Dhu Nuwas

Dhū Nuwās, (Arabic: ذو نواس‎), Yosef Nu'as (Hebrew: יוסף נואס‎), or Yūsuf Ibn Sharhabeel (Arabic: يوسف بن شرحبيل‎)[1] Syriac Masruq; Greek Dounaas (Δουναας), was a Judaic king of Ḥimyar between 517 and 525-27 CE, who came to renown on account of his military exploits against people of other religions living in his kingdom.

Crowned man, Zafar
Image of a king from Zafar, c. 450–525 CE. May represent Dhū Nuwās (note the prominent sidelocks).


Ibn Hisham's Sirat Rasul Allah (better known in English as the Life of Muhammad), describes the exploits of Yūsuf Dhū Nuwās. Ibn Hisham explains that Yūsuf was a Jew who grew out his sidelocks (nuwas meaning, "forelock" or "sidelock"), and who became known as "lord of the sidelocks." The historicity of Dhū Nuwās is affirmed by Philostorgius and by Procopius (in the latter's Persian War). Procopius writes that in 525, the armies of the Christian Kingdom of Axum in Ethiopia invaded Yemen at the request of the Byzantine Emperor, Justin I, to take control of the Jewish kingdom in Ḥimyar, then under the leadership of Yūsuf Dhū Nuwās, who rose to power in 522. Ibn Hisham explains the same sequence of events under the name of "Yūsuf Dhū Nuwās." Indeed, with this invasion, the Ḥimyarites were smitten, and as such the supremacy of the Jewish religion in the Kingdom of Ḥimyar, as well as in all of Yemen, came to an abrupt end.

Imrū al-Qays, the famous Yemeni poet from the same period, in his poem entitled taqūl lī bint al-kinda lammā ‘azafat, laments the death of two great men of Yemen, one of them being Dhū Nuwās, whom he regards as the last of the Himyarite kings:

Art thou not saddened how fate has become an ugly beast,
the betrayer of its generation, he that swalloweth up people? It has removed Dhū Nuwās from the fortresses
who once ruled in the strongholds and over men
[An armored knight, who hurriedly broke the ends of the earth
and led his hordes of horse unto her uttermost parts And has shut up a dam in the place of the sunrise
for Gog and Magog that are (as tall as) mountains!][2]

One Syriac source appears to suggest that the mother of Dhū Nuwās may have been herself a Jew hailing from the Mesopotamian city of Nisibis.[3][4] If so, this would place her origins within the Sassanid imperial sphere, and would illuminate possible political reasons for his later actions against the Christians of Arabia, who were natural allies of the Byzantine Empire.[3] Many modern historians, though Christopher Haas is an exception, have argued that her son's conversion was a matter of tactical opportunism, since Judaism would have provided him with an ideological counterweight to the religion of his adversary, the Kingdom of Aksum, and also allowed him to curry favour with the Sassanid shahanshah.[5]


According to Ibn Ishaq, the king of Himyar named Dhu Nuwas had burned the Christians in Najran, and an invading army from Aksum (Habashah) occupied Yemen. Dhu Nuwas decided to kill himself by drowning himself in the sea.[5] Arab tradition states that Dhū Nuwās committed suicide by riding his horse into the Red Sea. The Himyarite kingdom is said to have been ruled prior to Dhu-Nuwas by the Du Yazan dynasty of Jewish converts, as early as the late fourth century.[5]

According to a number of medieval historians, who depend on the account of John of Ephesus, Dhū Nuwās announced that he would persecute the Christians living in his kingdom because Christian states persecuted his fellow co-religionists in their realms; a letter survives written by Simon, the bishop of Beth Arsham in 524 CE, recounting Dimnon (who is probably Dhū Nuwās') persecution in Najran in Arabia.[6]

Based on other contemporary sources, after seizing the throne of the Ḥimyarites in ca. 518 or 523 Dhū Nuwās attacked the Aksumite (mainly Christian Ethiopians at Najrān, capturing them and burning their churches. After accepting the city's capitulation, he massacred those inhabitants who would not renounce Christianity.

