AR Dirham, 32 mm, 3.93 g, 3h, BCRA (Basra) mint AH 60/CE 679-680
SICA I, 66-75
O: portrait of Khusro II with typical Pahlavi inscription behind head, but two lines in front of face indicate "Ubaidullah bin Ziyad" also in Pahlavi. In lower right quadrant appears the only Arabic
R: fire altar with attendants. Pahlavi inscription on right is the mint BCRA for Basra and on the left is "Shast" for "sixty" which is the Hijri year equivalent to CE 679-680 early in the reign of the Umayyad Caliph Yazid I (CE 680-683) or at the tail end of the reign of Mu'awiya (CE 661-680).
This coin was minted about a year from the famous Battle of Karbala in late CE 680 (AH 61) where Husayn was killed and the date is still marked by Shi'ites during Ashura (10 Muharram). 'Ubaidullah bin Ziyad is an accursed figure in Shi'ite history. He is described by Hugh Kennedy in his "The Prophet and the Age of the Caliphates" (London; Longman Group, 1986) as "...more hasty and given to the use of force than his father, but a man whose devotion to the Umayyad cause could not have been doubted." (p. 86)
ex: FSR Auction 106 lot 414
Posted by JG at 15:15