Corpus of Marginal Qatabanic Inscriptions


Corpus of Marginal Qatabanic Inscriptions

This is a small corpus, made up of 15 inscriptions, dating from the 1st to the 2nd century AD (period C and D). The texts come from the plateau regions south of Qataban, from places such as al-Miʿsāl, Qāniya, al-Ḥadd, Ḥaṣī and wādī Ḍuraʾ. In the Marginal Qatabanic, besides features typical of Qatabanic language, there are linguistic peculiarities, "something different" from proper Qatabanic.

These are related to phonology (alternation ḏ/z, ṯ/s³), morphology (ʾlwd plural of wld; ʾḫy-hw instead of ʾḫh-), as well as formularies and lexicon.
There is a group of construction inscriptions related to the edification of hydraulic structures (canals, basins and wells) by members of the families Mʿhr and ḏ-Ḫwln (BaBa al-Ḥadd 1-3), or of private houses (Ja 1096 and Ja 2863).
RES 3856 is a legal text beautifully engraved on a rock in the wādī Ḍurāʾ region. A member of the family Qs³mm states the acquisition of territories, bringing them under cultivation, and building agriculture-irrigation structures.
The main god of these people is ʿṯtr S²rqn, but dedications are made to divinities like ʿm, Bs²mm, S²ms¹. Sometimes we are able to date the inscriptions with more accuracy: either because they have a date (e.g. MQ-ḏū-Wayn 1-9, dated according to the era of Maḍḥī) or because they mention kings or qayls well known in the Sabaic-Himyaritic documentation.
The importance of the Marginal Qatabanic corpus will be enhanced when it can be compared to the high plateau Sabaic corpus. The socio-linguistic problems - clearly visible in a text such as YMN 2, which has its almost perfect "counterpart" in Sabaic - underlying writing texts in the high plateau in the early centuries AD will emerge with greater clarity. It will become clearer, for example, what is meant when we speak of "Sabaeisms" in Marginal Qatabanic. It may be that we are not dealing with Sabaic words borrowed by Marginal Qatabanic, but words specific to the plateau attested in both Qatabanic and Sabaic. The title of a tribe qyl, for example, is typical of the tribes of the high plateau as well as in Sabaic.

This is the corpus home page. You can begin the consultation of the whole corpus by using the indexes and tools menu on the left or you can consult only one of its sub-corpora, when present, by choosing from the list below.