Gold solidus struck by the Emperor Heraclius, Constantinople, 640 or 641. Diam: 1.95 cm. Inv. no. C 163. © The David Collection.

The Emperor Heraclius, who is shown on this gold coin together with his sons Heraclius Constantine and Heraklonas, ruled the Byzantine Empire between 610 and 641.
Through a series of campaigns, Heraclius vanquished the Sasanians, who had penetrated far into his realm, but in turn was defeated by the new power – the Muslim Arabs – in the battle of Yarmuk in 636. This led to the loss of Syria and Palestine and later of Egypt.
This coin served as the model for the dinar that the Umayyad caliph Abd al-Malik had struck in around 692, with all the crosses removed, however, and the Latin inscription replaced by the Muslim profession of faith in Arabic.