Early Arabic glass weights and stamps

Miles, George Carpenter, 1904-1975
Numismatic Notes and Monographs
American Numismatic Society
New York
Worldcat Works




Open access edition funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities/Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Humanities Open Book Program.


Table of Contents




FOUR distinct classes of glass objects are described in the present volume: (a) coin weights, (b) heavier weights, that is ounce and pound weights, (c) vessel stamps, and (d) amulets or tokens. Since the majority of these weights and stamps are attributable to the specific government officials who issued them, it has appeared most convenient to make the main divisions of the catalogue, so far as is possible, chronological, that is to arrange the pieces of all classes according to the officials in their successive order. There are obvious advantages in this historical arrangement, which, it is hoped, will outweigh the sacrificed advantages of main classification by types. It has been necessary, however, to revert to the type arrangement in dealing with a number of pieces which are anonymous or unattributable to known individuals. The following categories, of which the first comprises by far the more important half of the total, have resulted:

  • Umayyad and 'Abbāsid Officials
  • Unidentified Officials
  • Anonymous Coin Weights
  • Heavy Weights—Anonymous or with Names Effaced
  • Vessel Stamps—Anonymous
  • Vessel Stamps—Illegible
  • Private Weights and Stamps
  • Anonymous Amulets or Tokens

Under each official in categories I and II the pieces are arranged in the following order: dīnār and dirham weights, fals weights, pound and ounce weights, vessel stamps. A biographical note 2 relating to the official in question, together with a corpus of all known stamps, weights and coins on which his name appears, will be found at the end of each section. Some officials appear as subordinates to Caliphs or Governors, and also independently as Governors or Prefects. Thus the name of Ibrāhīm b. Sālih, for example, occurs on Nos. 92–93 issued by the Caliph al-Mahdi, while on No. 105 he appears as the principal functionary. The biography of such an official will be found following the section devoted to him, and a cross-reference will direct the reader from the first occurrence of his name to the page on which his biography appears.

Contrary to the, in the main, historical order of the text, the plates, for technical reasons, have been arranged according to types. This arrangement should, incidentally, assist collectors whose limited familiarity with Arabic epigraphy may cause them to work in the first instance from the plates to the text.

A key to the abbreviations used in referring to the published works cited in this introduction and in the catalogue will be found on pages 159–160.

The following pages are devoted to a brief discussion of the various classes and categories listed above.

1. General. Coin Weights.

According to the Arab tradition it was during the reign of the Umayyad Caliph 'Abd al-Malik (65–89 a.h.) that the advice was given, and presumably acted upon, to issue weights (sanajāt) of glass (qawārīr) for the purpose of testing coins, the idea being that the glass would not be "susceptible of al- teration either by augmentation or by diminution," in that any tampering would be easily detected. 3 The clipping of coins has, of course, been a common practice from the earliest times until the introduction of modern collars and milling, and thus coins were more frequently accepted by weight than by number. The glass weight enabled the merchant or moneychanger to establish with remarkable accuracy whether a coin was up to standard. Debasement was another factor which could be established by the weights.

The notion implicit in the accounts of the Arab historians that glass weights were an Umayyad invention is, of course, incorrect: there was, as with the early Islamic Arab coinage, a Byzantine model. 4 It is likely that the association of 'Abd al-Malik with the institution of the reformed coinage has been assimilated to the tradition of the introduction of the glass weights. At all events we know from the evidence of the pieces themselves that in the second half of the first century of the Hijrah (and before 'Abd al-Malik) glass coin weights were being manufactured in Egypt with the names of the governors who authorized them. 5

It is unnecessary here to review the history of early European research in this field. The mistaken definition of glass weights as "glass coins," the correct identification by Castiglioni as early as 1847 and later by Rogers toward the end of the last century, and subsequent progress in the field, have been adequately described in the existing literature. 6 Since Rogers' contributions placed the study of glass weights on a firm footing four important collections have been published: the British Museum (Lane-Poole), the Fouquet Collection (Casanova), the Vienna Collections (Grohmann), and the University College Collection (Petrie). Other pieces, published in scattered books and articles, are referred to here and there in this introduction and in the catalogue. 7 Lane-Poole, by reason of the material he had in hand, dealt mainly with the coin weights and built well on the foundation which Rogers had laid; Casanova made new contributions to the study of the vessel stamps; Grohmann dealt admirably with the several categories, although the collections described by him were not especially rich in the earlier weights and stamps. The University College Collection is large and contains much important material in all classes. 8

There are three main types of early glass coin weights: dīnār, dirham, and fals.

End Notes

Muḥammad b. Mūsā al-Damîri, Hayāt al-Ḥayawān, I, p. 59; transl. A. S. G. Jayakar, Ad-Damîrî's Ḥayât al-Ḥayawân, Bombay, 1906,1, p. 128. I believe an earlier statement to this effect is to be found in Ibrāhīm b. Muḥammad al-Bayhaqi's Kitāb al-Maḥāsin, ed. Schwally, pp. 501 f., but I have not seen the passage. Cf. Sauvaire, Matériaux, I, p. 30; Lavoix, Préface, p. xxiv; Fouquet Collection, p. 350; J. Walker, s.v. sanadjāt, in the Encyclopaedia of Islām, Supplement. Cf. also Muqaddasi's remarks, bearing on the Fāṭimid period, quoted by Lane-Poole, BM, p. vii.
Cf. Petrie, pp. 1–3; Ettinghausen, p. 74. See also p. 68, below.
The earliest in the present collection are those of Qurrah b. Sharīk (90–96 a.h.: 709–714 a.d.). Stamps (not coin weights) of the Caliph Yazīd (60–64 a.h.) are known (Fouquet Collection, p. 366, No. 95; Petrie, No. 86). I believe that the piece attributed to the Governor 'Uqbah b. 'Āmir, Governor in 44 a.h. (Fouquet Collection, p. 373, No. 166; cf. Petrie, p. 3), should be rejected: the reading is questioned by Casanova himself, it is not illustrated, and the Qur'ānic quotation which appears on the piece was probably not in use until the time of the 'Abbāsid Caliph al-Manṣūr.

2. Dīn;ār.

The legal weight of the reformed dīnār of 'Abd al-Malik has been estimated at 4.25 grams. 9 Most specimens of the Um-ayyad and early 'Abbāsid periods today weigh between 4.22 and 4.28 grams. Under al-Mahdi and Hārūn al-Rashīd they were not up to standard and began to fall off to about 4.10–4.20 grams. As for the early glass dīnār weights, they show remarkable uniformity. Lane-Poole found those in the British Museum to average 65–66 grains, that is 4.21–4.28 grams; Petrie's graph shows an average of about 65.3 grains, that is 4.23 grams. In the present collection ten intact dīnār weights average 4.21 grams, none exceeding 4.25 grams or falling below 4.13 grams, and showing no appreciable depreciation during or after the time of al-Mahdi. In other words, allowing for slight wear through the centuries since their manufacture, the glass weights were remarkably close to the legal standard.

End Notes

Cf. especially Grohmann, Arabische Eichungsstempel, and J. Walker, op. cit.
The most complete bibliography of the whole subject accompanies Walker's article in the Encyclopaedia of Islām.,
The revered Petrie's work is, I am reluctant to say, not altogether reliable and must be used with discretion. Intimate acquaintance with the book reveals many errors. Among other things I find it difficult to accept many of his attributions based on style; and his handling of the Arabic leaves one without confidence.

3. One-Half Dīnār.

The one-half dīnār should legally weigh 2.125 grams. This denomination is quite rare, but those specimens which I have weighed or have seen published average about 2.11 grams. The preserved weights, more common than the coins themselves, are again extraordīnārily uniform, even more so than the dīnār. Twelve in the British Museum weigh 33 grains (2.1384 grams) each. 10 Those published by Petrie vary mi-crometrically between 32.51 and 32.667 grains. Ten intact specimens in the present collection average 2.107 grams, the lightest weighing 2.08 grams, the heaviest 2.12 grams.

4. One-Third Dīnār.

The one-third dīnār should legally weigh about 1.42 grams, but it seems generally to have been heavier. It is somewhat more common than the half. Eleven specimens that I have weighed average 1.43 grams, none falling below 1.42 and one weighing as much as 1.45 grams. As for the glass weights, seven in the British Museum are uniformly 22 grains (1.42 grams); those in the University College Collection weigh between 21.65 and 21.727 grains (about 1.40–1.41 grams). Six intact specimens in the present collection average 1.425 grams, with the minimum 1.41, the maximum 1.43 grams.

End Notes

Cf. E. v. Zambaur, s.v. dīnār, in the Encyclopaedia of Islām.
There appears to have been a uniform error, on the side of excess, in weighing these pieces.

5. Dirham.

To judge by calculations based on the statements of Arab historians the legal weight of the reformed dirham was 2.97 grams. 11 Actually most specimens of Umayyad and early 'Abbāsid dirhams fall between 2.70 and 2.90 grams, seldom reaching the theoretical 2.97. The glass weights, however, are closer to this estimated legal figure: those in the British Museum are mostly 46 grains (2.98 grams); two in the Fou-quet Collection are 2.83 and 2.87 grams; four in the University College Collection average 43.97 grains (about 2.85 grams). There is only one intact dirham weight in the present collection, weighing 2.92 grams.

6. Fals.

The fals denomination presents certain complexities. In the first place there seems to have been no uniform standard of weight for the copper fals: it varied in size and weight throughout the Umayyad and early 'Abbāsid dominions, the issues being local ones in the many cities where they were minted. 12 Although theoretically in early Islamic times there was a 48-to-1 relationship between the fals and the dirham, in practice fulūs in different provinces and cities had different values and varying purchasing power. 13 Thus we may expect a number of fals multiples and fractions in the glass weights. Furthermore, fals (fulūs) was not, and is not, a word exclusively meaning a copper coin; it also meant, generically, "money." It will be noted that there are glass weights for "great fals," for fals without qualification, and for fulūs of wide weight range calculated in terms of so-and-so many kharrūbahs or qīrāṭs. A plausible explanation of the use of these fals weights was well put by Lane-Poole in the BM Catalogue:

"What then was to be tested with these glass weights of so many ḳeeráṭs or kharroobehs? Not deenárs or dirhems, since only two or three of these weights approximate the standards of deenárs and dirhems; moreover, these coins have standard glass weights of their own, specified as such. Again, testing an individual copper coin or fels by these standard weights would be useless, since the fels is very variable in weight, generally much worn and clipped, and sometimes intentionally cut into quarters. The fels, moreover, was usually passed by weight, not by number; and one is forced to the conclusion that these glass standards were used by the merchant to test the weight in copper of a certain number of fuloos, when offered for goods. This theory would account for the numerous varieties of weight employed, as indicated by the figures 9, 14, 15, 20, 25, 27, 30, 32, 33, kharroobehs or ḳeeráṭs. The merchant is selling, let us suppose, a piece of cloth for two dirhems and a half, and the buyer has no half-dirhem, but tenders copper fuloos instead. These fuloos are of varying size and weight, but the proportion of copper in kharroobehs to the dirhem at the given time is of course known, and the merchant would proceed to weigh the required number of fuloos by his standard glass weight of so many kharroobehs." 14

Lane-Poole's suggestion was close to the mark, but I believe that the true explanation is to be found in the necessity for payments of dīnār fractions smaller than halves, thirds and quarters. The evidence is in the papyri where we find such fractions expressed in terms of qīrāṭs. For example, a contract for the engagement of farrāsh for a mosque stipulates that his wages of 3½ dīnārs annually is to be paid at the rate of 7 qīrāṭs monthly; 15 a debt contract calls for the payment of ⅙ dīnār in 2 qīrāṭ installments; 16 and numerous other documents call for fractional payments in qīrāṭs. 17 Thus the fals weights would have been used to weigh out bits of gold or the equivalents in silver and copper, according to the established standard (which, naturally, fluctuated a great deal). It has already been observed, on the evidence of tax-receipts, that dīnār fractions were usually paid in silver. 18 The common unit of the dirham was the ḥabbah or grain, a smaller fraction than the kharrūbah or qīrāṭ; 19 but that kharrūbahs were sometimes used in connection with dirhams is evidenced by the glass weights; and ḥabbahs sometimes, but apparently rarely, occur as fractions of dīnārs. 20

Petrie's suggestion 21 that the fals weights were used for testing the weight of gold and silver coins of foreign origin, which in early Arab days doubtless circulated in Egypt in large quantities, is reasonable; nor does the explanation offered above exclude the possibility of this use. 22

The words kharrūbah and qīrāṭ, virtually synonymous, are respectively the Roman ceratonia siliqua and the Greek κϵράτιον, the carob seed. 23 Various values in terms of grams have been given to the kharrūbah and qīrāṭ, ranging from 0.212 grams for the theoretical weight in relation to the values of gold and silver in 'Abd al-Malik's monetary reforms, 24 to 0.20, 0.196, 0.194, or 0.189 grams, these latter values having been derived by calculations based on a limited number of the glass weights themselves. 25

In the table on page 10 it will be seen that I have arrived at an empirical figure of .1968 grams for the weight of the kharrūbah. The calculations are based on the intact and relatively unworn specimens published in the present collection, the British Museum, Rogers contributions, the Fouquet Collection, the University College Collection, and (for the 30-kharrūbah weight only) Jungfleisch's article. My method has been first to take the average of all the acceptable weights of each denomination, then to reduce each average to the 1-kharrūbah unit, and finally to calculate an average of these latter averages. A recalculation, based on the derived value of. 1968 gram for one kharrūbah, gives in column 5 a theoretical value for each multiple (including multiples that have not yet been met with on glass weights) that should be approximately correct. It must be remembered, however, that

No. of kharrūbah or qīrāṭ No. of specimens True average weight True weight of I kharrūbah based on col. 3 Theoretical weight derived from col. 4
9 2 1.76 .1955 1.770
10 1.968
11 2.165
12 2 2.315 .1929 2.362
13 5 2.504 .1926 2.558
14 1 2.790 .1999 2.755
15 3 2.993 .1995 2.952
16 3.149
17 2 3.31 .1947 3.346
l8 4 3.600 .2000 3.542
[19 2 5.275] 3.740
20 10 3.943 .1971 3.936
21 4.133
22 4.330
23 3 4.350 .1891 4.526
24 6 4.655 .1935 4.723
25 5 5.048 .2019 4.920
26 5.119
27 3 5.253 .1972 5.314
28 5.510
29 5.707
30 14 5.841 .1947 5.904
31 6.101
32 5 6.188 .1933 6.298
33 2 6.405 .1939 6.494
34 6.691
35 6.888
36 7.085
image 10 5.797 .1932 5.904
image 4 6.385 6.494
image 1 6.99 7.085
fals 3 5.786 5.904
Average weight of kharrūbah .1968 .1968
all specimens, even though intact and almost perfectly preserved, must have suffered some slight loss through wear or chipping. Incidentally it will be noted that the over-all average of .1968 closely approximates the averages for the cate- gories in which we have the largest number of well-preserved specimens, i.e., 20- and 30-kharrūbah pieces. 26

Included in the above calculations are the fals weights bearing the symbol image. It is apparent from the very uniform weights of these (all of them from 5.77 to 5.82 grams) that the multiple is 30. The sign appears to be the Coptic figure derived from the Greek λ, 27 which of course signified 30 in the Byzantine coinage. 28 A few pieces with the signs image 29 seem to work out at approximately 33 kharrūbahs, and those with image 30 perhaps at 36. The simple fals or "great fals" appears to have been of 30 kharrūbahs, although the three anonymous fals weights in the present collection (Nos. 133, 142–143) are much underweight with respect to this value. They have not been included in the calculations above. The weights of 19 kharrūbahs are abnormal and present epigraph-ical peculiarities. 31

The earliest datable fals weights were issued by Usāmah b. Zayd at the end of the first century of the Hijrah, the latest by Muḥammad b. al-Ash'ath (141–143 a.h.). 32 Thus sometime shortly after the middle of the eighth century the practice of using glass weights to weigh out multiples of kharrūbahs appears to have been given up. If the theory proposed above with regard to the use of these weights is correct there remains the question of the method of payment of fractions of dīnārs and dirhams after the kharrūbah-multiple weights were abandoned. 33 The possibility of the standardization of the fals with respect to the gold and silver might be investigated.

End Notes

Cf. E. v. Zambaur, s.v. dirhem, in the Encyclopaedia of Islām.
Cf. E. v. Zambaur, s.v. fals, in the Encyclopaedia of Islām.
Cf. Sauvaire, Matériaux, I, pp. 108–121, where the remarks of Arab historians with respect to the fals are assembled.
BM, pp. xiv-xv.
Grohmann, Egyptian Library, II, pp. 104–105, No. 97.
Ibid., II, pp. 109–110, No. 98.
Ibid., III, pp. 202–203, and passim.
Karl W. Hofmeier, "Beiträge zur arabischen Papyrusforschung," in Der Islam, IV, 1913, pp. 97–120; cf. D. S. Margoliouth, Arabic Papyri, p. xiii, and Grohmann, Egyptian Library, III, p. 200.
Cf. E. v. Zambaur, s.v. ḥabba in the Encyclopaedia of Islām.
Cf. Grohmann, loc. cit.
Petrie, p. 10.
The disappearance of the fals weights after the middle of the eighth century (see below) might lend weight to Petrie's suggestion, for by the time of the Caliph al-Manṣūr the ' Abbāsid coinage had grown tremendously in volume and currency, and foreign coins had doubtless largely disappeared from the market.
Cf. E. v. Zambaur, s.v. kharrūba and ḳīrāṭ in the Encyclopaedia of Islām; also, for the Arabic literary sources, Sauvaire, Matériaux, I, pp. I02-I05;II, pp. 269–273, 420–421.
E. v. Zambaur, s.v. ḳīrāṭ in the Encyclopaedia of Islām; cf. Casanova, in Mélanges Schlumberger, p. 299, who arrives by practical methods at a theoretical 0.2015 grams. But these weights do not conform to the facts as established by the glass weights.
BM, p. xiv; the two cited articles of Zambaur's in the Encyclopaedia of Islām; Petrie, p. 10; Casanova, Mélanges Schlumberger, p. 300.
In the Museum of the American Numismatic Society there is a handful of carob seeds (ninety-five of them to be exact), presented to the Society by J. B. Nies, presumably at the time of his bequest of glass weights. I have a faint recollection that the late Howland Wood once told me that Dr. Nies had acquired these carob seeds in Egypt when he purchased the glass weights and stamps, some of which are described in the present catalogue. I have weighed nine lots of these seeds, in groups of ten each, with the following results: the lots range from 1.770 to 2.050 grams, the average working out at 1.9455 grams. In other words, the average weight of one of these kharrūbahs is. 19455 gram. It is of interest to note that this is only 23/100 of a gram lighter than the weight arrived at in the table above.
Fouquet Collection, pp. 352–53 (the weight 5.85 given here does not correspond to that in the catalogue, p. 383, No.68); Mélanges Schlumberger, p. 297 : "c'est le chiffre copte, dérivé du X grec, dans lequel le trait antérieur est prolongé en bas et le trait postérieur fortement recourbé." The use of the Coptic and Greek figures in connection with tax-receipts and other financial documents preserved in the Arabic papyri is common: cf. especially Karl W. Hofmeier, "Beiträge zur arabischen Papyrusforschung (I, Das System arabischer Steuerverrechnung im 9. Jahrhundert v. Chr.)," in Der Islam, IV, 1913, pp. 97–120; and Margoliouth, Arabic Papyri, pp. 130 ff.
As for example under Heraclius; cf. Warwick Wroth, Catalogue of the Imperial Byzantine Coins in the British Museum, I, p. lxxxii.
Fouquet Collection and Petrie. There is also one of 'Umar (seen too late to include in the calculations), weighing 6.08 grams, in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. See section II, I of the catalogue.
Fouquet Collection (slightly fractured) and No. 68 in the present collection, weighing 6.99 grams.

7. Heavier Weights.

There are two types of heavier glass weights: "disk-weights" and "ring-weights." These names require definition since they are of my own creation. While they are perhaps not entirely satisfactory they are reasonably descriptive of the shapes. The disk-weight (largely for ounces and fractions, but sometimes for fractions of pounds) is an oval, or sometimes roughly circular, plano-convex disk with a stamp bearing the inscription sunk into the convex surface. Petrie calls this type "bun-shaped." 34 I would have used the term "bun-weight" if it did not suggest more convexity than the type usually has. The ring-weight (for pounds and its multiples) is shaped somewhat like a doughnut. 35 In other words, it is a slightly rounded cuboid with a hole in the center, bearing one or more stamps on the top surface or on one of the sides. Most of these ring-weights are fractured horizontally along a plane running across the hole, and lack the lower portion of the mass. A good illustration of a completely preserved weight of this type is No. 110. The purpose of the hole, I believe, was to enable the merchant to suspend the weight on the scales, or perhaps to provide a convenient method of storing it on a peg or a hook. On some of the pieces in the present collection the signs of wear caused by a cord or chain are clearly evident on one side of the hole.

End Notes

BM and No. 71, infra.
Salamah, who issued fals weights, cannot be definitely identified with Sala-mah b. Rajā' (161–162 a.h.): see pp. 127–128.
Accounts in large fractions of dirhams are known: e.g., Albert Dietrich, "Arabische Papyri aus der Hamburger Staats- und Universitäts-Bibliothek," in Abhandlungen für die Kunde des Morgenlandes, XXII, 3, Leipzig, 1937, pp. 41–49.

8. Raṭl.

The word raṭl means "pound." The Arabic literary sources abundantly testify to the multitudinous raṭl standards at different times and in various parts of the Islamic world. 36 One has only to consult Sauvaire's remarkable collection of material to gain an idea of what confusion exists. There are raṭls ranging in weight from 102 and a fraction to 7,700-odd dirhams, that is, according to Sauvaire's calculations, from 317 to 23,835 grams. 37 The commonest raṭl that may be considered applicable to the glass weights is one of 128 or 128 4/7 dirhams (or 130, according to some sources), apparently equivalent to something in the neighborhood of 395 to 408 grams. Actually the status of the legal raṭl with its variants is so confusing that no effort will be made here to reconcile the literary sources with the facts as they relate to the glass weights. It may, however, be useful to the student of metrology to set forth here the weights of the relatively well-preserved glass raṭls and fractions contained in previous publications and in the present collection. Only those specimens which are virtually intact are included, but it must be remembered that even these have lost weight through chipping, wear and disintegration. 38

specimen weight
raṭl Jungfleisch (Louvre) 437.0 grams
Jungfleisch 433.67
Jungfleisch (Cairo) 431.87
ANS No. 110 398.53+
Walters Art Gallery 39 337.55
½ raṭl Damascus Museum 40 175.5
¼ raṭl Petrie No. 174 233.46+
Petrie No. 175 187.44
Damascus Museum 41 87
BM No. 28G 74.13

In the University College Collection there are a number of apparently nearly intact uninscribed heavy weights, 42 and in the present collection a number of illegible but nearly complete weights, presumably relating to the raṭl. These are:

specimen weight
ANS No. 155 346.0
Petrie No. 260 247.3
ANS No. 156 177.5
ANS No. 157 165.0
ANS No. 158 157.5
Petrie No. 262 95.0
ANS No. 159 94.5
ANS No. 160 86.5
ANS No. 161 83.5
ANS No. 162 83.5
ANS No. 163 81.5
ANS No. 164 79.0
Petrie No. 261 77.3
Petrie No. 263 58.1
Petrie No. 265 57.7
Petrie No. 264 54.4
Petrie No. 269 31.7
Petrie No. 266 31.2
Petrie No. 267 14.6

Even allowing for ponderable and variable losses in weight in the inscribed, uninscribed and illegible pieces listed above, it is evident that more than one standard of raṭl is represented. On the whole there is little satisfaction in the figures. The three weights described by Jungfleisch conform impressively, but there are no satisfactorily approximate halves or quarters of this 437 ± unit. There is, however, a glimmer of hope in the approximate conformity of some of the pieces to the standard of the Walters Art Gallery raṭl of 337.55 grams. Thus, taking that piece at its present weight and setting some of the other pieces against it and its fractions, we have:

specimen raṭl ½ raṭl ¼ raṭl
337.55 168.8 84.4
ANS No. 155 346.0
ANS No. 156 177.5
Damascus 175.5
ANS No. 157 165.0
ANS No. 158 157.5
Damascus 87
ANS No. 160 86.5
ANS No. 161 83.5
ANS No. 162 83.5
ANS No. 163 81.5
ANS No. 164 79.0
Petrie No. 261 77.3
BM No. 28G 74.1

Have we here perhaps the Arab-Syrian (Rūmi) copy of the Egypto-Roman pound, to which Decourdemanche 43 has given the value of 340 grams? The half would be 170, the quarter 85 grams. But how to explain the presumed halves and quarters that are overweight? It can only be hoped that the finding of more well-preserved specimens will bring some order out of this chaos.

A few more observations about the raṭl may be appropriate. It will be noted that the term was used not only as a weight but apparently also as a unit of measure, for the word appears quite frequently on vessel stamps. The literary sources record that there existed at various times special pounds for weighing meat, 44 and this fact is confirmed by the glass weights, e.g., Nos. 17, 32, 34, 41. Finally the curious weight (No. 25) which appears to represent a raṭl and a fraction seems to be related to some equivalent of the qisṭ. 45

End Notes

Petrie, p. 4. Jungfleisch uses the term "ratl discoide en verre."
The similarity was first suggested to me by Miss Hannah E. McAllister. "Bun-weight" and "doughnut-weight" would have been two pleasingly complementary names, but aside from the suggestion of frivolity the more serious objection might be interposed that the doughnut is not a universally familiar phenomenon. Also there is no Anglo-Saxon unanimity with respect to the shape and ingredients of a bun.
Anyone who has traveled in the Near or Middle East knows how even today there are numerous local standards of weight and measure differing from the standards for the same commodity in a town or region not very far distant.
Sauvaire, Matériaux, II, pp. 307 ff. Cf. A. S. Atiya, s.v. raṭl, in the Encyclopaedia of Islām; Decourdemanche, pp. 24–28. There is no agreement between Sauvaire and Decourdemanche with respect to the values of the various weights in terms of grams.
There is only one intact raṭl weight (a quarter raṭl) in the BM Catalogue. In the Fouquet Collection there are six pieces (great raṭl, ½ great raṭl, ¼ raṭls) whose weights are given, but none of these is intact. Most of the pieces described by Petrie are broken or are given hypothetical weights.
Ettinghausen, p. 76. Of Syrian origin.
Ettinghausen, p. 76. Of Syrian origin. Presumed to be ½ raṭl weight.
Ettinghausen, p. 76. Of Syrian origin. Presumed to be ½ raṭl weight.
I have converted these weights from grains into grams (as elsewhere dealing with the British publications), to the nearest tenth.
Decourdemanche, p. 26.
Cf. Sauvaire, Matériaux, 11, pp. 309, 312, 315, 316: raṭl of Fārs for meat, bread, etc. (Muqaddasi); raṭl for everything except meat, and raṭl for meat (Bakri); raṭl for meat in Andalus (Ibn-Ḥawqal); raṭl for meat, figs, etc. at Qayrawān (Bakri), etc.
See the remarks on page 19.

9. Wuqīyah ('ÜqĪyah).

The wuqīyah is the ounce (oύγχία, uncia). There is as much confusion about the weight of this unit as there is about the raṭl Sauvaire lists ounces from 23 to over 1,000 grams. 46 However, it is certain that there were generally 12 wuqīyahs to the raṭl, and there was an early legal ounce calculated to be equivalent to 27.288 grams. 47 But there is no correlation between this theoretical figure and the few well-preserved wuqīyah glass weights, 48 which, again for the possible convenience of the historical metrologists, I list below without further comment:

specimen weight
Wuqīyah Petrie No. 255 31.69
Petrie No. 256 31.32
Petrie No. 254 31.24
½ wuqīyah BM No. 27G 34.02
BM No. 35 15.81
Sauvaire 49 15.26
Fouquet, p. 386, No. 12 15.00
Jungfleisch 50 14.68
Jungfleisch 51 14.40
specimen weight
ANS No. 175 13.82 (slightly deteriorated)
Fouquet, p. 385, No. 1 12.20
ANS No. 112 52 12.13
wuqīyah BM No. 18 6.22

End Notes

Sauvaire, Matériaux, II, pp. 301–304.
E. v. Zambaur, s.v. ḳīrāṭ and ḳisṭ in the Encyclopaedia of Islam. Cf. my monograph devoted to an early bronze wuqīyah, where most of the literature with regard to this unit is cited: George C. Miles, "A Byzantine Weight Validated by al-Walīd" (American Numismatic Society, Numismatic Notes and Monographs, No. 87, N. Y., 1939).
Unfortunately most of the wuqīyah glass weights are fragmentary: e.g., Fouquet Collection, pp. 385–386; Petrie, p. 21; G. Marçais et E. Lévi-Pro-vençal, "Note sur un pois de verre du viiie siècle" (Annales de l'Institut d'Études Orientales, Faculté des Lettres de l'Université d'Alger, III, 1937, pp. 6–18), a fragmentary 20-wuqīyah piece weighing 1,387 grams.
Sauvaire, Matériaux, II, p. 397.
Marcel Jungfleisch, "Poids Fatimites en verre polychrome," in Bulletin de l'Institut d'Égypte, X, Session 1927–1928, Cairo, 1929, p. 20.
Ibid., p. 20.

10. Vessel Stamps.

The term "vessel stamp" has been chosen in preference to the more common "bottle stamp" for the obvious reason that the latter term is a misnomer. 53 There is no evidence that these stamps were ever attached to bottles, that is to vessels with a narrowly contracted neck. There is, on the other hand, abundant evidence that the stamps were applied to the rims of wide-mouthed vessels such as cups and bowls, for many of the stamps are still attached to rim-fragments of the vessel, the intended content of which was stated on the stamp. I have not myself seen a complete, or nearly complete, vessel of the type in question, 54 but rim-fragments in the present collection show clearly that there was very little contraction of the upper sides of the bowl or cup. An excellent example, showing the position of the stamp on the vessel, is No. 37. The reconstructed diameter of the inside of the rim of this cup is 62 mm., and there appears to be almost no contraction of the walls, so that the maximum diameter of the vessel was probably not more than about 70 mm.

These stamps were applied to cups and bowls to indicate and authenticate their content. Thus the vessels were official measures of volume (or sometimes of weight), certified to be up to legal standard by the Governor or Finance Director through his Prefect, who had under his administration, among other things, the "Bureau of Standards" (Dār al-'Ayār), a branch of the Treasury (Dīwān al-Kharāj). 55 A wide variety of legends appears on the vessel stamps. For example, we have in the present collection: qisṭ, and ½, ⅓, ¼ and ⅛ qisṭ; ½ and ¼ qisṭ of olive oil; ¼ qisṭ of ointment; ½ raṭl of oil (or grease); and measures (mikyalah) of lupins, polished lupins, shelled, black and red lentils, shelled pease, and white and red sesame seeds.

A few words about qisṭ and mikyalah. The former is the Greek ξέστης, Latin sextarius, a measure of liquid capacity, roughly equivalent to a pint. The qisṭ varied in weight according to the liquid: thus a qisṭ of oil weighed 18 wuqīyahs, of wine 20 wuqīyahs, of honey 27 wuqīyahs. 56 As for mikyalah, the word in Arabic simply means "measure," usually for grain. In modern times at least, throughout the Islamic world (in Persian and Turkish, for example), it also means a "measuring-cup" or a vessel for measuring. I find no specification of the amount, and one might therefore assume that a "measure" of the given substance legally contained so much by weight or volume, and if the vessel bore the required official stamp it was accepted in the market or the Treasury as capable of containing the legal amount, whatever it may have been.

Regarding the use of the vessels bearing official stamps there are two interesting, and perhaps relevant, passages in Islamic literature. 57 One is the description of the Dār al- 'Ayār, or Bureau of Standards, in Miṣr (Cairo), in Maqrīzi's famous Khiṭaṭ, 58 of which I offer a fairly literal translation:

"There was for the control [of weights and measures] a place known as the Dār al-'Ayār in which all the scales and weights were tested. The Imperial dīwān supplied everything that was necessary for this bureau, such as copper, iron, wood, glass, and other equipment, and also hired craftsmen, supervisors and the like. The inspector of weights and measures (muḥtasib), or his deputy, went to this bureau so that everything that was made there could be tested in his presence. If they were correct, he certified them; and if not, he ordered them to be remade until they were correct. There were in this bureau patterns for testing the accuracy of the standards; and weights, scales and measures of capacity were not sold anywhere except in this bureau. All the merchants when summoned by the inspector of weights and measures came to the bureau with their scales and weights and measures for immediate testing. If any were found deficient they were taken up by the bureau from the owners and destroyed; and the owner was required to buy others that were accurate and to pay for them. . . . This bureau was in operation throughout the rule of the Fātimids, and when Ṣalāh al-Dīn came to power he continued the bureau and made of it a pious foundation (waqf). . . . And this bureau still exists." 59

Maqrīzi wrote in the early fifteenth century, but his sources are earlier, and in this passage he is describing a practice which "still exists" and which doubtless antedated the Fāṭimids and very probably originated in Umayyad or Byzantine times.

