ARA´BIAARA´BIA (ἡ Ἀραβία: Eth.Ἄραψ, Eth. Ἀράβιος, Her.; Ἄραβος, Aesch. Pers. 318, fem. Ἀράβισσα, Tzetz.; Arabs; pl. Ἄραβες, Ἀράβιοι, Ἄραβοι, Arăbes, Arăbi, Arabii: Adj. Ἀράβιος, Ἀραβικός, Arabus, Arabius, Arabicus: the A is short, but forms with the A long and the r doubled are also found: native names, Belâd-el-Arab, i. e. Land of the Arabs, Jezi-răt-el-Arab, i. e. Peninsula of the Arabs; Persian and Turkish, Arabistân: Arabia), the westernmost of the three great peninsulas of Southern Asia, is one of the most imperfectly known regions of the civilized world; but yet among the most interesting, as one of the earliest seats of the great Semitic race, who have preserved in it their national characteristics and independence from the days of the patriarchs to the present hour; and as the source and centre of the most tremendous revolution that ever altered the condition of the nations.
I. Names.The name by which the country was known to the Greeks and Romans, and by which we still denote it, is that in use among the natives. But it is important to observe that the Hebrews, from which we derive our first information, did not use the name Arabia till after the time of Solomon: the reason may have been that it was only then that they became acquainted with the country properly so called, namely the peninsula itself, S. of a line drawn between the heads of the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf. The. notion that the whole country was assigned to Ishmael and peopled by his descendants is a mere misunderstanding of the language of Scripture. (See below, § IV.) It was only in the N. part of Arabia that the Ishmaelites settled; and it is to that portion of the country, almost exclusively, that we must apply those passages of the Old Testament in which it is spoken of as Eretz-Kedem or Kedemah, i. e. Land of the East, and its people as the Beni-Kedem, i. e. Sons of the East; the region, namely, immediately East of Palestine (Gen. 25.6; Judges, 6.3; Job, 1.3; 1 Kings 4.30; Isaiah, 11.14: comp. ἡ ἀνατολή, Matt. 2.1). When the term Kedem seems to refer to parts of the peninsula more to the S., the natural explanation is that its use was extended indefinitely to regions adjoining those to which it was at first applied. The word Arab, which first occurs after the time of Solomon, is also applied to only a small portion of the country. Like such names as Moab, Edom, and others, it is used both as the name of the country and as the collective name of the people, who were called individually Arabi, and in later Hebrew Arbi, pl. Arbim and Arbiim. Those denoted by it are the wandering tribes of the N. deserts and the commercial people along the N. part of the E. shore of the Red Sea (2 Chron. 9.14, 17.11, 21.16, 22.1, 26.7; Isaiah, 13.20, 21.13; Jer. 3.2, 25.24; Ezek. 27.21; Neh. 2.19, 4.7). At what time the name was extended to the whole peninsula is uncertain. As to the origin of the word Arab, various opinions have been broached. The common native tradition deduces it from Yarab, the son of Joktan, the ancestor of the race. The late Professor Rosen derived it from the verbal root yaraba (Heb. arab.), to set or go down (as the sun), with reference to the position of Arabia to the W. of the Euphrates and the earliest abodes of the Semitic race. Others seek its origin in arabah, a desert, the name actually employed, in several passages of the Old Testament, to denote the region E. of the Jordan and Dead Sea, as rar S. as the Aelanitic or E. head of the Red Sea; in fact the original Arabia, an important part of which district, namely the valley extending from the Dead Sea to the Aelanitic Gulf, bears to this day the name of Wady-el-Arabah. The Greeks received the name from the Eastern nations; and invented, according to their practice of personifying in such cases, an Arabia, wife of Aegyptus. (Apollod. 2.1.5.)
II. Situation, Boundaries, Extent, and Divisions.The peninsula of Arabia, in the stricter sense of the word, lies between 12° and 30° N. lat., and between 32° and 59° E. long. It is partly within and partly without the tropics; being divided into two almost equal parts by the Tropic of Cancer, which passes through the city of Muscat, about 1° N. of the E. promontory, and on the W. nearly half way between Mecca and Medina. It projects into the sea between Africa and the rest of Asia, in a sort of hatchet shape, being bounded on the W. by the Arabicus Sinus (Red Sea), as far as its southernmost point, where the narrow strait of Bab-el-Mandeb scarcely cuts it off from Africa; on the S. and SE. by the Sinus Paragon (Gulf of Oman), and Erythraeum Mare (Indian Ocean); and on the NE. by the Persicus Sinus (Persian Gulf). On the N. it is connected with the continent of Asia by the Isthmus, extending for about 800 miles across from the mouth of the Tigris at the head of the Persian Gulf to the NW. extremity of the Red Sea, at the head of the Sinus Aelaniticus (G. of Akabah). A line drawn across this Isthmus, and coinciding almost exactly with the parallel of 30° N. lat., would represent very nearly the northern boundary, as at present defined, and as often understood in ancient times; but, if used to represent the view of the ancient writers in general, it would be a limit altogether arbitrary, and often entirely false. From the very nature of the country, the wandering tribes of N. Arabia, the children of the Desert, always did, as they do to this day, roam over that triangular extension of their deserts which runs up northwards between Syria and the Euphrates, as a region which no other people has ever disputed with them, though it has often been assigned to Syria by geographers, both ancient and modern, including the Arabs themselves. Generally, the ancient geographers followed nature and fact in assigning the greater part of this desert to Arabia; the N. limits of which were roughly determined by the presence of Palmyra, which, with the surrounding country, from Antilibanus to the