The reconsideration of the US alliances should be undertaken on the basis of the genuine historical and cultural identity of the Great Historical Land that has traditionally been the counter-weight to Arab tribalism and reductionism, and more recently to the Wahhabite/Saudi barbarism and the bogus-Islamic extremism.
Imperative regime change at Sanaa
- The Red Sea Yemenite port of Hodeida; underdevelopment is the consequence of an averted nation-building due to historical biases diffused by criminal colonial scholars.
A new generation of Yemenite statesmen, academia and businessmen should be helped to replace the current obsolete and disastrous for US interests’ establishment; the new political class would be able to promote a democratic vision for the Yemenite society’s progress and development, while consolidating the country’s position, based on the historical pillars of Yemen’s historical radiation. They should envision an appropriate, genuinely Yemenite, future for the country and the surrounding area, particularly the southern provinces of the dangerous for the regional and global stability Saudi Arabia.
Bearing in mind that a) Napoleonic France attempted to act as successor to Imperial Rome, b) Czarist Russia, USSR, and post-communist Russia pursued geopolitics as the Third Rome (survivor of the 1453 fallen Constantinople), and c) monarchical Iran acted as if inspired by geo-strategic considerations of the Achaemenidian Darius and/or the Sassanid Shapur I, the rising democratic Yemenite class should conceive Yemen’s future in terms of traditional Sabaean-Himyarite cultural and economic prevalence throughout the peninsula, the desert, the Red Sea straits, and the Horn of Africa area.
The traditional imperial approach to expansion applies to historical nations even if today they form small countries; with the proper study carried out, targets can be materialized through synergies, cooperation, national-cultural authenticity, educational progress, and respect to Human Rights. This effort would certainly oppose the traditional colonial plans to which are due various divisions, diverse strives, stagnant political establishments, socioeconomic underdevelopment, diffusion of false identities, tyranny, oppression (if not elimination) of the authentic cultural and national identities of historical nations, and machinated provocation of misconceptions and disastrous negativism (hatred, racism, etc.). America has only to win if opposing the enduring colonial plans of England and France all over the world, and particular in the Red Sea straits area and the Arabian peninsula. The existence of the terrorism-generating state of Saudi Arabia is not acceptable, if we intend to eradicate the phenomenon of Islamic Terrorism.
Civilized Yemen vs. Barbaric Arabia, according to the Periplus of the Red Sea
The anonymous author of the 1st century CE text Periplus of the Red Sea was an Alexandrian Egyptian captain and merchant who sailed throughout the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean. Through his text, we find out that he had acquired an excellent and detailed knowledge of the navigation and the trade effectuated throughout the Eastern African coast down to today’s Dar es Salam, the Arabian Peninsula’s coast, the Persian Gulf, and India’s western and eastern coastlines.
The Periplus of the Red Sea consists in a multi-dimensional text that also contributes greatly to our knowledge of the Political History of the entire vast area between Egypt and China at the times of the Roman Emperor Nero. In the present article, we will examine this text’s references to the Arabic coast of the Red Sea that help us have a precise idea about the then prevailing socioeconomic and political situation.
The indigenous Arabs were located in the south of the Aramaean Nabatean kingdom of Rekem/Petra that stretched from today’s Jordan’s southern periphery to the north-western confines of today’s Saudi Arabia. And the south-western confines of today’s Saudi Arabia were part of the Yemenite Sabaean kingdom. This area is called Najran, and still today is inhabited by Yemenites who want to secede from Saudi Arabia and merge with Yemen.
Starting by paragraph 19 of his text, the author describes the navigation at the Eastern edge of the Red Sea. He refers to Leuke Kome (“White Town”) as the first harbour and port of call on the sailor’s way to the south. Since the departure point is not Arsinoe (Suez) but Myos Hormos (the Mouse’s Bay), which corresponds to al Ghardaq — Hurghada in the Egyptian Red Sea coast, and the distance mentioned is 1000 to 1500 stadia (1 stadium equals 185 m), we deduce that Leuke Kome must be identified as the modern coastal town Al Wadjh.
The text refers to the Roman military presence (ekatontarchos: a centurion, officer leading 100 Roman soldiers), the Roman fiscal presence (paraleptes tes tetartes: a customs officer dispatched in order to get 25% of the passing merchandise as tax), as well as the land road to the Aramaic Nabataean capital Rekem/Petra of King Malichus (certainly Malichus II).
