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




Since the publication of Early Arabic Glass Weights and Stamps, 1 the Museum of the American Numismatic Society has acquired a number of unpublished weights and stamps of the same early Islamic period dealt with in that volume. Twenty-three of these pieces were acquired from an antique dealer in Cairo and have come to the Museum as the generous gift of Mr. Louis H. Schroeder, whose earlier benefactions to the Society have been recorded in the Proceedings. 2 In addition, the Museum has purchased from Cairo eleven other pieces, through the helpful agency of Dr. Harold W. Glidden. Two more are the gift of M. Marcel Jungfleisch, a resident of Cairo and an active numismatist. These additions to the Society's collection are of sufficient importance to warrant their publication as a supplement to Early Arabic Glass Weights and Stamps. 3 Furthermore, the occasion of the present little book presents an opportunity to describe a few additional pieces in other collections that have come to the writer's attention. These include five specimens in the Royal Ontario Museum of Archaeology, Toronto, which the Director of that museum, Mr. Gerard Brett, has kindly allowed me to study and publish; 4 and one weight in the Streeter Collection of weights and measures in the Historical Library of the Yale University School of Medicine. 5 Professor Thomas O. Mabbott of Hunter College has been good enough to let me examine his collection, and a few references are made to some of his pieces. Finally, one ring-weight, listed in EAG but then undeciphered, is reconsidered and identified, and two other similar ones are briefly discussed. A few miscellaneous observations and corrections, appended at the end of the catalogue, derive partly from the kindly criticisms of reviewers and correspondents, and partly from my own rereading and use of the book.

It will be noted that in the present catalogue a very considerable amount of space has been devoted to observations on the seeds and other substances named on the vessel stamps — an aspect of the study of these objects neglected in EAG. In one case (no. 41, a "measure of sugar") the commentary has become a very long digression on the history of the introduction of sugar cane into Egypt, which it is hoped will be not without interest to the general reader. Research in connection with the indicated contents of the vessels has led me to propose an entirely new explanation of the use of these stamps — i.e., that the vessels to which they were attached were used by druggists as measuring cups and containers for pharmaceuticals — and pp. 49-53 at the end of the book are concerned with a discussion of this idea and of related questions.

The pieces described here are arranged in the same order as that followed in EAG. Nos. 1–32 are in chronological sequence; nos. 33–36 belong to unidentified officials; nos. 37–43 are anonymous. The pertinent references to EAG are given in square brackets after the first occurrence of the name of an official whose glass weights and stamps are discussed in that volume; and the same abbreviations for cited works are used as those listed in EAG, pp. 159–160. New references and sources, of which there is a goodly number, expecially in connection with the commentary on the substances mentioned on the vessel stamps, are cited in full on their first occurrence and thereafter are abbreviated in readily recognizable form. 6


1. Dinar weight. The Caliph Sulaymān b. ʿAbd al-Malik, 96–99 A.H. = 715–717 A.D.

امر به

عبد الله

سليمان امير


"Ordered it the Servant of Allāh, Sulaymān, Commander of the Believers."

Nearly opaque, magenta. 27 mm. 3.91 grm.

Streeter Collection, Historical Library, Yale University School of Medicine.

So far as I know this is the only glass weight or stamp bearing the name of the Caliph Sulaymān that has come to light. 7 ʿAbdullāh is the usual epithet of the Caliphs. The weight is doubtless intended to be that of a dinar, but there is a marked deficiency, probably due to wear. Cf. EAG, pp. 4–5.

2. Dirhem weight. Usāmah b. Zayd, Finance Director, 96–99 A.H. = 714–717 A.D., Interim Governor, 102 A.H. = 720–721 A.D. [EAG, pp. 72–73.]


بن زيد

"Usāmah b. Zayd."

Pale green. 26 mm. 2.83 grm.

ANS (acquired by purchase from Cairo, 1949).

Similar to Petrie, no. 88. This weight, which is intact and shows little wear, is, like most dirhems and dirhem weights, somewhat beneath the theoretical legal standard. Cf. EAG, p. 6. The specimen published by Petrie weighs 2.86 grams.

3. Dinar weight. ʿUbaydullāh b. al-Ḥabḥāb, Finance Director, 102–116 A.H. = 720–734 A.D. [EAG, pp. 75–80.]

مما امر به

عبيد الله ا

بن الحبحاب

مثقال د

ينر واف

"Of what ordered ʿUbaydullāh ibn al-Ḥabḥāb: weight of a dīnār, full weight."

Green. 28.5 mm. 4.16 grm.

ANS (acquired by purchase from Cairo, 1949).

There is a dinar weight of this official, with a different legend, in the University College collection (Petrie, no. 99). The weight is only a few hundredths of a gram beneath the legal standard. Cf. EAG, pp. 4–5.

4. Vessel stamp, one-quarter qisṭ of olive oil. ʿUbaydullāh b. al-Ḥabḥāb.

Similar to EAG, no. 21.

Green. 39 × 33 mm.

ANS (gift of L. H. Schroeder, Sept., 1949).

5. Vessel stamp, measure of woad-leaves (?). ʿUbaydullāh b. al-Ḥabḥāb.

بسم الله

امر عبيد الله

بن الحبحاب

بطبعه مكيلة

و؟]سمة وافية]

"In the name of Allāh: ordered ʿUbaydullāh ibn an-Ḥabḥāb the stamping of it: measure of woad-leaves (?), full measure."

Green. 41 mm.

ANS (gift of L. H. Schroeder, Sept., 1949).

The reading of the substance which this vessel was designed to contain is submitted with some reserve. The fifth line of the legend is slightly blurred at the right and it is difficult to say whether there is an effaced letter there or not. When the piece is held in certain lights there appears to be the outline of a waw; and if there is a letter missing, the only possibility seems to be that letter, giving us wasmah (or wusmah, or wasimah), "woad-leaves," the chief source of indigo dye in Europe until relatively modern times. Woad, or Isatis tinctoria of the family Cruciferae, was well known to the Arab druggists as the plant from which indigo, or nīl, was derived, and it was sometimes confused with the dye itself. According to Meyerhof and Sobhy, the description of wasmah given by Ghāfiqi (d. ca. 1160 A.D.) is not identical with that of Isatis tinctoria in Dioscorides' Materia Medica; possibly it was a Spanish variety known as Isatis lusitanica. While the Arab botanical and pharmaceutical compilers usually wrote of woad only in connection with the dye, used principally for the hair along with henna, it may be that Arab druggists recognized the same imagined medicinal properties of the plant as those described by the Greeks. For example, Dioscorides recommended woad-leaves as a plaster for ulcers and tumors or as a conglutinant. Woad-leaves contain the glucoside indican, and when rubbed give off a penetrating smell. This may have been the reason for their early medicinal use. Incidentally Queen Elizabeth is said to have forbidden the cultivation of woad because she disliked its odor. The plant and die were of course known to the Britains in pre-Roman times. 8

In Professor Mabbott's collection there is a fragmentary disk-weight issued in the name of ʿUbaydullāh b. al-Ḥabḥāb, with a very poorly preserved stamp, apparently a one-half raṭl.

6. Vessel stamp, uncertain measure. Ḥafṣ b. al-Walīd(?), Governor and Finance Director at various times between 108 and 128 A.H. = 727 and 746 A.D. [EAG, pp. 81–83.]

بس]م الله مر]

...[الا]مير حفص [بن]

.....(الو]ليد (؟]


"In the name of Allāh: order of the Amīr Ḥafṣ b. al-Walīd (?)......."

Green. 35 × 29 mm.

ANS (gift of L. H. Schroeder, Sept., 1949).

This specimen is imperfectly preserved and the fragmentary reading is by no means certain.

7. Vessel stamp, one-quarter qisṭ of olive oil. The Caliph Yazīd II (101–105 A.H. = 720–724 A.D.) or Yazīd III (126 A.H. = 744 A.D.).

امر عبد الله

يز]يد امير المؤ]

منين ربع قسط

...ا]لزيت واف ء]


"Order of the Servant of Allāh, Yazīd, Commander of the Believers: one-quarter qisṭ of olive oil, full measure; at...."

Pale green. 39 mm.

Royal Ontario Museum of Archaeology (948.226.25). 9

This piece is identical with Petrie no. 86, on which it is reasonably clear that the name is "Yazīd" and not "Walīd". Lacking the date, or the name of the prefect (which undoubtedly is contained in the last line, which as on the University College specimen is largely obliterated), it is impossible to attribute the piece more exactly. I reject the possibility of an attribution to Yazīd I (60–64 A.H. = 680–684 A.D.), despite the fact that Petrie assigned his no. 86, and Casanova attributed a somewhat similar piece in the Fouquet Collection 10 to that Caliph. Casanova's argument 11 to the effect that the Fouquet piece must belong to Yazīd I because of the absence of the name of the Finance Director is not convincing. I have already expressed the view that the piece attributed by Casanova to ʿUqbah b. ʿĀmir (44 A.H.) is to be rejected, 12 and it now appears to me that my statement that stamps of the Caliph Yazīd are known 13 is to be strongly qualified. We have no definitely datable purely Arabic glass weight or vessel stamp earlier than those of the Caliph ʿAbd al-Malik (65–86 A.H. = 685–705 A.D.). 14

8. Fals al-kabīr of 30 kharrūbah. Al-Qāsim b. ʿUbaydullāh, Finance Director, 116–124 A.H. = 734–742 A.D. [EAG, pp. 83–88.]

بسم الله

مما امر به ا

لقاسم بن عبيد

(sic) الله مثقال فلس

الكبير ثلثين خر

وبة زن


"In the name of Allāh: of what ordered al-Qāsim b. ʿUbaydullāh: weight of fals al-kabīr of thirty kharrūbah weight."

Green. 34 mm. 5.83 grm.

ANS (Gift of L. H. Schroeder, Sept., 1949).

One tooth is omitted from the sīn of the word fals. The last word is curiously written: one might expect wāfi, but the second letter of the word on line 6 cannot be read fā', and the letter preceding it is too small for alif. Hence wazn seems more likely, although in this case the zā' is reversed. A further peculiarity is the disposition of the letters, with the first letter (if indeed it is waw; it is to be admitted that it looks more like a final fā') on the last line. The piece is identical in every respect, including the weight, 5.83 grams, with BM no. 5, on which Lane-Poole read wāfi without comment, and with Petrie, nos. 112–114, two of which weigh 5.83 and 5.86 grams. The weight is very close to the true average of intact 30-kharrūbah pieces (5.841 grams) and to the theoretical weight based on 1 kharrūbah = .1968 grams. 15 The fals of 30 kharrūbah published by Jungfleisch, 16 also issued by Qāsim b. ʿUbaydullāh but with different legends and not denominated al-kabīr, weighed "environ" 5.80 grams.

9. Fragment of ring-weight, one-half raṭl of meat, dated 123 (?) A.H. = 740-741 (?) A.D. Al-Qāsim b. ʿUbaydullāh and uncertain prefect.

بس]م الله]

امر الله بالو

فا وامر بطبعه

نضف رطل اللحم

القاسم بن عبيد

... الله على يد ى

[بن ايمن [؟]سن[ة ...

وعشرين ...


"In the name of Allāh: commanded Allāh honesty: and ordered the stamping of it, one-half raṭl of meat, al-Qāsim b. ʿUbaydullāh, at the hands of ...... b. Ayman (?), year ... and twenty [and one hundred?]."

Green. Di. 52 × 42 mm. Thickness: 19 mm.

ANS (acquired by purchase from Cairo, 1949).

Very little of the original ring-weight is preserved, the piece consisting only of the top surface of approximately the same diameter as the stamp. The under side of the piece shows a part of the smooth surface of the inside of the "ring" and the sides are both fractured. The piece is too fragmentary to be of use in determining the weight of the meat raṭl.

Unfortunately the last four lines, which might have added something to our knowledge of the prefects who served under al-Qāsim b. ʿUbaydullāh, are imperfectly engraved, imprinted and preserved. The first name of the prefect is wholly illegible, although it is probably the same name as that which I have tentatively read "Dāʾūd" on EAG nos. 34 and 38. On Petrie no. 117 (a dirhem weight), "Dāʾūd" is reasonably clear, and is followed by the same letters as those which appear here and on EAG no. 34, and which I now read "Ayman". Comparing especially the University College piece and the present one, I am certain that my tentative reconstruction of "Jaʿfar" on line 7 of EAG no. 34 is wrong. The digit of the date is missing here, but "three" seems to be fairly clear on Petrie no. 117 and possible on EAG no. 34, and it is therefore not unlikely that 123 A.H. is the date on the present piece. This date was within al-Qāsim b. ʿUbaydullāh's term, and the dates of his known prefects do not conflict. Dāʾūd b. Ayman (if such be his name) appears however to be unknown in the written histories.

10. Vessel stamp, qisṭ, dated 119 A.H. = 737 A.D. Al-Qāsim b. ʿUbaydullāh; prefect, Muslim b. al-ʿArāf. [EAG, pp. 83–84, 88–89.]

بس الله ا

مرا]لله بالوفا]

وا]مر بطبعة]

[هذا القسط [ا

[لقاسم بن عبيد [ال

[له على يد ى مسلم[بن

العراف سنة

تسع عشرة و


"In the name of Allāh: commanded Allāh honesty; and ordered the stamping of this qisṭ al-Qāsim b. ʿUbaydullāh, at the hands of Muslim b. al-ʿArāf, year nineteen and one hundred."

Dark green. 43 mm.

ANS (gift of Marcel Jungfleisch, March, 1949).