Euphrates, as far S. on the river as Thapsacus at least, was always reckoned a part of Syria. The peninsula between the two heads of the Red Sea was also reckoned a part of Arabia. Hence the boundary of Arabia, on the land side, may be drawn pretty much as follows: from the head of the Gulf of Heroöpolis (G. of Suez), an imaginary and somewhat indeterminate line, running NE. across the desert Isthmus of Suez to near the mouth of the “river of Egypt” (the brook El-Arish), divided Arabia from Egypt: thence, turning [p. 1.175]eastward, the boundary towards Palestine varied with the varying fortunes of the Jews and Idumeans [IDUMAEA]: then, passing round the SE. part of the Dead Sea, and keeping E. of the valley of the Jordan, so as to leave to Palestine the district of Perea; then running along the E. foot of Antili-banus, or retiring further to the E., according to the varying extent assigned to COELE SYRIA; and turning eastward at about 34° N. lat., so as to pass S. of the territory of Palmyra; it reached the right bank of the Euphrates somewhere S. of Thapsacus; and followed the course of that river to the Persian Gulf, except where portions of land on the right bank, in the actual possession of the people of Babylonia, were reckoned as belonging to that country. (Comp. Strab. xvi. p.765; Plin. Nat. 6.28. s. 32; Ptol. 5.17.) But even a wider extent is often given to Arabia both on the NE. and on the W. On the former side, Xenophon gives the name of Arabia to the sandy tract on the E. bank of the Euphrates, in Mesopotamia S. of the Chaboras, or, as he calls it, Araxes (Khabour); and certainly, according to his minute and lively description, this region was thoroughly Arabian in its physical characteristics, animals, and products (Anab. 1.5.1). The S. part of Mesopotamia is at present called Irak-Arabí. Pliny also applies the name of Arabia to the part of Mesopotamia adjoining the Euphrates, so far N. as to include Edessa and the country opposite to Commagene; almost, therefore, or quite to the confines of Armenia; and he makes Singara the capital of a tribe of Arabs, called Praetavi (5.24. s. 20, 21); and when he comes expressly to describe Arabia, he repeats his statement more distinctly, and says that Arabia descends from M. Amanus over against Cilicia and Commagene (6.28. s. 32; comp. Plut. Pomp. 39; Diod. 19.94; Tac. Ann. 12.12). On the west, Herodotus (2.12) regards Syria as forming the seaboard of Arabia. Damascus and its territory belonged to Arabia in the time of St. Paul (Gal. 1.17); and the whole of Palestine E. of the Jordan was frequently included under the name. Nay, even on the W. side of the Red Sea, the part of Egypt between the margin of the Nile Valley and the coast was called Arabiae Nomos, and was considered by Herodotus as part of Arabia. The propriety of the designation will be seen under the next head. The surface of Arabia is calculated to be about four times that of France: its greatest length from N. to S. about 1,500 miles; its average breadth about 800 miles, and its area about 1,200,000 sq. miles. The Greek and Roman writers in general divided Arabia into two parts, ARABIA DESERTA (ἡ ἔρημος Ἀραβία), namely, the northern desert between Syria and the Euphrates, and ARABIA FELIX (ἡ εὐδαίμων Ἀραβία), comprising the whole of the actual peninsula (Diod. 2.48. foll.; Strab. xvi. p.767; Mela, 3.8; Plin.6.28. s. 32). Respecting the origin of the appellation Felix, see below ( § III). The third division, ARABIA PETRAEA (ἡ Ρετραία Ἀραβία) is first distinctly mentioned by Ptolemy (5.17.1). It included the peninsula of Sinai, between the two gulfs of the Red Sea, and the mountain range of Idumea (Mt. Seir), which runs from the Dead Sea to the Aelanitic Gulf (Gulf of Akabah); and derived its name, primarily, from the city of PETRA (ἡ Ἀραβία ἡ ἐν Πέτρᾳ, Dioscor. de Mat. Med. 1.91; ἡ κατὰ τὴν Πέτραν Ἀραβία, Agathem. Geogr. 2.6), not, as is often supposed, from its physical character, as if the Stony or Rocky Arabia, however well the name, in this sense, would apply to a portion of it. This division is altogether unknown to the Arabians themselves, who confine the name of Arabland to the peninsula itself, and assign the greater part of Petraea to Egypt, and the rest to Syria, and call the desert N. of the peninsula the Syrian Desert, notwithstanding that they themselves are the masters of it.
III. Physical and Descriptive Geography.Though assigned to Asia, in the division of the world which has always prevailed, Arabia has been often said to belong more properly to Africa, both in its physical characteristics and in its position. The remark rests on a somewhat hasty analogy; what there is in it of soundness merely amounts to an illustration of the entire want of scientific classification in our division of the world. Ethnographically, Arabia belongs decidedly to Western Asia, but so do the countries round the Mediterranean, both in S. Europe and N. Africa: they all belong, in fact, to a great zone, extending NW. and SE. from India to the Atlantic N. of M. Atlas. Physically, Arabia belongs neither to Africa nor to Asia, but to another great zone, which extends from the Atlantic S. of the Atlas through Central Africa and Central Asia; consisting of a high table-land, for the most part desert, supported on its N. and S. margins by lofty mountains; and broken by deep transverse vallies, of which the basins of the Nile, the Red Sea, and the Persian Gulf, are the most remarkable. Thus Arabia stands in the closest physical connection, on the one hand, with the great African Desert (Sahara), in which Egypt Proper is a mere chasm, and on the other hand, with the great Desert of Iran; the continuity being broken, on the former side, by the valley of the Red Sea, and on the latter, by that of the Tigris and Euphrates and the Persian Gulf; which determine the limits of the country without separating it physically from the great central desert plateau which intersects our tripartite continent.
