Author Topic: Morocco: Meaning of "Empire Cherifien"  (Read 4407 times)

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Offline <k>

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Morocco: Meaning of "Empire Cherifien"
« on: January 31, 2014, 08:12:42 PM »
The legend on this Moroccan 50 centimes, issued in 1924, reads "EMPIRE CHERIFIEN". This apparently translates as Sherifian Empire. I can't find a concise definition of the term "Sherifian" on the internet. What exactly does it mean and what is its etymology? It reminds me of the surname of the actor Omar Sharif.

Offline THCoins

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Re: Morocco: Meaning of "Empire Cherifien"
« Reply #1 on: January 31, 2014, 08:32:35 PM »
I don't know what the proper translation in English is. For Moroccan history it is probably better to look in French:
Wiki

In short this is the title used for Moroccan nobility members who are said to be descendents of the Profet through his daughter Fatima.

Offline <k>

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Re: Morocco: Meaning of "Empire Cherifien"
« Reply #2 on: January 31, 2014, 08:55:55 PM »
Thanks, TH!

Online Figleaf

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Re: Morocco: Meaning of "Empire Cherifien"
« Reply #3 on: January 31, 2014, 09:33:03 PM »
Cherif is the family name of Moulay Ali Cherif. The Ali part in his name is responsible for the current family name: Alawite (E) or Alaouite (F). There is a vague connection between Cherif and serif (calligraphy.)

Just in case you wondered, no connection with sheriff, which is a bastard version of shreve, a Saxon middle level official, itself a contraction of shire reeve (compare refer and referee.)

Peter
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Offline THCoins

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Re: Morocco: Meaning of "Empire Cherifien"
« Reply #4 on: January 31, 2014, 10:59:46 PM »
Don't think it is right to call Cherif a family name. I think it is more likely that Moulay Ali actively used the title after his name to give his new dynasty legitimacy. Also the other previous dynasties in Marocco, starting with the Irdrissids, were cherifs.

Online Figleaf

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Re: Morocco: Meaning of "Empire Cherifien"
« Reply #5 on: January 31, 2014, 11:54:06 PM »
I think the title is Moulay.

Peter
« Last Edit: February 01, 2014, 10:19:53 AM by Figleaf »
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Offline <k>

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Re: Morocco: Meaning of "Empire Cherifien"
« Reply #6 on: February 01, 2014, 01:23:38 AM »
There is a vague connection between Cherif and serif (calligraphy.)

Peter

The internet says:

SERIF - Perhaps from Dutch schreef: "a line, a stroke," related to schrijven, "to write".

Offline FosseWay

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Re: Morocco: Meaning of "Empire Cherifien"
« Reply #7 on: February 01, 2014, 12:00:23 PM »
While I have no reason to doubt that serif (in the typographical sense) derives from the same source as schrijven, I don't see why it should come from the Dutch variant in particular. Cognates of schrijven are very common in the meaning 'write' across linguistic familial boundaries - Latin/Romance scribere, écrire, scrivere and Germanic schreiben, schrijven, skriva. What I don't know is whether Germanic and Romance have independently developed successor words from a common ancestor in Proto-Indo-European, or whether all the schreiben-like words in Germanic actually stem from an early borrowing from Latin. This wouldn't surprise me, since the repository of written knowledge and literacy in the medieval world was the Church, whose language was Latin.

'Write' is a slight anomaly - its cognates, such as Swedish rita, mean to draw (a picture).

In the Slavic languages the root is pish- or pis- (e.g. Russian pisát' to write, pis'mo, a letter) which may be related to epistle (completely blue-sky thinking - haven't investigated that further).

Online Figleaf

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Re: Morocco: Meaning of "Empire Cherifien"
« Reply #8 on: February 01, 2014, 12:33:25 PM »
Not that it matters very much, but schreef is the past tense of schrijven (to write) and has nothing to do with lijn (line) or streek (stroke).

Peter
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Offline THCoins

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Re: Morocco: Meaning of "Empire Cherifien"
« Reply #9 on: February 01, 2014, 12:48:58 PM »
@Peter: And then what about "Over de schreef gaan" ? (Dutch proverb, meaning to cross the line).