Islamic History Through Coins: An Analysis and Catalogue of Tenth-Century Ikhshidid Coinage

What can one discover through the study of medieval Islamic coins? It appears that the regular gold dinars and silver dirhams issued by the Ikhshidid rulers of Egypt and Palestine (935–69) followed a series of understood but unwritten rules. As the first part of this book reveals, these norms involved whose names could appear on the regular currency, where the names could be placed (based upon a strict hierarchical order), and even which parts of a Muslim name could be included. The founder of the dynasty, Muhammad ibn Tughj, could use the honorific al-Ikhshid; his eldest son and successor could use his teknonym Abu al-Qasim; his brother, the third ruler, could use only his name Ali; and the eunuch Kafur, effective ruler of Egypt for over twenty years, could never inscribe his name on the regular coinage. At the same time, each one of these rulers was named in the Friday sermon and most had their teknonym inscribed on textiles. Presentation coins, the equivalent of modern commemorative pieces, could break all these rules, and a wide variety of titles appeared, as well as a series of coins with human representation. The second half of the book is a catalogue of over 1,200 specimens, enabling curators, collectors, and dealers to identify coins in their own collections and their relative rarity. Throughout the book numismatic pieces are illustrated, along with commentary on their inscriptions, layout, and metallic content.

Islamic History Through Coins: An Analysis and Catalogue of Tenth-Century Ikhshidid Coinage (Cairo, Egypt ; New York: American University in Cairo Press, 2006)