Category Archives: History

Yemenis in 1873

costumescoverpage

It is rare to find photographs of Yemenis in the 19th century, especially ordinary people and not members of the elite. A series of photographs were taken of individuals within the Ottoman Empire for a book entitled Les Costumes Populaires de la Turquie en 1873. This was compiled for the Turkish Imperial Commission for the Universal Exposition in Vienna. The book is available as a pdf at archive.org.

While only four individuals are identified as Yemeni, there are many other people across the empire in the photographs.  The two photographs here, each with three individuals, are presented below, followed by the description of each in French.

xli
left to right: Scholar in al-Ḥudayda (#1), woman of Ṣan‘ā’ (#3)
middle-class man of al-Ḥudayda (#2)

Continue reading Yemenis in 1873

Rasulid Yemen on Youtube

suhaylrasulid

There are at least three Youtube sites in Arabic that talk about Yemen during the Rasulid period.  The first is a short description of the book ‘Adan fi ‘aṣr al-dawla al-Rasūliyya of Muḥammad Manṣūr ‘Alī Ba‘īd (2012), the second is a similar account of the book Al-Tamradāt al-Qabalīya fī ‘aṣr al-dawla al-Rasūlīya wa-athar-hā fī al-ḥayāt al-‘āmma (626-858 H) of Ṭahā Ḥusayn Hudayl, and the thirdis a chronological treatment of the Rasulid era on the channel Suhayl.

مكانة المرأة اليمنية العظيمة في اليمن القديم

womanbustSouth Arabia alabaster bust of a woman,
1st century B.C.-1st century A.D.


مكانة المرأة اليمنية العظيمة في اليمن القديم

بقلم: حسني السيباني

لقد إرتبط إسم اليمن و تاريخه العريق بحضور و مشاركة دائمة و فعالة للمرأة اليمنية بشكلاً عام منذ 5 ألف سنة قبل الميلاد على أقل تقدير لنساء تلازمت أسمائهن بحقب من الإزدهار و العظمة من ” ملكة مملكة سبأ العظمى إلى شوف السبئية و من قبلها ألبها السبئية و طريفة الخير الحميرية و لميس بنت أسعد تبع الحميرية و برآت سيرة جاهلية ديمة من بيت رثدة القتبانية و صفنات الأبذلية الحميرية و أب صدوق القتبانية إلى الملكة أروى الصليحي و غيرهم الكثير و تتضح لنا مكانة المرأة و دورها الفعال في اليمن القديم من خلال النقوش القديمة و كذا ما ذكره المؤرخين و ما ذكرته الديانات السماوية و كذا أيضاً الأساطير و الحكايات .
_____________________________________________

 المكانة الإجتماعية للمرأة اليمنية قديماً

إن القول بأن مكانة و دور المرأة في المجتمع اليمني القديم كانت متميزة قول يحتاج إلى أدلة و شواهد و هي موجودة في نقوش مكتشفة في مواقع الآثار اليمنية و هي موجودة أيضا في كتب التاريخ التي تعرضت لتاريخ الجزيرة العربية أو اليمن بصورة خاصة في فترة ما قبل الإسلام إلا أن هذا التميز النوعي الذي نقصده لا يعنى المبالغة في حجم مكانة المرأة و دورها في مختلف مراحل التاريخ اليمني القديم و لا يعنى أنها متساوية الدور و المكانة في كل القبائل اليمنية أو الممالك و الدول و الدويلات المتعاقبة و إنما يعني هذا التميز النوعي أنها أي المرأة كانت في بعض الفترات أحسن حالة منها في جنوب الجزيرة العربية و قد تحدث ا.ف.ل. بيستون : في بحث نشرة عن المرأة في مملكة سبأ : و هو يتحدث عن ظاهرة الوأد في بعض القبائل العربية و أن أسبابة تكون إما من الفقر أو من خوفهم من سبيها في الحروب و ليس لأنهن كارثة في المجتمع الرجالي و أكد البحث أن وأد البنات لم يكن عاماً و شاملاً في كل القبائل اليمنية و قد بينت لنا النقوش الدور الذي تقلدته المرأة في عهدها سواء الإجتماعي أو الديني أو السياسي حيث تشير النقوش التي قدمت من قبل النساء أنفسهن و هي نقوش تتعلق بأمور دينية أو دنيوية كنقوش النذور و نقوش الخطيئة و التكفير و نقوش البناء و نقوش الصيد و إلى جانب ذلك دونت أسماؤهن على التماثيل و اللوحات الجنائزية و شواهد القبور .

