During the 7th century BC, Egypt and other nations in the eastern Mediterranean encountered caravans of spices which were soon incorporated into the rituals of Jews, Assyrians and Greeks. Rumours and myths surrounded Arabia which attracted, and eluded, Alexander the Great and Augustus. This enjoyable and highly readable book looks for the real Arabia Felix, part of present-day Yemen, which dominated Southern Arabia for over 800 years. Using recent archaeological evidence, Breton reconstructs the caravan kingdoms, with their temples, gardens, buildings and tombs and examines the religious, political, military and social structure of the kingdom between the 8th century BC and the 1st century AD. He searches for evidence to support the Old Testament's presentation of Solomon and the Queen of Sheba and shows how the mysterious kingdom survived military conquest only to be defeated by the competition posed by Rome's maritime trade routes. Extracts from ancient sources, in English translation, complement the discussion.
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