According to the Arab historians, Dhū Nuwās then proceeded to write a letter to the Lakhmid king Al-Mundhir III ibn al-Nu'man of al-Ḥīrah and King Kavadh I of Persia, informing them of his deed and encouraging them to do likewise to the Christians under their dominion. Al-Mundhir received this letter in January 519, as he was receiving an embassy from Constantinople seeking to forge a peace between the Roman Empire and al-Ḥīrha.[7] He revealed the contents of the letter to the Roman ambassadors who were horrified by its contents. Word of the slaughter quickly spread throughout the Roman and Persian realms, and refugees from Najran even reached the court of the Roman emperor Justin I himself, begging him to avenge the martyred Christians.

Sources and names

The name Yūsuf ’As’ar Yath’ar (believed to be Joseph Dhū-Nuwas) appears in an old South Arabian inscription.[8] Related inscriptions from the same period were also deciphered by Jamme and Ryckmans, showing that in the ensuing wars with his non-Jewish subjects, the combined war booty (excluding deaths) from campaigns waged against the Abyssinians in Ẓafār, the fighters in ’Ašʻarān, Rakbān, Farasān, Muḥwān (Mocha), and the fighters and military units in Najran, amounted to 12,500 war trophies, 11,000 captives and 290,000 camels and bovines and sheep.[9]

According to ‘Irfan Shahid's Martyrs of Najran – New Documents, Dhu-Nuwas sent an army of some 120,000 soldiers to lay siege to the city of Najran, which siege lasted for six months, and the city taken and burnt on the 15th day of the seventh month (i.e. the lunar month Tishri). The city had revolted against the king and they refused to deliver it up unto the king. About three-hundred of the city’s inhabitants surrendered to the king’s forces, under the assurances of an oath that no harm would come to them, and these were later bound, while those remaining in the city were burnt alive within their church. The death toll in this account is said to have reached about two-thousand. However, in the Sabaean inscriptions describing these events, it is reported that by the month Dhu-Madra'an (between July and September) there were “1000 killed, 1500 prisoners [taken] and 10,000 head of cattle.”[10]

Jacques Ryckmans, who deciphered the Sabaean inscriptions, writes in his La Persécution des Chrétiens Himyarites, that Sarah'il Yaqbul-Yaz'an was both the tribal chief and the lieutenant of Yûsuf ’As’ar (the king) at the time of the military campaign, and that he was sent out by the king to take the city of Najran, while the king watched for a possible Abyssinian/Ethiopian incursion along the coastal plains of Yemen near Mokhā (al-Moḫâ) and the strait known as Bāb al-Mandab. It is to be noted that the Ethiopian church in Ẓafâr, which had been built by the Himyarite King some years earlier following the proselytizing mission of Theophilos the Indian and another church built by him in Aden (see: Ecclesiastical History of Philostorgius, Epitome of Book III, chapter 4), had been seen by Constantius II during the embassage to the land of the Ḥimyarites (i.e. Yemen) in circa 340 CE. This church was set on fire and razed to the ground, and its Abyssinian inhabitants killed. Later, foreigners (presumably Christians) living in Haḏramawt were also put to death before the king’s army advanced to Najran in the far north and took it.

King Yusuf Asar Yathar, described in an inscription as "king of all nations," had led the major tribes of Yemen (Hamedan, Madh'hij, Kindah, Murad) and successfully defeated the Abyssinian forces in Ẓafâr, Mokhā and Najran.

Dhi Yazan leader, Samu Yafa' (سميفع أشوع), become the successor of Yusuf in 527 and the Abyssinian forces led by Abraha had invaded Yemen again in 531.

