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Ancient Southern Arabian

(255 words)

Author(s): Müller-Kessler, Christa (Emskirchen)
[German version] (ASA) Earlier known as Himyaritic after the tribe of the Ḥimyar ( Homeritae), this belongs with Ethiopian to the southern branch of the Semitic languages, but is not the same as (Northern) Arabian. There is evidence of four main dialects: c. 9th cent. BC to 6th cent. AD: Ḥadramautian, Minaean, Qataban and Sabaean, named after the centres of power of the same names. The dialects are divided into two groups relative to their causative prefix and the pronoun (3rd person sing. masc.): an h- (only Sabaean) and an s- group. There are further differences in terms of lexis …

Hebrew

(247 words)

Author(s): Müller-Kessler, Christa (Emskirchen)
[German version] The name of the Hebrew language is derived from the nomen gentile, also called ‘Hebrew’. This language belongs to the  Canaanite branch of Semitic languages. The 22 symbols of the epigraphical Old Hebrew alphabet developed from the proto-Canaanite  alphabet. The later Hebrew  square script was used only as a book hand. Hebrew developed over several linguistic stages, of which spoken Classical Hebrew, also defined as Old Hebrew, is preserved in inscriptions (10th-6th cents. BC) on stone, ostr…

Ugaritic

(259 words)

Author(s): Müller-Kessler, Christa (Emskirchen)
[German version] Term for a Semitic language, named after Ugarit, an important city and centre of the northern Syrian city state of the same name. The city of Ugarit was only discovered in 1928. Other than in Ugarit, texts written in Ugaritic have been found in Mīnā al-Baiḍā (the port of Ugarit), Ras Ibn Hāni and sporadically in other places, including Cyprus. Ugaritic represents an independent branch of the Semitic language family. Its precise classification is disputed by scholars of the Sem…

Hasai(ti)c

(63 words)

Author(s): Müller-Kessler, Christa (Emskirchen)
[German version] early north-Arabic dialect ( Arabic). Its inscriptions, written in a slightly modified ancient south-Arabic  alphabet, are predominantly grave inscriptions, amongst them two Hasaitic-Aramaic  bilingual inscriptions from north-eastern Saudi Arabia ( c. between 5th and 2nd cents. BC).  Ancient south-Arabic;  Semitic languages Müller-Kessler, Christa (Emskirchen) Bibliography W. W. Müller, Das Altarab. und das klass. Arabisch, Hasaitisch, in: W.-D. Fischer (ed.), Grundriß der arab. Philol., 1982, 25-26.

Aḥiqar

(195 words)

Author(s): Müller-Kessler, Christa (Emskirchen)
[German version] Aramaic name of the legendary keeper of the seal who served the Assyrian kings  Sanherib and  Asarhaddon (704-669 BC), mentioned in the Apocryphon Tob 1,21 f. (2,10; 11,17; 14,10, Ἀχιάχαρος; Achiácharos). Assyrian sources are not available. A late Babylonian cuneiform script ((2nd cent. BC) calls an Aba-enlil-dari by the Aramaic name of Ahuaqār [1. 215-218]. A. is the lead character of a biographical novel written in Official Aramaic on papyri (5th century BC) from  Elephantine. It contains wisdom sayings wr…

Thamudic

(115 words)

Author(s): Müller-Kessler, Christa (Emskirchen)
[German version] Refers not only to an Early North Arabian dialect that is recorded in graffiti in a modified Ancient South Arabian script (6th cent. BC to 4th cent. AD) throughout the Arabian peninsula, but, according to the most recent state of scholarship, to various individual dialects, namely Taymanic (Early Thamudic A) and Hismaic (Early Thamudic E) and southern Thamudic B, C, D. Hence it cannot be associated with the Arab Θαμυδῖται/ Thamydȋtai tribe alone. Ancient Southern Arabian; Arabic Müller-Kessler, Christa (Emskirchen) Bibliography 1 M. C. A. MacDonald, Reflections…

Alphabet

(5,280 words)

Author(s): Müller-Kessler, Christa (Emskirchen) | Wachter, Rudolf (Basle)
[German version] I. Ancient Middle Eastern origins The early Semitic alphabet seems to have developed in parallel lines from various early stages of the proto-Canaanite language: ancient Hebrew (Gezer, Lachic, Shechem, Izbet Ṣarṭah in Palestine 17th-12th cents. BC) and proto-Sinaitic (Serabit el-Ḫadem c. 15th cent. BC). As its counterpart, cuneiform scripts from Ugarit (14th-13th cents. BC), Bet Shemesh/Palestine, Tell Nebi Mend/Syria and Sarepta/Phoenicia (13th-12th cents. BC) have also been found. The alphabet from these scripts ranged from between 27 and 30 characters. T…

Ḥatra

(298 words)

Author(s): Hauser, Stefan R. (Berlin) | Müller-Kessler, Christa (Emskirchen)
[German version] [1] Trading centre in north Mesopotamia This item can be found on the following maps: Syria | Zenobia | Commerce | Limes Trading centre in north Mesopotamia, founded middle of the 1st cent. AD. Expanded to a fortified round city ( c. 2 km diameter) in the mid 2nd cent., H. was an important sanctuary of the sun god  Šamaš and capital of a ‘kingdom of the Arabs’ starting c. 166, at the same time an Arsacid border province. The city was besieged in vain by Trajan (AD 116) and Septimius Severus (196 and 198). After the end of the Arsacid dynasty, it …
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