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Celebrating eclecticism


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An observation by @Furryfrog02, in his fantastic thread, 'Beauty is in the eye of the Byzantine Beholder' --followed by stumbling onto the coin below in my pics-- set off a synaptic fuse.  As @FitzNigel and, to a lesser extent, I got into in the other forum, the Normans in Sicily and southern Italy set some records for eclecticism on their coins --at least in a medieval context.

Given which, I'm taking @Spaniard's cue from his, also roaringly great thread, 'Made In Spain,' and putting this in General.  ...Because, well, Thank you, Eclectic.  But I'm especially looking forward to seeing what people can do with this over the whole range of the ancient world.


Sicily: Messina.  William I, the Bad, 1154-1166.  AE scyphate follaro (imitating Byzantine trachys), issued from 1155/6 CE; possibly struck later in the reign from the same dies.

Obv.  In field: REX / .W.

Around: Legend in Arabic, translated "Minted in Messina in the year fifty and five hundred [an initially accurate AH date]."

Rev.  Mary holding the child Jesus (a very quasi-ikonic, Byzantine motif).  In fields, the Greek abbreviations: MP [/ Theta Y]; "Mother of God."

D'Andrea and Contreras, The Norman Coins of the Kingdom of Sicily (2nd ed., 2015), 338.

It's worth emphasizing that among all of the elements --down to the flan-- the only Latin part is an abbreviated rendition of the regnal name and title.  The Normans in Sicily were sponges for the rich array of ethnic influences they ruled over.  If there's such a thing as national character, I like to associate this with the similar facility their ancestors had, back to the Viking Age.  Here is the Tabula Rogeriana, a map (and geography) commissioned by William's father, Roger II.  It was compiled by the Arab geographer Muhammad al-Idrisi, who spent a decade and a half in Roger's court.  ...Including the last three years of Roger's reign, following William's appointment as a regent (cf. the German convention of 'King of the Romans,' or active, designated heir).  


From Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muhammad_al-Idrisi

Pleeease, show some examples of this kind of glorious cultural ADD ...Yes, Even in this context, but from Anywhere!

Edited by JeandAcre
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Interesting coin. Christianity and Islam seem to have merged on coins in several places:

Genoese Akche, 1435-1447image.png.327af0c76affc8a4644182b71b001c1f.png

Kaffa, Crimea. Silver, 16mm, 0.90g. Arms of Genoa with tower and star. Tamga of Küchük Muhammad (1435-1459) of the Golden Hoard, Islamic legend around Muhammed Khan (MWI 2358).

The city of Kaffa in the Crimea was conquered by the Mongols in the 1230s. Later that century, merchants from the Republic of Genoa bought the city from the Golden Horde. Kaffa became a flourishing trade settlement, monopolising trade in the Black Sea. This coin has a Genoese side and a Mongol side. 

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@JeandAcre, the Sicilian follaro showing Mary and the infant Jesus is a fascinating type, and you have a beautiful example! Also, the map made for Roger II is a fantastic exmple of how sophisticated medieval carthography could be.

Here are two of my coins from Norman Sicily, both minted for William II "the Good". The first coin is purposefully anepigraphic, the second has William's name and title in Arabic:


Norman Kingdom of Sicily, under William II "the Good," AE trifollaro, 1166–1189 AD, Messina mint. Obv: lion's head facing. Rev: palm tree. 26mm, 10.27g. Ref: Spahr 117; Biaggi 1231.



Norman Kingdom of Sicily, under William II "the Good", AE follaro, 1166–1189 AD, Messina or Palermo mint. Obv: Lion's head left. Rev: Kufic script: "al-malik Ghulyalim al-thani" ('King William the second'). 14mm, 1.87g. Ref: Spahr 118.

Edited by Ursus
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How about Indo-Roman mix?! Roman imitation issues from Sri Lanka, circa 5th-7th century AD.

First coin is based on the FEL TEMP REPARATIO aka fallen horseman type, weighing 0.89 grams, the reverse is mirrored, my guess is the engraver just copied the official coin in the die and when struck, the coin came out like this. 


Second is a coin based on the Gloria Exercitus type, what I like about this coin is that the engraver's attempt to copy the Latin words! It weighs 1.55 g. 


This one is curious, the reverse was probably copied from a cross, however we see a Swastika, an auspicious symbol for the Hindu/Buddhist religions. Here we see the locals taking in the Roman culture, however they knew to separate the religion! It weighs 0.82 g. 


Also an official Roman coin from one of the hoards, looks like Constans from the Heraclea mint! this coin has travelled nearly 5000 miles from the place of its origin! 1.73 g 


Ex Alexander Fishman, does anyone know what happened to his store? 

Edited by JayAg47
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This is another from the East-West boundary. The Muscovites hadn't used coins until the Golden Horde turned up, so when they started striking their own, they continued with the Arabic legends even though they were gibberish.

Vasily II The Blind Denga, 1425-1433


Moscow. Silver, 0.64g. Rider with a falcon to the right. Imitation of an Arabic inscription (Metz 11).

