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Arab-Sasanian coin from "the son of his father"


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Arab-Sasanian (Umayyad Caliphate). Darabgard mint. AR drachm. Ziyad ibn Abi Sufjan (665-674 CE/45-55 AH), dated 43 AH (frozen date). Obverse: Sassanian-Style bust copying Khusro II, name before; in margin "Bism Allah" ("in the name of God"). Reverse: Copy of Sasanian reverse with fire-altar and two attendants, to right mintmark DA, to left date 43. Album 8. This coin: Pars Coins Auction 44, lot 253 (December 18, 2023).

Ziyad ibn Abi Sufjan was born in a small town near Mecca in 622 CE (1 AH). He was born illegitimate, to an unknown father (indeed, his name "Ziyad ibn Abi" means "Ziyad, son of his father"). Despite this disadvantage, his talents were recognized early, and shortly after arriving in the newly founded city of Basra in southern Iraq, began working as a scribe for the city's governor. He continued at Basra, gaining responsibility, until he was appointed by the Caliph Ali as governor of Fars Province in Persia in 658. When Ali was assassinated in 661 by Mu'awiya (founder of the Umayyad Caliphate), Ziyad officially maintained his loyalty to Ali for over a year before finally acknowledging Mu'awiya's rule. (Despite this, Ziyad would go on to distinguish himself in his zeal for fighting against the adherents of Ali, and was even accused of cruelty against them.) Mu'awiya would grant Ziyad the governorship of an expanded province of Basra, which would include the entire eastern half of the Caliphate. Ziyad proved a very able administrator and soldier, and helped establish firmer central control over the eastern regions of the Caliphate. He was noted for the quality of his speeches, which managed to be both eloquent and direct. His administration of justice is generally considered fair (though partisans of Ali would disagree). Ziyad died in 673. Five of his sons would go on to hold governorships. Overall, he is considered one of the most important of the early governors of the Umayyad Caliphate. His coins are fairly common within the Arab-Sasanian series, this is the first example in my collection. Please post whatever related coins you have.

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