General Outline.The outline of the country is defined by the strongly marked promontories of Poseidonium (Ras Mohammed) between the two heads of the Red Sea; Palindromus (C. Bab-el-Mandeb) on the SW., at the entrance of the Red Sea; Syagrus or Corodamum (Ras-el-Had) on the extreme E., at the mouth of the Paragon Sinus (Gulf of Oman); and Macela (Ras Musendom), NW. of the former, the long tongue of land which extends northwards from Oman, dividing the Gulf of Oman from the Persian Gulf. These headlands mark out the coast into four parts, the first of which, along the Red Sea, forms a slightly concave waving line (neglecting of course minor irregularities) facing somewhat W. of SW.; the second, along the Erythraeum Mare (Gulf of Bab-el-Mandeb, and Arabian Sea) forms an irregular convex line facing the SE. generally (this side might be divided into two parts at Ras Fartak, at the mouth of the Gulf of Bab-el-Mandeb, W. of which the aspect is somewhat S. of SE.): the third, along the Gulf of Oman, forms a waving concave line facing the NE.; and the fourth, along the Persian Gulf, sweeps round in a deep curve convex to the N., as far as El-Katif, broken however by the great tongue of land which ends in Ras Anfir; and from El-Katif it passes to the head of the Gulf in a line nearly straight, facing the NE. The last two portions might be included in one, as the NE. side of the peninsula. The SW. and SE. sides are very nearly of equal length, namely, in round numbers, [p. 1.176]above 1000 geographical miles in a straight line, and the whole NE. side is little less, perhaps no less if the great curve of the Persian Gulf be allowed for. The form of the peninsula has been likened above to a hatchet; the ancients compared it also to the skin of a leopard, the spots denoting the oases in the desert: but some take this figure to refer to the Syrian Desert, or Arabia Deserta.
Structure of Surface.The peninsula consists of an elevated table-land, which, as far as any judgment can be formed in our very scanty knowledge of the interior, seems to rise to about 8000 feet above the sea. On the N. it slopes down gradually to the banks of the Euphrates. On the other sides it descends more or less abruptly, in a series of mountain terraces, to a flat belt of sandy ground, which runs round the whole coast from the mouth of the Tigris to the Aelanitic Gulf (Guif of Akabah); but with very different breadths. The interior table-land is called El-Jabal, the Hills, or El-Nejd, the Highlands; and the flat margin El-Gaur or El-Tehâma, the Lowlands. The latter has every appearance of having been raised from the bed of the sea; and the process is going on, especially on the W. coast, where both the land and the coral reefs are rising and advancing towards each other. Along the N. part of the Red Sea coast (El Hejaz), the hills come very near the sea: further S., on the coast of El-Yemen, the Tehâma widens, being two days'journey across near Loheia and Hodeida, and a day's journey at Mokha, where the retreat of the sea is marked by the town of Muza (Mousa), which is mentioned as a seaport in the Periplus ascribed to Arrian (100.5), but is now several miles inland. Along the SE. coast, so far as it is known, the belt of low-land is narrow; as also on the coast of Oman, except about the middle, where it is a day's journey wide: in other parts the hills almost join the sea. Of the highland very little is known. It appears to possess no considerable rivers, and but few, com-paratively to its size, of those sheltered spots where a spring or streamlet, perennial or intermittent, flows through a depression in the surface, protected by hills from the sands around, in which the palm tree and other plants can flourish. The well-known Greek name of such islands in the sea of sand, oasis or auasis, seems to be identical with the Arabic name Wady, which is also used, wherever the Arabians have settled, to denote a valley through which a stream flows. So few are these spots in the highland that water must generally be obtained by digging deep wells. The highland has its regular rainy season, from the middle of June to the end of September. The rains fall much less frequently in the lowlands, sometimes not for years together. At other times there are slight showers in March and April, and the dew is copious even in the driest districts. As, however, the periodic rains of the high land fall also in the mountains on its margin, these mountains abound in springs, which form rivers that flow down into the thirsty soil of the Tehâma. Such rivers are for the most part ost in the sand ; but others, falling into natural depressions in the surface, form verdant wadys, especially in the S. part of the W. coast (El-Yemen), where some considerable streams reach the sea. The fertility of these wadys, enhanced by the contrast with the surrounding sands, together with the beauty of the overhanging terraces, enriched with aromatic plants, gave rise to the appellation of “Happy,” which the Greeks and Romans applied first, it would seem, to Yemen, and then extended to the whole peninsula. (Plin. Nat. 12.13. s. 30, foll.: Strab., Herod., Agathem., &c. &c.; and especially the verses of Dion. Perieg. 925, foll.). Even for the former district, the title of Araby the Blest is somewhat of a poetic fiction; and its use can only be accounted for by supposing much Oriental exaggeration in the accounts given by the Arabs of their country, and no little freedom of fancy in those who accepted them; while, in its usual application to the peninsula in general, the best parallel to Arabia Felix may be found,--passing from one extreme to another, “from beds of ragingfire to starve in ice,” and from the poetic to the prosaic,--in that climax of all infelicitous nomenclature, Boothia Felix. Indeed Oriental scholars tell us that, in the ancient example as in the modern, the misnomer was the result of accident or euphemism; for that Felix is only a mistranslation of El-Yemen, which signifies the right hand, and was applied, at first, by the N. Arabs to the peninsula, in contradistinction to Syria, Esh-Sham, the left hand, the face being always supposed by the Oriental geographers to be directed towards the East. (Asseman. Bibl. Orient. 3.2. p. 553.) Hence El Yemen is the Southern Land, the very name applied to it as the country of the queen of Sheba. (Matt. 12.42.; SABA) But the Greeks, interpreting “the country of the right hand,” with reference to their ideas of omens, called it the “country of good omen” (εὐδαίμων), or the “blessed,” and then the appellation was explained of its supposed fertility and wealth: the process of confusion being completed by the double meaning of the word happy. On the NE. coast, along the Gulf of Oman, the lowlands are better watered and wadys are more frequent than in any other part except El-Yemen. Two considerable rivers reach the Indian Ocean. The shore of the Persian Gulf is almost entirely desert. Of navigable rivers, Arabia is entirely destitute.
Mountains.The mountain range which runs from NW. to SE., parallel to the Red Sea, may be regarded as a continuation of the Lebanon range; and the chains along the other sides of the peninsula resemble it in character. Their structure is of granite and limestone. Their general height is from 3000 to 5000 feet; the latter being the prevailing elevation of the range along the SE. coast: while some summits reach 6000 feet, which is the height of the three mountains that overlook the chief angular points of the peninsula ; namely, on the NW. Jebel Tibout. on the E. side of the Gulf of Akabah; Jebel Yafaï, on the SW. angle (6600 feet) ; and, on the E., Jebel Akdar in the centre of Oman.
