Author Topic: Mughal Dynasty: Rupee of Akbar, Kalima Type, 982AH (1574 AH), Mint Agra(?)  (Read 7643 times)

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Offline Overlord

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Working on this coin was great fun. Of all the coins I have attempted to read so far, this one taught me the most.

Obverse Kalima-e-Tayyab: La illaha illallah Mohammad Rasool Allah, "(There is) No god except Allah (and) Muhammad (is the) Prophet (of) Allah

Here is a crude illustration depicting my take on the legend:


Reverse Jalal-al din Muhammad Akbar Badshah Ghazi, 982 (Glory of the faith, Emperor Muhammad Akbar, warrior against the infidels)



The mint (which appears at the bottom of the reverse) is off the flan but, based on the style of the coin, I think it could be Agra.

Here is the fun part, an attempt at a "letter-by-letter" reading of the above inscriptions, which I am presenting below for the benefit of those who wish to learn (and so that I may be corrected, in case I have made any errors).

Obverse inscription
As Persian is read and written from right to left, we start from top right. (However, this is not a general rule and some inscriptions read from bottom to top, as we will see later in the "reverse".)

The first letter we encounter is the capital form of the alphabet called "Lam", which looks like (Note: Persian has 32 letters in all.)
The second letter, which we see bending over to the left and intersecting with the third letter, is the "Alif", which looks like
Reading the above two letters together gives us our first word La, which means "No"

Before we move on to the next word, here is a short introduction to Persian vowels.
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As you know, the English alphabet has five vowels A, E, I, O, and U. Persian has six: three short vowels and three long vowels.
The three short vowels are represented by certain symbols present above or below the letter.
1.
If this symbol is shown above a letter (letter A in this example), that letter will have an "a" sound, as in "had", "bad", "wait".
2.
If this symbol is shown below a letter (letter A in this example), that letter will have an "e" sound, as in "hen", "den", "bet".
3.
If this symbol is shown below a letter (letter A in this example), that letter will have an "o" sound, as in "got", "lot", "hot".

The problem is that these symbols are seldom used in writing and a reader is supposed to "figure out" the short vowel involved himself! Lif is tugh, vrlrd! (Life is tough, Overlord!)

The three long vowels are letters that appear joined to other letters, telling us how the word should be pronounced.
1.
This is the Persian letter "Nun" which, when attached to another letter, gives the "oo" sound, as in "loot", "tooth", "hoot".
Here is an example in which the "Nun" appears joined to the Persian letter "Pe" :

The above word will be pronounced "Poo", as in "Poor".
2.
This is the Persian letter capital "Ye" which, when attached to another letter, gives the "ee" sound, as in "heat", "seat", "neat".
Here is an example in which the capital "Ye" appears joined to the Persian letter "Pe" :

The above word will be pronounced "Pee", as in "Peter".
3.
This is the Persian letter lowercase "Alif" which, when attached to another letter, gives the "aa" sound, as in "water", "hard", "card".
Here is an example in which the "Alif" appears joined to the Persian letter "Pe" :

The above word will be pronounced "Paa", as in "Partner".
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The next letter we find is again "Alif" . However, in this case we are required to "figure out" a short vowel associated with it, as we will see later.
Following this letter are two letters that are joined. These are "Lam" and "he" (I must admit that our letter looks different, perhaps a variant  ???).
Anyway, with a bit of guesswork, we get our second word
[short vowel "e"]+alif+lam+he = Ilaha, which means "God". Phew!

We move on to the next word.
The next letter is "Alif", followed by a "Lam", and another "Alif". This gives us
[short vowel "e"]+alif+lam+alif = Ila
The next letter is again "Alif", followed by two "Lam"s joined together, and then a "he"
Alif+lam+lam+he=Allah
This gives us illallah, which means "except Allah".

Moving on to the next line...
The first letter we encounter is a "Mim" (initial form) , followed by "Ha" , "Mim" (medial form) , and "Da" (the four dots are modified to form the petals of a flower on this coin).
"Mim"+[Short vowel "o"]+"Ha"+"Mim"+"Da" = Mohammad

Moving on to the last line...
The first letter we have is "Re" (a bit curvey on our coin), followed by "Shin", , and "Lam".
Re+Shin+Lam=Rasool, meaning "Prophet"

The last word is easy. As we saw in the first line, it is
Alif+lam+lam+he=Allah

So, our complete obverse inscription reads
"La illaha illallah Mohammad Rasool Allah"

Reverse inscription This time we start from bottom right.

The first letter we find is "Jim" , followed by "Lam", "Alif", and "Lam"
Jim+Lam+Alif+Lam=Jalal, which means "glory"

The next letter is "Alif", followed by a "Lam", which gives us Al, meaning "of" here.
The next word is seemingly composed of a "Da" and a "Nun" . So, we somehow have Deen, meaning "faith" (How excactly I'm not sure. I think a "Nun" at the end should have meant a "oo" sound  ???.)

Moving on to the middle line...
We have "Mim"+[Short vowel "o"]+"Ha"+"Mim"+"Da" = Mohammad, as seen on the obverse.

Finally, the top line
The first word we have is "Alif", followed by "Kaf" , "Be" , and "Re"
Alif+Kaf+Be+Re = Akbar

The next letter is apparently "Be" (Why is it horizontally flipped on the coin ???), followed by "Dal" , "Shin", , and "He" (detached form)
Be+Dal+Shin+He=Badshah, meaning "Emperor"

The last word is composed of "Ghain" , followed by an "Alif", "Zad" , and "Ye"
So, we have our final word as
Ghain+Alif+Zad+Ye=Ghazi, which means "the one who fights against the infidels"
So, the complete reverse inscription reads
"Jalal-al din Muhammad Akbar Badshah Ghazi"

Q.E.D.  8)

Offline PeaceBD

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Looking through the old archives I found this thread. Awesome explaination. Really helps someone like me who is trying to learn reading these coins.
Nice looking coin BTW.
Thanks
Bhushan

Offline ChrisHagen

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Thanks for bringing this old thread back up - so much to learn from this amazing post!