Najran inscription (518 CE):[11][12]

The first line :
Sabaean: ليبركن الن ذ لهو سمين وارضين ملكن يوسف اسار يثار ملك كل اشعبن وليبركن اقولن
Arabic : ليبارك الله الذي له (ملك) السماوات والأرض الملك يوسف أسار يثأر ملك كل الشعوب وليبارك الأقيال

God who owns the heavens and the earth bless king Yusuf Asar Yathar, king of all nations and bless the Aqials

Third line:
Sabaean:خصرو مراهمو ملكن يوسف اسار يثار كدهر قلسن وهرج احبشن بظفر وعلي حرب اشعرن وركبن وفرسن
Arabic : الذين ناصروا سيدهم الملك يوسف أسأر يثأر عندما أحرق الكنيسة وقتل الأحباش في ظفار وعلى حرب الأشاعرة وركبان وفرسان

Who they stand with their master, King Yusuf Asar Yathar, when he burned the church and killed the Habashah (Abyssinians) in Dhofar and war on (Habashah) in Ash'aran and Rakban (regions) and Farasan

Fifth line:
Sabaean:وكذه فلح لهفان ملكن بهيت سباتن خمس ماتو عثني عشر االفم مهرجتم واحد عشر االفم سبيم وتسعي
Arabic : وقد أفلح الملك في هذه المعركة في قتل 12500 اثناعشر الف وخمسمائة قتيل و11090 أحد عشر ألف وتسعين اسير

The king has succeeded in these battles in the killing of 12,500 and capturing 11,090

Sixth line:
Sabaean:وثتي ماتن االفن ابلم وبقرم وضانم وتسطرو ذن مسندن قيل شرحال ذي يزن اقرن بعلي نجرن
Arabic : وغنم مئتي الف رأس من الابل والبقر والضان وقد كتب هذه المسند القيل شرحال ذي يزن عندما رابط في نجران

Booty of two hundred thousand camels, cows, sheep, and this Misnad (inscription) was written by Shrahal Dhi Yazan when camped in Najran

Seventh line:
Sabaean:بشعب ذ همدن هجرن وعربن ونقرم بن ازانن واعرب كدت ومردم ومذحجم واقولن اخوتهو بعم ملكن قرنم
Arabic : مع شعب همدان والعرب والمقاتلين اليزنيين وأعراب كندة ومراد ومذحج واخوته الأقيال الذين رابطوا مع الملك

With the nation of Hamedan and the Arabs and the Yazaniin fighters and the A'rab (Nomads) of Kinda and Murad and Madh'hij and his brothers the Aqials who camped with the king

Eighth and ninth line:
Sabaean:ببحرن بن حبشت ويصنعنن سسلت مدبن وككل ذذكرو بذل مسندن مهرجتم وغنمم ومقرنتم فكسباتم
Arabic : على البحر من جهة الحبشة واقاموا سلسلة من التحصينات في باب المندب وجميع الذين ذكروا بهذا المسند قاتلوا وغنموا ورابطوا في هذه المهمة

On the sea from the side of Habashah (Abyssinia) And they set up a series of fortifications in the Bab al-Mandab and all who mentioned in this Musnad they fought and took booty and camped in this mission

Sabaean:اوده ذ قفلو ابتهمو بثلثت عشر اورخم وليبركن رحمنن بنيهمو شرحبال يكمل وهعن اسار بني لحيعت
Arabic : وعادوا في تاريخ ثلاثة عشر وليبارك الرحمن ابناء شرحبال يكمل وهعن واسار بني لحيعت

And they returned in the history of thirteen and Rahman (god) bless Sharhabal Ekml and Wh'an and Asar Bni Lhi't