NW Confines of today’s Saudi Arabia: Abode of the Nabatean Aramaeans
Roman garrisons ensured safety for the land trade, since the main part of the merchandises (sent to Rekem and further on to Jerusalem, Damascus, Antioch, or Palmyra) was transported from Yemen by sea to Leuke Kome. Who were the inhabitants of that place? Since Leuke Kome does not belong to “Arabia”, we can deduce that they were probably Aramaeans, possibly of the highly civilized Nabataean branch, since the text makes a striking differentiation between them and the Arab inhabitants of the coast immediately in the south of Leuke Kome.
According to the Periplus of the Red Sea, civilization ends at Leuke Kome, and starts again around Mouza that is in the modern Yemenite Red Sea coast. What lies between them is the realm of Arab barbarism according to the author of the text (paragraph 20), which reads as follows:
Immediately after this port (Leuke Kome) starts Arabia, which is extended alongside a large part of the Red Sea. It is inhabited by various peoples and tribes, whose languages differ either a little or totally. The coastal zone features many groups of huts of the fish-eaters, whereas the inland includes hamlets and pastures, being inhabited by a people who speak two languages and have a perverted character. These people rob those who deviate from their sailing just in the middle of the sea, and come nearby their coasts. They arrest all the shipwrecked, so that they make later use of them as captives. That is why the Kings of Yemen attack them, and hold many of them as prisoners. They are called Canraites (note: this is the single time this term was used in Ancient Greek literature). Truly, any sort of navigation nearby the coast of Arabia is particularly dangerous, and this area is characterized by a lack of ports and offers few possibilities of anchorage, being full of perilous rocks, difficult of reach because of the rocky precipices, and awful from any viewpoint. That is why when we sail south, we navigate in the open sea, and as fast as possible, until we reach the Katakekavmene Neso (“Scorched Island”). Immediately after that island, there are plenty of lands inhabited by civilized people, who have large cattle, and use camels for their trade and transportation".
Here we are already among the ancient Yemenites! The Katakekavmene Island can be identified with Farasan islands that are located not far from the northern borderline of today’s Yemen. The text enters then paragraph 21, as follows:
Beyond these areas, in the last bay of the coast that is extended on our left during our navigation, lies Mouza, which is an official (nomimon: controlled by the state) port of call. If we follow the correct navigation line to the south, it lies in a distance of 12000 stadia from Berenice. The city is exclusively inhabited by Yemenites, captains and mariners, and is burgeoning with commercial activity (lit. “the trade is exceeding”) since it plays a vital role in the commerce up to Barygaza, and in this business the Mouza people use their own equipment.
It is essential to notice the radiation of the Mouza trade, technology and navigation up to India, since Barygaza is to be found in the area of today’s Mumbai (Bombay). The reference to the presence of mariners and sailors makes of Mouza a “haut lieu” of 1st century CE navigation in the Indian Ocean.
Colonially Promoted Historical Confusion
The modern science of philology helps identify precisely the names of ancient peoples mentioned in various historical texts. When Herodotus speaks of “Scythians”, he refers to the ancient people whose traces can be found in Asia and in Europe, throughout the steppes and the plains of Russia, Ukraine and Germany.
However, when Michael Choniates, Michel Psellos and other Byzantine academics use this same term in the 11th and 12th centuries CE, they simply mean “Turks”!
Every historical term has its history, evolution and specifications; and philology should help clarifying every detailed point. Contrarily to the mission of philology, several point of terminological confusion during the Antiquity have not been clearly analyzed by modern specialists in the History of Pre-Islamic Yemen. Even worse, further confusion was caused due to the improper terminology these specialists introduced as regards Ancient Yemen. We will analyze these points briefly.
“Yemenite” — “Arab”: confused terms in the Antiquity
The ancient Yemenites developed culture and civilization at the confines of the then known world. When we first find other peoples referring to ancient Yemenites, we notice that the way to reach Yemen (Sabaa, Himyar, Awsan, Minyan, and Qataban, let alone Hadhramawt) was through Arabia.
