Ma’rib – Capital of the Kingdom of Saba

Related Articles

Related Articles

Ma’rib is an archaeological site and former capital of the ancient kingdom of Saba in modern-day Ma’rib in Yemen.

Ma’rib is located in the region of the Sarawat Mountains and was founded by the Sabaeans, an ancient people of South Arabia who were one of the sha`bs living on the edge of the Sayhad desert.

Some biblical scholars suggest that Ma’rib was the centre of the Kingdom of Sheba, although ruins in many other countries, including Sudan, Egypt, Ethiopia and Iran have all been credited with the same distinction.

 

The date for the formation of the Sabaean kingdom is debated amongst archaeologists, with one proposed date being sometime between 1200 BC and AD 275, whilst another suggests from the 8th century BC.

The city flourished as a centre of trade on the caravan routes, that linked the Mediterranean with the Arabian Peninsula and held a trade monopoly on the movement of frankincense and myrrh in the region.

The ruins of Old Ma’rib Acropolis – Image Credit: Bernard Gagnon (Adapted)

Ma’rib was built at an oasis and centred on a large mound later named the Acropolis. Surrounding the city was a defensive 2.7-mile wall with regular punctuated towers and curtains. The city contained the Royal Palace Salḥīn and various dwellings only visible today as mounds. On the Acropolis are many impressive tower houses that are locally called “Old Ma’rib”, but these date from the medieval period and reused some of the building materials from the ancient city for their construction.

Principle sites in the vicinity of the city include the Great Dam of Ma’rib, built in the 8th century BC (although recent archaeological findings suggest that simple earth dams were constructed as far back as 2000 BC) to capture the periodic monsoon rains which fall on the nearby mountains and irrigate the land around the city.

To the south is the Awwām temple, a large temple complex dedicated to the principal deity of Saba, Almaqah. The temple consists of eight large propylaeum pillars that mark the entrance to a large rectangular peristyle hall, and an oval-shaped enclosure. Nearby is the Barran Temple, another temple complex dedicated to Almaqah.

Header Image Credit : H. Grobe (Adapted)

Download the HeritageDaily mobile application on iOS and Android

More on this topic

LATEST NEWS

Giant Sand Worm Discovery Proves Truth is Stranger Than Fiction

Simon Fraser University researchers have found evidence that large ambush-predatory worms--some as long as two metres--roamed the ocean floor near Taiwan over 20 million years ago.

Burial Practices Point to an Interconnected Early Medieval Europe

Early Medieval Europe is frequently viewed as a time of cultural stagnation, often given the misnomer of the 'Dark Ages'. However, analysis has revealed new ideas could spread rapidly as communities were interconnected, creating a surprisingly unified culture in Europe.

New Starfish-Like Fossil Reveals Evolution in Action

Researchers from the University of Cambridge have discovered a fossil of the earliest starfish-like animal, which helps us understand the origins of the nimble-armed creature.

Mars Crater Offers Window on Temperatures 3.5 Billion Years Ago

Once upon a time, seasons in Gale Crater probably felt something like those in Iceland. But nobody was there to bundle up more than 3 billion years ago.

Early Humans Used Chopping Tools to Break Animal Bones & Consume the Bone Marrow

Researchers from the Sonia and Marco Nadler Institute of Archaeology at Tel Aviv University unraveled the function of flint tools known as 'chopping tools', found at the prehistoric site of Revadim, east of Ashdod.

50 Million-Year-Old Fossil Assassin Bug Has Unusually Well-Preserved Genitalia

The fossilized insect is tiny and its genital capsule, called a pygophore, is roughly the length of a grain of rice.

Dinosaur-Era Sea Lizard Had Teeth Like a Shark

New study identifies a bizarre new species suggesting that giant marine lizards thrived before the asteroid wiped them out 66 million years ago.

The Iron Age Tribes of Britain

The British Iron Age is a conventional name to describe the independent Iron Age cultures that inhabited the mainland and smaller islands of present-day Britain.

Popular stories

The Iron Age Tribes of Britain

The British Iron Age is a conventional name to describe the independent Iron Age cultures that inhabited the mainland and smaller islands of present-day Britain.

The Roman Conquest of Wales

The conquest of Wales began in either AD 47 or 48, following the landing of Roman forces in Britannia sent by Emperor Claudius in AD 43.

Vallum Antonini – The Antonine Wall

The Antonine Wall (Vallum Antonini) was a defensive wall built by the Romans in present-day Scotland, that ran for 39 miles between the Firth of Forth, and the Firth of Clyde (west of Edinburgh along the central belt).

Vallum Aulium – Hadrian’s Wall

Hadrian’s Wall (Vallum Aulium) was a defensive fortification in Roman Britannia that ran 73 miles (116km) from Mais at the Solway Firth on the Irish Sea to the banks of the River Tyne at Segedunum at Wallsend in the North Sea.