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1 Material Evidence and Narrative Sources: Teaching and Studying Numismatic Evidence

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Chapter Summary

This chapter deals with an anecdote that contextualizes the impact of relating numismatic data to that gleaned from narrative sources. It suggests a handful of additional guidelines to observe in the course of studying Islamic-era numismatic material. First, it should be stressed that the highest political authority is ultimately responsible for what is new on a run of coinage. In the medieval era this applied to regular gold dinars and to silver dirhams. It is not known who authorized the striking, in 2005, of the new Egyptian one pound and 50 piaster coins-which included unlabeled images of Tutankhamen and Cleopatra, respectively-but as far as the Egyptian public is concerned, the final decision rested with then-President Hosni Mubārak. Another guideline is: when offering interpretations of new coin types, scholars ought to note that these interpretations are only valid for the time and place where the innovation occurred.

Keywords: Cleopatra; Egyptian; Islamic-era numismatic material; President Hosni Mubārak; Tutankhamen



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