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[IMG] Rasenna, Fufluna, (Etruria, Populonia)

10 Asses
10-Asses: (Similar to a Roman AR Denarius)
Etruria Populonia
AR 10 Asses 20mm 4.21g
211-206 BC
Obv: Male Hd
Rev: Blank
die break

5-Asses: (Similar to a Roman AR Quinarius)
Etruria Populonia
AR 5 Asses 2.0g
3rd C BCE
Obv: Young Head L, V (denomination) behind
Rev: blank
HN 173 Vecchi Rasna III 52 ex NAC 29 No 9 RARE

AR-5 Asses, 3. Jahrhundert v. Chr.; 2.00 g. Jünglingskopf l. dahinter Wertangabe//Glatt. Rutter, Historia Numorum 173; Vecchi, The coinage of the Rasna III, 52; Vecchi, Etruscan Coinage 91.6 (dies Exemplar).

Von großer Seltenheit. Feine Patina, winz. Kratzer, sehr schön
Exemplar der Auktion NAC 29, Zürich 2005, Nr. 9.

Das Stück ist abgebildet bei Christian Gliwitzky, Aus Etruskern werden Römer - Geprägte Gold- und Silbermünzen, in: Jörg Gebauer (Hrsg.) u. a. Die Etrusker - Von Villanova bis Rom, München 2015, S. 282, Abb. 6.4

Ex: Künker Auction 295 Lot 124

2-1/2 Asses: (Similar to a Roman AR Sestertius)
2-½ asses , AR 0.85 g
3rd century BC
Obv: Radiate female head r.; behind, CII.
Rev: Blank.
Ref: EC 104 (misdescribed, Female head with an Attic helmet). Historia Numorum Italy 179.
NAC Comment: Of the highest rarity, apparently only the second specimen known. Dark patina and about very fine.
Ex: From the collection of E.E. Clain-Stefanelli

1-As: (Similar to a Roman AR - nothing - only Bronze in Roman Currency)
Etruria Populonia
AR 1 As 0.60g 10.0mm
after 211 BCE
Obv: Male Head Left
Rev: Plain Rev
Ref: Vecchi 3 68-70 HN Italy 181
Seller/Auction comment: EXTREMELY RARE

AE Sextans:
Etruria or Umbria
Aes Grave
3rd C BCE
Sextans 23mm 25.15g
Obv: Club
Rev: 2 Dots
Ref: HN 54 Vecchi-Th 172

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Here's an East European king who issued official blundered Arabic coinage: Bela III from Hungary.



Kingdom of Hungary
Issued under Bela III
1172-1196 AD
AE imitation | 1.34 grams | 22.5mm wide
Officially issued imitation coin copying Arabic designs
See it on Zeno.ru, Z#278858

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One could argue that it doesn't get more eclectic than this. This coin doesn't fit into any collection theme - because it is arguably the most one-off coin in existence!


Tanlis Mardates with wife Raggodeme, AR drachm

Tanlis was the only(?) coin-issuing governor or king of a Parthian feudatory in Sakastan and Arachosia in the mid 1st century BC, contemporary with the Indo-Scythians and possibly supplanted by the Indo-Parthians under Gondophares. He is known from only one type, in one denomination, and his countermark is sometimes seen on Parthian drachms, or local imitations thereof.


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The coins that I have showing a mix of cultures/religions are the Arab imitations of Byzantine folles from the 7th century AD.

Byzantine-Arab follis, Scythopolos, Baysan, circa 660-680 AD

11.06 grams



Arab-Byzantine Fals, Imitating Justin II, Gerasa



Arab Umayyad Fals, Amman Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan AH 73-78 (693-697AD)

2.7 grams


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@Finn235 and @robinjojo, I can't begin to reconstruct how I neglected this thread for so long --how do you go about remembering how you forgot something?-- but your contributions are Stuff. 

@Finn235, yours is truly mind-expanding.  --No, I meant, just the coin, and the amazing, but intuitively accessible historical context.

@thenickelguy's thread, under 'Greek,' is a serious serious complement to the cultural dynamics going on here.  Between the two of you, this is the kind of stuff I was hoping people would post here in the first place.  --Serious apologies for forgetting about this thread over most of the last week.

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An Arab overstrike on a then-300 year old Roman coin (more about it here in my thread).


Umayyad Caliphate
AE fals (overstruck on a Roman follis of Honorius, Virtvs Exerciti type, RIC X 61)
Obv: The Kalima, in Arabic (D N HONORI [VS P F AVG], pearl-diademed, draped bust right)
Rev: Transformed cross(?) (VIRTVS-EXERCITI, emperor standing left, head right, holding spear and resting left hand on shield. Victory, standing beside him crowning him with a wreath)
Mint: (Constantinople for undertype)
Mintmark: None (CON in ex.)
Date: 697-750 AD (post-coin reform; undertype struck 395-401 AD)


Edited by ValiantKnight
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