Coins represent the most important, and also the only continuous source for almost every aspect of the history of Sasanian Iran. Despite several earlier studies, among which those of Robert Göbl deserve special mention, the quantity of Sasanian coins published so far is still relatively small, and the interpretation of this material is still in a quite embryonic stage.

Therefore, the Numismatic Commission (now research group Numismatics, division Documenta Antiqua), together with the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique in Paris (C. N. R. S., Monde Iranien: R. Gyselen) and the Istituto Italiano per l'Africa e l'Oriente in Rome (Is. I. A. O.: C. Cereti), in cooperation with P. O. Skjaervø (Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, Harvard University: paleography of coin legends) and the Institut für Wissenschaften und Technologien in der Kunst, Academy of Applied Arts (M. Schreiner, R. Linke: material analysis) has inaugurated the research project “Sylloge Nummorum Sasanidarum (SNS)”.

Its main aim is to publish all Sasanian coins in the collections of the Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris, the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, and the coin cabinet of the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna. Apart from the mere sylloge, the publication also includes a detailed discussion of all aspects of Sasanian coinage, based on a variety of different sources.

The total number of Sasanian coins in the three collections mentioned above amounts to c.12,000 specimens. The material has been divided into several volumes as follows:

Vol. I      Ardashir I., Shapur I. (224-272): M. Alram, R. Gyselen
Vol. II     Ohrmazd I. – Ohrmazd II. (272-309): M. Alram, R. Gyselen
Vol. III    Shapur II. – Kawad I./ 2. Regierung (309-531): N. Schindel
Vol. IV    Khusro I., Ohrmazd IV. (531-590): N. Schindel 
Vol. V/1, V/2    Khusro II., Bahram VI., Wistam (590-628): N. Schindel, C. Cereti
Vol. VI    Kawad II. – Yazdgerd III. (628-651); arabosasanidische Prägungen: R. Gyselen

Volumes I, II, III and IV of the main series and the supplementary volumes SNS Israel, SNS Uzbekistan, SNS Shaaf, SNS Iran and SNS Tajikistan have been published to date. Work on the last three volumes of the main series is currently underway; the next volume to be completed will be Volume VI (Khusro II).

Principal Investigator