By Prof. Werner Caskel, Ph.D.


[An Address Delivered on the Anniversary of the Founding of the University of Cologne, West Germany, May 24, 1950. Translated by Robert W. Lebling.]

 One who encounters ancient North Arabian inscriptions for the first time feels somewhat like the foreigner whom E.T.A. Hoffmann led into the Artushof in Danzig: “Now a magical bright-dimness crept through the cloudy windows, and all the curious pictures and carvings with which the walls were everywhere decorated, became lively and vivid. Stags with monstrous antlers, other wondrous beasts looked down on you with glowing eyes…” It is not the inscriptions themselves that awaken this feeling, but the grotesque things that one reads in them, and the arbitrariness with which one moves them from one time period to another. Indeed, it is not an easy matter to interpret inscriptions whose alphabet is still not totally known and whose understanding is scarcely illuminated through other sources, without fantasy being unleashed.

Deep in Arabia, 975 km south of Damascus, lie the ruins of the city of Dedân in a narrow valley amid bare rocks of red sandstone usually covered with a dark lava cap. Five days’ travel to the west lies the Red Sea; to the northwest lie the ancient gold mines of Midian. Through a valley to the northeast a path travels to distant Mesopotamia, but the most important communication route leads through the valley of Dedân itself, the very ancient road that runs from the Indian Ocean through West Arabia to the Mediterranean Sea. [1] The caravans that plied this route brought besides Indian and African goods the two products of which South Arabia had a near-monopoly, frankincense and myrrh – trade items that have been forever glorified by the figures of the three Wise Men from the East, the three Holy Kings. During the first millennium before Christ this trade was carried on through two South Arabian peoples, the Minaeans and the Sabaeans. The Minaeans established two colonies on this route, one right in Dedân and the other in Higra, situated 15 km farther north. All the more noteworthy is the fact that the Old Testament, which has much to say about the Sabaeans, is apparently silent about the Minaeans. Apparently! For Dedân, which is mentioned often, appears in the genealogy of the descendants of Abraham from [his wife] Ketura (Gen. 25:3) and in the so-called Tablet of the People (Gen. 10:7) as a brother of Saba. That leaves us with only one explanation: When the Old Testament speaks of Dedanites, it means Minaeans. [2] The reason for this usage is clear: In the north one heard only about the Minaean colonists, because the South Arabian Minaeans brought the goods only as far as Dedân, where they were taken over by their fellow countrymen for further transport; this colony served the sole purpose of shortening the long and difficult journey.

Another question: Immediately after the first Assyrian thrust against the Arabs, which followed the surrender of the city of Damascus and the Northern Kingdom of Israel in the year 733/732 [B.C.], the Sabaeans declared themselves ready to pay tribute, in order to protect their caravans from the grip of the Assyrians, as did all the North Arabian oases involved in trade. Why is Dedân absent, why are the Minaeans absent, from the relevant and subsequent Assyrian accounts [3] of Arabian affairs? There is only one possible answer: The Minaeans traded at that time not with the Assyrian area, but instead with Egypt. [4] The remains of Minaean Dedân under Egyptian influence are, apart from the inscriptions, unfortunately scant. Sphinx-like monsters keep watch from the tops of the Minaean stone tombs, a (later?) statue displays the typical Egyptian hairstyle. The Minaeans’ relations with Egypt lasted until or beyond the end of the Minaean kingdom. Minaean merchants remained in Egypt during the Persian period. [5] Through an inscription on a sarcophagus of the Ptolemaic period [6] we become acquainted with a Minaean who was an Egyptian priest, and who in this capacity imported myrrh and spices from his homeland and exported fine linen to that country.

The Minaean colony at Dedân collapsed at the same time that the motherland was subjugated by the Sabaeans. This event cannot be dated precisely; it appears to have happened at the beginning of the second century B.C., as we shall see.

