a literary history of the arabs

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Purchase of this book includes free trial access to www.million-books.com where you can read more than a million books for free. This is an OCR edition with typos. Excerpt from book: than to collect old inscriptions." ' Thus the opportunity was lost, but curiosity had been awakened, and in 1810 Ulrich Jasper Seetzen discovered and copied several inscriptions in the neighbourhood of Zafar. Unfortunately these copies, which had to be made hastily, were very inexact. He also purchased an inscription, which he took away with him and copied at leisure, but his ignorance of the character led him to mistake the depressions in the stone for letters, so that the conclusions he came to were naturally of no value.2 The first serviceable copies of South Arabic inscriptions were brought to Europe by English officers employed on the survey of the southern and western coasts of Arabia. Lieutenant J. R. Wellsted published the inscriptions of Hisn Ghurab and Naqb al-Hajar in his Travels in Arabia (1838). Meanwhile Emil Rodiger, Professor of Oriental Languages at Halle, with the help of two manuscripts of the Berlin Royal Library containing ' Himyarite' alphabets, took the first step towards a correct decipherment by refuting the idea, for which De Sacy's authority had gained general acceptance, that the South Arabic script ran from left to rights; he showed, moreover, that the end of every word was marked by a straight perpendicular line.4 Wellsted's inscriptions, together with those which Hulton and Cruttenden brought to light at San'a, were deciphered by Gesenius and Rodiger working independently (1841). Hitherto England and Germany had shared the 1 Op. cit., p. 94 seq. An excellent account of the progress made in discovering and deciphering the South Arabic inscriptions down to the year 1841 is given by Rodiger, Excurs ucber himjaritische Inschriftcn, in his German translation of Wellsted's Travels in Arabia, vol. ii, p. 368 sqq. " Seetzen's inscriptions were publi...
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