Can Anyone Read Arabic Graffiti on a Hystamenon Nomisma?

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Broucheion, Aug 1, 2020.

  1. Broucheion

    Broucheion Supporter! Supporter

    Hi All,

    One of the first coins I ever got before I started specializing was a Byzantine Sear-1868.




    It did not photograph well but I notice there is some Arabic graffiti on the reverse near each of Michael's elbows. I have some close ups in the hopes that someone who reads Arabic could translate.



    (Graffito #2 may be upside down with a few stray lines in it). Any help is always appreciated.

    If you have any Byzantine coins with Arabic graffiti or countermarks, please feel free to show them off.

    I noticed a coin currently for sale on eBay
    [eBay item: 114188900741] with more graffiti I can't read. Could it be runes? Images are below but size, weight and axis, were not provided.


    - Broucheion
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  3. Pellinore

    Pellinore Supporter! Supporter

    Interesting. Yes, those broad rims are virtually asking for scribbling. I can't read it, but you could try putting it on Zeno or World of Coins, where there are many numismatists with great knowledge of Oriental coinage.

    I only have a broad-rimmed Sasanian drachm with Arabic inscriptions (and a nice counterstamp).

    5373 wo.jpg

    5373 Graffi.jpg

    Sasanids. AR drachm Xusro II (590-627). Obv. Crowned head t.r. Countermark on 2 o’clock 11 K (Göbl Huns): bird or senmurv. Rev. Fire altar with attendants. Arab graffiti on the right lower rim. Year 35, mint GD (= Gay near Ispahan). 28 mm, 2.96 gr. Countermark 11-K (Göbl Hunnen, description p. 180), a bird or Senmurv, on obverse 2 o'clock. According to Göbl, this coin is from 685 AD or later. Graffiti on reverse 4 o'clock. Some silver of the surface scooped away on 7 o'clock.
  4. ewomack

    ewomack Senior Member Supporter

    I am no expert, but I have some knowledge of Arabic. #1 looks like "خمد" to me, but it's often hard to interpret handwriting, especially when scrawled on a coin. Since no vowel diacritics show, the consonants might be "kh_m_d," which leaves a few possibilities. It's also possible that the writer connected a "waaw" to the "daal," making it "خود" or "khoom_d_," but the connected letters suggest the first interpretation.

    Without the dot over the first letter, or if the dot is actually a fatha, the word turns into "حمد" which could correspond to the verb "to praise." This verb appears in the fatiha, so it has potential.

    I cannot make out #2 at all.
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2020
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  5. Broucheion

    Broucheion Supporter! Supporter

    Hi @ewomack,

    Thank you for trying! If it’s not “to praise”, would kh_m_d or khoom_d_ be a name? Sounds Persian.

    - Broucheion
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  6. ewomack

    ewomack Senior Member Supporter

    Yes, it could be a name. And it could also be Persian, since Persian corresponds highly to Arabic script, but none of the letters use three dots (which can signal Persian), so it remains a little ambiguous. Other possibilities also exist for the reading, of course, but "praise" stuck out to me since it's a fairly common Islamic verb. It's unfortunately really hard to know, but someone with more expertise with graffiti of this sort may know more. It's always fun to try. #1 does not look like random scribbles, in any case. I can't say for sure on #2, unfortunately.
    Broucheion likes this.
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