Dedân becomes independent, and it introduces a new cult and – something in the ancient East closely connected with it – a new script. This form of writing developed from a variation of the South Arabian Minaean-Sabaean script. Forerunners of this new script appear on some pieces of jewelry, two of them of uncertain origin: a gem, a scarab and a seal cylinder. [7] Until now the script has been determined according to the age of the pictorial representations on these pieces, without inquiring much about the evidence of the script itself. This is of course unacceptable, for the script may have been added later. There is a seal cylinder with the inscription: “pledge of so-and-so.” [8] Obviously this inscription was not made at the same time as the object. Now the words, particularly the names, on the three jewelry pieces are Aramaic. The inscription on the gem, [9] which is estimated at 450 B.C., can perhaps be contemporary with the stone itself. In comparison, the inscriptions on the other two are also found on 700 pieces estimated to date from Seleucid times, [10] at the earliest from the third century B.C. [11] Where did this script originate? Where – not far from Dedân – were Aramaic letters written along with South Arabian ones? Only one place comes to mind, lying two and a half day’s travel northeast of Dedân, the oasis of Tayma, in whose neighborhood we find on a rock an inscription of the same kind as on the jewelry pieces. [12] Here Aramaic was used as a written language, probably under the last Babylonian king (Nabonidus), from 550 B.C., and certainly under his successors, the Persian Great Kings, from 539 B.C. [13] Persian rule over Tayma, however, did not last long, so that the influence of the neighboring Minaean colony was able to maintain itself. Thus in Tayma Aramaic continued to be written, but from the end of the fifth century with slightly modified South Arabian letters.

  Female camel and calf in northwestern Saudi Arabia. This script was then adopted by Dedân with further changes, only here Aramaic was not written but rather the indigenous North Arabian. This new language and culture, seen in individual names in Minaean inscriptions in Dedân, had slowly arisen alongside the South Arabian. [14] On the other hand, much of the old survived for many years beside the new. In the graffiti – inscriptions mostly of a private character carved in the rocks – is found a colorful mix of South Arabian and Dedanite letters, and South Arabian orthography shows up even in public inscriptions. [15] The names of Minaean gods and families survive, and the only king in Dedân of whom we are aware also bears Minaean names. The only one! Although many inscriptions have certainly been lost, that suggests a short life-span for this city-state. At the latest around 150 B.C. a neighboring people, the Lihyân, seized the city and made it the center of a small kingdom. It appears that the first king of the Lihyân was a foreigner from the north, perhaps a Nabataean, [16] a member of that merchant people which, originally confined to the area south of the Dead Sea, began to expand into other territories in the second century. – The precedent that a foreigner appears as founder of a kingdom has many parallels in Arabian history. [17] – Shortly afterwards, however, we find an indigenous royal family among the Lihyân, which appears to have ruled for over 150 years. This dynasty continued the Egyptian tradition of Dedân, as the royal names Tachmai and Tulmai/Ptolemy [18] demonstrate.

The Lihyanite inscriptions, considered externally, are broken down into three types:

·        First, carefully worked relief inscriptions, e.g., on the pedestals of statues. Only a few of these have been found at their original sites. Most pieces have been reused as building material in the houses and garden walls of the neighboring modern oasis of al-‘Ula.

·        Second, inscriptions on the rock walls. For the most part they stand several meters above the ground, and their execution is thus not so careful as with those mentioned previously, which were produced in the workshop. Also parts of some of these inscriptions have been broken off and transformed into building materials, and others have suffered from the influences of weather.

·        Finally, graffiti, which have been scratched on rocks.

The inscriptions are generally dated in two ways, either according to the years of rule of the king or according to the era; the dating according to king’s years, as the characters demonstrate, is the later one. [19] For most of the inscriptions, the era can only be the South Arabian, beginning in 115 B.C. [20] This fits the only ancient reference to the Lihyân, [21] in Pliny (Hist. Nat. VI, 155: Lechieni), which certainly goes back to an earlier source. For three inscriptions, the Bostra era (beginning in 106 A.D.) enters the picture. The inscriptions dated according to the South Arabian era begin with Year 1 and end in Year 60. [22] If we add 25 to this – for within this series there is a gap of 25 years – we reach the year 30 B.C. The few inscriptions [23] that are dated according to king’s years, if we double the figures (to account for longer periods of rule and perhaps lost inscriptions), point to 16 A.D. The reason for the change in dating method is easy to determine. After the Nabataeans pushed their southern border to Higra, only four hours from Dedân, the Lihyân came under Nabataean influence; the Nabataeans dated their inscriptions according to king’s years.

