Authored by: Ahmad Al-Jallad

The Semitic Languages

Print publication date:  March  2019
Online publication date:  March  2019

Print ISBN: 9780415731959
eBook ISBN: 9780429025563
Adobe ISBN:


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Safaitic is a term for the northernmost variety of the South Semitic script classified under the umbrella of Ancient North Arabian. The Safaitic inscriptions were carved mostly by nomadic pastoralists, concentrated in the Syro-Jordanian Harrah, a basalt desert stretching from southern Syria to northwestern Saudi Arabia (see Map 14.1). In the same area, one also encounters, but in much smaller numbers, Thamudic B and D, Greek, Nabataean Aramaic, Palmyrene Aramaic and early Arabic-script inscriptions. Safaitic texts are also occasionally found elsewhere. Isolated examples come from Palmyra (Dentzer-Feydy and Teixidor 1993: 144–5), Dura Europos (Macdonald 2005) and even as far as Pompeii (Calzini Gysens 1990).

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