Climate.The atmosphere of Arabia is probably the driest in the world. In the Tehâma, the average temperature is very high, and the heat in summer is intense. In the lowland of Yemen Niebuhr observed the thermometer to rise as high as 98° in August and 86° in January ; and on the E. coast, at Muskat in Oman, it ranges in summer from 92° to 102°. On the mountain slopes the climate varies from that of the tropics to that of the S. parts of the temperate zone, according to the elevation and exposure; while in the highland the winter is comparatively cold, and water is said to freeze sometimes. Every reader of poetry and travels is familiar with the pestilential wind of the Desert, the simoom (or, more properly, sam, samum, or samiel), which derives [p. 1.177]its oppressive character from the excessive heat and dryness it acquires in passing over a vast range of land scorched by the sun. It is only the N. part of the peninsula and the parts adjoining the Syrian Desert that are much exposed to the visitation, the S. portion being preserved from it the greater part of the year by the prevailing winds. For eight months out of the twelve, the SW. monsoon prevails ; and though sultry, it is not pestiferous. Travellers give vivid descriptions of the change in the atmosphere in S. Arabia from a dryness which parches the skin and makes paper crack, to a dampness which covers every object with a clammy moisture, according as the wind blows from the Desert or the Sea. As above stated, the highlands have a rainy season, which is generally from the middle of June to the end of September; but in Oman from November to the middle of February, and in the northern deserts in December and January only.
Productions.The very name of Arabia suggests the idea of that richness in aromatic plants, for which it has been proverbial from the age of the Hebrew prophets. [SABA, SABAEI.] Herodotus (3.107) speaks of its frankincense, myrrh, cassia, cinnamon, and ladanum (a kind of gum); but, like other ancient writers,his information does not seem to have been sufficient to distinguish between the products of Arabia itselfand those of India and the eastern islands, which were imported into Egypt and Persia through the Arabian ports. They name as its productions, dates, aloe, cotton, balsam, cinnamon and other spices, a sweet flag (probably the sugar cane), myrrh, frankincense, mastich, cassia, indigo, precious stones, gold, silver, salt, lions, panthers, camels, giraffes, elephants, buffaloes, horses, wild asses, sheep, dogs, lion-ants, tortoises, serpents, ostriches, bees, locusts,and some others. (Herod. l.c.; Agatharch. ap. Hudson, vol. i. p. 61; Strab. xvi. pp. 768, 774, 782, 783, 784; Diod. 2.49, 52, 93, 3.45, 46, 47; Q. Curt. 5.1.11; Dionys. Perieg. 927, foll.; Heliod. Aethiop. 10.26; Plin. Nat. 6.32, 12.30, 41, 36.12, 37.15) In illustration of this list, it must suffice to enumerate what are now the chief productions of the soil:--spices, gums, resins, and various drugs; sugar, tobacco, indigo, cotton, and the finest coffee, the last grown chiefly on the mountain terraces of El-Yemen; the various species of pulse and cerealia (excepting oats, the horses being fed on barley), which are grown chiefly in Yemen and Oman; tamarinds, grapes (in spite of the prophet), and various kinds of figs ; many species of large trees, of which the chief are the date and other palms, and the acacia vera, from which the well-known gum Arabic exudes ; but there are few if any forests. In the open deserts dried wood is so scarce that camel's dung is the only fuel. The fame of Arabia among the ancients for its precious metals seems to have been earned by its traffic rather than its own wealth: at least it now yields no gold and very little silver. Lead is abundant in Oman, and iron is found in other parts. Among its other mineral products are basalt, blue alabaster, and some precious stones, as the emerald and onyx. The camel, so wondrously adapted to the country, and the horse of the pure breed possessed by the Bedouins of the N. deserts, would suffice to distin-guish the zoology of Arabia. Its wild ass is superior to the horses of many other countries. The other domestic animals are oxen (with a hump); goats; and sheep, two species of which, with fat tails, are said by Herodotus (3.113) to be indigenous. The musk-deer, fox, and rock-goat are found in the hill country; the gazelle frequents the more lonely wadys; and monkeys abound in the wooded parts of Yemen. Of wild beasts, the lion is constantly alluded to in the poetry of the ancient Arabs, though it is now scarce; and the hyena, panther, wolf, and jackal prowl in the desert about the tents of the Bedouins and the track of the caravans. Arabia has several species of birds of prey, including the carrion vulture, the scavenger of tropical countries; domestic fowls in the cultivated parts; ostriches abound in the desert; and pelicans and other sea fowl on the Red Sea coast. The most remarkable of its insects is the too celebrated locust, which makes some compensation for its ravages by furnishing, when dried, a favourite food. Fish are abundant, especially ill the Gulf of Oman, the people on both coasts of which were named fisheaters (ἰχθυοφάγοι) by the ancients: in the present day the domestic animals of Oman are fisheaters too, and a large residue are used for manure. The pearl-fisheries of the Persian Gulf, especially about the Bahrein Islands, were known to the ancients. (Arrian, Peripl. Mar. Erythr. 9.)
