Dadanitic Toponyms and the Dew Ceremony in a Northwest Semitic Context Part I
In this post we will try to deliver an alternative translation of Dadanitic inscription U 079 bis. This inscription tells the story of two men who perform the Dew Ceremony and mentions two localities: BTR and DʿMN. When using the transliterations of Oxford (see 'Place names in the Dadanitic inscriptions of al-ʿUḏayb', 2014) inscription U 079 bis translates as:
Locality BTR…. performed the ZLL Ceremony at 'sandy terrain scattered with white stones' for the sake of his palm trees and his crops of the season of the later rains at 'flat land' for The-One-of- the-Forest.
Inscription U 079bis
Source translation: 'sandy terrain scattered with white stones'
Alternative: Proto-Semitic root brt meaning covenant or 'b- brt' the Place of the Covenant, related to Hurrian and Ugarit ’il brt.
Inscriptions: U 079bis; AH 062; U028; U 066; U 079bis;
Source translation: flat land
Source comment: The first element of this compound place name is the relative pronoun d and the second is ʿmn. This can be interpreted to Sabaic ʿMN meaning 'flat' and related to Arabic 'amina' meaning 'plain or soft land'.
Alternative: The Hebrew word amen derives from the same ancient triliteral Hebrew root as does the verb āmán. These three consonants of triliteral root (aleph-mem-nun), identical to those of ʾāmēn, means to be firm, confirmed, reliable, faithful, have faith, believe. So 'b- dʿmn may simply mean 'The Place of Faith' (or Place of Faithful).
So let's now test our alternative transliterations, based upon our Northwest Semitic approach. Our source translates inscription U 079bis as
Seasonal crops or spring rain?...…. performed the Dew Ceremony at the Place of Covenant for his lead to water and for his 'crops of the season of the later rains'* at the Place of Faith for the 'One of the Fortress'
The phrase 'crops of the season of the later rains' does not fit well. It's a transliteration of -dt'-, translated by scholar Macdonald a by-form of Saifatic expression Cardafa'iyyun, dataʾ iyun, which refers to the period between sita and sayf, which modern Bedouin call smak. (See An outline of the Grammar of the Safaitic inscriptions, Ahmad Al Jalald, page 311) and relates to dṯ‘ to spend the autumn’ (Macdonald 1992b). Phrase Dṯʾ would then correspond to the Rwala as‐smāk, stretching from mid‐February to mid‐April.
The usage of dṯʾ in both ancient and modern South Arabian confirms the approach of Mcdonald as it refers to either 'spring herbage' or 'spring rain' (see Eblaite(!) and Nortwest Semitic Lexical Links, G.A. Rendsburg, p. 207)
So our final translation of inscription U 079 bis:
Inscription U 079 bis at Ociana… performed the Dew Ceremony at the 'Place of Covenant' for the sake of of His lead to water and His spring rain at the 'Place of Faith' so 'One of the Fortress' favor them and reward them.
http://krc.orient.ox.ac.uk/ociana/corpu ... 33153.html