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Dynasty: Umayyad Caliphate
Ruler: Anonymous Arab-Byzantine
Denomination: AE Fals
Mint: Tiberias*
Date of Issue: c. 680-690 AD
Obverse: Byzantine style standing emperor, holding long cross and globus cruciger; bird on standard to left.
Reverse: Large M; monogram above, "ANO XTII" flanking, "DAM" below
Reference: Walker 7; SICA 560
Weight: 3.1 gms
Diameter: 17.8 mm
Comment: *This type is traditionally attributed to Damascus based on the exergual legend. However the obverse motif of the bird perched on a T-shaped standard appears later on signed Umayyad issues of Tiberias (cf. SNAT 302). It is likely that these are issues of Tiberias copying the types of the main Umayyad mint at Damascus.


  • The Umayyad Dynasty was the first great Muslim dynasty to rule the Empire of the Caliphate (AD 661-750).
  • The Umayyads, under Abu Sufyan, were a merchant family of the Quraysh tribe at Mecca. After initially resisting Islam, they converted in 627, and became prominent administrators under Muhammad and his immediate successors.
  • Following the murder of 'Uthman, the third caliph (644-656), Abu Sufyan's son Mu'awiyah, then governor of Syria, was victorious over 'Ali, Muhammad's son-in-law and fourth caliph, establishing himself as the first Umayyad caliph.
  • Mu'awiyah I (661-680), with the help of his army, ruled as Caliph from Damascus.
  • Under him, Muslim rule expanded to Khorasan, and operations begun into Central Asia and northwestern India, and the conquest of north Africa started.
  • A new fleet of ships conducted a series of unsuccessful campaigns against Constantinople (669-678).
  • Civil war and the deaths of Yazid I in 683 and Mu'awiyah II in 684 ended the Sufyanid branch of the dynasty, when Marwan I was proclaimed caliph.
  • Under 'Abd al-Malik (685-705), the Umayyad caliphate reached its zenith. Muslim armies overran most of Spain and conquered Mukran and Sind in India, and in Central Asia, took Bukhara, Samarkand, Khwarezm, Fergana, and Tashkent.
  • Arabic became the official language.
  • The Syrian army suffered defeat by the Byzantine Leo III, the Isaurian in 717.
  • The fiscal reforms of 'Umar II (717-720), intended to placate the non-Arab Muslims, led to a financial crisis.
  • Under Hisham (724-743), the empire was reached it's limits. The Muslim advance into France was halted at Poitiers in 732 and Arab forces in Anatolia were defeated in 740.
  • After revolts in Syria, Iraq, and Khorasan (745-746), the Hashimiyah proclaimed Abu al-'Abbas as-Saffah as caliph (749), who became the first of the 'Abbasid dynasty.
  • The last Umayyad, Marwan II (744-750), was defeated at the Battle of the Great Zab River in 750. Members of the Umayyad family were killed, except 'Abd ar-Rahman, who escaped and established himself as a ruler in Spain (756), founding a new Umayyad dynasty there.

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