The other passage, also relating to a period later than that of the stamps with which we are dealing, is not without interest and has possible significance. The talented Persian scholar and traveler Nāṣir-i Khusraw, who visited Egypt in the middle of the eleventh century, in describing the life and customs of the inhabitants of Cairo mentions a local practice which apparently was uncommon enough in those days to occasion special comment:

"In the bazaars, the grocers, druggists and peddlers themselves furnish the containers for the merchandise they sell, whether they be of glass or pottery or paper. It is therefore not necessary for the purchaser to bother about the receptacle." 60

I think it might be reasonably argued that the eleventh-century practice had its earlier counterpart in the glass vessels of which we are speaking. However, this need not imply that every container bore a stamp certifying the amount of its content. In fact, it seems to me unlikely that every grocer in the eighth- and ninth-century bazaars of Cairo was required to sell his merchandise in government containers. The number of such receptacles would have had to be enormous. On the contrary, I would like to suggest that the use of many, if not all, of the vessels with official stamps may have been restricted to official, specifically Treasury, transactions. The liquids named on the stamps, such as oil, especially olive oil, together with the use of the word qisṭ, are suggestive of the early system of payment of certain taxes in kind. In the first days of the Arab Empire not only the jizyah, or capitation tax imposed on non-Muslims, but also the kharāj, or land-tax, to which Muslims as well as non-Muslims were sometimes liable, were collectable partially in kind. 61 Thus we read in Balādhuri's history of the early conquests that 'Amr b. al-'Āṣ imposed on every adult in Egypt, excepting the poor, "two dīnārs as jizyah, and on every landowner, in addition to the two dīnārs, three irdabbs of wheat, two qisṭs of oil, two qisṭs of honey and two qisṭs of vinegar, to be given as a subsistence allowance to the Muslims and gathered into the public store-house (dār al-rizq)" 62

The implication of my argument is clear: that the vessels bearing official stamps, such as "one-quarter qisṭ of olive oil," or simply a qisṭ or its fractions without qualification, were used by tax-collectors and perhaps their deputies in the bazaars for the measuring-out of tax payments in the form of oil, honey, vinegar, etc. It is to be admitted, however, that the various types of leguminous seeds which are specified so frequently on the stamps do not appear to have any likely association with taxes. 63

End Notes

½ wuqīyah (?).
Cf. Petrie, p. 1. Analogy with the familiar stamps on the shoulder of liqueur and brandy bottles was probably responsible for the use of the term "bottle stamp." I imagine the modern bottle stamp is a lineal descendant of the Arab vessel stamp, which was in turn of Greco-Roman (Egyptian) origin.
Lamm (plate 19, No. 1, text I, p. 69) illustrates a glass cup with a handle bearing a stamp "with a Kufic inscription," from the Sarre collection in the Kaiser Friedrich Museum (KFM I, 4043). The vessel is complete. The stamp is near the bottom of the tapering walls of the vessel, not at the rim; but as the stamp is not legible in the illustration and is not described, I cannot tell whether it is of the same type as that under discussion here.
Cf. Grohmann, Arabische Eichungsstempel, p. 147.
Sauvaire, Matériaux, III, pp. 439–444; 289–291; BM, p. xxii; Fouquet Collection, pp. 341–342; E. v. Zambaur, s.v. ḳisṭ in the Encyclopaedia of Islām.
Both cited by Casanova in Fouquet Collection, pp. 341–342.
Al-Mawā'iẓ w-al-l'tibār fi Dhikr al-Khiṭaṭ w-al-Āthār, Būlāq edition, 1270, I, p. 464; cf. Sauvaire, Matériaux, Aug.-Sept., 1884, p. 248.
For further reference to this passage see note on p. 68.
Charles Schefer, Sefer Nameh: Relation du Voyage de Nassiri Khosrau, Paris, 1881, p. 53 of the text:
در بالزار آنجا از بقال وعطار وپيله ور هرچه فروشند باردان آن از خود بدهند اگر زجاج باشد واگر سفال واگر فى الجمله احتياج نياشدكه خريدار باردن بردارد
Cf. C. H. Becker, s.v. djizya, and Th. W. Juynboll, s.v. kharādj, in the Encyclopaedia of Islām; Philip K. Hitti, History of the Arabs, London, 1937, pp. 170–171.

11. Private Weights and Stamps.

I am not certain that Nos. 206–210 belong in this catalogue. They have been admitted only on epigraphic grounds, for in other respects they appear not to belong to any of the more clearly defined early categories. In general this type has been attributed in previous publications to post-Fāṭimid times, but the ones which are described here differ markedly in style from those which are clearly of the Mamlūk period. They were perhaps the private weights and stamps of wealthy shop-owners. The absence of executive phrases would appear to indicate their unofficial character.

End Notes

Al-Balādhuri, Kitāb Futūḥ al-Buldān, ed. de Goeje, Leiden, 1866, pp. 241–215:
فوضع على كلّ حالم دينارين جزية الّا ان يكون فقيراً والزم كلّ ذى ارضمعالدينارين ثلثة اردب حنطة وقسطى زيت عسل وقسطى خلّ رزقّا للمسلمين تجمع فى دار الرزق
Cf. transl., The Origins of the Islamic State ("Studies in History, Economics and Public Law," Columbia University, Vol. LXVIII), N. Y., 1916, p. 338. Sauvaire (Matériaux, III, pp. 440 ff.) cites other passages of like tenor.
However, the papyri furnish us with instances of notarized debt contracts in terms of corn: cf. Grohmann, Egyptian Library, II, pp. 123–144.

12. Amulets or Tokens.

Here again, as with the private weights and stamps, I have been in some doubt about the admissibility of these pieces (Nos. 211–220) to the present catalogue. It will be observed that they have the shape and appearance of coin weights but that they conform to no weight standard and that their inscriptions, consisting solely of pious expressions, are historically meaningless. They are, in these latter respects, similar to pieces of Fāṭimid or later date, but the epigraphy is of an early character, and for this reason I have included them. I am not prepared to say whether they were shop or trade tokens of some sort, or whether they were amulets. 64

13. Unidentified Officials.

It may be expected that with the publication or finding of duplicates, and especially of better-preserved duplicates, of these pieces with unidentified names, we may be able to place some of these officials in their proper chronological position. It must also be observed that my search for the names in the historical literature has by no means been exhaustive.

14. Anonymous Coin Weights.

It seems to me likely that the anonymous coin weights are on epigraphical grounds to be assigned to the Umayyad period; and it would be logical to suppose that they predate the earliest weights bearing officials' names. However, since the evidence from facts now available cannot be conclusive, I have placed them in a separate category, not implying any specific position in the chronological sequence.

End Notes

Cf. BM, Nos. 391–396. Lane-Poole implies that they are of the class of private weights. Casanova (Fouquet Collection, pp. 353–354) calls them amulets. Petrie places them in the catalogue after the later private weights but does not commit himself with respect to their purpose. Nor does Grohmann, Arabische Eichungsstempel, p. 151.

15. Anonymous Vessel Stamps.

The "anonymous" vessel stamps were not necessarily truly anonymous; for the designation of content often appears on one stamp and the name of the functionary on another. The finding of some fragments of vessels with both name and content stamps preserved would serve to date such pieces as Nos. 176–190.

16. Vocabulary. 65

For the benefit of readers unfamiliar with Arabic I present in the subjoined lists a glossary of the words and phrases which occur on the weights and measures in the catalogue. The spelling of each word, in some instances faulty, is as it appears on the glass.

A. Titles and Epithets.

الامير al-amīr = The amīr, lord, prince, chief, commander

Used by Caliphs and Governors.

امير المؤمنين amīr al-mu'minīn = Commander of the Believers

Title of the Caliph.

عبد الله 'abdullāh = Servant of Allāh

Used by Caliphs.

مولى mawla = Freedman, client, servant

Used by Governors and other functionaries in conjunction with the name of the Caliph to whom they owe their liberty.

End Notes
I am grateful to my friend Dr. Edward J. Jurji for his kindness in checking through this vocabulary. He cannot, however, be held responsible for the readings, for he has not seen the weights and stamps themselves; nor for the inconsistencies in the transliteration, which, to avoid pedantry, I have found inevitable.

B. Executive Phrases.

امر 'amara = Ordered, commanded

Used by the principal official, and also to introduce admonitions of the deity.

امر ...ب 'amara... bi.... = Ordered, commanded (transitive)

بصنعه bi-ṣan'ihi = The making of it

بطبعه bi-ṭab'ihi = The stamping of it 66

ممّا امر به mimmā 'amara bi-hi = Of, or among, those things ordered by = an order of

Used by the Caliph, Governor, or Finance Director. This phrase is common on the coins. 67

على يدي 'ala yaday = At the hands of = executed by

Used by the Prefect or mayor. This phrase sometimes occurs on the coins. 68

C. Benedictory Phrases.

ابقاه الله 'abqāhu'llāhu = May Allāh preserve him

اصلحه الله 'aṣlaḥahu'llāhu = May Allāh mend him, keep him straight

اعنّره الله 'a'zzahu'llāhu = May Allāh strengthen him

اكرمه الله 'akramahu'llāhu = May Allāh be generous to him

امتع الله له 'amta'a'llāhu lahu = May Allāh give him long enjoyment (of his life)

Most of these phrases are also common on the coins.

End Notes
There have been a number of arguments and counterarguments, not worth summarizing here, with respect to the proper reading of this formula. Casanova, and Petrie following him, have rendered it بصنعه "the making of it." Ṣ and ṭ are practically identical in the Kufic of the glass stamps, and I doubt that any argument for one or other of the two words can ever be conclusive. "Stamping" seems to me to be the logical expression, and I have preferred to use it in this catalogue. However, in one or two cases, the critical letter appears indubitably to be ṣ, and there I have transliterated it so, and have altered the translation accordingly.
See, for example, the British Museum, Paris and Berlin catalogues of Umayyad and 'Abbāsid coins.
Cf. W. Tiesenhausen, Moneti vostochnavo Khalifata, index, p. 362; George C. Miles, The Numismatic History of Rayy (American Numismatic Society, Numismatic Studies, No. 2), N. Y., 1938, Nos. 37 D, E, 42, 64A, etc. The earliest numismatic occurrence of the phrase appears to be about the year 130 a.h. (under Yazīd b. 'Umar at Rayy in Persia, and under 'Abd al-Malik b. Marwān at Fusṭāṭ in Egypt).

D. Pious Expressions.

امر الله بالوفاء 'amara'llāhu bi'l-wafā' = Allāh commanded the fulfillment of promises (payment of debts), i.e., honesty

This exhortation sometimes occurs on the coins. 69

امر محمد بالوفاء لله 'amara Muḥammadun bi'l-wafā' li'llāhi = Muḥammad ordered honesty to Allāh

بخ bakh = Bravo, good!

بسم الله bi'smi'llāh = In the name of Allāh

ربّى الله rabbīu'llāh = My Lord is Allāh

الوفاء لله al-wafā'u li'llāhi = The fulfillment of promises (payment of debts), i.e., honesty, to Allāh = honesty is an attribute of Allāh

يعبد الله الامير ya'budu'llāha'l-amīr = The Amīr worships Allāh

The two Qur'ānic quotations (Chap. XXVI, verses 181 and 183) which occur on the stamps are translated in the catalogue.

E. Weights, Measures, Denominations and Fractions.

ثلث thulth = one-third

خرّوبة kharrubāh = kharrūbah, carob seed, siliqua

خرّوبات Kharrūbāt = kharrubāhs

درهم dirham = dirham (the coin)

دينر، دينار dīnar, dīnār = dīnār (the coin)

ربع rub' = one-quarter

رطل raṭl = raṭl, pound 70

رطلين raṭlayn = two pounds

رطل كبير raṭlun kabīr = great pound

سطر saṭr = row, series

سنة sanah = year

فلس fals = fals (the coin, or money)

قسط، القسط qisṭ = qisṭ, ξέστης, sextarius

قيرط ، قيراط qīraṭ, qīrāṭ = qrīrāṭ, κεράτιον, carat

قرريط qararīṭ = qīrāṭs

كيل kayl = weight, measure

مثقل ، مثقال mithqal, mithqāl = mithqāl, weight

مكيلة mikyalah = measure

نصف niṣf = one-half

واف ، وفيّة ، وافيّة wāf, wafīyah, wāfīyah = true or full weight, full measure

وزن wazn = weight

وقيّة wuqīyah = wuqīyah (or 'ūqīyah), ounce, ούγχία, uncia

وقيّة كبير wuqīyatun kabīr = great ounce

End Notes
Cf. Tiesenhausen, op. cit., index, p. 356; Miles, op. cit., Nos. 26–28, 30. The complete phrase as it occurs on the coins is: امر الله بالوفاء والعدل = "Allāh commanded honesty and justice."

F. Numerals.

تسعة tis'ah = nine

احدى عشرة 'iḥda-'ashrah = eleven

اثنى عشرة 'ithna-'ashrah = twelve

اربع عشر 'arba'-'ashr = fourteen

جمسة عشر khamsat-'ashr = fifteen

سبعة عشر sab'at-'ashr = seventeen

ثمنية عشر thamanīyat-'ashr = eighteen

تسعة عشرة tis'at-'ashrah = nineteen

عشرين 'ishrīn = twenty

اثنين وعشرين 'ithnayn wa-'ishrīn = twenty-two

ثلث وعشرين ، ثلثة وعشرين thalath wa-'ishrīn, thalathat wa-'ishrīn = twenty-three

اربعة وعشرين 'arba'at wa-'ishrīn = twenty-four

خمس وعشرين ، خمسة وعشرين khams wa-'ishrīn, khamsat wa-'ishrīn = twenty-five

سبعة وعشرين sab'at wa-'ishrīn=twenty-seven

ثلثين thalathīn = thirty

اثنين وثلثين 'ithnayn wa-thalathīn = thirty-two

مئة ، مائة mi'ah = one hundred

مائتين mi'atayn = two hundred

End Notes
Lane (Arabic-English Lexicon) says (Book I, p. 1102) that the pronunciation riṭl is "better known" or "the more chaste," but that raṭl is "now in common use," as it is today.

G. Substances and Qualifications.

ابيض 'abyaḍ = white

احمر 'aḥmar = red

الاسود al-aswad = black

الانز al-anz = lentils

ترمس ، الترمس turmus, at-turmus = lupins

تملّس tamallas = polished 71

جلبان julubān = pease

جلجلان juljulān = sesame seed

حبّ الكسبر habbu'l-kusbur = coriander seed

دهن duhn=oil, lard, grease

زيت ، الزيت zayt, az-zayt = olive oil

الطّلاء aṭ-ṭilā' = ointment, oil, tar 72

عدس 'adas = lentils

لحم، اللحم laḥm, al-laḥm = meat

مقشر muqashshar = shelled

17. Epigraphy.

The accompanying table shows the common forms of the letters of the Kufic alphabet as they appear on the glass weights and stamps of the Umayyad and early 'Abbāsid periods, together with their equivalents in the conventional Arabic character.


epigraphy of early arabic glass weights and stamps

End Notes

See the note under No. 22, infra.
There is also a rare meaning, "wine," which would fit well, but one would expect the common word, khamr.

18. Provenance.

Until only very recently all Arabic glass weights and stamps were assumed to be of Egyptian manufacture. 73 The reasons for this assumption were excellent and incontrovertible: most of the known specimens were found or bought in Egypt, and the evidence provided by the names of the early officials whose government service is known from Arabic literary sources to have been in Egypt, and of the Fāṭimid Caliphs whose capital was Cairo, was overwhelming. But in 1939 Ettinghausen's report on the weight in the Walters Art Gallery established the fact that glass weights were also manufactured in Syria. The raṭl in question bears the name of al-Walīd b. 'Abd al-Raḥman, who is known to have been Finance Director in Damascus in 126 a.h., when 'Isā b. abī-'Aṭā was occupying the corresponding position in Egypt. 74 Since Ettinghausen's discovery the publications of some weights in the National Museum in Damascus has provided further substantiation of the existence of glass weights in Syria in Umayyad times. 75 One piece in particular presents the same kind of evidence as that of the Walters Art Gallery raṭl: a dirham (?) of the year 109 a.h., bearing the name of the Caliph Hishām. At this time 'Ubaydullāh b. al-Ḥabḥāb was Finance Director in Egypt, and we have in the glass weights and vessel stamps plentiful documentation of his activity there.

The fact remains, however, that the great majority of published glass weights and stamps are of Egyptian origin; and in the present collection there is no evidence that any of the pieces came from anywhere but Egypt.

End Notes

Cf. ΒM, pp. xvii-xviii; Petrie, p. 1.
Ettinghausen, pp. 74–75.
Djafar Abdel-Kader, "Monnaies musulmanes et Poids en verre inédits," in Mélanges Syriens offerts à Monsieur René Dussaud, I, Paris, 1939, pp. 399–400.

End Notes

Wherever possible I have cited Grohmann's Corpus Papyrorum Raineri as chief authority for dates of office. Grohmann has exhaustively consulted all the pertinent Arab historians (an immense task), sifting and weighing conflicting evidence and arriving thus at the most judicious conclusions possible. Even to endeavor to duplicate the labors of a preëminent Arabist would patently be a waste of time. Naturally, where an official does not receive notice in Grohmann's work I have turned to the original sources, but I cannot pretend to any comparable exhaustiveness in combing the chronicles nor to the required competence to handle the resultant material.




THE physical traces of past civilizations must be examined exhaustively if archaeologists are to extract the fullest possible information from them. In the cultural debris, ceramic objects are dominant—bricks, sun-dried and fired; potsherds, plain, painted and glazed; glass in its many forms. Most settlements were near water, so the surface clays usually found in such localities had and have a great influence on man's activities. Much has been learned from the study of the shape and decoration of pottery, from the cuneiform writings on clay tablets, and from inscribed glass objects. More can be learned when it is possible for a technically trained ceramist with some understanding of archaeology to analyze representative materials and correlate these data with the geological conditions of the region from which they came. Some technological work has been done with pottery, but little has yet been attempted with glass. Analyses of ancient glasses have been published, but aside from the exceptionally fine work of Neumann 76 and some of the data reported by Lucas 77 there has seldom been an interpretation of the analytical results or an attempt to integrate them into the broader cultural picture. Because of the fragility of glass and the degree to which it may weather, relatively little of it is found in excavations and that which is recovered is carefully preserved, usually inaccessible for analytical purposes. Many of the glass analyses that have been published are of uncertain origin and date.

When Dr. Miles asked me to analyze a glass coin weight on which the legend was too blurred to be of any value, and pointed out that the inscriptions on the group of glasses he has been studying make it possible to date the objects accurately with the probability that they were made at one shop in Egypt, I readily agreed to undertake a technological study of the glass. In doing so, however, I requested that he lend me a representative series of eighth-century stamps and weights, which he most kindly did. Thus it was possible to study and test sixteen pieces made within a limited period of time and space and then to decide whether the group was sufficiently homogeneous to justify the work of a complete chemical analysis.

Most of the work covered in this report was done in my study, but the chemical analyses and synthesized glass melts were carried out in the Glass Section of the Research Laboratories of the Armstrong Cork Company at Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

In consideration of the fact that many readers who may glance at this chapter will not be interested in the detailed discussion of technical data, the following outline has been prepared to indicate the scope of the work.

Appearance of the Glass: Color, Weathering, Seeds, Stones.

Fabrication: Techniques of Manufacture, Melting Temperature.

Physical Measurements: Index of Refraction, Specific Gravity, Annealing.

Chemical Analyses: Composition, Glass Batch Materials, Glass Formulas, Comparative Analyses.

Cultural Considerations.

End Notes

Bernhard Neumann, "Antike Gläser, ihre Zusammensetzung und Färbung," in Zeitschrift für angewandte Chemie, 38 (1925), pp. 776, 857.
A. Lucas, Ancient Egyptian Materials and Industries, London, 1934 (2nd Ed.).


Sixteen eighth-century Egyptian glass stamps and weights, thirteen blue-green, 78 one amber and two deep blue, were subjected to a detailed scrutiny and chemical and physical tests. The tests showed that ten of the blue-green pieces were uniform in composition, so a glass fragment from one of them was analyzed. It was a glass of unusual composition in that its lime content was very low. No analyses of similar ancient glasses could be found. The pale green glass originally submitted by Dr. Miles for analysis (No. 196) was quite different from the rest of the group both in physical properties and in degree of weathering and chemical composition. The latter is like many other Egyptian glasses that have been published. One blue-green glass is distinct in its specific gravity and has red clay encrusted on its surface that helps mark it as of different origin from the rest. Only two of the blue-green glasses showed pronounced weathering. 79

The amber glass is very similar to the major blue-green group in its properties and probably in its chemical composition. Its color could be obtained by the addition of sulphur, carbon or both to the glass batch.

The two blue glasses contain a faint trace of cobalt but are colored principally by copper, manganese and iron. Their physical properties are similar to those of the second glass analyzed.

The techniques of manufacture of the weights and stamps were postulated after the objects had been carefully studied. The glass used is of poor quality in that it was not fired at a high enough temperature to melt all the batch grains and eliminate the larger seeds. This is especially evident in the heavy ring-weights.

The Arabic glasses studied were made for a utilitarian function, so their poor quality should not be overstressed. The compositions may be typical of eighth-century glass, but the firing and handling of the glass was doubtless much better done by the skilled artisans who catered to the luxury trade.

End Notes

Usually described as "pale green" in the catalogue.
[The following were the pieces studied by Dr. Matson: coin weights Nos. 1, 12, 71, 95, 107, 132, 139; disk-weight No. 53; ring-weights Nos. 34, 94, 164; vessel stamps Nos. 3, 75, 104, 176 and 196. The two pieces subjected to chemical analysis were Nos. 34 and 196. The selection (by myself) of No. 196 as expendable for analysis was in some ways an unfortunate one, as it was atypical, but the choice was dictated by practical rather than scientific considerations. This vessel stamp was not typical in size, nor, to judge from the faint traces of inscription which remained, in epigraphy. I believe that it is quite possible that this piece is of later origin, perhaps later 'Abbāsid or even Fāṭimid—a suspicion which may be supported by some of Dr. Matson's detailed observations. See especially, with reference to No. 196, pp. 35, 37, 43, 45, 49, 51, 53, 62 and 65, below. gcm]

Appearance of the Glass


Blue-green is the dominant color, varying from a pale green-gray in thin half-dinar coin weights to a very deep green in the thick gobs of glass that formed the ring-weights. Much of the color range is due to the thickness of the weights and stamps, for the greater the depth of glass through which light must pass, the more light is absorbed and the darker in color the glass appears. There is also some color variation among pieces of about the same size. These differences did not correlate with the other physical properties of the glasses. Possibly if a large series were sorted with respect to color, some correlations might be found between the date of manufacture and the color. 80

The blue-green color and its variants are formed by the ac- tion of copper (CuO) and iron in the glass, much of the latter being in the ferrous (FeO) state, which colors a glass blue. Iron in its highest state of oxidation (Fe2O3) gives soda-lime glass a yellow-green color. Both forms of iron are present in the glass analyzed—so a blue-green color results, with emphasis on the blue because of the small amount of copper present. Flakes of iron scale such as those from the molds used to form the inscriptions begin to dissolve rapidly in glass when they come in contact with it and they, being mostly Fe2O3, cause olive-yellow to yellow-green streaks in the glass.

The total iron content of the glasses and the relative proportions of the ferrous and ferric forms in different melts is variable, as is shown by the two analyses (Table 3), so the color may also be expected to vary.

Copper is such a powerful coloring agent that the addition of only a small amount turns a clear soda-lime glass blue. Just a trace of copper occurs in the green glasses—enough to give them a bluish tint, but not enough to cause a true blue color. Chemical confirmation of the presence of copper in all the green and blue glasses, except No. 196, was obtained by a sensitive spot test (a-benzoinoxine).

The manganese that is characteristically present in these Egyptian glasses also contributes to the quality of the color, although it alone would impart a purple shade to the glass.

The two deep-blue coin weights have copper as their major coloring ingredient. This was confirmed by a spot test. A trace of cobalt is also present, identification having been made by a spot test, using hydrogen peroxide and potassuim acid carbonate. A faintly positive reaction (green) was obtained. It is interesting that cobalt appears in the glass in minute amounts, for there has long been much discussion, based on chemical analyses, as to whether or not cobalt was used in the production of Egyptian blue glasses. The problem was reviewed and settled with irrefutable spectrographic evidence by Farnsworth and Ritchie for glass of the XVIIIth Dynasty and for one fragment from the XIXth. 81 They found that the transparent glasses of a "dark rich blue, inclining towards indigo" were colored by copper and cobalt, modified by manganese, while the "bright greenish blue, or peacock blue" was due to copper and manganese alone. The blue coin weights fall in the first group in color, and our chemical tests show that Arabic glass of the eighth century was similar in manner of color formation to that of the XVIIIth Dynasty. Manganese is present in these blue glasses as shown by the sodium bismuthate test.

The amber coin weight could be of the normal composition used in the pale blue-green weights of the same size with the addition of a reducing agent such as coke, and possibly a small amount of sulphur. Amber glasses can so easily be made under reducing conditions from batches that would be colorless to blue-green in color when melted in an oxidizing or neutral atmosphere that there is no reason to suppose that a special composition radically different from the other was used. More will be said about this in connection with the discussion of indices of refractions and specific gravities.

End Notes
[The pale, blue-green (bottle-green) color predominates in the Umayyad and early 'Abbāsid periods, but the occasional occurrence of other colors, such as blue and amber, among these early pieces invalidates any general conclusions. In the Fāṭimid period (roughly 300–550 a.h.: 912–1155 a.d.) the range of colors is wide, with blue-green again predominating. The late 'Abbāsid weights of al-Mustaḍi and al-Nāṣir (566–622 a.h.: 1170–1225 a.d.) are, like many of the still later Ayyūbid and Mamlūk pieces, opaque, and occur in many colors, including white, cream, yellow, amber, turquoise, etc. gcm]


With two exceptions the stamps and weights showed little weathering when examined superficially. This indicates that the glasses were reasonably resistant to attack, but the history of the objects must be known before any sure statement as to the quality of the glass can be made. Even the best soda-lime glass will develop a cloudy surface if it is kept in a moist, hot atmosphere, and poor glass may remain unmarred if stored in a dry region. The glass could have been buried in acid or alkaline soil subject to moisture from rain or river floods. It might have been protected from dampness, or exposed on the surface of the ground and eroded by wind-blown sand as well as water. After discovery in recent years, it could have been carefully cleaned, with the removal of the opaque surface patina such as is common on Roman glass, but even so, weathering can usually be recognized by microscopic examination of the glass surfaces.

The two noticeably weathered glasses were No. 196, a green-gray vessel stamp, and No. 164, a pale-blue ring-weight. Both were quite illegible. Any trace of inscription has completely disappeared from No. 164 due to the pitting and spall-ing of its surface. No. 196, though pitted, had not spalled. It was analyzed chemically. 82 Both these glasses had indices of refraction and specific gravities that were higher than those of the major group, which indicates that their chemical compositions differ from those of the majority.

Nos. 1, 3, 12, 34, 71 and 95 (amber) all show a slight degree of surface weathering when examined carefully under a binocular microscope. They have finely pitted surfaces in which clay is trapped. The depressions were not formed by bubbles breaking at the surface as the glass cooled, as is the case with a few of the pieces. The glasses in this weathered series date from the first half of the eighth century, with the exception of No. 71 (759–760 a.d.). The two badly weathered pieces, Nos. 164 and 196, 83 are of uncertain date, but may be from the early to middle eighth century. This may indicate that there was a slight change in glass composition about the middle of the eighth century. A much larger series of dated weights and stamps would have to be examined before this suggestion could be verified.

The outer rim of No. 176 is dulled by abrasion, while the central part of the surface that bears the inscription is glossy. This appears to be a case of exposure and possibly of the rub- bing of two objects together, for only the raised outer rim of the vessel stamp is abraded.

Of the two blue glasses, No. 132 shows pronounced weathering with the formation of areas of opaque brown glass as well as surface pitting, while No. 107 shows none at all; yet their uniform physical properties that were measured point to similar chemical compositions for both. Environment, if known, might explain this difference.

End Notes
Marie Farnsworth and Patrick D. Ritchie, "Spectrographs Studies on Ancient Glass—Egyptian Glass, Mainly of the Eighteenth Dynasty, with Special Reference to its Cobalt Content," Technical Studies, Vol. VI, No. 3 (January, 1938), pp. 155–173.
82 & 83
See footnote 79, p. 33, above.


Small bubbles called seeds are quite numerous in the Arabic glass. As a glass batch begins to decompose and melt down when heat is applied, some of the materials such as limestone and soda ash give off gases which are trapped in the form of seeds in the sticky mass of nascent glass. When the firing temperature is raised, the glass becomes more fluid and many of the seeds can rise to the surface and break. If the temperature is not high enough for the seeds to escape freely and the glass remains quite viscous, the seeds will be trapped, unable to free themselves, and will appear in the cooled glass.

The seeds in the Arabic glass vary from pin points to bubbles 3 mm. in diameter, most being less than 1 mm. The coin weights and vessel stamps contained only very fine seeds, with a few exceptions such as Nos. 75, 104 and 139, but the large pieces of glass used in the ring-weights were very seedy.

Glass melts were made in the laboratory of the same compositions as those of Nos. 34 and 196. They behaved normally, but the final cast glasses were full of very fine seeds because the compositions lacked fining agents such as are used in modern glasses to help sweep out the seeds.


When a glass batch is melted, some of the sand does not completely disappear, but floats in the surface foam or is trapped at and above the glass surface on the vessel wall. Some of this will flow with the melt when it is poured and appear as unmelted granules, termed "stones," in the glass. A higher melting temperature and stirring would make this sand go into solution. The Arabic glass is so full of bubbles and imperfections that it is obvious that it was not in a very fluid state when poured. This will be considered later. It is not surprising that "stones" are found in such glass.

They occur in three of the large pieces—Nos. 34, 53 and 94 (two ring-weights and a disk-weight), and in No. 104, a one-quarter qisṭ vessel stamp. The latter contains four small grains with rounded edges. The rounding of sharp edges of grains shows that they were beginning to dissolve in the glass. Fine stones that can be seen only under the microscope, where they look like streaks of surface scum, and quartz grains up to 4 mm. in diameter occur in the large weights. They can best be seen in front of a strong light.


Technique of Manufacture

Conclusions based on the study of sixteen specimens have not the certainty that would result from an examination of a much larger group, but these sixteen pieces, selected as representative by Dr. Miles, give many indications as to how the stamps and weights were made. They are sufficient to suggest a broad picture of the processes. In the following discussion my conclusions (printed in italics) are followed by a statement of the supporting evidence.

Coin Weights

A button of glass was poured from a crucible or ladle onto a flat iron plate. Iron scale in the form of flakes up to 2 mm. in diameter occurs on the flat reverse surfaces, thus indicating close contact with iron. The iron was identified chemically by the potassium thiocyanate test. A relatively large deposit of iron oxide on the back of the coin weights (up to 5 mm. wide and 12 mm. long), some of it folded into the glass, was picked up by the first—the hottest—glass to touch the plate. Hot glass will stick to cold iron, so that the first area of contact as a tongue of glass touches the metal will stick, not unlike a warm hand or tongue on a very cold doorknob in the winter. This iron deposit is quite marked on the back of the coin weights. The seeds, iron scale, and streaks formed by dissolving iron tend to be concentrically distributed. This would result if the glass were poured in pyramidal fashion at a spot on the plate, for the glass would fall in a circular pattern. The large number of iron flecks appearing within the weights, some of them even having been in the glass long enough to start dissolving in the form of yellow-green streaks, suggests that an iron ladle had been used to handle the glass. The ladle, through use, would develop an oxidized crust that would tend to scale off when coming in contact with hot glass.

An iron die was then pressed against the disk of hot glass to produce the inscription. A careful examination of the inscribed surfaces under a microscope shows iron scale on the surface at the base of letters, in open areas on the disks, and down in the glass just below the inscription, where it has begun to dissolve.

The die was carefully centered over the gob of glass before pressing. The raised ring of glass around the edge of the weights is uniform in size. However, the disks are sufficiently irregular in shape to show that they were not cast in depressions in an iron plate. Surface tension will cause gobs of hot glass to tend to assume a round shape on a clean, flat surface.

The remarkable uniformity in weight of the several types of coin weights has been discussed in detail by Dr. Miles. 84 The precision attained in manufacturing these glass weights is an indication of the skill of the eighth-century glassmakers. In any repetitive process, such as ladling out a small amount of glass into which an inscribed iron stamp is pressed, it is pos- sible to obtain sufficient dexterity so that almost identical amounts of glass will be used for successive stampings. One is always impressed when watching skilled glassworkers, such as those in the Steuben shops at Corning, N. Y., or the Venetians who were at the Chicago and New York World's Fairs, by the skill with which they gather exactly the right amount of glass to form a handle or an ornament. In modern optical glass manufacture, the operator at the "glory hole" must shear off exactly enough soft glass from a cylinder that he has been shaping in a flame to fill precisely a mold into which the glass is pressed. There is no reason why earlier glassmakers could not have attained the same skill, particularly if they used a small ladle with which to dip out exactly the right amount of glass.

Glass weights are relatively cheap to make and can be prepared in large quantities, so it would be quite feasible to weigh the weights after manufacture and to reject those that differed from the standard. Such discarded pieces could easily be remelted as cullet and could then be reshaped.

Skill in manufacture and the low cost of rejection of substandard weights would seem to account for the accuracy in weight that has been found.

End Notes
See pp. 5–12, above.