In this careful calculation lies an uncertainty factor that cannot be totally eliminated. The kingdom may have come to an end some decades earlier or later. Our estimate, however, is corroborated to a certain extent by Strabo’s brief account of the campaign which Aelius Gallus undertook to South Arabia in the years 25-24 B.C. under orders from the Emperor Augustus. Aelius Gallus disembarked at Leuce Come, a distantly situated Nabataean port, west-southwest of Dedân, [24] where today a temple of Hellenistic or Roman style still stands. After a march of “many days,” Aelius Gallus reached the territory of Aretas, a relative of the ruling Nabataean king. This cannot be Dedân, for Strabo, as he continually does in his account, would have mentioned the city. Secondly, Dedân lies five to six, not “many,” days’ travel from the port. Also, the march proceeded not toward the northwest but toward the southeast, and reached the frankincense route above Medina. In this area, the Nabataeans had established a colony to direct the caravans to their port at Leuce Come or to exact a toll from those that wished to continue their journey on the frankincense route through the Lihyanite kingdom. Thus the Lihyanite kingdom still existed at that time.

The Lihyanite kingdom seems to have expanded mainly toward the south. In the valley of Dedân, ancient watering places and ruins extend for 20 km to the south, and to the southwest, Wadi al-Jizl is covered kilometer-wide with ruins. [25] Unfortunately the inscriptions, which may contain hints of places and incidents outside of Dedân, are so damaged that they allow us only a glimpse of the life of the Lihyanite community within the city. This community shares with antiquity the connection of the law to the gods, with the ancient East the economic meaning of the temple, and with South Arabia the public nature of the legal system and many other features.

Three gods and one goddess were worshipped in Lihyanite Dedân. The chief deity – in authentic Arabian tradition – was identified only by a descriptive name: Dhű Ghâbat, the Lord of the Thicket. Thick tree growth is so rare in Arabia that such a place is sufficient to suggest a divine presence. The temple precinct of Dhű Ghâbat lay in the middle of the city. In the broad inner courtyard stands a more than two-meter-high water basin, carved from a natural sandstone rock, with steps leading into it: clearly designed for cultic cleansings. In a hall adjoining the courtyard on the north side stands a row of statues, and on the opposite side are two much larger-than-lifesize figures. All were sacred offerings, representing the deities, and not just Dhű Ghâbat; other gods were also guests here.

The second god was called Salmân, a name derived from a Semitic root meaning peace and welfare. He seems to have borne the descriptive name Abű Ilâf, Harmony Giver. [26] I suspect that he was the god of the caravans. Harmony appears in the Koran [27] as a divine gift that enabled the tribe of the Prophet Muhammad to make the caravan trade a community activity.

The third god bears the curious name Servant of Scribe (where Scribe stands as a proper name without the article). I suspect that this scribe is the Egyptian god Thoth, [28] the scribe of the gods and patron of wisdom, for the following reason: In all sacred Lihyanite inscriptions is found a wish-formula for the offerer; an authentic Semitic expression, it reads: Life, luck and posterity! Scholars have puzzled a great deal over this formula, lthough only the first word offers serious difficulties. The word means literally “notch,” and is usually found in the wish as “notches,” sometimes “two notches,” and once “a notch.” Now Egyptian Thoth is represented by a notched tally stick. In the description of a well-known scene, it says: Thoth, Dunes of Saudi Arabia. the Scribe of the Gods, marks on his tally stick the millions of years which the heavenly ones give to the king. Certainly the sensible Arabs did not wish for millions of years. How many years a notch meant to them, we can only guess.

Among the statues in the temple of Dhű Ghâbat are found two images of a foreign god: Aglibon, [29] who was later worshipped under the name Aglibol in the large caravan city of the north, Palmyra. The images were offered by a worshipper of Dhű Ghâbat who had taken a trip. The power of the gods of Dedân did not extend to foreign lands. By the way, the vow was fulfilled by his sons, as in another case a mother’s vow was fulfilled by her daughter. [30]

Often the inscriptions are silent about the reason for the offering of statues. One inscription reads [31] : “Because of the catastrophe” – probably an earthquake – “which Dhű Ghâbat inflicted upon the temple and the people of Dedân assembled there,” thus in thanks for deliverance or to propitiate the wrath of the god.

