Corpus of South Arabian Inscriptions

Catalogue 2000: 313, fig. 147


LanguageAncient South Arabian » Sabaic » Central Middle Sabaic
AlphabetAncient South Arabian
Script typologyMonumental writing
Writing techniqueIncision
Measure of letters2.8
Textual typologyDedicatory text
Royal inscriptionYes


This inscription marks the shift from Ancient Sabaic to Middle Sabaic on the highlands according to Stein (2005 c), who chronologically sets the text in the 3rd cent. BC.


   1  Yhʿn Ḏbyn bn Ys¹mʿʾl bn S¹mhkrb mlk S¹mʿy hqny Tʾlb ʿdy Ẓbyn nfs¹-hw w-bn-h[w]
   2  Zydm w-Zydʾl w-kl wld-hw w-qny-hw w-byt-hw Yʿd w-ʾrḍt-hw Tʾlqm w-kl qny-hw w-qny ʾb-hw Ys¹mʿʾ(l)[ w-q]—
   3  ny w-mḥmyt w-ʿbrt w-ʾbyt w-ʾrḍt twrṯy ʾb-hmy S¹mhʾfq bn S¹mhyfʿ mlk S¹mʿy b-ḥqlm w-hgrm w-mḥmy-(h)[w]
   4  Nʿmn ḏ-ʿs¹y w-s²ʾm Yhʿn ʿm-n Bkrm w-Hwfʿṯt w-Hmtʿṯt w-Hwtrʿṯt w-ʿm-n Hwtrʿṯt w-ʿms²fq w-Yhʿn (w)-[ʿ]—
   5  ms¹mʿ w-Gnʾm w-Ẓrm w-ʾḫ-hmw bny Rʾbn w-ʿbr-hw ḏt ḏ-S¹mhʿly((ḏ-S¹mhʿly)) fnwt s¹yr Ḥdqn (ḏ)-qny w-ʿs¹y ʿm-n ʿms²[fq]
   6  bn S¹rwm qwl Yrs¹m w-ʿbr-hw ḏt Dʾḫ w-ʾtm ʾtm-h b-mwhbt whbw ʾbh-hw w-ʾʿmm-hw ʾqwl Yhybb ḏ-[wh]—
   7  b-hmw ʾmlk Mryb w-s²ʿbn S¹mʿ mlʿb ʿbrn ḏ-Dʾḫ w-b-ḥg gdyt hgd l-hw Krbʾl Wtr mlk S¹bʾ w-b-ḥg mwhbt w-g(d)[yt hg]—
   8  dw w-whb-hw s²ʿbn S¹mʿ w-b-ḥg gdyt w-mṯbt hṯb Yṯʿkrb bn Ḏrḥʾl bn Yhfrʿ ḏ-ʿhrnhn((ḏ-ʿhrnhn)) w-ʿbr-hw Ḥy(s³)[ ... ...]
   9  w-ʿ(s¹y w)-(qny) [... ...]

3twrṯy is considered as the first occurrence of a marked dual ending -y (Stein 2003 a: 169, fn. 85).
8At the end ḏ-s²ʾm (CIH).
9w-ʿs¹y w-qny ʿm-n (CIH).