The earliest mention of ancient Yemenites does not come before the middle of the 8th century, and emanates from Assyrian – Babylonian Cuneiform sources. Then come references in Ancient Greek, Hebrew, Latin, Aramaic, and so on. But the only way all these various peoples, namely the Assyrians, the Babylonians, the Hebrews, the Greeks, the Aramaeans and the Romans, could have a vision of the peoples and the states of ancient Yemen was purely topographical-geographical: the Yemenites were “beyond the Arabs”, their land was far-off, and one should first cross Arab lands to reach the land of the diverse Yemenite kingdoms.
This way the confusion started between the terms “Arab” and “Saba”, “Himyar”, etc. As generic the term “Arab” started being attributed to all the Yemenites as well. At the end, the entire peninsula was called Arabian! The cultural and civilisational distinction between Yemenites and Arabs was however clear, as we observed already in the aforementioned text of the Periplus. Despite this fact, the term Arabic was prevalent for generic references to Ancient Yemenites.
Arabic and Persian Gulfs, Red Sea: terms differently used in the Antiquity
Since the Egyptians had very limited presence on their Red Sea coast, and Meroe — the great Sudanese state of the Antiquity — had no presence at all, it was only normal for Ancient Greeks to call the area we call today Red Sea Arabios kolpos, i.e. Arabic Gulf. This tendency was due to the fact that the Yemenite presence started at the Farasan islands and in Mouza (today’s al Mokha), two places that are very much in the south.
Modern nationalist Arab politicians fallaciously naming the Persian Gulf “Arabic Gulf” are mostly contradicted by the historical reality that in the Antiquity there was an Arabic Gulf, but this was what we call today “Red Sea”.
Even worse for the Pan-Arabist falsifiers, the Persian Gulf could not be called “Arabic” in the Antiquity because simply not a single Arab inhabited in any part of the Persian Gulf’s coastline. Historical inhabitants of the Persian Gulf’s coasts include the following peoples: Sumerians, Elamites, Babylonians, Aramaeans, and Persians.
When the author of the Periplus of the Red Sea refers to the “Red Sea”, he means a) the Arabic Gulf (what we call today Red Sea), b) the Persian Gulf, and c) the entire Indian Ocean from the eastern coast of Africa to Indochina and Indonesia (an area named as “Chryse” — golden by the author of the Periplus of the Red Sea). In other words, the term “Red Sea” in the Antiquity covered a much larger area than in our times.
Certainly the author of the Periplus of the Red Sea was not the first to use this term with the aforementioned topographical connotation. At least 300 years earlier, in the middle of the 3rd century BCE, Agatharchides writing in the then newly built Alexandrian Library his treatise “On the Red Sea” attempted to give an explanation of the name (“Red”) of the sea; to do so, Agatharchides (excerpts saved and published in the Geographi Greaci Minores) referred to natural phenomena occurring — quite indicatively — in the area of today’s Omani coastline.
Colonial Fabrication: Fake Terms: South-Arabic, Sudarabique, Suedarabisch
The confusing names of ancient authors can be understood in terms of lack of information, scientific method or proper exploration. However, modern deliberate confusion is absolutely inexcusable.
From the very first moments of modern Western exploration and study of the Yemenite past, following realities became very clear to all related academics, epigraphists, Semitic linguists, archaeologists, historians, philologists:
- The different Yemenite epigraphic monuments testify to various Semitic languages that had nothing to do with Arabic, and are closer to Gueze (Ancient Abyssinian).
- The diverse ancient philological non-Yemenite sources relating to ancient Yemenites (mainly Assyrian, Babylonian, Aramaic, and Persian) testify to a certain confusion with regard to racial/ethnic/national names, regrouping at times ancient Yemenites with Arabs.
- The Greek and Latin sources (the longest and better studied until now) relating to ancient Yemen testify to a clear-cut understanding of the tremendous cultural differences separating all the various ancient Yemenite peoples from the Arabs.
- Throughout the Yemenite past, the Sabaeans and the Himyarites reached at times the point of unifying almost the whole of Yemen.
- The extensive use of the term “Yemen” throughout the Islamic ages covers the whole area in the south of Asir, and in the west of Oman.
South Arabic: geared to prevent Yemenites from assessing their National History
Despite all this, the biased Orientalists, who got specialized in the History of Ancient Yemen, intentionally introduced the meaningless, confusing, pale, nationally useless, and historically fake term “South Arabic” (Sudarabique, Suedarabisch, Sudarabico), which means nothing.
