Author Topic: Saffarids of Sistan, Taj-ud-din Harb, Need help reading Arab word.  (Read 992 times)

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Offline THCoins

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The third Saffarid dynasty ruled the Sistan/Nimruz area shortly before the invasion of the Mongol armies around 1220 AD.
The most well-known ruler was Taj ud-din Harb (1167-1215AD). During his reign some very characteristic Jitals were issued. The most common of these is type Tye#125 (Album 1427.2), which was shown here and here.

Below is a less common Jital of the same ruler. The obverse shows the name Harb in the centre. The reverse shows the Kalima with a reference to Caliph Al-Nasir. Mr Tye gives the legend as: "La illah illa / Muhammad rasul / al-Nasir ud-din / Muhammad. It is clear that on my specimen the bottom lines are missing. Interesting is however that there also is a word above the Kalima. This is known from other specimen, but in the references i consulted, like here, this is generally described as "unread".
This part of the legend in my specimen seems quite well preserved. So i did my best to read the text. However, i had a hard time to construct this into a meaningfull word. I do not think this is a mint name, because its placement directly above the Kalima. I considered "Farwan", as known mintplace, but that's located north of Kabul, very distant from the Sistan region. My best option to date is to read it as فانوس which translates as "lantern". I have doubts though. I have naturally also considered "Falus", فلوس, but that fits less with the actual inscription, and i think this would also be considered less appropriate above the Kalima. So any help from our readers knowledgeable in Arab is appreciated !

BI 16 mm, 3.35 grams. Tye#123, Album-1427.1

« Last Edit: June 02, 2016, 09:53:39 AM by THCoins »

Offline THCoins

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Re: Saffarids of Sistan, Taj-ud-din Harb, Need help reading Arab word.
« Reply #1 on: August 16, 2015, 07:57:58 PM »
I had hoped that some of our members by now would have replied "Oh that's easy, you're completely wrong it reads xxxx".
Unfortunately not. So i looked a bit furter into the possibility i found most promising. Interestingly, i found that the Arab word has it roots in Greek "Phanos", where it also means "torch" or "lantern". Equally, in Greek and Arab the word is also used in a religious manner as "Light of the World". This title is used for both Jesus and the profet Muhammad.
I could not find other coins with this formula, but to put "The Light of the World" above the Kalima would not seem at all inappropriate. So for now i stick with this interpretation until someone presents me with a better one.

Offline Figleaf

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Re: Saffarids of Sistan, Taj-ud-din Harb, Need help reading Arab word.
« Reply #2 on: August 16, 2015, 08:21:36 PM »
Since your Arabic reading skills are obviously much better than mine, I thought I'd look in a totally different direction. Numerology. I have read that it is not uncommon for Arabic coins to use numerology on coins. However, I have seen only one Arabic coin doing that, a modern coin at that, so maybe this is one of those older coins using numerology. I tried common values like 786 and 66, but they wouldn't fit. So here's my speculation: the numeric value of the letters added up is the date of the coin.

From here on, someone else will have to take over. :)

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

Offline THCoins

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Re: Saffarids of Sistan, Taj-ud-din Harb, Need help reading Arab word.
« Reply #3 on: August 17, 2015, 09:43:38 AM »
Peter, i looked at the numerology option, but it does not seem plausible in this case. But thanks for this suggestion in a totally different direction. Helps to keep my mind open !

Got a different suggestion. Instead of "Fanous", the word might be read as "Qanun" قانون which translates as "Law".

In the meantime, i found a picture of a different coin on the internet with an even better preserved first line which seems to confirm this reading.
« Last Edit: June 02, 2016, 09:54:35 AM by THCoins »