409 silver coins, found in the Mleiha area of Sharjah, were inspired by Alexander the Great and the Seleucid dynasty

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409 silver coins, found in the Mleiha area of Sharjah, were inspired by Alexander the Great and the Seleucid dynasty

Sharjah: An ancient jar containing numerous silver coins dating from the third century BCE (BCE) was recently discovered in Mleiha, the Sharjah Archaeological Authority said on Wednesday.

The coins were contained in an old jar.

The coins, minted and released in Mleiha, were inspired by coins from Alexander the Great and his successors of the Seleucid dynasty (Hellenistic state in West Asia that existed from 312 to 63 BCE).

According to the Sharjah Archaeological Authority, the earliest issues of the minted coins depicted icons from that period, including the head of Hercules (represented by Alexander the Great) and Zeus (the Greek god seated on his throne), in addition to the word ‘Alexander’ engraved in Greek script. Over time, the engraving was replaced by the word “Abel” written in Aramaic.

Ancient Greek Currency

The artefacts were first discovered by the local archaeological team in February 2021. Dr Sabah Aboud Jasim, director-general of the Sharjah Archaeological Authority, said: artefacts.

After carefully opening the jar at the Sharjah Archaeological Authority laboratory, we found it completely filled with many silver coins of the quad drachma (ancient Greek currency unit) or “tetradrachma” category.

The coins, minted and distributed in Mleiha, were inspired by coins of Alexander the Great and his successors of the Seleucid dynasty.

Dr Jasim added: “There was a total of 409 coins in the jar, each coin weighing 16 to 17 grams, and the change was silver. There were 387 pieces in single-sided molds and 22 in double-sided molds.

“Among the collection were coin designs that had been previously discovered throughout the Persian Gulf region, as well as coin designs unique to this find in Mleiha. The current collection is considered larger than any other in the region, ”he added.

Jasim noted that a similar treasure of 309 pieces, dating from the same period, was discovered in the Kingdom of Bahrain in 1970 by the Danish archaeological mission.

Significance of Mleiha in UAE history

Mleiha is a Unesco World Heritage Site in Sharjah and is home to a number of significant sites including Bronze Age tombs and pre-Islamic forts.

In pre-Islamic times, the city of Mleiha was considered one of the most important sites in the Arabian Peninsula. At the beginning of the 3rd century BC, it became an important trading center for convoys passing between the north and south of the Arabian Peninsula.

According to the Sharjah Archaeological Authority, the earliest issues of the minted coins depicted icons from that period, including the head of Hercules (represented by Alexander the Great) and Zeus (the Greek god seated on his throne), in addition to the word ‘Alexander’ engraved in Greek script.

A tombstone discovered in Mleiha, which dates back to the late 3rd century BCE, confirmed the presence of the Kingdom of Oman, and research has shown that Mleiha was likely its capital at the time.

Mleiha was considered a successful company in the region. This economic power allowed it to extend its influence throughout the Arabian Peninsula, the Mediterranean and Mesopotamian worlds, as well as in the Levant and Persia.

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Mleiha’s impact was even felt as far as Afghanistan and the Sindh Valley (formerly Kushan Kingdom). The extensive collection of amphorae jars (ancient containers used for the storage and transport of food and drink) imported from Rhodes is indicative of this far-reaching trade.

Several finds have also been discovered with languages ​​indicating Southern Arabic, Aramaic, and Zabur (which is a type of Musnad script).


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