Harran Inscription: A Pre-Islamic Arabic Inscription From 568 CE

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First Composed: 8th March 2005

Last Modified: 29th January 2008

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Assalamu ʿalaykum wa rahamatullahi wa barakatuhu:



Harran Inscription: (a) Full text of the inscription and (b) only the Arabic part of the text is shown here.


568 CE.


It is a Greek-Arabic bilingual inscription on the martyrium of St. John.

Contents & Comments

Arabic: [I] Sharaḥīl, son of Talimu built this martyrium in the year 463 after the destruction of Khaybar by a year.

Greek: I, Sharahil, son of Talimu (Gr. Saraēlos Talemou) built this martyrium of the holy John in the year 463, may the writer [of this] be remembered.

The date is equivalent to 568 CE, i.e., 463 plus 105, the Bosra era.


Harran in Leija district, south of Damascus, Syria.

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[1] P. Schroeder, "Epigraphisches aus Syrien", Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenländischen Gesellschaft, 1884, pp. 530-534 and Pl. I.

[2] A. Grohmann, Arabische Paläographie II: Das Schriftwesen. Die Lapidarschrift, 1971, Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften Philosophisch - Historische Klasse: Denkschriften 94/2. Hermann Böhlaus Nachf.: Wein, p. 14 and p. 17.

[3] J. A. Bellamy, "The Arabic Alphabet", in W. M. Senner (Ed.), The Origins Of Writing, 1989, University of Nebraska Press, pp. 98-99.

[4] B. Gruendler, The Development Of The Arabic Scripts: From The Nabatean Era To The First Islamic Century According To The Dated Texts, 1993, Harvard Semitic Series No. 43, Scholars Press: Atlanta (GA), p. 14.

[6] R. Hoyland, "Epigraphy And The Linguistic Background Of The Qur'ān" in G. S. Reynolds (Ed.), The Qur'ān In Its Historical Context, 2008, Routledge Studies in the Qur'an, Routledge: London & New York, pp. 55-56 and p. 66 note 14.

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