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Page:Early Christianity in Arabia.djvu/61

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empire to the east, appears to have been carried through Arabia. The deserts which lay between Ethiopia and Egypt hindered a commercial intercourse between those two countries by land;[1] and the neglected and bad navigation of the Red Sea towards the north was an almost equal impediment by sea. The trade with the Romans was therefore carried on by Roman merchants who resided in the ports of Ethiopia and Arabia, and the merchandise was transported in caravans to Syria, over the mountains to the north of Hamyar, and through the country of the Nabatæi.

The nadjash, or king of the Auxumites, who was contemporary with Dzu Nowass, is called in the Ethiopian histories Caleb, by the Greek historians Elesbaan, or Hellesthæus. Although we discover few traces of it in any historians, yet it is probable that the Hamyarites and their Ethiopian neighbours were often at war. The troubles which distracted the kingdom of Hamyar after the death of Amrou, were perhaps caused in part by an Abyssinian invasion. Rabyah Ibn Modhar had been compelled to seek shelter in Hirah from their power.[2] The king of Auxuma appears, from the inscription discovered

  1. Inter Ægyptum et Æthiopas arenarum inculta vastitas jaceat. Seneca Nat. Quæst. præf. lib. i. Conf. lib. iv. c. 2. p. 627.
  2. Nuweir (p. 74) says that the cause of the tobbaa's flight to Hirah was a dream, which portended the conquest of Hamyar by the Abyssinians — it is much more probable that he would fly from an actual invasion.