11. Vessel stamp, one-quarter qisṭ, dated 119 A.H. = 737 A.D. Same officials as no. 10.

بسم الله ا

[مر الله بالو [فا

وامر بطبعه

ربع قسط القا

[سم بن عبيد الل[ه

على يدى مسلم

[بن العراف س[نة

تسع عشرة ومئة

"In the name of Allāh: commanded Allāh honesty; and ordered the stamping of it, one-quarter qisṭ, al-Qāsim b. ʿUbaydullāh, at the hands of Muslim b. al-ʿArāf, year nineteen and one hundred."

Green. 40 mm.

ANS (gift of Marcel Jungfleisch, March, 1949).

These two vessel stamps confirm unequivocally the reading of the name of the prefect, Muslim (or Musallam) b. al-ʿArāf, about which my doubts were expressed in EAG, pp. 88–89. In correspondence M. Jungfleisch was kind enough to point out that the name appeared clear on specimens he had seen, and he very generously donated these two confirmatory pieces to the Museum. There can now be no doubt whatever that EAG no. 30 contains an engraver's error. M. Jungfleisch has written me that he considers errors of this sort to be an intentional expedient to distinguish the work of different workshops — a view with which I find it difficult to agree.

12. Vessel stamp, one-quarter (qisṭ?), dated 122 A.H. = 739-40 A.D. Al-Qāsim b. ʿUbaydullāh; prefect, Ṣafwān b. Shabbah (?).

Similar to EAG no. 36, but better preserved.

Green. 39 × 36 mm.

ANS (acquired by purchase from Cairo, 1949).

The name "Ẓafar" on this specimen might be read, as on EAG no. 36, although one cannot say that the second letter of the name (at the end of the line) is definitely ẓā'. Furthermore a reexamination of Petrie, no. 109 (a raṭl weight), which I overlooked in EAG, and which obviously bears the same prefect's name, shows very clearly that there is a fourth letter in the name. Is it perhaps صفون for صفوان? However, M. Jungfleisch writes me of a number of specimens on which ظفار is clear. The name of the father certainly is not "Qutaybah (?)", as given in EAG no. 36 (cf. the comment on pp. 86–87, 89). On the present piece (as on Petrie, no. 109) Shabbah can be read, but we are no closer to the identification of the prefect. The waw connecting "twenty" and "one hundred" of the date is preserved at the end of the next to last line.

13. Fragment of ring-weight. ʿĪsā b. abī-ʿAṭā, Finance Director, 125–127, 128–131 A.H. = 743–745 745–749 A.D.; prefect, Yazīd b. abī-Yazīd. [EAG, pp. 89–94.]

Large stamp:

بسم الله

امر الله بالو

فاوامر عيسى

...[بن ابى ء ]ط[ا]



"In the name of Allāh: commanded Allāh honesty; and ordered ʿĪsā b. abī-ʿAṭā...."

Small stamp:

[على [يدى

[يز ي[دبن ا

[بى [يزيد

"At the hands of Yazīd b. abī-Yazīd."

Green. Approx. di. of large stamp: 38 mm.; small stamp: 20 mm.

Royal Ontario Museum of Archaeology (939.7.89). 17

The small stamp, which can be reconstructed because of our knowledge of the association of ʿĪsā b. abī-ʿAṭā and Yazīd b. abī-Yazīd (cf. EAG, p. 93), is probably similar to EAG no. 48.

14. Vessel stamp, one-quarter qisṭ of olive oil. Yazīd d. abī-Yazīd, prefect ca. 116–127 A.H. = 734–745 A.D., Finance Director (?), ca. 127 A.H. = 745 A.D. [EAG, pp. 91–94.]

ا]مر يزيد]

بن ابى يزيد ر

بع قسط ز

يت واف

"Ordered Yazīd b. abī-Yazīd: one-quarter qisṭ of olive oil, full measure."

Olive green. 33 × 30 mm.

ANS (acquired by purchase from Cairo, 1949).

The absence of the phrase ʿalā yaday, and of the title amīr, suggests that this stamp was issued during the time (ca. 127 H.A.) when Yazīd b. abī-Yazīd was probably acting temporarily as Finance Director (cf. EAG, p. 93).

There is a fragmentary ring-weight for a raṭl (or two?) of meat in Professor Mabbott's collection, probably bearing the name of ʿAbd al-Malik b. Marwān (EAG, pp. 94–95).

15. Vessel stamp, measure of lupine. The Caliph al-Manṣūr, 136–158 A.H. = 754–775 A.D. [EAG, pp. 97–101.]

امر عبد

الل]ه عبد الله]

ام]ير المؤمنين]

بط]بعه مكيا]

ة ت]رمس و]


"Ordered the Servant of Allāh, ʿAbdullāh, Commander of the Believers, the stamping of it, measure of lupine, full measure."

Green. 44 × 34 mm.

ANS (gift of L. H. Schroeder, Sept., 1949).

The word turmus derives from the Greek Θέρμος or the Coptic Θαρμος, and was used by the Arabs as the generic name for the lupine, Lupinus albus (or sativus), of the family Leguminosae. Specifically, turmus (of eastern Mediterranean countries) would appear to apply to Lupinus termis (sometimes called proliferatus), which is one of two scarcely distinguishable races of Lupinus albus, the other being vulgaris. According to Ibn al-Bayṭār the lupine, in addition to its food value, "purifies the viscera" and is recommended for children and the aged who cannot take other purgatives; lotions derived from the seed were reported to be effective against bed-bugs. Dioscorides likewise includes the cultivated lupine (Lupinus pilosus?) in the materia medica: it was used against worms, as a fomentation, a diuretic, in the treatment of skin diseases, as an appetizer, etc., etc. Until relatively recent times the lupine had a place in pharmacology; for example, the seeds of white lupine were used for making cataplasms in the same manner as flaxseed. Today a number of related but irregular poisonous alkaloids are recognized in the plants of the genus Lupinus. 18

16. Vessel stamp, measure of white cumin. The Caliph al-Manṣūr.

امر عبد الله

عبد الله امير

[المؤمنين [بطبعه ؟

مكيلة كمون

الابيض و


"Ordered the Servant of Allāh, ʿAbdullāh, Commander of the Believers, [the stamping of it?], measure of white cumin, full measure."

Green. 44 × 39 mm.

ANS (gift of L. H. Schroeder, Sept., 1949).

A sizable fragment of the rim and wall of the vessel remains attached to the stamp. It is interesting to note that the rim is rolled over from the inside, leaving a hollow crevice between the lip and the top of the vessel wall.

Kammūn, from a Semitic root, is, by way of the Greek kyminon and Latin cuminum, the origin of our English word "cumin", the dwarf plant Cuminum cyminum, of the family Umbelliferae (Ammiaceae). It is native to Egypt and Syria and is widely cultivated for its aromatic seeds. Cumin apparently penetrated from Iran to Egypt at an early date. Kammūn abyaḍ ("white cumin"), among the Egyptian Arabs at least, is the common Cuminum cyminum and is frequently referred to simply as kammūn, without qualification; today the same name is sometimes used synonymously for ānīsūn, which is the Pimpinella anisum or Anisum vulgare of the same family, i. e., "anise" or "sweet cumin." The mediaeval Arabs knew several varieties of cumin, Avicenna distinguishing among that of Kirmān ("black"), of Persia ("yellow"), which was the commonest, of Syria, and of Nabataea. In addition there was كمون حبشى "Abyssinian cumin," also called كومن اسود, "black cumin," which was defined as "wild cumin," as was كومن برّى; and كومن ارمنى, "Armenian cumin," synonymous with كراويا or "caraway." The vessel to which the present stamp was attached contained specifically "white cumin," and this doubtless was the "Persian" variety, to use the classical Arabic terminology.

In the view of the early Arab pharmacologists cumin, roasted and steeped in vinegar was effective as a stomachic and as an emmenagogue, while Dioscorides, who stated that the best variety was grown in Lycia, Galatia and "Carthage of Spain," prescribed the seed with water as a cure for tormina and inflations, with vinegar for hiccups, and with wine against poison. These ancient and mediaeval uses of cumin for medicinal purposes were not without some justification; Cumini fructus is in the Dispensatory today and is still recognized as a stimulant, antispasmodic and carminative. Because of its disagreeable taste its use is now largely restricted to veterinary medicine. 19

It is of interest to note that there were also vessel stamps for kammūn aswad, "black cumin"; 20 and for kammūn without qualification, 21 this latter probably being the same as kammūn abyaḍ (see above). As for the former, it is impossible to determine the exact significance. "Black cumin" may have been either the variety of Kirmān or the wild Abyssinian variety; or, if certain modern synonyms were also applicable in the 8th century, it may have been the same as shūnīz, i.e., Nigella sativa of the family Ranunculaceae ("black cumin," "fennel-flower," "nutmeg flower," etc.), used today as a condiment and considered in the East to be effective as a stimulant, diaphoretic and emmenagogue (as cumin is today). It is less likely that it was Plantago exigua (or Plantago pumila L.), also called kammūn aswad in modern Egypt. 22

The cumin plant (ϰύμινον τό ἥμερον), as represented in the magnificent 10th century Constantinople manuscript of Dioscorides' Materia Medica in the Pierpont Morgan Library, is illustrated in Plate IV. 23 Note the Turkish gloss in the upper left, كومن بستانى, "garden" or "cultivated cumin."

17. Vessel stamp, measure of red sesame-seed. The Caliph al-Manṣūr.

امر عبد الله

[عبد الله امي[ر

[المؤمنين بطبع[ه

مكيلة الجلجلان

الاحمر واف

"Ordered the Servant of Allāh, ʿAbdullah, commander of the Believers, the stamping of it, measure."

Green. 41 × 39 mm.

ANS (gift of L. H. Schroeder, Sept. 1949).

An identical piece is in Professor Mabbott's collection.

Juljulān is defined by the classical Arabic lexicographers as: (a) the fruit of the kuzburah, or "coriander"; or (b) "se- same" in its husks before it is reaped or the grain of the sesame. Today the word in Egypt is synonymous with simsim, the Sesamum indicum or orientale of the family Pedaliaceae, or in English sesame or gingelly. 24 Qualified as juljulān miṣri it is the "Egyptian lotus", or as juljulān al-ḥabashah it is synonymous with ḳhashkhash, the "opium poppy." I believe that juljulān on the stamps signifies "sesame-seed," not "coriander." In the first place, there appear to have been measures for the latter, under the name ḥabb al-kusbur(ah); 25 and no stamp bearing the word simsim has come to my attention. Furthermore simsim strictly speaking is the plant, of which juljulān is the fruit or "seed." The Arabic translations of Dioscorides equate juljulān with simsim, and Ibn al-Bayṭār defines juljulān as "sesame," adding that there were two varieties of sesame native to Arabia, white and black. It is interesting to note that we have the "white" variety named on a vessel stamp. 26 The word also occurs without qualification, 27 and also qualified as muqashshar, "shelled," 28 which is revealing because Ibn al-Bayṭār specifically mentions shelled and grilled sesame among the medicinal forms of the seed. Both he and Dioscorides describe numerous pharmaceutical uses, principally as a stomachic; the former also mentions sesame's effectiveness as a hair-tonic and an aphrodisiac; the latter prescribed it for fractures and for inflammations of the ears and eyes, and he remarks that the ancient Egyptians extracted an oil from the seed. Both sesame seed (fruit) and sesame oil are still to be found in the Dispensatory. 29

What was the "red juljulān" specified on the present vessel stamp? There appear to be numerous variations and forms of sesame, differing in respect of seed-color. Most commonly mentioned among the colors are white (or yellowish-white), grey, black and red. Whether in the present instance we are dealing with a distinct form or rather with the reddish color of black seeds in an immature state is uncertain, but in any case the existence of so-called red sesame seeds is an established fact, and it would appear likely that the 8th century Arab druggists recognized different properties in certain forms or races of the plant (or of different stages of development of the seed). 30

18. Dinar weight. ʿAbd. al-Malik b. Yazīd, Governor and Finance Director, 133–136, 137–141 A.H. = 751–753, 755–758 A.D. [EAG, pp. 103–106]; Prefect, Muḥammad b. Shuraḥbīl, ca. 132–152 A.H. = 749–769 A.D. [EAG, pp. 96–97.]


بسم الله

امر عبدا

لملك بن يزيد

بمثقال دينر


"In the name of Allāh: ordered ʿAbd al-Malik b. Yazīd: weight of a dinar, full weight."

Reverse area: (retrograde)



"Stamped it, Kayl."

Reverse margin: (retrograde)

على يدى محمد بن شرحبيل

"At the hands of Muḥammad b. Shuraḥbīl.."

Pale green. 28 mm. 4.20 grm.

ANS (acquired by purchase from Cairo, 1949).

This dinar weight is identical with BM, no. 10, on which Lane-Poole was able to read only part of the prefect's name, and with Petrie, no. 145. It is to be noted that the entire reverse legend is retrograde in contrast to EAG nos. 62–63 (half-dinar weights with a different prefect), where only the area is retrograde. Cf. EAG, pp. 103–104, where a possible explanation of these retrograde legends is offered. I must confess that this explanation is not entirely satisfactory, for in the present instance the retrograde marginal legend can hardly be the result of the use of a negative "punch" or "punches." The entire mold was "positive" where it should, of course, be "negative" to produce the right legend on the glass. The weight of the piece is only slightly below the legal dinar standard. The University College specimen weighs a little more, 4.22 grams.

