Universiteit Leiden

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Leiden Center for the Study of Ancient Arabia

The Leiden Center for the Study of Ancient Arabia aims to promote research on the ancient languages and cultures of Arabia, and to disseminate this knowledge to the broader public.

The importance of the study of Ancient Arabia

At present in the West, the study of Arabia's past is very badly served. There is no university post dealing specifically with the ancient history, ancient cultures, and ancient languages of Arabia, with the result that these subjects are simply not taught and students in these countries generally have no idea of what existed in Arabia before Islam. In addition, there are no permanent research posts in these subjects and so those scholars who work in this field have to do so in their spare time. The absence of a “scholarly center” has made it difficult for those working in Arabian studies to network, engage in collaborations, or even keep abreast of all the research being carried out in the field.

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The Center’s research interests would cover all subjects concerned with Arabia in the pre-modern period, but with special focus on the Peninsula’s pre-Islamic heritage. Arabia should be defined in its widest geographical sense, as covering all areas of the Arabian Peninsula, with a fluid northern limit based on geography and ancient cultural entities, rather than the frontiers of modern states.

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