An Open Access Online Journal on Arabian Epigraphy.
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.
This paper proposes a new chronological classification of the Ancient South Arabian inscriptions of the first millennium BCE. Our proposal is based on recent archaeological and epigraphic discoveries, as well as synchronisms with external sources. These data contradict the traditional paleography-based dating and invalidates paleography as a method of dating the South Arabian inscriptions.
This paper aims to study a new Safaitic inscription documented from the
eastern Jordanian Badiyah. The inscription is written in the square script
by a member of the lineage of ʿmrt and includes a rare expression of longing.
The present article re-edits three early Islamic inscriptions that exhibit an orthographic feature believed to represent the glottal stop (hamz). Overall, this orthographic device (referred to as ‘proto-hamza’) is employed four times in the three inscriptions, bringing the number of its known attestations to a grand total of nine. The article concludes by making some broad observations on the multifarious nature of the early Arabic writing tradition(s).