19. Fragmentary ring-weight, raṭl. ʿAbd al-Malik b. Yazīd and Muḥammad b. Shuraḥbīl.

بسم الله امر

عبد الملك بن يز

يد بطبعه رطل

واف على يدى

محمد بن شر


"In the name of Allāh: ordered ʿAbd al-Malik b. Yazīd the stamping of it, raṭl, full weight; at the hands of Muḥammad b. Shuraḥbīl."

Green. Stamp: 40 mm. Piece: length, 74 mm, width, 48 mm., height, 35 mm.

ANS (gift of L. H. Schroeder, July, 1948).

This piece is fragmentary, only the top of the ring being preserved, but the stamp is exceptionally clear. So far as I know only two other heavy weights of ʿAbd al-Malik b. Yazīd have been published: duplicate wuqīyah disk-weights in the Fouquet Collection (p. 385, nos. 4–5).

20–21. Vessel stamps, one-quarter qisṭ. ʿAbd al-Malik b. Yazīd and Muḥammad b. Shuraḥbīl.

بسم الله امر

[عبد الملك بن يز[يد

بطبعه ربع قسط

واف على يدى محمد

بن شر حبيل

"In the name of Allāh: ordered ʿAbd al-Malik b. Yazīd the striking of it, one-quarter qisṭ, full measure; at the hands of Muḥammad b. Shuraḥbīl."

Two specimens. Green. 42 × 39 mm. 42 × 34 mm.

ANS (gift of L. H. Schroeder, Sept., 1949).

Cf. EAG no. 67, a vessel stamp for a quarter qisṭ of some unknown substance.

22. Vessel stamp, one-quarter qisṭ. ʿAbd al-Raḥmān b. Yazīd, Prefect, ca. 141–152 A.H. = ca. 759–769 A.D. [EAG, pp. 109, 111, 114–115.]

بسم الله

على يدى

[عبد الرحم[ن

[بن يزيد رب[ع

قسط واف

"In the name of Allah: at the hands of ʿAbd al-Raḥmān b. Yazīd, one-quarter qisṭ, full measure."

Green. 37 × 33 mm.

ANS (gift of L. H. Schroeder, Sept., 1949).

The vessel which carried this stamp must have been accompanied by another with the name of the Finance Director, Nawfal b. Furāt, or the Governor, Yazīd b. Ḥātim (cf. EAG, p. 111). Most of ʿAbd al-Raḥmān's known inscriptions are on the reverse margins of coin weights, but there is one free- standing stamp of the style of the present one on a raṭl ring-weight. 31

23. Vessel stamp, measure of white cumin. Muḥammad b. al-Ashʿath, Governor, 141–143 A.H. = 759–760 A.D.; Prefect, ʿAbdullāh b. Rāshid. [EAG, pp. 111-113.]

بسم الله

امر الامير محمد

بن الاشعث بطبعه

مكيلة كمون الا

بيض على يدى عبد

الله بن راشد

"In the name of Allāh: ordered the, Amīr Muḥammad b. al-Ashʿath the stamping of it, measure of white cumin; at the hands of ʿAbdullāh b. Rāshid."

Green. 52 × 39 mm.

ANS (gift of L. H. Schroeder, Sept., 1949).

Like no. 16 this piece reveals the technique of rim-making, the same hollow space being evident at both ends of the rim-fracture. "White cumin" has been discussed above, pp. 15–17.

24. Vessel stamp, measure of chick-peas. Muḥammad b. al-Ashʿath and ʿAbdullāh; b. Rāshid.

[بسم الله]

[امر الامي]ر مح[مد]

[بن الا]شعت بط[بعه]

.....مكي]لة حمص]


الله بن راشد

"In the name of Allāh: commanded the Amīr Muḥammad b. al-Ashʿath the stamping of it, measure of chickpeas; [at the hands of] ʿAbdullāh b. Rāshid." (Largely reconstructed).

Green. 39 × 36 mm. Length of rim fragment, 48 mm.

ANS (gift of L. H. Schroeder, Sept., 1949).

An unusually long fragment of the rim of the vessel (rolled over as on nos. 16 and 23) remains attached to the stamp, and it would appear that the outside diameter of the mouth of the vessel measured about 6.5 to 7 centimeters. The vessel would therefore have been about the same size as EAG, no. 37, the reconstructed diameter of which is discussed in EAG, p. 18.

Ḥimmaṣ (or ḥimmiṣ) is Cicer arietinum of the family Leguminosae, or the "chick-pea," extensively cultivated in Upper Egypt today. Ibn al-Bayṭār devotes a long passage to the medicinal properties of the chick-pea, stressing its supposed virtues in the treatment of lung ailments and as an aphrodisiac. The Arabic lexicographers, following Dioscorides, rate it also as a flatulent, lenitive and diuretic. It is not recognized as a pharmaceutical in modern times. There are vessel stamps for ḥimmaṣ muqashshar, "shelled chick-peas," 32 but I have seen none qualified by color, although Pliny distinguished between "black" and "white" forms, and the Arabs also speak of the "red" seed. 33

25. Vessel stamp, measure of fennel. Muḥammad b. al-Ashʿath and ʿAbdullāh b. Rāshid.

بسم الله امر

الامير محمد

بن الاشعث بطبعه

مكيلة الشمار على

يدى عبد الله

بن راشد

"In the name of Allāh: ordered the Amīr Muḥammad b. al-Ashʿath the stamping of it, measure of fennel; at the hands of ʿAbdullāh b. Rāshid.

Green. 39 mm.

Royal Ontario Museum of Archaeology (948.226.26). 34

The vessel which bore this stamp contained shamār, which is defined by the lexicographers as either Foeniculum vulgare (Anethum foeniculum) of the family Umbelliferae, that is "fennel," or as Anethum graveolens, or the common "garden-dill" (the "anise" of Scripture). Ibn al-Bayṭār, who discusses fennel under the heading rāziyānaj, the Persian equivalent, and who gives shamār as the name in Syria and Egypt, ascribed to it a large number of pharmaceutical properties: it "penetrates deeply into the organs," it clears "obstructions" in the liver and the spleen, it is an expectorant, a stomachic, a diuretic, it is used in the treatment of chronic fever, etc., etc. Dioscorides also lists anethon, i.e., Anethum graveolens as a drug and stresses its gynaecological uses.

It is difficult to say whether fennel or dill is intended here, but in view of Ibn al-Bayṭār's discussion and of the fact that at least one authority gives the modern Egyptian equivalent of dill as karāwīyā, preference is perhaps to be given to the meaning "fennel." At all events, fennel and dill are much alike in appearance (dill being a smaller plant), and they have quite similar properties. Both are still recognized pharmaceuticals. To quote the Dispensatory, fennel is one of our most "grateful" aromatics, employed as a carminative and as a corrigent of other less pleasant medicines, particularly senna and rhubarb. Both are used in the treatment of flatulent colic; fennel is a constituent of the well-known compound Liquorice Powder; dill-water in England and fennel-tea or fennel-water in America are commonly prescribed as vehicles for childrens' medicines generally. The seeds are administered in powder form or as an infusion. 35

This is, so far as I know, the first known occurrence of shamār on a vessel stamp.

In Professor Mabbott's collection there is a qisṭ vessel stamp similar to EAG, no. 75, but possibly differing from it slightly in the arrangement of the second and third lines. Professor Mabbott also has a dinar weight issued by Yazīd b. Ḥātim which is apparently similar to EAG, nos. 77–8, except that the name (unfortunately illegible) in the center of the reverse appears to be different, and the reverse marginal legend is incomplete.

26. One-third dinar weight. The Caliph al-Mahdi, 158–169 A.H. = 775–785 A.D. [EAG, pp. 119–123]; Prefect (or Finance Director?), Ismāʿīl b. Ibrāhim? [EAG, pp. 129–130.]


بسم الله

امر المهد ى ا

مير المؤمنين

مثقال ثلث


"In the name of Allāh: commanded al-Mahdi, Commander of the Believers, weight of a third [dinar], full weight."

Reverse margin:

[اسمعيل[؟ ......

"..... Ismāʿīl(?)"

Reverse area:

بن ابر


"b. Ibrāhīm."

Green. 19 mm. 1.40 grm.

ANS (acquired by purchase from Cairo, 1949).

The reverse is poorly centered, with the result that half of the marginal legend is off the piece, and the rest is obscure, so I am by no means certain that I have read the name "Ismāʿīl" correctly. I know of no glass weight of al-Mahdi's with the unequivocal name of this official, but there are one or two pieces which tend to confirm my reading. Dorn published a glass weight, 36 misread in several particulars and described as bearing the name (ʿalā yaday) of al-amīr al-ʿAbbās b. Ibrāhīm, the last two words being in the area, as here. This piece may quite possibly be identical with the present. Furthermore there is a one-half dinar weight of al-Madhi's in the University College collection, 37 with a reverse apparently the same as the present one, the margin reading بسم الله على يدى الامير. Petrie misread. بن المهاجر a in the area. For some reason he supplied "Ismʾayl" as the missing name in the margin. 38 Ismā'ʿīl b. Ibrāhīm was Finance Director in 164 A.H., 39 and it may be that he was a prefect at some earlier date during al-Mahdi's rule. The weight of the piece (1.40 grm.) is only three-hundredths of a gram below the average of the eleven one-third dinar weights mentioned in EAG, pp. 5–6.

27. Vessel stamp, qisṭ. Muḥammad b. Sulaymān, Governor, 159–161 A.H. = 775–778 A.D. [EAG, pp. 125–127.]

بسم الله ا

مر الامير

محمد بن سليمن

اكرمه الله

قسط واف

"In the name of Allāh: order of the Amīr Muḥammad b. Sulaymān, may Allāh be generous to him, qisṭ, full measure."

Olive green. 40 mm.

Royal Ontario Museum of Archaeology (948.226.24) 40

28. Vessel stamp, one quarter qisṭ. Muḥammad b. Sulaymān.

ب]سم الله]

ا]مر الامير]

[م]حمد بن سليم[ن]

ر]بع قسط]


"In the name of Allāh: order of the Amīr Muḥammad b. Sulaymān, one-quarter qisṭ, full measure."

Green. 34 × 31 mm.

ANS (gift of L. H. Schroeder, Sept., 1949).

These are the first two vessel stamps with the name of Muḥammad b. Sulaymān to be published.

29. Dinar weight. Mālik b. Dalham, Governor, 192–193 A.H. = 808 A.D. [EAG, p. 132.]

Similar to EAG, no. 106, but the letter hāʿ omitted after ابقا, and no reverse legends. The Fouquet Collection specimen referred to in EAG, p. 132, is identical with the present piece.

Almost opaque magenta. 29 mm. 4.24 grm.

ANS (acquired by purchase from Cairo, 1949).

The weight is well up to the earlier standard, being only one hundredth of a gram beneath the legal 4.25 grams.

30. Vessel stamp (uncertain substance). Mūsā b. abīʾl-ʿAbbās, Governor, 219–224 A.H. = 834–839 A.D.

[ناس ابقا [ه الله ؟ ...

على يدى موسى

[بن] انى العبا[س]

"...[Ashinās?], may Allāh preserve him (?); at the hands of Mūsā b. abī-al-ʿAbbās."

Green. 27 × 24 mm.

ANS (gift of L. H. Schroeder, Sept., 1949).

Mūsā b. abīʿl-ʿAbbās was governor of Egypt under the Turkish viceroy, Abū-Jaʿfar Ashinās, 41 from 1 Ramaḍān, 219, until Rabīʿ II, 224 (9 Sept., 934–Feb./March, 839 A.D.). 42 The use of the phrase ʿalā yaday in this instance implies not that Mūsā was perfect (which would be the case in the usual circumstances) but that, although governor, he was subsidiary to Ashinās in authority. The imperfectly preserved first line appears to bear the name of Ashinās himself, followed by a familiar benedictory phrase. The lack of room for a title on this line suggests that the stamp was much too small for the die and that the top line is missing altogether.

Casanova published a heavy weight, 43 bearing the name of the Caliph al-Muʿtaṣim, with Mūsā b. abīʿl-ʿAbbās as governor. In the same collection 44 there is a vessel stamp with ʿalā yaday Mūsā b. abī....., which may be his, and Petrie 45 illustrates a stamp with a like inscription and the name of the father transcribed simply "al-ʿAbbās," but I imagine that the word "abī" was on the die but off the piece, which like the present one is of insufficient width to take the full impression.

31. Fragmentary ring-weight. The Caliph al-Mutawakkil, 232–247 A.H. = 847–861 A.D.



ك امر به عبد الله....

جعفر الامام]المتوكل]



"......... ordered the Servant of Allāh, Jaʿfar al-Imām al-Mutawakkil........"

Green. Approx, di. of stamp, 42 mm. Piece: length, 78 mm., width, 50 mm., height, 44 mm.

ANS (Nies Estate).

This very imperfectly preserved fragment of what must have been an exceptionally large ring-weight is EAG, no. 167, listed there as a heavy weight with name effaced (group IV). There were two stamps on the surface, probably identical, but one is completely effaced and the other so nearly so that I abandoned the attempt to decipher it when EAG was written. Only the publication of a similar weight in M. Marcel Jungfleisch's "Un poids et une estampille sur verre datant d'Ahmed ibn Touloun" 46 has enabled me to identify the piece, which, in all probability is identical with this.

