AN UNPRECEDENTED DISCOVERY of more than 2,000 gold coins off the north-central coast of Israel might be part of the largest gold hoard ever found in the eastern Mediterranean, according to archaeologists.
The coins are identified as dinars, the official currency of the FatEmi EMPIRE that ruled much of the Mediterranean from A.D. 909 to 1171.
A team of six sport divers spotted what they initially thought were a few toy coins on the seabed near the ancient harbor of Caesarea.
A Fistful of Dinars:
Though the discovery of gold always captures the imagination, it's the historical value of the cache that has researchers dazzled.
FATEMI dinars feature the names of the caliphs they were minted under, as well as the date and location where they were minted.
At its height in the mid-tenth to mid-eleventh centuries A.D., FATEMI rule stretched across North Africa and Sicily to the Levant, with trade ties that extended all the way to China. From its capital in Cairo, the eMPIRE controlled access to gold from sources in West Africa to the Mediterranean, and the currency crafted from the precious metal conveyed the FATEMIYEEN'S formidable power and wealth.
In contrast to coins of the first three FATEMI Imam SA, the later ones emphasized their Shi’i identity by declaring their bond to Maulana Ali ibn abi talib sa.
In 953, Imam al-Mu’izz issued dinars with a new design: a short, one-line legend was ringed by three concentric circular legends reading from the inner to the outer bands.
The wording in scripted on the Dinar express the essence of Fatemi Belief refering both Ameerul Mumineen SA and Maulatana Fatema SA.
The second and more lasting type of coin omitted the field inscriptions entirely and moderated the strength of the Isma’li idioms. The coins issued under later Imams varied between three and two circular legends and single and double marginal lines. Between 1014 and 1020, the IMAM'S heir apparent’s name was added to the dinar.