The Sultan's Gift
I saw a rusty piece of junk for sale on the internet. Why would anyone pay good money for a rusted, broken hulk? The next day I explained to my wife that it was a relic, which intrigued me. I paid the price and awaited its arrival. It finally arrived and sure enough I had a piece of junk with strange Arabic writing.
Getting it translated wouldn’t be a problem. I had students, friends, colleagues and several translation services, who could easily help. My friend figured out the date and, along with everyone else, had no idea what the script said. I spent several months searching for a translation. No luck.
Eventually the chairman of a university school of language responded to my e-mail and said it is Ottoman, a pre-1929 form of Turkish. I said great what does it say? He quickly replied that he could identify the language, but couldn’t translate it. He connected me with a professor who translated it. She did a great job!
The writing says that around 1886, (The absolute ruler of the Ottoman Empire), Sultan Abdul Hamid II presented this Very pistol (flare gun}, as a gift to his imperial navy for signaling. Thanks to her I was able to determine that my rusted, broken, junk was in fact an important relic of the Ottoman Empire.
Please see below.
Ay Ha (initials of Sultan AbdulHamid II)
Süfen-i hümâyun-u mülûkânede (1) In the imperial navy
İşaret endaht olunmak üzere (2) for signaling
Süfen-i hümâyun-u mülûkânede (3) [this] is presented by
His Highness [The Sultan AbdulHamid II]
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