top of page
  • Writer's picturesulla80

Roman Baths in 7th Century

Roman Thermae at Hamat Gader, under Israeli control a few kilometers from the Jordanian border. These Springs were restored and reopened in 663 AD by Mu'awiya I, who spared no expense in restoring the baths.

"The combination of a sacred spring, therapeutic thermae and a cultic theatre offered visitors the same type of religious, medical and social facilities which were available at many cultic centres throughout the Roman Empire."

- Hirschfeld, Yizar, and Giora Solar. “The Roman Thermae at Ḥammat Gader: Preliminary Report of Three Seasons of Excavations.” Israel Exploration Journal, vol. 31, no. 3/4, 1981, pp. 197–219.

This inscription is the only inscription to attest to the rule of Mu'awiya I in Syria. Mu'awiya I (661-680 AD) was the founder and first caliph of the Umayyad Caliphate ٱلْخِلَافَة ٱلْأُمَوِيَّة (750-651 AD), the second of four major caliphates after the death of Muhammad.

"In the days of Abd Allah ("Servant of God") Mu'awiya, the commander of the faithful, the hot baths of the people there were saved and rebuilt by Abd Allah son of Abuasemos (Abu Hashem?) the Counsellor, on the fifth of the month of December, the second day of the 6th year of the indiction, in the year 726 of the colony, according to the Arabs the 42nd year, for the healing of the sick, under the care of Joannes, the official of Gadara". The years quoted correspond to the year ca. 663 AD.

And this is a coin from the time of Mu'awiya I that imitated a Khusro drachm.

Islamic, Umayyad Caliphate, time of Mu'awiya I ibn Abi Sufyan, AH 41-60 / AD 661-680, AR Drachm, Khusro type, BYŠ (Bishapur) mint, dated AH 48 (AD 668/9).

Obv: Crowned Sasanian-style bust right; rabbi and bismillah in Arabic in outer margin

Rev: Fire altar with ribbons and attendants; star and crescent flanking flames; date to left; mint to right

Ref: SICA I 122-7; Walker, Arab-Sasanian 25; Album 5

Note: This type is now identified as an issue of Ziyad b. Abi Sufyan as

governor of al-Basra, before he was granted the governorship of

al-Kufa as well. (Album 5) administrator of the Umayyad caliphate, governor of Basra in 665–670, first governor of Iraq and virtual viceroy of the eastern Caliphate between 670 and his death.

"The public accession in Jerusalem of the fifth caliph, Muʿāwiya b.  Abī Sufyān, is unique among early Islamic ceremonies of accession  because of the existence of a near-eyewitness account of events. An  anonymous Syriac fragment, now known as the Maronite Chronicle, explains  that, having been “made king” by the “Arab nomads,” Muʿāwiya went up to  Golgotha, where a complex of Christian churches stood. there, he sat  down and prayed, before setting out for Gethsemane, outside the east  wall of the city, where he visited the church of the tomb of Mary, and  prayed. a separate report states that “in July of the same year” the  “emirs and many arab nomads gathered.” they “proffered their right hand”  to Muʿāwiya. an order went out that he should be “proclaimed king in  all the villages and cities of his dominion;” their inhabitants were  ordered to “make invocations and acclamations to him.” 
-Andrew Marsham, The Architecture of Allegiance in Early Islamic Late  Antiquity: The accession of Muʿāwiya in Jerusalem, ca. 661 CE", Chapter 4  in Court Ceremonies and Rituals of Power in Byzantium and the Medieval Mediterranean, Comparative Perspectives, The Medieval Mediterranean, Volume: 98, eBook ISBN: 9789004258150, Brill, 01 Jan 2013, p.88

Islamic, Umayyad Caliphate. temp. Mu'awiya I ibn Abi Sufyan, AH 41-60 / AD 661-680, Æ Fals. Imperial standing figure type (Type VI). Pseudo-Damascus mint. Struck circa 660s-680.

Obv: Standing imperial figure, holding long cross and globus cruciger;

Rev: Large M surmounted by trefoil ornament; pellet in each void; A/И to left; SO/C to right; in exergue, wavy line with pellet in each void.

Ref: similar to DOCAB Foss 58; Walker, Arab-Byzantine, ASK2 p. 50, Album 3522.1; Stephen Album notes: "these coins have a very distinctive style and are found to the south of Damascus, in what is now northwestern Jordan. A modest selection was published by R. Milstein in Israel Numismatic Journal, vol. 10 (1991)."

Two articles to follow-up with:

Ingrid Schultze 2010:

69 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page