Vessel Stamps

A gob of molten glass was ladled or poured on the red-hot and still plastic wall of a glass vessel at or just below the rim. The inscribed stamp was then pressed on the hot glass while the interior of the wall at the spot where the impression was being made was supported to prevent deformation. There are only four vessel stamps in the collection studied, so these statements may have limited application. The stamps were not formed separately and then attached to the vessels, i.e., made by the coin weight technique, because none of the stamps had the prominent iron deposit on their reverse that is characteristic of all the coin weights in the group. At the stamp-vessel interface there are several large bubbles which suggest air entrapment when the two pieces were joined. There is an oval lozenge-shaped projection on the interior of the vessel wall behind the stamp which indicates that the support during the time of pressing had a sunken area into which the glass flowed under pressure. This technique would more or less rivet the stamp to the wall and the union would be much stronger than if two flat glass surfaces were pressed together when still soft. None of the four lozenge surfaces shows any trace of iron scale, so there is no evidence as to the form of support used to back up the wall. It is possible that a tong-like mold was used. 85


The disk-weight examined (No. 53) appears to have been made by the same technique as that used for the coin weights. It is fragmentary, but originally was about 8 cm. in diameter with an inscribed central depression 4 cm. in diameter. The outer ring of glass is 2 cm. thick. On the base of the disk the glass shows many folds indicative of the way in which it was poured to form this large disk. There is an iron-scale deposit about 3 cm. in diameter near the center of the base. A large amount of glass was needed to form this stamp and most of it is of poor quality, full of seeds, stones and streaks (striae). Judging from its appearance, the glass was probably quite viscous when poured.


The three specimens examined are too fragmentary to permit detailed reconstruction of the techniques used in forming them. Glass could be poured in the form of a strip, bent into shape around an angular core, and then impressed with the stamp. As with the disk stamp, large quantities of glass were used, so quality suffered. There is every indication that the glass was not heated at a temperature sufficient to make it fluid enough to eliminate the bubbles and other unhomogeneities and dissolve all the stones. 86

End Notes
[All the vessel stamps have this lozenge-shaped bulge on the inner wall. Mr. Robert J. Leavy of the Steuben Glass Company, who was kind enough to examine a few weights and stamps which I brought to him, believed the bulge to be the result of the natural sinking of the vessel wall at the hottest point, i.e., at the center of the application of the stamp. GCM]

Melting Temperature

It requires much more heat to melt a glass batch, bringing all the materials into solution and eliminating at least the larger bubbles, than it does to soften it once it has been formed. Therefore, softening temperatures cannot indicate differences between glasses but can only give a minimum temperature above which the glasses were melted.

Glass batches were calculated and weighed out on the basis of the chemical analyses of Nos. 34 and 196, and were fired in clay crucibles in an electric furnace to 2000o F., at which temperature they were held for two hours. When the crucibles were removed from the furnace at the end of this two-hour holding period, it was found that there was much unmelted batch at the surface, and that there was some molten glass in the bottom of the crucibles. The glass set up very quickly when drawn from the crucibles on an iron rod. No. 196 was more completely melted than was No. 34.

Similar batches were melted in a gas-fired furnace in the Research Laboratories of the Armstrong Cork Company and were held at 2680° F. for one hour, after which they were poured into molds to form plates. The batches behaved in the normal manner of modern container glass compositions as they melted. They poured readily and were quite uniform in quality and were free of stones or very coarse striae. Both glasses contained many fine seeds, far more than are acceptable in modern compositions. These would be eliminated today by the addition of suitable fining agents in the glass batch. Fine seeds are very common in the Arabic glass. Even when there are not large bubbles in the weights and stamps, there are many fine seeds which are often clustered at the surface or aligned in streaks.

The experiments showed that the glass was not completely melted at 2000o F., but at 2680° it was in an excellent condition, free of bubbles, stones, streaks of seeds and cords. The melting temperature used in the eighth century lies between these two limits. After the glass is molten the viscosity decreases very rapidly with a temperature rise, the glass becoming more and more fluid. The stamps and weights bear evidence that the glass flowed but was rather viscous and poorly fined. As a guess, 2300° to 2500°was about the range of melting temperatures used. Time is also a factor to be considered in maturing a glass, for within limits, a short time at a high temperature has the same effect as a longer time at a slightly lower temperature. Time may not have been an important factor in the eighth century, but fuel was, and the glasses show by their imperfection that they were not kept in the furnace very long after they became molten.

End Notes
[Mr. Leavy (see above) suggested that in the manufacture of the ring-weights the bit of molten glass was gathered on a punty and was shaped around a wooden rod, which was then removed, leaving the characteristic hole in the "doughnut." Traces of overlapping of the periphery of the ring are apparent in some of the specimens. One intact piece, which Dr. Matson did not have the opportunity to examine (No. 110), distinctly exhibits the mark of the punty on the outside bottom surface, that is on the external surface opposite the stamp. GCM]

Classification by Physical Properties

The index of refraction and specific gravity are two properties that together can characterize a glass, the values of both being dependent upon its chemical composition. Several glasses of different compositions may have about the same index of refraction, and similarly, more than one glass formulation may have the same specific gravity, but the combination of the two defines a glass rather well. Either alone may give a false picture of the uniformity or dissimilarity of a group of glasses. The specific gravity is much more sensitive to composition change than is its index of refraction. Both are affected by the degree of annealing a glass receives.

The index of refraction of the Arabic glasses was determined by examining a minute amount of powdered glass scratched with a diamond point from the back of each weight or stamp under a petrographic microscope with a series of index liquids. The results are given in Table 1. Of the thirteen green glasses, eleven had essentially the same index, 1.5111.512. The two exceptions were the glasses that had weathered badly—No. 164, a ring-weight with a completely pock-marked surface caused by weathering, and No. 196, a vessel stamp which had an illegible inscription. Both these glasses had indices higher than those of the major group. The two blue glasses had still higher indices. The amber weight fell in with the green group.

In measuring the indices it is essential to take the glass samples from surface areas that are not contaminated by iron scale or by dark green streaks formed by iron going into solution, because the addition of iron to a glass rapidly increases its index of refraction. If the glass powder were taken from an area of high iron concentration, a false index value would be obtained. In doubtful cases, the index should be checked at several spots on the surface. Care must also be taken not to scratch the surface for a sample in a weathered area, for then too low an index value will be obtained because some of the ingredients have been leached out of the glass in weathering and the silica tends to hydrate, forming opal. In the weathered areas of Nos. 34, 164 and 196 there is brown glass that has an index of refraction lower than 1.48. In relatively crude glasses, such as those being studied, it is well to check the index of several glass grains preferably scratched from chipped areas on the object, so that the original surface conditions both as to contamination and degree of annealing will not affect the results. Variations that show up as unhomogeneous streaks or

Table 1
Glass No. Type and Date Color Index of Refraction Apparent Specific Gravity Notes
104 ¼ qisṭ vessel stamp. 780/781 a.d. Olive-green 1.511 2.327 Stones Red clay on surface
1 ½ dīnār coin weight. 709–714 a.d. Blue-green 1.512 2.494
3 ¼ qisṭ vessel stamp. 709–714 a.d. Blue-green 1.512 2453
12 20-qīrāṭ coin weight. 720–734 a.d. Blue-green 1.512 2.477
34 I raṭl ring-weight. 740/741 a.d. Blue-green 1.512 2.432 Chemical analysis Stones
53 ½ raṭl disk-weight. 754–775 a.d. Blue-green 1.512 2.430 Stones
71 19-kharrūbah coin weight. 759/760 a.d. Blue-green 1.512 2.467
75 qisṭ vessel stamp. 759/760 a.d. Blue-green 1.512 2.474
94 raṭl ring-weight. 773–776 a.d. Blue-green 1.512 2.445 Stones
139 24 qīrāṭ coin weight. Early 8th c. Blue-green 1.512 2.446
176 ⅛ qisṭ vessel stamp.Probably early-middle 8th c. Blue-green 1.512 2.445
95 ⅓ dīnār coin weight. Amber 1.512 2.512
196 illegible vessel stamp. Probably early-middle 8th c. Pale green 1.525 2.520 Chemical analysis Weathered
164 illegible ring-weight. 8th c.? Pale blue 1.526 2.503 Badly weathered
107 dīnār coin weight. 808–810 a.d. Deep blue 1.528 2.546
132 dirham coin weight. Probably late 8th, early 9th c. Deep blue 1.529 2.560 Weathered
lines, termed cords or striae, frequently occur in glasses such as those being studied that were not melted at a temperature high enough to obtain complete uniformity in composition. They will differ in index from the main body of the glass and must be recognized as atypical.

The true specific gravity of glasses can be determined only on pieces of glass that contain no seeds or stones, or on finely powdered glass. As has been noted, the Arabic glass was quite seedy, some contained stones, and the individual pieces could not be broken to produce sufficient powder for gravity measurements, so only the apparent specific gravity could be measured. This was done by weighing each piece in air on an analytical balance and then determining its loss of weight in water, from which, by Archimedes' principle, its volume could be calculated. The specific gravity is the ratio of the weight of an object to that of an equal volume of water. Obviously, if there are air bubbles in the glass, the volume will be larger than that of perfect glass, and the apparent specific gravity will be less than that of the true specific gravity by an amount dependent upon the volume of the air space in the glass occupied by seeds and larger bubbles. Since this trapped air space varies in the several weights and stamps that were studied, it is to be expected that the apparent specific gravities will range in value even if the true specific gravities of the several glasses are alike. That this is the case is demonstrated in Table 1. The amount of iron scale on the glass will also affect the results.

The ten blue-green glasses that have the same index of refraction have specific gravities of 2.43 to 2.49. An analysis of this group, as shown in Table 2, is informative. The big pieces of glass used to form the ring- and disk-weights, Nos. 34, 53 and 94, contain many large-sized bubbles and some stones. Therefore their low value of 2.43 is not surprising, for the air spaces enlarge the volume of each piece and thus reduce the specific gravity. When the smaller glass objects are grouped as

Table 2 Blue-green glasses with an index of refraction of 1.512
Glass No. Type Apparent Specific Gravity Weight, gms.
53 Disk-weight 2.430 88.3368
34 Ring-weight 2.432 85.6290
94 Ring-weight 2.445 123.9397
176 Vessel stamp 2.445 9.1282
139 Coin weight 2.446 4.7690 Very seedy
3 Vessel stamp 2.453 9.6105
71 Coin weight 2.467 5.2540
75 Vessel stamp 2.474 19.2599
12 Coin weight 2.477 3.9935
1 Coin weight 2.494 2.1103
to specific gravity, and their seed content and size are listed, it is seen that the two smallest coin weights, which are also relatively seed-free, have the highest values of 2.477 and 2.494.

The intermediate group consists of two vessel stamps that contain seeds, and a very seedy coin weight, No. 139.

The high-gravity group contains the coin weights and one vessel stamp. Weight No. 1, the smallest of the group, most closely approaches a seed-free glass in appearance. Therefore its value of 2.494 is probably not much lower than the true specific gravity of the blue-green series.

The amber weight, No. 95, is also very small. It has a higher specific gravity than the blue-green glasses, which indicates some difference in composition, but its uniformity in index of refraction with the preceding group suggests that its composition is very similar. The relationship of amber and green glasses has been discussed in the section on Color.

Vessel stamp No. 104, whose index of refraction, 1.511, is very close to that of the major group, has a much lower specific gravity. This is a significant difference, indicating a glass com- position dissimilar from that of the large group, because the glass has relatively few seeds and large bubbles. It is also olive-green in color as opposed to the more common blue-green group. This difference would not have been detected had only the index of refraction been measured. Dr. Miles assigns a late eighth-century date of 780/781 a.d. to this one-quarter qisṭ vessel stamp. It might be that the change in composition is atypical, but if it were found to be characteristic of the late eighth-century weights, it could indicate a change in formula due to differences in the raw materials used, the whim of the overseer, or a shift to a different glass factory than had previously made the weights. This stamp had red clay in its crevices, while the other stamps and weights all showed traces of having been buried in yellow clay. A microscopic examination of this red clay showed that it contained chalcedony (a very finely crystalline form of silica) and calcite. A grain of chalcedony with some calcite intermixed was also trapped on this stamp. The red clay would appear to have come from a region where there was limestone (the rock form of the mineral calcite). Such a requirement is of course easily met with in Egypt. Chalcedony is frequently found in limestone. These differences are enough to suggest that this vessel stamp came from a source other than that of the rest of the series.

The two glasses that showed the most weathering, Nos. 164 and 196, had indices of refraction and specific gravities greater than the rest of the blue-green series. This confirms the visual evidence of surface decomposition which indicates that these glasses were made from a different batch formula than the others. 87

The two blue glasses had still higher values of the two physical properties measured. They do not appear to be exactly alike, as No. 132 has weathered surface areas while No. 107 has not.


Strains develop in glass when it is cooled too rapidly from its molten state down to lower temperatures where it is rigid and the strains are "frozen in." Well annealed glass is cooled slowly and does not contain serious strains or stresses. Poor annealing usually results from fast cooling, and glass so treated can crack easily. Two of the glasses, No. 12, a coin weight, and No. 3, a vessel stamp, contained several internal cracks which indicate that they were poorly annealed, and the strains were later released by the fracture of the glass.

The degree of annealing can be determined by looking at the glass through a Polaroscope. The Arabic glasses that are thin enough to transmit light were so examined. (The thick pieces, such as the ring-weights, absorbed most of the light, and strain patterns could not be seen.) All the pieces were strained, the area of greatest concentration of stress being around the raised rim of the coin weights and vessel stamps, which was the region that cooled most rapidly when the weights and stamps were formed.

End Notes

See footnote 79, p. 33, above.

Chemical Analyses


There are many analyses of ancient glasses in the literature, most of which have been summarized by Partington. 88 They all indicate that the compositions used in the past, at least of glasses that have resisted weathering and so existed to the present time, are mostly of the general soda-lime-silica type that is still used today in the manufacture of bottles and plate- and window-glass. The relative proportions of soda, lime, and silica that can be successfully used in glassmaking are rather limited, so it is not surprising that the range in compositions is small.

When Dr. Miles asked me to analyze one of his glass weights that could be sacrificed for that purpose because the inscription was illegible (No. 196), I pointed out the pattern uniformity that is likely to be found in glass compositions of this type and indicated that it would be well to examine a representative sampling of the weights and stamps from the period being studied. Their indices of refraction and specific gravities could be measured, and if these data showed that the group was consistently of one type of glass, then an analysis could be made of No. 196 with good assurance that it was a representative example. Dr. Miles then furnished me such a sampling and indicated that on the basis of inscriptional evidence, the weights and stamps were all made in Egypt, possibly in one shop. It was immediately noted that No. 196 showed considerable surface weathering, a characteristic that was lacking on most of the other pieces. The measurement of the physical properties showed that No. 196 was quite different from all except one other specimen in the group of sixteen. Therefore an analysis of it would not give a fair indication of the glass composition used in eighth-century Cairo for metric purposes. 89 Fortunately, one of the large ring-weights, No. 34, which was a typical glass of the major group, had excess glass on a broken portion of the ring from which a sample could be removed without endangering the inscription. A 2-gram sample was therefore cut out with a diamond saw.

The physical properties of Nos. 196 and 34 were considerably different, so it seemed of interest to try to determine the basis of this variation. Miss M. C. Parrish of the Glass Section of the Research Laboratories of the Armstrong Cork Company, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, most kindly analyzed the two glasses. I wish to acknowledge with much appreciation her aid in this study. Her methods were those she employs daily in the chemical analysis of modern commercial glasses.

The results of Miss Parrish's analyses are shown in Table 3.

The immediate tendency when one obtains a new analysis of an ancient glass is to compare it with those already published. Before turning to this confusing pleasure, there is much that can be observed from the present analyses alone. In summary, it can be said that the two glasses are quite dissimilar in composition, yet appear to have been made from the same raw materials. No. 34 is a glass very low in lime (CaO) and rich in alumina (Al2O3) and iron (Fe2O3) as compared with No. 196. The latter is a normal composition that is quite similar to some in use today and some known from antiquity that will be cited later.

Table 3
No. 34 No. 196
SiO2 71.40 68.86
FeO 0.82 .36
Fe2O3 1.11 .61
(Total iron as Fe2O3) (2.02) (1.01)
Al2O3 4.75 1.63
CaO 2.74 10.02
MgO 0.81 1.57
Na2O 16.98 15.88
K2O 0.27 .05
MnO 0.30 .19
CuO 0.10 0.00
SO3 0.12 .19
Loss on ignition 0.28 .21
SnO .00 .00
PbO .00 .00
P2O5 .00 .00
99.68 99.57
End Notes
J. R. Partington, Origins and Development of Applied Chemistry, London, 1935.
See footnote 79, p. 33, above.

Glass Batch Materials

An idea of the ingredients used to make up a glass batch can be obtained from a study of the chemical analysis of the finished glass. Lucas (op. cit.) has ably discussed the origin and chemical composition of most of the Egyptian glass batch materials, so his points will not be repeated here.

Sand. The major building block of soda-lime-silica glasses is SiO2. Most of it is added to the batch as sand which is usually over 99% SiO2. It may contain some impurities—other mineral grains mixed in with the quartz and flint particles that make up most sands, and some clay and iron stain that may coat the sand grains. Some of the A12O3 and Fe2O3 in the glass is probably derived from the impurities in the sand. Sand is the cheapest and most readily available of the raw materials and the exact amount used can be varied within fairly wide limits without spoiling the glass. The amount present in Nos. 34 and 196 is in the normal range of modern soda-lime glasses—close to 70%.

Limestone is the second of the foundation stones of a glass. It furnishes the CaO (and the MgO often associated with it) and acts as a stabilizer which causes a glass to stiffen rapidly as it cools. It also improves the resistance of glass to attack by water, thus greatly aiding durability. Modern glasses contain 6–13% CaO and MgO, so the 11.6% in No. 196 falls within the normal range. That of No. 34, however, is phenomenally low—3.55%· Usually a glass composition with such a low amount of lime and magnesia would not be practical, but the high alumina and iron content increases its stability, and in fact it is far more resistant to weathering than is No. 196. The low lime content of No. 34 makes it unique when compared with most other analyses of Egyptian glasses. It may be that no lime was intentionally added to the glass batch of No. 34, for Lucas (p. 119) states that much of the sand of the northern shore of Egypt contains calcium carbonate as an impurity. Thus the composition of the sand might be responsible for the lime found in the glass.

Many limestones are of a dolomitic variety which contains a variable amount of MgO with the CaO. Often the two are present in equal proportions. Analyses published by Lucas and Neumann show that MgO is a common constituent of Egyptian glasses. In some, such as the two here analyzed, it is only a very minor ingredient. Since both the CaO and the MgO are derived from a limestone, the ratio of the two is quite constant for any given type of limestone and can serve as an index of the type of limestone used. It is possible that the place of manufacture of many Egyptian glasses could be traced if the CaO:MgO molecular ratio of the Egyptian limestones was found to be characteristic of certain localities, for the same ratio would hold in glasses made from such limestone. The ratios for the two glasses analyzed will be compared with those of published analyses in the following section. These two glasses have a remarkably low MgO content in contrast with most Egyptian glasses.

It is probable that the low magnesium limestone used in the two Arabic glasses came from the vicinity of the glass factory. This could have been the general region of Cairo, for Lucas says (p. 362), "Out of 132 specimens of limestone from the neighbourhood of Cairo analyzed by the author, all contained magnesium carbonate, but only 15 contained more than 5 per cent and only two contained more than 20 per cent."

Soda is the third dominant constituent. The alkali (Na2 Oand K2O) serves as a flux in a glass batch, making the mixture melt down more rapidly and uniformly. High soda glasses melt at fairly low temperatures and the various batch ingredients are easily dissolved with its aid. Such glasses may contain as much as 23% Na2O; they weather easily, being quickly attacked by water. The Na2O content of the two glasses analyzed is moderate. Many old Egyptian glasses contain much more, a few somewhat less. A significant feature of the present analyses is the almost complete absence of potash (K2O), which is the second alkali and is often associated with Na2O. The Na2O:K2O ratio may be a useful clue to the origin of the alkali, for in many Egyptian glasses the K2Ocontent is appreciable.

Both the alkalis Na2O and K2O are abundant in plant ashes which are often used as the source of alkali in old glasses, even those of the past few centuries. Another type of alkali found in Egypt is natron, which is obtained by evaporation from the waters of the Wadi Natrun, a depression in the Libyan desert about forty miles northwest of Cairo. The material is formed into cakes and was an item of commerce in antiquity, as it is today. Natron is a mixture of sodium carbonate and bicarbonate. Lucas' analyses of ancient and modern natron (pp. 430–431) show that no potash is present in the salts, although in the text (p. 121) he mentions it as "present in very small amount." He makes the point that when very little K2O occurs in an Egyptian glass, it may be assumed that natron was used as the source of alkali, "but where there is a notable amount of potash this points to the use of plant ashes or to a mixture of these with natron." Neumann's analyses show that there is appreciable K2O in most of the XVIIIth Dynasty glasses from Tell-el-Amarna and Thebes, but the majority of the pieces from the Island of Elephantine that date from 200100 B.C. and those from Alexandria lacked K2O or had only a very small amount. The same is true of the two Arabic glasses being studied, although Lucas' report on glass from Fostat (p. 422) shows appreciable potash in three of the four pieces analyzed. Linke's analysis of fourteenth-century glass from Cairo that is listed in Table 4 90 also shows potash. One would have to investigate the Na2O:K2O ratio of plant and wood ashes of Egyptian flora before deciding whether or not ashes, or a mixture of natron and ashes, was used in the potash-bearing glasses. From the evidence cited above, it seems likely that natron was the source of the alkali in our two Arabic glasses. Neumann (op. cit., p. 780) says that the Egyptian soda came from the soda sea at Wadi Natrun in Nubia. The variation in the ratio of the two alkalis in the published glass analyses would suggest that more than one source of alkali was used in Egypt. Some could have been supplied from plant ashes such as the seaweed mentioned by Pliny in his account of the origin of glassmaking. The soda for the two Arabic glasses analyzed must have come from a rather pure source, possibly the Wadi Natrun.

Alumina. The A12O3 content of No. 34 is remarkably high for a glass, because it is a refractory material that does not go into solution readily. It accounts for much of the resistance to weathering of the weights and stamps made from this glass.

Clay would seem to be the obvious source of AL2O3, and a small amount may have come into the glass as clay adhering to sand grains, but clay does not melt easily in a glass batch. It is possible that clay was an intentional batch ingredient if the glass was made in two stages. After the first melt there would be much insoluble material present and the chunks of usable glass would have to be separated from it when the melt was cool. This selected glass would then serve as a major component in the second melt from which the glass objects were formed. There are indications in ancient texts that such a procedure was followed, because many of the formulas call for the use of one or more special glasses in compounding a batch. If clay were used in the first composition together with much soda which would help dissolve it, a high alumina glass could result from such a two-step process of glass preparation.

Today alumina is compounded in a glass by using a crushed rock that contains considerable feldspar, as it has a high alumina content. The various granite and syenite rocks of Egypt would do for this purpose, but so far there is no evidence that such rocks were used. It might not be necessary to crush the rock. Geological weathering processes might have rendered this service and added the broken-down rock fragments and their mineral constituents to the sands, which would then, in certain localities, have a high feldspar content and consequently the glass would contain alumina. Without a knowledge of the Egyptian sands, such a supposition is of the armchair variety and open to question. The facts would seem to be: The alumina content of Egyptian glasses varies widely in the range 0.7–5.0%. Clay is not a good batch material for glasses. Feldspar is. Feldspar as a free mineral or as part of a rock aggregate could have been used in the glass (a) intentionally, or (b) unintentionally as an ingredient of the sand, if Egyptian sands are found to have a fairly high feldspathic content. I do not have the library facilities available at present to undertake a search of the geological and mineralogicai literature for information on this point.

Another small source of alumina could be the attack of the clay crucible in which the glass was melted. Although clay is relatively insoluble in glass, small amounts can be dissolved especially as the soda melts down and begins to attack the surrounding materials, both batch and pot.

Iron. The iron content is very high according to present standards. It is a strong colorant and is therefore kept at a minimum in most modern glass batches so as to avoid a green tint in the glass such as can be seen in the edge of a sheet of plate glass. The iron appears to have been intentionally added to the two Arabic glasses. This is not strange, for the Assyrian recipe for green glass calls for the addition of iron rust to the batch. 91 This would not be difficult to obtain. The iron scale seen in the Arabic glass did not come from the original batch addition because iron goes into solution readily in a glass and the flakes had sharp, not rounded, edges, indicating that they had not been in contact with the hot glass very long. Some of the iron could also be present as an impurity in other batch materials, but there is no doubt of the intentional addition of iron to the batch, especially in No. 34.

In most chemical analyses the total amount of iron is reported in the form Fe2O3, but this does not mean that all of it is present in that state of oxidation. In the present analyses, both forms of iron oxide, the ferrous (FeO) and the ferric (Fe2O3), are reported as well as the total iron calculated to Fe2O3, because the relative proportions of each have a great influence on the color of a soda-lime glass. A high proportion of ferrous iron imparts a pale-blue color to the glass, while ferric iron makes it green. The ratio of the two forms of iron is in part controlled by the glass composition, but it is also strongly influenced by the degree of reduction that a melting batch and molten glass receive from organic material in the batch and from the furnace atmosphere. If too much carbon is present or the atmosphere is too reducing, the glass will be amber in color.

No. 34 contains twice as much iron as No. 196, so its color is a much deeper green. The blue tint in both green glasses is due in part to the presence of a sizeable proportion of ferrous iron as well as to copper. Iron acts like alumina in improving the weathering resistance of glasses, so the combined high iron and alumina of No. 34 more than counteract its low lime value and establish it as a good weather-resistant glass.

Manganese. The purple color of many soda-lime glasses is due to manganese. When it is present with iron or copper, it merely deepens the green or blue color natural to those glasses. Manganese is a common constituent of Egyptian glasses, as much as 2% being present in some. The very small amount that appears in the two glasses analyzed could indicate that it occurs as an impurity in another material such as the iron, for it has very little, if any, effect on the color of the glass. Its presence may be of traditional or symbolic significance, for the importance of ritual in technical operations such as glass-making must not be overlooked. Thompson's translation of the Assyrian directions for the preparation of a glass-melting furnace supplies ample evidence. A favorable day in a fortunate month must be selected, embryos are used in the ceremonies, strangers and unclean people are prohibited from the area, and incense and beer are sacrificed. The Egyptians doubtless had analogous customs that might well involve a pinch of mineral ingredients as well as beer and incense. By Arabic times the significance of the addition of manganese to the batch may have disappeared, but the tradition could still have been in force. This is sheer conjecture, but the non-material elements of a culture often influence or even dominate the material.

A spot test showed that manganese was present as a minor ingredient in most of the green glasses and in the two blue specimens.

Copper. Only a small amount of copper, 0.1%, is present in glass No. 34 and none was found in No. 196. A spot test showed that copper was present in all the blue-green glasses of the major group from which No. 34 was selected as representative. In Neumann's analyses of green glasses, much larger amounts of copper were reported if it was present at all. (Possibly colorimetric tests by which very small quantities can be detected were not used for copper in Neumann's work.) In larger amounts, copper would give a blue color to the glass if the coloring action of the iron were not too strong. The small quantity present might indicate that a blue frit containing copper as its coloring agent was used as one of the batch ingredients, for there is hardly enough copper in the glass to consider it an intentional addition to the batch. Copper-blue frits have been found in many excavations, and even the Assyrians used frits in their glass formulae. (R. Campbell Thompson, op. cit.) Another source might be cullet (scrap glass) that is remelted with the batch to speed up the rate of melting and to conserve materials. A small amount of copper-blue cullet could account for the 0.1% copper oxide, but the consistent appearance of this trace of copper in all the green glasses makes the use of a frit seem more probable.

Sulphur, reported in the trioxide form as SO3, is present in the same percentage range (0.1–0.2%) as in modern soda-lime glasses. Its presence may be due to sulphur-containing compounds in the glass batch or to sulphur products in the fuel used to melt the glass. Neumann reports sulphur contents as high as 2.4% SO3 in the older Egyptian glasses from Tell-el-Amarna. In such cases it is quite possible that all or much of the lime in the glass batch came from gypsum (CaSO4. 2H2O) rather than from limestone (CaCO3), or from sodium sulphate (Na2SO4), which can be a constituent of the alkali.

Tin and lead are found in many ancient glasses and glazes, particularly those of the Arabic period, so their presence was sought in the two glasses analyzed but was not found. Phosphorus was reported as present in Arab glass from Fostat, 92 but tests for it gave negative results.

This detailed consideration of the probable batch materials used to prepare the two glasses that were analyzed may be summarized as follows:

Sand—possibly contaminated with feldspar, limestone and clay.

Soda—probably natron from the Wadi Natrun.

Limestone—a low-magnesium variety such as is found near Cairo.

Iron—source could be either an ore or an ochre.

Frit—a deep-blue glass containing copper and perhaps manganese.

End Notes
See p. 63.
R.' Campbell Thompson, On the Chemistry of the Ancient Assyrians, London, 1925.

Glass Formula

It is possible to calculate the batch formula from the chemical analysis of a glass if the chemical composition of the several batch ingredients is known. They can only be guessed at in the present instance, but if it is assumed that a soda feldspar was the source of the alumina, and the possible presence of frit (which is a colored glass and would contain many of the glass ingredients) is ignored, then approximate batch formulae that would give glasses of the compositions found by Miss Parrish in her analyses would be:

No. 34 No. 196
Sand 10 8
(Feldspar) 5 1
Soda 5 3
Limestone 1 2

These formulae can only serve as an approximate indication of the simple proportions used in compounding the glass batches.

End Notes
Lucas, op. cit.y p. 422.

Comparative Analyses

The outstanding work in the field of ancient glass analyses is that of Dr. Bernhard Neumann. He and his associate, Miss Kotyga, analyzed over 100 glasses of fairly well-established provenience and evaluated the results of their work critically. There are a few good analyses in the older literature, but many of the early workers did not clearly state the source and date of their analytical samples (often they were not completely known). A statement, for example, that a piece was "Egyptian glass" is not particularly helpful. Some analysts, to judge from their published results, did not test for all the glass components, especially for those such as copper that might be present in very small amounts. Often it is the minor ingredients that define the character of a glass. Neumann's data are the only trustworthy large group of ancient glass compositions that can be used for comparison with our own results. Two other analyses are also of interest and will be examined.

There are two ways of comparing analyses that will be used. (a) The general similarity of the composition patterns will be sought, for exact agreement cannot be expected. (b) The ratios of ingredients such as CaO:MgO and Na2O:K2O characterize glasses made from certain raw materials that may possibly be typical of specific regions.

In general pattern both the glasses analyzed belong with the good glasses that adequately resist weathering. They contain 67–70% SiO2 and 12–17% Na2O. Many of the earlier glasses such as those from Tell-el-Amarna and even several of the Roman glasses of the first several centuries a.d. have a lower silica content (56–65%) and a much higher alkali value, that may be as high as 22% Na2O. Within the group of good glasses with high silica and moderate soda figures there is much variation, especially in the lime and alumina content. The two glasses of most immediate interest to us represent two extremes in this series—No. 34 with high A12O3and very low CaO, and No. 196 with relatively low A12O3 for a good glass but with high CaO. The pattern of what is here termed "good" glass is not limited in time or space, as the analyses in Table 4 show. It is found at Thebes in 1500 B.C., at Pompeii, Fostat, and Samarra. Roman glasses other than that from Pompeii could be cited, but this survey must be limited to Arabic types. Before discussing the data in Table 4, the second method of scrutinizing the glass compositions will be presented.

The significance of ratios has already been considered in the preceding section. There it was pointed out that limestones vary in their CaO and MgO content, so the ratio of these two oxides may help characterize the type of limestone used in the glass batch. The two glasses analyzed had a low magnesia content, hence the molecular ratio CaO:MgO is high, 2.45 and 4.6 for No. 34 and No. 196. Both these glasses also have an extremely low K2O content, although many Egyptian glasses contain much more. This alkali relationship can serve as a good comparative tool.

Thus far in our discussions the differences between Nos. 34 and 196 have been emphasized. In comparing the compositions of these glasses with a large group of analyses, one is more impressed by their basic similarity in pattern than by differences which tend to be relegated to a less prominent position in the vitreous picture. Both glasses were made from the same general stock of raw materials, as a study of some of their ratios has shown. No. 34 is representative of the major group studied, but No. 196, also of local origin, may represent a later series of glasses or merely a different workshop

Table 4
No. 34 No. 196 a b c d e f g h i j
SiO2 71.40 68.86 67.82 67.80 68.45 67.47 70.5 66.93 65.86 68.73 67.8 69.43
Fe2O3 2.02 1.01 1.08 0.92 0.89 0.14 1.9 1.44 1.19 0.47 4.0 1.15
Al2O3 4.75 1.63 4.38 3.22 3.85 4.98 0.8 2.08 2.16 1.69 3.55
CaO 2.74 10.02 4.03 3.80 9.92 10.30 7.8 3.62 5.95 8.62 2.9 7.24
MgO 0.81 1.57 2.30 2.89 1.18 0.76 1.2 5.42 4.55 4.15 0.9
Na2O 16.98 15.88 13.71 16.08 14.79 15.36 16.1 15.26 12.84 12.54 23.5 17.31
K2O 0.27 0.05 2.34 2.08 0.21 0.13 tr. 2.62 2.70 2.87
CuO O.1O 0.00 I.96 1.51 0.31 1.76 2.66 tr. tr.
MnO 0.30 0.19 0.91 0.44 0.75 0.51 1.1 0.28 0.88 0.74 0.9 0.39
SO3 0.12 0.19 0.98 1.01 0.52 1.72
SnO2 0.51 --
P2O5 0.6
CaO:MgO 2.45 4.60 i.25 0.94 6.00 9.68 4.63 0.48 0.93 1.48 2.3
  • a Thebes, 1500 B.C., dark blue, Neumann, No. 72.
  • b Gorub Medined, 1500 B.C., dark blue inlaid with yellow and gray, Neumann No. 95.
  • c Alexandria, late Egyptian, dark blue, Neumann No. 23.
  • d Alexandria, late Egyptian, dark blue, Neumann No. 24.
  • e Fostat, analyzed by J. Clifford, Lucas, p. 422.
  • f Samarra, dark blue plate, Neumann No. 83.
  • g Samarra, emerald green window glass, Neumann No. 84.
  • h Cairo, 14th century, Linke in Schmoranz.
  • i Arab Glass, blue, Parodi quoted by Lucas, p. 420.
  • j Pompeii, green, Neumann No. 47.
that is not well represented in the collection. Dr. Miles can best comment on this point. 93

The pattern of "good" glass was not new in Roman times, but was in use in the XVIIIth Dynasty, as the examples from Thebes and Gorub Medined demonstrate. Neumann points out that the glasses of the XVIIIth Dynasty were technically much better and more durable than all the known glasses of the next 2000 years. The tin reported in No. 95 (Neumann) is from the surface strip decoration of the glass. The SO3probably comes from the alkali sulphate, Na2SO4. There is a marked similarity in the pattern of these two glasses with the two from Alexandria that Neumann analyzed. In batch materials, however, the latter two agree with the Arabic glasses, for they are low in MgO, K2O, CuO and SO3. They have both the high Al2O3 of No. 34 and the high CaO of No. 196. These glasses were certainly made in the same tradition as those of the Arabic weights and stamps.

