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Thread: Preview: Arabia

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    Speaker of Truth Senior Member Moros's Avatar
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    Jan 2005

    Default Preview: Arabia

    Greetings Europa Barbarorum II fans!

    It has been a long wait but today we are proud to present a heavily changed Arabia. It will be the home of two exciting factions. The first is commonly known and referred to as Saba, or Sb' w-gwm as it will be called in EB II, the famous ancient civilisation of the south. After a short introduction of its new name we will taking a closer look at Sabaic, the language they spoke and wrote. Naturally we also have an overview of the factions history. We will then have a look at their ancient gods, mythology and religious practices. However it has not been merely the Sabaeans who have been revamped. The Arabian Peninsula has been fully researched from the ground up, provinces, settlements, ports, trade resources and more undergoing changes. So from the south we move east, where we will have a look at the Maka province. Of course we cannot wait to disclose the new Arabian faction. After the in-game campaign introduction we will provide you with a brief history and our reasons for including it. Finally we will take a look at their religious practices and deities. Having featured the south, the east and the west we will go Pan-Arabian by previewing one of the most important features of the Peninsula: the incense routes, which will play a major role in Europa Barbarorum II. A preview would not be a preview without taking a look at the armies and units of Arabia. After a general introduction we will reveal beautiful renders, screenshots and concept art of the warriors you will use to conquer the world or slay in battle. Lastly we will provide you with signature banners of both factions, should you wish to use them.

    Presenting Sb' w-gwm or the Sabaean Commonwealth

    A new name
    The Sabaean commonwealth is often referred to as a kingdom, yet this is not entirely correct. The common view that it is, in fact, a kingdom stems largely from the Biblical account of this nation, which refers to it as the kingdom of Sheba, headed by a queen of the same name who visited the wise king Solomon [שְׁלֹמֹה]. The Sabaeans were indeed led by a single leader, who in the early period were called federator or mukkarib [mkrb] in Sabaic, as they headed a federation of different clans and urban communities. Which we will refer to as shabs [sb], like the ancient Yemenites did. These leaders were also the malik [mlk] of Maryab the nucleus of the Sabaean shab, which was the leading tribe of the federation. While the Semitic malik translates in most languages as king, it is not a perfect description in this case. Though it seemed to have been hereditary by sons or younger brothers, the power of a malik was usually much more limited. Later and during our time frame they lost the title of mukkarib as the commonwealth had grown smaller. The remaining shabs were however much better incorporated and the Sabaean malik was simply referred to and called himself the Sabaean mlk [mlk Sb]. Hence most outsiders clearly understood their leader to be a king leading a kingdom. In the many epigraphic texts this nation the name they referred to themselves was Sb' w-gwm, meaning Saba and all of their [communities]. Logically this was the best and only correct choice to have as the faction's new name. Later the Sabaean federation would have been referred to as Sb' w-s'bn-hwm, meaning Saba and their communities.

    The language they spoke and wrote: Sabaic

    In EBI the language used for the Sabaeans was a mixture of languages and included classical Hebrew and Arabic, languages foreign to the Sabaeans. While both are Semitic languages, not unlike the language the Sabaeans actually spoke, Sabaic, is part of a completely different subfamily. Sabaic belongs to the south Semitic language family, or more specific the south-west Semitic. This branch of Semitic language also include the other old South Arabian languages like Minaic and Qatabanic, but is also related to Ge'ez, the language of the people of ancient Ethiopia. However the old theory of Ge'ez having evolved out of Old South Arabian is now commonly viewed as disproven. Hebrew and Arabic, while sharing some similarities, are part of the West Semitic language family. There are indications that South Semitic goes as far back as around 4,000 years, hence it is not surprising to see that Sabaic and especially Geez retained many traditional and ancient elements in their language.

    This language was not used for many unit names and the like in EB I, as only specialist academic researchers have a profound knowledge of it. Sadly we do not have any of them on the team, but using a specialist dictionary and applying some basic grammatical rules or by taking literal constructions from epigraphy, we will try our best to use Sabaic as frequently and as accurately as possible considering our limited knowledge and resources.

    An inscription addressed to the protector god and main god of the Sabaeans, Almuqah.

    Our major source of information on the Sabaean language, and the Sabaeans in general, comes from the monumental inscriptions which exceed 50,000 in number . These are written in the so-called Musnad script or monumental script, which is used and shared by all the Sayhad cultures and languages in their monumental inscriptions and was deciphered in 1841. The script is designed to be easily engraved or inscribed on stone, bronze or other hard materials and to be easily legible. The script is usually written from right to left though there are exceptions. Especially earlier texts tend to be in boustrophedon manner, meaning that each line alternates from going right to left to going left to right. Asymmetrical letters are usually mirrored horizontally when not written from right to left. This phenomenon can be seen in the picture of a Sabaean inscription above. The earliest inscriptions date back to at least the ninth century before the birth of Christ and the script would remain in use until they were conquered by the Arabs in the 7th century AD. Naturally the script evolved and changed over this period of nearly two thousand years. Over the centuries even regional variations developed. The style of a script has even been used for estimating the dates it was written.

    These inscriptions do tend to provide only limited information as they tend to be brief, rather limited in the topics and themes they cover, use a lot of standard formulas and expressions, and are hard to date. Researchers working on Near Eastern civilisations make use of the information recorded in clay tablets; Egyptologists benefit from papyri. The sources they use shed light on people's private lives, the running of the state, and also include literary works. The study of ancient South Arabia on the other hand was for a long time limited to official documents, such as decrees and religious votives, and so offer us information on fewer aspects of Sabaean society.It was less than half a century ago, and more than a century after the first deciphering of the monumental script, that similar private sources were found in the ancient cultural area around the Sayhad Desert. They came in the form of inscriptions on tree sticks and palm-leaf stalks. These were written in the so-called Zabur script, which is also the Sabaic name of any document written in the script. These new sources, of which there are now about five or six thousand, and the recent discoveries of literary inscriptions especially at the Mahram Bilqis, may significantly increase our knowledge and understanding of the ancient Sabaeans in the near future.

    There is however one problem with both South Arabian scripts; neither writes most of its vowels, making it hard to reconstruct its actual pronunciation. Therefore Sabaic will feature few vowels in most cases. Exceptions however will be made in the cases of commonly transliterated names or words. Hence Sabaean names (Karib'il Watar, for example), settlements (Maryab) and certain words like shab (a tribe/community/collection of villages) or malik (a title) will contain vowels. However most buildings, units and traits will be referred to as they were written; for example mkdh (port) or qdb (citizen militia) will be written without additional vowels inserted. The exact transliteration of Sabaic will depend on what will be possible and has not been decided on yet. Sabaic had four different variants of the English s, not counting the z of which Sabaic had two variants as well. The most important factor here will be legibility, as this will be hard enough as it is.

    A brief history of the Sabaean Commonwealth

    It is impossible to write an actual histoire totale of the Sabaeans, due to the limited amount of information currently available, especially on the earlier periods of their history. Though the Sabaeans are mentioned by some classical Roman and Greek authors, our main sources are based on archaeological remains and epigraphy. Many thousands of inscriptions are known and translated, yet most offer little information. The last two main sources of information from the period are coins and writings on palm leaves. Indeed these shed light on many aspects of their culture and its change over the centuries. Yet they fail to offer us a general overview of the events or a clear chronology. One of the better known and more notorious parts of Sabaean history is the reign and campaigning of Karibil Watar. But even his rule is hard to date. Some authors like von Wissman and Ryckmans have suggested a long chronology, placing Karibil Watar in the 9th to 7th century BC. The likes of Beeston and Pirenne have suggested the 6th or the 5th century BC in the past. While most now favour a longer chronology due to Archaeological evidence, some Authors like Kitchen still favour a short chronology. It is not until the first centuries AD that we can really date events. Central to the many theories are two Assyrian records mentioning the Sabaean kings Yita amar and Karibilu paying tribute. These were dated to 715 and 685 BC respectively. Archaeology has recently however made it more and more clear that the start of Sabaean history is likely even earlier than the historians estimated. Though some authors like Kitchen still advocate a short chronology.

    What we do know is that in Maryab we find traces of sedentary life and agriculture dating back to at least the 3rd millennium BC. Around the 12th century BC the incense routes seem to have been born, and with them a new culture came into existence. By the beginning of the 1st millennium the main political structure would be the shab (sb), towns or villages which were small and independent from one another. Nearby villages then started to work together and formed small unities comprising several shabs. This would become the new standard unit of shabs, comparable to a tribe. Certain shabs grew larger and more powerful; Shabs as Sirwah sometimes suggested as the first capital of the Sabaeans - and Maryabu [modern day Marib] soon started dominating smaller nearby shabs and together formed larger unions or federations of shabs usually ruled by one or multiple kings or Malik [mlk], often confined to a single wadi.

    By the time of Karibil Watar some of these Maliks had grown rather powerful and expanded their rule so much that only a few would dominate a region comparable with modern Yemen. Saba was one of these leading powers and this lead them into the next phase of Sabaean history, often dubbed the time of the mukkaribs, which can be dated to the 9th or 8th century BC. It is named after the title mukkarib [mkrb] which in English translates as federator, referring to the many shabs under his rule. The famous inscriptions of the aforementioned Sabaean leader on the walls of the great temple at Sirwah talk about his many military campaigns and building projects, and under his rule the Sabaeans conquered their main rivals: the kingdom of Ausan and its capital Miswara. In the north he even expanded the kingdom as far as the fabulous oasis and city of Najran and made Hadramawt in the east their protectorate. He claims in his inscriptions not to have lost a single battle! It is during this period that the Sabaean kingdom flourished most and became a major player not only in terms of trade but also politically. During the mukkarib period this wealth allowed the building of great monumental temples but more importantly the building of the great Maryab Dam. This dam enabled the region around Maryab to become the most fertile of South Arabia and helped to sustain its 50,000 inhabitants. The rate of urbanisation in the area increased during this period, especially at Maryab which became by far the largest settlement and shab, something which could explain the sometimes suggested change of capital city from Sirwah to Maryab.

    Qatabn [qtbn], the former allies of the Sabaeans, now became their main rivals. Saba seems not to have been able to fully integrate and keep her newly conquered regions, except for a core of around twelve loyal shabs unified by their malik [mlk] and their god Almuqah [clmqh]. The Qatabn and the African kingdom of Dmt used this opportunity and were able to become the leading nations in the region by the coming period. In the north the Main also profited from the weakening of the Sabaeans and became the great traders of Arabia and as such the allies of the incense-producing Hadramawt, former protectorates of the Sabaeans. These kingdoms kept each other in check from probably around the 4th century BC and 3rd century BC. This went hand in hand with the continuous loss of power of the malik in favour of an increased importance of the tribes. By the end of the 2nd century the Qatabn seem to have grown weaker as well, which resulted in the independence of Ramdan, but more importantly and somewhat later: the rebellion of the Himyarites. The latter people would found their own 'kingdom' around approximately 115 BC and would grow to be the next leading nation in South Arabia.

