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tombstone-full.pdf A Broken Tombstone With an Arabic Inscription M.J. KISTER The Hebrew University of Jerusalem IN 1964, the late Dr. Arieh Y. Klausner found a broken tombstone (Fig. I) in a field close to Or ha-Ner in the northem Negev. It measured 30 cm. wide at the base, 39.5 cm. wide at the top, 43 cm. high on the left side and 34 cm. high on the right, and its thickness was 6.5 cm. It may be assumed that the stone was engraved in the fourth or fifth century A.H., but I do not feel competent to date it more precisely. The name of the deceased person does not appear in the five lines of the inscription; it may have appeared in one of the lines missing from the upper part of the stone. The following is my suggestion as to how the extant part of the inscription should be read: [~ La..aJ\ ~\ [~1..9 ~~ [oJ-.Lly l..JtS:j u.,ll .3 \.c.) W ~ 1LCL.,...9 .4 .)..J[---1 .1 ~ w~\...9.2 w.p 1l:'~l9 .5 '[-] --and fate and passing away came swiftly to him, and death effaced the charms [of his face.] [Both] his birth and the mourning [for his death were heard as] a clamour. He cried out, and was answered by a clamour. ' Early collections of Arabic poetry contain verses of similar content, expressing a gloomy view about the inescapable destiny of death. Some verses ascribed to Abu 1- 'AHihiya (d. 210 H.) with the qiifiya 'tu' convey the Fig. l. The broken tombstone. * This article is dedicated to the memory of Dr. Arieh Klausner. 164 M.J. KISTER same idea and use the same rhyme - fawt, mawt.1 'Hearken, for the clamour has heralded [as follows]; "If you do not hurry, there will be a slipping away. Take possession of everything you wish and live in safety. The end of all this is death." , Two verses of similar character are recorded in Lisiin al-:ﺕﻭﻡ ﻩﻡﺕﺍﻡﻭ.ﺩﻝﻭﻡ ﻥﺍﻙﻑ‬ As this paper shows, the tombstone poetry. fits well into the tradition of Early Arabic