IV. Inhabitants.It has been already stated that the common notion, which derives the descent of the Arabs in general from Ishmaël, is a miscon-ception. Many of the Arabs, indeed, cling to the tradition, and Mohammed encouraged it, as making them, as well as the Jews, the posterity of Abraham. But the Ishmaelites belong exclusively to the N. part of the peninsula, and the adjacent deserts. The general survey of the earliest ethnography in the Book of Genesis (c. x.) intimates a connection between the people of the W. side of the peninsula, and those of the opposite coast of the Red Sea (Aethiopia), by mentioning as sons and grandsons of Cush, the son of Ham, “Seba, and Havilah, and Sabta, and Raameh, and Sabtecha: and the sons of Raameh; Sheba and Dedan.” (Gen. 10.7, 8.) Most of these names of peoples can be traced on the W. coast of Arabia; and, according to some writers, in other parts of the peninsula, especially about the head of the Persian Gulf; and their connection with Aethiopia is confirmed by many indications. In fact, the Scripture ethnography points to a period, when the whole tract from about the mouths of the Tigris to Palestine and southwards over the whole peninsula, was peopled by the Cushite race, of whom the greater part subsequently passed over to Aethiopa. There are. strong reasons for referring to Arabia several statements in Scripture respecting Cush and Cushan, which are commonly understood of Aethiopia (2 Kings 19.9; 2 Chron. 14.9; Ezek. 29.10; Hab. 3.7). In these ethnographic researches, it should be carefully remembered that a district, having received its name from a tribe, often retains that name long after the tribe has been displaced. Further on (5.26--30), Joktan, the son of Eber, the grandson of Shem, is represented as the father of tribes, some or all of which had their dwellings in the peninsula, the natural interpretation being that this was a second element in the population of Arabia. Thirdly, there are indications of a further population of Arabia by the descendants of Abraham in several different ways: first, when Sheba and Dedan are made the sons of Jokshan, son of Abraham by Keturah (Gen. xxv, 1--3), where the resemblance of names to the Cushite tribes, in Gen. 10.7, 8, is accounted for on the principle just noticed, [p. 1.178]the Keturaïte tribes being called by the names already given by the former inhabitants to the districts they occupied. The most important tribe of the Keturaïtes was the great people of MIDIAN. Again, the twelve sons of Ishmaël are the heads of twelve tribes of Arabs. (Gen. 10.12--16.) There would seem to have been other descendants of Hagar in Arabia, for elsewhere the Hagarenes are distin-guished from the Ishmaelites (Psalm 83.6; comp. 1 Chron. 5.10, 19, 22); and we have other indications of a distinct tribe bearing the name of Hagarenes, both in the NW. and NE. of the peninsula. Another branch of the Abrahamide Arabs was furnished by the descendants of Esau, whose earliest abode was M. Seir in Arabia Petraea, and who soon coalesced with the Ishmaelites, as is intimated by the marriage of Esau with Ishmae+l's daughter, the sister of Nebajoth (Gen. 29.9), and confirmed by the close connection between the Nabathaeans and Idumeans throughout all their history. [EDOM; IDUMAEA; NABATHAEI.] These statements present considerable difficulties, the full discussion of which belongs to biblical science. They seem, on the whole, to indicate three stages in the population of Arabia; first, on the west coast, by the descendants of Cush, that is, tribes akin to those whose chief seats were found in Aethiopia; secondly, by the descendants of Eber, that is, belonging to one of the most ancient branches of the great Semitic race, who migrated from the primitive seats of that race and spread over the Arabian peninsula in general; and, lastly, a later immigration of younger tribes of the same race, all belonging to the Abrahamic family, who came from Palestine, and settled in the NW. part of the peninsula. The position of these last is determined by that of the known historical tribes which bear the same names, as Nebajoth, Ishmael's eldest son [NABATHAEI], and also by the prediction (or rather appointment, that Ishmaël should “dwell to the East of all his brethren.” (Gen. 16.12, where in face of means to the east of.） To these main elements of the Arab population must be added several of the minor peoples on the S. and E. of Palestine, who belong to Arabia both by kindred and position: such as the descendants of Uz and Buz, the sons of Abraham's brother Nahor, who appear as Arabs in the history of Job, the dweller in Uz, and his friend Elihu the Buzite (Gen. 22.21; Job. 1.1, 32.2); the Moabites and Ammonites, descendants of Lot [AMMONITAE: MOAB]; and some others, whose localities and affinities are more difficult to make out The traditions of the Arabians themselves respecting their origin, though obscured by poetic fiction, and probably corrupted from motives of pride, family, national, and (since Mohammed) religious, have yielded valuable results already; but they need further investigation. They furnish a strong general confirmation to the Scripture ethnography. According to these traditions the inhabitants of Arabia from the earliest times are first divided into two races which belong to distinct periods; the ancient and the modern Arabs. The ancient Arabs included, among others, the powerful tribes of Ad, Thamud, Tasm, Jadis, Jorham (not to be confounded with the later tribe of the same name), and Amalek. They are long since extinct, but are remembered in favourite popular traditions, which tell of their power, luxury, and arrogance: of these one of the most striking is the story of Irem Zat-el-Emad, the terrestrial paradise of Sheddad the son of Ad, in which he was struck to death with all his race, and which is still believed to exist in the deserts of Yemen, in the district of Seba (Lane's Arabian Nights, note to chap. xi. vol. ii. p. 342). That this race, now become mythical, corresponds to the first Cushite inhabitants, seems most probable. The modern Arabs, that is, all the inhabitants subsequent to the former race, are divided into two classes, the pure Arabs (Arab el-Araba, i. e. Arabs of the Arabs, an idiom like a Hebrew of the Hebrews) and the mixt or naturalized Arabs (Mostarabi, i. e. Arabes facti.). The former are the descendants of Kahtan (the Joktan of Scripture); whose two sons, Yarab and Jorham, founded the kingdoms of Yemen in the S. of the peninsula and Hejaz in the NW. The subsequent intrusion of the Ishmaelites is represented by the marriage of Ishmael, a daughter of Modad, king of Hejaz, which district became the seat of the descendants