    In the first century BC Emperor Augustus sent Aelius Gallus, then the governor of Egypt, with a force of 10,000 soldiers and 500 Jewish infantry. He was joined by Syllaeus, the minister of the Obodas III, the Nabataean king. He would act as a guide and as a commander of the 1,000 strong Nabataean force that was added to the mission. The goal of this exploration was conquering the incense-producing lands and their riches. But the inhospitable sea, the unforgiving climate, dry land and disease proved fierce enemies. Syllaeus was accused by the Romans for boycotting the operation as well and would ultimately be decapitated because of these allegations. The mission failed without the expedition even reaching Maryab. Though captives taken by the Romans would have claimed that they were a mere two days' walk away. They also had a few encounters with local forces. These were described as inexperienced, unskilled and using mainly arrows, spears and especially double edged axes, and were most likely encounters with nomadic or semi-nomadic tribes akin to the Kindha or the Amar, not to the settled armies of South Arabia. Strabo reports these events in great detail and claims that only two Romans had died in battle. Dio Cassius also gives a short report on this expedition, though less informed, but perhaps less coloured as well. The invasion was however never followed up by another and did not have many consequences. However the Romans' presence at the end stations of the incense routes would have a cultural and artistic impact. More important, however, was their increasing naval presence in the Red Sea and sea trade with India, which would put the already divided and hostile kingdoms under economic pressure.

    The first victim was Qatabn, which was sandwiched geographically by the Sabaeans and the Himyarites. Soon the Sabaeans followed. The Himyar federation suffered from the same weakness as the ancient Sabaean federation and could not yet keep their conquered provinces for long. Around the start of the third century the Sabaeans rebelled to form the middle Sabaean kingdom. The Sabaean malik at this point however was no longer a member of the Sabaean shab, nor was the title simply inherited anymore. This new Sabaean federation was then even able to conquer the Hadramawt capital of Shabwa and to destroy its royal palace in 217 or 218 AD. These defeats were not enough to eliminate the Hadramawt, who had now founded their new capital of Shibam. This revival and initial success was short lived and soon the Sabaeans were to be reconquered by their Southern foes. The Himyar would ultimately conquer the whole of western south Arabia and hold it until the dawn of Islam.

    Out of respect for the Sabaean legacy and because of the respect they wished to get, even these kings called themselves kings of Saba and did not lay a finger on ancient Maryab in the same way Babylon or Athens have often been spared during their histories.

    Sabaean Religion

    Athtar the lord of the Gazelles
    In the earliest period of South Arabian history, meaning when the first South Arabian inscriptions start appearing, the God of most importance was Athtar [cttr], who according to Sabaean mythology was the creator of the world. He was however primarily a god of agriculture to whom sacrifices were made for having a good harvest, but was also asked for protection and good fortune. This was done in many ways: there were ritual banquets in honour of the lord of the gazelles', likewise there were ritual hunts in which the oryx was one of the most prized targets next to other kinds of gazelles. At this point in history the mukkarib [mkrb], meaning federator, was the political leader but was also the main priest of Athtar and hence presided over the most important of these festivities. Both were commonly reserved for the aristocracy and nobles and were most likely unique to Athtar. There was also a tradition of pilgrimages to some of the major temples, which was likely done by all layers of society. To get the good fortunes they were hoping for, they performed offers, most often by burning different forms of incense. With unique altars and clerics for different kinds of incense. Another common thing to offer were little bronze statuettes.

    Inscriptions sometimes accompanied by some reliefs both written in stone or bronze were also a common method and often -- as they list themselves -- were combined with the previous methods of offering. For a long time most of our knowledge about the Sabaeans and the other Sayhad cultures was restricted to Archaeology and inscriptions, of which most were either of this type or were part of funerary stelae. The most common topics except for asking for fortune and a good harvest include asking for the prosperity of newly born children and petitioning or expressing gratitude for a successful military campaign. In the latter case a good bounty and the fortune of the Sabaean mukkarib [mkrb] or later malik [mlk], king, were often included.

    The worshipping of Athtar was however not just restricted to merely the Sabaeans and their federations, which might indicate the possible ancient origin of this deity. He was the creator god in all the Sayhad cultures though in some texts he is said to have been helped by the patron gods and all the other gods. Modern scholars commonly couple him with the female god Hawbas who is also evidenced frequently in Ethiopia, highlighting the spread of the cult. It also demonstrates early contact between the ancient South Arabians and the ancient Africans, of which the nature - especially in earlier period - is still being discussed and is still unclear, not unlike the Sabaean pantheon itself.

    Almuqah, lord of the ibexes
    Already in the earliest inscriptions of the Maryab [modern day Ma'rib] and Sirwah area Almuqah [clmqh] takes a very prominent place. Not surprising as he was the patron god of the Sabaeans, the super tribe centered around the first mentioned settlement. Two majestic temples were constructed three to four kilometres to the south-east of Maryab in his honour. The first constructions dates to at least the 8th century but probably even earlier.

    Today they are commonly known as the Mahram Bilqis, the Queen of Sheba's temple, and the al-Amaid or Throne [of Bilqis], both referring to the famous legendary Queen of Sheba by her Arabic name Bilqis, who became a famous legend to the Ethiopians and the Islamic Arabs. Both were however temples primarily dedicated to the god Almuqah. In ancient South Arabia they were called the temple of Awm and the temple of Bar'an respectively. The importance of the former, the largest of all the temples build by the Sayhad cultures, is reflected by one of titles given to Almuqah: Bcl| cwm [Lord of Awm].

    The mlk [malik, king] of Saba who in the early combined this function with the title of Mukkarib [mkrb] was the head priest of the cult. During the growth of the Sabaean realm in the mukkarib period and especially the conquests of Karib 'il Watar, the cult of the lord of the ibexes was spread over most of the Sayhad cultural group. It is not known whether the spread of the cult was promoted or mandatory. However as Sabaean authority crumbled in the outer regions, so did the superficial cult of Almuqah [clmqh] in this region. The core regions of a dozen or so tribes by the EB II start date however became more than a stable part of the Sabaean realm and would continue to offer to the Lord of Awm next to their own patron god(s). With the contemporary growth and prosperity of the now independent Qatabn, Ma'in and Hadramawt, the patron gods of the leading tribe of these federations, respectively 'Amm [ ,"Paternal Uncle"], Wadd [ , "Father" or "Affection"] and Sayin (wrongly connected to the Mesopotamian god Sin and whose names meaning is unknown) also came to more prominence.

    The cult of Almuqah was thriving until the second and definite conquest of the Sabaeans by the Himyarites who considered themselves the progeny [wld] of Shams. Not much later these kings would convert to Judaism and would transfer the South Arabian region to monotheism in the fifth century. Less than two hundred years later the region was conquered by the Arabs and would become Islamic. However some pre-Islamic customs, both cultural and religious, have survived to this very day. Children for example are still ritually held above burning incense to secure good health and future for them, a custom likely to date back to ancients Sabaean times. Which seems to be backed up by the many steles dedicating young children to Almuqah or another god for good fortune. Traditional hunts are still held in Wadi Hadramawt during droughts to get rain to fall. Some customs have had a lasting impact even on Islam: many of the customs and regulations in mosques trace their origins from ancient Yeminite temple practices.

    Nielssens Trias: father Moon, mother Sun and son warrior Venus
    The queen of Sheba has always been the subject of much fantasy and curiosity. This ensured that historical and archaeological research and interest in ancient, mythical and biblical Sheba was high. As Sabaic was rapidly deciphered and made possible to read, researchers stumbled upon a lot of inscriptions of either sacral or funerary nature. Quickly a lot of ancient South Arabian gods became known. But because of the limited content of the inscriptions, little information was available. Except for titles, symbols, when and where they were popular and what they were asked for. The many crescent moons decorating many religious inscriptions, altars and temple decorations made it clear that the Sabaean and other South Arabian gods were connected to Astronomical elements. In the early twentieth century Nielssen tried to make sense of the ancient near eastern pantheons, which replaced the most ancient and common Semitic god El, and came up with the theory of the trias of the sun, the moon and the Venus or the morning and evening star. In the case of the Sabaean pantheon, he saw Almuqah as the father moon god, who was married to the goddess Shams. They would have a son, Athtar, who represented Venus in the trias. This theory has come under heavy criticism however, especially by a group of researchers who saw Almuqah as a sun god. Based on associated images as vines and the bull he was seen as, and compared to Dionysos and thus a solar instead of lunar god. It is however clearly ludicrous to try to uncover the nature of an ancient Semitic and Yemenite god based on Mediterranean and Indo-European religious concepts and themes.

    The Pantheon as described by Nielssen survived this challenge but not those based on the many evidences in the short epigraphic texts of which thousands have been discovered. Most inscriptions end with invocations of Gods and rulers following a strict order.

    Take for example the starting invocations from inscription MB 2001 I. 20:
    Or in translation:
    By Athtar, and by Almuqah, and by Dt Hamm, and by Dt Badn, and by Yita'amar and by Yita'il.

    As can be seen Athtar always takes first place, and is only later followed by Almuqah. He then is followed by two invocations to the solar goddess Shams, who in this early period of Sabaean history was not yet called this. Certain inscriptions also mention Hawbas, and she is placed between Athtar and Almuqah. The last two invocations are addressed to Yitaamar and Yitail who were the contemporary rulers, not gods. It is thus usually seen that the more ancient Athtar and principal creator of the world (though some texts also mention the help of other gods) seems to have been the supreme god and possibly the father of the patron god(s), who in turn were the fathers of their people. Almuqahs position as the principle god in Saba' was aptly compared by sir A. F. L. Beeston to that of Athena in Athens, where she was perhaps the most important deity, yet still the true head of the pantheon remained the more pan-Hellenic Zeus.

    Current knowledge and further questions
    The astral connotations of the gods by Nielssen were however mostly correct. Indeed Almuqah seems to be moon connected, likewise Athtar is clearly the morning and evening star. Shams can also be clearly be put down as a Solar goddess. This makes the Sabaean pantheon the best attested of the area, due to it also having most sources available. However the different roles of the gods are far from completely known, nor how they relate to each other. Almuqah and Athtar share many resemblances and are prayed and offered to for the same reasons. Which true for the other patron Gods as well. Talab, the patron deity of the Sumay clan, who were clients [dm] of the Sabaeans, is particularly well attested in inscriptions asking for almost precisely the same things as the aforementioned gods. Hence a major difference between the gods was which community and ruler it was the main protector of. Athtar was the god and ruler of all people, that of the early federation and the mukkarib, while Almuqah was the protector of the Sabaean community, the Sabaean malik and throne, and later the core of Sabaean allies and clients.

    Another but not well supported difference was suggested by Ryckmans; Athtar would provide natural irrigation In the form of rain, while Almuqah would be the protector of artificial rain. The function of the gods may be in their titles as well. Almuqah has been suggested to mean the giver of health. Athtar has no clear suggested meaning but he has been suggested to have been somewhat of a dual god. He is mentioned as cttr|srqn|wgrbn|, Athtar of the east and the west. This has been commonly seen as a division of Athtar, the Venus god, as the morning and evening star. This not unlike the early invocations of shams as Dt Hamm and Dt Badn (see above). When referred to for destruction of enemies, grave violators and the likes, he is commonly titled Athtar Sariqan [cttr srqn], Athtar of the East. It is clear that in this invocation he is a god of war and vengeance. And again so is Almuqah. Recently three hymns were discovered celebrating the prowess of Almuqah in a victorious battle against a mythological enemy, similar to the one of Marduk against Tiamat or the fight between Bal and Yamm.

