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An Old Arabic Inscription in Greek Letters

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Arabian Epigraphic Notes

on 23 May 2015

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Transcript of An Old Arabic Inscription in Greek Letters

An Old Arabic Inscription in Greek Letters
Ahmad Al-Jallad
Leiden University

Wadi Salma
The Inscriptions
ʾAws (bin) ʿūḏ (?) (bin) Bannāʾ (bin) Kazimʾal -ʾidāmiyy

'Aws son of Udh son of Banna' son of Kazim the Edomite'




ʾatawa mis-siʿāʿ śatāw wa-Bannāʾa ʾad-dawra

'he came from Siʿ to spend the winter with Banna' in this region'
wa yirʿaw baqla bi-kānū[n]

'and they pastured on fresh
herbage during Kanun'
The accusative case
ʾAws (bin) ʿūḏ (?) (bin) Bannāʾ (bin) Kazim ʾal-
ʾidāmiyy ʾatawa mis-siʿāʿ śatāw wa Bannāʾ
a

ʾad-dawr
a
wa yirʿaw baql
a
bi-kānūn

Nominative and genitive cases have disappeared, while the accusative case alone survives.
The accusative is used for static location and with the so-called comitative waw.
ʾAws (bin) ʿūḏ (?) (bin) Bannāʾ (bin) Kazim ʾal-
ʾidāmiyy
ʾatawa
mis-siʿāʿ śatāw wa- Bannāʾa
ʾad-dawra wa yirʿaw baqla bi-kānūn

The Suffix Conjugation of III-y/w roots
In the Safaitic inscriptions, III-y/w verbs always retain the final radical:
ʾtw, ʾty
e.g.:

ʾty m- tdmr
=
/ʾataya met-tadmūr/

ʾ
Aws (bin) ʿūḏ (?) (bin) Bannāʾ (bin) Kazim ʾal-
ʾidāmiyy ʾatawa mis-siʿāʿ śatāw wa- Bannāʾa
ʾad-dawra wa
yirʿaw
baqla bi-kānūn

Preterite prefix conjugation ?
The preterite prefix conjugation survives only after the negator /lam/ and in conditional clauses.

If my interpretation of ειραυ is correct, then it could be that the preterite prefix conjugation was used more widely in Old Arabic.
Definition
Old Arabic: documentary evidence from the pre-Islamic period in any script.
ʾAws (bin) ʿūḏ (?) (bin) Bannāʾ (bin) Kazim ʾal-
ʾidāmiyy ʾatawa mis-siʿāʿ
śatāw
wa- Bannāʾa
ʾad-dawra wa yirʿaw baqla bi-kānūn

Infinitive
The use of the infinitive as a verbal complement is limited in Classical Arabic, replaced by the 'an + subjunctive construction, and a serial verb construction in later dialects of Arabic.
The infinitive is widespread in the Safaitic inscriptions, e.g.:

w ṣyr qyẓ rʿy = /wa ṣayera qeyāṯ̣a raʿāy/

αθαοα μι- Σια = 'tw/y m- TOP

ζαθαοε = śtw

α-δαυρα = '-dr

(α)ουα ειραυ βακλα = w rʿy bql

βι-χανου[ν] = b- knn
Equivalents in the consonantal texts
Conclusion
A1 attests a dialect distinct from Classical Arabic and the dialects described by the Arab Grammarians

Features unattested in either the classical sources or modern dialects of Arabic

Part of the same dialect continuum as the vareities attested in the Safaitic and Hismaic scripts









Publication
Al-Jallad, A. and A. al-Manaser. 2015. New Epigraphica from Jordan I: a pre-Islamic Arabic inscription in Greek letters and a Greek
inscription from north-eastern Jordan.
Arabian Epigraphic Notes
1, pg. 50-71.
www.arabianepigraphicnotes.org

Photo: G.M.H. King
Photo: M.C.A. Macdonald
Photo: L. Nehme
Photo: A. al-Manaser
Photo: A. al-Manaser
Photo: M.C.A. Macdonald
Photo: C. Della Puppa
Photo: M.C.A. Macdonald
Photo: S. Abbadi
Full transcript