Continue reading مكانة المرأة اليمنية العظيمة في اليمن القديم

Yemen in 1960

sharaf7
The author, born in 1929.

In 1961 the Yemeni scholar Ahmad Husayn Sharafaddin published a short book in English of about 80 pages entitled Yemen “Arabia Felix.” The book was published in Rome Italy, but distributed from Ta‘izz.  It provides a short summary of Yemen just before the revolution that toppled the Zaydi imamate.

sharaf5

As narrated by the author, the population of Yemen was estimated at 5,834,000 with 4,400,000 in what he called “Free Yemen” (the Mutawakkilite Kingdom) and 1,434,000 in the “Occupied area” under the British. The city of Ṣan‘ā’ was said to have 60,000 residents and Ta‘izz had half that amount.

sharaf6

Most of the book is devoted to the archaeology of the ancient South Arabian kingdoms.

sharaf3

One of the highlights is a pull-out chart of the genealogy of the Zaydi imams.

sharaf2

Of particular interest are the pictures, as noted here.

The Digital Bab al-Yemen

digitalbab1

This is an excellent introduction to The Digital Bab al-Yemen project hosted at the Freie Universität Berlin. It is well worth browsing for the information on Yemeni manuscripts and the superb photographs by Dr. Jan Thiele.

Here is how the site begins:

“More than 50,000 manuscripts make up Yemen’s written heritage. Very few of them have been studied. The overwhelming majority still await (re)discovery, offering the possibility of rare and surprising insight into Islamic intellectual history. This exhibition tells the history of these manuscripts, from the scribes who created them to the modern-day scholars who study them. Learn more about the importance of Yemeni manuscripts and their variety, discover where they are preserved today, and trace the history of one representative manuscript, written in 1214, as it travels from Sanaa to Berlin and, via digitization, to virtually everywhere.

Today, experts sound the alarm because many manuscript collections are threatened either by poor storage conditions or by opponents of a multi-faceted history of ideas in Islamic scholarship. At the same time, researchers increasingly focus on analysing Yemeni manuscripts as unique original sources. These documents point back to times when manuscripts played a central role in knowledge transmission from teacher to student, not only in Yemen but all over the Islamic world.”

Mocha Trade in the early 19th century

milburncover

As the British extended their trade through the Red Sea and Indian Ocean in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, there were a number of books written about the trade items and how to procure them at various ports.  One of the most important was William Milburn’s Oriental Commerce, first published in 1813 and revised in an 1825 edition [https://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/001123449] after the death of the author. The full text of the 1825 edition is available at archive.org.  There is a lengthy discussion on trade through the port of Mocha, although very little on Aden, which was not very important at the time until the British took it over after 1839. I attach below the section on trade items available at Mocha (Milburn 1825:71-77).

ARTICLES  TO BE PROCURED AT  MOCHA, WITH DIRECTIONS

ACACIA, the inspissated juice of a thorny plant, growing in Arabia, and other parts:—two sorts are known, Vera and Germanica. The former is a gummy substance, usually firm, but not very dry. It is met with in round masses, enclosed in thin bladders, from four to eight ounces weight; outwardly a deep brown, inclining to black; of a lighter brown within, inclining to red or yellow. The Germanica is a juice expressed from the unripe fruit of the sloe bush, and differs from the preceding, in being harder, heavier, darker, sharper in taste, yielding its astringency to rectified spirit; whereas the other is not at all dissoluble by spirit.  The Vera should have little or no smell; applied to the tongue, it should soften quickly, imparting a rough, not very ungrateful taste, followed by a sweetness. If quite pure, it dissolves totally in water; if otherwise, the impurities remain.

ACORUS, or CALAMUS AROMATICUS, (Bach, Hind. Vacha, S an.) is a reed, or knotty root, about the size of a little finger, several inches long, reddish externally, internally white, full of joints, somewhat flatted on the side, of a loose spongy texture ; smell strong, taste warm, bitterish, and aromatic. They should be chosen tough, cleared from fibres, and free from worms, to which it is very subject.

