Arabian Epigraphic Notes

An Open Access Online Journal on Arabian Epigraphy.

On the uses of writing in ancient Arabia and the role of palaeography in studying them

Abstract

Literacy was widespread in large areas of ancient Arabia, as shown by the huge numbers of graffiti by both settled people and nomads. But, it is still extremely difficult to establish a reliable chronology for the literate periods of pre-Islamic Arabian history. This has led to a misuse of palaeography in an attempt to create chronological sequences based on letter forms from undated inscriptions and documents, on widely different kinds of surface, with different purposes, and often separated by large distances. This practice is not confined to Arabian inscriptions but is widespread in Semitic epigraphy.This article offers a new taxonomy for inscriptions and graffiti, examines the misuse of palaeography in Semitic epigraphy and suggests some more useful ways in which palaeography could be used in this field.


Keywords

Ancient North Arabian Chronology Graffiti Inscriptions Literacy Palaeography

A new and unique Thamudic inscription from northeast Jordan

Abstract

This article is an edition of an inscription in a variety of Thamudic that contains several glyph shapes that have not been found together in the same inscription, and are typical of inscriptions from central and southern Arabia. Interesting glyph shapes include the glyph shapes for ‘, w, and g. A personal name formed on a morphological H-Causative verb, familiar from the South Arabian, as well as Dadanitic inscriptions, is attested in this inscription. The formula found in the inscription is paralleled most closely by those typical of Thamudic C inscriptions. Finally, the article discusses the implications of the combination of these features, typically associated with different scripts and geographic distribution, for the field of ANA epigraphy.


Keywords

Ancient North Arabian Graffiti Thamudic