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The History, Poetry, and Genealogy of the Yemen


The Akhbar of Abid b. Sharya Al-Jurhumi


The History, Poetry, and Genealogy of the Yemen is the earliest known history of pre-Islamic Yemen. Attributed to the South Arabian historian ‘Abid b. Sharya al-Jurhumi, it recounts in prose and poetry six saga cycles of ancient personages and events of the Yemen. Here, two sagas, the dispersion of Sam’s descendants from Babel to the Yemen, and the destruction of the tribes of ‘Ad and Thamud, are translated with complete annotation. The tales of Luqman b. ‘Ad and his seven vultures, Sulayman and Bilqis, the Himyarite kings, and Tasm and Jadis are given in full synopses.
Publisher: Gorgias Press LLC
Availability: In stock
SKU (ISBN): 978-1-59333-394-2
  • *
Publication Status: In Print

Publication Date: Jun 26,2013
Interior Color: Black
Trim Size: 6 x 9
Page Count: 412
Languages: Arabic, English
ISBN: 978-1-59333-394-2
$99.00
$59.40

Akhbār al-Yaman wa-Ash'a-rūhā wa-Ansābūhā [The history, poetry, and genealogy of the Yemen] is the earliest known history of pre-Islamic Yemen. Attributed to the South Arabian historian 'Abid b. Sharya al-Jurhumi, a court historian to the caliph Mu'awiya (d. 680 CE), it recounts in prose and poetry six saga cycles of ancient personages and events of the Yemen. Here, two sagas, the dispersion of Sam’s descendants from Babel to the Yemen, and the destruction of the tribes of 'Ad and Thamud, are translated in their entirety with complete philological and historical annotation. The tales of Luqman b. 'Ad and his seven vultures, Sulayman and Bilqis, the Himyarite kings, and Tasm and Jadis are given in full synopses.

Neither the attribution of the work to its purported author, 'Abid b. Sharya, nor its contents can be definitively authenticated. Moreover, its dating and transmission cannot be positively determined. Nonetheless, it is argued that 'Abid b. Sharya was, in fact, the author, and that his Akhbar reflects the history of the pre-Islamic Arabs as he reported it, even if its preserved form contains some later additions that cannot be considered originals. In a paean to the superiority of South Arabian civilization, 'Abid glorifies the accomplishments of Qahtan’s descendants during the Jahiliyya. This translation, annotation, and synopsis will be useful to scholars of early Islamic historiography and literature.

Elise W. Crosby received her Ph.D. from the Yale University Department of Near Eastern Languages and Literatures.

Akhbār al-Yaman wa-Ash'a-rūhā wa-Ansābūhā [The history, poetry, and genealogy of the Yemen] is the earliest known history of pre-Islamic Yemen. Attributed to the South Arabian historian 'Abid b. Sharya al-Jurhumi, a court historian to the caliph Mu'awiya (d. 680 CE), it recounts in prose and poetry six saga cycles of ancient personages and events of the Yemen. Here, two sagas, the dispersion of Sam’s descendants from Babel to the Yemen, and the destruction of the tribes of 'Ad and Thamud, are translated in their entirety with complete philological and historical annotation. The tales of Luqman b. 'Ad and his seven vultures, Sulayman and Bilqis, the Himyarite kings, and Tasm and Jadis are given in full synopses.

Neither the attribution of the work to its purported author, 'Abid b. Sharya, nor its contents can be definitively authenticated. Moreover, its dating and transmission cannot be positively determined. Nonetheless, it is argued that 'Abid b. Sharya was, in fact, the author, and that his Akhbar reflects the history of the pre-Islamic Arabs as he reported it, even if its preserved form contains some later additions that cannot be considered originals. In a paean to the superiority of South Arabian civilization, 'Abid glorifies the accomplishments of Qahtan’s descendants during the Jahiliyya. This translation, annotation, and synopsis will be useful to scholars of early Islamic historiography and literature.

Elise W. Crosby received her Ph.D. from the Yale University Department of Near Eastern Languages and Literatures.

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Elise Crosby

  • Table of Contents (page 5)
  • Acknowledgments (page 7)
  • Abbreviations (page 9)
  • Part 1: Introduction (page 11)
  • 1. Abid b. Sharya and his Akhbar (page 15)
  • 2. The contents of Akhbar (page 25)
  • 3. The poems (page 55)
  • 4. Authenticity and dating (page 61)
  • 5. The manuscripts and editions of Akhbar (page 71)
  • Part 2: The Complete and Perfect History of Abid b. Sharya al-Jurhumi on the History, Poetry, and Genealogy of the Yemen (page 77)
  • 6. The introduction of Akhbar and the cycle of the dispersion of Sam's descendants (page 79)
  • 7. The story of the destruction of the Ad (page 97)
  • 8. The story of the last Ad (page 147)
  • 9. The story of the Thamud (page 151)
  • Part 3: Comparative register of poems (page 187)
  • 10. Poems occurring in Akhbar and Tijan (page 189)
  • 11. Poems of well-known poets quoted in Akhbar (page 201)
  • Part 4: The Arabic text of Abid's Akhbar (page 209)
  • Bibliography (page 395)
  • Index of References (page 403)
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