The paper explores the subject of poems found on silver and copper coins of the Safavid dynasty (the 16th to 18th century). It contains translation of some of these poems and their analysis. The comparison of distichs from the coins struck by different shahs reveals how they tried to give legitimacy to their reign. These efforts are especially evident in the coinage of later monarchs and pretenders to the throne of Iran. The panegyric and religious character of the poems (most of which are distichs, i.e. mofrads in Persian terminology) is put into their historical context. It also points to the most common notions found in the poems, namely: the shah as a slave or dog of the imam Ali, the comparison of gold and silver coins to the Sun and the Moon respectively. The practice of putting a poem in Persian on a coin originated in India in the middle of the 15th century and after its adoption in Iran during the reign of the Safavids it became common in the eastern part of the Islamic world (in Iran, India and Afghanistan).
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.