    When it comes to linking the possible family ties of the gods, we are still very much in the dark due to the scant sources and regional differences, possible changes and evolutions in time. The patron god of the Hadramawt, Syn, is mentioned in a text to be the son of Athtar. Possibly this might suggest the patron gods in general were sons of Athtar. However the patron goddess of the Himyarites, Shams, has been mentioned as UmmAthtar, and this name or title has been read as both the mother of Athtar and the spouse of Athtar. Elsewhere Shams is suggested to be marrying Athtar on a relief. However Hawbas has also been named the wife of Athtar. Possibly Shams was replacing Hawbas -- the latter herself likely entered the Pantheon as a result of some alliance in the 6th century -- as the Himyarites grew in importance? UmmAthtar was also the title of the patron goddess of the very ancient city of Sirwah.

    Titles, functions and relations of gods and goddesses seem to have changed over the years. As regions or communities rose or declined in importance, so did the local deity. Functions, titles and invocations could possibly have been usurped by gods as well. The same titles and invocations might also have been responsible for creating new gods as this or that name became more and more connected to certain traits, symbols, powers and rituals. It has even been suggested that certain gods even changed sex during history. Others have suggested or hinted at certain gods having multiple sexes. Certainly some gods are mentioned as female and male, but this can be seen as possible regional variation. Hawbas for one is mostly known as a female goddess but has locally been identified as a male god. Lastly many titles and names of deities found in the many description have not been connected with anything at all. Hence one must conclude that our knowledge on the ancient Sayhad pantheons is rather limited and distorted. Further study is absolutely most necessary. But as more information is found on enscribed wood stalks from palm leaves and more and more literary epigraphic texts turn up, a much clearer image of the religion of the Sabaeans and their neighbours may be formed in the near future.

    A newly researched map

    The old Arabian map from Europa Barbarorum contained many errors. This because the map was not designed at the start to have a faction in it, and as our dedicated historians of the EB I Sab'yn faction left, the map never got a historical overhaul. One of the major points of change thus became the Arabian map. Many settlements or regions had Latin, Greek or for other reasons incorrect names. Some were not in the right place or were of no importance during the Hellenistic period. Below we will present you with one such updated province, which we shall present to you with its description from its province building.

    The maka' province

    Introduction: General, you have conquered the lands of the Makans! Deserts and sand surrounds their houses, but be not mistaken: it is opposite these coasts where the once great city of Dilmun grew rich! There is indeed much wealth that can be gained here. Central to this region is the settlement of Mleiha, a large city and the home of many craftsmen, peasants and rich traders, and the splendid palace of its former ruler and his riches. Not only are they rich traders of the Persian Gulf, but they are also skilled at diving for precious pearls! However we must also look beyond the city walls, where there lies a desert, full of roaming nomads trying to escape your rule.
    Geography: This land lies to north and east of ar-Rub al-Khali, the Empty Quarter, the driest and hottest desert of Arabia, and south of the empty coastal strip that houses Gerrha. But between these mighty and endless sand dunes we find a more hospitable climate. Here we find the coolness of the Hajar mountains or the refreshing winds from the sea. This was the logical choice of residence for the Makans, with many trading settlements and fishing ports at the coast of the Persian Gulf. It is exactly these waters that give them their riches from trade with the people living on the other side of it. But their trade goes even further than Charax or India: they even buy pottery at Rhodos! Along the coast lay many small islands where, under the bright blue waves, lie precious pearls waiting to be found. Central in the Province on a plain west to the Hajar mountains we find Mleiha, without doubt the most important settlement of the region and home of the Mleihan king.

    The Hajar mountains

    History: The first signs of settling probably date from the 6th BC to the 5th millennium BC and started most probably at the coastal regions and especially the islands, which were ideal bases for fishing and hunting, such as sites on Marawah and especially the much larger site at Dalma. Archaeological missions have shown that people living on the latter built houses of palm fronds. At both remains of Ubaid ceramic have been found as well as evidence for trade with Mesapotamia, which start is often dated to 5500 BC. Often the question is raised whether such or some of these settlements were permanently occupied during the Ubaid period or were often only seasonally occupied for the annual pearl season. However the importance of livestock is generally underrated. Inland sites at Sarjah have probably been the home of semi-nomad herders who would have lived there during spring. Most remarkable is the cemetery found and the gifts that were given to the dead, which included various kinds of jewellery and a large collection of perforated pearls. Little is known about the 4th Millennium BC, possibly due to the region getting much more arid, which gave birth to the shell midden culture which survived at the coasts of Northern Oman. This culture survived on the nearby lagoons which were excellent places for fishing. Children and women could fish catfish, sea bream and mullets, while the men used their superior physical strength to catch larger, carnivorous fish.

    Around the end of the 4th millennium to the start of the third millennium BC, the Bronze Age in modern day Oman starts. The first period of the Bronze Age in Oman is dubbed the Hafit period which dates from 3200 BC to 2700 BC, after an important archaeological site which contained the remains of single chambered round or oval tombs, typical for this region. In it many Mesopotamian vessels, decorated with geometrical and floral designs from the Jemdet Nasr period have been found. It is also around the start of this period that the first mentions of Dilmun are made on Sumerian clay tablets found at Uruk. This legendary trading partner of the Mesopotamians was most probably situated on one of the many islands of the Persian gulf. The next phase of the Bronze Age in this area has been dubbed the Umm an-Nar period which lasted until around 2000 BC, which refers to the archaeological site near Abu Dhabi. At this site remains of a settlement has been found but more importantly and typical are the remains of fifty above ground circular stone built tombs, of which many, if not most are multi-chambered. Similar tombs have been found most notably at Hili, but at Mleiha as well. The former has the grandest collection of tombs of which the most famous was dubbed the Hili grand thomb which had a diameter of 12 metres and reached 4 metres in height and had decorative carvings at both entrances. The houses of Hili itself were built with sun dried mud brick and were the homes of farmers and traders. Its riches lay in the high groundwater, good soil and copper industry which was the reason for its 1,000 years of continuous occupation. The next phase of the Bronze Age usually is called the Wadi Suq period, which is dated from around 2000 BC to 1250 BC. However recently it has become clear that the Wadi Suq period encompasses two different archaeological cultures and should best be divided into two, the first dating from 2000 BC to around 1600BC and the latter period, these days often dubbed the Late Bronze Period, from 1600BC to 1250BC. During the Wadi Suq period metallurgy takes big steps forward and tombs now often contain spearheads, one piece swords, axes and other equipment. During the Late Bronze Period the arrow seems to have been introduced as well. The best examples of their metal working skills are most visible in what are called 'antithetical animal pendants' usually made of gold or gold-silver alloys.

    antithetical animal pendant

    With the start of the Iron age, around 1250 BC, the number of settlements in what is today the UAE has increased significantly. This has been linked to the introduction of the Falaj, also called Qanat in Arabian, an underground canal flowing groundwater to irrigate dry farmland. Though often linked with modern day Iran, recent research and findings point out that it was most probably invented here, with the oldest known example been found at Hili. It is also at this time that the Assyrian king claims to be king of Dilmun, which is mentioned multiple times as paying tribute. The last mentions of Dilmun date from the 6th century where it is claimed to be a possession of the Neo Babylonian kingdom. Not much later with the collapse of this kingdom no more mention of Dilmun is made, and soon after, the region was annexed by the Persians. It is mentioned in the Behistun Inscription as Maka, a name which comes from the Akkadian 'Magan' probably referring to its copper mines, and that Darius I inherited the region. Hence it was already a Persian satrapy before 520 BC and was most likely conquered by Cyrus the Great. They are mentioned by Herodotus wearing leather armour fighting with bows and swords in the army of Xerxes, who also mentioned them in the daiva inscription. Under Persian rule many Persian merchants settled at the eastern shore of the Persian Gulf and the settlement and port of Sohar was built. With the fall of the Persian empire at the hands of Alexander the Great, they seemed to have gained independence. Arrian of Nicomedia mentions their lands as Maketa in his work on the campaigns of Alexander.

    Sometime before 300 BC, the new city of Mleiha was founded. One theory is that it was founded by nomads who settled down. It was during this period of independence that Maka flourished most; Sohar grew to be one of the most important ports of Arabia. Mleiha quickly became the most important settlement of the region, which due to its intense trade with the Seleucids and other Hellenes, quickly became Hellenised in many respects. This resulted in an interesting culture with archaic influences of Mesopotamian and Arabian origin mixed with Persian and Hellenic culture. The Persian gulf was a hotspot for naval trade and this extended far beyond its geographical area. Amphoras discovered here that were originally made in Rhodos which were dated to the second century BC are a nice example. Mleiha was a large settlement built around a large building which served as an administrative centre where coin minting was practised. Around it stood houses, workshops and memorial buildings. Many graves have been found as well in which the dead were often buried with their dromedaries, hybrid camels and horses. One such grave contained a horse wearing a bridle decorated with bronze and golden discs which was dated between 200 and 150 BC. The importance of horses is also seen reflected in the weapons found at Mleiha and the little later site of ed-Dur of which cavalry longswords were very common and on a bowl found at Mleiha depicting an already very much Hellenised cavalryman dated to around 250 BC. However the old Mesopotamian and Arabian elements of their culture had far from disappeared and still played a major role as a temple dedicated to the ancient Semitic solar god Shams from ed-Dur dated to the first century BC aptly illustrates. By 140 BC the Parthians stole hegemony over the Persian gulf from the Greeks and became the Makans' new main trade partners. By the end of the third century ad Mleiha and the rest of Maka was conquered by the Sassanids and named Mazun. At the same time our archaeological record of Mleiha and ed-Dur stops, which most probably is no coincidence.

    Presenting a new Faction: The Nabataean Kingdom or Malkt Nabta

    A short introduction

    Shlam Aleikm, Malk Nabt

    You have come to rule over the Nabat, the men who dig for water. But what we lack in water, we make up for in riches - for you preside over some of the greatest merchants in the world.

    Today we dwell in the land known as Edom, the land of red rock. It is an ancient land, one inhabited by the 'Edomn, far longer than we have been here. Since time immemorial, caravans have crossed these lands, bringing to the rich towns of the Levant the fruits of the south - incense, frankincense, and myrrh. Through this trade, cities have grown from rock and dust, and brought gold to places where all men knew were their fathers' goats and stories. But this prosperity does not go far, and most people live the same way their fathers did, with the herd at their heel and the tent in their hand.

    To the east lie the vast sands of the Qadrn, whose territory once nearly spanned the peninsula, and challenged the Babylonians to the north. Since then, they have declined, and rich cities and lands have slipped from their grasp. Now is the time, my lord, to put an end to this threat, and expand onto grounds they once called their own. Hauran and Lihyan, to the north and south, are ripe for the taking, and their chief towns - Bostra and Dedan - are oases of commerce. The arrogant Diadochoi overlook these lands, too embroiled in their own dynastic rivalries to care about the affairs of a few Arabs.

    West of Hauran and our domain are the lands of Sr, Mesr, Isra'l and Punq, dominated by rich cities and powerful Greeks, to whom the incense of Sab and Hazarmt flows. Here, the once-independent city-states and kingdoms cling to their culture as the tide of Hellenism washes over them. Perhaps one day we will march victorious through the streets of Dammasq and Akko, and their wealth and glory shall be ours as well. But for now, we should avoid conflict with the great Ptolemaioi and Seleukides, who control these lands, and relentlessly war over them.

    But we cannot be peaceful forever. As we expand our trade routes and gain in wealth, the Hellenes will no doubt turn their ever-greedy eyes towards prosperous Arabia. Their style of warfare is advanced, their vast armies the best-armed and -armoured; their horsemen ride the finest of horses and the average footman wears more armour than our nobles can afford. Defeating them will present more of a challenge than conquering all the tribes and trade-towns combined. But the men who lead their armies are nothing like their great-king of old, Alexandros, and a good commander will be able to defeat them with the aid of cunning, speed, and the desert.

