Though Arabia’s neighbors, Egypt and Iraq, became civilized countries two or three thousand years before Christ, Arabia herself remained an unknown and dark country till the rise of the southern Kingdom of Ancient Arabia. Arabia was then inhabited by a negroid race, which was attacked, destroyed, or driven into Rab’al Khali, the vast desert in South Arabia.
Rise of Himyarite Kingdom of Sana:
In 115 AD, a branch of Banu Qahtan, known as the Himyar, rose into prominence and PowerPower. The Himyarite Kings were also great builders. Their PowerPower and prosperity were based on a kind of Trible Mercantile feudalism. So famous South Arabia became for her riches and wealth that the Greek and Roman geographers and writers called her ” Arabia Felix” ( the” Happy Arabia”), as contrasted to the sandy Central Arabia, which they called Arabia Petra or Stony Arabia.
Land of the Castles:
Like the Qahtanties before them, the Himyarite kings built so many castles or forts that the Yeman came to be called the “Land of the Castles.” The most famous of these castles was the castle of Ghumdan, which had twenty stories – the first skyscraper in human history. The Himyarite chiefs also constructed wells, cisterns, and the dams, which collected the rain-water to irrigate their fertile lands.
The Marib Dam:
The Marib Dam was the greatest among them, a remarkable engineering feat. It is also known as the Saad Marib in Yemen. It was destroyed by floods several times, but so long as the Qahtantine and Himyarite Kingdoms remained steady, the Dam was successfully repaired.
The Breaking of the Ma’rib Dam: Simultaneously with the Roman threat, the Himyar Kingdom of Sana was confronted with a more severe danger. It was the breach of the Ma’rib Dam. Although the Medieval Arab historians, loving dramatic effect more than historical fact, believed that a rat brought about the destruction of this great Dam by removing a stone, it was destroyed several times by the floods and then repaired.
The bursting of the great Dam:
Though it is difficult to say precisely when these series of the bursting of the Dam began, the first breach would have occurred in the third century A.D, and the next recorded breach occurred in 450 A.D; At the same time, the last one took place in about 540 A, D, which the Arab historian has called” the bursting of the great dam” by a great flood. This destroyed the great Dam for all the time and buried it under the Arabian desert sands.
The ruins of this Dam are visible even today. The first of the Yemeni or Himyarite tribes to leave this southern homeland was Banu Ghassan. They settled in the desert of Syria. Next, the Tanakh moved and settled near Hira in the Persian Empire. Then the Kindah and other tribes went to the Central and Northern Arabia. Lastly, the Azd and other tribes left for Uman and Bahrain. The Aus and Khazrij, tribes who are settled in the Jewish colony of Yathrib or Medina.
Fall of the Himyarite Kingdom:
The imperial ambitions of the Christian Empire of Byzantium ultimately destroyed the Himyarite Kingdom of Sana in about 525 A. D. During the fifth century A. D, both the Jewish and Christian spread into South Arabia. The Last Himyar king Dhu Nuwas was a devoted Jew.he persecuted the Christians, who appealed to the Byzantine Emperor Justin I for aid.
The Emperor wrote to Negus, the King of Abyssinia, who sent a vast army of 70,000 against Dhu News.He was defeated and killed in 525 A.D., Thus ended the independence of the Himyarite Kingdom of Sana. It fell victim to the international rivalry of the two Empires of antiquity, that is, the Empires of Persia and Byzantine.
Year of Elephant:
As this army had an elephant, an animal the terror-stricken Arabs had never seen, they called the year of Abrahah’s invasion as the ” Year of Elephant” “am al-ful.”A few years later, the Yemeni Arabs overthrew the hated Christian rule of the Abyssinians with the aid of the Rival imperialism of Persia. Thus the Arabia of Islam was born in the throes of the imperialist intrigues of Rome and Persia.
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