Also people were offered to the gods: a slave was presented to Dhű Ghâbat by his three owners. A girl was offered to Salmân by her mother, perhaps as a hierodule [temple priestess], as was customary among the Minaeans. [32] At the foot of the steep mountain slope to the east lay a second open place of worship, with stone benches from which the congregation watched the offering ceremonies. [33] The stone wall rising behind it served to some extent as a “blackboard”! Here events were recorded that affected the community, as well as occasionally, from our perspective, totally personal things between man and god. For example, it is recorded that a young woman expiated an offense by her father. However, in the ancient East, people thought differently than we do. The sin of the individual disturbs the divine order, the relationship between the human community and the gods. Thus the congregation takes part in an atonement ceremony which has been preceded by a confession of sin. [34] In addition to the congregation, at least at the beginning of the second century A.D., there exist two societies. One is called “Hedgehog,” and the other appears also to have been named for an animal. [35] I suspect that these societies were formed to manage the caravan trade. But they were also religious associations; for they possess a place with a bench amid the ranks of the congregation at this place of worship.

The offenses of murder and manslaughter were also recorded on the “blackboard.” [36] This consists in one case of offerings for the gods – which for Dhű Ghâbat is replaced by donation of a statue – and a substantial delivery of wine [37] to the temple. The family of the slain person [38] receives blood money. – However, in this connection, the power of the gods extends only to the community of the Lihyân in Dedân. For in another case, involving the murder of a foreigner on the road from the harbor to the city, atonement offerings appear to have been demanded, but for unnamed gods. The murderer refused to atone, so he had to turn over his share of the booty to a trustworthy intermediary. [39]

South of the “blackboard,” many rectangular loaves have been embossed into the rock, side by side and atop one another. Before them lie graves, which have been sunk into the rocky ground, occasionally two of them stacked, one on top of the other. This is the city of the dead for Minaean and Lihyanite Dedân. In the graves were found scraps of burial garments, sandals and splinters from wooden coffins. – The grave inscriptions contain nothing personal, but instead merely a statement mentioning the owner of the grave site or of a place “staked out” for it at the rock wall, more frequently an indication of the heirs, and less often a formulaic curse against anyone who would deface the inscription.

Near one grave, a man recorded what had been revealed to him in a deep sleep. This is a dream oracle. [40] The inscription is young; even younger is another that five Lihyanites who lived in neighboring Higra inscribed in the vicinity of a rock sanctuary. [41] After taking part in a religious festival, they proclaimed to a god that one of their fellow tribesmen had committed a dubious act. It is possible that this inscription has no other purpose than to inform the god – for the gods read inscriptions – that the five men distance themselves from this act. However it is more likely that the men are awaiting a decision on the type of sin, perhaps here too through a dream oracle, for the god bears the name “He Who Creates Hearing,” and thus the ability to perceive the divine voice. – Now let us return from Higra to Dedân.

The temple of Dhű Ghâbat or, as the inscriptions assert, the god himself, possessed herds of camels and urban real estate; it is indeed only by chance that we hear nothing of rural land ownership. The urban property consisted of “towers,” i.e., tall houses. This is a building type that is widespread today in West and South Arabia, particularly in Mecca and in Hadramaut. This technique was employed in Dedân under the Minaeans, evidently because the valley is so narrow that the city could not expand except at the expense of cultivated land. – The camels were doubtless hired out to the caravans. – The revenues from the buildings and the herds, whose management was handled by three persons at a time, were used to pay for construction in the temple precinct. [42]  

Actual economic texts are rare. One such surviving inscription is a “bill” for the production of irrigation works.

In contrast to the congregation, the royalty had no close connection to the cult. Only once do we hear of two kings donating doors and other items for a sanctuary. [43] Also the function of the ruler, at least in Dedân itself, is limited; for the word translated as “rule” actually means only “review” or perhaps “oversight.” That same word is used to describe the activity of regents who do not bear the title “king of the Lihyân” but who, judging from their names, could have belonged to a branch of the royal family. [44]

There were also times of anarchy, e.g., in the first half of the second century A.D. From this period originate three reports of murder. [45] Two of them are dated with a specific day, something that otherwise never appears in the inscriptions. In one of them the murderer, thanks to a signal from the dying man, was seized and humbled by the latter’s companions, and two objects were taken from the killer, probably as security, similar to the Bedouins’ pre-Islamic custom of cutting off forelocks of hair from prisoners of war before releasing them, as proof for later demands of ransom. In any case, no recompense was made apart from satisfying the legal regulations.  