    But the desert does not extend forever, and if our kingdom is to truly be great, we must overcome this obstacle. With wealth from trade and conquest, perhaps we too can have great armies and cities of our own. And perhaps, more than a Malkt - an Arch.

    A Brief faction history

    Most scholars are of the opinion that the Nabataeans are a tribe of Arabian stock. In the Aramaic language, which they used since the dawn of their history, they were named Nabatu (Nabataeans). In Greek sources they were named Nabataioi or Arabes (Arabians) or both, perhaps pointing to their Arabian origin. By these names they were known also to the Jewish historian Josephus Flavius. The verb nabata, and the name deriving from it, means a man who digs for water - The significance of this name can be seen in the accounts of Diodorus Siculus, describing the ancient omadic traditions of the Nabatu:

    "Here it is worthwhile to recount the institutions of these Arabs, by the practice of which they seem to protect their liberty. Their country has neither rivers nor copious springs from which it is possible for a hostile army to get water. They have a law neither to sow corn nor to plant any fruit-bearing plant, nor to use wine, nor to build a house. This law they hold because they judge that those who possess these things will be easily compelled by powerful men to do what is ordered them because of their enjoyment of these things. Some of them keep camels, others sheep, pasturing them over the desert. Of the Arabian tribes there are not a few who graze the desert and these are much superior to the others in the amenities of life, being in number not much more than 10,000. For not a few of them are wont to bring down to the sea frankincense and myrrh and the most costly of spices, receiving them from those who convey them from what is called Arabia Felix. They are conspicuously lovers of freedom, and flee into the desert, using this as a stronghold. They fill cisterns and caves with rainwater, making them flush with the rest of the land, they leave signals there, which are known to themselves, but not understood by anyone else. They water their herds every third day so that they do not constantly need water in waterless regions if they have to flee."

    The Nabatu maintained an extensive network of underground cisterns to provide for their fresh water needs, and by these cisterns could sustain themselves and their flocks while on the move, and even while in flight from an invading enemy. Their name may then refer to their cistern-digging way of life: the Nabatu, the people who cause water to pour forth from the desert. However, these cisterns are also symptoms of their beginning to build permanent structures, the first sign of settling down - a process that would continue throughout the Hellenistic period.

    This settling-down and wealth from trade seems to have been what set the Nabatu apart from the other tribes of North Arabia (as opposed to the non-tribal dwellers of cities such as Bostra). An early Greek source, Hieronymous of Cardia, describes the Nabataeans in 312 BC: While there are many Arabian tribes who use the desert as pasture, the Nabataeans far surpass the others in wealth, although they are not much more than ten thousand in number; for not a few of them are accustomed to bring down from the sea frankincense and myrrh and the most valuable spices. Their monopoly on the myrrh and frankincense trade with South Arabia was the main reason behind Roman interest in the area in the later years of the Nabatu.

    As the Nabatu settled, their cisterns came to be of ever greater use to them - they would use the water from these cisterns to irrigate the land and begin farming. From tribes "whose custom it was neither to sow corn, plant fruit-bearing trees, use wine, nor construct any house; if anyone is found acting contrary to this, death is his penalty, the descendants of the Nabataeans became farmers, producing the best wines which, like spices and aromatics of older times, were shipped to Europe.

    The Malkt Nabta (Kingdom of the Nabatu) consisted of separate districts stretching along their caravan routes. The southernmost district corresponded to the northern parts of the land known as Lihyan. Its capital was Hegra, meaning "rocky place," and its harbour on the eastern shore of the Red Sea was known to the Greeks as Leuke Kome, The White Village. To the north came the district of Edom, the backbone of the Nabataean kingdom with Rekem (known as Petra, meaning 'rock' in Greek) as its capital and the capital of the kingdom. The caravan routes go further north, to the region of Hauran, with the city of Bostra as its capital. Returning to Petra the routes ran westward to the district of Naqab/Negev. The capital of this region was Haluza (probably derived from the Nabataean name Halsat), and a large military and religious center now known as Avdat was centered around the burial place of the deified king Obodat (Obodas I).

    Obodas I can be considered the king under whom the Nabatu became an important entity in contemporary Middle Eastern politics, in light of the withering of the Seleucids and Ptolemies. Since the rise of the Hasmonean kingdom, the Nabatu had suffered several important setbacks at their hands, losing significant territory around the Jordan River, nearly splitting the kingdom between Bostra and Petra. Even worse, the Hasmonean king Alexandros Iannaios managed to take Gaza, the Nabataeans' link to the Mediterranean, in 96 BC (the year Obodas came to power). However, Obodas managed to defeat Iannaios at Gadara, on the Golan Heights, through an effective use of the iconic Nabataean troop: the camel archer. By doing so, he restored the Nabataean territory in Hauran. Later, Obodas would defeat an invasion by Antiochos XII in a battle that cost both kings their lives. However, the Nabataean kingdom was saved, and the last Seleukid efforts to restore some amount of power, defeated. For this, he was deified, and buried at an important centre in the Negev which was named Obodat, after the saviour-king.

    The power of the Nabatu reached its height under Aretas III, who seized the city of Damaskos from the dying Seleukids, who soon accepted the hegemony of Tigranes II of Armenia. At his order, mints of the city began producing Hellenistic coins of him, and the Nabatu came into their own as a true Hellenistic power. The kingdom suffered a setback when Tigranes seized Damaskos in 72 BC, but the Armenian king later had to withdraw from the city in order to defend his realm from invasion. Aretas would later make an alliance with the exiled Hasmonean king Hyrkanos II and his advisor, Antipatros Idumaios (father of Herod), who promised the return of several Arabian towns if Aretas were to depose Hyrkanos' younger brother, Aristoboulos. Aretas marched on Hierosolyma with an army of 50,000 men, and defeated Aristoboulos in battle. He then besieged the city, but the cunning Aristoboulos bribed Pompey's deputy Scaurus to order the Nabataeans to withdraw. Fearing Roman retribution, Aretas complied; Aristoboulos was able to reorganise his armies and defeat Aretas on the march back.

    Later, Pompey and Scaurus would march on Petra, but the rough terrain and news of opportunity in Pontos allowed the Nabataeans to negotiate their way out of destruction in exchange for vassalship and a judicious sum of money (to Scaurus himself). They would remain independent until the year 106 when they seem to have been peacefully incorporated into the Roman.

    Reasons for inclusion

    Before any faction can be included in EB, it must first meet certain pre-approved conditions. These conditions include existence at the start date (272BC), desire/historical precedence for expansion, availability of good sources, uniqueness, and military prowess among others. When the Nabataeans were first proposed, the idea intrigued the members of EB, but it was unclear whether or not the Nabataeans were a viable faction. Before the Nabataeans could be chosen as a faction, it needed to be proved that they were worthy.

    It just so happened that one of the EB members was on an archaeological dig in Jordan at the time, and was able to gain access to sources in the ASOR library in Amman, as well as take pictures of artifacts from sites and museums which allowed it, and directly question several experts on Nabataean and Roman Jordan. With this new information, a entirely new insight into the Nabataeans was gained.

    It is known that the Nabataeans waged war against two major Hellenistic powers of our timeframe, the Antigonids and Seleukids, and were able to fend them off in both cases. The Nabataeans also maintained friendly diplomatic relations with the Ptolemaioi, and fought a long war against the Hasmoneans. At the height of their power, the Nabataean territory stretched from the Sinai into the Arabian desert, and from Lihyan in the south to Damascus in the north. With the coming of the Romans the Nabataeans performed well, though at times they had to make use of bribes to survive, and when they were finally annexed by the Roman Empire, their soldiers served in auxiliary units as far away as Numidia and were well known for their skill as horse archers.

    The Nabataeans were not only powerful in military terms, but also in economic terms. The Nabataeans controlled a vital portion of the trade routes for spices, incense, silk and many other precious commodities. They fortified outposts along their roads and trails to provide shelter and supplies to travelling caravans, and their impact on maritime trade in the Red Sea was highly significant. Living in an arid landscape, the Nabataeans had to make use of the resources at their disposal as best they could. Most particularly the Nabataeans were famous for their skill and constructing waterworks, irrigation, cisterns and channels to harness the water that was available as efficiently as possible.

    Although sources from before the second century BC are somewhat lacking on the Nabataeans, archaeology is beginning to push back this shroud on history. A great example is looking for proof of the Nabataean power structure before its recording in the second century. In the third century there was a king we now know from the excavation of his tomb. This archaeological expedition is still ongoing, and as such many details have not been revealed yet, such as whether or not they have recovered a name, but the proof of Nabataean power, and a continuity between the third-century people and their second- and first-century descendants, is vital to proving the viability of this faction.

    The Nabataeans differ significantly from any other faction currently in EB. Although of a Semitic culture like the Carthaginians and Numidians, the Nabataeans are nothing like them, and although they are Arabians like the Sabaeans, they are not the same. The Sabaeans represent the southern Arabians, while the Nabataeans represent the northern Arabians. Significant differences include the use of horse archers by the Nabataeans, as well as the progressive Hellenisation they underwent in our time frame, developing Hellenistic establishments, equipment, ranks and tactics.

    Being a people of power, with ambition, historical expansion, military might, unique culture and tactics, and having adequate source material, the Nabataeans were approved for inclusion into EB2. And indeed, the Near East simply would not be the same without them.

    Nabataean Religion

    Marzeh Description

    In addition to participating in the state religion, the worship of Dshar, the god of the mountains, this man participates in a marzeh, a religious organisation and a club or cult of sorts; analogous to Greek thiasoi. This tradition comes from a long history, traces of which can be found in the Hebrew Bible. These would usually consist of a professional or trade group, such as soldiers, merchants, or scribes; some were even composed of slaves.

    Typically a marzeh would conduct most of its activities and rituals within a triclinium (though biklinia and stibadia are also found), a banquet room with three benches. Over a hundred such triclinia (smākn in Nabataean Aramaic) have been found, many carved out of rocks (as is typical of Nabataean architecture) but some freestanding, as in Palmyra. While most of these triclinia were for domestic and probably nonreligious purposes, a large number were funerary and a small number were connected with temples or cult-sites. Some marzeh inscriptions have been interpreted to be commemorating dead, though there is no direct evidence of a connection between marzehn and funerary rituals. Deified Nabataean kings, however, such as 'Obodat, would sometimes be the focus of one of these cults.

    Similar to the Romans, the Nabatu would drink plenty of wine in their triclinia; for this, they are dissaproved of in the biblical tradition. Wine craters, called 'gn at Palmyra and Petra, are present in many of these triclinia, and an inscription shows that one of the duties of the rab marzh, the head of the organisation, was to provide the members with good quality wine. Strabo notes, "They prepare common meals together in groups of thirteen persons, and they have two girl-singers for each banquet [symposion]. Their leader holds many drinking-bouts in magnificent style, but no one drinks more than eleven cupfuls, each time using a different golden cup," though this could describe a secular celebration.

    The religions of Arabia, and many other Semitic-speaking areas, tended to be aniconic - that is, they averted depictions of their deities - this tradition can be seen today in Islam, which avoids depictions of Muhammad and Allah. Instead, they primarily worshipped to stelae, rock carvings often of simple geometric shapes, on which sacrificial blood would be smeared. While the Nabataeans depicted foreign gods with images, they avoided doing so with their own gods. Later on, the Byzantine emperor Leo III would be accused of being a Nabataean, for his destruction of icons.

