Beirut 2014, 500 pp., german text, numerous illustrations.
Mohammed Maraqten's work is concerned with a large corpus of recently discovered minuscule documents from Yemen, encompassing such diverse genres as legal and economic charters, inventories, receipts in coin or kind, private contracts, educational texts, and private letters. Incidentally, these texts were inscribed on wooden sticks, primarily on palm leaf-stalks and in minuscule script called zabūr. These minuscule documents are to be dated back to the 10th century BCE until the 6th century CE. Thus, they constitute an important source for social and cultural history as well as for philology. In particular, they allow us to trace the development of practices of writing and documentation in ancient South Arabia.
Maraqten categorizes these documents by genre and period, and contextualizes them in the first part of his study. The second part consists of a selection of one hundred texts which are deciphered, translated, and commented upon. For all these texts, visual presentations and facsimiles are added. This is the first time, these documents, which belong to the collection of the Yemeni National Museum in Sanaa, are published.