An Arabic glass from Fostat that was analyzed by J. Clifford and reported by Lucas (p. 422) also belongs in our group, for it conforms to the general pattern, has a high calcium to magnesium ratio and lacks K2O. It is very low in A12O3, but this is in part compensated for by its high iron content.

It is of interest to compare the glass compositions made at Samarra less than a century later with those from Egypt. This can be done because Neumann analyzed five pieces. Three of them contained a small amount of lead but were otherwise of the same general composition as the two shown in Table 4. These glasses are lower in SiO2 and much higher in MgO and SO3 than the Egyptian glasses. If the CaO:MgO ratio were found to hold true in other Iraqi glasses and glazes, this could be a means of determining the place of origin of questionable pieces, providing a fragment could be spared for chemical analysis. The basic pattern of the Samarran glasses is the same as that of Arabic Egypt.

An early (1896) chemical analysis accompanied by an excellent discussion is that of Dr. F. Linke, 94 who studied a fragment of glass thought to have come from the fourteenth-century mosque of Sulṭān Hasan in Cairo. As can be seen in Table 4, this glass adheres to the general pattern, but was made from dolomitic limestone and a mixture of alkalis. It has a high lime-magnesia content and is low in iron.

The series of Arab glass analyses made by Parodi 95 were republished by Lucas (p. 420). Most of his examples have a high alkali content (22–31%). One of the analyses is listed in Table 4 because the high SiO2, Fe2O3, and Al2O3 content, together with the low CaO and MgO, makes this glass very similar to No. 34 except for the high alkali.

The Pompeian glass is very similar in composition to the Arabic. This is an excellent example of the fact that the basic formulae for easily workable yet durable glasses are very restricted in their possible variations among the major ingredients.

This survey of the chemical literature of ancient glass has shown that No. 196 is similar to other Arabic and Roman glass in composition, particularly if the source of the limestone and the alkali is disregarded. No. 196 was a rather unique specimen among the sixteen samples studied in terms of its index of refraction and specific gravity. Possibly it was an imported piece from another part of Egypt or the Middle East. Its inscription was obliterated, so we shall never know. 96 No. 34, the glass chosen for analysis because in its physical properties it was typical of the majority of the samples studied, finds no compositional counterparts as a glass of very low lime and relatively low alkali content.

The search for analyzed compositions similar to those of the two glasses being studied has shown that a general pattern of "good" quality glass with a relatively low alkali content has existed at least since the time of the XVIIIth Dynasty, but that glasses with a high alkali content were also made at the same time. This could mean that even in Arabic times, the proportions of sand, alkali and limestone used were not critical, yet this hardly seems likely when one recalls that the Assyrians had definite glass formulae and that the Arabs were using an accurate system of weights and measures. It is more probable that different traditions existed in different glass factories. Each glassmaker would work out or inherit a formula by which he could successfully manufacture his ware. Unless the alkali content were extremely high, the weathering qualities of the glass would not be important during the lifetime of the owners, but would only serve archaeologists as a guide to variations in glass compositions. Secret formulae are still in use today for many products, such as, for example, glasses, glazes, cough drops, and soft drinks.

We must be careful to place the correct emphasis on the variations in glass composition. They can indicate different places of manufacture and sources of raw materials and thus give valuable information as to trade relationships of different regions and the constancy of ceramic traditions within a region. They can also be used to trace the improvements in ceramic compositions as experience was gained and as experimentally minded artisans developed more satisfactory products.

A thorough study of the manufacture of glass in any region must include a detailed knowledge of the composition and variations in the raw materials that could be found locally and of the ingredients indicated by literary sources to have been used in trade and imported. Such a program, while ideal, is not very practical because of the time and cost involved. It takes two full days at a minimum to analyze a glass completely. Egyptologists are most fortunate that a competent chemist like Mr. Lucas was able to spend many years of his life studying the technical processes of ancient Egypt. His pioneer work is of tremendous value and will serve as a cornerstone for all future technical studies. While few people with adequate training will be able to devote their full energies to such work, it is to be hoped that many ceramists and chemists will become interested in the problems of technological evolution and will actively cooperate with archaeologists.

Since technical studies will never be abundant, it is most essential that the material examined come from well-stratified deposits that have been competently excavated or from material, as in the present case, that bears a datable inscription. It is also important that the materials taken for detailed study be selected only after a large and representative group has been examined carefully and given physical tests such as the measurement of the index of refraction and apparent specific gravity. In the current study such tests showed that glass No. 196, which Dr. Miles supplied for analysis, was not chemically representative of the major group of stamps and weights. 97 Fortunately, it was possible to remove for analysis a sample from one of the pieces shown by the tests to be typical (No. 34)·

End Notes
See footnote 79, p. 33, above.
F. Linke, "Chemical Analysis," pp. 42–43, in: Gustav Schmoranz, Old Oriental Gilt and Enamelled Glass Vessels, Vienna-London, 1899.
H. D. Parodi, La Verrerie en Égypte, 1908.
See footnote 79, p. 33, above.

Cultural Considerations

Utilitarian objects such as these glass stamps and weights give little information from the technological side that is of use in evaluating the culture of the period, but it is perhaps well to record the few observations that can be made.

The adoption of glass as a material for the manufacture of weights and stamps in the eighth century marks a distinct technological advance. Clay had been used for similar purposes during classical times, but the use of glass shows that it was no longer the luxury item that it had been earlier. 98 It was now a material in more common use. The glass used for stamps and weights was of much poorer quality than that prepared for making vases; of course the quality of both groups overlapped to some extent, depending on the care and skill of the workmen and the availability of fuel. The glass for stamps was not too well melted and fined, but it did not need to be; that for vessels had to be fired longer or at a higher temperature if the traces of unmelted batch were to be eliminated. Seeds were present in all ancient glass to some degree because fining agents that would sweep out the bubbles were not used, but the number of seeds could be reduced by using higher melting temperatures and longer periods of firing, both of which require more fuel.

Several shops made the glass stamps, to judge from the physical properties of the glasses. Three types of blue-green glass were recognized. A more extensive study might show a correlation between the type of glass and the place and date of manufacture. If the manufacture of such glass was a state monopoly, did more than one group have a license? 99

The impression of inscriptions in glass with iron dies requires much skill and careful timing, for hot glass will rapidly attack an iron surface and will soon obliterate the inscription on a die by the formation of a scaly oxide coating if the operator is inexperienced or careless.

The chemical analyses, both those made by Miss Parrish and those previously published, show that glass compositions were far from uniform and that the raw materials used varied even in the region of Cairo. This certainly points to a well-established industry in which there was still considerable individual shop freedom.

End Notes

See footnote 79, p. 33.
[Glass exagia were in use in later Roman and Byzantine times. See p. 3, above, and G. Schlumberger, "Poids de verre étalons monétiformes d'origine byzantine" in Revue des études grecques, VIII (1895), GCM]
[The passage from Maqrīzi cited above, p. 20, has some bearing on this question. It is not entirely clear whether all the weights, measures and other implements were made in the Dār al-'Ayār, for, as Maqrīzi says, the merchants were summoned to the bureau to have their weights etc. tested, which might, but need not necessarily, imply that the weights and measures originated outside the bureau. Wherever they originated, periodic testing after their original acquisition would have been necessary. One thing is certain from Maqrīzi's statements: the master standards were kept in the bureau. In any case, the majority of the weights and stamps were official, as we know from the inscriptions; but concessions for their manufacture might have been let out by the Dār al-'Ayār to more than one shop. GCM]



A. Qurrah b. Sharīk

Governor, 90–96 a.h.: 709–714 a.d.

1. One-half dīnār.

امر الا

مير قرة و

زن نصف

Ordered the Amīr Qurrah: weight of one-half.

Pale green. 22 mm. 2.11 grm.

Plate I

2. One-half ra of oil.

Vessel stamp with legend within dotted border:

امر الامير

قرة نصف

رطل دهن

Ordered the Amīr

Qurrah: one-half raṭl of oil.

Green. 32 mm.

Plate XII

One-quarter qisṭ.

Vessel stamp:

امر الامير

قرة ربع



Ordered the Amīr

Qurrah: one-quarter qisṭ, full measure.

Pale blue-green. 31 mm. Nies No. XII.

Plate XII

Similar to Fouquet Coll., p. 367, No. 96.

Qurrah b. Sharīk b. Marthad b. Ḥāzim b. al-Ḥārith al-'Absi al-Qaisi was Governor of Egypt from 3 (or 13) Rabī' I, 90, to the date of his death on 23 Rabī' I, 96 (20 Jan., 709–6 Dec, 714 a.d.). His duties as Governor included the functions of Finance Director. He was responsible for a number of important tax measures and reforms, and his adminis- tration is especially well documented by the finding of the Aphrodito and other papyri. Recent writers have inclined to vindicate him of bitter charges of cruelty, impiety and oppression brought against him by the 'Abbāsid historians, who are believed to have falsely represented his character for partisan reasons. Among other things Qurrah's name is associated with the reconstruction and reorientation of the qibla of the famous mosque of 'Amr, the conqueror of Egypt. 1 One of Qurrah's measures that has a direct bearing on the glass weights was an instruction to the effect that jizyah payments were to be accepted only according to the standard weight of the Treasury, 'alā wazni bayt il-māl. 2

corpus: ½ dīnār

½ raṭl of oil


½ qisṭ

¼ qisṭ

End Notes
Grohmann, Corpus I 2, p. 51. Cf. Wüstenfeld I, p. 39; Adolf Grohmann, s.v. Ķurra, in the Encyclopaedia of Islām; Johs. Pedersen, s.v. Masdjid, ibid.; Grohmann, Egyptian Library, I, pp. 25–31, III, pp. 11–43, 47–55; C. H. Becker, Papyri Schott-Reinhardt, I, Veröffentlichungen aus der Heidelberger Papyrus-Sammlung, III, Heidelberg, 1906 (all the papyri in this volume are Qurrah's); the same author's "Arabische Papyri des Aphroditofundes," in Zeitschrift für Assyriologie, XX, 1907, pp. 68–104, and "Neue arabische Papyri des Aphroditofundes," in Der Islam, II, 1911, pp. 245–268; Nabia Abbott, The Kurrah Papyri from Aphrodito in the Oriental Institute (The Oriental Institute Studies in Ancient Oriental Civilization, No. 15, Chicago, 1938), where, in addition to Qurrah documents, there is a biography of the Governor (pp. 57–69); H. Lammens, Études sur le Siècle des Omayyades, Beyrouth, 1930, pp. 305–323. The alleged scandal of Qurrah's drinking bouts in the mosque of 'Amr as a means of disposing of treasury surpluses, doubtless a fabrication of the Governor's 'Abbāsid maligners, is recounted in Lane-Poole, History, p. 26.
Qurrah's death is by some mistakenly placed in Ṣafar, 96, or in 95 (Ṭabari, II, p. 1305); cf. Zambaur, Manuel, p. 25.
Cf. Grohmann, Egyptian Library, II, p. 47, and the references given there.

B. Usāmah b. Zayd

Finance Director, 96–99 a.h.: 714–717 a.d.

Interim Governor, 102 a.h.: 720–721 a.d.

4. Fragmentor less ?) of disk-type weight.

Fragmentary legend:

امر اسا

مة ب]ن زيد]

. . . . . . . . .

Ordered Usā-[mah bi]n Zayd:. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Green. Stamp: 35 mm. Piece: 56 mm.

5. Qisṭ.

Vessel stamp:

امر ا

سامة بن ز

يد بقسط



Ordered Usāmah bin Zayd one qisṭ, full measure.

Green. 34 mm. Nies No. XVIII.

Plate XII

6. One-quarter qisṭ of olive oil.

Vessel stamp attached to fragment of rim:

امر اسا

مة بن زيد بر

بع قسط


Ordered Usāmah bin Zayd: one-quarter qisṭ of olive oil.

Pale blue-green. 34 mm.

Plate XII

7.One-quarter qisṭ of ointment.

Vessel stamp, legend about ¾ preserved:

[امر اس[ا

[مة بن زي[د

[ربع قس[ط


Ordered Usāmah bin Zay[d]:one-quarter qis[t] of oint[ment].

A fragment of the final 1 is preserved.

Pale blue-green. 29 mm.

Plate XII

8. Measure of........

Vessel stamp, legend about ¾ preserved:

امر اسامة

[بن زيد مكي[لة


Ordered Usāmah bin Zayd: meas[ure] . . . . . . of...........?

Green. 42 mm.

Plate XII

Usāmah b. Zayd al-Tanūkhi was appointed Finance Director by the Caliph al-Walīd b. 'Abd al-Malik in 96 (714 a.d.), and was removed by the Caliph 'Umar b. 'Abd al-'Azīz in 99 (717 a.d.). According to Ṭabari's (and ibn al-Athīr's) sources he was also interim Governor ( and Finance Director) in 102 (720–721 a.d.). Usāmah had the reputation of being particularly oppressive in his tax administration, and it is reported that he vigorously implemented the Caliphal instruction to "milk till the udder be dry, and let blood drop to the last drop." It is interesting to note that in 97 (715 a.d.) he built the first Nilometer (miqyās), an apparatus closely associated with the collection of revenues, on the Island of Rawḍah (Rōḍa) in Cairo; and also that he built the Bayt al-Māl, or Treasury, in Fusṭāṭ, near ''Amr's mosque. 3

corpus: ½ dīnār


fals of 14 kharrūbah

uncertain coin weight (Mainoni)

uncertain disk-weight


½ qisṭ

¼ qisṭ

¼ qisṭ of olive oil

uncertain measures

End Notes
Grohmann, Corpus I 2, pp. 58,94; Ṭabari, II, p. 1436; ibn al-Athīr, V, p. 77. Cf. Caetani, Chronographia, V, pp. 1180, 1195, 1225, 12865 Casanova, Étude, p. 10; C. H. Becker, s.v. Cairo, in the Encyclopaedia of Islām; Carl H.Becker, Beiträge zur Geschichte Ägyptens unter dem Islam, II, Strassburg, 1903:4. Steuerverhältnisse im ersten Jahrhundert, pp. 101–1045 Lane-Poole, History, pp. 25–26.

C. Ḥayyān b. Shurayḥ

Finance Director, 99–101 a.h.: 717–720 a.d.

9. One-half qisṭ of olive oil.

Vessel stamp:

امر حيان

بن شريح

نصف قسط

ز]يت وا]


Ordered Ḥayyān bin Shurayḥ: one-half qisṭ of olive oil, full measure.

Pale blue-green. 31 mm.

Plate XII

10. One-quarter qisof olive oil (.?).

Vessel stamp:

امر حيان

بن شريح

(بربع قسط(؟


Ordered Ḥayyān bin Shurayḥ: one-quarter (?) of olive oil (?).

The last two lines are garbled, but the legend as given above seems to be intended.

Pale green. 27 mm.

Plate XII

Cf. Petrie No. 92, a quzrter-qisṭ of oil (wrongly read as "quarter qist of the Bedawin?"), with a legend substantially the same as the above but differently arranged.

The exact dates of Ḥayyān b. Shurayḥ's term of office as Finance Director are somewhat uncertain. The tradition is simply that he was 'āmil for Miṣr (Egypt) under the Caliph 'Umar b. 'Abd al-'Azīz (10 Ṣafar, 99–20 Rajab, 101 a.h.: 717–720 a.d.). At least he was in office until the death of the Governor Ayyūb b. Shurahbīl on 11 Ramaḍān, 101 (26 March, 720 a.d.); and it may be that he was not relieved of his duties until 'Ubaydullāh b. al-Ḥabḥāb came in about 104 a.h., because Ayyūb's two successors as Governor were not charged with the finance functions. However, the tradition that Usāmah b. Zayd was interim Governor and Finance Director in 102 a.h. 4 weakens the argument. 5

corpus: dīnār

raṭl of meat

¼ qisṭ

½ qisṭ of olive oil

¼ qisṭ of olive oil

D. 'Ubaydullāh b. Ḥabḥāb

Finance Director, 102–116 a.h.: 720–734 a.d.

11. One-third dīnār.

مما امر

به عبيدا

لله ابن الحبحا

ب مثقال ثلث


Of what ordered 'Ubaydullāh ibn al-Ḥabḥāb: weight of one-third, full weight.

Pale green. 20 mm. 1.43 grm.

Plate I

Cf. BM No. 3G (1.42 grm.), also one-third dīnār·, but with a different inscription.

12. Fals of 20 qīrāṭ.

بسم الله

امر عبيد الله

ابن الحبحاب

مثقال فلس

عشرين قير


In the name of Allāh: ordered 'Ubaydullāh ibn al-Ḥabḥāb: weight of fals of twenty qīra-

Pale green. 30 mm. 3.97 grm.

Plate I

13. Fals of 17 qīrāṭ.

بسم الله

امر عبيد الله

بن الحبحاب

بمثقال نصف

فلس سبعة

عشر قيرط


In the name of Allāh: ordered 'Ubaydullāh bin al-Ḥabḥāb: weight of one-half of Sevenig teen qī full weight.

Pale green. 27 mm. 3.22 grm.

Plate I

14. Fals of 15 qīrāṭ.

بسم الله

امر عبيد الله

بن الحبحاب مثقا

ل نصف فلس

خمسة عشر

قيراط وا


In the name of Allāh: ordered 'Ubaydullāh bin al-Ḥabḥāb: weigh- of one-half fals of fifteen qīnāṭ, full- weight.

Pale green. 24.5 mm. 2.90 grm.

Plate I

15–16. Fals of 12 kharrūbah.

بسم الله

امر عبيد الله

بن الحبحاب مثقال

سطر اثنى عشر

ة خروبة و


In the name of Allāh: ordered 'Ubaydullāh bin al-Ḥabḥāb: weight of series(?) of twelve kharrūbah weight (?).

Pale green. Two specimens: 22 mm., 23 mm. 2.31 grm., 2.32 grm.

Plate I

17. Two raṭls of meat.

Fractured ring-weight bearing stamp, about four-fifths preserved, on top surface:

مما امر

به عبيدا

Of what ordered 'Ubaydu-

ال]ه ابن الجبحا]

ب] رطبن لحمم و]


[llā]h ibn al-Ḥabḥā- [b]: two raṭls of meat, full weight.

Green. Stamp: 31 mm. Piece, length: 69 mm., width: 49 mm., height: 41 mm. 173 grm.

Plate VII

18. One-half qisṭ.

Vessel stamp:

مما امر به

عبيد الله ا

بن الحبحاب

[نصف قس[ط


Of what ordered 'Ubaydullāh ibn al-Ḥabḥāb: one half qis[ṭ], [full] measure.

Green. 36 mm.

Similar to Fouquet Coll., p. 368, Nos. 104–105.

19. One-quarter qisṭ. Year lll a.h.: 729/30 a.d.

Vessel stamp:

بسم الله

امر عبيد الله

بن الحبحاب ربع

قسط على يدى خر

[ة (؟) بن ميسرة سن[ة

ا]حدى عشرة]


In the name of Allah: Ordered 'Ubaydullāh bin al-Ḥabḥāb: one-quarter at the hands of Khurrah (?) bin Maysarah, year [o]ne and ten, one hundred.

Pale green. 43 mm.

Plate XII

Similar to BM p. 108, No. 392.

The reading of the first name of the prefect is by no means certain. Lane-Poole transcribed HLM, but did not attempt to transliterate or identify this name.

20. One-quarter qisṭ.

Vessel stamp:

مما امر

به عبيد الله

Of what ordered 'Ubaydullāh

بن الحبحاب ربع

ق]سط وا]


bin al-Ḥabḥāb; one-quarter qisṭ full measure.

Pale green. 32 mm.

Similar to Petrie No. 105; apparently similar to Fou-quet Coll., p. 368, Nos. 106–107.

21. One-quarter qisṭ of olive oil.

Vessel stamp:

بسم الله

امر عبيدا

[له]ل بن الحبحا[ب]

[ر]بع قس[ط]

[ز]يت [و]


In the name of Allah: Ordered 'Ubaydullāh bin al-Ḥabḥā[b]: one-quar[ter] qis[] [of o]live oil, [full] measure.

Green. 37 mm.

Apparently similar to Petrie No. 108, and to Fouquet Coll., p. 368, Nos. 109–119.

22. Measure of polished lupins.

Vessel stamp:

بسم الله

امر عبيد الله

بن الحبحاب

بمكيلة التر

هس تملس


In the name of Allāh: ordered 'Ubaydullāh bin al-Ḥabḥāb: measure of lupin, polished, full measure.

Green. 43 mm. Nies, No. XVII.

Plate XII

The word following, الترمس "lupin," is rather puzzling. One might expect مملّس, mumallas, 6 "polished, smoothed," but the first letter cannot possibly be,. It must be ن، ت or ى or the like. Lane (I7, p. 2735) has a form تملّس, equivalent to, إمّلس, meaning it was, or became, made, or rendered, smooth etc. Dr. Nies, in his original publication of the piece, transcribed the word "turnias," and suggested "smooth," i.e., heaping and then smoothed over with the hands to give full measure; but I believe that "polished," that is "husked," is probably the intended meaning.

23. Measure of shelled lentils.

Vessel stamp, about five-sixths preserved:

[بسم الله ؟]

امر عبيد الله

بن الحبحاب

بطبعه مكيلة

عدس مقشر و


[In the name of Allāh ?]: ordered 'Ubaydullāh bin al-Ḥabḥāb the stamping of it: measure of lentils, shelled, full measure.

Pale blue-green. 37 mm.

Plate XII

Just as the terminal date of Ḥayyān b. Shurayḥ's period of office is difficult to determine, so also is the date of the commencement of 'Ubaydullāh b. al-Ḥabḥāb's term as Finance Director uncertain. Grohmann has argued the case at considerable length and accepts the dates 102–116 (720–734 a.d.). According to one tradition, 'Ubaydullāh was in the latter year appointed Governor of Africa; but according to another (Abū al-Maḥāsin ibn-Taghri-Birdi), the date of his appointment as Governor of Africa was 114. Al-Bakri by implication confirms this earlier date in recording that 'Ubaydullāh built a mosque and arsenal in Tunis in 114. 7 As an oppressive tax-collector he had an unsavory reputation, and his iconoclastic measures against the Copts contributed to a revolt of that "minority." His son, al-Qāsim (see below, p. 83), succeeded him in the Egyptian Treasury. 'Ubaydul-lāh's stamps and weights are numerous. 8

corpus: ⅓ dīnār


fals of 20, 18, 17, 15, 13 and 12 qīrāṭ and kharrūbah

2 raṭl of meat

1 raṭl of "dates" (probably meat) (Petrie)


½ qisṭ

¼ qisṭ

qisṭ of olive oil

¼ qisṭ of olive oil

measure of lupins

measure of lentils

Khurrah (?) b. Maysarah (No. 19) is unknown to me. The problematical reading of the name, especially the first part of it, makes an exhaustive search among the chroniclers unprofitable. It is to be hoped that more specimens bearing this prefect's name may appear; identification might then be possible.

End Notes
See above, p. 73.
Grohmann, Corpus I 2, p. 94; Balādhuri, p. 217.
Suggested by my friend, Professor Philip K. Hitti of Princeton University.
After the manuscript of the present catalogue had been given to the printer, Mr. Fahim Kouchakji of New York was good enough to place in my hands a glass weight which he had recently received from Eygpt. I found it to be a fine, and so far as I know, unique dīnār weight of'Ubaydullāhb. al-Ḥabḥāb, dated 115 a.h. This piece is of first-rate importance in establishing 'Ubaydullāh's continuance as Finance Director beyond the year 114 at least until 115 a.h. The inscription on the weight reads: بسم الله |مما امر به عبيد|الله بن الحبحاب| مثقال دينر وا| ف سنة خمس|عشرة و|مائة. "In the name of Allāh: | of what ordered 'Ubaydu- | llāh bin al-Ḥabḥāb: | weight of dīnār, full | weight; year fif- | teen and | one hundred." Pale green, 30 mm., 4.19 grm. The piece has subsequently been acquired by the Museum of the American Numismatic Society. It has been given the number 10a (Plate I).
Grohmann, Corpus I2, pp. 94–95; cf. Grohmann, Egyptian Library, III, pp. 117–122,137–138; Lane-Poole, History, p. 27; Casanova, Étude, p. 11. The use of the title amīr in a papyrus of 'Ubaydullāh b. al-Ḥabḥāb perhaps indicates that for a time at least he was Deputy Governor as well as Finance Director (cf. Grohmann, Egyptian Library, III, pp. 122, 137, Nos. 175, 180).

E. Name of Official Effaced

24. Raṭl (?). Year 114. a.h.: 752/3 a.d.

Disk-weight. About one-half of a circular or ovoid plano-convex disk, bearing three stamps on the convex side:

(a) about one-half preserved:



(رطل (؟



........... ..... raṭl (?) ..... ..... .......... [full] weight.

(b) almost completely preserved:

سنة ا



[وما ئ[ة

Year fourteen and one hund [red].

(c) almost entirely lacking and no part of legend preserved.

Green. Stamp (a): 31 mm. (b): 22 mm. (c): 16 mm. Piece, maximum di.: 113 mm., thickness: 19 mm.

F. Ḥafṣ b. al-Walīd

Governor, 108 a.h. (part): 727 a.d.

Governor, 124–127 a.h,: 742–744 a.d.

Finance Director, 124–125 a.h.: 742–743 a.d.

Governor, 127–128 a.h.: 745–746 a.d.

25. Raṭl and one-quarter wuqīyah (?).

Disk-weight. Fragment of ovoid (?) plano-convex disk, bearing two contiguous stamps on the convex side:

(a) [بسم [الله

[امر ا[لامير ؟

[حفص بن [الوليد ؟

[بطبعه م[ثقال ر ؟

طل واف ر

In the name [of Allāh]: ordered [the Amīr ?] Ḥafṣ bin [al-Walīd ?] the stamping of it, [weight (?) of ra-] ..... ṭl, full weight........

[ربع و[قية ؟

[و[اف ؟

one-quarter [wuqīyah ?] [full weight?].

(b) على يدى

يزيد بن ا

بى يزيد


Ath the hadns of Yarīd bin abi Yazīd.

Green. Stamp (a) : ca. 42 mm. (b) : 22 mm. Piece, length : 74 mm., width: 49 mm., thickness: 9 mm. 45.0 grm.

Plate V

It is unfortunate that the larger stamp on this piece, with its interesting and unusual legend, is not more perfectly preserved. To judge by what remains it would appear that the weight is that of a raṭl (or fraction) plus a quarter ounce. For the existence of such weights as the equivalents of various types of qisṭs there is abundant evidence in the material collected by Sauvaire, for example a qisṭ of honey weighing I½ (or 2½ ?) raṭls, a qisṭ of 7½ raṭls, etc. 9

26. Qisṭ.

Vessel stamp attached to fragment of rim:

بسم الله

امر الامير

حفص بن الوليد

بطبعه قسط


In the name of Allāh: ordered the Amīr Ḥafṣ bin al-Walīd the stamping of it: qisṭ, full measure.

Light, opaque green on dark-green vessel. 41 mm. Nies, No. XVI.

Plate XII

Ḥafṣ b. al-Walīd, having acted as Governor of Egypt for two weeks late in 108 (March-April, 727 a.d.), was appointed to that office, including the Finance Directorate, on 7 Rabī' II, 124 (18 Feb., 742 a.d.). He was relieved of the Finances on 23 Shawwāl, 125 (19 Aug., 743 a.d.), and of the Governorship in 127 (744/5 a.d.). Again in the same year he was reappointed Governor, was finally removed on 1 Muḥarram, 128 (3 Oct., 745 a.d.), and was executed on 3 Shawwāl, 128 (28 June, 746 a.d.). 10

corpus: dīnār



raṭl fraction and ¼ wuqīyah



For Yazīd b. abī-Yazīd (No. 25), see p. 91.

End Notes
Sauvaire, Matériaux, III, pp. 443–444.

G. Al-Qāsim b. 'Ubaydullāh

Finance Director, 116–124 a.h.: 734–742 a.d.

27. Dīnār.

بسم الله

امر القاسم

بن عبيد الله

مثقال دينر


In the name of Allāh: ordered al-Qāsim bin 'Ubaydullāh: weight of dīnār, full weight.

Metropolitan Museum, 89.2.241. Green. 28.5 mm. 4.24 grm.

Plate I

28. One-half dīnār. Year 199 (?) a.h.: 757 a.d.

بسم الله ا

مر الله بالو

فا وامر بطبعه

مثقال نصف و

من القاسم بن

عبيد الله على يدى

[مسلم بن الع[ر

(اف سنة تع(؟

(عشر مة(؟

In the name of Allāh: com manded Allāh hon- esty; and ordered the stamping of it, weight of one-half W- MN (for "WZN," weight), al-Qāsim bin 'Ubaydullāh, at the hands of Muslim bin al-'A[r-] (?) year nine (?)- teen [and] one hundred (?).

Yellowish green. 24 mm. 2.12 grm.

Plate I

29. One-third dīnār.

[ا]مر ا[لله با]

[لوفا و[امر

[بطبعه [ مثقال

[ثلث و[زن؟][ا

[لقاسم [بن عبيد

[الله ع[لى يدى مسلم

[.... بن الع[راف

Com[manded Allah hon-]esty: and [ordered] the stamping of it, [weight] of one-third w[eight (?), a-]l Qāsim [bin 'Ubaydullāh a[t the hands of Muslim] bin al-'A[rāf.....].

Broken, about two-fifths lacking. Pale green. 19 mm. 0.80 grm.

Plate I

30. Fals of 30 kharrūbah. Year 119 a.h: 737 a.d.

بسم الله ا

مر الله بالوفا

وامر بطبعه

مثقال فلس ثلثين

خروبة القاسم

بن عبيد الله على يدى

مسلم بن العا

ف سنة تسع

عشرة وما


I In the name of Allah: commanded Allāh honesty: and ordered the stamping of it, weight of fals of thirty kharrūbah, al-Qāsim bin 'Ubaydullāh, at the hands of Muslim bin al-'Ā-, year nine teen and one hund red.

Green. 33 mm. 5.83 grm.

Plate I

Similar to BM No. 4 (5.83 grm.); Jungfleisch (from Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris) (5.80 grm.).

31. Fals of 15 kharrūbah.


سم بن عبيد

ا]لله مثقال]

خمسة عشر


[Or]dered [al-Qā-] sim bin 'Ubayd-[u]llāh: weight of fifteen kharrūbah.

Pale green. 24.5 mm. 2.97 grm.

Plate I

32. Two rath of meat.

Fractured ring-weight bearing two stamps on top surface:

بسم الله

امر القاسم بن

عبيد الله بطبعه

رطلين لحم و




  • In the name of Allāh: ordered al-Qāsim bin 'Ubaydullāh the stamping of it, two raṭls of meat, full weight.
  • (b) Honesty to Allāh.

Green. Stamp (a) : 33 mm. (b) : 17 mm. Piece, length : 87 mm., width : 59 mm., height: 58 mm. 300.0 grm.

Plate VIII

33. Great raṭl (?).

Disk-weight. Fragment of circular (?) plano-convex disk, bearing stamp about four-fifths preserved on the convex side:

[بسم الل[ه

[امر القاس[م

[بن عبيد ال[له

[بطبعه ر[طل ؟



In the name of Allā[h]: ordered al-Qāsi[m] bin 'Ubaydul[lāh] the stamping of it, ra[ṭl ?] gr[eat], full weight.

Green. Stamp: ca. 38 mm. Piece, max. di.: 55 mm., thickness: 19 mm.

Plate V

34. Raṭl of meat. Tear 123 (?) a.h.: 740/1 a.d.

Fractured ring-weight bearing stamp on top surface:

بس]م الله]

امر الله بالو

[ف]ا وامر بصنع[ه]

ر]طل اللحم القا]

[س]م بن عبيد ال[له]

(عل]ى يدى دواد(؟]

(فر(؟) سنة ثلث (؟

[In the na]me of Allāh: commanded Allāh hon- [es]ty; and ordered [its] making, [RA] ṭL of meat, al-Qā- ) [si]m bin 'Ubaydul[lāh], . . . [a]t the hands of (Dā'ud ?) [bin ?] . . . [Ja']far (?), year three (?)



and twenty and one hundred.