Two other fragmentary ring-weights, EAG, nos. 169 and 170, likewise listed in the category of heavy weights with effaced inscriptions, are also undoubtedly issues of the 3rd century of the Hijrah. No. 169 has two rectangular stamps on the top surface, each with six lines of inscription, and no. 170 one rectangular stamp with apparently a four-line legend. I suspect that the latter may possibly be a piece of Yazīd b. ʿAbdullāh like Petrie, nos. 238–9 (see below under no. 32). The blurred epigraphy of both has a 3rd century appearance, and the formulas would seem to resemble somewhat those appearing on the pieces of al-Wāthiq and al-Mutawakkil published by Jungfleisch, and the University College weights just mentioned. The inscriptions are so blurred, however, that single words cannot be made out. Aside from the major contribution of Jungfleisch's article referred to — the first publication of a Ṭūlūnid vessel stamp and weight — the description of these 3rd century ʿAbbāsid glass pieces is important in that it will facilitate the identification of similar and related pieces, attempts to decipher which have heretofore been abandoned as hopeless.

32. Disk-weight, wuqīyah. Yazīd b. ʿAbdullāh, Governor, 242–253 A.H. = 856–867 A.D.

بسم لله مما

امر به الامير يزيد بن

عبد الله مولى امير


"In the name of Allāh: of what ordered the Amīr Yazīd b. ʿAbdullāh, Freedman of the Commander of the Believers."

Green. Piece: 45 mm. Stamp: 22 mm.

Depth of impression: 5 mm. 31.50 grm.

ANS (gift of L. H. Schroeder, Sept., 1949).

While the inscription is somewhat blurred, and there are a few minor chips and some pitting, the piece is otherwise intact and is therefore an important contribution to our knowledge of the "heavier" glass weights. While no denomination is stated in the legend, there can be no doubt that this is a wuqīyah (ounce) weight, its present, very slightly diminished, weight tallying well with those other intact wuqīyahs tabulated in EAG, pp. 17–18. 47 Evidence is accumulating that the Egyptian wuqīyah in the 2nd and 3rd centuries of the Hijrah approached 32 grams. 48

The mawlā Yazīd b. ʿAbdullāh b. Dīnār was governor of Egypt from 20 Rajab, 242, to 13 Rabīʿ I, 253 A.H. (22 Nov., 856, to 23 March, 867 A.D.). Although he was appointed only ʿalā al-ṣalāt, "to lead the prayers," i.e., not specifically with authority over the finances, 49 the presence of his name alone on weights suggests that he was in fact in control of the finances, at least until 247 A.H. when we learn of the appointment of Sulaymān b. Wahb as Finance Director. An interesting monument of Yazīd's days as governor is the inscription on the entrance of the Nilometer on the Island of Rawḍah, dated 247 A.H. (861 A.D.). 50 His name is not present but he doubtless supervised the construction of the building.

Four other glass pieces of Yazīd b. ʿAbdullāh have been published. One is a disk-weight 51 apparently bearing the name of al-Muntaṣir as heir-apparent, as well as that of the governor. The three others are ring-weights, 52 one of them with an effaced date (?), and the other two identical pieces with the date (?) struck out on the die, each of the latter bearing duplicate impressions.

The following three pieces belong to the category of "unidentified officials."

33. Vessel stamp. Abān b. Ibrāhīm. [EAG, p. 136.]

Similar to EAG, no. 111

Olive green. 33 × 29 mm.

ANS (gift of L. H. Schroeder, Sept., 1949).

34. Vessel stamp. Al-Ḥasan (an artisan?).



"Stamped it, al-Ḥasan."

Green. 30 mm.

ANS (gift of L. H. Schroeder, Sept., 1949).

35. Coin weight, fals of 33 kharrūbah.ʿUmar. [EAG, p. 141.]





"ʿUmar: 33."

Green. 32 mm. 6.37 grm

ANS (gift of L. H. Schroeder, Sept., 1949).

The Coptic figures on coin weights are briefly discussed in EAG, p. 11. It was there stated that the symbol image appeared to be the Coptic figure for 30, derived from the Greek λ. There can be no doubt of this. Furthermore it is certain that image stands for 33, for the symbol at the right is identical with one of the forms of the Coptic-Arabic manuscript figure for 3. Also, image, to signify 36, a deduction based on weight (EAG, p. 11), is likewise confirmed, for the symbol at the right in this case is quite similar to one of the Coptic forms for 6. 53 The present piece, together with the identical one in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, mentioned in EAG, p. 11, footnote 29, and Petrie, no. 192 (which he described as "two (dirhems)", lend metrological support to the identification of the denomination as "33." While the Boston piece appears to be underweight (6.08 grams), this one is close to the average for four weighed pieces (6.385 grams), as set forth in the table in EAG, p. 10. The one illustrated by Petrie is a little heavier, 6.40 grams.

36. One-third dinar weight. Name of official effaced.


بسم الله





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

Reverse: faint traces.

Green. 20 mm. 1.42 grm.

ANS (acquired by purchase from Cairo, 1949).

The legend of the reverse is not worn or damaged; the molten glass simply did not take the impression in the mold. To a greater or lesser degree this is true of all glass weight reverses, as they were apparently not subjected to the same vigorous pressure as that exerted by the die on the obverse. In all probability there are no truly anonymous dinar or dinar-fraction weights, those that are catalogued in this category (such as EAG, no. 131, and others in other publications) being pieces like this one with almost imperceptible traces of reverse legends. The weight of this one-third dinar is exactly what it should be.

37. Coin weight, fals of 27 kharrūbah. Anonymous.

هذا مثقا

ل فلس سبع




"This is the weight of a fals of twenty-seven kharrūbah."

Green. 30 mm. 5.25 grm.

ANS (gift of L. H. Schroeder, Sept., 1949).

There are two identical pieces, not so well preserved, in the Fouquet Collection. 54 The weight agrees well with the average of the three pieces with recorded weights (5.253 grams), 55 and is exactly the same as the two 27-kharrūbah weights of Muḥammad b. al-Ashʿath published in EAG, nos. 73–74.

38. Coin weight, fals of 25 kharrūbah. Anonymous. [EAG, p. 147.] Similar to EAG, nos. 134–137.

Green. 31 mm. 5.14 grm.

ANS (gift of L. H. Schroeder, Sept., 1949).

The weight is close to the 5.16 and 5.15 grams of the two intact similar pieces described in EAG, and is, like the latter, somewhat higher than the 5.048 gram average arrived at in the table, EAG, p. 10.

39. Coin weight, fals of 25 kharrūbah. Anonymous.

هذا مثقا

ل فلس خمس




"This is the weight of a fals of twenty-five kharrūbah."

Green. 30 mm. Broken in three pieces and fragment lacking.

ANS (acquired by purchase from Cairo, 1949).

The lām of mithqāl is reversed.

40. Coin weight, fals of 20 qīrāṭ. Anonymous.

بسم الله

مثقال فلس

واف وزن

عشرين قير


"In the name of Allāh: weight of a fals, full weight; weight of twenty qịrāṭ."

Green. 25 mm. 3.96 grm.

ANS (gift of L. H. Schroeder, Sept., 1949).

The weight is very close to the average of 20-kharrūbah or 20-qīrāṭ pieces, i.e., 3.943 grams (EAG, p. 10).

41. Vessel stamp, measure of sugar. Anonymous. 56



"Measure of sugar."

Green. Di. of stamp: 25 mm. Length of rim: 48 mm.

ANS (gift of L. H. Schroeder, Sept., 1949).

The reconstructed internal diameter of the mouth of the vessel to which this stamp was attached is approximately 60 mm.

The last letter of the second line of the stamp is almost obliterated, being very close to the edge of the stamp, but it has a downward trend and there can be little doubt that the letter is rāʾ and the word السكر. In the Fouquet Collection, 57 there is a similar vessel stamp on which the final letter, at least in the reproduction, is not apparent, but I believe the piece is the same as this. Casanova, not observing the final letter, transcribed the word السك(?), and translated it "les pastilles aromatiques (?)." If السكر is the correct reading — which it almost certainly is — then we are confronted with the possibility of two vocalizations: the word can be read sakar or sukkar. The former is a word of Semitic origin, meaning "wine" or a "beverage made from dried dates." While this is perhaps a possible interpretation, it would appear to me, especially in view of the nature of most of the other substances named on the vessel stamps, that the vocalization here is sukkar, i.e., "sugar"; in which case we have in this piece a little archaeological relic of quite exceptional interest, for unless I am mistaken the inscription is the earliest tangible documentation of the existence of the word, and therefore likewise of the substance, in 8th century Egypt. While the vessel stamp is unfortunately not dated, nor, because of the lack of an accompanying official's name, precisely datable, nonetheless an 8th century attribution is entirely reasonable by virtue of analogy with other datable vessel stamps, and is supportable on epigraphical grounds. This identification calls for an excursus of some length.

Arabic sukkar derives from Persian shakar or shakkar, which in turn is a loan-word from Sanskrit śarkarā through Prakrit sakkara (Pali sakkharā) ; and in the reverse etymological direction the Arabic word (not the Greek σάϰχαρ, σάϰχαρον, and late Latin saccharum, which likewise derived from the Persian intermediary) is the origin of all the European names for the substance, including of course our own English "sugar." The earliest history of the cultivation of the sugar cane (Saccharum officinarum) is understandably obscure in the extreme and need not concern us here. It is generally agreed, however, that Bengal, or thereabouts in south-east Asia, was the original habitat of the sugar cane, and that at a very early date, possibly as early as the 7th century B.C., the plant was introduced from that area into China, and at a later undetermined date into Persia. Hero-dotus was ignorant of sugar cane. Whether later classical writers such as Pliny and Dioscorides, who were familiar with the word, knew of the true nature of Indian sugar has been a matter of much dispute. The concensus is that they were not acquainted with sugar in our sense, and that when, for example, Dioscorides spoke in the following terms of sakcharon, the substance described was not cane sugar but a kind of "honey:"

"Sakcharon, a kind of concreted honey, found in reeds in India and Arabia Felix, like salt in consistence and crunched by the teeth as salt is. Dissolved in water and drunk, it is good for the belly and stomach and for diseases of the bladder and the kidneys. As an ointment it cleanses those things which darken the pupils."

To be sure this is not by any means an accurate or an unmistakable description of sugar derived from sugar cane, but I am inclined to agree with Sir Henry Yule that the scepticism of Salmasius (1588–1635 A.D.), and of later commentators down to the present day, with respect to the identification of the sakcharon of the ancients with cane sugar, is unjustified. It is obvious that Dioscorides, Pliny, Galen, Isidorus and others had only a vague idea of the nature of sugar cane, and that they frequently confused sugar from this source with a siliceous concretion from the joints or roots of bamboo, later known as "tabasheer" (from Arabic and Persian tabāshīr, of Sanskrit origin), which incidentally neither contains sugar, nor is sweet; but it is equally clear that by the turn of the milennium the classical world knew of the existence of sugar from India, and while uncertain as to its exact nature had adopted the word, which ever since has been applied primarily to cane sugar and by extension of meaning to similar substances derived from other sources. As von Lippmann remarks in his monumental Geschichte des Zuckers, "hard" sugar as we know it could not have been familiar to the Greek and Roman writers of the first centuries after Christ, for it was not produced in refined form even in India until after their time, but this is not to say that sakcharon was simply mel arundineum, mel concretum, sal indus, etc. 58

As remarked above, the exact date of the introduction of the sugar cane from the Ganges region into Persia is not known. If the Armenian Moses of Chorene lived, as he claimed he did, in the 5th century, then the earliest known mention of cane sugar in Persia is to be found in his Geography, in a passage in which he speaks of Jundi-Shāpūr (Junday-Sābūr) in Khūzistān, where (in the Latin translation) pretiosum Saccharum conficiunt. Unfortunately Moses' History, and to a lesser extent his Geography, contain so many anachronisms that the traditional date of the composition of his works, and in fact his entire authenticity, have been vigorously questioned by many scholars. The predominant school of criticism now would place him in the 8th century, and there are some even who incline to the 9th. However, the latest summary of the controversy, which is immensely complicated, leaves the question of Moses' date open, and since an independent view is by no means within my competence, the period to which this early mention of sugar cane had reference must remain uncertain. This much may be said: Moses' characterization of sugar in Khūzistān as "precious" certainly implies a date much earlier than the 9th century, and it would not, I believe, be out of line with the attitude of some of Moses' severest critics to assume that this passage derives from an earlier, certainly not a 5th century but possibly a 6th or 7th century, source—whatever the true date of the author's literary activity. 59

It appears quite certain that sugar cane was not being cultivated to any important extent in Persia (or ʿIrāq) during the reign of the Sassanian king Khosrau I, 531–579 A.D., for the commodity is not listed among the principal taxable soil-products of that time. 60 However, very shortly after this reign we meet with an interesting bit of evidence bearing on our question. That cane sugar was a rare and precious commodity in early 7th century Persia is a justifiable inference to be drawn from a passage in the chronicle of Theophanes (d.818 A.D.), in which are listed the treasures found by Heraclius in 628 A.D. in the palace of Khosrau II at Dastajird (Daskara). Among the rarities in the treasury were aloes, pepper, cotton clothing, silk goods, tapestries, bars of gold and silver, and sugar (ζάχαρ). This statement is not difficult to reconcile with the evidence of the Sui Annals, relating to the period 581–618 A.D. and written immediately thereafter, for we learn that ši-mi (which my friend Yüch'üan Wang assures me unmistakably refers to cane sugar) is attributed to Sassanian Persia. The implication would be that sugar cane was well enough established in Persia to be known to the Chinese in, let us say, the early 7th century. The Byzantine source implies that sugar was a precious luxury in the same category with rare spices and goods from India in precisely that same period. Unfortunately Theophanes does not specify whether Khosrau's sugar was imported (as obviously some of the commodities mentioned in the same passage were) or domestic, but I believe we may conclude, especially in the light of the Chinese evidence, and with some reserved support from Moses of Chorene, that sugar cane was being cultivated as a luxury product, at least, in Khūzistān by the end of the 6th century or very early in the 7th. 61

The validity of this conclusion is corroborated by more positive evidence as we enter upon the firm ground of the Arab conquest. Balādhuri (d. 892 A.D.) tells us that the Caliph ʿUmar (13–23 A.H. = 634–644 A.D.) ordered a survey and revision of Khosrau's tax rates (kharāj) on cultivated land in the Sawād (i.e., ʿIrāq); and, according to one of Balādhuri's sources, among the crops was qaṣab, upon which the tarif was six dirhems per jarīb, a measure of volume and likewise of area based upon volume of yield. 62 To be sure, the word sukkar is not used, but qaṣab means "cane," and the common designation of "sugar cane" is qaṣab sukkar. 63 Furthermore a later writer, Māwardi (d. 1058 A.D.), the famous political theorist, who drew upon Balādhuri and other early writers, repeats this information and uses the more precise term, qaṣab sukkar. 64 Not all authorities agree exactly on the tax rate on fields sown in other crops (palm, timber, vines, clover, sesame, wheat, barley, etc.), but with respect to sugar cane, both Balādhuri and Māwardi specify six dirhems, which is about the middle of the scale, less than vines and palms (of certain categories) and more than wheat, barley and clover. The crop, therefore was not, by this evidence, a great rarity in ʿIrāq in the first half of the 7th century; in fact, to be included at all in a list of the commonest taxable crops would suggest that in that part of the east, at least, it was already well domesticated.

