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EARLY CHRISTIANITY

it also a door of gold.[1] It was at this time that the Jews were first introduced into Hamyar.

Till the latter part of the fourth century, Christianity seems scarcely to have been known in the southern parts of Arabia. It was not till after the reign of tobbaa Assaad Abu Carb, when the Persians began by their increasing power to threaten the empire, that the Arabians had any connection with their Roman neighbours. Although there is no doubt abundance of exaggeration and fable in the Arabian annals previous to this period, the historical outlines may be correct. The armies of the tobbaas seem to have been both enterprising and brave, and their conquests extensive, but the situation of the country of Hamyar was not favourable for the seat of a mighty empire, and the Arabs took no steps for the preservation of their alleged acquisitions.[2] Their exploits, therefore, must be considered only as plundering expeditions. They were generally conducted towards Irak and Mesopotamia, but the increasing power of Persia had checked their incursions in this direction, and the Arabians would consequently look upon their Persian neighbours as encroachers

  1. Nuweir, p. 60. Nikbi ben Massoud, Notices et Extraits de la Bibl. du Roi, tom. ii. p. 366, et seq.
  2. Les Arabes n'ont jamais conquis que de pays flats,—Ils n'entendent nullement l'art de conserver la culture des pays conquis,—were premises which the Arabian historian has exhausted three chapters to prove. See the summary of his work in the Journal Asiatique, tom. i. p. 267.