    An Inscription from a Nabataean Tomb

    The following inscription found at Turkmaniyyeh does some good illuminating the religion of the Nabataeans, in particular their burial practices.

    Transliterated Inscription:
    Qbr dnh wṣryḥ rb dy bh wṣryḥ zyr dy gw mnh dy bh bty mqbryn bydty gwḥyn wkrk dy qdmyhm wrkwt wbty dy bh wgny wgnt smk wbrwt my wṣhwt wṭwry wryt kl ṣl btry lh ḥrm wḥrg dwr lh mrn wmwtbh ḥry wlhy klhm bṭry ḥrmyn kdy bhm wpwdn dwr wmwtbh wlhy klhm dy kdy bṭry ḥrmy nw ytbd wl ytn wl ytpṣṣ mn kl dy bhm mndm wl ytqbr bqbr dnh nw klh lhn mn dy ktyb lh tn mqbr bṭry ḥrmy nw d lm

    With vowels:
    Qabr daneh wa sarkh rab d-beh sarkh zar d gaw meneh d-beh bat maqbrn abdth gawahn wa kark d-qdamhem wa arkōt wa batayy d-beh wa gnayy wa gant smāk wa barōt mayy wa sahōt wa trayy wa shart kul asl beatrayy aleh kharm wa harag dshar alah marn wa mōtabeh kharsh wa alahayy kulhem beshtar harmn kad behem wa puqdān dshar wa mōtabeh wa 'alahayy kulhem d-kad beshtar kharmayy 'en yith'abed wa l yithshan wa l yithfassa man kul d-behem mendem wa l yithqbar beqbar daneh anōsh kuleh lāhen man d-ktv leh tan maqbar beshtar kharmayy 'en ed alam.

    This tomb, the large chamber within it, the small chamber beyond it (in which the burial niches are located), the enclosure in front of them, the pillars and the chambers within, the gardens and triclinium, the cisterns of water, the chapels, the courtyards, and the rest of the property within these premises, are dedicated to Dshar the god of our lord, his sacred throne, and all of their gods according to the documents of consecration; it is the charge of Dushara, his throne, and all of their gods that it should be done as in said documents of consecration: that nothing within these premises should be changed or removed and that no one shall be buried in this tomb except those for whom an authorisation for burial is written within the documents of consecration, forever.

    Major Deities of the Nabatu

    - 'Ilātu, commonly known by her Arabic (as opposed to Aramaic) names, al-'Ilāt or Allat, recorded by Herodotus as Alilat. She was worshiped throughout the North Arabia, from Hatra to Hegra, and down the coast as well (though this could be later spread); early Islamic sources frequently mention her, and she is prominent in the Kitab al-Asnam (The Book of Idols) - she was one of the deities of the Ka'bah. She was equated with Athena and Minerva in Greek and Roman sources, and is often called "The Goddess," "The Great Goddess" in multilingual inscriptions. Along with her sisters 'zz and Manawāt, she was one of the chief 3 goddesses of pre-Islamic Mecca, and all were considered daughters of Allah.

    To avoid confusion, it should be stated here that Allah was known to pre-Islamic Arabs as the supreme deity. This is evidenced by the Quran. Sura 29:61, for example, says "And if you ask them [the pagans], Who created the heavens and the earth and made the sun and the moon subservient, they will certainly say, Allah." Suras 31:25 and 39:38 echo the same idea. Indeed, the fact that the idea of a supreme deity was so widespread among the Arabs aided the expansion of Islam significantly. The core difference between Islam and these pre-Islamic beliefs lay in the assertion of the existence of only a single deity by Islam.

    - Qaum was a god of war and a protector of the night; his "role" was mainly that of a caravan vanguard, and as such he was of particular importance to the Nabatu, who achieved their success through caravan trade. He was the principal god of the Nabatu in their early period and at the start date of our game.

    Kutb - "The Scribe" - Kutb was a god of scrolls and writing, and was brought to Egypt by Arabian merchants; Egyptian-style temples dedicated to him have been found. He was commonly associated with Hermes during the latter phase of the Nabataean kingdom.


    Dushar - "The Lord of the [Shara] Mountains" (the mountains around Petra and Zela) - The chief deity among the settled and Hellenised Nabatu, he was especially venerated in the Edom area (some think he originated as an Edomite deity) as well as the Lihyan area. He was associated with many gods; often as Zeus, since the two shared a role as head of their respective pantheons; Dushara was also cast in the role of Dionysos and Ares by Greco-Roman sources. The Byzantine Souda, a lexicographical compilation, says:

    Theos Ares (Dushara); this is the god Ares in Arabic Petra. They worship the god Ares and venerate him above all. His statue is an unworked square black stone, four feet high and two feet wide. It rests on a golden base. To this they sacrifice and pour out the blood of sacrificial victims; this is for them the libation. The whole building is rich in gold and has many details.

    'zz - "The Powerful/Mightiest One" - More commonly known as al-Uzza, she is first mentioned in inscriptions from Dedan, and became the goddess of Petra, alongside Dushara; two temples are dedicated to them, respectively, in Petra; the one to 'zz featured winged lions. Like Isis in Egypt, she assumed the roles of many minor local goddesses, and the cult of 'zz became extremely popular, and features prominently in the early history of Islam, being the primary idol of the Quraysh. Fittingly, she was identified with Isis during the later phase of the kingdom.''

    Manōtu - The goddess of fate, equated with the goddess Nemesis in the Hellenistic view; she was known to the pre-Islamic Arabs around Mecca and Yathrib (later Medina) as Manāt, and was the wife of Hubal in their tradition.

    How Many Gods?

    Unlike the comparatively simple Greek mythology, the identities of Semitic deities are quite complicated. Considering the close interrelatedeness of Semitic languages and religions (given their geographical proximity to each other), it can be difficult to identify one deity as clearly different from another. This makes it somewhat ambiguous whether deities are different entities or one and the same.

    One interesting thing to note about the Nabataean "gods" is that their names are actually titles or epithets. "Du Shar" literally means "The Lord of the Shara Mountains," a title that refers to the fact that he was the supreme male deity venerated in the area around the Shara mountains, the Nabataean homeland (where he is often referred to simply as 'ilāh, "the god"). "Kutb" roughly means "The Scribe," which is why his name is translated into Arabic as "al-Kutbay." Further evidence of this can be found in the multitude of names that end in 'lh or 'lhy, "The God," implying the one truly significant [male] god, or Dushara as he was known to the Nabatu. The same sort of pattern can be found among the female deities: 'Uzz means "The Powerful" and 'Ilātu (Arabic al-'Ilāt or Allāt, Safaitic han-'llāt) literally means "The Goddess."

    Some of the most convincing support that Northern Arabs only had two definite deities comes from Herodotus, who (speaking of the Arabs, referring to West-Semitic speaking Northern Arabs) says, "They believe in no other gods except Dionysus and the Heavenly Aphrodite; and they say that they wear their hair as Dionysus does his, cutting it round the head and shaving the temples. They call Dionysus, Orotalt; and Aphrodite, Alilat." It is known that Orotalt was another name for Dushar; evidence of this comes from the fact that Dushar, too, was identified with Dionysus by the highly Hellenized Nabatu. Alilat is clearly a transliteration of al-'Ilāt, that is to say, "The Goddess," the one and only.

    The Incense and spice Routes

    The incense routes are a collection of routes followed by the nomadic and semi-nomadic traders who travelled 1,200 miles from the southern, incense-producing lands to the north of Arabia. This trade came into existence when the camel, whose domestication most probably began around 3000 BC, started to be used as a pack animal in the second half of the second millennium BC. Most often authors put forth 1200BC as an estimate. Before this trade was mainly done by sea and limited mostly to the Eastern coast of the Peninsula, especially the pearls from Dilmun and the copper from Magan were popular trading goods prior to the existence of the incense routes. Though one must not forget that incense and myrrh were not the only goods that travelled these routes. Spices, minerals and gems - imported from India, Soqotra ,Africa and from Arabia proper - also formed an important and significant part of the Arabian trade.

    The incense routes were a collection of multiple routes, which passed and led to many different settlements and markets. Obviously the importance of the various routes shifted with time and not all routes may have come into existence simultaneously. The most important and best-known routes are those following the Red Sea coast in the West. The most important incense-producing lands were those of the Hadramawt in modern East Yemen and especially the Qara mountains in what is now called the Dhofar region, which lie on the southern coast of present day Oman. The latter was presumably home to the 'Ad tribes or legendary Ubarites, one of the many peoples of Arabia fabled for being immensely rich. However little evidence for them exists. Around the fourth or third century BC the Hadramawt founded outposts and ports on these coasts with Sumhuram as the most known and famous one.

    From here traders travelled westwards to lands of the Qatabn and the Sabaeans, which also produced incense but in lesser quantities. The main branch of the incense routes then went northwards into the lands of the federation of the most famous incense traders, the Main or Minaeans. As with most of the southern Arabian kingdoms their economy was largely based on the numerous and heavy taxes the traders had to pay in return for their protection. The Main were considered the greatest traders of all and were known for their long-distance trade, especially with their main trade partner, Egypt. The extent of their trading networks is most noticeably evidenced in not just Egypt but even as far as Delos, where an altar devoted to their god Wadd was erected. Along these routes communities settled and some large cities may even have been founded, presumably as trade colonies. The Main are often regarded and credited as the founders of some of the northern trade settlements such as Dedan. What we do know, however, is that Main influence and even rule at times indeed extended this far north, as Minaic kings are attested in local epigraphic texts.

    Europa Barbarorum II will feature incense as a resource on the strategy map.

    However after leaving the nucleus of Main territory an important branch separated at Najran, home of the Muh amar, one of the largest of the southern settlements, to cross the peninsula north-eastwards towards the remote but prosperous coastal sea trading city of Gerrha. From here the incense was traded largely by sea but it also travelled farther on camelback to Persia and later the Seleucid or Parthian empires. Early on the incense routes were supplemented by sea routes as for example the important sea route in the Red Sea with Leuke Kome as the end station, from which camels brought it further north. In the west the main end stations were Petra, Palmyra and the ports of Gaza and Alexandria. From here incense was spread and sold to most of the known world, where it was most precious as it was needed for many religious ceremonies.

    During the last centuries of the first millennium BC there was an evolution to increased naval trade. The main factors were the strong and organised empires of the Ptolemaioi and later the Romani who wanted their share of the action, both using Alexandria as the main centre and benefactor. This was possible not only due to their naval capabilities but due to the newly discovered system behind the Monsoon winds, a long-protected secret of the Arabs, which eased sailing to and from India and round Arabia. Not surprisingly this meant the beginning of the downfall for many of the land trade-dependent nations. It also meant a shift in economic activity in North Arabia, where agriculture and crafts became more important. The east of Arabia however was presented with a new period of flourishing trade, of which the coastal trade hub Ed-dur was one of the side effects. Especially the southern settlements in the east profited from this shift to sea trade, due to a significantly increased amount of direct trade with Charax in the north. This meant they no longer had to use Gerrha as a side stop, increasing profit margins. Here as well there was a shift of power when it comes to the control over the sea trade with the Parthians taking over from the Seleucids, but this did not have such important effect on trade. It was not until their successors, the Sassanids, conquered the eastern part of Arabia that this period of flourish came to an end.