This has been a conscious and devious effort to disentangle the glorious past of Yemen from its own present and future, and to deprive the modern Yemenites from an accurate assessment of the past glories — since the modern state of Yemen is the inheritor and the custodian of the country’s national cultural heritage and identity — and from the ensuing Nation-building effort.
Acting like this, the disreputable Orientalist scholars wished to achieve many goals all at once, namely:
- to disorient the modern Yemenites who are engaged in the study of their own past;
- to make modern Yemenites unable to duly and proficiently incorporate the past’s achievements, culture, identity and character into the modern country’s ’nation building’ in the way, and to the extent, Greeks or Italians were able to do;
- to definitely destroy any nation-building effort in modern Yemen;
- to deceive large numbers of people, scholars, intellectuals, diplomats and politicians all over the world by means of a term that would not directly imply the Yemenite identity of the monuments or the history narrated, presented, developed and/or studied;
- to add one more point of overall misrepresentation of the ancient Orient undertaken by and within the discipline of Orientalism.
This disastrous work brought an excellent result for the colonial powers’ unethical, cynical and criminal researchers, who launched the fallacious term, becoming then the specialists in “South Arabic studies”!
Modern Yemenites should demand the exclusive use of the term “Yemenite” by all Western scholars researching the Yemenite past in their writings and bibliography from now on.
South Arabic: term nationally impermissible for Yemen
One should ask why Yemen cannot accept the term “South Arabic” anymore. The answer is in the following illustrative question:
Why would modern Greece reject the term “South Balkan Studies” for research pertaining to Ancient and Medieval (Byzantine) Greece?
Speaking more analytically, we should enumerate the basic reasons for a formal and definite rejection of the term “South Arabic”:
- It is unrelated to the racial/ethnic/national identity and hypostasis of the national group concerned, i.e. the modern Yemenites.
- Consequently, the false term is a multiple de-personifying factor.
- It presents all the Ancient Yemenite peoples as just groups living in an area at the southernmost confines of the area inhabited by another people.
- Consequently, it automatically subordinates Yemenites to that people.
- That people (namely: Arabs) had no connection with the glory of the Ancient Yemenite past, be it Sabaean, Himyarite, Qatabani, Hadhramawti, Minyan, Awsani or other.
- So, it is particularly erroneous as a term, since it permits an unbelievable confusion and eventual attribution of moments of the Yemenite past to … Arabs.
- It portrays the modern Yemenites as a pale people without past, since there is no apparent connection between “South Arabic” and “Yemenite”.
- The term is particularly damaging in the sense of created difficulties with regard to the establishment of an all-encompassing Yemenite national history, with an appropriately managed historical education that definitely consists in the basis of nation-building for peoples with a great past.
Yemenite Studies: the Correct Term
“Sabaean” or “Himyarite” Studies would be certainly far more appropriate terms, although they would not be all-embracing terms. But when we use the term Assyriology, we mean however the study of the Ancient Assyrians and Babylonians, as well as of many other Mesopotamian peoples, Sumerians, Elamites, Amorrites, Hurrians, etc.
The introduction of the term Yemenite Studies is strongly recommended on the basis of several historical truths:
- The term matches a modern racial/ethnic/national name. It must be therefore preferred in recognition of the historical ties existing, as it was the case of Roman Studies (instead of Latin Studies). Perhaps, the Catholic Church insisted on the latter, but the modern Italian state has always been fond of the former.
- Yemen itself, as a name, has a great historicity that goes back to pre-Islamic and pre-Christian times with several epigraphic mentions.
- Although Yemen was a small tribe-state, certainly eclipsed by Saba, Qataban, or Himyar, its survival and its modern connotation, make of it excellent for diachronic historical use. The all-inclusive character of the name “Yemen” is another reason.
- Because of the modern radiation of the term, the historical significance of the ’South Arabic’ antiquities will be enhanced — in the eyes of the Yemenites, as well as of all foreigners, tourists or not — since the terms Himyar, Sheba (Saba) do not radiate at a modern national level as greatly as terms like Babylon, Rome, Persia, Egypt, and Greece, to name but a few.
- The basic historical trends of the ancient Yemenite states, as well as of the neighbouring Frankincense Land (a state mentioned in the Periplus as located at the area of Hadhramawt in Yemen and Dhofar in Oman), will be of easier access, and this will in turn enable further national emancipation and liberation from the shackles of colonial traps and schemes.