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The Martyrs Of Najrān And The End Of The Himyar: On The Political History Of South Arabia In The Early Sixth Century

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Chapter Summary

For no other period of the pre-Islamic history of the Arabian Peninsula do we have so extensive and diverse a range of literary and epigraphic source texts composed so soon after events as we do for the 520s, when the conflict between Ḥimyar and Aksum reached its culmination. In addition to the information given by Procopios and a short remark by Cosmas Indicopleustes, the principal documents are texts of varying genre composed in Syriac, Sabean, and ancient Ethiopic. Above all, mention must be made of the account of the "Martyrs of Najran" that has been transmitted in three different Syriac versions, namely, the first and second letters of Simeon of Beth Arsham and the Book of the Himyarites, the first of which was the source for the Greek hagiographic text Martyrium Sancti Arethae et sociorum in civitate Negran.

Keywords: Ḥimyar; Aksum; Arabian Peninsula; Martyrs of Najran; pre-Islamic history

10.1163/ej.9789004176881.i-864.9
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