    The importance of the incense routes cannot be overlooked and was not only central to the economy of the Arabians, but it was central to and determined their way of life.

    The Arabian Armies

    1. On the armies of the Sabaeans and the other ancient Sayhad cultures.


    There is not a lot of material to go on for reconstructing the look, equipment, evolution, organisation and tactics of the ancient south Arabian armies of the Hellenistic period. Hence one is often dependent upon sources from different periods, logic together with the bits of archaeology and epigraphic remains of this obscure little part of history to make a coherent representation, which is impossible without the use of some guesswork to fill in the various blanks. Quite a bit of our reconstruction is thus partly based on the more numerous sources from the first century BC onwards, which is less of a problem than it may seem as not that much appears to have changed during this time span.

    The first type of source available to us, which perhaps provides the most information, especially equipment-wise, are warrior, victory and hunting steles and other reliefs. There are quite a few of them depicting nobles in their full panoply, usually a buckler, spear and/or sword and bow or a different combination of these. Sadly not all are conserved as well, and it is often hard to spot details. Few depictions of armour remain and are usually not too clear. Dating as well can be somewhat problematic. Of much importance is a victory stele depicting archers carrying the hands of slain enemies - as was also an ancient Egyptian habit proving that the original idea that bows were unimportant and mostly the preserve of the lite in south Arabia was flawed. This idea was based on the research of a large collection of epigraphic texts from the first century AD by Beeston, one of the most important scholars of ancient south Arabian studies. It is in this important work that he also explains the organisation and equipment of the Sabaean armies according to his findings, of which most are still standing today. Though research in this field has been limited. Except for the friezes and epigraphic evidence little has been found in south Arabia. One ancient bronze sword with an Egyptian-like design has been found, but almost certainly dates back to the mukkarib period. The largest finds of Sayhad weaponry comes from the archaeological survey from Wadi Dura, led by J.F. Breton, but date from centuries after the game ends. Not uninteresting is the finding of a halberd, perhaps introduced or influenced by Indians, though of far too late a date for use in our mod. Some of the other finds such as bronze bowls with depictions of archers, a short to medium-sized sword and daggers are of more use to recreate our image of Sayhad warriors. All in all the best visual aid for reconstructing these soldiers are the aforementioned warrior stelae.

    From the sources that we have we can conclude one thing immediately: the Sabaean army was highly organised and was divided into different types of individual units. The most important division is probably between the professional or royal part of the Sabaean military and the feudal part of the army. It is hard to tell when and how this division took place, in what way they differed and what their relative importance and roles were. What we do know is that this division was not unique to the Sabaeans and appears to have been present in the neighbouring nations as well. The actual nature of these royal or professional units, referred to as khamis, is debated. Without doubt these units did have a close relationship and were very loyal to the malik. The malik was most likely responsible for their armour and equipment as well. Within these units there may have been lite units referred to as the mqdmt, which acted either as scouts and/or a vanguard. Most of the royal army would probably originate from the large urban centres of the Sabaean shab, where many militias were recruited as well, in times of need sometimes even the richest and most influential citizens picked up their swords. The feudal army were a collection of smaller armies under command of one of their local lords, a qayl, who on his turn was under command of the malik. These men were recruited from the rural communes and were mostly made up of two components: farmers and perhaps the unfree acting as light infantry or missile units, and the warriors. Most if not all armies from the Hellenistic period were cavalry-free as the horse was most probably only introduced by the first or second century AD. This lack of cavalry was probably one of their most prominent weak points and might be the reason why the spear and bow were such prevalent weapons in the Sabaean armies.

    As rich nations often tend to do, the Sabaeans as well did not do all their fighting themselves. They are known to have recruited mercenaries on multiple occasions, most often from the Bedouin populations in the north. Though often named unreliable and poor warriors they were of great value in more arid regions. There was even a special unit of standing Bedouin mercenaries at Maryab, specially trained, and equipped by the malik: the tmhrt. Though the exact nature of this unit is of course hard to determine, Ethiopians, especially Habashites, also were often mentioned as mercenaries in service of South Arabian armies.


    Ancient south Arabian military equipment has left few traces and findings of its remains have been even fewer. Hence most of the Arabian unit concepts and sources for Ancient south Arabian weapons are based upon depictions from steles, graffiti and similar pictorial sources combined with the limited descriptions drawn from epigraphic texts. Most of these date from the first centuries AD. Of much use, however, are some of the findings from Wadi Dura, though most of it is of a later period.

    The dominant weapon was the spear and almost every man had knife as well. As previously mentioned, the bow also played an important role both within levy units from the feudal armies as well as within the lite units of a Sabaean army which excelled in both mle and their role as missile units. Magnificent long swords were part of the panoply of the true lite as well. Depictions and findings from bronze swords from the 8th to 6th centuries BC show that they had access to high quality swords already at the earlier periods of Sabaean history. During and shortly after our timeframe we find depictions of long swords as well. In early Muslim times south Arabia, especially modern day Yemen, still was known for high quality long swords. For defence they were usually equipped with small round shields most likely made of wicker, as seem to have been common in most western parts of Arabia during these days. A late frieze of a soldier equipped with a hexagonal shaped shield has been found as well, though it is hard to say how prevalent they were and when they were first used. When it comes to armour we have little evidence as even pictorial sources are few and usually unclear, although there are friezes that depict what look like leather padded jackets. Helmet-wise we have more depictions though it is often hard to make out the details. Most of them were probably of simple conical designs. Though findings from Wadi Dura from the early centuries AD do depict rather fancy, decorated, plumed and uniquely shaped helmets as well. The use of javelins is sometimes referred to as rare, uncommon or as controversial in South Arabia. Clearly it was not the weapon of choice for the lite, though one can say the opposite of the Bedouins and possibly the communal levies as well. Graffiti at least shows that javelins were prevalent in most of the nomadic Arabian armies.

    2. The Nabataean army and its evolution during the Hellenistic period

    For the early period there are even fewer sources than in South Arabia. Hence we do not always have a clear view on every aspect of the North Arabian armies from the third century BC. From the accounts of the fighting between the Antigonids and the Nabataeans we know they were there and we get at least some basic information on their tactics. However the late army can easily be based of on the many friezes depicting warrior-gods, soldiers or military equipment.

    Detail of a horseman armed with either a javelin or overhand spear

    Most important are graffiti drawings from raiding nomads, which sadly are not all that clear and are hard to date. They usually depict simple stick-figured men, usually equipped with the in Arabia apparently very common buckler or sometimes a small square shield. Javelins and spears seem to be the common weapon together with short to medium-sized straight swords. It is clear that the armies were light and not equipped for heavy mle. We also see depictions of warriors on horseback usually armed with either javelin or lance. Since no or almost none Nabataean or other nomadic military equipment from this period has been found, we had to give them equipment that was alike to the graffiti depictions from neighbouring similar peoples from the area and time, by which they actually were influenced. We can for example clearly see composite bows as used by their neighbours from the north.

    The accounts of Josephus and Strabo are from later times; the first tells us about the Jewish-Nabataean wars of the second and first centuries before the birth of Christ, the latter tells us of armies from the Red Sea Arabs from the late first century BC likely to be similar. The first tell us of a Nabataean-Judean clash, where the Nabataeans used mass camelry to drive the Judeans into a valley. The latter talks about barbarians who were entirely inexperienced in war, and used their weapons unskilfully, which were bows, spears, swords, and slings; but the greater part of them wielded a double-edged axe. Such axes seem also to be prevalent in graffiti of Bedouin warriors to the south. Axes have also been found on friezes from the same period at Petra, though not double-edged. Strabo also mentions a tribe called the Debae, who fight and travel on camelback. During the Roman occupation the Nabataeans provided horse archers as auxiliaries, though the Arab horse archer tradition most probably dates back to the times of the Assyrians.

    The early army and its tactics
    Hence we come to a lightly armoured but swift-moving force which was used for raiding or fighting off raiders. The armies were perfectly adapted to the arid desert, which they employed to their utmost benefit against their enemy. Moving fast was so important many Arabian nomads moved whole forces on camel- and horseback. Both especially in combination provided their answer to heavier armoured forces. From the account of the fights against the Makedonians in 312 BC we also hear of them carrying out a surprise attack at night on the returning enemy to even their chances.

    Their nomadic lifestyle was not only a great weapon against their enemies, but also an ideal defence. This roaming lifestyle meant that a foreigner could not occupy or conquer your lands and was seen as the only decent way of life. Settled life was decadent. The Nabataeans got their name from their adeptness at living and travelling in the wastelands. These water diggers had a system of rainwater cisterns, which made them known for quickly travelling great distances. However if all failed or if it was bad for business, they relied on their riches, they earned by protecting merchants from raiders, to bribe enemies off, something their enemies often were counting on or hoping for.

    The Evolution to a Hellenic army
    During the second century BC the Nabataeans became increasingly settled and became more influenced by their non-Arab neighbours and population. The need for soldiers capable of fighting set-piece battles increased, Nabataeans serving in foreign armies (especially for the Hasmoneans) probably were one of the main sources of influence. The amount of horses available also increased. The thyreos, for example, started to be used more commonly.

    In the first century BC the Nabataean kingdom reached its peak. While the incense land routes were losing importance in favour for the spice sea routes controlled by the Ptolemies with Alexandria as the main benefactor, agriculture had seriously increased. The Nabataeans evolved from the masters of the desert to masters of irrigation. They produced high quality ceramics and had now started carving their famously ornate rock tombs. In 86 BC they conquered and ruled Damascos for a few years. This drastically speeded up the already ongoing Hellenisation. Not only in art and in culture but also the equipment and organisation got thoroughly Hellenised. Even terminology and Greek got adopted. The existence of hetairoi units are for example attested in inscriptions from Petra. Of course with own accents and differences. So while carrying a thyreos or aspis and wearing thoraxes, some more typical Arabian weapons like the axe for example were still used. Many friezes from pre-Roman Petra show Hellenic equipment.

    Organisation of the late Nabataean Army
    We find many allusions to the organisation of the late Nabataean army in both the epigraphy and in the traditional historical sources, especially Jospehus. He claims that Aretas IV did not personally led his armies, but sent commanders instead. His opponent Herod Antipas did the exact same thing. The title of the commanders or generals was Strategos according to Josephus, a Greek term that was copied and transliterated by the Nabataeans and attested in many inscriptions all over the kingdom. Josephus suggests that this office was both civil and militarily, possibly however it could have been common for these high placed men to have combined it with other civil duties. The Hellenistic and Roman-influenced late armies of the Nabataeans were very well organised and there were several offices within the army. Nabataean officers found in epigraphy seem often to be related to each other. It has thus been suggested that offices were hereditary, but it could probably just be because of the monopoly on the offices of a small group of aristocratic Nabataean families, perhaps even the royal tribe. Officers, however, did have a career; we know, for example, of a certain Ganimu who was a camp commandant at Jauf and later became a Strategos at Hegra. Though indeed this does not necessarily mean that offices were not inherited as the heir could have held a lower rank first before succeeding their father.