  1. ^ The Complete History, written by Ali ibn al-Athir, page 19 (وقال ابن عباس: كان بنجران ملك من ملوك حمير يقال له ذو نواس واسمه يوسف بن شرحبيل)
  2. ^ The entire poem is brought down only in a-Ṭūsī's version of the dīwān (concerning which, see the words of the editors of Imrū al-Qays, Dīwān imrī al-qays wa-mulḥaqātuh bi-šarḥ abī sa‘īd al-sukkarī, ed. Abū Suwaylim & al-Šawābika, Muḥammad, UAE 2000, p. 105–110), while the two stanzas which are shown here in brackets have been taken from al-‘Iqd al-ṯamīn (ibid., p. 714, n. 1). The two stanzas have also been included in an abridged version of the poem, Imrū al-Qays, Dīwān imrī al-qays, Ed. al-Ayyūbī, Yāsīn, Beirut 1998, p. 472–473.
  3. ^ a b Jonathan Porter Berkey, The Formation of Islam: Religion and Society in the Near East, 600-1800, Cambridge University Press, 2003 p.46.
  4. ^ 'Irfan Shahid, in the Introduction to his book, Martyrs of Najran (published in 1971), quotes from the Nestorian Chronicle from Saard (Séert) edited by Addai Scher (see: Patrologia Orientalis vol. IV, V and VII), compiled shortly after anno 1036 CE from extracts of old Syriac historical works no longer extant, saying: "…In later times there reigned over this country a Jewish king, whose name was Masrūq. His mother was a Jewess, of the inhabitants of Nisibis, who had been made a captive. Then one of the kings of Yaman had bought her and she had given birth to Masrūq and instructed him in Judaism. He reigned after his father and killed a number of the Christians. Bar Sāhde has told his history in his Chronicle."
  5. ^ a b c Christopher Haas, 'Geopolitics and Georgian Identity in Late Antiquity: The Dangerous World of Vakhtang Gorgasali,' in Tamar Nutsubidze, Cornelia B. Horn, Basil Lourié(eds.),Georgian Christian Thought and Its Cultural Context, BRILL pp.29-44, p.36-39.
  6. ^ Simon's letter is part of Part III of The Chronicle of Zuqnin, translated by Amir Harrack (Toronto: Pontifical Institute of Medieval Studies, 1999), pp. 78-84.
  7. ^ Salo Wittmayer Baron, A Social and Religious History of the Jews (vol. 3), Philadelphia 1957, pp. 67–68.
  8. ^ A. Jamme, W.F., Sabaean and Ḥasaean Inscriptions from Saudi Arabia, Instituto di Studi del Vicino Oriente: Università di Roma, Rome 1966, p. 40.
  9. ^ Jacques Ryckmans, La persécution des chrétiens himyarites au sixième siècle, Nederlands Historisch-Archaeologisch Inst. in het Nabije Oosten, 1956 pp. 1–24; A. Jamme, W.F., Sabaean and Ḥasaean Inscriptions from Saudi Arabia, Instituto di Studi del Vicino Oriente: Università di Roma, Rome 1966, p. 40
  10. ^ Jacques Ryckmans, La persécution des chrétiens himyarites au sixième siècle, Nederlands Historisch-Archaeologisch Instituut in het Nabije Oosten: Istanbul 1956, p. 14 (French)
  11. ^ Bi'r Ḥimā Inscription: 1 2 3 4
  12. ^ Jawad al-Ali Sabians p41

External links


Year 522 (DXXII) was a common year starting on Saturday (link will display the full calendar) of the Julian calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Symmachus and Boethius (or, less frequently, year 1275 Ab urbe condita). The denomination 522 for this year has been used since the early medieval period, when the Anno Domini calendar era became the prevalent method in Europe for naming years.

Abba Pantelewon

Abba Pentelewon (c. 470–522) was a Christian monk who is traditionally credited with founding Pentalewon Monastery located on the top of Mai Qoho Hill northwest of Axum in Tigray, Ethiopia. He is one of the members of the group known as the Nine Saints.