Green. Stamp: 37 mm. Piece, length: 61 mm., width : 44 mm., height: 30 mm. 85.50 grm.

Plate VIII

35. Raṭl of . . . . . . . . . . .

Fractured ring-weight bearing two stamps on top surface:


[امر القا[م

بن عبيد الله

رطل (sic) بعبعه

. . . . . .



  • In the name of [Allāh] : ordered al-Qāsi[m] bin 'Ubaydullāh the stamping of it (misspelled), raṭl
  • Honesty to Allāh

Green. Stamp (a): 29 mm. (b): 21 mm. Piece, length: 63 mm., width: 42 mm., height: 47 mm. 143.50 grm.

36. One-quarter............Year 122 a.h.: 739/40 a.d.

Vessel stamp:

بسم الله

امر الله با

لوفا وامر

بطبعه ربع

القاسم بن عبيد

[الله على يدى ظ[ف؟

ر بن قتيبة (؟) سنة ا

ثنين وعشرين


In the name of Allāh: Allāh commanded hon-esty; and ordered the stamping of it, one-quarter, [a]l-Qāsim bin'Ubayd- ullāh, at the hands of Z[afa ?]-1 bin Qutaybah (?), year two and twenty, one hundred.

Green. 40 mm.

Plate XIII

One would expect some term denoting the measure following the word "one-quarter"; probably the measure was inadvertently omitted by the artisan.

Cf. Petrie No. 120, a half-qisṭ stamp with a very similar inscription and the same date. Petrie read Ṭahīr b. Nasiq, but the illustration shows that neither of these names can be correct. I am not at all confident of the reading suggested above, but Zafar is certainly a possible reading of the first name on the specimen described by Petrie. The second letter of the first name is not preserved on the present piece.

37. Measure of shelled pease.

Vessel stamp attached to fragment of rim:

بسم الله

امر القاسم بن

عبيد الله

بطبعه مكيلة

جلبان مقشر


In the name of Allāh: I ordered al-Qāsim bin 'Ubaydullāh the stamping of it, measure of pease, shelled, 11 full measure.

Green. 39 mm.

Plate XIII

This specimen perfectly illustrates the position of a stamp on the vessel.

38. Measure of black lentils (?).

Vessel stamp attached to a fragment of rim:

بسم الله

امر الله بالو

فا وامر بطبعه

[م]كيلة الانز (؟) الاس[ود]

ال]قاسم بن عبيد ال]

[لّه على يدى داو[د

In the name of Allāh: commanded Allāh honesty; and ordered the stamping of it, measure of lentils (?), bla[ck], al-Qāsim bin 'Ubaydullāh, at the hands of Dā'ū[d]

Green. 41 mm.

Plate XIII

Al-Qāsim b. 'Ubaydullāh, son of 'Ubaydullāh b. al-Ḥab-ḥāb, was Finance Director from 116 (734 a.d.) until 13 Sha'bān, 124 (22 June, 742 a.d.). It is possible that his term may have begun before 116, but certainly not before 115 (see p. 79, above). 12 The date 112 a.h., sometimes given as the beginning of al-Qāsim's administration (e.g., BM), is undoubtedly incorrect and has its origin in Bishop Severus of Ashmunain's chronicle. The weights and stamps of al-Qāsim, like his father's, are numerous.

corpus: dīnār raṭl of meat
½ dīnār raṭl of.....
dīnār qisṭ
dirham ½ qisṭ
great fals of 30 kharrūbah ¼ qisṭ
fals ¼ qisṭ of oil
fals of 30, 22 and 15 kharrūbah measure of pease
wuqīyah measure of lentils
great raṭl ¼ measure
raṭl uncertain measures
2 raṭls of meat
Æ coins, no date or mint (Paris No. 1660; Berlin No. 2249; Karabacek in Wiener Numismatische Monatshefte, 1867, pp. 35–36, and 1868, pp. 2021).

Muslim (or Musallam) b. al-'Arāf (Nos. 28–30) is unknown except on the weights and stamps; by their evidence he was Prefect in the year 119 (737 a.d.). Lane-Poole, in the BM catalogue, read the name Muslim b. al-'Afī; and so did I until I saw Jungfleisch's Les Ratls discoïdes en Verre, where he writes that the name on the BM specimen and on one in the Bibliothèque Nationale is "défiguré par un sectionnement résultant de la mise à la ligne au milieu du mot." I am not yet convinced that al-'Arāf is correct, although Jungfleisch states that his specimen bearing the name, a qisṭ vessel stamp, is entirely clear, the father's name being complete on one line. Certainly on the splendid specimen in the present collection, No. 30, it is difficult to read anything but العاف, and one can only assume an engraver's error to establish the reading العراف.

Dā'ūd, or Dā'ūd bin Ja'far (?) (Nos. 34 and 38) cannot be identified until pieces with his name in a better state of preservation are found. A prefect named Dā'ūd appears in conjunction with an official by the name of 'Abdullāh b. 'Ali on a dirham weight in the Fouquet Collection (p. 381, No. 48), but 'Abdullāh b. 'Ali is not identified.

Ẓafar b. Qutaybah, if indeed that be the name on No. 36, likewise is unidentified. See p. 87, above.

End Notes
Grohmann, Corpus I2, p. 101; cf. Grohmann, Arabische Eichungsstempel, p. 157; Wüstenfeld I, pp. 44, 46–47.
In an Arabic papyrus containing a list of tradesmen and craftsmen there occurs the entry muqashshirīn, "peelers, shellers" (Grohmann, Egyptian Library, III, p. 228).
Grohmann, Corpus I2, pp. 98–99. Cf. Grohmann, Egyptian Library, I, pp. 47–48.

H. 'Isā b. abī-Aṭā

Finance Director, 125–127 a.h.: 743–745 a.d.

128–131 a.h.: 745–749 a.d.

39. Dīnār.

بسم ا]لله ا]

مر الله ]بالوفا]

ا مر ع]يسى بن ابى]

عطا] بطبعه]

مث]قال دينر على]

(يد]ى يزيد بن (؟]

[ابى يزيد ؟]

[In the name of A]llāh: com-[manded Allāh] honesty; [ordered 'I]sā bin abī- the stamping of it, [wei]ght of dīnār, at [ [the hand]s of Yazīd bin (?) [abī-Yazīd ?].

Broken, about two-fifths lacking. Pale green. 29 mm. 2.55 grm.

Cf. Petrie No. 134, apparently similar.

40. One-half dīnār.

The legend is abbreviated and garbled, but is probably intended to read:

بسم الله

اعيسى بن بى

In the name of Allah: ordered 'Isā bin [a]bī-['Aṭā]

بصنعه مثقا

ل نصف على

يدى (؟) يزيد بن ا

بى (؟) يزيد

the making of it, weight of one-half, at the hands of Yazīd bin a-bī Yazīd.

Yellowish green. 22 mm. 2.10 grm.

Plate I

This piece is similar to the Fouquet Coll. p. 379, No. 24, but is better preserved. Casanova's reading of "Ya-zïd b. Tamīm" is invalidated by this clearer specimen.

41. Two (?) raṭ of meat.

Fractured ring-weight bearing stamp, about two-thirds preserved, on top surface:

امر الل]ه بالو]

فاا]امر عيسى]

[بن ابى ع]طا بطبع[ه]

رط]لين (؟) للحم]


[Commanded Allā]h hon- [esty: or]dered 'Isa [bin abī 'A]cā the stamping of [it], two (?) [ra]ls of meat, [full] measure.

Green. Stamp: 40 mm. Piece, length: 42 mm., width : 37 mm., height: 33 mm. 60.0 grm.

Cf. Fouquet Coll., p. 392, No. 55, with a quite similar inscription, but beginning: . . . بسم الله امر الامير عيسى

42. One-quarter qisṭ.

Vessel stamp:

بس]م الله]

[امرا] لا م[ير]

[عيس]ى بن ابى عط[ا]

[بطبع]ه ربع قس[ط]


[In the na]me of Allāh: [ordered t]he Am[īr] ['Is]ā bin abī-'At[ā] [the stamping] of it, one quarter qis[], full [measure].

Metropolitan Museum, 08.256.7. Green. 30 mm.

Plate XIII

The stamp was faultily impressed, resulting in an off-center impression and damaged inscriptions.

Cf. Fouquet Coll., p. 369, Nos. 134–135; cf. also Petrie No. 13 5, also a quarter-qisṭ but with different inscriptions.

'Īsā b. abī-'Atā was twice Finance Director, the first time from 23 Shawwāl, 125, until 28 or 29 Jumādā II, 127 (19 Aug., 743–6 or 7 April, 745 a.d.), and again from 12 Mu-harram, 128, until 10 Rajab, 131 (14 Oct., 745–5 Mar., 749 a.d.). 13

corpus: dīnār

½ dīnār


2 raṭls of meat

½ raṭl 14

½ qisṭ

¼ qisṭ

uncertain measures

½ measure

For Yazïd b. abī-Yazīd (Nos. 39–40), see below.

I. ϒazīd b. abī-ϒazīd

Prefect, ca. 116–127 a.h.: 734–745 a.d.

Finance Director (?), ca. 127 a.h.: 745 a.d.

43. Fals of 20 qīrāt.

امر يزيد

بن ابى يزيد

مثقال فلس

Ordered Yazīd bin abī-Yazīd: weight oí fals

عشرين قير


of twenty qīra-t.

Pale green. 29 mm. 3.86 grm. Nies, No. X.

Similar to BM No. 7 (3.62 grm.).

44. Fals of 20 qtrãt.

Similar to No. 43, but * above, and the on the last line is retrograde.

Pale green. 30 mm. 3.95 grm.

45–46. Fals of 20 kharrūbah.

بسم الله ا

[مر يزيد بن ا[بى

يزيد وزن

فلس عشر

ين خروبة

In the name of Allāh: ordered Yazīd bin a[bī-] Yazīd: weight of fals of twenty kharrūbah.

Two specimens. Pale green; brownish green. 24 mm.; 24 mm. 3.97 grm. 5 3.61 grm. (worn).

Plate I

47. Measure not specified.

Vessel stamp:

على يدى

يزيد بن

ابى يزيد

At the hands · of Yazīd bin abī-Yazīd.

Green. 29 mm.

Plate XIII

48. Measure not specified.

Vessel stamp:

على يدى

يزيد بن ا

بى يزيد


At the hands of Yazīd bin a-bī-Yazīd.

Green. 28 mm.

Similar to Petrie No. 132; cf. Fouquet Coll., p. 373, Nos. 175–182, not illustrated and the division of words not indicated in the transcription; also the star is not mentioned.

Yazīd b. abī-Yazīd is, so far as I know, unrecorded in the chronicles. I have not made an exhaustive search, but his name does not appear in the best-known histories. The weights and stamps, however, do provide us with some facts bearing on his career. He served as Prefect على يدى under al-Qāsim b. 'Ubaydullāh, at least in the year 122 A.H. (stamps in the Fou-quet, University College and Vienna Collections), under Ḥafṣ b. al-Walīd, and under 'īsā b. abī-'Atā. 15 On a number of pieces, including Nos. 43–46 above, he appears as the only official, without, however, the title Amīr. From the collation of the several dates involved, it is clear that Yazīd b. abī-Yazīd served as Prefect from some date in or after 116 16 until 28 or 29 Jumādā II, 127 (734–6 or 7 April, 745 a.d.); and it can be argued that during the interim between 'Īsā b. abï-'Ata's two terms as Finance Director, he served in that latter capacity pro tern., i.e., 29 Jumada II, 127–12 Muharram, 128 (7 Apr.- 14 Oct., 745 a.d.), during which period he issued official weights but did not have the privilege of entitling himself "Amīr." It will be seen below (p. 96) that I have assigned the Prefect Yazīd b. Tamīm to 'Īsā b. abī-'Ata's second term as Finance Director from 128–131 (745–749 a.d.).

corpus: ½ dīnār



fals of 20 qīrāt

fals of 20 kharrūbah

2 raṭls of meat


¼ raṭl


¼ qisṭ

uncertain measures

End Notes
Grohmann, Corpus I2, pp. 103–104; cf. Wüstenfeld I, p. 46. A papyrus letter of 'Isā's dated Rabí' II, 127, is preserved in Margoliouth, Arabic Papyri, p. 29.
Two Vz rath assigned to "El Mughyra" or "Mugheyra," i.e., Mughay-rah b. 'Ubaydullãh,by Petrie. This attribution is surely mistaken, since neither the first nor the last part of the name can be read in what is preserved. I believe the name is 'Isā b. abī-'Atā.
15I cannot accept the reading of his name on a raṭl of 'īsā b. Luqmān, Governor in 161–162 a.h. (Petrie No. 194).
16There were other Prefects under al-Qāsim b. 'Ubaydullāh, for example Muslim b. al-'Arāf (?) and Da'ud, who probably preceded him in office. At all events, as noted above, he was in office by the year 122 a.h.

J. 'Abd al-Malik b. Marwān

Finance Director, 131–132 a.h.: 749 a.d. Governor, 132–133 a.h.: 750 a.d.

49. Fals of 30 kharrūbah.

[بسم الله ا[مر

[الامير عبد الم[لك

[بن مرون اصلحه [الله

[بطبعه مثقال ف[لس

[ثلثين خروب[ة واف

[على [ يدى يزيد بن


In the name of Allāh: or[dered] the Amīr ' Abd al-Ma[lik] bin Marwan, may [Allāh] mend him, the stamping of it, weight of fa[ls] of thirty kharrūba[h, full weight], at [the hands of Yazīd bin] [Tamīm].

Broken, about one-third lacking. Pale blue-green. 32 mm. 3.51 grm.

Similar to Fouquet Coll., p. 379, Nos. 27–28 (5.88 grm.), and to Petrie No. 140 (5.88 grm.).

50. Raṭl.

Fractured ring-weight bearing two stamps, one of which fractured and largely effaced, on top surface:

بسم الله

امر الله بالوفا

وامر الامير عبد

الملك بن مرون

بطبعه رطل و


(a) In the name of Allāh: commanded Allāh honesty; and ordered the Amīr 'Abd al-Malik bin Marwan the stamping of it, raṭl, full weight.

على ي]دى]


(b) [At the han]ds [of.....]bin(?)

Green. Stamp (a) : 33 mm. (b) : 23 mm. Piece, length : 63 mm., width : 43 mm., height: 32 mm. 112.50 grm.

Plate VIII

51. One-half qisṭ.

Vessel stamp:

(بسم الله [امر ؟

[عبد الملك بن [مر

وان ]بطبعه نصف]

[قسط واف على [يدى

محمد بن شر


In the name of Allāh: [ordered ?] 'Abd al-Malik bin [Mar-] [wān?] the stamping of it, one-half qisṭ full weight, at [the hands] of Muḥammad bin Shura-hbīl.

Metropolitan Museum, 08.256.3. Green. 44.5 mm.

Plate XIII

Cf. BM, p. 107, No. 391, a half-qisṭ stamp of 'Abd al-Malik b. Marwān, and Fouquet Coll., p. 374, No. 183, another hzlf-qisṭ stamp of Muḥammad b. Shurahbīl.

'Abd al-Malik b. Marwān b. Mūsā b. Nuçayr al-Lakhmi was Finance Director under al-Mughayrah b. 'Ubaydullāh, who was Governor from 24 Rajab, 131–12 Jumādā I, 132 (19 March-27 Dec, 749 a.d.); he then had the distinction of being the last Umayyad Governor, surrendering his post to the 'Abbāsid Sãlih b. 'Ali when the latter entered Fusçãt on 8 Muharram, 133 (16 Aug., 750 a.d.). 17

corpus: dīnār

½ dīnār

fals of 30 kharrūbah



¼ qisṭ

uncertain measures

Æ coins; Fustāt, no date (Tiesenhausen No. 655; Berlin p. 376, No. 2028a,b; Khedivial No. 943; Paris Nos. 1494–5); Fayyūm (Paris No. 1496); and Iskandarīyah (?), no date (Khedivial No. 845).

I have no information regarding the Prefect Yazīd b. Tamīm (No. 49) other than that provided by the weights and stamps. That he was in office during the Governorship of 'Abd al-Malik b. Marwān is evident from the present and other coin weights. Also there are weights in the Fouquet and University College Collections with Yazīd b. Tamīm's name as Prefect under 'Isā b. abī-'Atā, Finance Director in 125127 and 128–131. As Yazīd b. abī-Yazīd (see above, p. 93) was also a Prefect under the latter Finance Director, as well as under Qāsim b. 'Ubaydullāh and under Iiafṣ b. al-Walīd before him, it may be concluded that Yazīd b. Tamīm was the later of the two Prefects to serve under 'Isā b. abī-'Atā, and that he was continued in that office by 'Abd al-Malik b. Marwān when the latter became Finance Director in 131. We may then assume Yazīd b. Tamīm's dates to be approximately 128–132 (745–749 a.d.), i.e., during 'Isā b. abī-Acā's second term as Finance Director and 'Abd al-Malik b. Marwān's service in the same office.

For Muḥammad b. Shurahbīl, see below.

End Notes
Grohmann, Corpus I2, p. 107; Wüstenfeld I, pp. 48–49; cf. Zambaur, Manuel, p. 26, with minor differences in the exact dates.

K. Muḥammad b. SAurafibīl

Prefect, ca. 132–152 a.h.: 749–769 a.d.

52. Raṭl.

Fractured ring-weight bearing stamp, about three-quarters preserved on top surface:

[بسم [الله

[على يدى محم[د

In the name of Allāh: at the hands of Muhammafd]

[بن شر حب[يل

رطل واف

bin Shurahb[il]; raṭl, full weight.

Dark green. Stamp: 36 mm. Piece, length: 75 mm., width: 48 mm., height: 33 mm. 83.50 grm.

Plate VIII

Muḥammad b. Shurahbīl, a Prefect unknown to me in the chronicles, is placed here because his first appearance is under 'Abd al-Malik b. Marwān (No. 51 above). He was active over a period of twenty years. He must have followed Yazīd b. Tamīm (see above), probably upon 'Abd al-Malik b. Mar-wān's succession to the Governorship sometime after 12 Jumādā I, 13 2 (27 Dec, 749 a.d.). He then served successively under 'Abd al-Malik b. Yazīd (No. 67 and University College Collection), Mūsā b. Ka'b (No. 69 and Fouquet Collection), and Yazīd b. Hātim (University College Collection). His inclusive dates must therefore be ca. 12 Jumādā I, 132, to Rabī' II, 152 (27 Dec, 749-May, 769 a.d.).

corpus: dinār

½ dīnār




½ qisṭ

¼ qisṭ

L. The Caliph al-Manṣūr 18 136–158 a.h.: 754–775 a.d.

53. One-half raṭl.

Disk-weight. About one-half of circular plano-convex disk, bearing stamp about two-thirds preserved: [م[ما امر به Of [what ordered]

[عبد [الله عبد

[الله امير [المؤمنبن

[أوفوا الكيل و

[من [ال (sic) لا تكنوا

مخسرين نصف

رطل و


the servant [of Allāh, 'Abd-] ullāh, Commander [of the Believers]: "Give just meas[ure and] be not among [the] defrauders"; one-half raṭl, full weight.

Green. Stamp: 35 mm. Piece, di.: 63 mm., thickness: 19.5 mm. 88.00 grm.

Plate V

The quotation is from the Qur'ān, Chap. XXVI, verse 181.

54. One-quarter raṭl

Disk-weight. About one-half of roughly circular plano-convex disk, bearing stamp about three-fifths preserved:

[مما امر به ؟ ]

[عبد الله عبد ؟]

الله امير المؤمنين

أوفوا الكيل ولا

تكونوا من المخسر

ين ربع رطل


[Of what ordered ?] [the servant of Allāh, ' Abd- ?] ullāh, Commander of the Believers: "Give just measure and not be among the defrauder- s"; one-quarter raṭl, full weight.

Green. Stamp: 37 mm. Piece, max. di.; 75 mm., thickness: 14.5 mm. 68.00 grm.

Plate VI

Cf. No. 53 for the Qur'ānic quotation.

55. One-half qisṭ.

Vessel stamp:

مما امر به

عبد الله عبد

ا]لله امير المؤمنين]

أوفو الكيل وال ة

Of what ordered the servant of Allāh, 'Abdullāh, Commander of the Believers: "Give just measure and not b-

[كونوا من المخسر[ين

نصف قسط


e among the defraud [ers]"; one-half qisṭ, full measure.

Metropolitan Museum, 08.256.4. Green. 38 mm.

Plate XIII

Cf. No. 53 for the Qur'ānic quotation.

56. One-half raṭl of oil.

Vessel stamp attached to fragment of rim:

امر عبد ا

ل]له عبد الله ا]

مير المنوم

ب]طبعه نصف]

ر]طل دهن]


Ordered the servant of A-[l]lāh, 'Abdullāh, Commander [of the Believers], the stamping of it, one-half raṭl of oil, full measure.

Green. 35 mm.

Plate XIII

57. One-third (?) qisṭ.

Vessel stamp attached to fragment of rim:

[مما امر [به

عبد الله عبد

[ال]له امير المؤمن[ين]

[أوفوا الكبل ولا تك[و

[نوا]من المخسرين ث[لث ؟]

ق]سط واف]

Of what ordered the servant of Allāh, 'Abdu[1]1āh, Commander of the Believ-[ers]:

["Gi]ve just measure and not b-[e] among the defrauders"; one- thi[rd?] [qi]s, full measure.

Green. 40 mm.

Cf. No. 53 for the Qur'ānic quotation.

Cf. Fouquet Coll., p. 371, No. 153, and p. 375, No. 5, with inscriptions incomplete.

58. Measure of black lentils.

Vessel stamp:

ا]مر عبد الله]

[Or]dered the servant of Allāh,

عب]د الله امير]

[ال]مؤمنين بطبع[ه]

[مكيلة عد ب[س



['Ab]dullāh, Commander [of the] Believers, the stamping [of it], measure of lenti[ls], black, full measure.

Green. 42 mm.

Plate XIII

Cf. Fouquet Coll., p. 371, No. 150, possibly similar, but description incomplete.

59. Dinār.


[مما امر به ؟]

[عبد الله [عبد

الله امير المؤ

منين مثقال د

ينر واف

[Of what ordered ?] the servant of Allāh, ['Abd] ullāh, Commander of the Believers: weight of dīnār y full weight.

Reverse: center within circle



Stamped it, Kayl.


[د الملك بن ي[زيد

['Ab]d al-Malik bin Ya[zīd].

Broken, about % lacking. Opaque, deep claret. 30 mm. 3.09 grm.

Plate I

Cf. BM No. 57, obverse identical, but no reverse.

Cf. Fouquet Coll., p. 380, No. 34, a dir ham weight but otherwise practically identical.

60. One-half dīnār.


مما امر به

عبد الله عبد الله

امير المؤمنين أو

Of what ordered the servant of Allāh, 'Abdullāh, Commander of the Believers: "Gi-

فو الكيل ولا تكو

نوا من المخسرين

مثقال نصف


ve just measure and be not among the defrauders"; weight of one-half, full weight.

Reverse: center within circle



Stamped it, Kayl.


عبد ال]ملك بن يزيد]

['Abd al]-Malik bin Yazīd.

Opaque, dark brown. 23 mm. 2.08 grm.

Plate I

Cf. No. 53 for the Quranic quotation.

Cf. Fouquet Coll., p. 371, No. 153, the last two lines of the obverse effaced, and lacking the reverse; also, p. 375, No. 5, a similar legend as far as ولا تكونوا on the bottom of a bottle.

The exact dates of the 'Abbāsid Caliph al-Mancür's rule were 13 Dhū al-Ḥijjah, 136, to 6 Dhū al-Ḥijjah, 158 (9 June, 754–7 Oct., 775 a.d.).



½ dīnār


½ raṭl

¼ raṭl

½ raṭl of oil


½ qisṭ

⅓ (?) qisṭ

measure of dates

measure of chick-peas

measure of lentils

uncertain measures

For a discussion of the pieces with no name other than that of the Caliph, see p. 123, below.

For 'Abd al-Malik b. Yazīd and Kayl (Nos. 59–60), see pp. 103 ff.

End Notes
The arrangement of the pieces under al-Man ṣūr is: first, the weights and stamps bearing his name alone; then, the coin weights issued in his name by 'Abd al-Malik b. Yazīd.

M. Ṣālih b. 'Ali

Governor, 133 a.h.: 750/1 a.d.

Governor and Finance Director, 136–137 a.h.: 753–755 a.d.

61. Uncertain weight.

Fractured ring-weight bearing stamp about three-quarters preserved on top surface:

[مما ام[ر به

[الا مير صلح [بن

ع]لى (؟) اصلحه الله]

اوفو]ا الكيل ولا]

تكونو]ا من المخس]


Of what ordered the Amīr Sāliḥ [bin] I ['A]li (?), may Allāh mend him: ["Give] just measure and not [be] among the defraud-[ers"]; full weight.

Green. Stamp: 42 mm. Piece, lengthh: 64 mm., width: 39 mm., height: 27 mm. 50.00 grm.

Plate IX

Cf. No. 53 for the Qur'ānic quotation.

Cf. Petrie No. 150, a raṭl with almost identical legend.

Sālih b. ' Ali b. 'Abdullāh b. 'Abbās al-' Abbāsi, uncle of the first 'Abbāsid Caliph, born in the year 92 a.h., assumed the Governorship of Egypt on 1 (or 8) Muharram, 133 (9 or 16 Aug., 750 a.d.), when he entered Fustāt as head of the expeditionary force which pursued the last Umayyad Caliph to Egypt. On 1 Sha'ban, 133 (4 March, 751 a.d.) he was recalled to Palestine as Governor, but in Rabi' I, 136 (Sept., 753 a.d.) he was again appointed Governor and Finance Director of Egypt, this time with the additional responsibility of the Governorship of Africa. He arrived on 5 Rabī' II, 136 (8 Oct., 753 a.d.). He was finally relieved, and returned to Palestine on 4 Ramadan, 137 (21 Feb., 755 a.d.). 19

corpus: raṭl

uncertain weight


¼ qisṭ

Æ coins: struck in Ilalab (Aleppo) during his Governorship in Syria, years 146–147 a.h. (Tiesenhausen Nos. 758, 767; BM i, p. 200, No. 100, ix, p. 94, No. 90k,1; Berlin No. 2083 ff.; Paris No. 1573 ff.).

End Notes
A. Grohmann, s.v. ṣālih b. 'Ali in Encyclopaedia of Islām. Cf. Grohmann, Corpus I2, pp. 108–109; Wüstenfeld II, p. 1.

N. 'Abd al-Malik b. Yazīd

Governor and Finance Director, 133–136 a.h.: 751–753 A.D.

137–141 a.h.: 755–758 a.d.

62–63. One-half dīnār.


بسم ا

لله امر عبد

الملك بن يز

يد بمثقال

نصف واف

In the name of A-llāh: ordered 'Abd al-Malik bin Yaz-īd: weight of one-half, full weight.

Reverse: center within circle (retrograde)



Stamped it, Kayl.


[عا]صم بن حف[ص]

['A]ṣim bin Haf[ṣ].

Two specimens. Pale green. 23 mm.; 22 mm. 2.12 grm.; 2.10 grm.

Plate II

Cf. BM Nos. 10–11, a dīnār and a dirham of 'Abd al-Malik b. Yazīd, with the same legend in the reverse area. Lane-Poole did not observe that the central legend is retrograde. At first glance the first line appears to contain simply a metathesis of the ب and the ع; a plastic impression of the reverse, however, reveals that the entire reverse area is retrograde and that the puzzling and illegible second line is the same name as that on Nos. 59 and 60. It is interesting that this retrograde legend appears on at least three different issues: the present, and BM Nos. 10–11. One would therefore conclude, almost certainly, that in making the die for the reverse a separate "punch" ' was used for the reverse area. This conclusion would in turn explain the accident that created the retrograde legend: Kayl's "punch" was "negative," which produced a "positive" on the die, and finally a "negative" (or retrograde) legend on the glass.

64. Fals of 24 kharrūbah.

بسم الله

امر الامير عبد

الملك بن يزيد

بمثقال بن يزيد

بمثقال فلس اربعة

وعشرين خر


In the name of Allāh: ordered the Amïr 'Abd al-Malik bin Yazīd: weight of fals of four and twenty kharrūbah.

Pale green. 30 mm. 4.64 grm.

Plate II

Similar to Fouquet Coll., p. 379, Nos. 29–30 (4.63 grm.); cf. Petrie No. 144, apparently lacking the star.

65–66. Fals of 23 kharrūbah.

Square impression:

بسم الله ا

مر عبد الملك

بن يزيد بمثقل

فلس ثلثة و

عشرين خروبة

In the name of Allāh: ordered 'Abd al-Malik bin Yazïd: weight of fals of three and twenty kharrūbah.

Two specimens, one broken, about one-fifth lacking. Pale green. 29 mm.; 30 mm. 4.42 grm. 5 3.62 grm.

Plate II

67. One-quarter qisṭ of........

Vessel stamp attached to fragment of rim:


عبد] الملك بن]

يزيد بطب]عه ربع قس]

[محم[د(sic)ط ...]على يد]

بن شر]حبيل]

[Ordered] ['Abd] al-Malik bin [Yazīd the stamp]ing of it, one-quarter qis- [ṭ of.....], at the hand of Muhamma[d] [bin Shura]hbīl.

Green. 38 mm.

Abū-'Awn 'Abd al-Malik b. Yazīd al-Azdi al-Jurjāni, also known as al-Khurāsāni, an 'Abbāsid general with a long record of battles to his credit both before and after the 'Abbā-sid triumph, relieved his chief, Sālih b. 'Ali (see above), as Governor and Finance Director of Egypt on 1 Sha'ban, 13 3 (4 March, 751 a.d.), and served until 5 Rabī' II, 136 (8 Oct., 753 a.d.), when Sālih returned. Upon Sāliḥ's second departure for Palestine he took over again, entering Fusçãt on 26 Ramadān, 137 (15 March, 755 a.d.), and holding office until 15 Rabī' I, 141 (26 July, 758 a.d.). It was Abū-'Awn who built houses in al-'Askar, the new section of Cairo neighboring Fusçāt. Later, in 144 and 150 a.h., we find him on the battlefields of Khurasan, the land of his origin, and in 159–160 a.h. he turns up for the last time as Governor of that province under al-Mahdi. 20 He is well documented, not only in the histories, but also in the glass weights and stamps, and in coins of unusual interest.

corpus: dīnār

½ dīnār


fals of 26(?) kharrūbah

fals of 24 kharrūbah

fals of 23 kharrūbah



¼ qisṭ of.....

Æ coins: Miṣr, 133 a.h., and no date, no mint; Marw, 143 a.h.; Bukhāra, 160 a.h. (Tiesen-hausen No. 664; BM i, p. 222, No. 163, ix, p. 102, No. 163d; Berlin Nos. 2071, 2248, 2132a; Paris No. 1622 ff.; Karabacek in Numismatische Zeitschrift,Wien, 1876, pp. 363–364; Zambaur, Contributions I, No. 44).

Kayl (Nos. 62–63) has been variously read as كمل and The name of this craftsman also appears on pieces of ' Abd al-Malik b. Yazīd under al-Manṣūr (see Nos. 59–60 above). Grohmann suggests "Chael" كبلى, a Coptic name, e.g., Chael, son of Psmô. 21

For 'Aṣim b. Ḥafṣ (Nos. 62–63), see below.

For Muḥammad b. Shurahbīl (No. 67), see above, p. 97.

End Notes
A. Grohmann, s.v. Sālih b. 'Ali, in the Encyclopaedia of Islām. Cf. K. V. Zetterstéen, s.v. Abu 'Awn, ibid.; Grohmann, Corpus I2, pp. 108–109; Grohmann, Egyptian Library, III, pp. 101–102; Wüstenfeld II, pp. 2–5; Lane-Poole, History, p. 31; Casanova, Etude, p. 12; Zambaur, Contribution I, pp. 64–65. Two papyri of' Abd al-Malik's relating to the administraṭlon of the postal service, dated 134 a.h. and Rajab, 136 a.h., are published in D. S. Margoliouth, Arabic Papyri, pp. 28, 29–30.

O. 'Aṣim b. Hafs

Prefect, ca. 133–141 a.h.: 751–758 a.d.

ca. 165–169 a.h.: 781–786 a.d.

68. Fals (of 36 kharrūbah ?).

In center:


ل فلس


Weight of fals ...?...


على يدى عاصم بن حفص

At the hands of 'Āṣim bin Ḥafṣ.

Yellowish green, iridescent. 32 mm. 6.99 grm.

Plate II

Similar to Fouquet Coll., p. 382, No. 53, slightly damaged (6.85 grm.).

The third line of the area is illegible on the Fouquet specimen as well as on this one. Could it be garbled كبير "great"? Or can it be a cipher for "36"?

The career of the Prefect 'Āṣim b. Ḥafṣ, unknown to me in the Arabic chronicles, unless indeed he is the person of that name who was a witness of events that took place in 127 and 129 a.h., 22 must be reconstructed from the weights and measures. He appears as a Prefect under 'Abd al-Malik b. Yazīd (Nos. 62–63), under al-Faḍl b. Ṣāliḥ (BM and Petrie), and under Ibrāhīm b. Sālih (Ettinghausen, p. 76, footnote 16). Al-Faḍl served as interim Governor of Egypt in 136 a.h., and again as Governor from 29 Muḥarram to Shawwāl, 169 a.h. If it were not for the unpublished weight mentioned by Ettinghausen, one would say that 'Āṣim b. Ḥafṣ had only one term of office, from about 133 to 141 (751–758 a.d.); but Ibrāhīm b. Ṣāliḥ's dates were 11 Muharram, 165, to 7 Dhū al-Ḥijjah, 167 (5 Sept., 781–1 July, 784 a.d.), a period nearly contemporaneous with al-Faḍl's term as Governor in 169· 23 Lacking further evidence, which we may hope will be forthcoming in supplementary written or epigraphic documents, we must, therefore, assign to 'Āṣim b. Ḥafṣ tentative dates of ca. 133 to 141 (751–758 a.d.), and 11 Muharram, 165, to Shawwāl, 169 (5 Sept., 781-April, 786 a.d.).

corpus: dīnār

½ dīnār

fals (of 36 kharrūbah ?)

great raṭl

½ great raṭl

½ qisṭ (?)

