Cover image for Ancient South Arabia : from the Queen of Sheba to the advent of Islam
Ancient South Arabia : from the Queen of Sheba to the advent of Islam
Schippmann, Klaus, 1924-2010.
Uniform Title:
Geschichte der alt-südarabischen Reiche. English
Publication Information:
Princeton, NJ : Markus Wiener Publishers, [2001]

Physical Description:
181 pages : illustrations, map ; 23 cm

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
DS247.A147 S35 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



At a crossroads between Africa, Asia, and Europe, the South Arabian kingdoms were major commercial and cultural players in world history. Their art and architecture, and especially their irrigation system, featuring a gigantic dam high in the mountains, give witness to a fascinating civilization, the myth and historical dimensions of which have captured our collective imaginations. The author, who participated in several archaeological excavations in Southern Arabia, provides a concise history of the kingdoms from the 10th century B.C.E. to the 7th century C.E. European reviewers of the German edition praised especially his elaboration on the social structures of the kingdoms, their economy and trade, geography, languages, scripture, military and religion.

Author Notes

Klaus Schippmann, University of Gottingen, has participated in several archaeological excavations in South Arabia. He is the author of numerous books about Persian and Middle Eastern history

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Schippmann (Univ. of Gottingen) offers an excellent study of South Arabia--an area covered by today's Yemen--from roughly 800 BCE down to the advent of Islam in the seventh century CE. "The 1400 years of Old South Arabia," writes the author, "without a doubt mark one of the high points in ancient Middle Eastern culture and civilization as a whole." While perhaps historians might be disappointed by the lack of a detailed account of the political, economic, or social institutions and events of these early years, Schippmann recognizes the paucity of information and invents nothing. He does provide the reader a splendid review of the archaeological expeditions that have undertaken excavations in the region, in some of which he has participated. He brings to the reader's attention the importance of a civilization often overlooked, one which controlled for centuries the sea lanes along the coasts of Arabia, produced fabled frankincense and myrrh, and developed an irrigation system of remarkable effectiveness. Schippmann points out that this work is "not intended for specialists" but for "laypeople interested in the subject." Undergraduates and above. J. W. Walt Simpson College (IA)

Table of Contents

Introductionp. 1
I Geography and Sourcesp. 3
II The Peoplep. 9
III Languages and Writingp. 19
IV Exploration Historyp. 23
V The History of South Arabiap. 31
1. The prehistoric periodp. 31
2. The early chronology of South Arabia and the related problemsp. 35
3. Presentation of the kingdoms of Old South Arabiap. 48
4. The history of South Arabia from the tenth century B.C. to the seventh century A.D.p. 53
5. Conclusionp. 68
VI Social Structures in Ancient South Arabiap. 71
1. The Bronze Agep. 72
2. The (proto-) Sabaean periodp. 74
VII The Economy at the Time of Ancient South Arabiap. 79
1. Overland tradep. 79
2. Trade by Seap. 81
3. Agriculturep. 84
VIII The Militaryp. 87
IX Religion(s) in Ancient South Arabiap. 91
X The Art of South Arabiap. 95
1. Architecturep. 95
2. Sculpturep. 110
3. Smaller works of artp. 113
4. Coinsp. 114
5. Potteryp. 116
Notesp. 119
Chronologyp. 159
Abbreviationsp. 165
Bibliographyp. 169
Indexp. 175