In 480 AD Abba arrived in Axum, the first great capital city of Ethiopia, as well as other 9 saints from different parts of the Rome Empire. They were escaping the impositions of the Chalcedonian Council of 451 AD, which had declared their Monophysitism to be a heresy. They contributed greatly to the spread and flourishing of Ethiopian Christianity. They built churches in different parts of ancient Ethiopia, organized Christian centers. They also learned the Ge’ez language that was spoken in Ethiopia and made the first translations of Bible into Ge'ez. They establish many monasteries in the Tigre region and in the area outside Aksum, the most famous of which is Dabra Damo.The bishop Afonso Mendes, who had been the Roman Catholic Patriarch of Ethiopia under Emperor Susenyos, cited the "Chronicle of Axum" as saying about the Nine Saints, "In the days of Amiamid [i.e., Ella Amida] many monks came from Rum, who fill'd all the Empire; Nine of them stay'd in Tigre, and each of them erected a Church of his own Name." Bishop Mendez adds another tradition, which tells that when King Kaleb was asked to cross the Red Sea and overthrow the Jewish king Dhu Nuwas, who had slaughtered some 340 local Christians for their beliefs, his first step was to go to Pentelewon for his blessing on the adventure. Pentelewon was said to have shut himself in a tower for 45 years, which Mendez identifies with Pentalewon Monastery near Axum. Mendez also uses the information in this traditional story to date Pentelewon's arrival at the court of the king of Axum to "between 470 and 480." Tradition also states that when Kaleb abdicated the throne to become a monk, it was Abba Pantelewon's monastery he retreated to.


Abraha (also spelled Abreha, died after AD 553; r. 525–at least 553), also known as Abraha al-Ashram (Arabic: أبرهة الأشرم‎), was an Aksumite army general, then the viceroy of southern Arabia for the Kingdom of Aksum, and later declared himself an independent King of Himyar. Abraha ruled much of present-day Arabia and Yemen from at least 531–547 AD to 555–565 AD.

Abuna Aregawi

Abuna Aregawi (also called Za-Mika'el 'Aragawi) was a sixth-century monk, whom tradition holds founded the monastery Debre Damo in Tigray, said to have been commissioned by Emperor Gebre Mesqel of Axum.

Aksumite–Persian wars

In the late sixth century, Sasanian Empire of Persia and the Ethiopia-based Aksumite Empire fought a series of wars over control of the Himyarite Kingdom in Yemen, Southern Arabia. After the Battle of Hadhramaut and the Siege of Sana'a in 570, the Aksumites were expelled from the Arabian peninsula. They had re-established their power there by 575 or 578, when another Persian army invaded Yemen and re-established the deposed king on his throne as their client. It marked the end of Ethiopian rule in Arabia.

Al–Qalis Church, Sana'a

The Al–Qalis Church, Sana'a was a Monophysitic church constructed sometime between 527 and the late 560s in the city of Sana'a. The church's lavish decorations made it an important place of pilgrimage, placing it in competition with Kaaba in Mecca.

Arethas (martyr)

Arethas or Aretas (Arabic: الحارث‎ "al-Haarith") was the leader of the Christian community of Najran in the early 6th century, was executed during the persecution of Christians by the Jewish king Dhu Nuwas in 523. He is known from the Acta S. Arethae (also called Martyrium sancti Arethae or Martyrium Arethae) which exists in two recensions: the earlier and more authentic, which was found by Michel Le Quien (Oriens Christianus, ii. 428) and was subsequently dated as no later than the 7th century; the later, revised by Simeon Metaphrastes, dates from the 10th century. The Ge'ez and Arabic versions of the text were published in 2006 and the Greek version in 2007.Feast day: 27 July (Roman Catholic Church) In Eastern Orthodox Church his feast day is 24 October (6 November O.C.).

Army of the Ethiopian Empire

The Armies of the Ethiopian Empire have existed since earliest times. Ethiopia maintained a sizable contingent of her forces in her Sabbean Garrisons which expanded out to project power over colonies in Yemen and to protect Caravans or trade routes.

At home Ethiopian Forces under the command Prince Nastesen (Iskindr) inflicted a humiliating defeat on the Persian Army of Cambyses. The Prince had been Ordered by His Mother the Candace to draw the Persian Forces deep into Ethiopian territory before engaging them. He did this so well that Cambyses Army was never able to recover and those let alive had to retreat back to Egypt. Cambyses did not attempt to reconquer Ethiopia.About the 2nd century AD, there arose the Axumites rapidly supplanting the Damot. The Axumite however paid homage to their former masters. The Judaic rulers of Damot were held in the highest esteem by the new Axumite Empire.