   1  Yhʿn Ḏbyn son of Ys¹mʿʾl son of S¹mhkrb, king of S¹mʿy, dedicated to Tʾlb at Ẓbyn his life and his sons
   2  Zydm and Zydʾl, and all his children, his possessions, his house Yʿd, his lands Tʾlqm, and all his possessions and the possessions of his father Ys¹mʿʾl, and the possessi-
   3  ons, irrigated grounds, riverside pastures, houses and lands which they both inherited from their ancestor S¹mhʾfq, son of S¹mhyfʿ, king of S¹mʿy, in country and town; and his irrigated field
   4  Nʿmn, which Yhʿn acquired and purchased from Bkrm, Hwfʿṯt, Hmtʿṯt, Hwtrʿṯt and from Hwtrʿṯt, ʿms²fq, Yhʿn, ʿ-
   5  ms¹mʿ, Gnʾm, Ẓrm and their brothers of the family Rʾbn; and his riverside pasture called ḏ-S¹mhʿly, towards the territory of Ḥdqn, which he obtained and acquired from ʿms²fq,
   6  son of S¹rwm, qwl of Yrs¹m; and his riverside pasture ḏt Dʾḫ; now he acquired the proprietary rights to it by the grants which his forefathers and uncles, the ʾqwl of Yhybb, granted (him), which
   7  the kings of Mryb and the tribe S¹mʿ had granted them: the flood-plain of the riverside pasture ḏ-Dʾḫ; and according to the pact renewal which Krbʾl Wtr, king of Sabaʾ renewed for him, and according to the concession and pact renewal which the tribe S¹mʿ
   8  renewed and granted him, and according to the renewal and the legal document made by Yṯʿkrb, son of Ḏrḥʾl, of Yhfrʿ of [the tribe] ʿhrnhn, and his riverside pasture Ḥys³ [which he purchased]
   9  and acquired, and obtained [... ...].
6-9Beeston: "now he acquired the title to it by the grants which his forefathers and uncles the lords of Yhybb were given, by which the kings of Mryb and the tribe S¹mʿ granted them the flood-plain of the riverside pasture ḏ-Dʾḫ, and according to the concession which was made to him by Krbʾl Wtr, king of Sabaʾ, and according to the grants and concession which the tribe S¹mʿ made and gave, and according to the concessions and assignment made by Yṯʿkrb son of Ḏrḥʾl of Yhfrʿ of [the tribe] ʿhrnhn, and his riverside pasture Ḥys³ [which he purchased]".
6-9Robin (in Robin and Vogt 1997): "il a procédé à leur réunion avec les biens que lui ont donnés ses pères et ses oncles, qayls de Yhybb, biens que leur avaient donnés les rois de Mryb et la tribu de S¹mʿ, à l'exception de (?) son champs en terrasses ḏ-Dʾḫ, conformément à la concession que Krbʾl Wtr, roi de Sabaʾ, lui avait faite, conformément aux dons et concessions consentis par la tribu S¹mʿ, et conformément aux concessions et dispositions dècidées par Yṯʿkrb fils de Ḏrḥʾl bn Yhfrʿ [concernant] ḏ-ʿhrnhn et son champs en terrasses Ḥys³ [qu'il a achété] et acquis, et son bien [... ...]".
Robin and Vogt 1997: 231Robin, Christian J. and Vogt, Burkhard (eds) 1997. Yémen, au pays de la reine de Saba. Exposition présentée à l'Institut du monde arabe du 25 octobre 1997 au 28 février 1998. Paris: Flammarion, Institut du Monde Arabe.


DepositBerlin, Vorderasiatisches Museum, VA 1
Support typeArtefact » Stela » Stela with framework
Measuresh. 40.5, w. 92.5, th. 9
Link to object record


Modern siteBayt Dughaysh
Ancient siteḤdqn
Geographical areaṢanʿāʾ
Link to site record


This inscription is historically relevant. A king of S¹mʿy, a tribe from the northern highlands, puts under the protection of the god Tʾlb his family and properties, the latter including cultivated fields, pastures and houses.
Part of these possessions were inherited by his ancestor, a preceding king of S¹mʿy; other were acquired from local qayls.
After enumerating all the things owned, the king declares he was legally granted these properties by the tribes of S¹mʿ and Sabaʾ. It needs to be underlined the equal status apparently existing, from the point of view of the author, between the tribe from the highland and Sabaʾ.
The mentioned Sabaean king Krbʾl Wtr probably only means generically the Sabaean kingship, whereas a certain rejection of the Sabaean rule appears in the expression "kings of Marib", which is rather strange and certainly would have never been adopted by a Sabaean citizen.


Mordtmann 1893: 42, pl. IV, 1Mordtmann, Johannes H. 1893. Himjarische Inschriften und Alterthümer in den königlichen Museen zu Berlin. (Mitteilungen aus den orientalischen Sammlungen, 7). Berlin: W. Spemann.
Beeston 1937 a: 6-8Beeston, Alfred F.L. 1937. Sabaean inscriptions. Oxford.
Catalogue 2000: 312, cat. 1472000. Yemen. Nel paese della Regina di Saba. Catalogo della Mostra, Palazzo Ruspoli, Fondazione Memmo, Roma 6 Aprile - 30 Giugno 2000. Milan: Skira.
Stein 2003 aStein, Peter 2003. Untersuchungen zur Phonologie und Morphologie des Sabäischen. (Epigraphische Forschungen auf der Arabischen Halbinsel, 3). Rahden: Marie Leidorf GmbH / Westf.: Marie Leidorf GmbH.
Stein 2005 cStein, Peter 2005. Linguistic contributions to Sabaean chronology. Archäologische Berichte aus dem Yemen, 10: 179-189.