There are a few supporting passages in nearly contemporary Arabic literature that deserve mention in passing. The poet ʿUmar b. abī-Rabīʿah, who died at an advanced age in either 93 or 101 A.H. = 711–12 or 719–20 A.D. mentions ṭabarzad, which, while not necessarily refined sugar, and certainly not sugar-candy, as some have interpreted the Persian term to mean, does definitely indicate a familiarity with cane sugar. 65 Another Umayyad poet, Jarīr b. ʿAṭīyah, whose death, also at an advanced age, is placed in 110 or 114 A.H. (between 728 and 732 A.D.), in a poem dedicated to the Caliph ʿUmar b. ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz, compares his own meager lot with that of another who possessed "sugar [sukkar] and raisins." 66 Both of these passages suggest that sugar was a luxury. Other early references that have been cited are less reliable, and the rare occurrences in the ḥadīth are not to be trusted. 67 Many later writers mention sugar in their accounts of the Umayyad period. For example, Masʿūdi (d. 956 A.D.) includes sukkar among the delicacies on the table of the Caliph Muʿāwiyah. 68 But such passages are not contemporary. The still later Arab lexicographers considered the word sukkar to be "recent," 69 but certainly they mean "recent," not from their point of view but from that of the classical medical and botanical writers, that is, Dioscorides, Galen, etc.

It is not necessary here to follow the development of the sugar industry in ʿIrāq and Khūzistān during the Umayyad and ʿAbbāsid Caliphates. This rapid progress has been described in detail by von Lippmann. 70 Having reviewed the essential facts relative to the appearance of sugar cane in the Near East, our immediate concern is now with the introduction of the plant into Egypt and the earliest contemporary mention of that commodity there. In spite of earlier contentions to the contrary, it is now generally agreed that sugar cane was not known to the Egyptians prior to the Arab conquest, and it is plausibly argued that it was introduced into the Nile Valley by the land route from Khūzistān via Syria almost immediately after the Arab entry into Persia and Egypt, that is after 642 A.D. By all accounts the plant took hold very rapidly in this relatively ideal climate and terrain. By Tūlūnid times (that is, the late 9th century) the production was great and the quality was the best in the world, with the result that Egypt became known throughout the Islamic world, both East and West, and beyond in Europe and China, as the home par excellence of the finest refined sugar. From Egypt the plant was soon introduced into Spain and was cultivated there under the Umayyads. In Marco Polo's day refining experts from Cairo were at the court of the Great Khan in China. The perfection of the refining process was immeasurably aided by the knowledge which the Egyptians had of chemical processes, a logical development of an age-old interest in alchemy and the resultant native skill in the use of clarifying agents. There is a wealth of literary material bearing on the industry in Egypt in the later Middle Ages, most of which has been assiduously assembled by von Lippmann. Among others Nuwairi (d. 1332 A.D.) devoted a monograph to the subject of sugar cultivation and production in Egypt, and the geographers specify the places where qaṣab sukkar was notably cultivated. All these later aspects of the history of Egyptian sugar have been adequately dealt with. 71 Our particular aim here is to establish a more specific date for the first actual mention of sukkar in the Egyptian scene.

For the early 9th century there is a precious document in the form of a papyrus land-register relating to the sugar cane (qaṣab sukkar) plantation and vegetable gardens of a certain Riyāḥ b. Salīm. 72 The papyrus apparently is not dated, but it is attributed to the period of the Caliph al-Maʾmūn (198–218 A.H. = 813–833 A.D.). Another papyrus, dated 246 A.H. = 860/1 A.D., mentioning sugar cane and indigo as exceptions in a list of land products in which certain payments might be made, has been published by Adolf Grohmann. 73 Still another 3rd/9th century Fayyüm papyrus concerns quantities of sugar calculated according to different measures of capacity. 74

The existence of these papyri lends support to the authenticity of a tradition reported by Suyüti (d. 1505 A.D.) that the famous juriconsulist al-Shāfiʿī once said, speaking of the medicinal products for which Egypt was famous ولو لا قصب السكر ما لأقمت بمصر, "and had it not been for the sugar cane, I would not have remained in Egypt." 75 Al-Shāfiʿī died in 204 A.H. = 820 A.D., and if we can trust Suyūṭi to have quoted him correctly then we may say that we have reliable evidence of the presence of sugar cane in Egypt at the end of the 2nd century of the Hijrah. In fact, on the basis of the testimony of such later mediaeval Arabic writers, we can put the date still earlier, for both Maqrīzi (d. 1442 A. D.) and Ibn-Taghri-Birdi (d. 1469 A.D.), in describing the administration of Egypt by Qurrah b. Sharīk 76 (90–96 A. H. = 709–714 A.D.), report that that energetic governor was responsible for the reclamation of neglected agricultural land including a place called Birkat al-Ḥabash, 77 where he caused to be planted qaṣab, which, as in the case of Balādhuri, can only mean qaṣab sukkar. 78 This, so far as I have been able to determine, is the earliest reference (on later authority) to sugarcane in Egypt.

To sum up, then, we have the following termini a quo : a) by non-contemporary, but quite reliable, report, approximately 710 A.D., and b) by contemporary document (the Rainer papyrus), approximately 813–833 A.D. As I have remarked at the beginning of this discourse, our glass vessel stamp cannot be exactly dated, but there can be little doubt that it was made in the 8th century, for the vessel stamps accompanied by the names of officials are all of that century and the anonymous ones are similar in epigraphy and content. In consequence this little piece takes a distinguished place not only as the earliest actual document in the history of sugar in Egypt but also as valuable confirmation of a number of later reports to the effect that sugar cane was introduced into Egypt soon after the conquest of the Nile Valley by the Arabs.

It should be emphasized that among the Arabs, as with the later Greeks and Romans, sugar was at first purely a medicament, not the popular gustatorial delicacy which it became later. As Abūʾl-Shifāʾ, the "father of remedies," it was prescribed for many ills, especially when mixed with other ingredients, long lists of which are given by al-Rāzi and Avicenna. 79 It is not, therefore, remarkable to find "a measure of sugar" among the druggists' containers, for sugar was indeed at this time part of his stock in trade, as indeed it is, in various forms, today.

42. Vessel stamp, measure of black lentils.




"Measure of black lentils."

Pale green. 24 mm.

Royal Ontario Museum of Archaeology (948.226.21) 80

Casanova (Fouquet Collection, p.371, no.150) lists a measure of "black lentils (?)," apparently with the definite article before the adjective, but there is no trace of the article here; 81 and there are examples of measures of "shelled lentils," 82 "black lentils" (with the name of the Caliph al-Manṣūr), and "red lentils." 83

The fundamental meaning of ʿadas, the seed named on this vessel stamp, is the common edible "lentil," that is, Lens esculenta or Ervum lens of the family Leguminosae, a Eurasian annual which is cooked like peas and beans and also ground into meal. There are many other modern uses of the name in Egypt, with qualifying adjectives or nouns, such as ʿadas ḥabashi (Cajanus flavus), ʿadas al-māʾ (with various meanings Lemna minor or "duck-weed," Lemna polyrrhiza, Spirodela polyrrhiza), and ʿadas murr (either Hedysarum, or Sparganium ramosum, "bur-reed"); but on the vessel stamps there can be little doubt that the meaning is "lentil". The mediaeval Arabic materia medica prescribed the lentil in the treatment of many diseases, and also cautioned against its use in certain instances. Avicenna recognized the seed as a blood tonic; according to Rāzi, shelled, it binds the bowels and calms the blood. Vessel stamps for "shelled lentils" are, as noted above, fairly common. There was general agreement that the use of lentils was dangerous in the "melancholy" diseases, such as incipient cancer. Dioscorides details numerous medicinal uses of the lentil, particularly when mixed with certain liquids like honey and vinegar, but he likewise warns that its use in connection with many ailments is hazardous. Popular medicine in India attributes pharmaceutical properties to the lentil, especially as a laxative, but these properties as well as the ancient appear to be imaginary; pharmacy does not recognize any scientific use of the seed today.

As they did with cumin and sesame the Arab druggists distinguished among the colors of the lentil seed. There are in fact several forms of the subspecies esculenta, with seed colors ranging from white through yellowish, reddish and grey-brown to almost black. The commonest race is the vulgaris, which has white or yellowish seeds clouded with brown or black. In Egypt and western Asia the most widely cultivated form is erythrosperma, bearing small light-red seeds, sometimes described as having a dark skin but orange-red inside. This latter form must be the ʿadas aḥmar of the vessel stamps. The ʿadas aswad could be any of the darker clouded forms. 84

In the Royal Ontario Museum of Archaeology there is a vessel stamp for a measure of white sesame seed identical with EAG, no. 180; and also in the same collection a quarter-qιsṭ stamp with the name of the official effaced; as well as a simple "measure" stamp with a poorly preserved and undeterminable content word. 85

43. Anonymous amulet.

Similar to EAG, no. 218.

Green. 25 mm.

ANS (acquired by purchase from Cairo, 1949).

The following remarks on EAG remain to be made : 86

P.3: Add to footnote 4 (and p.68, footnote 98), Monneret de Villard, "Exagia Bizantini in Vetro," Rivista Italiana di Numismatica, 1922, pp.93–106.

P. 14: The primary references for footnotes 40 and 41 are Berytus, II (1935), pp. 139–140, and ibid., pp. 140–141. The weights are unlike the Egyptian disk- and ring-weights in shape.

P. 25: It should be remarked here, and passim, that when امر is not followed by the preposition bi, the word should be translated "order of," not "ordered."

P.26: امتع الله به, not له. The phrase occurs on nos. 90, 92–93.

P.27: وافية etc., not وافية; and [وقية كبير[ة (see no.116); and ثمنية, not ثمنية.

Pp. 28 and 78–9: تملّس. This is entirely wrong; the word is نفيس, "excellent, fine, of the first quality." I owe this reading to M. Marcel Jungfleisch. In the University College Collection there is a beautifully preserved stamp for chick-peas (no.191), with the same word. Petrie mistakenly read "eighty" (ثمانين). Another occurrence of نفيس is on the nearly intact measuring cup for olive oil discussed infra, p. 53, and illustrated in Plate III.

P. 72 and passim: The transliteration of بن as bin is admittedly an unsatisfactory expedient. It really should be ibnu; but to represent it so, in transliterations which are word-for-word and line-for-line transcriptions or translations of the original, implies at least that the alif is present, which it rarely is. Another expedient, bn, to avoid this embarrassment, might be used, but to the reader of the English text this is both ugly and unreadable.

P. 98: The continuation of Qurʾān, XXVI, 181, is contained in EAG, no. 129.

P. 106: I am still not satisfied that كيل is a name. Cf. the suggestive metrological meanings in Dozy, Supplément aux Dictionnaires Arabes, II, p.506. But what then would be the connection with طبعه?

P. 125: The copper coins issued by Maṭar were not struck at Qinnasrīn. Cf. my Rare Islamic Coins (American Numismatic Society Numismatic Notes and Monographs, No. 118, New York, 1950), no. 407. The coins are indubitably of Egyptian manufacture.

P.135: The copper coins referred to are not correctly attributed to Abū-Jaʿfar Ashinās (cf. Rare Islamic Coins, nos. 405–406). Hence the conclusion that Ashinās' authority "already extended beyond Egypt into ʿIrāq" is unwarranted.

P.139: John Walker (Numismatic Chronicle, 1949, p.117) suggests "Abūʿl-Wahhāb ibn Tamīm" for the official on vessel stamp no. 118.

P. 145: The Qurʿānic admonition quoted at the bottom of the page (with the first letter omitted, perhaps on the original, or by error in the drawing) occurs on a glass weight from Transjordan. 87

P. 150: N0.153 probably should not have been included in the book. The epigraphy suggests a later date. Cf. Florence Day in American Journal of Archaeology, 1949, p.332.