There is evidence in inscriptions and archaeological finds that attest to the presence of Axumite troops in Yemen as early as AD 200. This suggests that Axum was no less involved in the Arabian matters than Damot during the reigns of GDRT, and his successors `DBH and Sembrouthes, During the reign of Ousanas, Ezanas father, Axum traded and projected its influence as far as India, where coins minted in Ousanas' reign were discovered in 1990.

This lasted until the 4th century when Twin Axumite Emperors Ezana and Sezana became converted to the new Christian Faith.

Axum's Armies were launched into the former tributary Kingdom of Nubia devastating it to the point it never recovered its former glory or was ever an independent polity again.

In 520, during the reign of Emperor Kaleb Ella Atsbeha, Axum received an appeal from the Eastern Roman Emperor Justinian. At first Axum re-occupied an abandoned fort at Najran with cavalry troops admonishing the local ruler Yusuf Hathar who as a consequence of his conversion to Judaism and the urging of the Persian Sassanian Kings had vigorously undertaken the persecution of Christian pilgrims. Axum was not a new power there Yusuf Hathar who had taken the throne name of Dhu Nuwas may have genuinely been mollified by his actions. The elderly commander Arayat, the uncle of the Emperor, led a company of cavalry into Najran charged with protecting Christian pilgrims on the road to Jerusalem from Banditry. However, peace proved fleeting: perhaps as a result of encouragement from the Persians else out of humiliation Dhu Nuwa's men attacked the Fort of Najran. What happened afterward is debated. By some accounts the garrison fought back and died. Witness later accused Dhu Nuwas of having killed the soldiers in their sleep and then massacring all others who had sought their protection.

Dhu Nuwas may have believed, and perhaps even received assurances, that the Sassanians would protect his fledgling empire with a sizable force. It is doubtful if he knew that Aryat led the Garrison that he would kill the Emperor's uncle without knowing with certainty that Kaleb would exact revenge. It was said that Emperor Kaleb received news of the massacre and the death of his beloved uncle as he was coming out of the Church. He ordered the entire court back into Church and ordered the priests to give the assembled nobles and soldiers including himself the last rites of the Christian faith.

He ordered the entire Imperial host to war. The first attempt at crossing was not successful: the army unable to land was forced to return to Adulis dropped anchor in Yemen.

Under the command of its Emperor Abraha the Axumite Army of spearmen, swordsmen, elephants, cavalry and Archers defeated the Army of Himyar.

It was apparent that Kaleb had not gone there just to punish a wayward vassal. Holding a trial for Dhu Nuwas, Kaleb gave Dhu Nuwas to his own people so they may exact their own justice. He appointed a local Christian named Safwa administrator, left Abraha, his cousin, in charge of the sizable portion of the Axumite Host and returned home to Axum with the rest.

The target was an usurper, Yusuf Hathar that had begun to make a name of himself consolidating power in the region. A recent convert to Judaism, he had become a client of the Sassanian Persians, avowed enemies of the Western Roman Empire.

appealed for the Ethiopian Emperor. Ethiopian Imperial Army existed in one form or another since the founding of the Ethiopian Empire in the 13th century.

During the First Italo–Ethiopian War, the Army of the Ethiopian Empire was able to defeat the army of the Kingdom of Italy at the battle of Adwa.

During the Second Italo-Ethiopian War, the Army of the Ethiopian Empire consisted of the Imperial Bodyguard, a central army, and several armies of provincial forces. The Ethiopian army was defeated soundly, after giving considerable difficulty to the Italians. The Italians employed mass aerial bombing of mustard gas to win the Battle of Amba Aradam.