of this marriage, the Mostarabi, so called because their father was a foreigner, and their mother only a pure Arab: their ancestral head is Adnan, son of Ishmael. Thus we have that broad distinction established between the Arabs of the N. and S. divisions of the peninsula, which prevails through all their history, and is better known by the later names of the two races, the Koreish in the N. and the Him-yari in the S. The latest researches, however, go far to disprove the connection of the Koreish with Ishmael, and to show that it was the invention of the age of Mohammed or his successors, for the purpose of making out the prophet, who was of the Koreish, to be a descendant of Abraham. These researches give the following ethnical genealogy. Yarab, already mentioned as the son of Kahtan, and the eponymus of the whole Arab race, became, through three generations, the ancestor of Saba, the name under which the southern Arabs were most generally known to the ancients. Of Saba's numerous progeny, two have become the traditional heads of the whole Arab race, namely, Himyar of those in the South (Yemen), and Kahlan of those in the North (Hejaz). According to this view the Ishmaelites are put back into their ancient seats, on the isthmus of the peninsula. The Himyarites, who inhabited El-Yemen and El-Hadramaut (both included in Yemen in its wider sense),were known to the Greeks and Romans by the name of HOMERITAE Within the last forty years, some very interesting inscriptions have been found in S. Arabia, in what is believed with great probability to be the ancient Himyaritic dialect; and it has been discovered that the same language is still spoken by some obscure mountain tribes in the SE. parts of the peninsula, who call themselves Ehhkili, i. e. freemen. This language is said to be distinct from each of the three branches of the Syro-Arabian language recognized by Gesenius, namely, the Aramaean, Canaanitish, and Arabian; but it belongs to the same family, and comes nearer to Hebrew and Syriac than to Arabic; and it has close affinities with both the Ethiopic dialects, the Ghyz and the Amharic, especially with the former. It is needless to point out how strikingly these discoveries confirm the views, that the successive waves of population have passed over the peninsula from N. to S.; that the displaced tribes have been driven chiefly westward over the Red Sea, leaving behind them, however, remnants enough to guide the researches of the ethnographer; and that the present population is a mixed race, formed by successive [p. 1.179]immigrations of the same great Syro-Ara-bian stock which have followed one another on the face of the land, like successive strata of a homo-geneous material beneath its surface. For, just as the Arab genealogies, as explained above, trace the whole nation up to their common Shemide ancestor Kahtan, so does their actual condition testify amidst minor diversities of form, complexion, and language, to a community of race and character, So striking is this unity, that what there actually is of diversity within it. is clearly to be traced, not so much to descent, as to mode of life. Thus the most marked division among the Arabs is into those of the towns and those of the desert. The description of the peculiar character of each belongs rather to universal than to ancient geography, though indeed in Arabia the two departments are scarcely to be distinguished: at all events it is superfluous to attempt to condense into a paragraph of this article those vivid impressions of Arab life and character, with which we are all familiar from childhood through the magic pages of the “Thousand, and One Nights” ; and to the perfection of which scarcely anything remains wanting since the publication of Mr. Lane's Notes to that collection. Both physically and intellectually, the Arab is one of the most perfect types of the human race. A most vivid description of his physical characteristics is given by Chateaubriand, in his Itinerary to Jerusalem, quoted, with other descriptions, in Prichard's Researches into the Physical History of Mankind, vol. iv. pp. 588, foll. (On the Arab Ethnography in general, besides Prichard, the following works are important: Perron, Lettre sur l'Histoire des Arabes avant l'Islàmisme, in the Nouv. Journ. Asiat. 3me séries; Fresnel, Quatrième Lettre sur l'Histoire des Arabes avant l'Islàmisme, in the Nouv. Journ. Asiat. 6 Août, 1838; Forster, Historical Geography of Arabia, a most valuable work, but written perhaps with too determined a resolution to make out facts to correspond to every detail of the Scriptural ethnography; it contains an Alphabet and Glossary of the Himyaritic Inscrip-tions: for further information on the Inscriptions, see Wellsted, Narratíve of a Journey to the Ruins of Nakab-al-Hajar, in the Journal of the Geogr. Soc. vol. vii. p. 20, also his copy of the great inscription in the Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, vol. 3.1834, and his Journal, 2 vols. 8vo.; Cruttenden, Narrative of a Journey from Mokhá to Saná Marcel, Mĕm. sur les Inscriptions Koufiques recueillies en Egypt, in the Description de l'Egypte, Etát Moderne, vol. i. p. 525; on the geography of Arabia in general, besides the above works, and the well-known travels of Burckhardt and Carsten Niebuhr, excellent epitomes are given in the article Arabia, in the Penny Cyclopaedia, by Dr. Rosen, and the article by Rommel in the Halle Encyklo-pädie.）
V. Arabia, as known to the Greeks and Romans.The position of the Arabian peninsula--between two great gulfs whose shores touch those countries which were the seats of the earliest civilization of the world, and in the midst of the most direct path between Europe and western Asia, on the one hand, and India and eastern and southern Africa, on the other--would naturally invite its people to commercial activity; while their physical power and restless energy would equally tend to bring them into contact with their neighbours in another character. Accordingly, while we find, from the earliest times, ports established on the coasts and an important trade carried on by ships over the Indian Ocean, and by caravans across the desert; we also find Egypt, Syria, and the countries on the Euphrates, not only infested by the predatory incursions of the Arabians, but in some cases actually subjected by them. Reference has been made to the opinion of one of the best of modern Orientalists, that Nimrod, the founder of the Babylonian monarchy, was an Arabian; and, on the other side of the peninsula, it is most probable that the Hyksos, or “Shepherd Kings,” who for some time ruled over Lower Egypt, were Arabians. Their peaceful commerce was chiefly conducted by the