HIMA, Saudi Arabia — In the upcoming 2022 volume of the University of Vienna’s Wiener Zeitschrift für die Kunde des Morgenlandes (Viennese Magazine for Knowledge of the Orient), French archaeologist and historian Françoise Briquel-Chatonnet reveals the first Syriac language inscription discovered in the Ḥimā desert in southern Saudi Arabia.
The three-line stone inscription, which dates back to between the 6th and 7th century A.D., begins with the classic Syriac liturgical prayer, followed by invocations and supplications to God, similar to other inscriptions discovered in the Arabian Peninsula.
|Syriac||Latin Transliteration||English Translation|
|ܡܪܢ ܐܬܪܚܡ ܥܠܝ||mrn ’trhm ’ly||Lord have mercy upon me|
|ܟܠ ܡܢ ܕܥܒܪ ܒܐܘܪܚܐ||kl mn d’br b’wrh’||Whoever passes through this road|
|ܗܕܐ ܢܨܠܐܘܥܠܝ||hd’ nsl’ ’ly||Let him pray for me|
According to a study conducted by Briquel-Chatonnet, the author of the inscription could be a Christian nomad, or a member of the Christian community in Najran. In both cases, the inscription is the best evidence that the Christian civilization and culture in Najran was at least partly Syriac.