P. 157: So also no. 220 should be excluded as a piece with probably 4th/10th century epigraphy. Cf. Florence Day, loc. cit., and John Walker, loc. cit.

The somewhat detailed study which I have made in the present catalogue of the substances contained in vessels to which stamps were attached (an inquiry which was unduly neglected in EAG) suggests a general observation which should be made here. I refer especially to EAG, pp. 18–22, 68. It will have been remarked that all the seeds and substances discussed above had in mediaeval and ancient times medicinal or pharmaceutical uses. To these materia might be added some others appearing on vessel stamps in EAG and in other publications (especially in the Fouquet Collection): for example, julubbān (Lathyrus sativus, "chickling vetch"), 88 which might also be read jullanār (Punica granatum, "pomegranate"), 89 duhn ("oil," perhaps of sesame), 90 ṭilāʾ ("ointment"), 91 zayt ("olive oil," a very common one), 92 bisillah, for bisīllah or bisilla (Pisum sativum, "common pea"), 93 jubnah, or jubn ("cheese"), 94 khaukh ("peach"), 95 and al-fūl (Vicia faba, "broad bean"). 96 Each one of these, aside from its common nutritive use, had its place in the mediaeval pharmacopoeia. My failure to observe this fact caused me to miss entirely the obvious explanation of the use of these vessel stamps: it must now be apparent that they were attached to the cups and bowls in which druggists measured and doubtless sold their pharmaceuticals. Viewing the substances and liquids as grocers' wares and attempting to find an explanation that would reduce the number of such receptacles required in the bazaars of Fuṭsāt, I suggested that the vessel stamps were for use in connection with tax payments in kind (EAG, pp.21–2). This solution is obviously mistaken. That there should have been special glass containers for drugs, which were more costly than groceries and were sold in lesser quantities, is quite reasonable. The size of the measures is another obvious clue to their true purpose: ordinary groceries would not have been retailed in such small amounts as a quarter-qisṭ (roughly a quarter-pint), which is one of the quantities commonly specified on the stamps. These containers were, in fact, the 8th century equivalent of the jars and bottles in which we buy proprietary products or receive our doctors' prescriptions from the pharmacy today.

This observation opens up an interesting and almost unexplored field of minor research: what were the types and shapes of early Egyptian Arab druggists' containers, and what, if any, was the prototype of the Egyptian Arab druggist's stamp? The matter was briefly discussed in EAG, p.18, where mention should have been made of Fouquet Collection, no.36 (p.364), a stamp attached to a sizable fragment of the mouth of the vessel. Casanova included a rough reconstructed, unsealed drawing of the vessel, which shows a marked bulge in the body, but, as the author remarks, without a pronounced neck. Casanova also observed, apropos of nos. 37–46 in the Fouquet Collection (p.364) that the size of the stamp and the size of the neck are not proportionate.

Such casual inquiry as I have made into the forms of Egyptian drug-containers has not been very fruitful, but I suspect that concentrated research in two directions, the archaeological and the literary, would produce some quite interesting results. The Arabic treatises and compendia on pharmacology should be searched; this I have not attempted to do. 97 As for the European literature, the few works that I have consulted suggest that specialized research in the history of drug-containers has been limited largely to the European Renaissance and later, and that few inquiries have been pursued into remoter periods, with the exception perhaps of the ancient Greek. Glass containers of various types and shapes for drugs and cosmetics were used in Greek and Roman times as well as in the Middle Ages, but there appear to be wide gaps in the genealogy of druggists' jars and bottles, particularly between classical times and the 16th century when tin and ceramic vessels became the general rule. 98 Concern with the preservation of drugs can be traced to very early times. Dioscorides, for example, mentions the preferred materials for containers of various kinds of medicines: 99 silver, glass or horn for "moist medicines," brass for eye-medicines, tin for fats, etc., lime-wood and box-wood, and, of course, earthenware, providing it is not too porous.

Particular interest in the present connection attaches to the question of the labeling of drug-containers. One would expect to find a Coptic or Byzantine prototype of our 8th century Arabic stamps, just as the Umayyad coin-weights developed from the Coptic exagia which the Arabs found in use upon their arrival in Egypt, 100 but I have been unable to find any trace of such a direct precursor, although a few ancient inscribed drug-containers are known. 101 It would seem that the 8th century Egyptian Arab applied druggist's stamp is an original invention. In mediaeval Europe, and perhaps in earlier times, the usual practice was apparently to attach to the cover or stopper of the jar a removable label of leather, parchment, paper, wood or tin. From the 17th century on, permanent painted or inscribed labels on ceramic vessels are common, but nothing quite similar to the 8th century stamp of Fuṭsāṭ has come to my attention.

The archaeological attack upon the problem of the shape of the vessels with which we are concerned, and of their earlier and later genealogy, should be carried out in Egypt. Correspondence with M. Marcel Jungfleisch suggests that a wealth of valuable material awaits the student in Cairo. In response to queries of mine, M. Jungfleisch has been good enough to investigate the resources of the Musée de l'Art Arabe; to him and to the Director of that museum, Hussein Bey Rached, I am indebted for the photographs of the interesting measuring cups illustrated in Plate III. It will be observed that the shapes and sizes of these vessels vary considerably, 102 and that the position of the stamp is not constant. Only one inscription is preserved (no. 2): مكيلة|زيت|نفيس "measure of olive oil, fine." 103 It is earnestly to be hoped that M. Jungfleisch, or others who have ready access to this rich material, will find the time to publish a comprehensive study of these and similar pieces.

