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al-S̲h̲iḥr

(1,185 words)

Author(s): Grohmann, Adolf
, the name of a town and district on the coast of South Arabia, which is still known as the S̲h̲eḥrāt coast. The learned Nas̲h̲wān gives also al-S̲h̲aḥr as the dialectic pronuncation for al-S̲h̲iḥr, which latter he calls the correct form. This form is of interest because it recalls sara, first suggested by A. Sprenger as the basis of the corrupt saba in Theophrastus and Pliny; when the latter says the word means mysterium, this recalls Ibn al-Mud̲j̲āwir’s derivation of the name Saḥra, which is applied to the Mahra people, from siḥr “magic”. That sara is the coast district now called al-S…

al-Yaman

(3,589 words)

Author(s): Grohmann, Adolf
, formerly a province, now an imāmate in the southwest of the Arabian peninsula. The name is variously explained; some say it was given because the Yaman lies to the right of the Kaʿba or to the right of the sun (al-Bakrī, ii. 856), others because Yuḳtan b. ʿĀbir and his companions turned right on separating from the other Arabs ( B. G. A., v. 33; Yāḳūt, iv. 1034), while others again derive the name from the eponymous hero Yaman b. Ḳaḥṭān (cf. al-Wāsiʿī, p. 281). Sprenger thinks the Greeks and Romans translated Teman and Yaman by “eudaemon” and “felix” and …

Ṣabyā

(139 words)

Author(s): Grohmann, Adolf
, a town in South Arabia, one of the chief centres of the Wādī Bīs̲h̲a in ʿAsīr, celebrated for the fine breed of asses which are reared there. Ṣabyā (Niebuhr’s Sabbea) after the conquest of ʿAsīr by the Turks in 1871 became the capital of the ḳazā of the same name and is now the capital of the independent hereditary prince of ʿAsīr. (Adolf Grohmann) Bibliography al-Hamdānī, Ṣifat Ḏj̲azīrat al-ʿArab, ed. D. H. Müller, Leyden 1884—1891, p. 541 731 217 Yāḳūt, Muʿd̲j̲am, ed. Wüstenfeld, iii. 367 v. 23 Marāṣid al-Iṭṭitāʿ ed. T. G. J. Juynboll, Leyden 1853, ii. 146 K. Ritter, Die Erdkunde von Asien, vi…

Saiʾūn

(397 words)

Author(s): Grohmann, Adolf
(Sēʾūn, Sēwūn, Seyōn, Sēōn), a town in Ḥaḍramōt in South Arabia on the side of the hill of the same name, four hours’ ride from S̲h̲ibām on the right bank of the Wādī Masīla. The town lies in the centre of luxurious vegetation; ¶ far and wide one can see palm-groves and welltilled fields with ṭeʿām and wheat. The town is surrounded by a wall, is densely populated and has about 4,500 inhabitants. The streets are broad and clean. Within the town also there are fields and palm-groves, mainly the endowments of the mosques, of which there are said to be …

al-K̲h̲aṭṭ

(364 words)

Author(s): Grohmann, Adolf
, a strip of coast on the Persian Gulf. The Arab geographers are not agreed as to its exact extent. While Yāḳūt limits the name to the coast of al-Baḥrain and ʿUmān, which is also apparent from the mention of al-Ḳaṭīf, al-ʿUḳair and Ḳaṭar, al-Bakrī says definitely that al-Ḵh̲aṭṭ is the whole coast between ʿUmān and al-Baṣra on the one side and Kāẓima and al-S̲h̲iḥr on the other. This difference of opinion is probably the result of the variation in extent of ʿUmān and al-Baḥrain in the wider sense of these terms in course of time. There are in any case authors who allot al-Ḵh̲aṭṭ to either …

Sirḥān

(528 words)

Author(s): Grohmann, Adolf
, Wādī, the name of a valley in North Arabia, which runs from the south end of the Ḥawrān southeastwards for a length of 160 miles with a breadth of two to twelve miles. Its north end is marked by the fort of al-Azraḳ and its southern extremity by the wells of Maiḳūʿ. The whole valley is very rich in water and suitable for settlement. At al-Azraḳ, there is even a large permanent pond, the only one in the whole of North Arabia. If the life and property of the inhabitants are secured, the ten large…

al-Ḳaṭīf

(2,234 words)

