Arabian Epigraphic Notes

An Open Access Online Journal on Arabian Epigraphy.

ʿAbd al-Asad and the Question of a Lion-God in the pre-Islamic Tradition: An Onomastic Study


This article investigates the pre-Islamic name ʿAbd al-Asad and the alleged lion-god in the Arabic tradition through the onomastic evidence of two ancient Semitic languages (Eblaite and Amorite) as well as the ancient epigraphic languages of Arabia. The study suggests that the name has no
association with the god Yaġūṯ under the form of a lion. Alternatively, it reflects either an ‘archaic’ astral cult related to Leo or a traditional name-giving practice known especially in the northern parts of the Arabian Peninsula. According to this practice, the individual, whether being a child or
an adult, could have been named ʿAbd-of-X after the person who took care of him (i.e. a patron) or the tribe he belonged to.


Ancestor cult Animal names Namegiving Onomastics