End Notes

R. Ettinghausen (The Journal of the Walters Art Gallery, II, p. 75, footnote 8) listed the known pieces issued in the names of Umayyad Caliphs. My belief that the attribution of certain pieces to Yazīd I is to be rejected is expressed below, p. 8. To Ettinghausen's list should be added those of ʿAbd al-Malik, Yazīd II (no. 3 below) and Hishām, in L'Émir Djafar Abdel-Kader, "Monnaies musulmanes et poids en verre inédits", Mélanges Syriens offerts à Monsieur René Dussaud, I (Paris, 1939), pp. 399–400.
Lane, Arabic-English Lexicon, I8, pp. 3053–4; Dozy, Supplément aux dictionnaires arabes, II, p. 805; Ahmed Issa Bey, Dictionnaire des noms des plantes en Latin, Français, Anglais et Arabe (Cairo, 1930), pp. 98, 101; Dioscorides, II, no. 215 (Gunther, p. 228). I have used the re-edition of the early English translation, Robert T. Gunther, The Greek Herbal of Dioscorides , Oxford, 1934; the authoritative edition is that of Max Wellmann, 3 vols., Berlin, 1906–14. Al-Ghāfiqi, M. Meyerhof and G. P. Sobhy, The abridged version of "The Book of Simple Drugs" of Ahmad ibn Muhammad al-Ghâfiqî by Gregorius Abu'l-Farag (Barhebraeus), The Egyptian University, Faculty of Medicine, Publication no. 4 (Cairo, 1932–1940), no. 276, pp. 572–415; Ibn al-Bayṭār, Kitāb al-jāmiʿ li-mufradāt al-adwiyah wa'l-Aghdhiyah, transl. L. Leclerc, in Notices et extraits des manuscrits de la Bibliothèque Nationale (vols. XXIII1, XXV1, XXVI1, 1877–1883), no. 2291, vol. XXVI1, pp. 413–414. Reno Muschler, A Manual Flora of Egypt (Berlin, 1912), I, p. 428; M. Grieve, A Modern Herbal (New York, 1931), II, pp. 852–853 (mentioning the use of woad leaves as a plaster applied to the region of the spleen and as an ointment for ulcers, inflammations, etc., and to stanch bleeding). For the use of indigo dye by the Arabs cf. R. B. Serjeant in Ars Islamica, XIII–XIV, p. 117; indigo in Persia and China is discussed by Berthold Laufer, Sino-Iranica (Field Museum of Natural History, Anthropological Series, vol. XV, no. 3, Chicago, 1919), pp. 370–371.
This piece was purchased from the Brummer Collection and is said to have come from Fusṭāṭ.
P. 366, no. 95.
P. 343; cf. p. 367, footnote 1.
EAG, p. 3, footnote 5.
Paris (I), p. XLV, and Djaʿfar Abd-al-Kader, "Deux unités pondérales musulmanes omayyades", Berytus, II (1935), pp. 139–140.
Cf. EAG, pp. 9–11.
P. 67.
This piece is from the Egypt Exploration Society's expedition to Armant (cf. Mond and Myers, Temples of Armant (1940), G 9, pp. 124, 209).
Lane, I1, p. 306; Ahmed Issa, p. 112; Dioscorides, II, no. 132 (Gunther, p. 144), Ibn al-Bayṭār, no. 406 (vol. XXIII1, pp. 304—306); Ernest Sickenberger, "Les plantes Égyptiennes d'Ibn el Beïtar" in Bulletin de l'Institut Égyptien, ser. 2, no. 10 (1889, publ. 1890), p. 9; Muschler, I, pp. 474–475; George Watt, A Dictionary of the Economic Products of India (Calcutta, 1889–1896), L. 578; U. P. Hedrick, Sturtevant's Notes on Edible Plants (Albany, 1919), p. 342; Grieve, II, pp. 502–503; Gustav Hegi, Illustrierte Flora von Mittel-Europa, IV3 (Munich, no date), p. 1153; The Dispensatory of the United States of America , 24th edition (1947), p. 1508.
Ahmed Issa, pp. 62, 140; Dioscorides, III, no. 69 (Gunther, p. 303); Ibn al-Bayṭār, nos. 1967–1972, vol. XXVI1, pp. 196–200, no. 1913, ibid., pp. 164–5; Muschler, II, pp. 716–717; Laufer, Sino-Iranica, p. 383; John U. Lloyd, Origin and History of all the Pharmacopeial Vegetable Drugs (Cincinnati, 1929), p. 50; Hedrick, p. 223; Grieve, I, pp. 242–243; Watt, C. 2347; Dispensatory, p. 1417; Noel L. Allport, The Chemistry and Pharmacy of Vegetable Drugs (Brooklyn, 1944), p. 164.
Fouquet Collection, p. 364, nos. 60–61.
Ibid., p. 369, no. 137.
Ahmed Issa, pp. 125, 142; A. K. Bedevian, Illustrated Polyglottic Dictionary of Plant Names (Cairo, 1936), nos. 2412, 2731; Hedrick, p. 388; Dispensatory, p. 1532.
M. 652, fol. 80r. I am indebted to the Trustees of the Morgan Library for permission to reproduce this illustration here.
It is also sometimes loosely used in reference to the Pisum sativum, or "common pea". Cf. Ahmed Issa, p. 142.
EAG, no. 183 (?), and Fouquet Collection, p. 369, no. 131 (?). Incidentally Coriandrum sativum is used pharmaceutically today in association with purgative medicines to diminish their tendency to cause griping (cf., inter alia, Allport, p. 155).
EAG, no. 180; also one in the Royal Ontario Museum (see the note after no. 42 below).
Fouquet Collection, p. 369, no. 132.
Ibid., p. 371, no. 144, muqashshar misread as "du Maḳs (?)". For muqashshar see EAG, nos. 23 and 37, and p. 87, footnote 11.
Lane, I2, p. 438, I4, p. 1420; Ahmed Issa, pp. 125, 134, 168; Dioscorides, II, no. 121 (Gunther, p. 132); Ibn al-Bayṭār, no. 499 (vol XXIII1, p. 362, no. 1218 (vol. XXV1, pp. 282–284); Watt, S. 1078; Hedrick, pp. 531–532; Muschler, pp. 884–885; Hegi, VI1 (Munich, no date), p. 176; Dispensatory, pp. 1034, 1584.
See the references to Hegi, Muschler, Watt, and the Dispensatory in the preceding footnote; also Laufer, Sino-lranica, p. 293.
EAG, no. 81; cf. Fouquet Collection, p. 391, no. 48 (?).
Fouquet Collection, p. 365, no. 75 (misread); also with a doubtful qualification, ibid., no. 76.
Lane, I2, pp. 643–644; Ahmed Issa, p. 48; Dioscorides, II, no. 126 (Gunther, p. 136); Ibn al-Bayṭār, no. 696 (vol. XXIII1, pp. 451–453); cf. Eilhard Wiedemann, "Über den Abschnitt über die Pflanzen bei Nuwairî", Beiträge zur Geschichte der Naturwissenschaften, LI [Sitzungsberichte der Physikalisch-medizinischen Sozietät in Erlangen, vol. 48–49 (1916–1917), p. 162; Hedrick, pp. 165–166; Muschler, I, p. 538.
Like no. 7, from the Brummer Collection, presumably from Fusṭāṭ.
Lane, I4, p. 1596; Ahmed Issa, p. 84; Dioscorides, III, no. 67 (Gunther, p. 301); Ibn al-Bayṭār, nos. 1019, 1341 (vol. XXV1, pp. 164–166, 344); Dispensatory, pp. 381, 463–465; Pharmacopoeia (12th revision), p. 321 (oil of fennel); cf. Allport, pp. 162, 164; Grieve, I, pp. 255–257, 293–297; Muschler, II, pp. 704–705, 707; Lloyd, p. 140.
Bernh. Dorn, Ch. M. Fraehni Nova Supplementa ad recensionem numorum muhammedanorum (Petropoli, 1855), p. 84.
Petrie, no. 198.
Ibid., p. 19.
Cf. EAG, p. 130.
Like nos. 7 and 25, from the Brummer Collection, presumably from Fusṭāṭ.
Cf. EAG, p. 135.
Wüstenfeld, II, p. 45.
Fouquet Collection, p. 391, no. 45.
Ibid., p. 373, no. 172.
No. 236.
Bulletin de l'Institut d'Égypte, XXX, 1947–8, p. 3 of the reprint, fig. 3.
Cf. the discussion of the Byzantine οὐγχία and the Umayyad wuqīyah in my little article, "A Byzantine weight validated by al-Walīd" (ANS Numismatic Notes and Monographs, no. 87 (New York, 1939), pp. 6–9.
The weight of a glass disk-weight, probably of the Caliph Yazīd II, in the Damascus Museum (Djafar Abdel-Kader, op. cit., no. 3) is puzzling: 76.23 grams is too heavy for a double wuqīyah of this standard.
Ibn-Taghri-Birdi, I, pp. 740, 746; cf. Grohmann, Corpus, I2, p.157; Grohmann, Egyptian Library, II, p. 40; Wüstenfeld, II, pp. 55–8.
Combe, Sauvaget, Wiet, Répertoire chronologique d'épigraphie arabe, II (Cairo, 1932), nos. 460–461; cf. Ibn-Taghri-Birdi, I, p. 741.
Fouquet Collection, p. 392, no. 56.
Petrie, nos. 237–239.
Ludwig Stern, Koptische Grammatik (Leipzig, 1880), table at p. 470. See also in receipts for tax payments in Margoliouth, Arabic Papyri, pp. 20ff.
P. 378, nos. 14 and 14 bis.
EAG, p. 10.
A condensed version of the following section on sugar was read at a meeting of the American Oriental Society in Cincinnati, Ohio, on April 4, 1950.
P. 366, no. 91, pl. II.
Lane, I4, p. 1391, I7, p. 2529; Geiger u. Kuhn, I2, pp. 7, 53, 54, 55, J. Ruska, s. v. sukkar, Encyclopaedia of Islām; Henry Yule and A. C. Burnell, Hobson-Jobson (London, 1903), pp. 862–864, 887; Dioscorides, II, no. 104 (Gunther, p. 125, ed. C. Sprengel, I, p. 231); Edmund O. von Lippmann, Geschichte des Zuckers (2nd ed., Berlin, 1929), pp. 76ff., 115–144, 153–I57.
Mosis Chorenensis Geographia, in Mosis Chorenensis Historiae Armeniacae Libri III, ed. Gulielmus & Georgius, Gul. Whistoni Filii (London, 1736), p. 364; cf. Alfred von Gutschmid and F. C. Conybeare, in The Encyclopaedia Britannica (11th ed.), XVIII, pp. 897–898; George Sarton, Introduction to the History of Science, I (Washington, 1927), pp. 395–396; A. O. Sarkissian, "On the Authenticity of Moses of Khoren's History", in Journal of the American Oriental Society, LX (1940), pp. 73–81, with complete bibliography of the criticism of Moses of Chorene; cf. von Lippmann, Geschichte, pp. 158–61, and Laufer, Sino-Iranica, pp. 376–377 (neither of the latter recognizing the dispute over Moses' date).
Tabari, I, p. 960; cf. von Lippmann, Geschichte, p. 177.
Theophanis Chronographia (Corpus scriptorum historiae Byzantinae), I (Bonn, 1839), p. 494, cf. Georgius Cedrenus, I (Bonn, 1838), p. 732; Laufer, Sino-Iranica, loc. cit.; cf. Arthur Christensen, L'Iran sous les Sassanides (Copenhagen, 1936), p. 463; von Lippmann, Geschichte, p. 157; Ruska, loc. cit. The latter two authorities (and others) seem to assume that Theophanes specifically considered the sugar in the royal residence at Dastajird to be exotic and Indian, but I cannot agree that this is implicit in the passage; it is, to my mind, an unwarranted inference.
Balādhuri, p. 269; cf. Max van Berchem, La proprieté territoriale et l'impôt foncier sous les premiers Califes (Geneva, 1886), p. 50; Alfred von Kremer, Culturgeschichte des Orients unter den Chalifen I, (Vienna, 1875), p. 63; von Lippmann, Geschichte, p. 178.
Lane, I7, p. 2529.
Kitāb al-aḥkām al-sulṭānīyah (ed. Max. Enger, Bonn, 1853), p. 257; cf. van Berchem, op. cit., p. 61. Incidentally P. K. Hitti, in his translation of Balādhuri (p. 427), renders qaṣab as "sugar-cane" without question.
P. Schwarz, "Die Zuckerpressen von Ahwāz," Der Islam, VI (1916), pp. 269–79; cf.Eilhard Wiedemann, "Über den Zucker bei den Muslimen," Beiträge zur Geschichte der Naturwissenschaften, LII Sitzungsberichte der Physikalisch-medizinischen Sozietāt in Erlangen, vol. 48–49 (1916–1917)> pp. 179–80; Ibn al-Bayṭār, no. 1449 (ṭabarzad), vol. XXV1, p. 402; von Lippmann, Geschichte, pp. 169f.
Dīwān (Cairo, 1313 A. H.), I, p. 19; cf. Wiedemann, "Nachträge zu dem Aufsatz über den Zucker," Beiträge, LV (loc. cit., p. 324); von Lippmann, Geschichte, pp. 180–181. For Jarīr, see A. Schaade, s.v., in Encyclopaedia of Islām.
E.g., al-Ḥuṭaiʾah (cf. Wiedemann, loc. cit. [Beiträge, LV], p. 324, and von Lippmann, Geschichte, p. 181); and among the Traditions, one cited in the Tāj al-ʿArūs, s. v. sukkar (cf. Lane, I4, p. 1391), to the effect that the water in the basin of the Prophet was sweeter than sugar, and another describing the water of Kawthar, which by many was believed to be one of the rivers of paradise, in terms of the sweetness of sugar or honey (Wiedemann, loc. cit. [Beiträge, LV], p. 327).
Murūj al-dhahab (ed. Barbier de Meynard), V, p. 76.
Cf. Lane, I4, p. 1391.
Geschichte, pp. 173ff. Cf. Alfred von Kremer, op.cit., II (Vienna, 1877), p. 283. Von Lippmann has assembled an impressive mass of material drawn from almost every conceivable source, but his lack of firsthand acquaintance with the Arabic authorities has quite naturally led to errors in fact and interpretation. In a work of such immense comprehensiveness it is not surprising that the use of source material is not always critical.
Von Lippmann, Geschichte, pp. 216ff.; Wiedemann, "Zur Geschichte des Zuckers," Beiträge, XLI (loc. cit., vol. 47, 1915, pp. 83–92), containing a translation of Nuwairi's account and also of Ibn al-ʿAwwām on the cultivation of sugar in Spain; idem, Beiträge, LII (loc.cit.), pp. 177–80, quoting Iṣṭakhri, Maqdisi, Yāqūt, etc.; Marco Polo fed. Yule and Cordier, London, 1926), p. 226.
J. Karabacek, Papyrus Erzherzog Rainer, Führer durch die Ausstellung (Vienna, 1894), no. 705, p. 183 (Inv. Ar. Pap., No. 2013). I was led to the description of this important document by a remark in A. Mez, Die Renaissance des Islâms (Heidelberg, 1922), p. 410. Karabacek lists another 9th century papyrus in the Rainer Collection (op. cit., no. 707, p. 184), also relating to a sugar plantation.
Adolf Grohmann, "Arabische Papyri aus der Sammlung Carl Wessely im Orientalischen Institute zu Prag", Archiv Orientální, X (1938), pp. 153–156 (no. 4).
Also in the Wessely collection: Adolf Grohmann in Archivum Orientale Pragense, XIV (1943), pp. 189–94 (no. 69). I am grateful to Professor Grohmann for drawing my attention to his discussion of sugar in Vol. IV of his Arabic Papyri in the Egyptian Library, p. 10; unfortunately this volume of his monumental catalogue has not been available to me.
Suyūṭi, Kitāb ḥusn al-muḥāḍarah fi akhbār Miṣr wa'l-Qāhirah (ed. Cairo, 1299 A. H.), II, p. 228.
See EAG, pp. 70–71.
Yāqūt, I, pp. 591–502.
Maqrīzi, Khiṭāṭ (ed. Būlāq, 1270 A.H.), I, p. 302, II, p. 152; Ibn-Taghri- Birdi, I, p. 244; cf. Carl H. Becker, Beiträge zur Geschichte Āgyptens unter dem Islam, II (Strassburg, 1903), p. 101 ; von Lippmann, Geschichte, p. 219.
See the very complete discussion and assemblage of sources in von Lippmann, Geschichte, pp. 194–211, 246f.; and cf. Ibn al-Bayṭār, no. 1198, vol. XXV1, pp. 264–266 [sukkar), and no. 1800, (vol. XXVI1, p. 90 (qaṣab sukkar); Wiedemann, Beiträge, LV (loc. cit.), p. 322; Ruska, loc. cit.; Watt, S. 30–486 (vol. VI, pt. 2, pp. 3–380), a very long article including a discussion of medicinal uses of sugar in India (pp. 6–7); Dispensatory, pp.1133–36.
Like nos. 7, 25 and 27, from Brummer, presumably from Fusṭāṭ.
Cf. also Petrie, no. 104, not understood, but also a stamp for "black lentils", issued by ʿUbaydullāh b. al-Ḥabḥāb.
EAG, no. 23; Fouquet Collection, p. 365, nos. 65–71.
EAG, nos. 58, 179.
Lane I5, p. 1972; Ahmed Issa, pp. 36, 91, 106, 107, 173; Dioscorides, II, no. 129; Ibn al-Bayṭār, no. 1518 (vol. XXV1, pp. 438–439); Muschler, I, p. 544; Watt, L. 252; Hedrick, p. 331; Hegi, IV3, pp. 1503–5.
Inventory nos. 948.226.23, 948.226.21, and 949 × 127.1. The first two were purchased from Brummer, the last of unknown provenance.
A few typographical errors have come to my attention: Ḥijrah for Hijrak , pp. vii and 12; wāf for wāfi, p. 27; تنخسوا for تبخسوا, p. 145. Cf. John Walker, in Numismatic Chronicle, 1949, p. 117.
Djaʿfar Abd-el-Kader, in Berytus, II (1935), p. 141.
Al-Gháfiqi, no. 215, pp. 406–408.
Al-Ghāfiqi, no. 194, pp. 370–371; Ibn al-Bayṭār, no. 494; cf. Allport, p. 212, for the use of pomegranate rind (Granati fructus cortex) as an astringent, and ibid., p. 217, the use of pomegranate bark (Granati cortex) as an anthelmintic drug.
Cf. Lane, I3, p. 926.
Ibid., I5, p. 1876.
Dioscorides, I, no. 30 (Gunther, p. 25); Ibn al-Bayṭār, no. 1141 (vol. XXV1, pp. 227–228).
Lane, I1, p. 206; Ibn al-Bayṭār, no. 287.
Lane, I2, p. 376; al-Ghāfiqi, no. 226, pp. 423–424; Ibn al-Bayṭār, no. 467 (vol. XXIII1, pp. 343–346).
Ibn al-Bayṭār, no. 830 (vol. XXV1, p. 62).
Lane, I6, p. 2463; cf. Dioscorides, II, no. 127.
Attention is invited to the excellent little brochure on Arabian pharmacology, containing four popular but authoritative articles by Max Meyerhof in Ciba Symposia, vol. 6, nos. 5 and 6, Summit, New Jersey, Aug.–Sept., 1944. There are several suggestive references here to literature in which descriptions of early mediaeval drug-containers might be found.
Cf. Josef Anton Häfliger, Pharmazeutische Altertumskunde und die Schweizerische Sammlung für historisches Apothekenwesen an der Universität Basel (Zurich, 1931), especially pp. 62, 65, 81–2; and Paul Dorveaux, Les Pots de Pharmacie (2nd ed., Toulouse, 1923). My thanks are due to Dr. George Urdang, Director of the American Institute of the History of Pharmacy, Madison, Wisconsin, and to Miss Madeline E. Stanton, in charge of the Historical Library, Yale University School of Medicine, for bringing these two works to my attention. Dorveaux (p. 6) speaks of polychrome faience containers in 16th century France which were referred to by contemporary writers as "de Damas", or "œuvres d'oultre mer", but while this style doubtless was imported or copied from the Near East and resulted from contacts during the later crusades, there is obviously scant relationship with our 8th century Egyptian vessels. European glass containers with enameled decoration are said to have been produced in Venice in the 15th century (George Urdang and F. W. Nitardy, The Squibb Ancient Pharmacy, New York, 1940).
Dioscorides, Book I, Introductory (Gunther, p. 4).
Cf. EAG, pp. 3,68.
Cf. Häfliger, op. cit., p. 65. For a discussion of endorsement stamps on ancient Greek clay jars, and citation of the extensive literature on the subject, see Virginia Grace, "Standard Pottery containers of the ancient Greek World", in Commemorative Studies in Honor of Theodore Leslie Shear, Hesperia , Supplement VIII (1949), pp. 175–89.
No. 1: Inv. no. 13.716/1, height 42 mm.; No. 2: Inv. no. 14.696, height 75 mm.; No. 3: Inv. no. 13.716/5, height 61 mm.; No. 4: Inv. no. 13.715, height 100 mm., diameter 45 mm. No.5: Inv. no. 13.716/3, height 34 mm. M. Jungfleich has been good enough to measure the capacity of these cups by pouring fine sand into them from graduates, with the following results: No. 1, 15cc.; No. 2, 60cc.; No. 3, 40CC., No. 4, 176CC.; No. 5, slightly less than 3cc.
Cf. p. 47, above.