End Notes
Grohmann, Corpus I2, pp. 108–109, 113. Cf. Grohmann, Egyptian Library, I, p. 150.
Ṭabari II, pp. 1876, 1879.
Zambaur, Manuel, p. 26; cf. BM, p. 18.

P. Mūsā b. Ka'b

Governor and Finance Director, 141 a.h.: 758/9 a.d.

69. Wuqīyah.

Disk-weight. Roughly circular plano-convex disk, about one-half preserved, bearing stamp:


[ب[سم الله امر ؟

[مو س[ى بن

[كعب [بمثقال (؟) و

[(قية وا[ف على يدى (؟

[محمد [بن

[شر ح[بيل

In [the name of Allāh: ordered ?] Mūs[ā bin] Ka'b, [weight (?) of wu-] qīyahy full [weight; at the hands ?] of Muḥammad [bin] Shuraḥ[bīl].


Area within circle effaced.


----(?)الله من........Allāh, MN(?).....

Green. 56 mm. 15.08 grm.

Plate VI

Mūsā b. Ka'b b. 'Uyaynah al-Tamīmi was Governor and Finance Director of Egypt from 15 Rabī' II until 24 Dhū al-Qa'dah, 141 (25 Aug., 758–28 March, 759). Before his term of office had expired he turned over the administraṭlon of the Finances to Nawfal b. Furāt (see p. 109, below). 24

corpus: wuqīyah


¼ qisṭ

For Muḥammad b. Shuraḥbīl, see p. 97, above.

End Notes
Grohmann, Corpus I2, p. 115; cf. Wüstenfeld II, pp. 5–6.

Q. Nawfal b. Furāt

Finance Director, 141–143 a.h.: 759–760 a.d.

70. One-half dīnār.


امر نوفل

بن فرات


مثقال نصف

دينر واف

Ordered Nawfal bin Furāt the stamping of it, weight of one-half dīnār, full weight.

Reverse: center within beaded circle



Stamped it, Kāfil.


[عل]ى يدى عبد الر[حمن بن يزيد]

[A]t the hands of 'Abd al-Ra[hman bin Yazīd].

Pale green. 22 mm. 2.09 grm.

Plate II

Similar to BM No. 13. Lane-Poole transcribed the reverse area طبعه كامل "stamped accurate," but aside from the fact that a name should follow طبعه I believe that the third letter of the second line must be ف or ق, not . There is, however, a contemporary official by the name of Kamil (?) (see Nos. 77–80 below), spelled كمل, which may be an abbreviated rendering of Kāmil, and it is possible that the name on the present piece is, after all, Kāmil, and not Kāfil.

The margin of the BM specimen is partially obliterated and is transcribed ر بن يزيد.... The BM and the present specimens supplement each other and make clear the reading 'Abd al-Raḥman b. Yazīd, whose name appears on other weights.

71. Fals of 19 (or 29?) kharrūbah.

امر نوفل بن

Ordered Nawfal bin

فرات بطبعه


تسعة وعشرة


Furāt the stamping of it, weight of fals of nineteen kharrūbāt.

Pale blue-green. 32 mm. 5.24 grm.

Plate II

Similar to BM No. 12 (5.31 grm.).

The second word of the third line is either misspelled (i.e., an extra tooth to the س"), or else فلسين "two fals" is intended. But two fals totalling 19 kharrūbah seems unreasonable. However, تسعة وعشرة is abnormal for "nineteen," and perhaps the legend should read تسعة وعشرين, "twenty-nine." The weight, especially of the BM specimen, is fairly close to the theoretical weight for 29 kharrūbah; it is certainly curious for 19.

72. One-half qis>ṭ (?).

Vessel stamp attached to fragment of rim:

امر نوفل

بن فرات

[بطبعه ن[صف قسط؟


Ordered Nawfal bin Furāt the stamping of it, [one-half qisṭ ?], full measure.

Stack's, N.Y., 1938. Green. 37 mm.

Nawfal b. Muḥammad b. al-Furāt, member of a family which later contributed several distinguished viziers to the 'Abbāsid court, was Finance Director of Egypt during the latter part of Mūsā b. Ka'b's Governorship (see above), and during the Governorship of Muḥammad b. al-Ash'ath (see below, p. in); that is, from shortly before 24 Dhū al-Qa'-dah, 141, until 6 Ramadan, 143 (28 March, 759–19 Dec, 760 a.d.), when he was replaced by Yazīd b. Hātim. 25

corpus: ½ dīnār

fals of 19 (or 29?) kharrūbah


½ qis(?)

'Abd al-Rahmān b. Yazīd (No. 70) is a Prefect unrecorded, so far as I know, in the chronicles. The evidence of the weights, however, establishes the fact that he served under Nawfal b. Furāt and under Yazīd b. Ḥātim (see below, p. 113), i.e., during an undetermined period between about 24 Dhū al-Qa'dah, 141, and Rabï' II, 152 (28 March, 759-May, 769 a.d.). During Yazīd b. Hatim's Governorship he replaced, or was replaced by, Muḥammad b. Shurahbīl and Salamah.

corpus: dīnār

½ dīnār




½ qisṭ

For the craftsman Kāfil, or Kāmil, see the discussion under No. 70.

End Notes
Grohmann, Corpus I2, p. 115; cf. Wüstenfeld II, pp. 5–6; Ṭabari III, pp. 138, 141–142; K. V. Zetterstéen, s.v. Ibn al-Furāt, in Encyclopaedia of Islām; Zambaur, Manuel, p. 12.

R. Muḥammad b. al-Ash'ath

Governor, 141–143 a.h.: 759–760 a.d.

73. Fals of 27 kharrūbah.

امر الامير محمد

بن الاشعث على يدى

عبد الله بن ارشد

بطبعه مثقال فلس

سبعة وعشرين


Ordered the Amīr Muḥammad bin al-Ash'ath, at the hands of'Abdullāh bin Rāshid, the stamping of it, weight offals of seven and twenty kharrūbah.

Pale green. 30 mm. 5.25 grm.

Plate II

74. Fah of 27 kharrūbah.

امر الامير

محمد بن الاشعث

على يدى عبد الله

بن راشد بطبعه مثقا

ل فلس سبعة و

عشرين خروبة

Ordered the Amīr Muḥammad bin al-Ash'ath, at the hands of 'Abdullāh bin Rãshid, the stamping of it, weight offals of seven and twenty kharrūbah.

Pale green. 31 mm. 5.25 grm. Nies No. XI.

75· Qis

Vessel stamp attached to fragment of rim:

[بسم ال[له

[امر الامير محم[د بن

[الاشعث بط[بعه

قسط واف

على]يدى عبد الله]

بن راشد

In the name of Al[lāh]: ordered the Amīr Muḥamma[d bin] al-Ash'ath the stamping of it, qisṭ, full measure; [at] the hands of'Abdullāh bin Rãshid.

Green. 41 mm.

Plate XIV

Muḥammad b. al-Ash'ath b. 'Uqbah al-Khuza'i was Governor of Egypt from 6 Dhū al-Ḥijjah, 141, until the beginning of 143 (9 April, 759–760 a.d.). The historical reports are in part contradictory: Tabari, for example, writes that he was removed in 142 a.h., but Grohmann prefers the better-informed accounts of al-Kindi, Maqrizi and Ibn-Taghri-Birdi. 26

corpus: dīnār

fals of 27 kharrūbah

uncertain coin weight


½ qisṭ

uncertain measures

'Abdullāh b. Rāshid (Nos. 73–75) is a Prefect who, so far as present evidence reveals, was associated only with Muḥammad b. al-Ash'ath. He was possibly 'Abdullāh b. Rãshid b. Yazīd al-Akãr, a witness cited by Tabari in relating events of the years 144–145 a.h. 27

corpus: fals of 27 kharrūbah



uncertain measures

End Notes
Grohmann, Corpus I2, p. 115. Cf. Wüstenfeld II, p. 65 Ṭabari III, pp. 138, 141, 353. Casanova (Étude, p. 12, and in the Fouquet Collection Catalogue) misnames this Governor's father "al-Ash'ab."

S. Yaztd b. Ḥātim

Governor, 144–152 a.h.: 762–769 a.d.

76. dīnār.

بسم الله

امر الامير

يزيد بن حاتم

مثقال دي


In the name of Allāh: ordered the Amīr Yazīd bin Ilātim: weight of dīnār.

Pale green. 29 mm. 4.23 grm.

Plate II

77–78. dīnār.


بسم الله

امر الامير

يزيد بن حاتم

مثقال دينر

ف image

In the name of Allāh: ordered the Amīr Yazīd bin Ḥātim: weight of dīnār, (full weight).

Reverse: center within circle



Stamped it, Kamil.


على يدى عبد الرحمن بن يزيد

At the hands of 'Abd al-Raḥman bin Yazīd.

Two specimens. Pale blue-green; yellowish green. 29 mm.; 30 mm. 4.16 grm.; 4.21 grm.

Plate II

Cf. BM Nos. 14–15 (4.27 grm.), which lack the crescent at the top and the ornament and letter at the bottom.

For Kamil, see above, No. 70.

79. One-half dīnār.


بسم الله

امر الامير

يزيد بن حاتم

مثقال نصف


In the name of Allāh: ordered the Amīr Yazīd bin Hātim: weight of one-half, full weight.

Reverse: center within circle



Stamped [it] Kamip].


على يدى عبد ال]رحمن بن يزيد]

[At the hands of ' Abd al]-Rahman bin Yazïd.

Yellowish green. 22 mm. 2.12 grm.

Plate II

Similar to Fouquet Coll., p. 380, No. 33, with legends incomplete (2.06 grm.). Obverse similar to Petrie Nos. 162–164.

80. One-third dīnār.


بسم الله

امر الامير

In the name of Allāh: ordered the Amīr

يزيد بن حاتم

مثقال ثلث


Yazīd bin liātim: weight of one-third, full weight.

Reverse: center within circle



Stamped it, Kamil.


[على يدى ]عبد الرحمن [بن يزيد]

[At the hands] of 'Abd al-Raḥman [bin Yazīd].

Yellowish green. 20 mm. 1.43 grm.

•Plate II

Similar to BM Nos. 16–17 (1.42 grm.).

81. raṭl.

Fractured ring-weight bearing two stamps on top surface:

(a) بسم الله

امر الامير

يزيد بن حاتم

[اصلحه ا[لله

In the name of Allāh: ordered the Amīr Yazīd bin Hātim, may [Allāh] mend him.

(b) بسم الله

على يدى عبد

الرحمن بن يزيد

رطل واف

In the name of Allāh: at the hands of 'Abd al-Raḥman bin Yazīd: raṭl, full weight.

Yellowish green. Stamp (a): 28 mm. (¿): 43 mm. Piece, length: 79 mm., width: 48 mm., height: 35 mm. 199.0 grm.

Plate IX

Similar to Petrie No. 159, stamp (a) fragmentary. Petrie's hypothetical restoraṭlon of the last line of stamp (a) is to be corrected in view of the present specimen.

82. Wuqīyah (?).

Disk-weight. Slightly more than one-half of circular plano-convex disk, bearing stamp:

[امر الامي[ر

[يزيد ب[ن حا

[تم على [يدى



Ordered the Amī[r] Yazīd b[in Hā-] tim, at [the hands] of Salafmah]: w[uqtyah ?].

Green. 54 mm. 19.10 grm.

Plate VI

83. Uncertain measure.

Vessel stamp attached to fragment of rim:

بسم الله

امر الامير

يزيد بن حاتم

اص]لحه الله]

In the name of Allāh: ordered the Amīr Yazīd bin Hātim, may Allāh [m]end him.

Brownish green. 33 mm.

Similar to Fouquet Coll., p. 371, No. 145, and to Petrie Nos. 169–170, where the benedictory phrase has been misread.

Abū-Khālid Yazīd b. Hātim b. Qabīcah al-Muhallabi relieved Nawfal b. Furāt and was Governor of Egypt from 16 Dhū al-Qa'dah, 144, until Rabī' II, 152 (15 Feb., 762-May, 769 a.d.). Later, from 154 until his death on 18 Ramadan, 170 (771–787 a.d.), he served as Governor of Africa. His Governorship was made uneasy by 'Alid rebellions and by a Khārijite insurrection in Abyssinia, as a result of the suppression of which Yazīd was rewarded by having Cyrenaica added to his domain. 28

corpus: dīnār

½ dīnār





uncertain measures

I cannot say whether Salamah (No. 82, and on a qisṭ stamp in the Fouquet Collection) is the same Salamah who issued weights and measures and whom I have tentatively identified as Salamah b. Rajā* (see p. 127, below).

For 'Abd al-Raḥmān b. Yazīd (Nos. 77–81), see above, p. III.

End Notes
Ṭabari III, pp. 156, 182, 223, 250, 295, 305. The only source given by Caetani in his Onomasticon Arabicum (Vol. II, p. 940) is the glass.
Grohmann, Corpus I2, pp. 115, 119. Cf. Grohmann, Egyptian Library, III, pp. 177–178; Wüstenfeld II, p. 7; Balãdhuri, p. 233; Ṭabari III, p. 142; Lane-Poole, History, p. 32; Zambaur, Manuel, pp. 26, 63.

T. Muḥammad b. Sa'īd

Governor, 152–157 (?) A.H.: 769–774 (?) A.D.

84. raṭl.

Fractured ring-weight bearing two stamps on top surface:

(a) (circular)

بسم الله

[امر الام[ير

[محمد بن [سعيد

[رط[ل واف

In the name of Allāh: ordered the Ampr] Muḥammad bin [Sa'ïd], rat[ly full weight].

(b) (rectangular)

على يدى

(قسيم (؟

(بن زياد (؟

At the hands of Qasīm (?) bin Ziyād (?)

The rectangular stamp is identical with that on No. 49 below.

Opaque yellowish green. Stamp (a): 34 mm. (b): 21x18 mm. Piece, length : 51 mm., width : 43 mm., height: 54 mm. 148.0 grm.

Plate IX

Similar to Petrie, No. 183.

It is not at all certain that Muḥammad b. Sa'ïd b. 'Uqbah was Governor throughout the period 152–157 a.h. (769774 a.d.), nor, in fact, that he was Governor at all. But there can be no doubt that he was at least Finance Director during part of this period. In one tradition he came after Yazīd b. Irlātim, and in the other he does not appear at all. 29

corpus: dīnār


uncertain coin weight


½ raṭl

¼ qisṭ

Æ coin: no mint, no date (Zambaur, Contributions, II, No. 264; cf. Tiesenhausen, No. 2547).

The Prefect Qasīm b. Ziyād 30 is unknown. It is evident, however, that his tenure of office extended beyond the Governorship of Muḥammad b. Sa'ïd into that of Maṭar, for the identical auxiliary stamp which appears on No. 84 is present on a ra//issued by Maṭar, No. 94. Inclusive dates for Qasīm (?) must therefore be 152–159 (769–776 a.d.).

End Notes
Grohmann, Corpus I2, pp. 119–120; cf. Zambaur, Contributions, II, p. 144, footnote 67. Cf. Adolf Grohmann, "Arabische Papyri aus den Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin," in Der Islam, XXII, 1935, pp. 13–14 (No. 3), where Muḥammad b. Sa'ïd in a document dated 153 a.h. uses the title amīr, possibly but not necessarily implying that he was at this time acting as Governor.
I am not at all confident that I have read the name correctly; Petrie read "Qasah (?) ibn Yezyd."

U. The Caliph al-Mahdi 31

158–169 a.h.: 775–785 a.d.

85. One-third dīnār.

بسم الله

امر المهدى

امير المؤمنين

مثقال ثلث


In the name of Allāh: ordered al-Mahdi, Commander of the Believers: weight of one-third, full weight.

Pale blue-green. 18 mm. 1.42 grm.

Cf. Fouquet Coll., p. 380, No. 35 (1.43 grm.), denomination effaced, but by weight clearly a third, not a half, dīnār (as indicated); similar to obverse of Petrie Nos. 200–201 (1.41 grm.), first letter of second line transcribed on first line.

86. Uncertain denomination, coin weight.

بسم الله

(امر المهدى (؟

مثقال د

عو واف

In the name or Allāh: ordered al-Mahdi (?): weight of....... ......., full weight.

Pale blue-green. 22 mm. 2.09 grm. (much worn).

87. One-half dīnār.


بسم الله

امر اميرا

لمؤمنين مثقال

نصف واف

In the name of Allāh: ordered the Commander of the Believers: weight of one-half, full weight.

Reverse: center within circle





[سة بن زيا[د؟

. . . sah bin Ziyā[d?].

Pale green. 22 mm. 2.11 grm.

Plate II

88. One-third dīnār.


بسم الله

امر اميرا

لمؤمنين مثقال

ثلث واف

In the name of Allāh: ordered the Commander of the Believers: weight of one-third, full weight.

Reverse: center within circle




...الام]ير محمد...]

[... the Am]īr Muḥammad ...

Pale green. 19 mm. 1.43 grm.

Plate II

89. One-third dīnār.


بسم الله

امر المهدى ا

مير المؤمنين

مثقال ثلث


In the name of Allāh: ordered al-Mahdi, Commander of the Believers: weight of one-third, full weight.

Reverse: center within circle

طبعه ا



Stamped it a-1-Muhājir.


[على يدى الامير] محمد بن سليم[ن]

[At the hands of the Amīr] Muḥammad bin Sulaymafn].

Yellowish green. 20 mm. 1.43 grm.

Plate III

Cf. BM No. 21, a third-dīnār where the name on the reverse margin is not preserved (1.42 grm.), and BM No. 20, a half-dīnār issued by the same functionaries. Lane-Poole's reading of the final letters on the reverse margin should be amended to read: سليمن. Apparently similar to Petrie Nos. 200–201, name in the margin of the reverse not preserved.

90. dīnār.



[بسم الله ام[ر

المهدى محمد

امير المؤمنين

امتع الله له

مثقال دينر


In the name of Allāh, order[ed] al-Mahdi Muḥammad, Commander of the Believers, may Allāh give him long enjoyment: weight of dīnār, full weight.

Reverse: margin

على ي]دى واضح مولى امير]

[At the ha]nds of Wãçlih, Freedman of the Commander

center within beaded circle



of the Believers.

Metropolitan Museum, 89.2.243. Green. 28.5 mm. 4.25 grm.

Plate III

Obverse similar to BM No. 23.

91. One-half dīnār.


بسم الله

المهدى امير

المؤمنين مثقا

ل نصف و


In the name of Allāh: al-Mahdi, Commander of the Believers: weight of one-half, full weight.

Reverse: margin

Traces of inscription

[الامير واضح مولى امير]

[The Amīr Wādih, Freedman of the Commander]

center within circle



of the Believers.

Yellowish green. 22 mm. 2.12 grm.

Plate III

Similar to a specimen described by Karabacek in a review of Stickel and Tiesenhausen, "Die Werthbezeichnungen auf muhammedanischen Münzen," in Numismatische Zeitschrift, Wien, 1879, Ρ· 405 (2.125 grm.).

92–93. dīnār.



بسم الله امر

المهدى محمد

امير المؤمنين

امتع الله له

مثقال دينر


In the name of Allāh: al-Mahdi Muḥammad, Commander of the Believers, may Allāh give him long enjoyment: weight of dīnār, full weight.

Reverse: margin within beaded circle

ا]لامير ابرهيم]

[th]e Amīr Ibrahim [binj center within beaded circle




Two specimens. Yellowish green. 31 mm.; 29 mm. 4.21 grm.; 2.25 grm.

Plate III

Slightly more than one-half of the second specimen is preserved.

Cf. BM No. 23, a dīnār with identical obverse but with the name of Isma'ïl on the reverse (4.27 grm.); 32 and BM No. 25, a húí-dinãr with the same reverse but only the name Ibrahim preserved in the margin.

The exact dates of the 'Abbāsid Caliph al-Mahdi's rule were 6 Dhü al-Ḥijjah, 158, to 22 Muharram, 169 (7 Oct., 775–4 Aug., 785 a.d.).

Casanova 33 maintained that the weights bearing al-Man-cur's and al-Mahdi's names alone were issued during periods when those Caliphs appointed no Finance Directors, that is, when they were, so to speak, their own Treasurers. His argument is based on the failure of Ibn-Taghri-Birdi to mention the names of the Finance Directors between the years 152158 and 158–162. The suggestion is interesting, and perhaps correct in part; but Grohmann, citing a papyrus, has pointed out that there was a Finance Director, a certain Khattāb b. Maslamah, at least in 159–161. 34 Also it is apparent that Muḥammad b. Sulaymãn (see below), not only as Prefect but also as Governor, functioned as Finance Director.

corpus: dīnār

½ dīnār


dirham, of Syria (Melanges Syriens, Dussaud)

uncertain weight (Fraehn, Nova Supplemento)

uncertain weight (above)

The identification of al-Muhājir (No. 89) with al-Muhājir b. 'Uthmãn, Chief of the Bodyguard under Muḥammad b. al-Ash'ath, proposed by Lane-Poole, 35 is unlikely.

For Maṭar (Nos. 87–88), see below.

For Muḥammad b. Sulaymãn (No. 89), see p. 125, below.

For Wãçlih (Nos. 90–91), see p. 128, below.

For Ibrāhīm b. Ṣāliḥ (Nos. 92–93), see p. 130, below.

End Notes
The arrangement of the pieces under al-Mahdi is according to the succession of the secondary officials mentioned, and then according to denominations under these officials.
A half fragment similar to this is in the possession of Miss Florence Day.
Fouquet Collection, pp. 343 ff.
Arabische Eichungsstempel, p. 147.
Β Μ, p. 14. Cf. Wüstenfeld II, p. 6.

V. Maṭar, Freedman of al-Mansür

Governor, 157–159 a.h.: 773–776 a.d.

94. raṭl.

Fractured ring-weight bearing two stamps on top surface:

(a) (circular)

بسم الله امر

مطر مولى امير

المؤمنين اكرمه

الله رطل واف

In the name of Allāh: ordered Maṭar, Freedman of the Commander of the Believers, may be generous to him Allāh: raṭl, full weight.

(b) (rectangular)

على يدى

(قسيم (؟

(بن زياد (؟

At the hands of Qasīm (?) bin Ziyād (?).

The last line is very obscure. This stamp is identical with that on No. 84 above.

Stamp (a): 35 mm. (b): 21x19 mm- Piece, length: 64 mm., width: 46 mm., height: 25 mm. 124.0 grm. Nies No. XIV.

Plate IX

Maṭar, a mawlā (or Freedman) of the Caliph al-Man§ūr, was, according to one tradition, Governor of Egypt during the years 157–159 (773–776 a.d.); according to another he governed only in the year 159. In either case the exact dates are unknown, but it is certain that his term expired before the end of 159, because Muḥammad b. Sulaymãn succeeded him in that year. 36 We have already met his name in conjunction with that of al-Mahdi on two coin weights (Nos. 88–89).

corpus: ½ dīnār



Æ coins: Qinnasrīn, no date (Paris No. 1601; cf. Tiesenhausen No. 2626).

For Qasīm b. Ziyād (?), see p. 118, above.

End Notes
Grohmann, Corpus I2, p. 119; cf. TTabari III, pp. 380, 467; Zambaur, Manuel, p. 26 (159 a.h. only).

W. Muḥammad b. Sulaymãn

Governor, 159–161 a.h.: 775–778 a.d.

95–96. One-third dīnār.

Obverse: star in center, surrounded by double circle.


بسم الله مثقال ثلث دينر

In the name of Allāh: weight of one-third dīnār.

Reverse: (stamped off-center)

[على يد[ى

(مح]مد (؟]

[بن سل[يمن

At the hand[s] [of Muha]mmad (?) bin Sulafyman ?].

Two specimens. Light brown. 20 mm.; 20 mm. 1.43 grm. j 1.27 grm. (worn).

Plate III

The reverse of the worn specimen is illegible except for the first word.

Cf. Fouquet Coll., p. 377, No. 9, a half-dīnār with a star in the center surrounded by 8 points, without reverse inscription.

97. raṭl.

Fractured ring-weight bearing two stamps on top surface:

(a)[بسم الله ام[ر

الامير محمد

[بن سليمن اكرم[ه

الله رطل واف

In the name of Allāh: orderfed] the Amīr Muḥammad bin Sulayman, may be generous to [him] Allāh: ratl, full weight.

(b) على يدى

ابى ؟]بكر]

بن تميم

At the hands [of Abī(?)-] Bakr bin Tamīm.

Dark green. Stamp (a) : 31 mm. (b) : 21 mm. Piece, length : 54 mm., width: 47 mm., height: 22 mm. 89.00 grm.

plate X

98. One-quarter raṭl.

Disk-weight. Fragment, about two-thirds preserved, of ovoid plano-convex disk, bearing three stamps on the convex side, of which the first two are completely preserved and the third about one-half preserved:

(a) (circular)





Bravo! One-quarter raṭl, full weight.

(b) (circular)

Same as (a)

(c) (rectangular)

At top: محم]د ابن سليمن] [Muhammajd (?) ibn Sulayman, At left side: [ابقاه الل[ه may Allafh] preserve him.

(Inscriptions at bottom and right, and in center (?), missing due to fracture.)

Stamp: (a), (b): 19 mm. (c): ca. 20 mm.

Piece, max. di.: 38 mm, 63.50 grm.

Plate VI

Abū-Damrah Muḥammad b. Sulaymãn, according to the Tabari tradition, replaced Maṭar as Governor of Egypt in 159 and remained in office until Dhū al-Ḥijjah, 161 (776-Sept., 778 a.d.). 37 No. 89, above, shows that previous to his

Governorship he was a Prefect for al-Mahdi; and Nos. 95–96 also imply that he was not Governor at the time these one-third dīnār weights were issued.

corpus: ½ dīnār



The name of Abū-Bakr b. Tamīm (?) (No. 97) is too uncertain to warrant a long search for his identification.

End Notes
There is a good deal of confusion among the chroniclers with respect to the succession of the Governors of Egypt between Yazīd b. Hãtim and 'Īsā b. Luqmān. The two principal traditions are set forth by Grohmann, Corpus I2, pp. 119–121. Cf. Tabari III, pp. 467, 470, 492. Zambaur, Manuel, p. 26, has 'Īsā b. Luqman's term beginning on 16 Dhū al-Ḥijjah, 161; and he assigns a second term to Muḥammad b. Sulaymān in 162. Casanova and Petrie are mistaken in identifying this official with a Governor named by al-Muktafi in 292 a.h.

X. Salamah (b. Rajã' ?)

(Governor, 161–162 a.h.: 778 a.d.)

99–100. Fals (of 50 kharrūbah ?).

Square stamp within border of dots:



Salamah (30 kharrūbah ?).

Two specimens. Yellowish green; green. 31 mm.; 31 mm. 5.80 grm.; 5.80 grm.

Plate III

Similar to Fouquet Coll., p. 383, No. 72 (5.80 grm.); Petrie No. 189 (5.77 grm.).

101. Uncertain measure.

Vessel stamp attached to fragment of rim:

على يدى


At the hands of Salamah.

Green. 26 mm.

Similar to Fouquet Coll., p. 374, No. 185.

The identification of Salamah with Salamah b. Raja, Gov- ernor of Egypt for a very short period from Dhū al-Ḥijjah, 161, to Muharram, 162 (end of August to beginning of Oct., 778), 38 can only be hypothetical. There is, in fact, very little to be said in support of the identification other than that Salamah was associated with officials a few years before the Governorship of Salamah b. Raja', i.e., Yazīd b. Hätim (No. 82 and see p. 117, above) and Muḥammad b. Sa'ïd (a raṭl in the Fouquet Collection); and it might therefore be argued that he was a Prefect previous to his Governorship. Definitely against the identification is the absence of any stamp with title and full name, and the extremely short period during which Salamah b. Raja' governed.

corpus: fals of 3 3 kharrūbah

fals of (30 kharrūbah)

fals of 24 kharrūbah

fals ("proof"?) (Petrie)


wuqīyah (?)


measure of chick-peas

uncertain measures

Y. Wãdih, Freedman of al-Mahdi

Governor, 162 a.h.: 779 a.d.

102. Uncertain measure.

Vessel stamp:

مما] امر به]

الام]ير واضح]

مولى ام]ير المؤمنين]

[Of what] ordered [the Am]īr Wãçlih, [Freedman of the Comm] ander of the Believers,

الله على يدى [...]

[May] Allāh........, at the hands

سر بن (؟) منصور...of......SR bin (?) Man§ūr,

Pale green. 32 mm.

Wāclih, a mawlä (Freedman) of the Caliph al-Mahdi, was Governor and Finance Director of Egypt for about four months in the year 162, probably from 24 Jumada I to 11 Ramaclān ( 16 Feb.-i June, 779). 39 The use of على يدى in No. 90 would imply that he was a Prefect before he became Governor. Later he was Postmaster of Egypt; and he came to an unhappy end in 169 (785 a.d.) when al-Mahdi's successor had him executed for his 'Alid sympathies. 40

corpus: ½ dīnār


uncertain measures

I make no attempt to identify the Prefect whose name is imperfectly preserved on No. 102.

End Notes
Grohmann, Corpus I2, pp. 119, 120. Cf. Tahari III, pp. 492, 493; A. Grohmann, s.v. Salamah b. Rajã' in Encyclopaedia of Islam; Casanova, Melanges Schlumberger, p. 297.

Z. Ismailb. Ibrahim

Finance Director, 164 a.h.: 780–781 a.d.

103. One-half qisṭ.

Vessel stamp:

[بسم الله ]

[الا]مير اسم[عيل بن]

[ا]برهيم اك[بر]

[م]ه الله نص[ف]

[In the name of Allāh:] [the A]mīr Ismafīl bin] [I]brahīm, may be genfer-] [ous] to him Allāh: one-hal[f]

قسط واف

qisṭ, full measure.

Metropolitan Museum, 08.256.8. Green. 31.5 mm.

Plate XIV

Similar to Petrie No. 204.

104. One-quarter qisṭ.

Vessel stamp:

[مما امر [به الا

[مير اسمعي]ل بن

[ابرهيم اك[بر

[مه الله رب[ع

ق]سط واف]

Of what ordered [the A-] mīr Isma'ī[l bin] Ibrahīm, may be gen[er-] ous to him Allāh: one-quart[er] [qi]sṭ, full measure.

Green. 29 mm. Nies No. XIII.

Plate XIV

Abū-Qatīfah Ismā'īl b. Ibrāhīm, a mawlã of the Banī Asad, was Finance Director of Egypt during the year 164, entering into office on 12 Muharram (17 Sept., 780 a.d.). 41

corpus: qisṭ

½ qisṭ

¼ qisṭ

End Notes
There are varying reports of the months of his office. Tabari III, p. 493, has Jumada II to Dhū al-Qa'dah. Grohmann, Corpus I2, p. 124, accepts the dates given above. Cf. Wüstenfeld II, p. 10.
Cf. Karabacek, review of Stickel and Tiesenhausen, "Die Werthbezeichnungen auf muhammedanischen Münzen," in Numismatische Zeitschrift, Wien, 1879, pp. 405–406.

AA. Ibrāhim b. Ṣāliḥ

Governor, 165–167 a.h.: 781–784 a.d.

Finance Director, 174 a.h.: 790/1 a.d.

Governor, 176 a.h.: 792 a.d.

105. Uncertain weight.

Disk-weight. Fragment, about three-fifths (?) preserved, of ovoid plano-convex disk, bearing three (or more?) stamps on the convex side, of which one is almost completely preserved. The impress of a second is almost complete but its inscription is obliterated.

A small fraction of a large rectangular stamp is preserved in the center (?), containing only one or two letters.

(a) (circular) مما امر به الامير

ابرهيم بن صلح

[اكرمه [الله

Of what ordered the Amīr Ibrahim bin Sāliḥ, may [Allāh] be generous to him.

(c) (rectangular) س... .....S (?).

Stamp (a): 20 mm. (b): 17 mm. (c): ? Piece, max. di.: 84mm., thickness: 23 mm. 101.0 grm.

Ibrahim b. Sãlih b. 'Ali b. 'Abdullāh b. al-'Abbas was named Governor of Egypt at the end of Dhū al-Ḥijjah, 164, arrived in Fustãt on 11 Muharram, 165, and was relieved on 7 Dhū al-Ḥijjah, 167 (5 Sept., 781–1 July, 784 a.d.). In 174 (790–791 a.d.) he served as Finance Director; and again as Governor as well as Finance Director, from 15 Jumādā I, 176, until his death on 3 Sha'ban of that year (7 Sept.-23 Nov., 792 a.d.). 42

Whether Ibrahim was Prefect, Governor or Finance Director when he issued the dīnār weights in al-Mahdi's name is not clear (Nos. 92–93). Associated with him at various times were 'ħim b. Ḥafṣ (see above, p. 107), a certain Ṣāliḥ b. 'Īsā (BM), and a doubtful 'Abdullāh b. Yazīd (Petrie).

corpus: dīnār

½ dīnār


great raṭl

¼ raṭl

uncertain weight

uncertain measures

Æ coin: Miṣr, 167 a.h. (Khedivial No. 863)

End Notes
Al-Kindi, Kitāb al-'Umarā' wa-Kitāb al Quḍāh, ed. Guest, Gibb Memorial Series, Vol. XIX, Leyden, 1912, p. 123.
Grohmann, Corpus I2, pp. 128–129. Cf. Wüstenfeld II, pp. 12, 19.