NABATHAEI, in the NW., the HOME1RITAE in the S., and the OMANITAE and GERRAEI in the E. of the peninsula. The people last mentioned had a port on the Persian Gulf, named Gerrha (near El-Katif), said to have been founded by the Chaldaeans, and found in a flourishing state in the time of Alexander; whence Arabian and Indian merchandise was carried up the Euphrates to Thapsacus, and thence by caravans to all parts of Western Asia. But there is ample evidence that the Phoenicians also carried on a considerable commerce by way of the Arabian gulf. Through these channels there were opportunities for the Greeks to hear of the Arabians at a very early period. Accordingly, in that epitome of Grecian knowledge of the extreme parts of the earth, the wanderings of Menelaus in the Odyssey, we find the Arabs of the E. of the Nile, under the name of Erembi (the m being a mere intonation: Od. 4.83, 84):-- Κύπρον Φοινίκην τε καὶ Αἰγυπτίους ἐπαληθεὶς, Αἰθιοπάς θ᾽ ἱκόμην καὶ Σιδονίους καὶ Ἐρεμβοὺς Καὶ Λιβύην: where the enumeration seems to show that the Erembi included all to the E. and SE. of Syria and Egypt. (Libya is only the coast adjacent to Egypt: comp. Eustath. ad loc.; Strab. i. p.42, xvi. pp. 759, 784; Hellanic. ap. Etym. Mag. s. v. Ἐρεμβοί, and Tzetz. ad Lycoph. 827, Fr. 153, ed. Didot; Eustath. ad Dion. Perieg. 180; Ukert, vol. i. pt. 1, pp. 32, 69). In this view, the neighbourhood of the Ἀραβίας ἄρειον ἄνθος to the rock where Prometheus suffers, in Aeschylus (Prom. 420), is not so unaccountable as it seems, for both are at the E. extremity of the earth, on the borders of the Ocean. But, for the earliest information of a really historical character, after what has already been gathered from Scripture, we must turn to Herodotus, who extended his travels to the part of Arabia contiguous to Egypt, and learnt much in Egypt, Syria, and Phoenicia, respecting the country in general. In 2.12 he contrasts the soil of Egypt (the Nile-valley) with that of Libya, on the one hand, and Arabia on the other; that part of Arabia, namely, which extends along the sea (i. e. the Mediterranean) and is inhabited by Syrians, and which he therefore calls also Syria; which he says is argill-aceous and rocky: the whole passage evidently refers to the district between the Delta and Palestine, which he elsewhere mentions as being subject, from Jenysus to Cadytis (Jerusalem), to the king of Arabia, i. e., some Beduin Sheikh (3.5). In 3.107, he gives a detailed description of Arabia, which is introduced as an illustration of his theory that the most valuable productions came from the extremities of the earth: Arabia is the last of the inhabited regions of the earth, towards the south, and it alone produces frank-incense, and myrrh, and cassia, and cinnamon, [p. 1.180]and ladanum (see above, § III.): and respecting the methods of obtaining these treasures, he tells us some marvellous stories; concluding with the statement that, through the abundance of its spices, gums, and incense, the country sends forth a wonderfully sweet odour (3.107--113). As to the situation of Arabia, in relation to the surrounding countries, he says that, on the W. of Asia, two peninsulas (ἀκταί) run out into the sea: the one on the N. is Asia Minor: the other, on the S., beginning at Persia, extends into the Red Sea (Ἐρυθρὴ θάλασσα, i. e. Indian Ocean),--comprising, first, Persia, then Assyria, and lastly Arabia; and ending at the Arabian gulf, into which Darius dug a canal from the Nile; not, however, ending, except in a customary sense (οὐ λήγουσα εἰ μὴ νόμῳ); a qualification which means that, though the peninsula is broken by the Arabian Gulf, it really continues on its western side and includes the continent of Libya. On the land side, he makes this peninsula extend from the Persians to Phoenicia, after which it touches the Mediterranean at the part adjacent to Palestine and Egypt: he adds that it includes only three peoples, that is, the three he named at first, Persians, Assyrians, and Arabians (4.38, 39). It must be observed that Assyria is here used in the wide sense, not uncommon in the early writers, to include the E. part of Syria. Of the people of Arabia, he takes occasion to speak, in connection with the expe-dition of Cambyses into Egypt through the part already mentioned (3.5) as subject to an Arabian king, namely, the later Idumaea; but his description is applicable to the Arabs of the desert (Beduins) in general. They keep faith above all other men, and they have a remarkable ceremony of making a covenant, in ratification of which they invoke Dionysus and Urania, whom they call Orotal and Alilat (i. e. the Sun and Moon); and these are the only deities they have (3.8, comp. 1.131). He mentions their mode of carrying water across the desert in camel's skins (3.9); and elsewhere he describes all the Arabs in the army of Xerxes as mounted on camels, which are, he says, as swift as horses, but to which the horse has such an antipathy that the Arabs were placed in the rear of the whole army (7.86, 87). These Arabs were independent allies of Persia: he expressly says that the Arabians were never subjected to the Persian empire (3.88), but they showed their friendship for the Great King by an annual present (δῶρον, expressly opposed to φόρος) of 1000 talents of frankincense (3.97), the regularity of which may have depended on how far the king took care to humour them. With reference to the army of Xerxes, Herodotus distinguishes the Arabs who dwelt above Egypt from the rest: they were joined with the Aethiopians (7.69). As they were independent of the Persians, so had they been of the earlier empires. The alleged conquests of some of the Assyrian kings could only have affected small portions of the country on the N. and NW. (Diod. 1.53.3.) Xenophon gives us some of the information which he had gathered from his Persian friends respecting the Arabs. (Cyr. 1.1.4, 5.2, 6.2.10.) The independence of Arabia was supposed to be threatened by the schemes entertained by Alexander after his return from India. From anger, as some thought, because the Arabs had neglected to court him by an embassy, or, as others supposed, impelled only by insatiable ambition, he prepared a fleet on the Euphrates, whose destination was undoubtedly Arabia, but whether with the rash design of subjugating the peninsula, or with the more modest intention of opening a highway of commercial enterprise between Alexandria and the East, modern criticism has taken leave to doubt. (Arrian. Anab. 7.19, foll.; Thirlwall, Hist. of Greece, vol. 7.100.55.) He sent out expeditions to explore the coast; but they effected next to nothing; and the project, whatever it may have been, expired with its author. The