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Saif Ibn Sahlan, patrikios and emir of Melitene

Accession number BZS.1958.106.4043
Diameter 20 mm


Arabic inscription in one line. Six-armed stars in fields above and below. Thin wreath border.

الأمير ملتينيا  ؟


Arabic Inscription in four lines. Thin wreath border.

بالله. سيف ابن سهلان بتق ؟


الأمير ملتينيا  ؟. بالله. سيف ابن سهلان بتق ؟

The Emir of Melitene (?). God. Saif ibn Sahlan (?) patrikios (?)


The obverse seems to read the word "emir", then another word which is chipped at the end; it could be an Arabic transliteration of Μελιτηνή, an emirate that was under Byzantine suzerainty for a time before its fall in 934 (Whittow, The Making of Orthodox Byzantium, 600-1025, 310-318).

The name present on the reverse is uncertain; سيف seems the most likely reading of the first word of the second line, though بشر is also possible. The first word of the third line is partially effaced, and its reading needs revision, but is preceded by "Ibn".

The last line of the Arabic inscription seems to read two letters, د/ذ و/ف/ق, or three letters,  ب/ت/ث ب/ت/ث و/ف/ق. If it is the latter, it is possible that it reads بتق (b-t-q), a possible abbreviation for πατρίκιος.