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AD 740-793 AR Hemidrachm Tabaristan - Silk Road Hoard (combined with old #30) Obverse

AD 740-793 AR Hemidrachm Tabaristan - Silk Road Hoard



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AD 740-793 AR Hemidrachm Tabaristan - Silk Road Hoard

The Great Silk Road, actually, a 7000-mile continuation of many segments in many countries, ran from Constantinople to China. Active for thousands of years, this road was used to transport the luxurious fabric silk, gems, spices, porcelains, and oriental art and culture which were carried from the East to the West. Furs, gold, amber, ivory, carpets, and perfumes from the West, Africa, and the Middle East were traded back along the road toward the mysterious Far East. Tabaristan sat squarely atop the main trunk route of this Great Silk Road, supplying the travelers and merchants with meat, wool, carpets, grain, silver and much more. While Western Europe was deep in the morass of the Dark Ages, areas of Central Asia, in this case Tabaristan, prospered from the eternal trade in the luxury goods of the East. In northern Persia, on the southern shore of the Caspian Sea, lay Tabaristan, where the Isphabad dynasty resisted Islamic invaders. The Isphabad believed in a religion worshipping one god, whose symbol was fire. This motif can be found on the reverse. Our hoard includes coins dating from about 740 to 793 AD, spanning to the last of the Isphabad dynasty. It includes coins struck under the famous Caliph, Haroun al-Rashid, who reigned from 786 to 809 AD and was the Caliph mentioned in a number of stories featured in the collection we call The Tales of the Arabian Nights.. The traditional design of these coins has a spectacular bust of the great king on the obverse, and two attendants flanking a fire altar on the reverse. These often included the governor’s name, but the most important thing was the universal recognition of the coin to an illiterate population and the continued acceptance of these high quality silver half-drachms by the merchants and traders working the Great Silk Road. Tabaristan favored the half-drachm denomination, struck in near pure silver, on thin, broad planchets which were much harder to counterfeit. They usually weigh about 1.97 grams each and are in amazing condition after their 1200-year burial.

This coin is made from Silver (ranging from high purity to 25% pure), denoted by the AR next to its denomination.

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