South Arabia, Himyarite Kingdom, Hadhur in the Name of Shahar Hilal, Denarius

This denarius was struck in Himyar, a place where the legendary treasures of the Tales from 1001 Nights were real. Trade produces affluence, and hence foreign potentates leered at Himyar now and again. The neighboring Arab kingdoms fought for the possession of these lands, and Augustus, the first emperor of Rome, tried to exercise control over Himyar also. The kings of Himyar managed to navigate cleverly between different powers, however. The obverse of this denarius shows the head of the Roman Emperor Augustus. The reverse, on the other hand, shows the owl – an image known for centuries from Attic coins. The tetradrachms of Athens were the antique currency par excellence. The indications next to the owl are of Arabic origin and appear on many Arab tetradrachms.