Page:Early Christianity in Arabia.djvu/19

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
9
IN ARABIA.

social independence have ever been favourable to the arts, but of their progress in Arabia historians have left us in ignorance. In architectural works they certainly were not destitute of skill; the city of Sanaa was celebrated for its lofty towers, and is compared by Abulfeda to the modern city of Damascus. Mariaba is said to have been remarkable for the beauty of its public edifices and walls, the latter of which were six miles in circumference; and Sabota or Sabotha was distinguished by its sixty temples.[1]

Arabia Felix contained several other petty states, governed by their own kings,[2] but they were all subject to the king of Hamyar, who was called the great king,[3] and whose influence extended from the Red Sea to the Persian Gulf.[4] Next to the Nabatæi, or people of Petra, according to the ancient geographers, was the district of the Minæi, which appears to correspond with the Arabian province of Hedjaz. Their chief town was Carna, to the south

  1. Plinius, Nat. H. lib. vi. cap. 28.
  2. Pococke, Spec. Hist. Arab. p. 65, 66. Strabo, lib. xvi. p. 385.
  3. Pococke, ibid.
  4. Uno verbo, cum ad Jectanis genus hi scriptores (i.e. Arabes) referunt Homeritas et Amanitas, eos intelligunt populos qui Arabiæ Felicis πεζαν occupant oceanum versus, ab Arabico sinu usque ad Persicum. Bochart, Phaleg, lib. ii. c. 15. Marcianus Heracliotes, describing the Red Sea, says, εν τουτῳ δε τῳ μερει της θαλασσης και το των Ὁμηριτων εθνος τυγχανει το των Αραβων επαρχων γης, μεχρι της αρχης του Ινδικου διηκον πελαγους, p. 13.