ASPHALTUM is a solid shining bitumen, of a dusky colour outside; within of a deep black, found in many parts of Egypt. A thin piece appears of a reddish colour, when placed between the eye and the light. It has no smell when cold, but acquires a slight one by friction ; when exposed to heat, it liquifies, swells up, and burns with a thick smoke, the smell of which is strong, acrid, and disagreeable. It is occasionally adulterated with pitch; but the fraud may be discovered by means of spirits of wine, which dissolve the pitch, and only take a pale colour with Asphaltum.

BALM OF GILEAD, or Balsam of Mecca, is a resinous juice that distils from an evergreen tree, or shrub, growing between Mecca and Medina; it is much used by the Asiatic ladies as a cosmetic. The tree is scarce; the best sort is said to exude naturally, but the inferior kinds are extracted from the branches by boiling. It is at first turbid and white, of a strong pungent smell, a bitter and acrid taste; upon being kept some time, it becomes thin, limpid, of a greenish hue, then of a golden yellow, and at length of the colour of honey. This article, being scarce and valuable, is very liable to adulteration. The following methods are recommended to discover imposition Cause a drop or two of the liquid balsam to fall into a glass of clear water; if the drop go to the bottom without rising again to the surface, or if it continue in a drop like oil, the balsam is adulterated. If, on the contrary, it spreads upon the surface of the water, like a very thin cobweb, scarcely visible to the eye, and being congealed, may be taken up with a pin or small straw, the balsam is pure and natural. Or if the pure balsam be dropped on woollen, it will wash out; but if adulterated, it will not. The genuine, dropped into milk, coagulates it. When a drop of the pure balsam is let fall on red hot iron, it gathers itself into a globule ; but oil or spurious balsam runs, and sheds itself all round. The genuine balsam also feels viscid and adhesive to the fingers. If sophisticated with wax, it is discovered by the turbid colour, never to be clarified; if with honey, the sweet taste betrays it; if with resins, by dropping it on live coals, it yields a blacker flame, and of a grosser substance than the genuine. When the balsam is too thick to be taken out of the bottle, it need only be placed near the fire, the smallest degree of heat liquifying it.  The bottles must not be quite full, lest they should break, as the balsam is apt to rarify.

Continue reading Mocha Trade in the early 19th century

September 26 Archive

26september

A trove of books in Arabic on Yemeni politics, especially about the 1962 revolution, is available for download online at https://26september.yemenarchive.com/

Here are the books available on the site:

 

كنت طبيبة في اليمن
كلودي فايان. تعريب وتقديم: محسن أحمد العيني

الجمهوريه بين السلطنة والقبيلة في اليمن الشمالي
أبو بكر السقاف

الرهينة
زيد مطيع دماج

الطريق إلى الحرية مذكرات
العزي صالح السنيدار

اليمن الجمهوري
عبدالله البردوني

اليمن الجنوبي الحياة السياسية من الاستعمار إلى الوحدة
علي الصراف

اليمن الجنوبي سياسيًا واقتصاديًا واجتماعيًا منذ 1937م وحتى قيام جمهورية اليمن الديمقراطية
محمد عمر الحبشي

اليمن الثورة والحرب حتى عام
1970
إدجار أوبلانس / ترجمة عبدالخالق ﻻشيد

اليمن تحت حكم الإمام أحمد 1948 –
1962
أحمد عبيد بن دغر

مذكرات أحمد محمد نعمان
علي محمد زيد

مذكرات الرئيس القاضي عبد الرحمن بن يحي الإرياني الجزء الثاني
عبد الرحمن بن يحي الإرياني

مغامرات مصري في مجاهل اليمن
مصطفى الشكعة

نظرة في بعض قضايا الثورة اليمنية
محمد علي الشهاري

ثورة اليمن الدستورية
مجموعة من ضباط ثورة

تاريخ اليمن المعاصر
مجموعة من المؤلفون السوفيت. الترجمة: محمد علي البحر

طائر الخراب
حبيب عبدالرب سروري

أيام وذكريات
حسن محمد مكي

يوم ولد اليمن مجده ذكريات عن ثورة 26 سبتمبر 1962
عبد الغني مطهر