Ancient Arabia: Languages and Cultures

AALC Project News

The online publication of Geraldine King's thesis on the Hismaic (Thamudic E) inscriptions

In 1990, the late Geraldine King submitted her doctoral thesis entitled Early North Arabian Thamudic E. A preliminary description based on a new corpus of inscriptions from the Ḥismā desert of southern Jordan and published material. This revolutionized our understanding of "Thamudic E" showing that it was clearly a distinct dialect and script which should no longer be kept in the ‘pending file’ of only partially understood Ancient North Arabian inscriptions to which modern scholars have given the label ‘Thamudic’. This led M.C.A. Macdonald in 2000 to suggest that ‘Thamudic E’ should be given a new name, ‘Hismaic’, based on the fact that the vast majority of these inscriptions are found in the Ḥismā desert of southern Jordan and north-west Saudi Arabia. In her thesis Geraldine King not only presented 1300 new Hismaic inscriptions but studied all those which had been published up to that time and provided lists of the names and vocabulary in them. Although it was never published, it was widely distributed in photocopy and became the basis for all subsequent studies of Hismaic.

During Part 1 of the Online Corpus of the Inscriptions of Ancient North Arabia [OCIANA] project in 2012, Jennifer Lockie, of the Khalili Research Centre University of Oxford, re-typed the text of the thesis. She also scanned all the black-and-white and colour photographs and facsimiles and these have now been entered into the records for these inscriptions in the OCIANA. Meanwhile, the thesis, now renamed Ancient North Arabian Hismaic. A preliminary description based on a new corpus of inscriptions from the Ḥismā desert of southern Jordan and published material can be downloaded from this website. The names and vocabulary can be searched in OCIANA.

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