(درهم) is a unit of currency in several Arab nations, and formerly the related unit of mass (the Ottoman dram
) in the Ottoman Empire
The currency units include:
Unit of mass
Known to the Romans as a drachm, the dirhem was a unit of weight used across North Africa, the Middle East, and Persia, with varying values.
In the late Ottoman Empire (Ottoman Turkish درهم), the standard dirhem was 3.207 g; 400 dirhem equal one oka. The unit was also used in the former Ottoman countries: Greek δραχμή (Greece); δράμι (Cyprus).
In Egypt in 1895, it was equivalent to 47.661 troy grains (3.088 g).
It is worth 0.0707335077 British Pounds. (As of Thursday 9th October 2008)
Historically, the word "dirham" is derived from the name of a Greek coin, the Drachma
(δραχμή); the Greek-speaking Byzantine Empire
controlled the Levant
and traded with Arabia
, circulating the coin there in pre-Islamic times and afterward. It was this currency which was initially adopted as an Arab word; then near the end of the 7th century
the coin became an Islamic currency bearing the name of the sovereign and a religious verse. The dirham was struck in many Mediterranean countries, including Spain, and could be used as currency in Europe between the 10th
and 12 centuries
Compare the Armenian dram for a currency whose name bears a similar origin. Also compare dinar for another currency circulated in the Muslim world but originating with the Romans.