Sabaean; Pre-islamic inscriptions from Yemen, Oman and Saudi-Arabia

*To translate the sentence 'Leiden is where you study languages.' into Sabaean we would need to have more data on that language than what is currently available. That is why we present the inscription above as an example of a Sabaean text instead (a second example can be found here). For an overview of the script you could look at the omniglot website (see also

Language name: Sabaean
Language family: Afro-Asiatic, South Semitic.
Region: Extinct, once used in Yemen and Oman.

Department: Arabic, Persian and Turkish languages and cultures.
URL Department:
Lecturer: H.J. Stroomer

Course description: One of the most important languages spoken on the Arabic peninsula in pre-islamic times is Sabaean, a language known to us from about 50.000 stone inscriptions. The language is closely related to Ge'ez or Classical Ethiopic. The texts provide an authentic description of the Arabic peninsula in pre-islamic times. The course offers an introduction to Sabaean grammar (or that of a related language), after which we will read texts that will increase in difficulty as we progress. A follow-up course of 8,6 ECTS is available on demand.
Total duration: 2 semesters, extension to 4 is possible.
Course frequency: The course is taught every year (when enough students register for it).

Reading Year may vary
Credit (in ECTS): 8,6
Course hours per week: 2
Highest course level: -

Class types: Tutorial.
Examination types: Written.
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