Yemen during sixth century A.D

The first reference on the Himyarites appeared in the inscriptions dated during the first and second centuries B.C. However, the material on these inscriptions relates to the tribes, or, a small state that was found among many others. This single dominion was formed due to the dismantling of the Yemeni state assumed to be existing during that phase. At successive centuries, the kings of Himyar expanded further and further their state till the fourth century when they were almost able to unify all territories of Yemen. This is testified by the text of one inscription of reference RES3383 of the date 493 Year of Himyar calendar. The text verified the royal title of the Himyar King Hassan Malaki Karb as the king of Shebn, Du Raydan, Hadramout and Yemenat. Other successive kings also were holding that same title reference. One of them was Abu Karb Asad to whom many bedouin Arab of the tribes known inhabited extensive territories in central Arabia.

Another inscription carrying reference number RY509 clearly indicated the existence of the later Himyar King. It was discovered in an area called Masel Al-Jamha situated in Central of Arabia. An indication of such Arab tribes had been in that historical reference through stating that they participated in the military campaign of Abu Karb Sa’ad. Moreover, this king is known in the heritage of the northern Arabia’s tribes with the name Asa’ad Al-Kamel. Certain sources mentioned him the “great conqueror”.

During the fifth century A.D. other Kings folowed Himyar’s succession of the throne. These were Shara-Habtheil Yafer, Shara-Habthiel Yankuf and their sons Yanuf Aat, Luhay Aat, Murshed Adhlan Yanuf, and Ma’di Karb. No fundamental changes happened during the ruling of these kings, apart from inscription reference numebr CIHS 596 which stated that one Himyar known of unknown name during that century sent a military expedition to Oman. Thereby, it seemed that the State of Himyar during the fourth and fifth century had been able to incorporate all urban regions of Yemen and other desert regions of central Arabia.

In describing the ancient Yemen’s history during the sixth century, it is important to refer to the external political situation of Himyar’s state i.e. the links and relationship with the other states, particularly Abyssenia (Ethiopia). Such ties were intiated throughout several centuries according to certain sources, the biggest portion of which were related to the fifth and sixth centuries. The vivid commerce between ancient Yemen and Abyssenia is also respectively important. At the same time, the ancient state of Himyar had firstly strengthened its political and commercial relationship with the Roman Empire since the first century B.C., and later with Bezentenia of the Persian Empire.

In one book; of a Russian scholar; “Bezentenia on the way to India” it was indicated in details documentary evidence on the mission of the Persian prince “Mophil Andos” to Yemen. It was sent by the Emperor “Constance” during the years 337-361. Though of no real existence of information on Yemen’s relationship with Persia at that time, it is possible to point out of some of relationships between them.

It is worthed to note here that the important relationship of Himyar Kingdom since the very ancient periods of history with India, which were well illustrated in the “Bible” on one hand. While on the other that link with the dominion of the Mediterranean Sea; could be regarded the two factors through which religious relationship consequently emerged in between the kingdom and all other states of the foreign world. In other words Christianity and Judiasm infiltrated into Yemen through Syria, Palestine, and Egypt. There were conflicts within the two religions for the purpose of occupying positions of political importance in Yemen. Since Christianity in Bezentenia (known in Arabic Bizanta), it became an essential medium as from the fourth century of expansion, and the element of widening the Persian influence on the Middle East region. The wider spread of Christianity in any state meant the existing of good relationship with Bezentenia. Alliteratively, the Empire of Assasins used the religious as an ideological weapon against the Persian expansion, whereby it placed itself the servant of Juadism in Yemen to a large extent.

Since the ancient ages Yemen was empowered with strong commercial relationship with Palestine. This was stated in the Holly Book which called named Kings of Sheba. Clay pot articles with Yemeni inscriptions were discovered in “khalifa Hill” and other locations of Jerusalem. In some established locations in Yemen, the Jewish religion penetrated and stayed firmly as from the fourth century. While Christianity particularly had originated from Syria, Costantinople, Herira, Ethiopia and Egypt. From such central locations Christianity through commercial routes penetrated Yemen.

The relationship of state of Himyar became even stronger since the establishment of Kinda State, when their strong man Hassan Yah-Na-am, with his partner bin Abi Karb Asad were able to strengthen it with the various tribes and states of the Arabian Land. Certain sources from Northern sector of Arabia which relate to the year 425 A.D. and anwards verity such strong contacts.

One important remark here is that Himyar rulers in general did occupy a good social status in the Arabian land as their effects reached many of the beduin tribes. It even extended to the state of Lahm tribes in central Arabia. Again the Himyar State did interfere in the internal tribal affairs through their support of one tribe against another, or one tribal chief against the opposer. Thus, in this way it played the role of an arbitrating council.

The reason behind the Himyarite’s conquests of northern Arabia and its economic objectives was related to the fact of their continuos efforts of controlling the commercial routes that passed the Arabian island and Arabian peninsula on one hand, and ensuring the safety of their rural citizens (farmers and peasants) against the attacks of the desert beduins.

Source: An article published by “El-Iklil” periodical, Issue No. 3&4 of Autumn Season, 1988.