successors of Alexander in Syria experienced the difficulties which even their leader would have failed to surmount. Diodorus relates the unsuccessful campaigns made against the Nabathaean Arabs, by order of Antigonus, in which his lieutenant, Athenaeus, was signally defeated, and his son Demetrius was compelled to make a treaty with the enemy (19.94--100). Under the Seleucidae, the Arabs of Arabia Petraea cultivated friendly relations with Syria, and made constant aggressions on the S. frontier of Palestine, which were repelled by the more vigorous of the Maccabaean princes, till at last an Idumean dynasty was established on the throne of Jerusalem. [IDUMAEA: Dict. of Biog. art. Herodes.] Meanwhile, the commercial enterprise of the Ptolemies, to which Alexander had given the great impulse by the foundation of Alexandria, caused a vast accession to the knowledge already possessed of Arabia, some important results of which are preserved in the work of Agatharcides on the Erythraean Sea (Phot. Bibl. 250, pp.441--460, ed. Bekker). A great step in advancewas gained by the expedition sent into Arabia Felix by Augustus in B.C. 24, under Aelius Gallus, who was assisted by Obodas, king of Petra, with a force of 1,000 Nabathaean Arabs. Starting from Egypt, across the Arabian Gulf, and landing at Leuce Come, the Romans penetrated as far as the SW. corner of the peninsula to Marsyabae, the capital of the Sabaeans; but were compelled to retreat, after dreadful sufferings from heat and thirst, scarcely escaping from the country with the loss of all the booty. The allusions of the poets prove the eagerness with which Augustus engaged in this unfortunate expedition (Hor. Carm. 1.29. 1, 35. 38, 2.12. 24, 3.24. 1, Epist. 7. 35; Propert. 2.8. 19); and, though it failed as a scheme of conquest, it accomplished more than he had set his heart on. Aelius Gallus had the good fortune to number among his friends the geographer Strabo, who accompanied him to Egypt, and became the historian both of the expedition and of the important additions made by it to what was already known of the Arabian peninsula (Strab. xvi. pp. 767, foll.). A very full account of the people and products of the country is also given by his contemporary Diodorus (2.48-54, 19.94--100). Of subsequent writers, those who have collected the most important notices respecting Arabia are, Mela (1.2, 10, iii 8); Pliny (6.28. s. 32. et alib.); Arrian (Arr. Anab. 2.20, 3.1, 5, 5.25, 7.1, 19, 20, 21, Ind. 32, 41, 43); Ptolemy (5.17, 19, 6.7, et alib.); Agathemerus (2.11, et alib.); and the author of the Periplus Maris Erythraei, ascribed to Arrian. It is needless to enter into the details of these several descriptions, which all correspond, more or less accurately, to the accounts which modern writers give of the still unchanged and unconquered people. The following summary completes the history of Arabia, so far as it belongs to this work. In A.D. 105, the part of Arabia extending E. of Damascus down to the Red Sea was taken possession [p. 1.181]of by A. Cornelius Palma, and formed into a Roman province under the name of ARABIA (Dion. Cass. 68.14; Amm. Marc. 14.8.) Its principal towns were Petra and Bostra, the former in the S. and the latter in the N. of the province. [PETRA; BOSTRA.] The province was enlarged in A.D. 195 by Septimius Severus. (Dion. Cass. 75.1, 2; Eutrop. 8.18.) Eutropius speaks of this emperor forming a new province, and his account appears to be confirmed by the name of ARABIA MAJOR, which we find in a Latin inscription, to which A. W. Zumpt assigns the date of 211 (Inscr. Lat. Sel. No. 5366). The province was subject to a Legatus, subsequently called Consularis, who had a legion under him. After Constantine Arabia was divided into two provinces; the part S. of Palestine with the capital Petra, forming the province of Palaestina Tertia, or Salutaris, under a Praeses; and the part E. of Palestine with the capital Bostra being under a Praeses, subsequently under a Dux. (Marquardt, Becker's Röm. Alterthüm. vol. iii. pt. i. p. 201.) Some partial temporary footing was gained, at a much later period, on the SW. coast by the Aethiopians, who displaced a tyrant of Jewish race; and both in this direction and from the N., Christianity was introduced into the country, where it spread to a great extent, and continued to exist side by side with the old religion (which was Sabaeism, or the worship of heavenly bodies), and with some admixture of Judaism, until the total revolution produced by the rise of Mohammedanism in A.D. 622. While maintaining their independence, the Arabs of the desert have also preserved to this day their ancient form of government, which is strictly patriarchal, under heads of tribes and families (Emirs and Sheikhs). In the more settled districts, the patriarchal authority passed into the hands of kings; and the people were divided into the several castes of scholars, warriors, agriculturists, merchants, and mechanics. The Mohammedan revolution lies beyond our limits.
VI. Geographical Details.
1. Arabia Petraea.[PETRA; IDUMAEA; NABATHAEI].
SCENITAE (Σκηνῖται Strab. xvi. p.767 ; Plin. Nat. 6.28. s. 32 ; Ptol.) from their dwelling in tents, and Nomadae (Νομάραι) from their occupation as wandering herdsmen, and afterwards by that of SARACENI (Σαρακηνοί), a name the origin of which is still disputed, while its renown has been spread over the world by its mistaken application to the great body of the Arabs, who burst forth to subdue the world to El Islam (Plin. l.c.; Ptol.; Amm. Marc. 14.4, 8, 22.15, 23.5, 6, 24.2, 31.16; Procop. Pers. 2.19, 20). Some of them served the Romans as mercenary light cavalry in the Persian expedition of Julian. Ptolemy (5.19) mentions, as separate tribes, the Cauchabeni, on the Euphrates; the Batanaei, on the confines of Syria [BATANAEA], the Agubeni and Rhaabeni, on the borders of Arabia Felix; the Orcheni, on the Persian Gulf; and, between the above, the Aeseitae, Masani, Agraei, and Marteni. He gives a long list of towns along the course of the Euphrates and the Persian Gulf, from Thapsacus downwards; besides many in the inland parts; most of which are merely wells and halting places on the three great caravan-routes which cross the Desert, the one from Egypt and Petra, eastward to the Persian Gulf, the second from Palmyra south-ward into Arabia Felix, and the third from Palmyra SE. to the mouth of the Tigris.
MACORABA (Mecca); the SABAEI and HOMERITAE in the SW. part of the peninsula (Yemen); on the SE. coast, the CHATRAMOTITAE and ADRAMITAE (in El-Hadramaut, a country very little known, even to the present day); on the E. and NE. coast the OMANITAE and DARACHENI and GERRAEI (in Oman, and El-Ahsa or El-Hejek). [P.S]