Nogmaals gouden muntfibula's uit de 12e-13e eeuw


  • J.N. Lanting
  • J. Molema


In a previous volume of this journal attention was drawn to brooches made of Almoravid and Almohad gold coins and of local imitations of Almohad coins (Koers et al., 1990). These brooches seem to be typical of the northern Netherlands and northern Germany, although coin brooches as such are found over a much larger area, from the 7th to the 15th century.

Since that publication appeared new literature has become available. Especially Monedashispano-musulmanas by Antonio Medina Gomez (1992) is very useful. Not only are photographs shown of both sides of each coin, but also are the inscriptions printed separately in the corresponding Arabic script, in phonetic transcription and in Spanish translation. It appears that the determinations of the coins by Koers et al. are correct. However, what they called dinars are in reality half dinars, and what they called doblas are in fact full dinars. This confusion over the names of Almohad coins is widespread, and has its origins in 12th century Christian Spain. Furthermore, the division of the coins - halfdinars of Abu Ya'qub Yusuf and full dinars or doblas of Abu Yusuf Ya'qub - is less puzzling than Koers et al. thought. In fact the first named only produced half dinars, the second only doblas.

Recently two new finds have been discovered in Friesland. The first is a brooch made of an Almohad dinar or dobla found by a metal detector user on the grounds of the Fogelsanghstate near Veenklooster, the other a fragment of a local imitation of a Almohad dinar, also found with a metal detector, on the terp Wijnaldum II. It is not sure that this imitation was used as a brooch.

The Veenklooster brooch (fig. 2) is damaged, probably by ploughing. The back is decorated with gold filigrain, in the shape of an anker-cross. Despite the fact that the coin is worn, and despite the decoration on the back, the inscriptions are legible resp. identifiable, thanks to Medina Gomez. There is no doubt that the coin was minted for the Almohad caliph Abd Allah I (1224-1227). This is of some importance, because in this case no connection with the 'Frisian Crusade' of 1217 is possible. However, Koers et al. had aiready pointed out that trade was more likely to be the source of these Almohad coins than warfare. The decoration on the back of the Veenklooster brooch is closely related to that on the Leeuwarden, Scheemda and Wirdum brooches (fig. 4). These four brooches may have been made by the same goldsmith.

The Wijnaldum fragment (fig. 5) clearly belongs to the group of imitations of Almohad dinars, known from the Stavoren and Damwoude coin brooches (Koers et al., 1990). These imitations were made by sticking together two small discs of sheet gold, decorated with the same stamp. Contrary to the genuine Almohad coins, the gold content is low (13-14 carats). The Wijnaldum fragment is part of the centre, inside the square. Although it can not be proved that this particular 'coin' was ever used as a brooch, it seems likely that these imitations were specially produced for this purpose.

Finally, attention is drawn to a brooch made of a morabitino of Sancho I of Portugal (1185-1211). which was found in or before 1984, and sold at an auction in 1985 (fig. 6). It was found near Oppenhuizen, province of Friesland. Its present whereabouts are unknown.