Definitions for qatabanian language

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  1. Qatabanian language

    One of the four better-documented languages of the Old South Arabian sub-group of South Semitic, Qatabānian was spoken mainly but not exclusively in the kingdom of Qatabän,located in central Yemen. The language is attested between 500 BC and 200 AD. Some two thousand inscriptions are known written in the Ancient South Arabian Monumental Script, known as Musnad. These inscriptions are mainly found in Wādī Bayhān and Wādī Ḥārib to the south-east of Ma'rib, and from the plateau to the south of that area. Qatabanian inscriptions increase after the beginning of the 4th century BC when the Sabaeans ceased to dominate the area, and Qatabān became an independent kingdom. Qatabanian was spoken in an area across the kingdom of Qatabān as far as Jabal al-'Awd in the southwest, and if we are to believe the Greek and Latin writers, it went as far as Bāb al-Mandab on the Red Sea. At the end of the 2nd century AD, Saba' and Ḥaḑramawt finally defeated Qatabān, and the inscriptions ended. The language used to write inscriptions in the kingdom of Awsān, known as Awsānian is virtually identical to Qatabānic, but it is so badly attested, that it remains uncertain whether it is a Qatabānic dialect or a distinct language.


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