Why did an 8th Century, Anglo-Saxon king mint a coin

praising Allah?

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Why did an 8th Century, Anglo-Saxon king mint a coin

#1  Postby aliihsanasl » Sep 25, 2017 1:11 am

Why did an 8th Century, Anglo-Saxon king mint a coin praising Allah?

Barely a century after the life of Muhammad, a gold coin was minted in Anglo-Saxon England, bearing the inscription ‘there is no God but Allah alone’.

This series tells the rich, under-told and often surprising story of Islam in Medieval and Early Modern Europe, beginning with King Offa of Mercia and this enigmatic gold coin.
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Re: Why did an 8th Century, Anglo-Saxon king mint a coin

#2  Postby lpetrich » Aug 16, 2018 2:07 am

King Offa's gold coin:
The gold coin of Offa, king of Mercia, is a unique object because it imitates a gold dinar of the caliph al-Mansur. Although the Arabic inscription is not copied perfectly,the declaration that ‘There is no Deity but Allah, The One, Without Equal, and Muhammad is the Apostle of Allah,’ is clear.

...
This coin was engraved, struck and issued by Offa, King of Mercia, 757 – 796
The original from which it was copied was struck in the Islamic year AH 157 (AD 773-74) and whoever the engraver was, it seems they had no understanding of the Arabic script and this we know because the name and title OFFA REX has been inserted upside down in relation to the Arabic inscription.

...
He had cordial relations with the Roman See. Two Legates, George and Theophylact, were received by the king at a court held at Lichfield in the year 786.

Does not seem like what a Muslim would do.

The article then mentions four theories. I think that this one is the most plausible: "That the script was seen by Offa on coins he had handled in his overseas dealings as being merely ornamentation and he struck them in a likeness but added his name without understanding the significance of the script." More plausible than him converting to Islam.
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Re: Why did an 8th Century, Anglo-Saxon king mint a coin

#3  Postby Matt_B » Aug 16, 2018 6:52 am

An early example of cultural appropriation then, perhaps?
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Re: Why did an 8th Century, Anglo-Saxon king mint a coin

#4  Postby Svartalf » Mar 27, 2019 10:21 pm

Actually, if the English king had known what was written on the coin, he likely would have used a different design. But it is a fact that at the time, Arabic, muslim kingdoms were prominent for the value and reliability of their coins, so, the ruler of a minor kingdom, seeking to mint a coin that would engender confidence in the population it would be circulating among, copied servilely the arabic design, complete with religious inscription, oblivious to the fact.
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