In many ways the early Abbasid Dirhams and Fulus were a continuation of the minting practices of the Umayyads, whom they overthrew in a bloody revolution. That can be said with some notable exceptions: The Dirham obverse, though stylized, remained the same. It reads:
but the reverse was changed from the Ikhlas, to the completion of the Shahada which was on the obverse. Thus the reverse of many of the Abbasid Dirhams reads:
Later, within the first period of Abbasid minting (132-218AH) the reverse of the Dirhams was to, at times, become a tool for political propaganda, hosting the name of the caliphal heir especially when the succession was in dispute.
In identifying the early period coins, I have finally decided to use Lowick/Savage numbers as the standard. The fact is, although this work is not published, it is, nevertheless, the only reasonable catalogue of 'Abbasid coins out there. Beyond 218AH, I have chosen to fall back on Lavoix's "Catalogue Des Monnaies Musulmanes De La Biblioteque National", still, in my opinion, the most complete published catalogue of 'Abbasid coinage to date.
The same holds true for 'Abbasid falus and Dirhams. I was very disappointed with Samir Shamma's catalogue. It is unorganized full of errors and unreliable in my opinion.
This collection is a work in progress and should eventually include a representative Dirham for each year of Abbasid minting as well as Falus from reigns that are available. If that becomes impossible, I will be satisfied with the completion of the first phase of Abbasid minting from 132-218AH.
This segment along with the Umayyad coinage and that of the Umayyads of Spain comprises the entirety of the Arab controlled Islamic Era and forms a complete chapter in Islamic history and numismatics. After that, the Abbasid Caliphate lost central control. The western portion of the domain fell to the Idrisids and Fatimids as well as the Umayyads of Spain, while the core of the empire was in the hands of the Caliphal Turkish guards and their subsequent dynasties. The caliph thus became a figure-head, no longer the powerful master of the Empire, but a symbol of legitimacy for pretenders who acted independently of him, while maintaining lip-service to his command.
The power of Amir al-Mu'minin, at that time, was limited to the palace walls; effectively transferred to Amir al-Umara' and later to Maliks and Sultans. The Caliph retained the spiritual authority, but was raised and disposed of at will, by successive temporal leaders.
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