Rock-cut Nabataean tombs of Madain Salih. The final era takes us far beyond the end of the kingdom of Lihyân. This end occurs, as we have said, after 24 B.C. and was certainly brought about by the Nabataeans. A half century later, Nabataean troops were stationed in Dedân; an inscription survives from their general, who had his headquarters in Higra. [46] But this occupation appears to have lasted only a short time. – Dedân lived on, first under regents and then, as later did so many oases and cities of the Arabian world, as “a community without a government.” The threat from the north dwindled in the year 106, when the Syrian part of the Nabataean kingdom was absorbed by Rome. Roman influence, which soon afterwards encroached upon the Arabian part of the Nabataean territory, [47] did not reach Dedân. The (Greek) inscriptions of the legionaries who accompanied the caravans end 10 km before Dedân, i.e., as the distribution of the graffiti along this route demonstrates, at the old boundary between the Lihyân and the Nabataeans. [48] Here merchandise was transferred. Commerce thus continued until, in the third century, the second great trade route of the Orient, which led through the Persian Gulf to the banks of the Euphrates and across the Syrian Desert to Palmyra, eclipsed the frankincense route. At that time too the Lihyân switched their trade route to the east. This route ended at Hira, a locality founded at the same time, in the third century, on the near side of the Euphrates, 150 km south of Baghdad. Here memories of the Lihyân and of a town quarter named for them were preserved up until the seventh century. [49] This is not the only trace left by the Lihyân in the east. Some 175 km south of Hira, on an old trade and later pilgrimage route to West Arabia, lies a station called Salmân, a name that is not found among the otherwise frequently recurring Arabian place-names. [50] The settlement had thus been named for the god Salmân, guardian of the caravans, for whom the Lihyanite merchants had founded a place of worship there. In the sixth century, the Bedouins of that area worshipped a god named Muharriq. The gods change, the sacred places remain.

Dedân seems to have perished at the end of the third century. Soon afterwards we find in the area a population that writes in Nabataean, among them many Jews, who left behind some Hebraic inscriptions. At the time of the Prophet Muhammad, Jews constituted the only population of Wâdi al-Qurâ, as the oases in the valley of Dedân were sometimes called.

Now a word about the language of the Lihyân. It is a forerunner of classical Arabic, upon which it moves before our eyes. Of course it lacks the conceptual worldview of the Bedouins, from which classical Arabic derived its words, phrases and compositions. The culture, or if you will, the unculture of the Bedouin world, in which oral poetry stands in the place of the written word, lies after the time of our inscriptions.




JG – Jaussen et Savignac, Mission Archéologique en Arabie, vols. I, II, texts, atlas, Paris 1909-1914.

Müller – D.H. Müller, Epigraphische Denkmäler aus Arabien, Denkschriften Ak. Vienna, phil.-hist., vol. 37, 1889.

Winnett – F.V. Winnett, A Study of the Lihyanite and Thamudic Inscriptions, University of Toronto Studies, Oriental Series, No. 3, Toronto 1937.

Grimme – H. Grimme, Neubearbeitung der wichtigeren Dedanischen und Lihjanischen Inschriften, Le Muséon, vol. L, Louvain 1937.


[1]   Here we should note the stimulating book by Carl Rathjens, Die Pilgerfahrt nach Mekka, Von der Weihrauchstraße zur Ölwirtschaft, Hamburg, 1948.

[2]   This contradicts the theory of Grimme, pp. 271, 279, who sets the end of the Minaean colony at 650 on the basis of the biblical passage, just like the proof that Winnett, p. 50, derives for this.

[3]   Conveniently compiled by Trude Weiss Rosmarin, Aribi und Arabien in den Babylonisch-Assyrischen Quellen, New York 1932.

[4]   Later the Minaeans also engaged in trade with Syria and Assyria. Cf. M. Rostovtzeff, Caravan Cities, Oxford 1922, p. 22.