    Another high-ranked and Hellenistic-inspired office was that of the eparchos which was most probably of civil nature if it was similar to the same office in the Herodian kingdom. However the epigraphic mentions of this title, hprk, are read as a Nabataean transliteration of hipparchos by other academics. The Aramaic named office of rb prsy which means cavalry commander has been found in Petra, which seems to suggest that there was indeed a strict separation of the infantry and cavalry in the late Nabataean armies, which supports the translation of hipparchos. Rb prsy most likely was the title of a lower ranked officer, but could as well be an earlier or alternative title. Lower in the hierarchy the older function of Chiliarchos has been attested, which could be compared to a Roman Tribune and could suggest subdivisions of the infantry forces. If we again compare this to the armies of Herod or the Hasmoneans such a possible division likely consisted of a thousand men. Though because of only a single mention and the possibility of this man copying the title of Alexander's companion Hephaistion who held the same office and name. Finally the last and lowest rank seems to have been the centurion, though his power seems to have been much greater compared to the Roman counterpart, as one was the highest authority in Leuke Kome, commanding the garrison and collecting customs due.

    This goes to show that the Nabataean army had come a long way since their small nomadic raids of their early days. It also shows how much influence the Hellenistic armies of their neighbours, probably the Herodian army as well, had on the army of the Nabataeans. Which also supports the perhaps somewhat controversial Hellenisation of fighting tactics and equipment. Though if one looks at how rapidly the Hasmoneans organised and equipped an army to Hellenic and Roman standards combined with their own unique tradition, how much influence Hellenistic warfare had and how far it spread in many of the other non-Hellenistic countries of the regions, few controversial issues remain. Though of course due to the limited amount of literary, epigraphic, artistic and archaeological sources results in some educated guesses that cannot be avoided due to the nature of the game.

    The units: renders and descriptions

    The Sabaean units

    qdb [citizen militia]: The citizens of Maryab and other urbanites formed the basis of the army of the Sabaean core shabs and were an important force for the whole commonwealth. They were united in their fate in Almuqah and in their loyalty to his human representative, the Malik, king of Saba. These men are not professional soldiers and are not the best-equipped, either. Their shields and spears are strong, yet nothing is stronger than their loyalty. This gives them better morale than most units of their type and they will try to hold the line even when against greater numbers or superior troops. However, having no armour and little experience they are far from battle-winning troops. Still they are far superior to the unreliable communal levies and untrustworthy Bedouin mercenaries.

    Historically the Sabaean army consisted of multiple and vastly different elements. There was a major difference between the troops provided for by the Sabaeans themselves and those from the tribes. The former relied mostly upon urban levies [qdb] and militias. The tribes used provided troops as well [mnsh] these consisted mainly of light levies [bdt] and missile troops but also provided the warriors [ss] led by the local lords or qayls [qyl]. The third part of the army consisted of a separate branch of professional soldiers [khms] loyal, paid and outfitted by the maliks themselves called the khamis. They lived on royal lands given by them by their malik in return for their services. The last part of the army consisted out of mercenaries, not unlike other rich states of the era. These were mostly Arab and Bedouin mercenaries [shb] who had a bad reputation, although Ethiopians [hzb] were commonly used as well.

    These men belong to the first group and were called on regularly not merely when the need was greatest. There was also a group of nobles [hyr] who only at emergencies took up their arms [hll]. Some experience and their strong connection with both the king and the Sabaean shab made the qdb an important addition to the army.

    hzyn sb [Sabaean archers]:
    The bow is a cheap yet effective weapon useful for both hunting and war. These sweaty men do not have the money to buy expensive equipment. Most of them are farmers and hail from one of the many small villages that encompass our federations realm. Some of them might even be unfree. While the Sabaeans themselves had archers, most likely these men were called up by a local lord on request by the Sabaean malik [mlk sb], the king of Saba. While they are capable with the bow, do not expect them to perform well in melee and are best left out of it. They may not look like much, but they are valuable when used well on the battlefield

    Historically the Sabaean army consisted of multiple and vastly different elements. There was a major difference between the troops provided for by the Sabaeans themselves and those from the tribes. The former relied mostly upon urban levies [qdb] and militias. The tribes used provided troops as well [mnsh] these consisted mainly of light levies [bdt] and missile troops but also provided the warriors [ss] led by the local lords or qayls [qyl]. The third part of the army consisted of a separate branch of professional soldiers [khms] loyal, paid and outfitted by the maliks themselves called the khamis. They lived on royal lands given by them by their malik in return for their services. The last part of the army consisted out of mercenaries, not unlike other rich states of the era. These were mostly Arab and Bedouin mercenaries [shb] who had a bad reputation, although Ethiopians [hzb] were commonly used as well.

    While sir A. F. L. Beeston who was the first to extensively research the warfare of the Sayhad cultures and hence Saba did not believe the bow played a big part on the battle field, that view has changed dramatically. A victory stele displays archers returning from the battlefield with the chopped-of hands of their fallen enemies is one of the most convincing counter arguments. The bow was popular as a weapon with both the elite and the poor. It was an effective and light weapon and was not expensive to make. The use of the bow as a military weapon encompasses the complete Sabaean history, the famous inscriptions of Karib il Watar even directly mentioning the use of archers.

    haghar hyr [noble townsfolk]: We, the Sabaeans, are known for being rich and these men can be considered as some of the richest of your realm. They hail mainly from the splendid city of Maryab and would rather avoid combat, yet are well trained and possess the best armour and weapons available: the finest and longest of swords for which we are famous, quality spears, composite bows and strong shields. They are truly an elite force to be reckoned with, able to hold the line even against the heavy infantry of the Hellenes. Though carrying the best equipment and being very well trained, they might not prove to be as hardened, loyal or eager as the Khamis or other professional full-time soldiers and are less experienced in battle. However only a fool or a madman would be happy to pick up his sword against these perfumed warriors, unless it is for the loot they leave behind.

    Historically the Sabaean army consisted of multiple and vastly different elements. There was a major difference between the troops provided for by the Sabaeans themselves and those from the tribes. The former relied mostly upon urban levies [qdb] and militias. The tribes used provided troops as well [mnsh] these consisted mainly of light levies [bdt] and missile troops but also provided the warriors [ss] led by the local lords or qayls [qyl]. The third part of the army consisted of a separate branch of professional soldiers [khms] loyal, paid and outfitted by the maliks themselves called the khamis. They lived on royal lands given by them by their malik in return for their services. The last part of the army consisted out of mercenaries, not unlike other rich states of the era. These were mostly Arab and Bedouin mercenaries [shb] who had a bad reputation, although Ethiopians [hzb] were commonly used as well.

    These men represent the elite of the urban levies hailing mainly from Maryab. Rich merchants and nobles from the city occasionally formed an urban militia and went into battle, but tried to avoid it if possible. Naturally they carried expensive and high quality equipment but were not warlike. Hunting was one of their favourite pastimes and had a religious dimension to it, as it was done in honour of Athtar, who would thank them with abundant rain and a good harvest. This made them not just good fighters, but excellent archers as well. The combination of both capabilities made them an excellent and most useful part for any Sabaean army.

    The Nabataean units

    Muqrab Lukhta ["Warriors of the Spear, North Arabian Spearmen]: These men are not levies per se, and are generally superior to Pantodapoi and such eastern spear levies, having lived a harsh live in the desert and experienced a raid or two in their time. However, they are not reliable warriors, and will fold in the face of almost any enemy heavy infantry unit. Relying merely on their speed and buckler to ward off enemy missiles, they are very vulnerable to arrows, but can put up resistance for a while to lighter horsemen. Their best use is as a mobile reserve, the final piece in a battle-plan, to move in to support the swordsmen and finish off an enemy tired and weakened by sling-bullet, arrow, and most importantly, the desert.
    Historically the Northern Arabs rarely engaged in massive set-piece battles, but were more at home performing raids, defending against raids and performing ambushes. Their greatest weapon was the desert they lived in, hence settling down and building houses was deemed unwise. It was the desert they owed their freedom to. Therefore they did not rely on heavy units, but on swift units with little armour. Although short and medium sized swords and axes were used, the spear and bow were these soldiers weapon of choice. The spear was effective against mounted opponents, while the bow and other ranged weapons where ideal for their desert tactics.

    Muqrabn ["Warriors", North Arabian Shortswordsmen]: These are the veterans among the North Arabian tribes - men who have seen and lived through many a raid. Hardy men from the desert, they rush into battle with what they can afford - sword, helmet, and buckler - and cut down enemy skirmishers or spear-armed infantry. Relying on their speed and buckler to ward off enemy missiles, they are very vulnerable to arrows, and do not stand much of a chance against a cavalry charge, but can effectively deal with infantry of similar quality. They are no match for well-equipped and -trained Hellenistic troops, and should not be recklessly thrown at such enemies; rather, they are best used as a finishing touch, to deal with an enemy worn down by missiles of all sorts, as well as the desert heat, rather than a fresh and ready one.

    Historically the Arabian sands were filled with both nomadic traders and raiders. Even under the dominance of the nomadic Nabataeans and later under their organised networks of caravan stations, forts, lookouts and small desert walls many Bedouin tribes roamed the deserts looking for plunder and spoils. These men are the result of these continuous raids. While most have never been part of large set-piece battles, they are hardened by both the desert and their way of life and all have swung their swords to fend off foes. The Nabataeans themselves were once notorious raiders but later the kingdom took protecting the traders seriously, as heavy taxes in exchange for protection was one of its main sources of wealth. Many of these warriors were therefore served as a sort of desert police force stationed at caravansaries along the trade routes.

    Parashn Qeshatn [Nabataean Horse-Archers]: These horsemen come from the upper elements of tribal North Arabian society, a mix of retainers, merchants, and men who have taken a horse in a raid or battle. Being mounted greatly enhances their ability to carry out the typical Nabataean strategy skirmish, harass, tire, and come in for a final blow. Being lightly armoured, these men are ill-suited to a melee fight except with other horsemen of their ilk, though they do have a quality sword and helmet for when they must come fight close quarters with the enemy, preferably from his flank or rear.

    Historically, horses were relatively rare in the Arabian Peninsula during the early Hellenistic period. The Nabataeans and the Qedar were however known both for raiding and to field horsemen in greater numbers than their neighbours. Early and extensive contact with both Assyrian and Persian warfare must have significantly influenced them. However the camel was by far the most commonly used mount both for travelling and on the battlefield. By the first century BC the Nabataeans were becoming more and more famous for their mounts and their horse archers which they now fielded in much larger numbers and in a heavier form. In 67 AD 1,000 of them accompanied by 500 infantry men were send by Malchus II to strengthen the forces of Vespasianus. After the Roman conquest they became prized auxiliaries.

    Concept art

    To aid modelling and texturing units we had help from manhenhamanhenha or Fabio. He made concepts from the compiled historical data gathered by our historians, which he put to life. Though the concept art goes back to an earlier state of research they were most welcome to the modellers and skinners who thanks to Fabio had a much easier time of figuring out how everything looked. Below we will show two of his works next to a render of the final unit. One can note some subtle changes as further research provided better and more detailed images.

    The qdb by manhenhamanhenha

    haghar hyr by manhenhamanhenha


    This list is only a select bibliography and features mostly generic works on one of the cultures involved.