On 12 September 1974, a committee of low-ranking military officers and enlisted men called the Derg deposed Emperor Haile Selassie. The Army of the Ethiopian Empire became the Army of the People's Democratic Republic of Ethiopia.

Banu Harith

The Banu Harith (Arabic: بَنُو الْحَارِث‎ Banū al-Ḥārith or Arabic: بَنُو الْحُرَيْث‎ Banū al-Ḥurayth, Hebrew: בני חורית‎ Bnei Chorath) is one of the Jewish tribes of Arabia which once governed the cities of Najran, Taif, and Bisha, now located in southern Saudi Arabia.


Baynun was an ancient fortress in Yemen, not far from Sana'a. The geographical dictionary of Yaqut reports that it was a large fortress near San'a' that had been built by Solomon along with Salhln. The ruins of the fortress are on top of a mountain, an ancient site referred to by some as an-Nasla meaning "the dagger of jambiyya". Two sets of ruins of ancient towns exist in the area which were known as ad-Dakhala and Minara. It was a Himyarite stronghold and al-Hamdani reported that King As'ad Tubba' used the fortress as his residence for some time,

Legend has it that an older Sabaean fortification of Baynun had been constructed for the Queen of Sheba and had been given to her by Solomon. Yaqut claimed it was destroyed during the Abyssinian conquest by the Aksumites in the 6th century, specifically the year 525 in order to overthrow Dhu Nuwas. The poet Dhu Jadan al-Himyari wrote about the destruction of Baynun.

Christian community of Najran

The existence of a Christian community in Najran is attested by several historical sources of the Arabian peninsula, where it recorded as having been created in the 5th century CE or perhaps a century earlier. According to the Arab Muslim historian, Ibn Ishaq, Najran was the first place where Christianity took root in South Arabia.

Dhu Shanatir

Dhu Shanatir (Lakhi'athah Yanuf Dhu Shanatir) was a Himyarite king who ruled Yemen for 27 years. He was not from the royal family(Tuba'a). He ruled After Amru AL-Himyari killed his brother Hassan.

Himyarite Kingdom

The Ḥimyarite Kingdom or Ḥimyar (Arabic: مملكة حِمْيَر‎, Mamlakat Ḥimyar, Musnad: 𐩢𐩣𐩺𐩧𐩣, Hebrew: ממלכת חִמְיָר‬) (fl. 110 BCE–520s CE), historically referred to as the Homerite Kingdom by the Greeks and the Romans, was a kingdom in ancient Yemen. Established in 110 BCE, it took as its capital the ancient city of Zafar, to be followed at the beginning of the 4th century by what is the modern-day city of Sana'a. The kingdom conquered neighbouring Saba' (Sheba) in c. 25 BCE (for the first time), Qataban in c. 200 CE, and Haḍramaut c. 300 CE. Its political fortunes relative to Saba' changed frequently until it finally conquered the Sabaean Kingdom around 280. Himyar then endured until it finally fell to invaders from the Kingdom of Aksum in 525 CE.


Kindah (Arabic: كندة‎) was a tribal kingdom in Najd established by the Kindah tribe. The tribe's existence dates back to the 2nd century BCE. The Kindites established a kingdom in central Arabia which was unlike those of Yemen that were more centralized; its kings exercised an influence over a number of associated tribes more by personal prestige than by coercive settled authority. Their first capital was Qaryat Dhāt Kāhil, today known as Qaryat al-Fāw.The Kindites were polytheistic until the 6th century CE, with evidence of rituals dedicated to the idols Athtar and Kāhil found in their ancient capital in south-central Arabia (present day Saudi Arabia). It is not clear whether they converted to Judaism or remained pagan, but there is a strong archaeological evidence that they were among the tribes in Dhū Nuwās' forces during the Jewish king's attempt to suppress Christianity in Yemen. They converted to Islam in mid 7th century CE and played a crucial role during the Arab conquest of their surroundings, although some sub-tribes were declared apostates during the ridda after the death of Muḥammad.

