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Coins of Arbia Felix: Himyarite Kingdom Starter Kit

This unusual coin from Ariabia Felix is from the late 1st century or early second century AD.

There doesn't seem to be much info on these coins, so I am starting this post to share resources and examples of these coins. This article on CoinWeek is a good place to start.

The alphabet picture at the link above useful for decoding the lettering:

AR Quinarius South Arabia, Himyar

Ruler: Amdān Bayān Yuhaqbiḍ

Date: Circa AD 100-120.

Mint: RYDN

Obv: Head within circular torque; monogram to left

Rev: Head right; MDN BYN ‘scepter’ to right, mint signature RYDN in exergue.

Size: 12.3mm and 1.41g

Ref: Munro-Hay 3.4i

This 2010 Article Coinage of the Caravan Kingdoms edited by Martin Huth and Peter G. van Alfen is a good second stop. Christian Robin describes six Ḥimyarite rulers that appear on coins.

  • Mubāhil dhu-Raydān (Mbhl ḏ-Rydn) (before 30 BCE)

  • Shammar dhu-Raydān (c. 30 BCE)

  • Karibʾīl Watār Yuhanʿim (c. 40–70 CE)

  • Amdān Bayān Yahaqbiḍ (c. 100–120 CE)

  • Dhamarʿalī Yuhabirr (c. 135–175 CE)

  • Thaʾrān Yaʿūb Yuhanʿim (c. 175–215 CE)

The coin above is a coin of ʿAmdān Bayān Yuhaqbiḍ who struck coins in the name of either ʿAmdān Yuhaqbiḍ or ʿAmdān Bayān (ʿmdn Byn).

Although attributions describes RYDN as the mint - this note from Christian Robin's article: "On Ḥimyarite coins, the term ‘Raydān’ (Rydn), invariably placed in the exergue, denotes the Royal palace at Ẓafār. There is little probability that these Royal palaces housed the respective mints of these kingdoms: contrary to the usual practice, Raydān, Ḥarīb, and Shaqir should thus not be interpreted as mint-names."

Here is another from the same King.

Arabia Felix, Himyarites, AR scyphate quinarius, 'MDN BYN YNF (Amdan Bayyin Yanaf), c. 80-100 AD, RYDN denotes the Royal palace at Ẓafār

Obv: Male head right within torc.

Rev: 'MDNIBYN around, RYDN in exergue, small head right; "sceptre" symbol before; YNF monogram behind.

Size: 1.27g 14mm

and another coin from the same region a century or so earlier:

Arabia, Himyarites, 1st Century BC, AR Light Denarius

Obv: Diademed male head left; symbols flanking

Rev: Bucranium with antelope horns and plume; symbols flanking

Three other resources:

Comments, corrections, and additional references are always appreciated.

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