1st Edition

Studies in the Medieval History of the Yemen and South Arabia

By G. Rex Smith Copyright 1997
    324 Pages
    by Routledge

    This volume brings together a set of widely scattered articles spanning some thirty years of research on early and medieval Yemen and South Arabia. They cover the political and military history of the area, from the beginning of Islam to the Ottoman conquest in 1517, with the establishment of the Zaydis and then the Ayyubids as key events. Particular attention is given to the 13th century, and questions of trade and historical geography. The work of the traveller Ibn al-Mujawir, the subject of a series of studies, also provides much information on the society and beliefs of the period, including magic and sexual practices.

    Contents: Introduction; The political history of the Islamic Yemen down to the first Turkish invasion (1-945/622-1538); Yemenite history: problems and misconceptions; Ibn al-Mujawir on Dhofar and Socotra; Ibn al-Mujawir’s 7th/13th-century Arabia: the wondrous and the humorous; Ibn al-Mujawir’s 7th/13th-century guide to Arabia: the eastern connection; Some ’anthropological’ passages from Ibn al-Mujawir’s guide to Arabia and their proposed interpretations; The language of Ibn al-Mujawir’s 7th/13th-century guide to Arabia, Tarikh al-Mustabsir; Magic, jinn and the supernatural in medieval Yemen: examples from Ibn al-Mujawir’s 7th/13th-century guide; Ibn Hatim’s Kitab al-Simt and its place in medieval Yemenite historiography; Have you anything to declare? Maritime trade and commerce in Ayyubid Aden: practices and taxes; More on the port practices and taxes of medieval Aden; The Ayyubids and Rasulids: the transfer of power in 7th/13th-century Yemen; The Rasulids in Dhofar in the VIIth-VIIIth/ XIIIth-XIVth centuries; The Yemenite settlement of Tha’bat: historical, numismatic and epigraphic notes; The Tahirid sultans of the Yemen (858-923/1454-1517) and their historian Ibn al-Dayba’; Some observations on the Tahirids and their activities in and around San’a’ (858-923/1454-1517); Studies on the Tihamah; Masqat in the Arab lexicographers and geographers; The Omani manuscript collection at Muscat: a general description of the MSS; Robert Bertram Serjeant, 1915-1993; Index.


    G. Rex Smith

    ’...an important reference work for the serious historian of medieval Yemen...Smith’s essays represent a remarkable set of discrete and interwoven achievements, all punctiliously documented, researched, and indexed.’ Bulletin of the Middle East Studies Association, 32 ’The excellent scholarship reflected in the articles assembled herein has bequeathed the scholarly world a wealth of first-hand data from original sources, for which all of us concerned with the legacy of that country in the Middle Ages are grateful. Bringing this data together in one volume should also greatly facilitate the work of researchers seeking to further their knowledge of this fascinating era in Yemen’s history.’ Digest of Middle East Studies ’...Variorum has provided what will stand for many years as a major resource for scholars working on the history of medieval Yemen....’ Journal of Semitic Studies, Vol. 44, No. 2 ’In many respects, G. Rex Smith can be seen as a true pioneer of Yemeni studies, who introduced western scholars to a number of important personalities and sources of Yemeni history that had heretofore been practically unknown outside Yemen...this work will no doubt be of great service to all specialists on Yemen...it lays a solid foundation for the future study of medieval Yemen.’ Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, Vol. 10, Part 1