List of Yemen-related topics

This is a list of topics related to Yemen.

List of converts to Judaism from paganism

This is a list of converts to Judaism from pagan religions.

Abraham (the founder), probably from Semitic paganism

Aquila of Sinope (Acylas), from traditional Greek religion

Bithiah, from traditional Egyptian religion

Bulan, king of the Khazars, from traditional Khazar religion

Jethro, priest of Midian and father-in-law of Moses [1], from a Mideastern religion

Makeda, queen of Sheba, from a Mideastern or Ethiopian religion

Dhu Nuwas, king of Yemen, from a Mideastern religion

Obadiah the prophet, from a Mideastern religion

Sh'maya, Sage and President of the Sanhedrin, apparently from a Mideastern religion

Avtalyon, Sage and Vice-President of the Sanhedrin, apparently from a Mideastern religion

Onkelos, Hebrew scholar and translator, from ancient Roman religion

Ruth, great-grandmother of King David, from a Near Eastern religion.

Helena, queen of Adiabene, from traditional Greek religion. [2]

Izates bar Monobaz, king of Adiabene, from a Persian or Mideastern religion. [3]

Symacho, wife of Izates bar Monobaz, from a Persian or Mideastern religion. [4]

Monobaz II, king of Adiabene, from a Persian or Mideastern religion. [5]

Osenath, from Canaanite religion (her name relates to Anat)

Zipporah, from a Mideastern or northern African religion

Yael, from Canaanite or another Near Eastern religion

Flavia Domitilla, from traditional ancient Roman religion (possibly to Jewish Christianity, as she is also a Christian saint)

Titus Flavius Clemens (consul), great-nephew of the Roman Emperor Vespasian, from traditional Roman religion (possibly to Jewish Christianity, as he is also a Christian saint)

Fulvia (wife of Saturninus), wife of Emperor Tiberius' close friend, Saturninus, from traditional Roman religion.

Tub'a Abu Kariba As'ad, from Arabian religion, was the Himyarite king of Yemen. He ruled Yemen from 390–420 CE.

Paulina Beturia, from traditional Roman religion

People of the Ditch

People of the Ditch (Arabic: أصحاب الأخدود) is a story mentioned in Surah Al-Burooj of the Qur'an. It is about people who were thrown into a ditch and set afire, due to their belief in Allah.

Theophilos the Indian

Theophilos the Indian (Greek: Θεόφιλος) (died 364), also called "The Ethiopian", was an Aetian or Heteroousian bishop who fell alternately in and out of favor with the court of the Roman emperor Constantius II. He is mentioned in the Suda Encyclopedia.Originally from the Maldive Islands in the Indian Ocean, he came to the court of Constantine I as a young man and was ordained a deacon under the Arian bishop Eusebius of Nicomedia. He was later exiled because Constantius believed him to be a supporter of Constantius' rebellious cousin Gallus. Famed for his ability as a healer, Theophilus was later recalled to court to heal Constantius' wife, the empress Eusebia, which he is reputed to have done successfully. He was exiled again for his support of the disfavored theologian Aëtius whose Anomoean doctrine was an offshoot of Arianism.Theophilus was ordained a bishop and around 354 AD, Emperor Constantius II sent Theophilus on a mission to south Asia via Arabia, where he is said to have converted the Himyarites and built three churches in southwest Arabia. He is also said to have found Christians in India.

In about 356, the Emperor Constantius II wrote to Ezana of the Kingdom of Aksum requesting him to replace the then Bishop of Aksum Frumentius with Theophilos, who supported the Arian position, as did the Emperor. This request was ultimately turned down.

On his return to the empire he settled at Antioch.One of the churches which Theophilus had founded in Arabia during the 4th century was built at Zafar, Yemen and likely destroyed in 523 by the King of Himyar Dhu Nuwas, who had shifted the state religion from Christianity to Judaism. Later in 525, Theophilus' church was restored by the Christian King Kaleb of Axum following his successful invasion on Himyar.

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