In the Arabian peninsula, before the advent of Islam some distinctive civilizations flourished with a remarkable cultural level and left behind an important epigraphic and artistic wealth in terms of quality and interest. The history of these cultures is known almost exclusively by epigraphic material. In fact, the majority of texts that the inhabitants of Arabia have left us are the inscriptions that are found in their tens of thousands all over the lands.
However, the inscriptions of pre-Islamic Arabia are only relatively known and often difficult to interpret, and scholars are obliged to draw on resources which are outdated or overly narrow in scope. On the basis of these considerations, DASI would like to apply the modern computer technology to the study of pre-Islamic inscriptions. The main objective of DASI is to improve and enrich the existing CSAI project (Corpus of South Arabian Inscriptions: http://csai.humnet.unipi.it) in terms of methodology and contents creating a digital archive of the whole corpus of pre-Islamic Arabian inscriptions. This archive is intended to become the virtual place where all the existing inscriptions from Arabia are gathered and can be managed, consulted and studied: the virtual ambient will collect the inscriptions that are physically located in different, faraway places such as archaeological sites in Arabia, as well as museums or private collections all over the world, but it will also document inscriptions by now physically lost and known only thorough previous publications.
By actually cataloguing and studying these texts, the aim of DASI is to achieve a better overall perception and knowledge of the epigraphic heritage of pre-Islamic Arabia - yet a very young field - and consequently of its languages and cultures.
Call for proposal
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