Lustrous Cairo Egypt Gold Islamic Coin Fatimid Dinar al-Zahir 416 AH/1025 AD XF+
Size and weight: This is a dinar, weighs 4.2 grams and is ~22.5 mm in diameter.
References: It is Album #714 and is listed in Nicol as 1518 and identified as Type A1 of al-Zahir's coins. The coin is listed in Lane Poole's Catalog of the Khedivial Collection as number 1096-1097.
Condition: I would grade this coin as good Extremely Fine to About Uncirculated with very well defined and readable calligraphy and full centered strike. The coin retains quite a bit of luster. This coin is much better than the scan shows. A great looking coin worthy of a spot in your collection. Please see photos for additional condition information.
Historic Perspective: The Fatimid Caliphate is a Shi'a dynasty that ruled over the Islamic world of mostly North Africa from 5 January 910 to 1171. The ruling elite of the state belonged to the Ismaili branch of Shi'ism. They are also part of the chain of holders of the office of Caliph, as recognized by most Muslims, the only period in which the Shia Imamate and the Caliphate were united to any degree, excepting the Caliphate of Ali himself. The Fatimids were reputed to exercise a degree of religious tolerance towards non-Ismaili sects of Islam as well as towards Jews and Coptic Christians. The Fatimids had their origins in Ifriqiya (modern-day Tunisia and eastern Algeria) but after the conquest of Egypt about 970 AD, they built the City of Cairo and used it as their Capital.
Al-Zahir's rule was marred by riots in the capital and provinces and economic problems. Al-Zahir lost control of the government and his military commanders gained control. His reign was marred by many natural disasters such as earth quakes and famines. He died at the age of 32 years of age.
The dynasty was founded in 296 AH (909 AD) by Abdullah al-Mahdi Billah, who legitimized his claim through descent from Muhammad by way of his daughter Fatima as-Zahra and her husband Ali ibn-Abi-Talib, the first Shi'a Imam, hence the name al-Fatimiyyen "Fatimid". Abdullah al-Mahdi's control soon extended over all of central Maghreb, an area consisting of the modern countries of Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Libya, which he ruled from Mahdia, his newly-built capital in Tunisia.
The Fatimid's (Abu Tamim Ma'add al-Mu'izz li-Din Allah) entered Egypt in 358 AH (969AD) , conquering the Ikhshidid dynasty. Eventually they founded a new capital at al-Qahira "The Subduer" (modern Cairo) - a reference to the appearance of the planet Mars. They continued to conquer the surrounding areas until they ruled from Tunisia to Syria and even crossed over into Sicily and southern Italy. Under the Fatimids, Egypt became the center of an empire that included at its peak North Africa, Sicily, Palestine, Syria, the Red Sea coast of Africa, Yemen and the Hejaz. Under the Fatimids, Egypt flourished and developed an extensive trade network in both the Mediterranean and the Indian Ocean (establishing trade and diplomatic ties all the way to China under the Song Dynasty), which eventually determined the economic course of Egypt during the High Middle Ages.
After the decay of the Fatimid political system in the 1160s, the Zengid ruler Nur ad-Din had his general, Saladin, seize Egypt in 1169, forming the Sunni Ayyubid Dynasty.
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