Author(s): Grohmann, Adolf
, a seaport on the coast of the Persian Gulf in the bay of the same name. The latter, which faces due east, is about four miles broad at the entrance, and enclosed on the north by a narrow promontory, shaped like a mussel-shell, on which lies the fortress of Dārim. Its point is called Rās Tannūra. The south side of the bay is confined by a jutting horn of land, called Ẓahrān. from a hill on it shaped like a sugar-loaf, which forms an excellent landmark for ships entering the bay. On this side of…

al-Kuwait

(2,934 words)

Author(s): Grohmann, Adolf
, a seaport on the Arabian, coast of the Persian Gulf, capital of the ¶ amirate of the same name, which lies along the coast from Ḵh̲ōr Zubair; it is bounded on the north by the former Turkish province of ʿIrāḳ and on the south by al-Ḥasaʾ and stretches for 120 miles. The greatest breadth is nominally 160 miles but the authority of the amīr does not extend much more than a day’s journey into the interior. The soil north of the Gulf of al-Kuwait is sandy, farther south, partly sand and partly loam; only a smal…

Maʾrib

(13,187 words)

Author(s): Grohmann, Adolf
(Mārib), a town in the southwest of Arabia, formerly the capital of the Sabaeans and now the capital of the amīrate of the same name. The ancient town of Mārib, which so far has only been visited by three European travellers, ¶ Th. J. Arnaud (1843), J. Halévy (1869) and E. Glaser (1888), is situated in the plateau of Sabā, 3,900 feet above sea-level, which runs east of the Balaḳ range and is traversed by the Wādī Ḏh̲enne (Ad̲h̲ana) which in the course of millennia has deposited a thick layer of silt and thus made a luxuriant vegetation…

al-Yamāma

(693 words)

Author(s): Grohmann, Adolf
, a district in Central Arabia, which was originally called Ḏj̲aww (“the bottom of a valley”). The name of Yamāma is said to go back to the seeress Zarḳāʾ al-Yamāma, who plays a prominent part in the story of the decline of the tribes of Ṭasm and Ḏj̲adīs. The district was first of all called after her Ḏj̲aww al-Yamāma, then simply al-Yamāma. The statement that al-Yamāma lies on the long ridge of the ʿĀriḍ, to which belongs its chief wādī ʿIrḍ, which runs through the district, shows, like the lon…

Ṣirwāḥ

(1,109 words)

Author(s): Grohmann, Adolf
, the name of two ruined towns in South Arabia. 1. A large ruined site in the land of the Benī Ḏj̲ebr (Ḵh̲awlān), a day’s journey west of Mārib in the Wādī Wākifa. The castle of this town, which E. Glaser considered the oldest foundation of the Sabaeans, is mentioned in the Sabaean inscription Bibl. Nat., N°. 2, along with the two ancient castles of Salḥān and G̲h̲undān. The town of Ṣirwāḥ ( hagarān Ṣirwāḥ) is mentioned in the inscriptions Glaser, 904, 13, 1571, 4; there is also a reference to it in the late Sabaean inscription on the bursting of the dam of Mārib (Gla…

al-Sawdāʾ

(294 words)

Author(s): Grohmann, Adolf
or al-Ḵh̲aribat al-Sawdāʾ, a ruined city in al-Ḏj̲awf in South Arabia, in what was once the ancient Minaean kingdom. J. Halévy, who visited the ruins, calls it es-Soud and describes it as an extensive system of ruins one hour’s journey N. E. of the” also important al-Baiḍāʾ. Al-Sawdāʾ is built on an eminence. The ancient town was apparently destroyed by a conflagration and was presumably an important industrial centre, especially for metal work; even at the present day the vitrified soil is “covered with slag-heaps. Insignificant remains of the surrounding. ¶ rounding wall and a few …

Salūḳ

(260 words)

Author(s): Grohmann, Adolf
(in al-Hamdānī: Ḵh̲aribat Salūḳ), an ancient city in South Arabia in the district of Ḵh̲adīr in the Yemen on the site of which the village of Ḥabīl al-Riyyaba stood in al-Hamdānī’s time. In the ruins of the great city of Salūḳ there were found slag-heaps, lumps of gold and silver as well as ornaments and coins. It was celebrated for the splendid double meshed mail-shirts which were manufactured in it. There was also a fine breed of dog specially suited for hunting gazelles ( salūḳī), which was said to be the result of a cross between dogs and jackals, which came from this place…

Sarāt

(1,508 words)

