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Page:Early Christianity in Arabia.djvu/28

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EARLY CHRISTIANITY

Yasasin, the brother and successor of Balkis, by his unbounded liberality gained the title of Nasher ’al Neam,[1] and in his warlike expeditions he penetrated into Africa as far as the great sandy desert; in attempting to cross which part of his army was buried in the sand, and he was compelled to relinquish the enterprise. He erected a brazen statue on the border of the desert, with an inscription on its breast in the Hamyaritic characters, warning future adventurers of the dangers and almost inevitable destruction they must encounter, should they proceed beyond it.

The twenty-fourth king of Hamyar was Shamar, the son of Africcus, or according to others of Yasasin, surnamed Abu Karb, or the father of affliction, from his victories and cruelties. He is celebrated as one of the greatest warriors that ever bore the crown of Yaman. Since the time of Al Hareth the eastern boundaries of the Hamyaritic expeditions were Azerbijan and the frontiers of India; it was left for Shamar to extend his conquests far beyond those ancient limits. He first defeated the Tahtars in Azerbijan, which he had invaded by way of Mousul. On his return from this expedition he received an embassy from one of the kings of Hindûstan, who was desirous of forming an alliance with him, and from the Indian ambassador the tobbaa first heard of the distant regions of China.

  1. Abulfed. ib. Hamza, p. 24. Nuweir, p. 56.