Marib

Marib

(mä`rĭb), ancient city, Yemen, SW Arabia, 140 mi (225 km) inland at an altitude of 3,900 ft (1,190 m). It was one of the chief cities, perhaps the capital, of ShebaSheba,
biblical name of a region, called in Arabic Saba, of S Arabia, including present-day Yemen and the Hadhramaut. Its inhabitants were called Sabaeans or Sabeans. According to some passages in Genesis and First Chronicles, Sheba, a grandson of Noah's grandson Joktan, was the
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. It was the site of a dam, built in the 6th cent. B.C., that was one of the great engineering feats of antiquity. The dam collapsed in the 6th cent. A.D., flooding the countryside.

Marib

 

an ancient city and the residence of the rulers of the state of Saba; its ruins lie northeast of the city of Sana, in the Yemen Arab Republic. According to epigraphical data, Marib existed by the first half of the first millennium B.C. (or the beginning of the second millennium B.C.). It had a rectangular layout and was surrounded by a stone wall; the rulers’ palace was located inside the city. Numerous date palm plantations lay outside the walls.

Marib’s flourishing is attributable to the famous Marib Dam, which had an earthen dike faced with stone. The dam was constructed west of the city, on the Wadi Denna, in the seventh century B.C. (ruins remain). Near Marib was Awwam (eighth century B.C.), a temple of the chief Sabaean god Al-Makhah. The temple was oval in plan and was surrounded by a wall of large blocks of limestone. Outside its gates stood a structure (fifth century B.C.) with a gallery-enclosed courtyard. A mausoleum adjoined the temple on the southeast.

Marib began to decline in the first century A.D. and reached a state of total decline in the sixth century, when the dam collapsed.

REFERENCES

Grohmann, A. “Ma’rib.” In Enzyklopaedie des Islam, vol. 3. Leiden-Leipzig, 1936.
Jamme, A. Sabaean Inscriptions From Mahram Bilgîs (Mârib). Baltimore, 1962.
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