End Notes

Numismatic Notes and Monographs, No. 111 (New York, 1948). A brief article based on some of the contents of the present volume has appeared under the title, "Cumin and Vinegar for Hiccups, A Note on Pharmaceutical Archaeology", in Archaeology, Vol. 4, no. 1 (Spring 1951), pp. 23–4.
Proceedings of the American Numismatic Society, 1947, pp. 15–17; 1948, p. 8. A few Fāṭimid glass weights, not relevant here, were included in Mr. Schroeder's latest gift.
Hereafter referred to as EAG.
A few others in the same collection not meriting full descriptions are referred to in passing. I have to thank Mr. F. H. Armstrong for sending me casts of all the early Arabic glass pieces in the Toronto Museum.
A catalogue of the 106, mostly Fāṭimid, glass pieces in that collection has been prepared by the writer; a brief summary of the contents of the Streeter Collection appeared in the Report of the Historical Library, 1948–1949 (Yale University School of Medicine), p. 16. I am grateful to Dr. John F. Fulton and Miss Madeline E. Stanton for their cooperation in putting the Streeter Collection at my disposal for study.
May I express here my sincere thanks to Mr. G. L. Whittrock of the New York Botanical Garden and to Miss Elizabeth Hall, Librarian of the same institution, for their kindly guidance in my use of the modern botanical literature; and to my friend Dr. Archibald Malloch, formerly Librarian of the New York Academy of Medicine, who read through the entire manuscript.



  • Abān b. Ibrāhīm, 31
  • al-ʿAbbās b. Ibrāhīm, 26
  • ʿAbd al-Malik (Caliph), 4, 8
  • ʿAbd al-Malik b. Marwān, 14
  • ʿAbd al-Malik b. Yazīd, 19–21
  • ʿAbd al-Raḥmān b. Yazīd, 21
  • ʿAbdullāh (Caliph), 4, 15, 17
  • ʿAbdullāh b. Rāshid, 22–23
  • Abū-Jaʿfar Ashinās, 27–28, 48
  • Abūʾl-Wahhāb b. Tamin, 48
  • Arabia Felix, 36
  • Ashinas, 27–28, 48
  • Bengal, 35
  • Birkat al-Ḥabash, 44
  • Cairo, 42
  • Carthage of Spain, 16
  • China, 35, 42
  • Daskara, 38
  • Dastajird, 38–39
  • Dāʾūd, 10
  • Dāʾūd b. Ayman, 10–11
  • Fusṭāṭ, 8, 23, 26, 45, 50, 53
  • Galatia, 16
  • Ganges, 37
  • Ḥafṣ b. al-Walīd, 7
  • al-Ḥasan, 31
  • Heraclius, 38
  • Hishām (Caliph), 4
  • India, 36, 39, 45
  • ʿIrāq, 38–39, 41, 48
  • ʿĪsā b. abī-ʿAṭā, 12–13
  • Ismāʿīl b. Ibrāhīm, 25–26
  • Jaʿfar al-Imām al-Mutawakkil, 28
  • Jarīr b. ʿAṭīyah, 40
  • Junday-Sābūr, 37
  • Jundi-Shāpūr, 37
  • Kawthar, 41
  • Kayl, 20
  • Khosrau I, 38
  • Khosrau II, 38–39
  • Khūzistān, 37, 39, 41–42
  • Lycia, 16
  • al-Mahdi (Caliph), 25–26
  • Mālik b. Dalham, 27
  • al-Maʾmūn (Caliph), 43
  • al-Manṣūr (Caliph), 14–15, 17, 45
  • Maṭar, 48
  • Muʿāwiyah (Caliph), 41
  • Muḥammad b. al-Ashʿath, 22–23, 33
  • Muḥammad b. Shuraḥbīl, 19–21
  • Muḥammad b. Sulaymān, 26–27
  • al-Muntaṣir (Caliph), 31
  • Mūsā b. abī'l-ʿAbbās, 27–28
  • Muslim b. al-ʿArāf, 11
  • al-Muʿtaṣim (Caliph), 28
  • al-Mutawwakil (Caliph), 28–29
  • Nawfal b. Furāt, 21
  • Persia, 35, 37–38, 42
  • al-Qāsim b. ʿUbaydullāh, 9–12
  • Qinnasrīn, 48
  • Qurrah b. Sharīk, 44
  • Qutaybah, 12
  • Rawḍah, 30
  • Riyāḥ b. Salīm, 43
  • Ṣafwān b. Shabbah, 12
  • Sawād, 39
  • al-Shāfiʿī, 43
  • Spain, 42
  • Sulaymān b. ʿAbd al-Malik (Caliph), 4
  • Sulaymān b. Wahb, 30
  • Syria, 24, 42
  • ʿUbaydullāh b. al-Ḥabḥāb, 5, 7, 45
  • ʿUmar, 31
  • ʿUmar (Caliph), 39
  • ʿUmar b. ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz (Caliph), 40
  • ʿUmar b. abī-Rabīʿah, 40
  • ʿUqbah b. ʿĀmir, 8
  • Usāmah b. Zayd, 4
  • al-Wāthiq, 29
  • Yazīd I (Caliph), 4, 8
  • Yazīd II (Caliph), 4, 7–8, 30
  • Yazīd III (Caliph), 7–8
  • Yazīd b. ʿAbdullāh, 29–30
  • Yazīd b. Ḥātim, 21, 25
  • Yazīd b. abī-Yazīd, 12–14
  • Ẓafar, 12
  • ....b. Ayman, 10


  • ʿadas, 45
  • aḥmar, 46
  • aswad, 46
  • ḥabashi, 45
  • al-māʾ, 45
  • murr, 46
  • Ammiaceae, 15
  • anethon, 24
  • Anethum foeniculum, 24
  • Anethum graveolens, 24
  • anise, 16, 24
  • Anisum vulgare, 16
  • ānīsūn, 15
  • bean, broad, 50
  • bisilla, 50
  • bisillah, 49
  • bisīllah, 50
  • bur-reed, 46
  • Cajanus flavus, 45
  • caraway, 16
  • cheese, 50
  • chick-pea (black, red, white), 22–23
  • chickling vetch, 49
  • Cicer arietinum, 23
  • coriander, 17–18
  • Coriandrum sativum, 18
  • Cruciferae, 6
  • cumin, 15–17, 46
  • —, Abyssinian, 16–17
  • —, Armenian, 16
  • —, black, 16–17
  • —, cultivated, 17
  • —, garden, 17
  • —, of Kirmān, 16–17
  • —, of Nabataea, 16
  • —, of Persia, 16
  • —, of Syria, 16
  • —, white, 15–16, 22
  • —, wild, 16–17
  • —, yellow, 16
  • Cumini fructus, 16
  • Cuminum, 15
  • cyminum, 15
  • dill, 24
  • —-water, 24
  • dinar, 4–5, 19, 25, 27, 32
  • —, one-half, 26
  • —, one-third, 25, 32–33
  • dirhem, 4, 32
  • duck-weed, 46
  • duhn, 49
  • Ervum lens, 45
  • fals, 9, 31, 33–34
  • al-kabīr, 9
  • fennel, 23–24
  • —-flower, 17
  • —-tea, 24
  • —-water, 24
  • Foeniculum vulgare, 24
  • al-fūl, 50
  • garden-dill, 24
  • gingelly, 18
  • Granati cortex, 49
  • Granati fructus cortex, 49
  • ḥabb al-kuzburah, 18
  • Hedysarum, 46
  • ḥimmaṣ (ḥimmiṣ), 23
  • muqashshar, 23
  • honey, 36, 41, 46
  • indican, 6
  • indigo, 6–7
  • Isatis lusitanica, 6
  • tinctoria, 6
  • jarīb, 39
  • jubn, jubnah, 50
  • juljulān, 17–18
  • miṣri, 18
  • al-ḥabashah, 18
  • —, red, 19
  • jullanār, 49
  • julubbān, 49
  • kammūn, 15–16
  • abyaḍ, 15–17
  • aswad, 16–17
  • karāwīyā, 24
  • kharrūbah, 9, 31, 33–34
  • khashkhash, 18
  • khaukh, 50
  • kuzburah, 17
  • kyminon, 15
  • Lathyrus sativus, 49
  • Leguminosae, 14, 23, 45
  • Lemna minor, 46
  • Lemna polyrrhiza, 46
  • Lens esculenta, 45–46
  • — — erythrosperma, 46
  • — — vulgaris, 46
  • lentil, 45–46
  • —, black, 45
  • —, red, 45
  • —, shelled, 45–46
  • Liquorice Powder, 24
  • lotus, Egyptian, 18
  • lupine, 14
  • Lupinus albus, 14
  • pilosus, 14
  • proliferatus, 14
  • sativus, 14
  • termis, 14
  • vulgaris, 14
  • meat, 9–10, 14
  • mel arundineum, 37
  • concretum, 37
  • muqashshar, 18
  • Nigella sativa, 17
  • nīl, 6
  • nutmeg flower, 17
  • oil, 49
  • — of sesame, 19, 49
  • —, olive, 5, 7–8, 13, 49, 53
  • ointment, 49
  • olive oil, see oil, olive
  • opium poppy, 18
  • pea, common, 18, 50
  • peach, 50
  • Pedaliaceae, 18
  • Pimpinella anisum, 16
  • Pisum sativum, 18, 50
  • Plantago exigua, 17
  • pumilla, 17
  • pomegranate, 49
  • — bark, 49
  • — rind, 49
  • Punica granatum, 49
  • qaṣab, 39, 40, 42–45
  • qīrāṭ, 34
  • qisṭ, 11, 21, 24, 26
  • —, one-quarter, 5, 7–8, 11–13, 21, 27, 47, 50
  • Ranunculaceae, 17
  • raṭl, 10, 14, 20, 22
  • —, one-half, 7, 9–10
  • rāziyānaj, 24
  • saccharum, 35, 37
  • officinarum, 35
  • sakar, 35
  • sakcharon, 36–37
  • sakkara, 35
  • sakkharā, 35
  • sal indus, 37
  • sesame, 17–19, 46
  • sesame-seed, 17–19
  • — —, black, 18–19
  • — —, grey, 19
  • — —, red, 17, 19
  • — —, shelled, 18
  • — —, white, 18–19, 47
  • Sesamum indicum, 18
  • orientale, 18
  • shakar, 35
  • shakkar, 35
  • shamār, 24, 25
  • shūnīz, 17
  • simsim, 18
  • Sparganium ramosum, 46
  • Spirodela polyrrhiza, 46
  • sugar, 34–45
  • — cane, 35–36, 38–41, 43–44
  • sukkar, 35, 39–45
  • śarkarā, 35
  • ši-mi, 38
  • ṭabarzad, 40
  • tabāshīr, 36
  • ṭilāʾ, 49
  • turmus, 14
  • Umbelliferae, 15, 24
  • Vicia faba, 50
  • wasmah, wasimah, 6
  • wazn, 9
  • woad, 6
  • — leaves, 5–7
  • wuqīyah, 21, 29–30
  • wusmah, 6
  • zayt, 49


  • 4 اسامه بن زيت
  • 25 اسمعيل بن ابراهيم
  • 4, 8, 14-15, 17, 25, 29 امير المؤمنين
  • 14 ترمس
  • 47 تملس
  • 25, 32 ثلث
  • 28 جعفر الامام المتوكل
  • 17 الجلجلان الاحمر
  • 31 الحسن
  • 7 حفص بن الوليد
  • 22 حمص
  • 9, 33 خروبة
  • 5, 19, 32 دينر
  • 8, 11, 13, 21, 27 ربع
  • 10, 20 رطل
  • 8, 13, 53 زيت ، الزيت
  • 34 السكر
  • 4 سليمن
  • 23 الشمار
  • 12 صفوان
  • 12 ظفار
  • 4, 7, 14-15, 17, 28 عبد الله
  • 14-15, 17 عبد الله امير المؤمنين
  • 22-23 عبد الله بن راشد
  • 19, 21 عبد الرحمن بن يزيد
  • 20-21 عبد الملك بن يزيد
  • 5 عبيد الله بن الحبحاب
  • 45 عدس اسود
  • 31 عمر
  • 13 عيسى بن ابى عطا
  • 33-34 فلس
  • 9 فلس الكبير
  • 9-11 القاسم بن عبيد الله
  • 34 قيرط
  • 8, 11, 13, 21, 26-27 قسط ، القسط
  • 16 كراويا
  • 15, 22 كمون الابيض
  • 16 كمون ارمنى
  • 16 كمون اسود
  • 16 كمون برّى
  • 17 كمون بستانى
  • 16 كمون حبشى
  • 20, 48 كيل
  • 10 اللحم
  • 28 المتوكل
  • 5, 9, 19, 25, 32-34 مثقال
  • 22-23 محمد بن الاشعث
  • 26-27 محمد بن سليمن
  • 20-21 محمد بن شرحبيل
  • 11 مسلم بن العراف
  • 5 مكيلة
  • 26 بن المهاجر
  • 25 المهدى
  • 27 موسى بن ابى العباس
  • 10 نصف رطل
  • 47-48, 53 نفيس
  • 9, 34 وزن
  • 5 وسمة
  • 8 يزيد
  • 13 يزيد بن ابى يزيد
  • 29 يزيد بن عبد الله
  • 10 بن ايمن











(courtesy of musée de l'art arabe, cairo )




(courtesy of pierpont morgan library)