CRUSADERS. Christian Arabic Dirhams. Dirham (Silver, 23 mm, 2.85 g, 2 h), Akka (Acre), 1251. Cross pattée in center; in fields, 'one God, one faith, one baptism'; in outer margin, 'struck in Acre in the year one thousand two hundred, one and fifty, of the Incarnation [of the Messiah]' (all in Arabic). Rev. 'The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, One Divinity' within square; in outer margin, 'His is the glory, forever and ever, amen, amen' (all in Arabic). Bates/Metcalf 55. Malloy 13. Metcalf 227. Rare and unusually attractive. Extremely fine.
This short-lived issue of dirhams bearing a cross and Christian legends in Arabic was introduced in 1251 as a reaction to an intervention by Odo of Chateauroux, Cardinal-Bishop of Tusculum (1244-1273) and Papal legate on the Seventh Crusade, who disapproved of the longstanding practice by the Kingdom of Jerusalem of imitating Ayyubid dirhams with their Muslim inscriptions and datings. Due to the lack of acceptance of the new Christian coins by the Muslim population in the Levant, the issue was replaced soon thereafter by dirhams bearing no cross and a more vague legend reading 'in the name of God the merciful, the compassionate'. This common monotheistic formula was in accordance with a decision by Pope Innocent IV (1243-1254), who in 1253 permanently forbade the naming of and dating after Mohammad on Christian coins. It was also vague enough, however, to neither offend the Muslim nor the Christian population of the Kingdom of Jerusalem.