[5]   Rostovtzeff, p. 21.

[6]   ZS, Vol. 2, 1924, p. 113 ff.

[7]   Müller, Tablet V, cf. p. 119 f. – Cohen, Documents Sudarabiques, Pl. XV, 34; cf. p. 51 ff. Cf. Winnett, p. 49 f.

[8]   W.H. Ward, The Seal Cylinders of Western Asia, Washington 1910, fig. 1209, p. 353.

[9]   Il-Yahab Šagga’-Dâd with a phonetically proper rendering of the Aramaic s and with h as Mater lectionis according to a mistaken Minaean model.

[10]   (Scarab) Schagga’-Dad with the same rendering of the Aramaic s as in the Uruq inscription originating in Seleucid times; cf. to the last Schaeder, Iranische Beiträge, I 247, and Rosenthal, Die Sprache der Palmyrenischen Inschriften, MVAG, Vol. 41, 1, 1936, p. 104.

(Seal cylinder) Parpâ d Barik ben … with the Greek word porpę very appropriate for the seal cylinder, which the owner wore as a clothing-jewel (accessory). The letter whose reading was previously uncertain is a p, as shown in JS, No. 190, 197.

[11]   This contradicts Winnett’s (p. 30) estimate of the Dedanite script.

[12]   Huber, Journal d’un voyage en Arabie, Paris 1891, p. 327.

[13]   It is possible that also in Dedân a Persian governor (Pecha) held power for a short period; for this title or rather name, cf. Pachat Moab in the Old Testament, occurs in the Lihyanite period; JS, No. 349.

[14]   Cf. Grimme, p. 271, where nevertheless much must be corrected. 

[15]   JS, No. 194, 206, 220, 249, 364 – No. 49.

[16]   Mas‘ űdu is indeed not verified in Nabataean, but other names are found in Nabataean that are built from the same root which do not occur at all in Lihyanite. – Littmann, in a communication to me, places the inscription in the second or first century.

[17]   For example Qusai, who won leadership for the Quraysh over Mecca and the Kaaba. He too, as his name attests, was a Nabataean. And also here indigenous lineages took over the leadership after him. In later genealogies he was equated with Zayd, an ancestor of such lineages. That is a typical maneuver of the Arab genealogists when they cannot trace a hero or ancestor in the ancestral line. They settled upon Zayd because he had a son named Abd Qusai. By the way, it is related in one of the legends that the young Zayd traveled with his mother to Sargh = Qal‘at al-Mudawwara in the old Nabataean country to the tribe of Udhra and there was named Qusai. It was known that this name originated in the north, and if the Nabataeans were not mentioned, it was because this word had become disreputable (used by Christian farmers in the fringe areas). Sargh is based upon good tradition; for place-names form the historical stage of Arabian legends. The rest is invention – the Udhra have never camped so far to the north – determined by the political tendency to link the Quraysh with the so-called South Arabian tribes. Incidentally, the Meccan cult shows borrowings from the Nabataeans, e.g., the god Hubal. Cf. the respective article in the Encyclopedia of Islam, which I of course must contradict in the preceding.

[18]   Formed on the analogy of Tachmai = Ptahmai. Also Nabataean for Ptolemy. Cantineau, Le Nabatéen, Paris 1930-32, II, 156, and appearing as a proper name, JS, No. 315.

[19]   This contradicts the genealogy of Winnett, Le Muséon, Vol. 51, 1938, p. 308, which by the way fails in an attempt to separate the correlated inscriptions JS, No. 82, 83, into four generations, and the reckoning by Grimme, p. 295.

[20]   Or earlier. The date has not been determined precisely, see Mlaker, WZKM, XXXIV, p. 57ff. It is only, however, a question of only a few years’ difference. 

[21]   Laeana, Pliny VI, 28.32 after Juba, the Laeanitae, Pliny VI, 156, and the Lae(a)nitic Gulf in Juba/Pliny, Agatharchides and Diodorus, are distortions of the name Aila, its inhabitants and the Ailanitic Gulf.

[22]   Müller, No. 8: year 1, JS (No. 72:5), No. 85: 9 (No. 68:20), No. 77: 22 (No. 70:22), No. 82: 29, No. 83: 35; Müller No. 28: 60. The three nos. in parenthesis are to be dated according to the era of Bostra. 

