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The reason for the change cannot be conjectured, no addition to the length of the legend having been made.

I have carefully avoided, in the table of coins, a mistake into which several Numismatists seem to have fallen; namely, the confusion of the three names of Balkh, Jay, and Er-Ray. This has arisen from the supposition that Jay is written with the definitive el, which it never is.

The woodcut below will show the resemblance between this imaginary El-Jay, and Balkh, and Er-Ray: in each case the preposition is prefixed.

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Bi-r-Ray M. Soret in his admirable work on Mohammadan Numismatics makes this observation : "Quoi qu'il en soit, il est bon de prendre toujours note de la présence des points et de la position qu'ils occupent, parce que leur étude peut conduire à des résultats intéressants et utiles ; le professeur Lindberg est le premier qui ait attiré l'attention des orientalistes sur ce sujet, qui avait complétement échappé à la clairvoyance de ses prédecesseurs” (p. 27). I have tried in vain to obtain Prof. Lindberg's essay, which might have been of considerable use to me. I make this statement in order to exculpate myself from any future charge of having followed the prevalent custom of plagiarism.

It is to be hoped that researches similar to mine may be carried on by those Oriental Numismatists who have access to the fine collections of the Continent.



January, 1873.




So little is known respecting the so-called glass coins of the Mohammedans, which are variously alluded to as “vitrei numi,”1 as "monnaies de verre," and as "monnaies

' fictives," that I propose to lay before the Numismatic Society a full description of my collection of these relicsmany of which are as yet unpublished-together with my reasons for believing that they were primarily designed as standard weights for coins, and that they were never intended to be used as current coins or representative pieces of money.

By the courtesy of its author, I have just received a copy of the article, which appeared in Vol. XII., p. 199, of the Numismatic Chronicle, on Arabic glass coins, by Mr. Stanley E. L. Poole, the perusal of which has induced me to revise my partially prepared article on this subject, in order that I may answer some of the arguments which he has brought forward in support of his theory that these vitreous plaques were ever issued or accepted as coins.

1 Numi Mohammedani by Pietraszewski, pp. 97 et seq., and Adler's Collectio numorum Cuficorum, pp. 151 et seq.

? L'Univers, Egypte Moderne, par J. J. Marcel, pp. 139 et seq., but the author does not give any authority for these appellations, simply taking it for granted that they were fictitious coins, and without assigning any sufficient reason.

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It was my intention, before proceeding to the chief purpose of this article, to refer minutely to the origin of Mohammedan coinages. But having recently received the comprehensive work entitled “Essai sur les systèmes métriques et monétaires des anciens peuples,” in which the learned author, Don V. Vazquez Queipo, has almost exhausted the subject, it remains for me merely to refer to his deductions in this particular direction. He has consulted generally the same authors that I have; but there are two valuable works of which he clearly had no knowledge, from which much additional information may be obtained. I refer to Kitâb el Kamil fi t-Tarikh by Ibn el Athîr, and to Kitâb Heyât el Heiwân by Sheikh Kimal ed din ed demiri.

The Omegah Khalîfah Abd ul Malik ibn Merwân was the first to strike dînârs and dirhams of a purely Mohammedan type. The coins in use until his time in the Mohammedan dominions were Byzantine dînârs and Sassanian dirhams, on the latter of which certain Mohammedan formulæ were introduced. The Mohammedan rulers adopted the customs, weights, measures and coins of the people they had conquered, not being sufficiently settled at that early period to give their attention to the establishment of new institutions.3

The first dînârs and dirhams were made in the proportion of 7 to 10, the dînâr weighing 21:75 ķirâts and the dirham 15. These weights have been variously rendered by modern numismatists, some give their equivalent values as 21.75 : 15=67 grs. : 46.2 grs. whilst Mr. S. Poole values them respectively at 65.5 grs. and 45.5 grs.

3 Queipo, p. 18, vol. i.

• Professor Maskelyne, note in Mr. Thomas' Initial Coinage of Bengal, p. 9.

5 Arabic Glass Coins, page 201.

Most Arabic authors use the words mithậâl and dînâr so vaguely that the reader is often led to believe that the terms are synonymous. This however is an error. The word mithkâl Jäso simply means "a weight,” the weight of anything large or small, the weight of one object as compared with another, and conventionally, the weight of 24 ķiråts. The word used alone ought not to be made to signify dînâr.

My collection of glass weights may be divided into four distinct categories. Firstly, thirty-six weights struck by the Fatimite Khalîfahs, and bearing their names. It is known that the size and weight of dînârs and dirhams were frequently changed by the reigning Khalîfah. It was therefore necessary that the name or date should appear on the standard coin weight, lest the merchant should inadvertently weigh a new coin by an old and obsolete standard.

Secondly, glass weights which present certain inscriptions, confirming the theory that they are weights. Of these I have four, and I think they are of much earlier date than the time of the Fatimite Khalifahs. Indeed I think they must belong to the time of the Omeyah dynasty. I find in an article on "Die nominale der münzreform des Chalifen Abdulmelik,” by Dr. E. von Bergmann, an allusion in note 1 to page 24, to two glass discs of this class, one

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In بسم الله ضرب هذه النصف سنه میة bearing this inscription

the name of God this half was struck in the year 100. And the other bearing Lily Lisi Jäso Weight of a half, full weight. Its weight is given as 2.142 grummes, equal to about 33 grains.

Thirdly, glass weights of an evidently later period, bearing rude inscriptions and legends similar in character to those found on the coins of the Bahrit Mamlûke sovereigns of Egypt and Syria.

And fourthly, those on which there are devices, such as a rosette, a double triangle, without any inscription, and those which have neither device nor inscription.





1. Dark green, transparent; diameter 1:10 inch, weight 86 grs.

The Imam Mo'ad الامام معد ابو تميم المعز لدين الله-.Legend

Abu Temim Al Mo’iz ledin illah.


.Emir ul mumenin امیرالمومنین-.Area

2. Pale green, transparent; diameter 0.40 in., weight 5.8 grs.

This disc does not appear to have been worn away, but it

only represents a portion of the die. The inscription is simply der Ma'ad with a portion of a word below it.

THE FIFTI FATIMITE. AL 'Aziz BILLAH. 3. Dirty white, transparent; diameter 0:68 X0:56 in., weight

21.5 grains. Inscription in two lines all jell Al’Aziz billah. 4. Pale green, transparent; diameter 0:64 x 0:54 inch, weight

14.7 grains.
Within a dotted octagon, an inscription in four lines.


الامام العزيز بالله امیرالمومنین

The Imâm al'Aziz billah Emîr ul Mumenîn.

The Sixth FATIMITE. AL HÂKIM BIAMR ILLAH. 6. Pale green, transparent; diameter 1.04 inch, weight 65.5 grs.

الامام الحاكم بامرالله امیر المومنین .Inscription in five lines The Imam al .مما عمل في سنة احدی واربعميه عدل

. Hâkim biamr illah Emir ul mumenîn. Of what were made in the year four hundred and one. Justice (or just).

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