Old South Arabian 10A60—10A7F

  • Number of characters: 32

The ancient Yemeni alphabet (Old South Arabian ms3nd; modern Arabic: المُسنَد‎ musnad) branched from the Proto-Sinaitic alphabet in about the 9th century BCE. It was used for writing the Old South Arabian languages of the Sabaic, Qatabanic, Hadramautic, Minaic (or Madhabic), Himyaritic, and proto-Ge'ez (or proto-Ethiosemitic) in Dʿmt. The earliest inscriptions in the alphabet date to the 9th century BCE in Akkele Guzay, Eritrea and in the 10th century BCE in Yemen. There are no vowels, instead using the mater lectionis to mark them.

Its mature form was reached around 500 BCE, and its use continued until the 6th century CE, including Old North Arabian inscriptions in variants of the alphabet, when it was displaced by the Arabic alphabet. In Ethiopia and Eritrea it evolved later into the Ge'ez alphabet, which, with added symbols throughout the centuries, has been used to write Amharic, Tigrinya and Tigre, as well as other languages (including various Semitic, Cushitic, and Nilo-Saharan languages).

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