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Nabat alaph.png
Nabat bat.png
Nabat gamal.png
Nabat dalat.png
Nabat ha.png
Nabat waw.png
Nabat zayin.png
Nabat hha.png
Nabat tta.png
Nabat yat.png
Nabat kaf.png
Nabat lamad.png
Nabat mayim.png
Nabat nun.png
Nabat sa.png
Nabat hamza.png
Script type
Time period
2nd century BC to 4th century AD
Directionright-to-left script Edit this on Wikidata
LanguagesNabataean language
Related scripts
Parent systems
Child systems
Arabic script
ISO 15924
ISO 15924Nbat (159), ​Nabataean
Unicode alias
Final Accepted Script Proposal
Example in Nabataean alphabet
Example in Nabataean alphabet

The Nabataean alphabet is an abjad (consonantal alphabet) that was used by the Nabataeans in the second century BC.[2][3] Important inscriptions are found in Petra (now in Jordan), the Sinai Peninsula (now part of Egypt), and other archaeological sites including Abdah (in Israel) and Mada'in Saleh in Saudi Arabia.

Nabataean Kingdom, Aretas IV and Shaqilath, 9 b. C. - 40 a. D., AE18. On the reverse, an example of Nabataean script: names of Aretas IV (1st line) and Shaqilath (2nd and 3rd line).[4][5]
Nabataean Kingdom, Aretas IV and Shaqilath, 9 b. C. - 40 a. D., AE18. On the reverse, an example of Nabataean script: names of Aretas IV (1st line) and Shaqilath (2nd and 3rd line).[4][5]


The alphabet is descended from the Aramaic alphabet. In turn, a cursive form of Nabataean developed into the Arabic alphabet from the 4th century,[3] which is why Nabataean's letterforms are intermediate between the more northerly Semitic scripts (such as the Aramaic-derived Hebrew) and those of Arabic.

Tablet with the Nabataean alphabet on it.
Tablet with the Nabataean alphabet on it.

Comparison with related scripts

As compared to other Aramaic-derived scripts, Nabataean developed more loops and ligatures, likely to increase speed of writing. The ligatures seem to have not been standardized and varied across places and time. There were no spaces between words. Numerals in Nabataean script were built from characters of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 10, 20, and 100.

Nabatean Name Arabic
01 aleph.svg
ʾĀlap̄/ʾAlif ء ا ܐ א
02 bet.svg
Beth/Ba بـ ب ܒ ב
03 gimel.svg
Gamal/Jim جـ ج ܓ ג
04 dal.svg
Dalath/Dal ܕ ד
05 ha.svg
Heh هـ ه ܗ ה
06 waw.svg
Waw ܘ ו
07 zayn.svg
Zain ܙ ז
08 ha.svg
Ha/Heth حـ ح ܚ ח
09 taa.svg
Teth ܛ ט
10 yaa.svg
Yodh/Ya يـ ي ܝ י
11 kaf.svg
Kaph كـ ك ܟ כ‎ / ך
12 lam.svg
Lamadh/Lam لـ ل ܠ ל
13 meem.svg
Mim مـ م ܡ מ‎ / ם
14 noon.svg
Nun نـ ن ܢ נ‎ / ן
15 sin.svg
Simkath ܣ ס
16 ein.svg
'E/Ain عـ ع ܥ ע
17 fa.svg
Pe/Fa فـ ف ܦ פ‎ / ף
18 sad.svg
Ṣāḏē/Ṣad صـ ص ܨ צ‎ / ץ
19 qaf.svg
Qoph قـ ﻕ ܩ ק
20 ra.svg
Resh/Ra ܪ ר
21 shin.svg
Šin/Sin ﺳ س ܫ ש
22 ta.svg
Taw/Ta تـ ﺕ ܬ ת


See also: Nabataean (Unicode block)

The Nabataean alphabet (U+10880–U+108AF) was added to the Unicode Standard in June 2014 with the release of version 7.0.

Official Unicode Consortium code chart (PDF)
  0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 A B C D E F
U+1088x 𐢀 𐢁 𐢂 𐢃 𐢄 𐢅 𐢆 𐢇 𐢈 𐢉 𐢊 𐢋 𐢌 𐢍 𐢎 𐢏
U+1089x 𐢐 𐢑 𐢒 𐢓 𐢔 𐢕 𐢖 𐢗 𐢘 𐢙 𐢚 𐢛 𐢜 𐢝 𐢞
U+108Ax 𐢧 𐢨 𐢩 𐢪 𐢫 𐢬 𐢭 𐢮 𐢯
1.^ As of Unicode version 14.0
2.^ Grey areas indicate non-assigned code points

See also


  1. ^ Himelfarb, Elizabeth J. "First Alphabet Found in Egypt", Archaeology 53, Issue 1 (Jan./Feb. 2000): 21.
  2. ^ Everson, Michael (2010-12-09). "N3969: Proposal for encoding the Nabataean script in the SMP of the UCS" (PDF). Working Group Document, ISO/IEC JTC1/SC2/WG2.
  3. ^ a b Omniglot.
  4. ^ Yaʻaḳov Meshorer, "Nabataean coins", Ahva Co-op Press, 1975; 114.
  5. ^ https://en.numista.com/catalogue/pieces69784.html Numista