Sasanian Empire, Ṭabarestān, Phraates I, Silver Half Dirham
When the Arabs conquered Iran, one small pocket of resistance held out in the mountains of Ṭabarestān, led by a governor of the province, a Sasanian prince. The area was named after the Tapurians who had been deported there by the Parthian king Phraates I and was famous for its silk fabrics. In the early 8th century (711-712), they began issuing these distinctive coins like those of the Sasanians but with half the weight. The coins have a portrait of a Sasanian emperor, to the right of the portrait is a ruler or governor’s name written in Pahlavi script. On the reverse there is a Zoroastrian fire altar with attendants on either side. Zoroastrianism was the first religion known to be practised in western Asiatic history. At the far left is the year of issue expressed in words, and at the right is the place of minting, TPWRSTʾN (Ṭabarestān). These coins are now around 1250 years old and are in wonderful condition.