Tag Archives: Sasanian Numismatics

Sylloge Nummorum Sasanidarum Iran: A late Sasanian Hoard from Orumiyeh

Akbarzadegh, Daryoosh & Schindel, Nikolaus. 2017. Sylloge Nummorum Sasanidarum Iran: A late Sasanian Hoard from Orumiyeh. (Veröffentlichungen zur Numismatik 60). Wien: Verlag der österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften.

The present volume from series “Sylloge Nummorum Sasanidarum” (SNS) deals with a treasure found in the region of Piran-Shahr in the north-west of Iran in 2007 and is one of the largest and most important collections of coins from Sasanian era which includes a quantity of 1267 drachmas. The collection informs us about not only the history of the coin and money in Iran during the Late Antiquity, but also about the economic history of the Sasanid empire, for which there are hardly any sources. The publication is prepared by a cooperation of the Austrian Academy of Sciences with RICHTO, the Research Institute of ICH (Iran Cultural Heritage, Handcrafts and Tourism Organization).

The Coinage Reforms of Khusru II and the Revolt of Vistāhm

Tyler-Smith, Susan. 2017. The Coinage Reforms (600-603) of Khusru II and the Revolt of Vistāhm. (Royal Numismatic Society Special Publication 54). London: Royal Numismatic Society.

One of the most intriguing literary passages relating to Sasanian coins is in al-Tabari’s, famous History. A number of questions about his ‘evil conduct’ are put to the former king of kings, Khusru II, shortly after his overthrow in 628. One concerns Khusru’s methods of tax gathering and his harsh treatment of his subjects. Khusru’s reply is important to numismatists as it contains the comment that he ordered ‘the engraving of new dies for coins, so that we might give our orders for beginning the minting of new silver [drachms] with them’. Khusru adds that he gave this order ‘at the end of year thirteen [602/3] of our reign’. The meaning of this passage and the remarkable coinage reforms of the early seventh century are explored in depth.

Khusru II’s long reign and the numerous mints operating under him ensure that his drachms are the commonest in the Sasanian series. Over 90% of the enormous ‘Shiraz’ or ‘Year 12’ hoard was probably formed of Khusru’s coins dating between 591 and 602. A parcel of 562 coins from this hoard forms the springboard for the current study. This establishes the precise sequence of the types, the date of the introduction of the enigmatic apd legend and discusses the subsequent hoarding of Khusru’s coins. The latest mint attributions are discussed.

By contrast the coinage of Khusru’s contemporary and rival, the usurper Vistahm, is scarce. Its numerous varieties, from two mints, contrast with Khusru’s centralised minting system which produced a highly standardised, tightly controlled, coinage. Vistahm’s coins are the subject of a special study with all the known dies illustrated.

A hoard from the time of the collapse of the Sasanian Empire

Heidemann, Stefan. 2014. A hoard from the time of the collapse of the Sasanian Empire (AD 638–9). Part II: Analysis of the minting system of Ardashir III. The Numismatic Chronicle 174. 333–351

Along the Sasanian Tradition

Gyselen, Rika (ed.). 2014. Documents, argenterie et monnaies de tradition sassanide. (Res Orientales 22). Bures-sur-Yvette: Groupe pour l’Étude de la Civilisation du Moyen-Orient.
 This volume consists of four articles, studying most notably some objects, many of which can be defined as being part of the Sasanian “tradition”; that is to say they share the elements and spirit of Sasanian objects, without having made directly during the Sassanid era.
ToC:
  • Maryse Blet-Lemarquand; Rika Gyselen; Florian Duval: “Sur la composition élémentaire de quelques monnaies de cuivre arabo-sassanides”
  • Philippe Gignoux: “Une archive post-sassanide du Tabaristān (II)”
  • Rika Gyselen: “Inscriptions en moyen-perse sur la vaisselle d’argent sassanide: quelques nouvelles données”
  • Dieter Weber: “Arabic Activities Reflected in the Documents of the ‘Pahlavi Archive’ (late 7th and early 8th centuries)”