The Ḥammūdid Caliphate: A New Look through the Lens of Numismatics

Ariza Armada, Almudena

Of the caliphates of the Islamic West, the rule of the shortest duration was that of the Ḥammūdids (407/1016–446/1055). The Ḥammūdids, as descendants of the Prophet Muḥammad and members of the Idrīsid branch that had ruled in al-Maghrib al-Aqṣā (170/786–375/985) before succumbing to Umayyad-Fāṭimid rivalry, claimed the inheritance of the Umayyad caliphate after its breakdown and were paid allegiance by given Taifa kingdoms. The paper discusses how the scarcity of texts dealing with the Ḥammūdid period can be compensated for by close consideration of the numismatic evidence. Building upon the author’s previous studies, published in Spanish, that discussed new coin hoards and new typologies and offered reassessments of the major public and private collections, this contribution offers an overview of the present-day state of the art including new readings, interpretations and valuations. It also debunks commonly accepted historiographical claims concerning the Ḥammūdid coinage and its political and religious implications, and sheds new light on the alleged ‘Shīʽism’ of the Ḥammūdids. Without the study of this particular caliphal experience, the conception of the caliphate in the Islamic West cannot be fully understood.


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Al-ʿUsur al-Wusta

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August 17, 2022