Page:Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 1.djvu/738

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664

ARABIA


664


ARABIA


Arabia. In 1861 a Jew from Jerusalem, Jacob Saphir, \'isited Yemen, where he found several Jew^ish settlements, and other parts of Arabia; while in 1862-63, the English ex-Jesuit, W. Gifford Pal- grave, made his memorable tour from the Dead Sea to Qatif and Oman, visiting the great north-western territory between the Sinaitic peninsula, the Euphrates. Hayil. Medina, Nejd, and practically the whole of central Arabia, till then unknown to scholars and travellers. Colonel Pelly visited central Arabia in 1865, and in 1869 Joseph Hal6\-y, the great French Orientalist and the pioneer of Sabean philology, in the guise of a poor Jew from Jerusalem, explored Yemen and south .\rabia, copjnng about 700, mostly very short, inscriptions. He advanced as far as the South-Arabian Jof, the territory of the ancient Mineans. In 1870-71, H. von Maltzan made a few short trips from Aden along the coast, and in 1876-78 Charles Doughty made his famous tour to Mada in Salih, Hayil, Taima, Khaibar, Boraida. Onaiza, and Tayif, where he discovered several Nabataean, Lihyanian, or Tamudic, Minean and so-called proto- Arabic inscriptions. In 1877-80 the Italian Renzo Manzoni made three excursions to Sana, the Turkish capital of Yemen. In 1878-79, Lady Anne Blunt, Lord BjTon's granddaughter, together with her husband, Sir Wilfrid Scawen Blunt, made a tour from Damascus through the North-Arabian Jof, the Nefud desert, and Hayil. In the years 1882-84 the Austrian explorer, Edward Glaser, made his first and very fruitful expedition to southern Arabia, wliere he discovered and copied numerous old Arabian inscriptions; and in 1883-84 Charles Huber, together with Julius Euting, the Semitic epigraphist of Strasburg, undertook a joint expedition to northern Arabia, discovering the famous Aramaic inscriptions of Taima (sixth century b. c). In 1884-85, Ed. Glaser made his second journey to southern Arabia collecting several Minean inscriptions; and in 1887-88 made liis tliird expedition, which proved to be the most successful expedition yet undertaken, as far as epigraphical results are concerned.

The inscriptions discovered and copied were over 400, the most valuable among them being the so-called "Dam-inscription", of 100 lines (fifth and sixth centuries of the Christian Era), and the " Sirwah inscription", of about 1,000 words (c. 550 B. c). His fourth expedition took place in 1892-94, and was fruitful and rich in Arabic epigraphy. Leo Hirsch, of Berlin, visited, in 1893, Hadramaut, and so did Theodore Bent and his wife in 1893-94. In 1896- 97, the distinguished Arabic scholar. Count Carlo Landberg, visited the coast of South Arabia, making special studies of the modern Arabic dialects of those regions, besides other geographical and epi- graphical researches. In 1898-99 the expedition of the Vienna Academy to Shabwa was organized and conducted by Count Landberg and D. H. Muller, which, however, owing to several difficulties and disagreements, did not accomplish the desired re- sults. Other expeditions have since engaged in the active \york of exploration. The results of all the.se expeditions have been threefold: geographical, epi- graphical, and historical. These results have opened the way not only to fresh views and studies concerning the various ancient South-.Vrabian dialects, such as Minean, Sabean. or Himyarite, Hadramautic, and Katabanian, but have also shed unexpected light on the history of the old Soutli-.Vrabian kingdoms and djTiasties. These same disco\eries have also thrown considerable light on Old Testament history, on early Hebrew religion and worship, and on He- brew and comparative Semitic philology.

