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The Oldest Arabic Poem

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Arabian Epigraphic Notes

on 23 March 2016

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Transcript of The Oldest Arabic Poem


g
m
t
w
l


r
m
f
m
y
k
n

l
f
l
y
l
y
h
w
ʾ
w
m
h
w
h
b
l
Damage surrounding the l
causing it to resemble a badly
carved r
Damage at the bottom of the shaft is clearly not connected to the letter
y
b
t
w
l
h
b
t
w
m
n
m
l
ʾ
ʿ
l ḥg mt w lẓ ṯrm

la ḥagga mawt wal-lāẓẓ ṯarām

"Mōt has held a feast; the scorner eats"
Mōt, literally death, is the
West Semitic god of death, infertility, and drought
f mykn lyly-h w ʾwm-h

pa moyakān ḫalp layālay-oh wa-ʾaywām-oh

"Established is the alternation of his nights and days"
This line explains that Mōt, drought, reigns. Holding feasts is a mark of kingship.
This verse further affirms Mōt's reign through a connection with the cosmic phenomenon.
w h ʾ-bʿl ybt w l h bt w m nm

wa hā ʾab-baʿal yobatt wa la-hū bātt wa mā nām

"and behold, Baal is cut off; cut off indeed, but not dead!
Baal is the West Semitic weather god, known best from the Ugaritic epic, the Baal Cycle.


A similar phrase occurs
in the Qur'an (23:80)
"And his is the alternation of day and night"
Mot and Baal
The oldest Arabic poem


#worldpoetryday 2016
Produced by the Leiden Center for the
Study of Ancient Arabia


The inscription was discovered at Qitar al-ʿAbd in Northern Jordan in 1989.


Written in a mixed Safaito-Hismaic script, an Ancient North Arabian alphabet.


The language is dialect of Old Arabic.


While undated, inscriptions of this type are thought to have been produced in the early centuries CE.


Read the full article here: https://goo.gl/u7ThcX
Full transcript