Category Archives: Ancient South Arabia

Epigraphy of pre-Islamic South Arabia

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A series of five hands-on lectures will be given by Christian Robin, a Member of the School for Historical Studies at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton and of the Centre Nationale de la Recherche Scientifique in France, in the Near Eastern Studies Workshops sponsored by Professor Sabine Schmidtke. These will provide an overview of the epigraphic documentation of pre-Islamic Arabia and existing tools, as well as presenting the state of the art on issues for which significant progress has been made in recent years through new epigraphic discoveries and the re-examination of older documents.

This will be held over five days: January 21, 23, 27, 28, 30, 2020 in Fuld Hall, room 307 of IAS.

The topics include:
• Arabs and Ḥimyarites; sha‘b and ‘ashīrat; the introduction of the horse
• territorial expansion of the kingdom of Ḥimyar; the “kingdom” of Kinda
• Judaism of Ḥimyar; the names of God, especially Raḥmānān
• reign of Abraha; the Christianity of Ḥimyar; Christian Arabs
• polytheistic god al-Lāh (comparison with al-Lāt); daughters of Īl
• tribal map and Arab-Islamic genealogies; permanence and breaks
• Arab-Muslim scholarly tradition and archaeology (writing, ritual practices, political history, chronology)
• Arabic and South Arabian languages
• long distance trade
• public finances

Knowledge of a Semitic language, ideally Arabic, is recommended.

RSVP to nitschke@ias.edu

Recontres Sabéenes Conference

dadanitic
Arabic in Didanite script – 5th century BCE:
(northern Ḥijāz) (from Ahmad al-Jallad)

The 24th Rencontres Sabéennes conference organized by the American Foundation for the Study of Man (AFSM) will take place in Amman, Jordan, from the 16th to the 18th of June, 2020.

The conference will be hosted in cooperation with Smithsonian Institution, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, the American Centre of Oriental Research (ACOR) and the School of Archaeology and Tourism/University of Jordan.

The topic of the meeting will be: “Crossing Boundaries: Contacts between South and North Arabia”

If you wish to offer a paper, please send an abstract to  zaydoon@afsm.org   on or before the 28th  of February, 2020 for consideration by the Committee.

All abstracts must also include the title of the proposed paper; name(s) and affiliation(s) of the contributor(s) and five key words. Abstracts are limited to 200 words maximum. Please submit your abstracts as Word documents only.

There is no registration fee, A travel and hotel expenses are the responsibility of the participants.

The End of Frankincense?

frank

The New York Times recently published an article about the possible extinction of the frankincense plant in the wild.

Frankincense is exported by the thousands of tons each year. But as demand increases, over-exploitation and ecosystem degradation are bringing populations to the brink of collapse. The study’s authors estimate that without new trees to replace the old, half the intact forests — and half the frankincense they produce — will be gone within 20 years.

Check out the article here.

نقوش هندسية مستديرة

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أحتاج اليمني قديما إلى تجميع مياه الغيول الشحيحة في خزانات كبيرة لإستخدامها في كميات كافية لري الأراضي الزراعية.الحل المناسب تشييد خزانات لتجميع مياه الغيل داخ الخزانات خلال فترة زمنية معينة لاتزيد عن اليوم والليلة .

الفكرة موجودة … لكن التنفيذ الهندسي يعتبر مشكلة في أرض كلها تربه طينية منتفخة وعمقها كبير .

لا شيء يعيق العقل اليمني القديم فلابد من إيجاد حلول لتشييد مثل هذه الخزانات في أرض صخرية أو طينية لا فرق في ذلك.

أولا حساب كمية الغيل المتدفق من النبع الممكن تجميعها خلال فترة زمنية محددة بعد تحديد حاجة الأراضي الزراعية في محيط قريب من موقع الغيل لغرض تحديد حجم الخزان المطلوب مستقبلا … الدراسة الإقتصادية قد تمت بدقة ليأتي دور التنفيذ .

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Continue reading نقوش هندسية مستديرة

Yemen’s Culture at Risk

Yemen Talk in Meyer Auditorium Feburary 24, 2019
Dan Varisco discussing Yemen’s rich cultural heritage at the Yemen Talk in Meyer Auditorium Feburary 24, 2019

On Saturday, February 24, The Sackler Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C. hosted a seminar on “Culture at Risk: Yemen’s Heritage under Threat”. This was jointly sponsored by the Sackler Gallery, CAORC and the Antiquities Coalition. The speakers included several AIYS members, including AIYS President Dan Varisco, Noha Sadek and Krista Lewis. Also speaking was Zaydoon Zaid of the American Foundation for the Study of Man and Gerald Feierstein, of The Middle East Institute and a former US Ambassador to Yemen. Information about the event is posted online and a video will be available in the future.

Below are some of the photographs of the event.

Yemen Talk in Meyer Auditorium Feburary 24, 2019
Noha Sadek at the Yemen Talk in Meyer Auditorium Feburary 24, 2019
Yemen Talk in Meyer Auditorium Feburary 24, 2019
CAORC Program Director Glenn Corbett introducing Krista Lewis at the Yemen Talk in Meyer Auditorium Feburary 24, 2019
Yemen Talk in Meyer Auditorium Feburary 24, 2019
Zaydoon Zayd at the Yemen Talk in Meyer Auditorium Feburary 24, 2019
Yemen Talk in Meyer Auditorium Feburary 24, 2019
Luigi Marini, Permanent Mission of Italy to the UN,  Ambassador Wafa Bughaighis of Libya to the U.S. and former U.S. Yemen Ambassador Gerald Feierstein at the Yemen Talk in Meyer Auditorium Feburary 24, 2019

[Photographs provided by Cory Grace of the Smithsonian.]

