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Islamic Translation Need Assistance

TiborTibor Posts: 3,153 ✭✭✭✭✭

I need help with the following lot. The description says the outer legend states on either
side the date the coin was created. Is this the actual case or are they taking liberties just
to sell the coin. I could also use help in orienting the the date on the outer legend.
Thank you for any and all help. Tibor



  • SapyxSapyx Posts: 1,968 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited June 15, 2023 4:49PM

    The script may be somewhat garbled, and hard to read even for an expert in mediaeval Arabic (which I am not), and on this particular coin is partly missing due to wear/weak strike, but it is there. Islamic coins usually bore such dates, written out in Arabic in full, Having a large Islamic population and strong Islamic influence, the coins essentially imitate the standard Islamic coin layout in place since the early Caliphate hundreds of years earlier, only with the Christian date replacing the usual quotes from the Qu'ran.

    Here is a similar coin, that sold in 2021 for £12,000, also from Roma Numismatics so the spiel in both sales is copy-pasted: https://www.romanumismatics.com/262-lot-1127-italian-states-kingdom-of-sicily-frederick-i-later-frederick-ii-holy-roman-emperor-and-constance-as-empress-of-the-holy-roman-empire-av-tari?auction_id=163&list_type=list_view&lots_per_page=100&sort_by=lot_number&view=lot_detail

    Arabic is read right to left, so the coin legends are read counterclockwise, beginning at 12 o'clock (directly above the cross). On the coin linked by the OP, in the obverse legend (the side with FRE REX SIC in the centre), I can see the word zuriba "struck" at the top, and the word tis'in "ninety" is quite distinctive at 3 o'clock; wa theman "and eight" is certainly one possible interpretation of the heavily worn symbols in between those two words, and this is easier to read as such on the second example I linked to earlier.

    In normal Arabic writing, when reading aloud numbers or writing them out in full, you start with the units and work upwards; so instead of saying "one thousand one hundred and ninety eight" as is normal in English and most Western languages, the literal Arabic translation of the same number would normally be "eight and ninety and one hundred and one thousand". On these coins, the order is somewhat mixed-up: "one hundred and one thousand and ninety and eight" is neither proper Arabic, nor proper "Western".

    Waste no more time arguing what a good man should be. Be one.
    Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius, "Meditations"

    Apparently I have been awarded one DPOTD. B)
  • TiborTibor Posts: 3,153 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Sapyx thank you so much for all of the information. The order of the numbers on these coins might be because of lack of knowledge by the cealator and his staff.

  • John ConduittJohn Conduitt Posts: 346 ✭✭✭

    I have a lot of Golden Horde coins where the numbers for the year are in the wrong order, upside down and/or back to front. They don't even need to be next to each other. This is particularly confusing with ٧ and ٨, so that ٧٨٨ becomes ٨٨٧ then ٧٧٨ i.e. 788 appears as 778. When you're engraving back to front, you might accidentally engrave the mirror image.

    Another reason might be that when you say an Arabic number, rather than write it, you say the tens and units reversed i.e. 1198 is “one thousand and one hundred and eight and ninety”, because 98 is said "8 and 90". So if the coin reads "one hundred and one thousand and ninety and eight", that is the mirror of how it should be.

  • TiborTibor Posts: 3,153 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @John Conduitt With this knowledge and the info I gained from @Sapyx I will
    place a bid. Thank you for the info, Louie

  • HoledandCreativeHoledandCreative Posts: 2,725 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Tibor That is quite a find for you. Hope you get it for a fair price, whatever that may be. Good luck!! Dave

  • TiborTibor Posts: 3,153 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Thank you for the best wishes. I hope all is well.
    I've seen a few over the years, but haven't bid on any.
    I'll try my luck with this piece.

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