Object Name: Coin

Date: dated A.H. 79/ A.D. 698–99

Geography: Made in Syria

Medium: Gold

Dimensions: Diam. 13/16 in. (2.1 cm)

Classification: Coins

Credit Line: Bequest of Joseph H. Durkee, 1898

Accession Number: 99.35.2386


The first Muslim rulers relied on older Byzantine and Sasanian mints to keep a constant supply of coinage in the newly converted lands. Modifications to older types occurred gradually over the first century of Islam. Crosses on Byzantine-style gold coins, for example, were the first visual elements to disappear. ‘Abd al-Malik’s gold reform in 696–97 resulted in totally new coin styles without figural imagery of any kind. Instead, coins like this one made during his reign feature the shahada (profession of the faith) in stately kufic script: “There is no god but God, and Muhammad is the messenger of God.”