An.\m.\ AND THE Old Tkstament.— The Old Testament references to Arabia are scanty. The t«Tm .4ra(; it.stdf, as the name of a particular country and nation, is found only in later Old Testament


writings, i. c. not earlier than Jeremias (sixth cen- tury B. c). In older writings the term Arab is used only as an appellative, meaning " desert ", or " people of the dasert", or "nomad" in general. The name for .\rabia in the earliest Old Testament writings is either Ismael, or Madian (A. V., Ishmael, or Midian), as in the twenty-fifth chapter of Genesis, which is a .significant indication of the relative ant'ciuity of that remarkable chapter. The meaning of the term .4ra6 can be either that of "Nomad", or "the Land of the Setting Sun", i. e. the West, it being .situated to the west of Babylonia, which was considered by the Biblical record of Gen., xi, as the traditional starting point of the earliest Semitic migrations. By the ancient Hebrews, however, the land of Arabia was called "the Country of the East", and the Arabs were termed "Children of the East", as the Arabian peninsula lay to the east of Palestine.

According to the genealogical table of the tenth chapter of Genesis, Cham's (A. V., Ham) first-born was Chush. Chush (A. V., Cush) had five sons, whose names are identical with several regions in Arabia. Thus the name of Sebha — probably the same as Sheba, or Saba — situated on the west coast of the Red Sea, occurs only three times in the Old Testa- ment. The second is Hevila in northern Arabia, or, as Glaser prefers, in the district of Yemen and al-Kasim. The tliird is Regma (A. V., Raamah), in south-western Arabia, mentioned in the Sabean inscriptions. The fourth is Sabatacha, in southern Arabia, and as far east as Oman. The fifth is Sa- batha {\. V., Sabtah), or better Sabata, the ancient capital of Hadramaut, in South Arabia. Regma's two sons, Saba and Dadan (A. V., Sheba and Dedan), or Daidan, are also two Arabian geograpliical names, the first being the famous Saba (A. v., Sheba) of the Book of Kings, whose Queen visited Solomon, while the second is near Edom or, as Glaser suggests, north of Medina. In v. 28 of the same Genesiac chapter, Saba is said to be a son of Jectan (A. V'., Joktan), and so, also, Elmodad, Asarmoth, Hevila, Ophir (A. v., Almodad, Hazarmaveth, Havilah. etc., which are equally Arabian geograpliical names), while in chapter xxv, 3, both Saba and Dadan are represented as grandsons of Abraham.

The episode of Sarai's handmaid. Agar (A. V., Hagar), and her son, Ismael (A. V., Ishmael), is well known. According to this, Ismael is the real ancestor of the majority of Arabian tribes, such as: Nabajoth, Cedar, Abdeel, Mabsam, Masma, Duma, Massa, Hadar, Thema, Jethur, and Cedma (A. V., Nebaijoth, Kedar, Abdeel, Mibsam, Mishma, Dumah, Massa, Hadar, Tenia. Jetur. Naphish, and Kedemah, respectively). Equally well known are the stories of the Madianite, or Ismaelite, merchants who bought Joseph from his brethren, that of the forty years' wandering of the Hebrew tribes over the desert of -\rabia, of the Queen of Saba, etc. In later Old Testament times we read of Nehemiiis (.\. v., Nehemiah), who sufTered much from the enmity of an .\rab .sheikh, Gossem (A. V., Geshem), or better Gaslimu or Gushamu [Nehemiah (in Douay Version, II E.sdras), ii. 19; vi, 6], and he also enu- merates the Arabs in the list of his opponents (iv, 7). In II Paralipomenon (A.. V., Chronicles) we are told (xvii, 11) that the Arabians brought tribute to King Josaphat (A. V., Jchoshaphat). The same chronicler tells us, also, how God (umished the wicked Joram by means of the Philistines and the Arabians, who were beside the Ethiopians (11 Paral., xxi, 16), and how he helped the pious Ozias (.\. V., Uzziah) in the war against the "Arabians that dwelt in Gurbaal" (xxvi, 7). The .Arabians mentioned here are in all probability the Nabata;ans of northern Arabia; as our author wrote in the second or third century B. c.

TiiK Nohth-.Vkabian Musri and the Old Testa-


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