BB. Mālik b. Dalham

Governor, 192–193 a.h.: 808 a.d.

106. Dīnār.

Obverse: within a circle and arranged in a square, a star in center

At top: مما امر به الا

At left: مير مالك

At bottom: بن دلهم ا

At right: بقاه الله

Of what ordered the A|mīr Mãlik| bin Dalham, m|ay Allāh preserve him: weight] of dīnār, full weight.

within the above inscription

At top: مثقال

At left: دينر

At bottom: وا

At right: ف

Reverse: three concentric circles, with a star within the centermost

inner margin illegible

outer margin..... مما امر به الامير مالك Of what ordered the Amīr Mālik . . .

Pale green, slightly iridescent. 28.5 mm. 4.13 grm.

Plate III

Cf. Fouquet Coll., p. 381, No. 43 (3.90 grm.), lacking the reverse, and ابقاه الله misread بسم الله and Petrie No. 214 (4.19 grm.), also lacking the reverse, and the benedictory phrase misread.

Malik b. Dalham b. 'Isā b. Mālik al-Kalbi was Governor and Finance Director of Egypt from 22 Rabī' II, 192, until 4 Safar, 193 (25 Jan.-27 Nov., 808 a.d.). 43

corpus: dīnār

End Notes
Ibn-Taghri-Birdi, I, pp. 542 ff., 5465 cf. Wüstenfeld II, p. 25. Zambaur, Manuel, p. 27, gives 22 Rabí' II, 193–3 Rabí' I, 193.

CC, AI-Hasan b. al-Bahbãh

Governor, 193–194 A.H.: 808–810 A.D.

107. dīnār.

Center, within partially double circle:




Weight of dīnār, full weight.

Margin, within circle:

[ابقاه[؟(sic)مما امر به الامير الحسن بن الحباح Of what ordered the Amīr al-Hasan bin al-Bahbãh, may (Allāh) preserve him (?).

Cobalt blue. 30 mm. 4.23 grm.

Plate III

108. dīnār.

Similar to No. 107, but .·. after دينر and area within triple circle. The second name is almost entirely effaced, and the legend appears to end with ابقاه الله

Broken and mended, rev. considerably worn. Pale blue-green. 28 mm. 3.57 grm.

Similar to Fouquet Coll., p. 382, No. 50 (4.18 grm.), which appears to be from the same die. The transcription of the marginal legend is probably in error, although the second name as it appears in obscure form on No. 109 below does, to be sure, resemble "al-Husayn."

109. dīnār.

Similar to No. 108, probably the same die, but the second name is distorted and somewhat resemblesالحسين

Pale green. 29 mm. 4.16 grm.

Abu-*Ali alJasan b. al-Bahbäh b. al-Tashtakän al-Balkhi, evidently a Turk from Khurasan, who was appointed Governor of Egypt on 4 Safar, 193, entered Fusçãç on 4 Rabī* I and was in office until 22 Rabī* I, 194 (26 Dec, 808–3 Jan., 810 A.D.). 44

corpus: dīnār

DD. Abū-Jdfar Ashinās

Viceroy, 219–230 A.H.: 834–844 A.D.

110. Raṭl. Year 22x A.H.: c a. 838 A.D.

Complete ring-weight, chipped at one side and on the top around the periphery of the large concavity which fills the entire top surface, bearing stamp:

[مما امر به الام[ير

[ا]بو جعفر اشناس [مولى]

[امير المؤمنين اعز[ه الله

[ع]لى يدى الامير محمد [بن]

بس]طام الرقعاى [؟] مولى]

امير]المؤمنين سنة]

وعشرين وما

ئت]ين رطل واف]

Of what ordered the Ampr] [A]bü Ja'far Ashinās, [Freedman] of the Commander of the Believers, may [Allāh] strengthen [him], [a]t the hands of the Amīr Muhammad [bin] Bistām al-Ruq'a'i (?), Freedman [of the Commander] of the Believers; year ......and twenty and two-[hun]dred: raṭl, full weight.

Green. Stamp: 38 mm. Piece, length: 60 mm., width: 47 mm., height: 78 mm. 398.53 grm.

Plate X

Cf. BM No. 27G, a haif-wucīyah weight, dated 223

A.H., with a similar inscription (except نصف وقية in place of رطل واف. Lane-Poole misread ابو وحار following Bistām . The BM reproduction shows that the word is the same as that on the present specimen.

Abu-Ja'far Ashinās, a freedman of the Caliph al-Mu'ta§im, was invested with the overlordship of Egypt by that Caliph in 219 (834 A.D.), and from that time until his death on 3 (or 20) Rabï' I, 230 (18 Nov. or 5 Dec, 844 A.D.), he exercised supreme authority in Egypt. The Caliph al-Wāthiq in 227 (842 A.D.) confirmed him in that office and extended his area of authority to include the entire region between Baghdad and the Maghrib (North Africa). 45 That his authority already extended beyond Egypt into 'Iraq is evidenced by the coin of 223 A.H. cited in the corpus below.

corpus: raṭl

½ wuqīyah

Æ coins: Al-Rãfiqah, 223 A.H., and no mint, no date (Tiesenhausen, Nos. 1857, 2568).

The Prefect Muhammad b. Bistām remains unidentified. I am not at all certain of the nisbah, the letters of which, however clear, can be read in a number of different ways. I have transcribed it as al-Ruq'ā'ī, possibly derived from الرقعة a place in al-Yamāmah (Yāqūt, ed. Wüstenfeld, II, p. 800).

End Notes
Ibn-Taghri-Birdi, I, pp. 546–547; Muhammad b. 'Abdus al-Jahshiyāri, Kitāb al-Wuzarā'wa-al-Kuttãb (ed. Hans v. Mzik, Bibliothek Arabischer Historiker und Geographen, Leipzig, 1926), pp. 235–236. Cf. Grohmann, Corpus I2, p. 142; Wüstenfeld II, p. 26; Zambaur, Manuel, p. 27, and p. 387, where he gives the form al-Bahbāh, which incidentally is the form given by Ibn-Taghri-Birdi, in place of al-Takhtāh.
Grohmann, Corpus I2, p. 147.


A. Abān b. Ibrahim

III. Uncertain measure.

Vessel stamp:

على يدى

ابان بن


At the hands of Abān bin Ibrahim.

Brown. 33 mm.

Plate XIV

Probably similar to Fouquet Coll., p. 374, No. 191, transcribed Sinān, in place of Abān, but the illustraṭlon shows that the right side of the specimen is effaced and "Sinān" is a reconstruction.

The Prefect Abān b. Ibrāhim is unidentified. His name does not appear in Caetani's Onomasticon Arabicum and it can therefore be assumed to be unknown in Arabic historical literature.

corpus: uncertain measures (the present stamp and the one in the Fouquet Collection cited above).

B. Ishāq b. Mansür

112. One-half (?) wuqīyah.

Disk-weight. Complete ovoid plano-convex disk, bearing two rectangular stamps at right angles to each other and slightly overlapping:

(a) مما امر به

اسحق بن


نصف (؟)وقية

Of what ordered Ishaq bin Mansūr: one-half(?) wuqīyah.

(b) Illegible inscription in rectangular form (?) with يدى(?) in the center.

Pale blue-green. Stamp (a) : 21 Χ 19 mm. (b) : 16x11 mm. Piece, length: 41 mm., max. width: 35 mm. 12.13 grm.

Plate VI

The word before wuqtyah is unfortunately quite obscure, but نصف is probably intended.

I have not been able to identify Ishāq b. Mancūr.

C. Abu-Ishāq

113. Uncertain weight.

Complete ring-weight, considerably chipped on one side and on part of the top, bearing rectangular stamp about four-fifths preserved on the top surface:

م]ما امر به الامير]

ابو اسحق اعزه

الله على يدى عا

(س عبد (؟

[Of] what ordered the Amīr Abū-Ishaq, may strengthen him Allāh; at the hands of 'Ā-(?) ................?

Green. Stamp: 32x25 mm. Piece, length: 47 mm., width: 31 mm., height: 58 mm. 151.o grm.

Plate XI

It is strange to find an amīr issuing a stamp under his kun-yah only. The Caliph al-Mu'taṣim is a possibility, but unlikely in view of the fact that there are stamps of his bearing his full name. The name of the Prefect is too obscure for identification.

D. 'Abd al-Jabbār b. Nusayr

114–115. Fals (of 30 kharrūbah ?).

على يدى عبد

الجبار بن نصر

مثقال فلس

At the hands of 'Abd al-Jabbãr bin Nuṣayr: weight



of kharrūbah (30?).

Two specimens. Pale green. 32 mm.; 32 mm. 5.80 grm.; 5.78 grm.

Plate III

Similar to Fouquet Coll., p. 383, Nos. 68–69 (5.80 grm.), and Petrie No. 143 (5.79 grm.). Petrie places this official about 132 A.H., but his argument is based on a mistaken identification with a name appearing on a stamp of 'Abd al-Malik b. Marwan (Petrie No. 142): the illustraṭlon shows that the name of 'Abd al-Jabbãr b. Nu§ayr is not present on this piece.

The Prefect 'Abd al-Jabbār b. Nuçayr is unidentified. The fact that the only reference in Caetani's Onomasticon Arabicum is to the published weights is sufficient evidence that his name is so far unrecorded in the literature.

corpus: fals (of 30) kharrūbah

E. 'Abd al-Rafymān b. Maysarah

116. Great wuqtyah.

Disk-weight. About three-fifths of an ovoid planoconvex disk, bearing two rectangular stamps, both fractured. Between, and at right angles, there is a third (deeper) impression, the right side of which is obscured by the second rectangular stamp.

(a) على يدى

عبد الرحمن

بن ميسرة


At the hands of 'Abd al-Raḥman bin Maysarah.

(b)على يدى

[عبد الرحم[ن

[بن ميس[رة


At the hands of 'Abdal-Rahma[n] bin Maysa[rah].

(c) و]قية]



[Wu]qīyah, great, [full] weight.

Green. Stamp (a): 19 mm. (b): 19 mm. (c): 17x10 mm. Piece, length : 64 mm., max. width : 34 mm., thickness: 12.5 mm. 27.00 grm.

Plate VII

No. 116 is the only occurrence of the name of ' Abd al-Rahmān b. Maysarah on a stamp or weight. There was an 'Abd al-Raḥman b. Maysarah al-Haclrami al-Mi§ri, who died in 188 (803/4 A.D.), 46 but as I know nothing of the circumstances of his life, I can only mention the possible identification.

F. 'Abd al-Malik b. 'Īsā

117. Uncertain weight.

Fractured ring-weight, bearing stamp on top surface:

على يدى

عبد الملك

بن عيسى

At the hands of''Abd al-Malik bin 'Īsā.

Green. Stamp : 22 mm. Piece, length : 74 mm., width: 42 mm., height: 46 mm. 228.0 grm.

Plate XI

The Prefect 'Abd al-Malik b. 'Īsā is unidentified; the above is the only occurrence of his name. He does not appear in Cae-tani's Onomasticon Arabicum.

G. 'Abd al-Wahāb b. al-'Atīq (?)

118. Uncertain measure.

Vessel stamp attached to fragment of rim:

على يدى

عبد الو

At the hands of''Abdal-Wa-

هاب بن

(العتيق (؟

hāb bin al-'Atīq (?).

Green. 28 mm.

Plate XIV

'Abd al-Wahāb b. al-'Atīq (?) is unidentified. The last line is obscure and uncertain, and what has been transcribed as ع may be م or ف or ق. There is a raṭl weight (unillustrated) in the University College Collection, issued under Muḥammad b. Sa'īd by a Prefect whose name has been transcribed by Petrie as " Obeyd-el-Wahab ibn el Temym." Is this perhaps the same person as the above?

End Notes
Caetani, Onomasticon Arabicum, II, p. 461.

H. 'Ali b. Muḥammad (?)

119. One-quarter .........

Vessel stamp, about three-quarters preserved, attached to fragment of rim:

مما امر به

[الام]ير على ا[بن ؟]محم[د؟]

[ب]طبعه رب[ع]


Of what ordered [the Am]īr 'Ali i[bn?] Muhamma[d?], the stamping of it, one-quart[er] [....... full] measure.

Green. 36 mm.

The reading of the name Muḥammad is questionable; and while مما appears to be clear in the first line, one would not expect it with بطبعه, which also appears quite clear.

It is just possible that 'Ali b. Muḥammad (?) may be Abūal-Hasan 'Ali b. Muḥammad b. al-Furāt, three times Vizier, 296–299, 304–306, 311–312 (908–912, 917–918, 923–924 a.d.). 47

corpus: uncertain weight (BM)

uncertain measure (¼)

End Notes
Grohmann, Corpus I2, p. 181.

I. 'Umar

120–120 (a). Fals of 32 kharrūbah.

Square stamp:


اثنين وثلثين


'Umar: two and thirty kharrūbah.

Two specimens. Pale green. 32 mm.; 31 mm. 6.20 grm.; 6.17 grm.

Similar to BM Nos. 31–32 (misnumbered No. 30 on the plate) (6.22 grm.).

The stamps bearing the name of 'Umar are atypical in their lack of any executive phrase and the absence of title and full name. There was an 'Umar, probably a Finance Director, whose name appears on a papyrus and whom Grohmann has tentatively identified with a certain 'Umar b. Mihrān. 48

corpus: fals (of 33 kharrūbah ?)=Petrie's "2 dirhams"

fals of 32 kharrūbah

fals of 30 kharrūbah

J. Qutaybah

121. Uncertain measure.

Vessel stamp:

على يدى


At the hands of Qutaybah.

Green. 25 mm.

Plate XIV

The name on No. 121 can be read in so many different ways that there is little possibility of positive identification.

End Notes
Grohmann, Corpus I2, p. 226.

K. Muḥammad b...............

122. Uncertain measure.

Vessel stamp attached to fragment of rim:

[بسم الله [ا

مر الامير

محمد بن

ه و

In the name of Allāh: [ordered the Amīr Muḥammad bin .................................

Green. 36 mm.

123. Two raṭls (?).

Disk-weight. About one-third (?) of a circular or ovoid plano-convex disk, bearing a large central stamp, about two-thirds preserved, and traces of a smaller contiguous stamp.

بسم الله امر

الا]مير محمد]


الله ....] رطلين ]


In the name or Allah: ordered [the A]mīr Muḥammad [...... may] be generous to him [Allāh ....]: two raṭls (?), [full] weight.

Yellowish green. Stamp: 34 mm. Piece, max. di. : 67 mm., thickness: 21 mm. 85.0 grm.

L. Al-Naḥli (?)

124. Dirham.

Roughly rectangular stamp.




Dirham weight.

Reverse: within circle

على يدى


At the hands of al-Naḥli (?).

Green. 23 mm. 2.92 grm.

Plate III

The obverse is similar to BM No. 51, which, however, has no reverse.

The reading of the name of No. 124 is entirely tentative. Al-Naḥl was a place near Bukhara, and several persons with this nisbah are known. 49

M. Hilāl al-Jabbār (?)

125. Qisṭ (?).

Small fragment of fractured ring-weight, bearing two rectangular stamps on the top surface, one complete, the other fragmentary:

(a) على يدى



At the hands of Hilāl al-Jabbār (?).

(b)( ق[سط ؟


.......... q[isṭ ?] full [weight].

Opaque yellowish green. Stamp (a): 21 x 17 mm. (b): 19 x 10 mm. Piece, length: 48 mm., width: 38 mm., height: 25 mm. 48.50 grm.

The reading "qisṭ" is very doubtful, especially as one would not expect the word on a weight of this type.

Hilāl (al-Jabbār ?) is unidentified.

N. ϒazīd(?) b. al-Idrīs (?)

126. Qist (?).

Vessel stamp:

بسم الل]ه امر]

الامير]يزيد (؟) بن ا]

(لادريس (؟

[In the name of Allā]h: ordered [the Amār] Yazīd (?) bin a-l-Idrīs (?):

قسط (؟)وا


qisṭ (?), full [measure].

Green. 27 mm.

Plate XIV

The reading of the name of the Amīr Yazīd b. al-Idrīs is too doubtful to warrant attempt at identification.

End Notes
Yāqūt, ed. Wüstenfeld, IV, p. 765.

O..............b. al-Ḣusayn

127. One-third dīnār.



الله مثقال

ثلث دينر


In the name of Allāh: weight of one-third dīnār, full weight.

Reverse: margin

على يد.... بن

At the hand[s] of.......bin (?)




Yellowish green. 19 mm. 1.41 grm.

Plate III

P......... b. Sulaymān

128. Dīnār.

Obverse: center within double circle, inner beaded

على يدى

عبد الله

بن عرباض

At the hands of'Abdullāh bin Irbād.


دينر واف (sic) مما امر به الامي[ر]....[س]ليمن مثقلOf what ordered the Amī[r] . . . Sulayman: weight of dinār, full weight.

Reverse: within circle, off-center

على يدى

At the hands

عبد الله بن


به ا

of 'Abdullāh bin 'Irbāḍ, (may Allah preserve him ?).

Broken, about ¼ lacking. Pale yellowish green. 29 mm. 3.12grm.

Plate III

The Amīr on No. 128 may possibly be Muḥammad b. Sulaymān (see p. 125, above). The prefect is unknown to me.

Q....... b. ϒazīd

129. Raṭ.l.

Disk-weight. Fragment of circular or ovoid planoconvex disk, bearing two stamps, one about one-half preserved, the other about one-quarter preserved:

(a) الوفا لله


[النّاس أشيآءهم]

Honesty to Allah: ["And] diminish [not] [unto men any of their possessions"].

(b) ب]ن يزيد]

[ر]طل [و]


. . . .. . . . . . . . . .[bi]n Yazīd: [r]aṭl, [full] weight.

Green. Stamp (a): 21 mm. (b): 22 mm. Piece, max. di.: 58 mm., thickness: 19 mm. 49.50 grm.

Plate VII

The quotation is from the Qur'ān, Chap. XXVI, verse 183, being a continuation of that passsage (verse 181 ) which occurs quite frequently on weights (cf. No. 53, etc.). Between these two verses comes the apposite admonition: وزنوا بالقسطاس المستقيم, "Weigh with a just balance."

R. The Caliph.........

130. Uncertain measure.

Vessel stamp:

Center within circle:



Commander [of the Be]lievers .............


(امر به(؟


Pale green. 24 mm.


131. Dīnār.

Center within double circle:




Weight of dīnār, full weight.

Margin illegible.

Metropolitan Museum 08.256.20. Green. 28.5 mm. 4.23 grm.

Plate III

Similar to Fouquet Coll., p. 177, Nos. 7–8 (3.80 and 3.73 grm.), with margin effaced but bearing traces of a legend in which Casanova thought that he could recognize the phrase: .....مما امر به

132. Dirham.

بسم الله

وزن درهم

* كيل


In the name of Allāh: weight of dirham weight.

Slightly chipped. Cobalt blue. 25 mm. 2.19 grm.

Plate III

Cf. BM No. 51, with the simple inscription: درهم كيل

133. Fals.




Weight of fals, full weight.

Pale green. 29 mm. 5.13 grm.

Similar to BM Nos. 40, 40G (5.83 and 5.76 grm.). To judge by the BM specimens the present specimen appears to be underweight. The higher weights would place the piece in the 30-kharrūbah category, and I have accordingly catalogued the specimen at this point in the inventory.

134–137. Fals of 25 kharrūbah.


جمس و



Fals of five and twenty kharrūbah.

Four specimens. Pale green, green. No. 134: 31 mm., 5.16 grm. No. 135: Metropolitan Museum 89.2.242,30.5mm., 5.15grm. No. 136: fragment, about one-half. No. 137 : fragment, about two-fifths.

Plate IV

Similar to Fouquet Coll., p. 377, No. 13 (5.09 grm.); Petrie No. 171 ( 5. 16 grm.).

138. Fals of 25 qīrāṭ.

مثقال فلس

واف وزن

خمسة وعشر

ين قيرط

Weight of fals, full weight; weight of five and twenty qīraṭ.

Green. 31 mm. 4.91 grm.

Plate IV

Similar to BM Nos. 41–42 (4.92 grm.); Fouquet Coll., p. 377, No. 11.

139. Fals of 24 qīraṭ.

وزن ار

بعة وعشر

(sic)ين قيرطا

Weight of f-our and twenty qīrāṭ.

Pale blue-green. 28 mm. 4.75 grm.

Plate IV

140. Fals of 24 kharrūbah.

بسم الله

مثقال فلس

ا]ربع عر]


In the name of Allāh: weight of fals of [f]our (and twenty) kharrūbah.

Slightly chipped. Pale green. 29 mm. 4.20 grm.

Plate IV

141. Fals of 23 qīrāt.

Within circle of dots:

بسم الله

مثقال الفلس

ثلثة وعشرين


In the name of Allah: weight of the fals of three and twenty qīrāt.

Pale green. 29 mm. 4.17 grm.

Plate IV

142–143. Fals.



Weight of fals.

Two specimens. Pale green. 29 mm.; 26 mm. 4.25 grm.; 3.54 grm. (worn).

Plate IV

The normal weight appears to be roughly equivalent to 22 kharrūbah.

144–146. Fals of 20 kharrūbah.



Fals of twenty




Three specimens. 28 mm.; 28 mm.; 28 mm. 4.1 o grm.; 4.10 grm.; No. 145 about one-third lacking.

Plate IV

Similar to BM No. 44 (4.08 grm.).

147. Fals.

Retrograde (sic) مثق ل



of fals.

Pale green. 27 mm. 3.95 grm.

Plate IV

The weight appears to be roughly equivalent to 20 kharrūbah.

148. Fals of 18 qīrāt.

Within circle of dots:

بسم الله

مثقال فلس

واف وزن

ثمنية عشر


In the name of Allah: weight of fals, full weight; weight of eighteen qīraṭ.

Faint traces suggesting legend on reverse.

Pale green. 28 mm. 3.51 grm.

Plate IV

Similar to Fouquet Coll.., p. 377, No. 10, with traces of inscription on the reverse (?) (3.55 grm.).

149. Fals of 17 kharrūbah.

بسم ا]لله]

ال(؟) الفلر س

بعة (؟) عشر


[In the name of A]llāh: [weight ?] of fals of seventeen (?) kharrūbah (?).

Opaque, deep claret. 25 mm. 3.40 grm.

Fals of 9 qīraṭ.


نصف فلس

(sic)تسعة imageوزن

(sic?)* قرريطن

Weight of half fals of weight of nine qararīṭ.

Pale green. 22.5 mm. 1.77 grm.

Plate IV

Similar to BM Nos. 55, 55G (transcribed قرريط although it is apparent in the illustration that there is a final letter (ن؟), as in the present specimen).

151. Fals of 9 qīrāṭ (?).


(فلس تع(؟


Weight (?) of fals of nine (?) q[īraṭ ?].

Opaque, black. 15 mm. 1.34 grm. (worn).


152. One-half great (?) raṭl.

Fractured ring-weight bearing stamp on top surface:


[رطل ك[بير ؟


One-half raṭl g[reat?], full weight. . . .

Opaque, green. Stamp: 23 mm. Piece, length: 41 mm., width: 35 mm., height: 50 mm. 112.50 grm.

Cf. Fouquet Coll., p. 388, No. 23, with a similar inscription.

153. One-quarter raṭl.

Fractured ring-weight, about two-thirds complete, bearing stamp on top surface:



One-quarter raṭl.

Opaque, striated red, brown and black. Stamp: 18 x 17 mm. Piece, length : 39 mm., width : 25 mm., height: 49 mm. 56.0 grm.

Plate XI

The name of the official, if any, must have been on the bottom of the weight.

152. Uncertain weight.

Complete ring-weight, somewhat chipped and worn, bearing a large rectangular stamp, completely effaced, on the top surface, and a small rectangular stamp on one side:





Opaque, green with white and iridescent oxide. Stamp: 15 x 13 mm. Piece, length: 45 mm., width: 41 mm., height: 50 mm. 162.50 grm.

155–174. Various weights.

Twenty ring-weights, each with one or more stamps effaced or illegible, of which the following are complete except for chipping and wear:

155. 346.0 grms.

156. 177.5 grms.

157. 165.0 grms.

158. 157.5 grms. (badly worn and deteriorated)

159. 94.5 grms. (badly worn and deteriorated)

160. 86.5 grms. (badly worn and deteriorated)

161. 83.5 grms. (badly worn and deteriorated)

162. 83.5 grms. (badly worn and deteriorated)

163. 81.5 grms. (badly chipped)

164. 79.0 grms. (deteriorated)

175. One-half wuqīyah.

Disk-weight. Within square:



One-half wuqīyah.

Slightly deteriorated. Pale green. 36 mm. 13.82 grm.

Similar to BM No. 35 (15.81 grm.). Cf. Marcel Jungfleisch, "Poids Fatimites en verre polychrome," in Bulletin de l'Institut d' Égypte, X, Session 1927- 1928, Cairo, 1929, pp. 20–21.


176–178. One-half of one-quarter qisṭ.

Vessel stamp, two specimens of which attached to fragments of rim:




One-half of one-quarter qisṭ.

Three specimens. Yellowish green, green. 27 mm.; 29 mm.; 26 mm.

Plate XIV

Cf. Fouquet Coll., p. 364, No. 36, with قسط instead of القسط although the photograph shows that the definite article might have been present on the stamp.

179. Measure of red lentils.

Vessel stamp attached to fragment of rim:


عدس احمر

Meas[ure] of red lentils.

Green. 32 mm.

Plate XIV

Similar to Fouquet Coll., p. 364, Nos. 62–64.

180. Measure of white sesame seeds.

Vessel stamp:


جلجلان ابيض

Measure of white sesame seeds.

Green. 28 mm.

Plate XIV

Similar to Fouquet Coll., p. 364, Nos. 53–56.

181. Measure of red sesame seeds.

Vessel stamp:


جلجلان احمر

Measure of red sesame seeds.

Green. 30 mm.

Plate XIV

Similar to Petrie No. 222.

182. Measure of lupins.

Vessel stamp:




Meas[ure] of lupi[n].

Pale green. 25 mm.

Cf. Fouquet Coll., p. 365, No. 78, with star only beneath.

183. Measure of coriander seeds (?).

Vessel stamp:


ب الك

[Me]as[ure] of

Yellowish green. 23 mm.

Possibly the missing letters of the second line are to be reconstructed as حب الكسبر, as suggested by Casanova in Fouquet Coll., p. 369, No. 131.

184–185. Qisṭ of. . . . .. . . .

Vessel stamp:



Qisṭ of. . . . . . . . .?

Two specimens. Green; yellowish green. 21 mm.; 22 mm.

186. Quarter-qisṭ of. . . . . . . . . .

Vessel stamp:

ر]بع قسط]

One-quarter qisṭ


. . . . . .

Ṣ . . . . . . . . . ..

Pale green, iridescent. 26 mm.

187–188. No measure.

Vessel stamp, both specimens attached to fragments of rim:



Honesty to Allah.

Two specimens. Pale green. 19 mm.; 21 mm.

Plate XIV

189–190. No measure.

Vessel stamp, one specimen of which attached to fragment of rim:


فا لله

Honesty to Allah.

Two specimens. Pale green. 24 mm.; 18 mm.

Cf. Fouquet Coll., p. 363, Nos. 16–23.


191 -205. Uncertain measures.

Fifteen vessel stamps, some attached to fragments of rim, with legends completely effaced or illegible.


A. 'Abd al-Hamīd

206. Uncertain measure.

Vessel stamp:

Center, within square


At sides




At sides

حلم و


Green. 28 mm.

Plate XIV

B. 'Uthmān

207. Uncertain measure.

Vessel stamp:

امر عثمن

. . . . . .

فلر ر

Ordered 'Uthman . . . . . . . . . . . ?

Green. 26 mm.

C. 'Umar b. "Junādah (?)

208. Coin-weight (?).


بن جناد

'Umar bin Junādah (?).

Pale blue-green. 23 mm. 3.16 grm.

Plate IV

Cf. the same father's name on Nos. 209 and 210 below.

D. 'I sā b. Funādah (?).

209. Coin-weight (?).

Within beaded border:


(بن جناد (؟


'Isā bin Junādah (?).

Pale blue-green. 25 mm. 2.85 grm.

Plate IV

Cf. the identical legend on No. 210 below. What I have hesitantly transcribed as ة at the end may rather be an ornament.

210. Uncertain weight.

Complete ring-weight, with chipped edges, bearing stamp on top surface:


(بن جناد (؟


'Isā bin Junādah (?).

Opaque, mottled brown. Stamp: 23 mm. Piece, length: 37 mm., width: 26 mm., height: 42 mm. 73.25 grm.

Cf. No. 209, above.

The sides of the hole in the center of the weight show clearly the wear of the rope or chain by which the weight was suspended.


The following pieces resemble coin weights, but the weights, apparently conforming to no standard, can be of no significance.




In the name of Allah.

Two specimens. Pale blue-green. 26 mm.; 22 mm.






In the name of Allah: my Lord is Allah.

Pale green. 27 mm.



فا لله

Honesty to Allah.

Pale blue-green. 23 mm.



[الله ام[ر

محمد بالو

فا لله

In the name of Allah: command[ed] Muḥammad honesty to Allah.

Three specimens. Pale green; yellowish green. 25 mm.; 23 mm.; 24 mm.

Plate IV

Cf. Fouquet Coll., p. 381, No. 44.





Forbearance (?) to him, the Amīr.

Irregular disk with stamp deeply sunken. Yellowish green. 29 mm.

Plate IV


بسم الله

يعبد الله


In the name of Allāh: worships Allah, the Amīr.

Yellowish green. 27 mm.

220. Five lines of retrograde and apparently meaningless inscription.


بم له الاه


كال ا

(الك به(؟

Yellowish green. 26 mm.

Plate IV



ONLY those works which are frequently cited are listed here. As noted on p. 4, the most complete bibliography on glass weights is to be found in J. Walker's article sanadjät in the Encyclopaedia of Islām.

  • BM = Stanley Lane-Poole, Catalogue of Arabic Glass Weights in the British Museum, London, 1891.
  • Balādhuri = Al-Balādhuri, Kitāb Futūh al-Buldān, ed. de Goeje, Leiden, 1866.
  • Berlin = Heinrich Nützel, Katalog der Orientalischen Münzen, I: Die Münzen der Östlichen Chalifen (Königliche Museen zu Berlin), Berlin, 1898.
  • Caetani, Onomasticon = Lœne Caetani & Giuseppe Gabrieli, Onomasticon Arabicum, II, Rome, no date.
  • Casanova, Étude = P.) Casanova, Étude sur les inscriptions arabes des poids et mesures en verre (Collections Fouquet et Innés), Le Caire, 1891.
  • Casanova, Mélanges Schlumberger = P. Casanova, " Dénéraux en verre arabes" in Mélanges offerts à M. Gustave Schlumberger , II, Paris, 1924, pp. 296–300.
  • Decourdemanche = J.-A. Decourdemanche, Traité pratique des poids et mesures des peuples anciens et des Arabes, Paris, 1909.
  • Ettinghausen = Richard Ettinghausen, "An Umaiyad Pound Weight," in The Journal of the Walters Art Gallery, II, Baltimore, 1939, pp. 73–76.
  • Fouquet Collection = P. Casanova, Catalogue des pièces de verre des époques byzantine et arabe de la collection Fouquet (Vol. VI of Mémoires publiés par les membres de la Mission Archéologique Française au Caire), Paris, 1893.
  • Grohmann, Arabische Eichungsstempel = Adolf Grohmann, Arabische Eichungsstempel, Glasgewichte und Amulette aus Wiener Sammlungen, in Islamica, Leipzig, 1925, pp. 145–226. (The Vienna Collections are: Saxe- Coburg-Gotha Collection; Ägyptisch-orientalischen Sammlung der Kunsthistorischen Sammlungen; and Naturhistorischen Museum.)
  • Grohmann, Corpus = Adolf Grohmann, Corpus Papyrorum Raineri Archiducis Austriae, Series III, Arabica, Bd. I, 1–3, "Allgemeine Einführung in die Arabischen Papyri" and "Protokolle," Wien, 1923–1924.
  • Grohmann, Egyptian Library = Adolf Grohmann, Arabic Papyri in the Egyptian Library, I—III, Cairo, 1934–1938.
  • Ibn-al-Atbīr = Al-Kāmil ft al-Ta'rikh, Ibn-el-Athiri, Chronicon quod perfec- tissimum inscribitur, ed. C. J. Tornberg, Leyden, 1867–1874.
  • Ibn-Taghri-Birdi = Abu-al-Mahāsin ibn-Taghri-Birdi, Al-Nujūm al-Zā- hirah fi-Mulūk Misr wa-al-Qãhirah, ed. Juynboll and Matthes, Leiden, 1855–1861.
  • Jungfleisch = Marcel Jungfleisch, "Les Ratls discoïdes en Verre," in Bull. de l'Institut d'Égypte, Tome X, 1927–1928, Cairo, 1929, pp. 61–71.
  • Khedivial = Stanley Lane-Poole, Catalogue of the Collection of Arabic Coins preserved in the Khedivial Library at Cairo , London, 1897.
  • Lamm = Carl Johan Lamm, Mittelalterliche Gläser und Steinschnittarbeiten aus dem Nahen Osten, Berlin, 1930.
  • Lane-Poole, History = Stanley Lane-Poole, A History of Egypt in the Middle Ages, London, 1901.
  • Lavoix, Préface = Preface to Henri Lavoix, Catalogue des Monnaies Musulmanes de la Bibliothèque Nationale, I, Paris, 1887.
  • Mainoni = Stefano de Mainoni, Descrizione di alcune Monete Cufiche del Museo di Stefano de Mainoni , Milano, 1820.
  • Margoliouth, Arabic Papyri = D. D. Margoliouth, Catalogue of Arabic Papyri in the John Rylands Library, Manchester , Manchester, 1933.
  • Nies = The Rev. J. B. Nies, "Kufic Glass Weights and Bottle Stamps," in Proceedings of the American Numismatic and Archaeological Society, 1901–1902, pp. 48–55;
  • Paris = Henri Lavoix, Catalogue des Monnaies Musulmanes de la Bibliothèque Nationale, I, Paris, 1887.
  • Petrie = Sir Flinders Petrie, Glass Stamps and Weights illustrated from the Egyptian Collection in University College, London , London, 1926.
  • Sauvaire, Matériaux = H. Sauvaire, Matériaux pour servir à l'histoire de la numismatique et de la métrologie musulmanes, Paris, 1879–1887. (This work was published in a series of installments in the Journal Asiatique; in the present volume the three main parts of Sauvaire's work are referred to as I, II, and III; the pagination for part I is continuous, while for parts II and III it follows the several issues of the Journal Asiatique.)
  • Tabari=Al-Tabari, Tar'īkh al-Rusul wa-al-Mulūk, ed. de Goeje et al., Leyden, 1879–1901.
  • Tiesenhausen=W. Tiesenhausen, Moneti vostochnavo Khalifat a, St. Petersburg, 1873.
  • Wüstenfeld= F. Wüstenfeld, Die Statthalter von Ägypten zur Zeit der Chalifen, Göttingen, 1875.
  • Zambaur, Contributions I & II=E. von Zambaur, "Contributions à la Numismatique Orientale," in Numismatische Zeitschrift, Wien, 1905, Vol. XXXVI; 1906, Vol. XXXVII.
  • Zambaur, Manuel=E. de Zambaur, Manuel de Généalogie et de Chronologie pour l'Histoire de l'Islam, Hannover, 1927.


