The South Arabian alphabet is thought to have developed from the Proto-Sinaitic
alphabet in about the 9th century BC. It is known from inscriptions found in Eritrea,
Babylonia and Yemen dating from between 9th century BC and 7th century AD, and
was used to write Sabaean, Qatabanian, Hadramautic, Minaean, Himyarite and
proto-Ge'ez, extinct Semitic languages once spoken in southern parts of
the Arabian peninsula. It is also known as the Old Yemeni alphabet
or المُسند (musnad).
The South Arabian was used for monunmental inscriptions, and was also carved
into wooden sticks, which were used as everyday documents.
Type of writing system: abjad / consonant alphabet
Direction of writing: usually right to left in horizontal
lines, and sometimes left to right
Used to write: Sabaean, Qatabanian, Hadramautic, Minaean,
Himyarite and proto-Ge'ez
Words were separated with a vertical bar (|)
South Arabian alphabet
The top row of letters are written in monumental style, while the bottom
row of letters are in cursive style.