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Arabic

(361 words)

Author(s): Müller-Kessler, Christa (Emskirchen)
[German version] In contrast to  Ancient Southern Arabian, this is in fact Northern Arabic; it belongs to the northern branch of the Semitic languages. (Northern) Arabic personal names are found in Assyrian cuneiform sources from the 9th cent. onwards, with contemporaneous seals and short inscriptions in proto-Arabic script. Diverse early Northern Arabic dialects are written in modified Ancient Southern Arabian scripts (graffiti and tomb monument inscriptions), so  Thamudic (6th cent. BC - 4th cen…

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…

Am­mon­ite

(76 words)

Author(s): Müller-Kessler, Christa (Emskirchen)
[German version] Canaanite dialect very similar to  Phoenician and used by the Ammonites in the region around Rabbath Ammon. There is very little written evidence c. 9th-7th cents. BC): citadel inscriptions from Amman, writing on a receptacle (Tell Siran bottle) and approximately 150 stamping seals. Müller-Kessler, Christa (Emskirchen) Bibliography W. R. Garr, Dialect Geography of Syria-Palestina, 1000-586 B.C.E., 1985 L. Herr, The Scripts of Ancient Northwest Semitic Seals, 1978 K. P. Jackson, The Ammonite Language of the Iron Age, 1983.

Square script

(182 words)

Author(s): Müller-Kessler, Christa (Emskirchen)
[German version] ( ketāḇ merubbā) is the term for the style of script in which Jewish Hebrew and Aramaic texts are written. It developed from the Aramaic square script style (in the Babylonian Talmud ketāḇ aššūrī, i.e. Assyrian script), which according to the Babylonian Talmud (Aboda Zara 10a) was brought from Babylonian captivity to Palestine by Jews in the post-Exilic period, whereas the Samaritan style developed from the palaeo-Hebraic script. The earliest documents extant in square script are fragments of the Biblical books …

Moabite

(80 words)

Author(s): Müller-Kessler, Christa (Emskirchen)
[German version] Language of the inhabitants of Moab, a country to the south of the Dead Sea; it is very similar to Hebrew. Moabite is recorded on seal inscriptions and on a 34-line inscription of King Meša of Moab ( c. 850 BC), which was found in the vicinity of Diban (KAI 181). Canaanite; Semitic languages Müller-Kessler, Christa (Emskirchen) Bibliography A. Dearman (ed.), Studies in the Mesha Inscription and Moab, 1989  W.R. Garr, Dialect Geography of Syria-Palestine, 1000-586 BCE, 1985.

Nabataean

(206 words)

Author(s): Müller-Kessler, Christa (Emskirchen)
[German version] Aramaic written language of an Arabic-speaking tribe, the Nabataeans (Arabic onomastikon). Nabataean belongs to the west-central branch of Aramaic, and is preserved in memorial, tomb, votive and building inscriptions, graffiti, coin legends and one charm, all dating from the 2nd cent. BC to the 4th cent. AD. Finds have been made at Gaza, Elusa, Mampsis, Nessana, Oboda, Petra, Transjordan with Amman and Gerasa, the Ḥaurān and Boṣra, the Arabian peninsula (Ḥiǧāẓ) with al-Ḥiǧr/Madāi…

Syriac

(358 words)

Author(s): Müller-Kessler, Christa (Emskirchen)
[German version] Aramaic dialect from the geographical surroundings of Edessa [2], modern Urfa, which gave rise to the later Syriac literary language. Lexically, Syriac belongs to Central Aramaic just as the Aramaic of the Babylonian Targumim (Targum Onqelos and Jonathan), but already has Northeastern Aramaic features in its phonetics, morphology and syntax. The Early Syriac inscriptions (AD 6 - 3rd cent. AD), written in Estrangelā script, still have a strongly standardised Central Aramaic charact…

Aḥiram

(63 words)

Author(s): Müller-Kessler, Christa (Emskirchen)
[German version] King of Byblus ( c. 10th cent. BC), Phoenician for ‘my brother is exalted’. His coffin, decorated with reliefs of tribute scenes, commissioned by his son Ittobaal. It is significant from the point of view of art history. The inscription on the coffin lid is early evidence of the Phoenician  alphabet. Müller-Kessler, Christa (Emskirchen) Bibliography E. Lipiński, s. v. A., DCPP 11.
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