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Himyarites



Himyarite inscription from 4th century CE.
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Himyarite inscription from 4th century CE.

Himyarite coin from 1st century BCE.
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Himyarite coin from 1st century BCE.

Kingdom of southwestern Arabia, dating from late 2nd century BCE until 525 CE.
Although the Himyarite kingdom was well established with its agriculture and fishing activities, the wealth of the kingdom came from the export of frankincense and myrrh. Being excellent products for trade, they also encouraged commerce in general and the requisite routes for other products.
The Himyarites were originally a Semitic tribe, speaking their own language, Himyaritic. This language is still in use in a small area of southern Yemen, and it is important for understanding the development of the Semitic language from ancient times.

History
8th century BCE: The oldest traces of Himyaritic inscriptions.
115: The time of the oldest inscription mentioning the Himyarite Kingdom. It must have appeared some years before this, but not necessarily many years earlier.
1st century: The Himyarites surpass Sheba as the strongest power in southwestern Arabia.
Around 25: Sheba is conquered by the Himyarite kings.
Around 50 CE: Qataban in conquered by the Himyarites.
Around 100: Hadramawt is conquered.
335: Invaded by Abyssinia (corresponding to modern Ethiopia). Christianity is promoted throughout the former kingdom.
End 4th century: The Abyssinians are driven out, and local control reestablished.
Judaism is introduced.
Early 6th century: The Himyarites persecute the Christian communitites living in their land.
525: Abyssiania attacks in order to protect the Christians. They manage to conquer the Himyarite kingdom.




By Tore Kjeilen