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SA´BBATHA (Σάββαθα, Ptol. 6.7.38; Sabotha, Plin. Nat. 6.28. s. 32), was the capital of the Adramitae, a Sabaean tribe inhabiting the S. coast of Arabia Felix (lat. 14° N.). [ADRAMITAE] Its inhabitants are called Sabbathae by Festus Avienus (Descr. Orb. Terr. 5.1136). Sabbatha was seated far inland, on the coast of a navigable river (Prion?)--an unusual circumstance in that region, where the streams are brief in their course and seldom navigable. (Peripl. Mar. Erythr. p. 15.) If it really contained sixty temples within its walls, Sabbatha must have ranked second to none of the cities of Arabia. Its monopoly of the Indian trade doubtless rendered it a wealthy and important place. At no other haven on the coast were the spices, gums, and silks of India permitted to be landed: if exposed to sale elsewhere, they were confiscated, and their vendors punished with death. They were conveyed up the river to Sabbatha in boats made of leather, strained over wooden frames. One gate alone--probably for the convenience of detecting fraud--of Sabbatha was assigned to this branch of commerce; and after the bales had been examined, the goods were not handed over to their owners until a tithe had been deducted for a deity named Sabis (==dominus), and also a portion for the king. [p. 2.865]Geographers attempt to identify Sabbatha with Mariaba (Mareb), but the proofs of their identity are unsatisfactory; and it may even be questioned whether Sabbatha be not an elongated form of Saba, a common appellation for cities in Arabia Felix. The Καβάτανον of Strabo (xvi. p.768) is supposed by his translator Groskurd (vol. iii. p. 287) to be an error for Σαβάτανον, and the latter to be a form of Sabbatha. [See MARIABA Vol. II. p. 274.]


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    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 6.28
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