Bibliography of Arabic Texts on Yemen

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There is a useful bibliography of Arabic texts related to Yemen on the website Alukah.net.  Several of these are available in pdf.

For access to a major collection of downloadable pdfs on Yemen, go here.

Here is the start of the bibliography noted above.

اخي الكريم
هذه قائمة بالمصادر الأساسية في تاريخ اليمن، القديم والمعاصر.
مصادر ومراجع تاريخ اليمن
فصل من كتاب (جامع مؤلفات أهل اليمن ، المخطوطة والمطبوعة منذ أول تأليف ختى عام 2005م، بيليوجرافيا شاملة : تأليف : عمر عوض خريص ، مخطوط

* أئمة اليمن .
محمد بن محمد بن يحيى زبارة ، ت (1380هـ) طبع بتعز سنة 1952م . وطبعته الدار اليمنية
ـــ
الأباضية بحضرموت.
عبدالقادر محمد الصبان ، مخطوط ، لدى ورثة المؤلف بسيئون .
ـــ
* أبرز الأحداث اليمنية في ربع قرن : سبتمبر 1962ـ سبتمبر1987: من ارشيف صحيفة الرأي العام .، دمشق : مطبعة الكاتب العربي 1987، 175ص 24سم .
ـــــــ
* الاتجاه القومي في حركة الاحرار اليمنيين .
عبدالله أحمد الذيعاني ، رسالة ماجستير ، بغداد ، (طع 256).
ــــــ
* آثار ونقوش العقلة .
محمد عبدالقادر بافقيه ، مطبعة لجنة التاليف والترجمة ، القاهرة 1967.
ـــــ
* اثبات ماليس مثبوت من تاريخ يافع في حضرموت .
عبدالخالق بن عبدالله بن صالح البطاطي (1324ـ 1410هـ) ،مطابع دار البلاد بجدة ، 122 ص ، والمؤلف رجل من رجال الدولة القعيطية ، تولى نيابة السلطان على مدينة الشحر ، وكان مخلصا وفيا لبلاده ، شارك في عملية التنوير والبناء ، وكتابه هذا ردا على مؤلف المؤرخ محمد عبدالقادر بامطرف (الاقطاعيون كانوا هنا ) . والذي كتبه بامطرف في ظروف حرجة .

There are many more texts listed on the site.

Yemeni Agates

agates
image courtesy of Rahman Taha

Zayd al-Faqih has published online a history of the Yemeni agate on the website al-madaniya.

Here is the start of the article:

Yemen has been known since ancient times for its agate and incense trade, as well as trade in other precious stones such as onyx and jade. However, agate has achieved broader fame as a leading precious stone amongst many other valuable gems, incense and spices, including coffee beans. Yemeni agate arrived in Europe early; mentions include in Aristotle’s writings (384 – 322 BC), which state that the finest agate and onyx were brought from Yemen. The Book of Crowns of the Kings of Ḥimyar, by Wahb ibn Munabbih (655–728 AD), states that Shaddad ibn Amr, from the people of Ād, built his palace from onyx stones. History books state that when al-Muzaffar al-Sulayhi became ruler of Yemen, he sent gifts to his Fatimid allies, including 70 swords with agate handles, 12 knives with onyx blades, 5 agate adorned garments and a large number of  precious stones. Abu al-Hassan al-Hamdani (893–945 AD) writes that the art of forming and using onyx for adorning and lining reached its peak during his time, and was used to make bottles, cases, sword handles and plates…

Continued here.

Yemeni Arts on al-Madaniya

madaniya

Despite the turmoil and suffering in Yemen, a number of Yemeni artists are continuing to write, draw, photograph and film. One of the more exciting online resources for this is the website al-madaniya, published in English and Arabic.  Current posts include an article on Muhammad Mahmud al-Zubayri, Art in prehistoric Yemen, Yemeni songs, the poets ‘Abd al-‘Aziz al-Muqalih and ‘Abd Allah al-Baradduni, several short stories and much more. All the articles are published in Arabic and English, so they are also suitable for anyone interested in learning Arabic.

As note in the “About” section…

al-Madaniya magazine is a platform for Yemeni art, culture and civil society. It aims to highlight and nurture Yemeni art, culture and civil society initiatives through contributions from emerging and established writers, photographers and creatives

The magazine aims to impact the way Yemenis view their own society by providing a space for its cultural, intellectual and artistic productions, and by highlighting initiatives bridging social divisions. By presenting all contributions in both Arabic and English language, the magazine allows the international reader to explore an undiscovered side to Yemen, which differs from images of Yemen created in mainstream media

al-Madaniya magazine is a project implemented by the Yemen Polling Center and made possible by the generous funding of the German Institute of Foreign Affairs.  Yemeni artist Ibi Ibrahim has been commissioned to lead the project and serve as the Editor in Chief.