Author(s): Grohmann, Adolf
, the mountains which run along the western side of the Arabian plateau. Al-Hamdānī, the greatest authority on the Arabian peninsula among the Arab geographers, says that the termini of the range, which divides the highlands (Nad̲j̲d) from the plain (G̲h̲awr, Tihāma) and was therefore also called Ḥid̲j̲āz by the Arabs, are the extreme south of the Yaman and Syria; al-Aṣmaʿī makes it stretch to the Armenian mountains. This mountain chain, which al-Hamdānī already knew not to be a single range, b…

Kudummul

(161 words)

Author(s): Grohmann, Adolf
, a small volcanic island in the Red Sea in 17° 52′ N. Lat., called Kotumble on the English Admiralty charts. The island has a rich flora, which has been studied by the botanist Ehrenberg, and is noteworthy for its iron deposits, which are mentioned as early as the geographer Ibn al-Mud̲j̲āwir (d. 630 a. h.). The rocky island of Kudummul which lies near Ḥamiḍa on the Arabian coast once marked the boundary between the land of the Kināna and Yemen. (Adolf Grohmann) Bibliography al-Hamdānī, Ṣifat Ḏj̲azīrat al-ʿArab, ed. D. H. Müller, Leyden 1884-1891, p. 51 C. Ritter, Die Erdkunde von Asien, VIII/…

K̲h̲awlān

(1,127 words)

Author(s): Grohmann, Adolf
1) the name of a South Arabian tribe. This tribe is mentioned as early as the south Arabian inscriptions Glaser, 1076, 18 sq. and Halevy, 585, 11 sq. (); there ¶ is a reference to its territory () in the inscription Glaser, 119, 5 and a clan of the name is mentioned in Glaser, 204, 3. All these passages justify the suggestion that the tribe of Ḵh̲awlān was already settled in this region in the first millenium b. c. where it still — in part at least — dwells in the land between Ṣanʿāʾ and Mārib, which al-Hamdānī calls Ḵh̲awlān al-ʿāliya and which with Ḏh̲i Ḏj̲urra was one of the great granaries…

Luḥaiya

(1,028 words)

Author(s): Grohmann, Adolf
, a harbour at the southern end of the Gulf of Ḏj̲āzān on the Arabian coast of the Red Sea. The little, now unimportant, town lies on what was once an island but has become joined to the mainland in comparatively recent geological times and is separated from it at high tide, while the harbour is dry at low tide. The town in Niebuhr’s time had no wall around it, but there were ten or twelve towers ¶ on the land side at intervals of 250 paces with entrances at a height above the ground reached by a ladder. The towers were armed with a few cannons. When Ehrenberg visited Lu…

Sawākin

(1,303 words)

Author(s): Grohmann, Adolf
(Suakim or Suakin) a seaport on the west coast of the Red Sea in 19° 5′ N. Lat. The town is built on a picturesque little oval-shaped island about a mile in circumference and 300 yards long, which lies off the mainland in the centre of a deep bay. The harbour is reached through a narrow channel 4 or 5 miles long hemmed in by coral reefs; Sawākin is connected with the African continent, by a causeway about 60 yards long, commanded by a fort. At the entrance to this road is a pretty gateway which ca…

Ḳirṭās

(1,391 words)

Author(s): Grohmann, Adolf
means 1. papyrus, 2. parchment and 3. later also rag-paper. — Papyrus was obtained from the papyrus (Cyperus Papyrus L., bardī, abardī, Span, albardin, albardí, Malt, bordi, or fāfīr, babīr, barbīr) which grew mainly in Egypt but was also found in Sicily (Anapo) as well as Mesopotamia (Babylon). Arab poets like al-Aʿs̲h̲āʾ and Sāʿida b. Ḏj̲uʾaiya are familiar with it. Every inch of the plant was used, from the root to the top; it was made into string and rope as well as into mats, but its main use was for the manufacture of the valuable “reed-paper” ( waraḳ al- ḳaṣab) which is known as waraḳ al- ab…

Ned̲j̲d

(2,659 words)

Author(s): Grohmann, Adolf
, the highlands of Arabia in contrast to the low-lying ground along the coast ( Tihāma) or the depression ( G̲h̲ōr). In the dialect of the Hud̲h̲ail Nad̲j̲d is pronounced Nud̲j̲ud. The exact application of this originally topographical conception is very differently understood and sometimes it means more generally the elevated country above the coastal plain or the extensive country, the upper part of which is formed by the Tihāma and the Yaman and the lower by Syria and the ʿIrāḳ, or the part of Arabia which stretches from …
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