورده

- Táríkh-i-Guzidah, MS.

* For example, Dr. Mordtmann has very perseveringly affirmed that the mint-mark sj Babá stands ! Báb, “a door,” indicating “die Pforte,” or the imperial capital of Ido, Ctesiphon (Zeitschrift, vol. viii. p. 12), whereas the only Arab governors who use this mint are the lieutenants of Khorasan. His attriBut to pretend to assign the large majority of these, so to say, symbolic letters, would be to encourage a mere delusion..

In the subjoined list of the twenty-six mints of Firoz, I have conjecturally added terminations to the opening

bution in this instance is still more eccentric, inasmuch as he quotes another mint-mark w.f (Nos. 7, 8, of his list), which progresses into wgwf Mádá or Madain, but which he still insists upon interpreting as "Media."

" One of the arguments adduced by M. de Bartholomæi against the inference that these symbols stood for mints, and upon which he greatly relied, was that we had so few examples of the name of the capital “Madain." This is undoubtedly the fact, but the conclusion does not follow. Madain had no special machinery for coining beyond other cities : and it would be hazardous to say, in the present state of our knowledge, that many of the other mint-marks, which are more than ordinarily common, may not refer to some subordinate quarter of the metropolis itself, or some sectional group of proximate towns. Moreover, Oriental capitals were, as a rule, more given to absorb than to distribute the precious metals. But if we accept the theory of local mint management, the prestige or importance of the metropolitan issues is at once disposed of. On the other hand, to adopt a larger view, I am under the impression that the primary dies for the whole kingdom were cut and prepared on each new accession, under royal sanction, at head quarters, and the negative matrices supplied in soft steel in a finished form—with the exception of the date and place of mintage-to the recognized provincial and urban centres, where they might be reproduced indefinitely till mere wear and tear necessitated the execution of new forms. I do not for a moment contend that this practice was uniform and immutable, nor can I say when it was first introduced, but its existence can be readily traced in numerous instances in the anomalous forms of the legends and letters on the reverse, and the cramped space they had to be compressed into.

Some such system of supplying local mints from a recognized official source was clearly in operation during the subsequent Arab period : obviously on the Arabico-Pehlvi series, and less distinctly in the case of the obverses of the succeeding Kufic coinages, where a completely new reverse had to be engraved for every separate site, and presumably for every new year.

letters, and suggestively appended occasional geographical identifications, but I wish it to be understood that these are advanced in either case with all due reserve

THE MINTS OF Fíróz.

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