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The coinage of Syria and Palestine issued during the first fifty years of Islamic rule is of exceptional interest, but until recently has been little studied. The images on the coins were initially loosely based on Byzantine prototypes, but soon developed new iconographic features, including the earliest known Islamic human images. This development was cut short by caliph ‘Abd al-Malik’s reforms of the 690s in which purely epigraphic coinage was introduced across almost the whole Muslim world. Arab-Byzantine coins are therefore an almost unique survival of the birth of Islamic art, as well as useful historical documents given that the earliest surviving histories of this period were written some two hundred years later.
The book starts with a comprehensive survey of the coinage, with examples of all known mints and types illustrated and described. The author then presents three separate in-depth studies, on the coins of Ba‘albak, Jerusalem and Yubna. The first of these includes the results of first comprehensive die study to be published for an Arab-Byzantine mint. The second and third studies concentrate particularly on the unusual iconography which developed in the Palestinian mints and the author also demonstrates how the Yubna coinage, hitherto practically unknown outside specialist numismatic circles, must now be regarded as one of the most complex in the Arab-Byzantine series.
The studies draw on the extensive holdings of the Nasser D. Khalili Collection of Islamic Art and also on museum and private collections across the world. The book is extensively illustrated with images of around 400 coins, almost all of which are previously unpublished. It is aimed both at numismatists and at interested scholars and collectors from other disciplines.
Tony Goodwin – is a specialist in Byzantine and early Islamic coinage of the 7th century.
168 pages; 31 x 22 cm hardback; ISBN 1-874780-75-7 (10 digit), ISBN: 978-1-874780-75-5 (13 digit)
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