[23]   JS No. 45: in Year 2 of Tulmai b. Hâni’-Aus; No. 75: in Year 5 of Hâni’-Aus b. Tulmai.

[24]   B. Mortiz’s (Pauli-Wissowa) fixing of its location at the mouth of Wadi al-Hamd is unquestionably correct.

[25]   JS, II, Text, p. 26; Musil, Northern Negd, New York 1928, p. 124. – Musil, The Northern Hegâz, New York 1926, p. 212; Twitchell, Saudi Arabia, Princeton 1947, p. 75.

[26]   Cf. JS, No. 77, 6-7 with No. 72, 2-4. In No. 72, 1 is a theophorous name.

[27]   106.

[28]   Erman-Ranke, Ägypten, Tübingen 1923, p. 324. – The “Servant” belongs to Lihyanite theology. 

[29]   The beginning [of the name] in Grimme, p. 301 f., is certainly to be completed in this way; for the b is totally clear in JS, No. 32.

[30]   Grimme, p. 318: tomb inscription!

[31]   JS, No. 41.

[32]   JS, No. 72.

[33]   JS, No. 76.

[34]   JS, No. 52.

[35]   (JS, No. 72, Grimme p. 313: tomb inscription!) Nais and Neis. The latter name emerged around 1440 with a tribe in the marshes of lower Iraq, Qâdi Nűrullâh ash-Shűshtari, Magâlis al-Mu’minîn, Tehran 1268, maglis 8, gund 16; Käsräwî Täbrîzî, Ta’rîch-i  pansäd sâle-i Cuzestân, Tehran 1313, p. 11.

[36]   JS, No. 77 and 40 have been previously misunderstood, because nafs was interpreted as “grave stele” after the example of Nabataean, Palmyrene and South Arabian.

[37]   For wine growing in Wâdi al-Qurâ = Dedân, see Moritz, Arabien, Hannover 1923, p. 39.

[38]   Here the guardians of the (underage) siblings of the victim.

[39]   JS, No. 40. Does not appear on the blackboard. 

[40]   JS, No. 69.

[41] JS, No. 6.

[42]   JS, min., No. 10. – Müller, No. 8; JS, No. 54. In the former, the third personality appears to have died before the inscription was erected.

[43]   JS, No. 53. That the word indicates temple doors results from later Arabic language usage. Cf. also JS, No. 63, where the discussion is about sacred gates.

[44]   JS, No. 72, 68, 83; Müller, No. 28, 70. One notes the absence of the royal title in JS, No. 45.

[45]   JS, No. 67, 68, 70. Previous assertions that no Arab knows his birth date precisely are undermined by a reference to a prince for whom a horoscope was developed.

[46]   JS, Nab., No. 216, cf. No. 34, 7; 43; 84.

[47]   See for example Savignac et Horsfield, “Le Temple de Ramm,” Revue Biblique, v. 49, Paris 1935, pp. 245-278.

[48]   JS, No. 4-13. Twenty-three Lihyanite graffiti between Dedân and km 964, 37 at km 964; 14 Nabataean graffiti at km 961, 8 at km 964, and 34 somewhat farther south.

[49]   Tabarî, I, 749. The town quarter of Lihyân is verified through the Vers Hâtim Tej, ed. Schulthess, Leipzig 1897, No. 49, 6, where Lihyân is to be read instead of Lahyân. The interpretation that L. may be a castle in Hîra, Yaqűt, IV, 353, derives from the late legend set forth in the poem. – It is more often assumed that the Bedouin tribe of Lihyân, which camped north of Mecca in the sixth and seventh centuries A.D., originated from our Lihyân. But this assumption is totally groundless: Our Lihyân had become townspeople long before this. If they had been transformed back into Bedouin – and this is what is assumed – then they could never have ended up near Mecca; for the direction of migration in this part of West Arabia proceeds toward the north and east, never toward the south. Incidentally, the name Lihyân occasionally shows up in our inscriptions and also later as a personal name. It is thus not surprising that we find several origins for this name.

[50]   The legends in Yaqűt, III, 121 f., point to a great age for the place.