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Yemen

(835 words)

Author(s): Müller, Walter W.
[German Version] country in the southwestern corner of the Arabian Peninsula, bordered to the north by Saudi Arabia and to the east by Oman. The name derives from the Arabic word for “right” (as opposed to “left”) and originally meant the territory lying to the right, i.e. in the south. Yemen, divided into 21 administrative divisions, has an area of 527,968 km2 and a population of 25,130,000 (April 2011), almost exclusively Arabic-speaking Yemeni Muslims, about half Shiʿite Zaidi and half Sunnis of the Shāfiʿite legal school. Yemen is a presidential repub…

Arabian Peninsula

(2,427 words)

Author(s): Müller, Walter W. | Gerö, Stephen | Nagel, Tilman
[German Version] I. Christianity – II. Islam I. Christianity 1. Southern Arabia. It is impossible to tell when the gospel was first preached in southern Arabia; probably Arabs from the region came into contact with Christianity in the course of their commercial travels or else Christians arrived in southern Arabia. Jewish and Christian missionaries probably paved the way for Southern Arabian monotheism, attested in inscriptions dating from 378 ce onward, which replaced the cult of astral deities with a single God. Around 342, the …

Thamudene Alphabet/Thamudic Inscriptions

(255 words)

Author(s): Müller, Walter W.
[German Version] The Thamudic inscriptions are a group of inscriptions in several dialects of Early North Arabic, written in a script derived from the Old South Arabic alphabet. The Arab Tamûdi are mentioned in 715 bce in the annals of the Assyrian king Sargon II; according to the geography of Ptolemy, the Thamydítai and Thamydḗnoi lived in the territory of Midian. A Greek/Nabatean bilingual from the temple of Rauwāfa in the northern Hijaz mentions a people called Thamudḗnoi, and at the end of the 4th century we still find Thamudeni as mounted soldiers in the East Roman army. The geographic …

Liḥyānites / Liḥyānite Inscriptions

(261 words)

Author(s): Müller, Walter W.
[German Version] The Liḥyānites of antiquity were a tribe in the oasis of Dedān (modern al-ʾUlā) in northwestern Arabia who were able to establish an independent kingdom. Epigraphic evidences marks the appearance of this kingdom around 320 bce; it came to an end around 100 bce with the advance of the Nabateans. Thus it coexisted with the colonial settlements of the Minaeans in the same oasis. The Liḥyānites had ties with Ptolemaic Egypt (Ptolemaic Dynasty); of the nine Liḥyānite kings whose names we know, two were called Tulmay (Ptolemaios). The Liḥyānite inscriptions were written i…

Sabaeans

(439 words)

Author(s): Müller, Walter W.
[German Version] a Semitic people in the area of modern Yemen, home of an advanced civilization in antiquity. The center of the kingdom of Saba was the city of Mārib, situated in a riverine oasis. With it as a base, in the early 7th century bce the Sabaean ruler Karibʾil Watar gained ascendancy over the rival kingdoms of Qatabān to the south and Ḥaḍramaut to the east, along with the confederation of Minaean towns to the northwest. From the 3rd century bce on, the Sabaean kingdom expanded into the Yemenite uplands, where a competing Himyarite kingdom emerged in the 1st century ce. When the Sab…

Naǧrān

(274 words)

Author(s): Müller, Walter W.
[German Version] (Najran) is an oasis town situated on the ancient Frankincense Road in the southwestern part of Saudi Arabia. Naǧrān originally designated the oasis, and later became the name of its main settlement, attested as Rgmtm in Old South Arabian inscriptions and as Ragma in Ezek 27:22, where it is mentioned as a trading partner of the Phoenician city of Tyre (LXX ῾Ραγμα, MT רַעְמָה/Raʿmāh). A Christian community was established in Naǧrān in the 5th century and stood under the authority of its own bishops (Arabian Peninsula: I, 1). Late Sabaean inscr…

Mecca

(1,142 words)

Author(s): Müller, Walter W. | Nagel, Tilman
[German Version] I. Pre-Islamic Period – II. Islamic Period I. Pre-Islamic Period Mecca, Arabic Makka, is a city in the western part of the central Arabia lying about 72 km from the Red Sea and situated in an arid and barren depression. The locality is first mentioned in the 2nd century ce by Ptolemy ( Geographia VI 7.32) under the Greek name Makóraba, which is probably to be derived from Old South Arabic mkrb, “temple,” “sanctuary.” Among the sanctuaries in and around Mecca, the most important was the Kaʿba in the city, a cube-shaped construction with a black cult…