ابان بن ابرهيم 136

ابرهم بن صلح 122,131

ابو اسحق 137

ابو جعفر اشناس 134

ابى بكر بن تميم 126

اسامة بن زيد 72–3

اسحق بن منصور 136

اسمعيل بن ابرهيم 129–30

امير المؤمنين 24, 119

الانز 28, 87

ترمس [الترمس] 28, 78, 153

جلبان 28, 87

جلجلان 28, 152–3

حبّ الكسبر 28, 153

الحسن بن الحباح 133

الحسين 133

حفص بن الوليد 81–2

حيان بن شريح 74

خرة بن ميسرة 77

خرّوبة 26, 76, 84, 92, 94, 104, 111–2, 138, 141, 147–9

خرّوبات 26, 110

دواد 85, 87

درهم 26, 142, 146

دهن 28, 70, 99

دينر [دينار] 26, 80, 83, 89, 100, 109, 113, 121–2, 125, 132–3, 146

ربع 26, 70, 72, 74, 77–8, 82, 86, 90, 94, 98, 105, 126, 130, 140, 144, 150, 152–3

رطل 27, 70, 81, 85–6, 97–9, 115, 117, 124–6, 134–5, 145, 150

رطل كبير 27, 85, 150

رطلين 27, 77, 85, 90, 142

زيت [الزيت ]28, 72, 74, 78

سطر 27, 76

سلمة 116, 127

سليمن 121

صلح بن على 102

الطّلاء 28, 72

ظفر بن قتيبة 86

عاصم بن حفص 103, 107

عبد الله 24, 98–100

عبد الله امير المؤمنين 98–100

عبد الله بن راشد 111–2

عبد الله بن عرباض 144–5

عبد الجابر بن نصير 137

عبد الحميد 154–5

عبد الرحمن بن ميسرة 138

عبد الرحمن بن يزيد 109, 114–5

عبد الملك بن عيسى 139

عبد الملك بن مرون 94–5

عبد الملك بن يزيد 100–1, 103–5

عبد الوهاب بن العتيق 139–40

عبيد الله بن الحبحاب 75–9

عثمن 155

عدس 28, 79, 100, 152

على ابن محمد 140

عمر 141

عمر بن جنادة 155

عيسى بن ابى عطا 89–90

عيسى بن جنادة 155–6

فلس 27, 75–6, 84, 91–2, 94, 104, 106, 110–2, 137, 147–50

القاسم بن عبيد الله 83–7

قتيبة 141

قرريط 27, 150

قرة 70

قسط [القسط] 27, 70, 72, 74, 77–8, 82, 90, 95, 99, 105, 110, 112, 130, 143–4, 152–3

قسيم بن زياد 117, 124

قيرط [قيراط] 27, 75–6, 92, 147–9

كافل 109

كامل 109

كبلى 106

كمل 106, 109, 113–5

كيل 27, 100–1, 103, 142, 146

لحم [اللحم] 28, 77, 85, 90

مالك بن دلهم 132

مثقل [مثقال] 27, 75–6, 80–1, 83–4, 89–91, 94, 100–1, 103–4, 106, 108–15, 119–22, 125, 132–3, 137, 144, 146–50

محمد بن الاشعث 111–2

محمد بن بسطام الرقعاى 134

محمد بن سعيد 117

محمد بن سليمن 120, 125–6

محمد بن شرحبيل 95–7, 105, 108

محمد 120, 142

مسلم بن العاف 83–4

مسلم بن العراف 84

مطر 119–20, 124

مكيلة 27, 73, 78–9, 87, 100, 152–3

موسى بن كعب 108

مولى امير المؤمنين 24, 121–3, 124, 128, 134

المهاجر 120

المهدى محمد امير المؤنين 121–2

المهدى امير امؤمنين 119–21

نصف 27, 74, 76–7, 83,90, 95, 98–9, 101, 103, 109–10, 114, 119, 121, 129, 135–7, 150–2

نوفل بن فرات 109–10

النحلى 142

هلال الجبار 143

واضح 121–2, 128

وزن 27, 70, 76, 84, 92, 146–50

وقيّة 27, 82, 108, 116, 135–6, 151

وقيّة كبير 27, 139

يزيد بن ابى يزيد 82, 89–92

يزيد بن الادريس 143

يزيد بن تميم 94

يزيد بن حاتم 113–6

بن الحسين 144

بن يزيد 109, 145

سر بن منصور 129

سليمن 144

سة بن زياد 120


Boldface figures refer to the principal discussion of the given subject.

  • Abān b. Ibrāhīm, 136
  • 'Abd al-Hamīd, 154–5
  • 'Abd al-Jabbār b. Nuạayr, 137–8
  • 'Abd al-Malik (Caliph), 2, 3, 4, 9
  • 'Abd al-Malik b. 'Īsā, 139
  • 'Abd al-Malik b. Marwān, 25n., 94, 95, 96–7, 138
  • 'Abd al-Malik b. Yazīd, 97, 97n., 100–4, 105, 105n., 106–7, 117
  • 'Abd al-Rahmān b. Maysarah, 138–9
  • 'Abd al-Rahmān b. Yazīd, 109, III, 114–5
  • 'Abd al-Wahāb b. al-'Atīq, 139–40
  • ' Abdullāh (al-Man§ūr), 98–100
  • 'Abdullāh b. 'Ali, 89
  • 'Abdullāh b. 'Irbād, 144–5
  • 'Abdullāh b. Rāshid, 111, 112, 113
  • 'Abdullāh b. Yazīd, 131
  • Abyssinia, 116
  • Alexandria, 55, 63n., 64
  • 'Ali b. Muḥammad, 140
  • alumina, 56–7
  • 'Amr b. al-'Ā§, 22, 71, 73
  • amulets, 23, 156–7
  • analyses, comparative, 61–7
  • annealing, 50
  • Armstrong Cork Company, 32, 43, _51
  • 'Ā§im b. Hafạ, 103, 106, 107, 131
  • al-'Askar, 105
  • abū-'Awn, see 'Abd al-Malik b. Yazīd
  • Ayyūb b. Shurahbīl, 74–5
  • Ayyūbid, 34n.
  • abū-Bakr b. Tamīm, 126–7
  • batch materials, 52–60
  • Bayt al-Māl, 71, 73
  • Bukhara, 106, 143
  • Cairo, 20–1, 30, 55, 60, 63n., 65, 73, 105
  • Carson, Douglas, viii
  • ceratonia siliqua, 9
  • Chael, 106
  • coin weights, anonymous, 23
  • color, 34–6, 58–9
  • composition, 50–2
  • copper, 35–6, 59–60
  • Cyrenaica, 116
  • Damascus, 30
  • Dār al-'Ayār, 19–20, 68n.
  • Dār al-Rizq, 22
  • Dā'ūd, 87, 89, 93n.
  • Dā'ūd b. Ja'far, 85, 89
  • Dimand, M. S., vii
  • dīnār, 4–6, 7–8, 12, 22, 26, 83, 89, 100, 113, 121–2, 132–3, 144, 146
  • dīnār, 5, 70, 83, 89, 100, 103, 109, 114, 119, 121
  • dīnār, ⅓, 5–6, 75, 84, 114, 119–20, 125, 144
  • dirham, 6, 8, 12, 26, 30, 142, 146
  • disk-weights, 12, 42–3
  • Dīwān al-Kharāj, 19, 20
  • Elephantine, Island of, 55
  • al-Faḍl b. §āliḥ, 107
  • fals (fulūs), 6–12, 27, 75–6, 84, 91–2, 94, 104, 106, 109–12, 127, 137, 141, 147–50
  • fatimid, 3n., 20, 23, 30, 33n., 34n.
  • Fayyūm, 96
  • frit, 59–60
  • Fustāt, 25n., 60, 62, 63n., 64, 73, 95–6, 102, 105, 131, 134
  • Gorub Medined, 63n., 64
  • ḥabbah, 8
  • Ḥafṣ b. al-Walld, 81, 82, 93, 96
  • Halab, 103
  • Hārūn al-Rashīd (Caliph), 5
  • Ḥasan, Sultan, 65
  • al-Ḥasan b. al-Baḥ bāh, 133–4
  • Hayyan b. Shurayh, 74, 79
  • Hilāl al-Jabbār, 143
  • Hishām (Caliph), 30
  • Hitti, Philip K., 78n.
  • Ibrāhīm b. §āliḥ, 2, 107, 122, 124, 130, 131
  • 'Irāq, 135
  • irdabb, 22
  • iron, 35, 57–8, 60–1
  • 'Īsāb. abl-'Aṭā, 30, 89–90, 91, 91n., 93, 96
  • 'Īsā b. Junādah, 155–6
  • 'Īīsā b. Luqmān, 93n., 126n., 127n.
  • abū-Isḥāq, 137
  • Ishāq b. Manṣūr, 136–7
  • Iskandarīyah, 96
  • Ismā'īl b. Ibrāhīm, 129–30
  • abū-Ja'far Ashinās, 134–5
  • jizyah, 21, 22, 71
  • Jurji, Edward J., 24n.
  • Kāfil, 109, 111
  • Kamil, Kāmil, 109, 111, 113–5
  • Kayl, 100–4, 106
  • κεράηον, 9, 27
  • kharāj, 21
  • kharrūbah, 7–12, 26, 76, 84, 92, 94, 104, 109–12, 127, 137–8, 141, 147–9
  • Khaṭṭāb b. Maslamah, 123
  • Khurāsān, 105, 134
  • Khurrah b. Maysarah, 77, 80
  • Kouchakji, Fahim, 79n.
  • lead, 60
  • Leavy, Robert J., viii, 42n., 43n.
  • limestone, 53–4, 60–1
  • McAllister, Hannah E., vii
  • Maghrib, 135
  • al-Mahdi (Caliph), 2, 5, 105, 119, 120–2, 123, 124, 127, 129, 131
  • Mālik b. Dalham, 132
  • Mamlūk, 23, 34n.
  • manganese, 35, 58–60
  • al-Manạṣūr (Caliph), 4n., 8n., 97, 97n., 101, 106, 123–4
  • Marw, 106
  • Maṭar, 118–20, 124
  • melting temperature, 43–4
  • mikyalah, 19, 27
  • Miṣr, 20, 74, 106, 131
  • mithqāly 27
  • Mughayrah b. 'Ubaydullāh, 91n., 95
  • al-Muhājir, 120, 123
  • al-Muhājir b. 'Uthmān, 123
  • Muḥammad b. al-Ash'ath, 12, 110–1, 112, 113, 123
  • Muḥammad b. Bisṭām, 134–5
  • Muḥammad b. Sa'īd, 117, 118, 118n., 128, 140
  • Muḥammad b. Shurahbīl, 95–6, 97, 105–6, 108, 111
  • Muḥammad b. Sulaymān, 120, 123–5, 126, 127n., 145
  • Muḥammad b. ......, 142
  • Muḥammad ,120
  • muḥtasib, 20
  • al-Muktafi (Caliph), 127n.
  • Mūsā b. Ka'b, 97, 108, 110
  • Muslim b. al-'Arāf (al-'Ãfí), 83, 84, 88–9, 93n·
  • al-Mustaḍi (Caliph), 34n.
  • al-Mu'taạim (Caliph), 135, 137
  • al-Naḥl, 143
  • al-Naḥli, 142
  • al-Nāṣir (Caliph), 34n.
  • Nāạir-i Khusraw, 21
  • Nawfal b. Furāt, 108–9, 110, 111, 116
  • Newell, Edward T., vii
  • Nies, J. B., vii, 11n., 79
  • ξέστης19, 27
  • οὐγχíα, 17, 27
  • Palestine, 102, 105
  • Parrish, M. C., 51, 60, 69
  • phosphorus, 60
  • physical properties, 44–9, 51
  • Pompeii, 62, 63n., 65
  • private weights and stamps, 22, 154–6
  • al-Qāsim b. 'Ubaydullāh, 80, 83-7, 88, 93, 93n., 96
  • Qasīm b. Ziyād, 117,118, 124–5
  • Qinnasrīn, 125
  • qīrāṭ, 7–10, 27, 75–6, 92, 147–50
  • qisṭ, 16, 19, 21–2, 27, 72, 82, 112, 143, 153
  • qisṭ, ½, 19, 74, 77, 95, 98–9, 110, 129
  • qisṭ, ⅓, 19, 99
  • qisṭ, 19, 70, 72, 74,77–8, 90, 105, 130, 152–3
  • qisṭ, ⅛ 19
  • Qurrah b. Sharīk, 3n., 70, 71
  • Qutaybah, 141
  • al-Rāfiqah, 135
  • raṭi, 13–6, 17, 27, 30, 76–7, 81–2, 85–6, 90, 94, 96–7, 115, 117, 124–5, 134, 142, 145
  • raṭl, ½, 14, 16, 19, 70, 97–9, 150
  • raṭl, ¼ 14, 16, 98, 126, 150
  • Rawḍah, 73
  • ring-weights, 12–6, 42
  • al-Ruq'āī, 135
  • Salamah, 12n., 111, 116–7, 127–8
  • Salamah b. Rajā', 12n., 117, 127–8
  • §āliḥ b. 'Ali, 95, 102, 105
  • §āliḥ b. 'Īsā, 131
  • Samarra, 62, 63n., 64
  • sanajāt, 2
  • sand, 53, 60
  • seeds, 38, 44, 47–9
  • sextarius, 19, 27
  • siliqua, 26
  • Sinān, 136
  • soda, 54–6, 60–1
  • Steuben Glass Company, viii, 41, 42n.
  • stones, 38–9, 47
  • sulphur, 59–60
  • Syria, 30
  • Tahīr b. Nasīq, 87
  • technique of manufacture, 39–43
  • Tell-el-Amarna, 55, 60–1
  • Thebes, 62, 63n., 64
  • tin, 60
  • Tjader, Mona, viii
  • tokens, 23
  • Tunis, 79
  • 'Ubaydullāh b. al-Ḥabhāb, 30, 75–8, 79, 79n., 80, 80n., 88
  • 'Umar, 11n., 141
  • 'Umar b. 'Abd al-'Azīz (Caliph), 73–4
  • 'Umar b. Junādah, 155
  • 'Umar b. Mihrān, 141
  • uncia, 17, 27
  • 'Uqbah b. 'Āmir, 3n.
  • Usāmah b. Zayd, 12, 72, 73, 75
  • 'Uthmān, 155
  • vessel stamps, 18–22, 41, 42
  • vessel stamps, anonymous, 24
  • Wadi Natrun, 55–6, 60
  • Wāḍiḥ, 121–2, 124, 128, 129
  • al-Walīd b. 'Abd al-Malik (Caliph), 73
  • al-Walīd b. 'Abd al-Rahmān, 30
  • al-Wāthiq (Caliph), 135
  • weathering, 36–8, 49, 51
  • Wood, Howland, 11n.
  • wuqīyah, 17–8, 19, 27, 108, 116, 138–9
  • wuqīyah, ½, 17–8, 136, 151
  • wuqīyah, ¼ 81–2
  • wuqīyah, ⅙ 18
  • Yazīd (Caliph), 3n.
  • Yazīd b. Hātim, 97, 110–1, 113–5, 116, 118, 126n., 128
  • Yazīd b. al-Idrīs, 143–4
  • Yazīd b. Tamīm, 90, 93, 94, 96, 97
  • Yazīd b. 'Umar, 25n.
  • Yazīd b. abī-Yazīd, 82–3, 89–92, 93, 96
  • Zafar b. Qutaybah, 86–7, 89
  • ..... b. al-Ḥusayn, 144
  • ..... b. Sulaymān, 144
  • ..... b. Yazīd, 145
  • ..... sah b. Ziyād, 120
















AMULETS: 215–220

































Broadway at 156th Street, New York 32, N. Y.


Vols. 1–13: Monthly, May, 1866-April, 1879.

Vols. 14–46: Quarterly, July, 1870-October, 1912.

Vols. 47–53: Annually, 1913–1924.

With many plates, illustrations, maps and tables. The numbers necessary to complete broken sets may, in most cases, be obtained. An index to the first fifty volumes has ṅ issued as part of Volume LI. It may be purchased separately for $3.00.


The Numismatic Notes and Monographs is a series devoted to essays and treatises on subjects relating to coins, paper money, medals and decorations. Nos. 1–109 inclusive are approximately 4½ x 6⅝ inches in size. Beginning with No. 110 the size is 6 ⅛ χ 9 inches.

  • Sydney P. Noe. Coin Hoards. 1921. 47 pp. 6 pls. 50ȼ.
  • Edward T. Newell. Octobols of Histiaea. 1921. 25 pp. 2 pls. Out of print.
  • Edward T. Newell. Alexander Hoards—'Introduction and Kyparissia Hoard. 1921. 21 pp. 2 pls. Out of print.
  • Howland Wood. 'The Mexican Revolutionary Coinage, 1913–1916.1921.44 pp. 26 pls. Out of print.
  • Leonidas Westervelt. The fenny Lind Medals and Tokens. 1921. 25 pp. 9 pls. Out of print.
  • Agnes Baldwin. Five Roman Gold Medallions. 1921. 103 pp. 8 pls. $1.50.
  • Sydney P. Noe. Medallic Work of A. A. Weinman. 1921. 31 pp. 17 pls. Out of print.
  • Gilbert S. Perez. The Mint of the Philippine Islands. 1921. 8 pp. 4 pls. 50ȼ.
  • David Eugene Smith, LL.D. Computing Jetons. 1921. 70 pp. 25 pls. $1.50.
  • Edward T. Newell. The First Seleucid Coinage of Tyre. 1921. 40 pp. 8 pls. $1.00.
  • Harrold E. Gillingham. French Orders and Decorations. 1922. no pp. 35 pls. Out of print.
  • Howland Wood. Gold Dollars of 1858. 1922. 7 pp. 2 pls. Out of print.
  • R. B. Whitehead. Pre- Mohammedan Coinage of N. W. India. 1922. 56 pp. 15 pls. Out of print.
  • George F. Hill. Attambelos I of Characene. 1922. 12 pp. 3 pls. Out of print.
  • M. P. Vlasto. Taras Oikistes (.A Contribution to Tarentine Numismatics). 1922. 234 pp. 13 pls. $3.50.
  • Howland Wood. Commemorative Coinage of the United States. 1922. 63 pp. 7 pls. Out of print.
  • Agnes Baldwin. Six Roman Bronze Medallions. 1923. 39 pp. 6 pls. $1.50.
  • Howland Wood. Tegucigalpa Coinage of 1823. 1923. 16 pp. 2 pls. 50ȼ.
  • Edward T. Newell. Alexander Hoards—II. Demanhur Hoard. 1923. 162 pp. 8 pls. $2.50.
  • Harrold E. Gillingham. Italian Orders of Chivalry and Medals of Honor. 1923. 146 pp. 34 pls. Out of print.
  • Edward T. Newell. Alexander Hoards—111. Andritsaena. 1924. 39 pp. 6 pls. $1.00.
  • C. T. Seltman. A Hoard from Side. 1924. 20 pp. 3 pls. Out of print.
  • R. B. Seager. A Cretan Coin Hoard. 1924. 55 pp. 12 pls. $2.00.
  • Samuel R. Milbank. The Coinage of Aegina. 1925. 66 pp. 5 pls. $2.00.
  • Sydney P. Noe. A Bibliography of Greek Coin Hoards. 1925. 275 pp. $2.50.
  • Edward T. Newell. Mithradates of Parthia and Hyspaodnes of Characene. 1925. 18 pp. 2 pls. 50ȼ.
  • Sydney P. Noe. The Mende (Kaliandra) Hoard. 1926. 73 pp. 10 pls. $2.00.
  • Agnes Baldwin. Four Medallions from the Arras Hoard. 1926. 36 pp. 4 pls. $1.50.
  • H. Alexander Parsons. The Earliest Coins of Norway. 1926. 41 pp. 1 pl. 50ȼ.
  • Edward T. Newell. Some Unpublished Coins of Eastern Dynasts. 1926. pp. 2 pls. 50ȼ.
  • Harrold E. Gillingham. Spanish Orders of Chivalry and Decorations of Honor. 1926. ' 165 pp. 40 pls. $3.00.
  • Sydney P. Noe. The Coinage of Metapontum. (Part I). 1927. 134 pp. 23 pls. $3.00.
  • Edward T. Newell. Two Recent Egyptian Hoards—Delta and Keneh. 1927. 34 pp. 3 pls. $1.00.
  • Edward Rogers. The Second and Third Seleucid Coinage of Tyre. 1927. 33 pp. 4 pls. $1.50.
  • Alfred R. Bellinger. The Anonymous Byzantine Bronze Coinage. 1928. 27 pp. 4 pls. $1.50.
  • Harrold E. Gillingham. Notes on the Decorations and Medals of the French Colonies and Protectorates. 1928. 62 pp. 31 pls. $2.00.
  • Oscar Ravel. The "Colts" of Ambracia. 1928. 180 pp. 19 pls. $3.00.
  • Howland Wood. The Coinage of the Mexican Revolutionists. 1928.53 pp. 15 pls. $2.50.
  • Edward T. Newell. Alexander Hoards—IV. Olympia. 1929. 31 pp. 9 pls. $1.50.
  • Allen B. West. Fifth and Fourth Century Gold Coins from the Thracian Coast. 1929. 183 pp. 16 pls. $3.00.
  • Gilbert S. Perez. The Leper Colony Currency of Culion. 1929. 10 pp. 3 pls. 50ȼ.
  • Alfred R. Bellinger. Two Hoards of Attic Bronze Coins. 1930. 14 pp. 4 pls. 50ȼ.
  • D. H. Cox. The Caparelli Hoard. 1930. 14 pp. 2 pls. 50ȼ.
  • Geo. F. Hill. On the Coins of Narbonensis with Iberian Inscriptions. 1930. 39 pp. 6 pls. $1.00.
  • Bauman L. Belden. A Mint in New York. 1930. 40 pp. 4 pl. 50ȼ.
  • Edward T. Newell. The Küchük KÖhne Hoard. 1931. 33 pp. 4 pls. $1.00.
  • Sydney P. Noe. The Coinage of Metapontum. Partii. 1931. 134 pp. 43 pl. $3.00.
  • D. W. Valentine. The United States Half Dimes. 1931. 79 pp. 47 pls.$5.00.
  • Alfred R. Bellinger. Two Roman Hoards from Duta-Europos. 1931. 66 pp. 17 pls. $1.50.
  • Geo. F. Hill. Notes on the Ancient Coinage of Hispania Citerior. 1931. 196 pp. 36 double pls $4.00.
  • Alan W. Hazelton. The Russian Imperial Orders. 1932. 102 pp. 20 pls.$3.00.
  • O. Ravel. Corinthian Hoards (Corinth and Arta). 1932. 27 pp. 4 pls.$1.00.
  • Jean B. Cammann. The Symbols on Staters of Corinthian Type ( Catalogué). 1932. 130 pp. 14 double pls.$3.00.
  • Shirley H. Weber. An Egyptian Hoard of the Second Century A. D. 1932.41 pp. 5 pls. $1.50.
  • Alfred R. Bellinger. The Third and Fourth Dura Hoards. 1932. 85 pp. 20 pls. $1.50.
  • Harrold E. Gillingham. South American Decorations and War Medals. 1932.178 pp. 35 pls.$3.00.
  • Wm. Campbell. Greek and Roman Plated Coins. 1933. 226 pp. 190+pls. $3.50.
  • E. T. Newell. The Fifth Dura Hoard. 1933. 14 pp. 2 pls.$1.00.
  • D. H. Cox. The Tripolis Hoard. 1933. 61 pp. 8 pls.2 maps. $1.50.
  • E. T. Newell. Two Hoards from Mintumo. 1933. 38 pp. 5 pls.$1.00.
  • Howland Wood. The Gampola Larin Hoard. 1934. 84 pp. 10 double pls.$3.00.
  • J. G. Milne. The Melos Hoard of 1907. 1934. 19 pp. 1 pl. $1.00.
  • A. F. Pradeau. The Mexican Mints of Alamos and HermosiUo. 1934. 73 pp. illus. 3 pls. $1.50.
  • E. T. Newell. A Hoardfrom Siphnos. 1934. 17 pp. 1 pi. 50ȼ.
  • C. Η. V. Sutherland. Romano-British Imitations of Bronze Coins of Claudius I. 1935. 35 pp. 8 double pls. $2.00.
  • Harrold E. Gillingham. Ephemeral Decorations. 1935. 40 pp. 11 pls. $2.00.
  • Sawyer McA. Mosser. A Bibliography of Byzantine Coin Hoards. 1935.116 pp. $1.50.
  • Edward T. Newell. Five Greek Bronze Coin Hoards. 1935. 67 pp. 9 double pls. $2.00.
  • Alfred R. Bellinger. The Sixth, Seventh and Tenth Dura Hoards. 1935. 75 pp. 5 pls. $1.00.
  • Frederick O. Waage. Greek Bronze Coins from a Well at Megara. 1935. 42 pp. 3 pls. $1.00.
  • Sydney P. Noe. The Thurian Di-Staters. 1935. 68 pp. 11 double pls. $2.00.
  • John Walker. The Coinage of the Second Saffarid Dynasty in Sistan. 1936. 46 pp. 4 double pls. $1.00.
  • Edward T. Newell. The Seleucid Coinage of Tyre. 1936. 34 pp. 5 pls. $1.00.
  • Margaret Crosby and Emily Grace. An Achaean League Hoard. 1936. 44 pp. 4 pls. $1.50.
  • Agnes Baldwin Brett. Victory Issues of Syracuse after 413 B. C. 1936.6 pp. 2 pis. 50ȼ.
  • Edward T. Newell. The Pergamene Mint under Philetaerus. 1936. 34 pp. 10 pls. $2.50.
  • Charles C. Torrey. Aramaic Graffiti on Coins of Demanhur. 1937.13 pp. 2 pls. $1.00.
  • Sydney P. Noe. A Bibliography of Greek Coin Hoards. (Second Edition). 1937. 362 pp. $4.00.
  • Naphtali Lewis. A Hoard of Folles from Seitz (Alsace). 1937. 81 pp. 5 pls. $2.00.
  • Harold Mattingly and W. P. D. Stebbing. The Richborough Hoard of 'Radiates' 1931. 1938. 118 pp. 15 pls. $2.50.
  • Alfred R. Bellinger. Coins from Jerash. 1928–1934. 1938. 141 pp. 9 pls. $2.50.
  • Edward T. Newell. Miscellanea Numismatica: Cyrene to India. 1938. 101 pp. 6 pls. $2.00.
  • David M. Bullowa. The Commemorative Coinage of the United States 1892–1938. 1938. 192 pp. 10 pls. $2.50.
  • Edward T. Newell. Late Seleucid Mints in Ake-Ptolemais and Damascus. 1939. 107 pp. 17 pls. $2.00.
  • Alfred R. Bellinger. The Eighth and Ninth Dura Hoards. 1939. 92 pp. 13 pls. $2.00.
  • Harrold E. Gillingham. Counterfeiting in Colonial Pennsylvania. 1939. 52 pp. 2 pls. $1.00.
  • George C. Miles. A Byzantine Weight Validated by al-Walid. 1939. 11 pp. 1 pl. 50ȼ.
  • Jaime Gonzalez. A Puerto Rican Counterstamp. 1940. 21 pp. 2 pls. $1.00.
  • Harrold E. Gillingham. Mexican Decorations of Honour. 1940. 53 pp. 17 pls. $2.00.
  • Donald F. Brown. Temples of Rome as Coin Types. 1940. 51 pp. 9 pls. $1.50.
  • Eunice Work. The Early Staters of Heraclea Lucaniae. 1940. 40 pp. 8 pls. $2.00.
  • D. H. Cox. A Tarsus Coin Collection in the Adana Museum. 1941. 67 pp. 12 pls. $2.00.
  • Herbert E. Ives. Foreign Imitations of the English Noble. 1941. 36 pp. 5 pls. $1.50.
  • Louis C. West. Gold and Silver Coin Standards in the Roman Empire. 1941.199 pp. $1.50.
  • Arthur D. Mcllvaine. The Silver Dollars of the United States of America. 1941, 36 pp. 1 folded pl. $1.00.
  • J. G. Milne. Kolophon and its Coinage: A Study. 1941.113 pp. 19 double pls. $2.50.
  • Sawyer McA. Mosser. The Endicott Gift of Greek and Roman Coins. 1941. 65 pp. 9 pls. $1.50.
  • Edgar Erskine Hume. The Medals of the United States Army Medical Department and Medals Honoring Army Medical Officers. 1942. 146 pp. 23 pls. $3.00.
  • Phares O. Sigler. Sycee Silver. 1943. 37 pp. 6 pls. $1.00.
  • Sydney P. Noe. The Castine Deposit: An American Hoard. 1942. 37 PP. 4 pls. $1.00.
  • H. F. Bowker. A Numismatic Bibliography of the Far East. 1943. 144 pp. $1.50.
  • Sydney P. Noe. The New England and Willow Tree Coinages of Massachusetts. 1943. 56 pp. 16 pls. $3.00.
  • Nai Chi Chang. An Inscribed Chinese Ingot of the XII Century A. D. 1944. 9 pp. 2 pls. 50¢
  • George L. McKay. Early American Currency. 1944. 85 pp. 27 pls. Out of print.
  • Edward T. Newell. The Byzantine Hoard of Lagbe. 1945. 22 pp. 8 pls. $1.00.
  • James C. Risk. British Orders and Decorations. 1945. 124 pp. 76 pls. $4.00.
  • Bluma L. Trell. The Temple of Artemis at Ephesos. 1945. 71 pp. 28 pls. $2.00.
  • Karel O. Castelin. The Coinage of Rhesaena in Mesopotamia. 1946. 11 pp. 17 pls. $2.00.
  • Aline A. Boyce. Coins of Tingi with Latin Legends. 1947. 27 pp. 5 pls. $1.00.
  • Sydney P. Noe. The Oak Tree Coinage of Massachusetts. 1947.23 pp. 10 pls. $1.50.


"The American Numismatic Society Museum Notes" is a publication consisting principally of brief notes and papers on items in the Society's collections.

I—1946. 106 pp. 23 pls. II—1947. 118 pp. 19 pls. $1.50 each.


This series accommodates works of full book length, 7¾ X 10¾ inches in size.

  • Edward T. Newell. The Coinage of the Eastern Seleucid Mints from Seleucus I to Antiochus III. 1938. 307 pp. 56 pls. $6.00.
  • George C. Miles. The Numismatic History of Rayy. 240 pp. 6 pls. $4.00.
  • Alfred R. Bellinger. The Syrian Tetradrachms of Caracalla and Macrinus. 1940. 116 pp. 26 pls. $5.00.
  • Edward T. Newell. The Coinage of the Western Seleucid Mints from Seleucus I to Antiochus III. 1941. 450 pp. 86 pls. $10.00.
  • Jocelyn M. C. Toynbee. Roman Medallions. 1944. 268 pp. 49 pls. $10.00.


A quarterly listing of current numismatic publications with abstracts of their content. Subscription price to non-members is $1.00 per year postpaid. Single current issues, $.35 each.

George H. Clapp and Howard R. Newcomb. The United States Cents of the Years 1795, 1796, 1797 and 1800. 1947. 74 pp. 4 photographic pls. Bound in cloth. $10.00.

Edward T. Newell. The Coinages of Demetrius Poliorcetes. London. Oxford University Press, 1927. 174 pp. 18 pls. $5.00.