    • Warfare in Ancient South Arabia: 2nd - 3rd c. AD, A.F.L., Beeston.
    • Ancient Yemen: some general trends of evolution of the Sabaic language and Sabaean culture,A., Korotayev, 1995.
    • L'arabe heureuse au temps de la reine de Saba' VIIIe - Ier Sicle avant J-C, J.F., Breton.
    • The pre-Islamic Antiquities at the Yemen National Museum, P.M., Costa, 1978.
    • Queen of Sheba: treasures from Ancient Yemen, St John Simpson (ed), London, 2002.
    • Sabaic Dictionary, A.F.L., Beeston & J., Rykmans, Louvain-la-Neuve, 1982.
    • Geschichte der alt-sdarabischen Reiche, K., Schippmann, Darmstadt, 1998.
    • Die Geschichte von Saba II. : das Grossreich der Saber bis zu seinem Ende im Frhen 4. Jh. v. Chr., H., Von Wissmann, Wien, 1982.
    • Documentation for ancient Arabia, K. A., Kitchen, 1994.
    • Ancient South Arabian, 'The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the World's Ancient Languages', N., Nebes and P., Stein.
    • Corpus of South Arabian Inscriptions (
    • Trsors du Wādī Dura (rpublique du Ymen) : fouille franco-ymnite de la ncropole de Hajar am-Dhaybiyya, J.J., Breton and M.,Abd al-Qādir Bāfaqīh, 1993.
    • Some issues in the study of the pre-Islamic weaponry of southeastern Arabia, D. T., Potts, Arabian archaeology and epigraphy, 1998 (9), 182-208.
    • Archaeology of the United Arab Emirates: Proceedings of the First International Conference on the Archaeology of the UAE, H., Al Naboodah, P., Hellyer and D., Potts (ed.), 2003.
    • The Nabataeans in Historical Perspective, J.I., Lawlor, 1974.
    • The architecture of Petra, J., Mc Kenzie, 1990.
    • The Nabataean Army,'The Eastern Frontier of the Roman Empire: Proceedings of a Colloquium Held at Ankara in September 1988', J.M.C., Bowhser, 1989.
    • Petra, I. Browning, 1989.
    • A history of the animal world in the ancient Near East, 'handbuch der Orientalistik 1 abt. Der Nahe 64, B.J., Collins, 2002.
    • Nabataean archeology today, A., Negev, 1986.
    • Nabataeans: their history, culture and archeology, P.C., Hammond, 1973.
    • The world of the Herods and the Nabataeans, Kokkinos, 2007.
    • Rome and the Arabian Frontier: from the Nabateans to the Saracens, D. F., Graf, 1997.
    • Roman Arabia, G.W., Bowersock, 1994.

    Sig Banners:

    Sb' w-gwm

    Malkt Nabta

    We hope you have enjoyed this preview of the Arabian Peninsula in Europa Barbarorum II.

    Please note that unless stated otherwise, ALL pictures, names, and descriptions, shown in our previews are works in progress. We continue to improve on all parts of EB, and we will continue to do so long after our initial release.

    Since some areas where these news items are posted cannot handle wide images, we appreciate your restraint from quoting full-size images.

    As always, if you have questions or comments, the best place to post them is here, where the EB team is most active:

    Europa Barbarorum ORG forum

    Europa Barbarorum TWC forum

    A special thanks to Huene, JMRC for their excellent models, Tux for the renders and sig banners, Tux and cmlax999 for the great Nabatean Horse Archer skin, Gustave for the wonderful unit skins, manhenhamanhenha for his fantastic concept art, Bobbin for artwork and the faction icon, Tux this time for his beautiful screenshots and to Tanit, Gamegeek2 and Moros for the historical info and text work. Also a big thanks to Paullus and The Persian Cathapract for general assistance and help with the map research, I Am Herenow for text editing. And of course a big thank to all the other EB members for their work on the project and the fans for their support and interest.

    We give an additional thanks to Image Shack and Flickr that provides us with a simple, fool proof, and free way to show you all these pictures each week.
    Last edited by Moros; 04-07-2012 at 14:36.

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  2. #2
    Speaker of Truth Senior Member Moros's Avatar
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    Default Re: Preview: Arabia


    Last edited by Moros; 04-02-2012 at 18:44.

    Members thankful for this post (2):

  3. #3
    Member Member nazgool's Avatar
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    Default Re: Preview: Arabia

    WOW :D My first impression :)

  4. #4
    Annoyingly awesome Member Booger Flick Champion, Virus Champion, Run Sam Run Champion, Speed Cards Champion rickinator9's Avatar
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    Default Re: Preview: Arabia

    Although I was hoping for something more hellenic, this is also awesome. I'm really liking the units, they're awesome!
    rickinator9 is either a cleverly "hidden in plain sight by jumping on the random bandwagon" scum or the ever-increasing in popularity "What the is going on?" townie. Either way I want to lynch him. - White Eyes

  5. #5

    Default Re: Preview: Arabia

    OMG!!! It will take me one week to read! Thank you EB Team :)

  6. #6
    COYATOYPIKC Senior Member Flatout Minigame Champion Arjos's Avatar
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    Prisoners upon this rock, flying without wings...

    Default Re: Preview: Arabia

    Hooray for the Nabateans and the incense route ^^

    Very interesting religions and the sabaic organization!

  7. #7
    Member Member Noble Wrath's Avatar
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    Always on the move - to be still is to be dead

    Default Re: Preview: Arabia

    The work is exquisite as was expected. The exotic arid lands, those gray uncharted areas beyond the borders of the empires are brought to life through painstaking research. Εύγε guys!

    I don't know if anyone made the connection but we have nomadic,freedom-loving, desert warriors, the omnipresent spice and underground cisterns. Could we expect an elite unit of giant-worm riding Nabatu, who can avoid missiles through prescience induced by smoking err... incense before battles? Could we??

    On a more serious note, one strength of the Sabeans are the huge desert wastes that separate them from the hellenistic kingdoms and their iron clad syntagmata. Not so for the Nabatu. I am curious how their early skirmishers will fare against the armies of the diadochoi, since the distances are short and the player cannot retreat for ever into the desert: due to engine limitations every region has a settlement that needs to be defended.
    Πόλεμος πάντων μέν πατήρ εστι, πάντων δέ βασιλεύς
    καί τούς μέν θεούς έδειξε, τούς δέ ανθρώπους
    τούς μέν δούλους εποίησε, τούς δέ ελευθέρους.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Senior Member Ibn-Khaldun's Avatar
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    Default Re: Preview: Arabia

    Very interesting!

  9. #9
    Member Member Captain Jazzy's Avatar
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    Misty isle of mannanan

    Default Re: Preview: Arabia

    Just wow... This is utterly amazing, so much interesting info. Cant wait to play with the Naba, going to be really challenging up against the big Hellenic powers. Amazing work as per usual guys. :)


  10. #10
    Guest Member Populus Romanus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Preview: Arabia

    OMG I waited so long for this, gotta read it now!

    THANK YOU, EB team!

  11. #11
    Member Member fightermedic's Avatar
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    Default Re: Preview: Arabia

    this preview has "EB-quality" written all over it, and that says everything that needs to be said!

    ah well, maybe one more thing.. why don't you release your previews in smaller bits instead of this MASSIVE epics every half year ;)
    we the fans wouldn't be waiting so long for any new stuff, and the previews could avoid that certain "wow, massive wall of text incoming, no way i'm going to read all of THAT"-impression that sometimes comes with such huge amounts of information when deliverd as one post
    just sayin
    Gott mit dir, dem Bayernvolke,
    Da wir unsrer Vter wert,
    fest in Eintracht und in Friede
    bauen unseres Glckes Herd;
    Da der Freund da Hilfe finde,
    Wehrhaft uns der Gegner schau,
    Wo die Rauten-Banner wehen,
    Unsre Farben Wei und Blau!

  12. #12

    Default Re: Preview: Arabia

    After further reading... I didn't realise before that Nabatea was that much interacting with the hellenic and Roman world. I was under the impression that facts on them were pretty much scarce. You could'nt choose a more pertinant faction I guess, and they will be very interresting to play with.

  13. #13
    EB:NOM Triumvir Member gamegeek2's Avatar
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    Default Re: Preview: Arabia

    Beautiful, isn't it?
    Europa Barbarorum: Novus Ordo Mundi - Mod Leader Europa Barbarorum - Team Member

    Quote Originally Posted by skullheadhq
    Run Hax! For slave master gamegeek has arrived
    "To robbery, slaughter, plunder, they give the lying name of empire; they make a desert and call it peace." -Calgacus

  14. #14

    Default Re: Preview: Arabia

    God damn!

    Those archers with the red clothes and gold plated vests are flyyyyyyyy as ****!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Moros, I hereby declare you mah *****!

    That, for not lying to us yesterday at twc lol-etes.

    Edit, they appear to be spearmen?

    Godddddddddddddddddddddddaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaamn Im in aweeeeeeeeeeeeeee (8)

    Edit: While I appreciate your compliment, please refrain from using profane language.
    Last edited by Moros; 04-03-2012 at 11:24.
    Only the evil will triumph if good men do nothing .
    Edmund . . . .

  15. #15
    master of the wierd people Member Ibrahim's Avatar
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    Who cares

    Default Re: Preview: Arabia

    I knew it! Nabataea is in!

    well, then again, I was actually told it would be in game a long time ago


    @ Eddy: I suggest you clean up your post. otherwise, you will be doomed!
    Last edited by Ibrahim; 04-03-2012 at 06:38.
    I was once alive, but then a girl came and took out my ticker.

    my 4 year old modding project--nearing completion: (if you wanna help, join me).

    tired of ridiculous trouble with walking animations? then you need my brand newmotion capture for the common man!

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  16. #16
    Member Member stratigos vasilios's Avatar
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    Default Re: Preview: Arabia

    An absolutely phenomenal preview. The concept art to unit conversions are amazing, congratulations EB on such a grand preview.

    (Incense route map a minor map preview? )
    We love you because you died and resurrected to save us...
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
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  17. #17
    Bored Member Tux's Avatar
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    Romania, Klausenburg

    Default Re: Preview: Arabia

    Quote Originally Posted by Ibrahim View Post
    I knew it! Nabataea is in!

    well, then again, I was actually told it would be in game a long time ago


    @ Eddy: I suggest you clean up your post. otherwise, you will be doomed!
    Who is the as I just sharpened my katana?
    Last edited by Moros; 04-03-2012 at 10:37.

  18. #18
    Speaker of Truth Senior Member Moros's Avatar
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    Default Re: Preview: Arabia

    Quote Originally Posted by Tux View Post
    Who is the as I just sharpened my katana?
    Well me of course.

  19. #19

    Default Re: Preview: Arabia

    Wow....though we all want this now....i guess the team is probably more frustrated than the trolls watching these boards as they can see the skeleton of this mod in front of them slowly being fleshed out :).....each preview is a lesson.....many thanks

  20. #20
    Bored Member Tux's Avatar
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    Default Re: Preview: Arabia

    Quote Originally Posted by Moros View Post
    Well me of course.
    Ohh ok, you're forgiven...

  21. #21

    Default Re: Preview: Arabia

    Jizzed all over my self... this looks so good :D
    War is a puzzle with morphing pieces

    I make Ancient Weapons and Armor

  22. #22

    Default Re: Preview: Arabia

    Very good

  23. #23
    RABO! Member Brave Brave Sir Robin's Avatar
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    Assaulting your flanks

    Default Re: Preview: Arabia

    Always nice to see another piece of the puzzle fall into place. How many unknown factions are left now?
    From Frontline for fixing siege towers of death
    x30 From mikepettytw for showing how to edit in game text.
    From Brennus for wit.

  24. #24
    iudex thervingiorum Member athanaric's Avatar
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    Default Re: Preview: Arabia

    Excellent as always.
    About the description: the HAs are described as wielding swords, yet are depicted with a spear. They aren't going to use those as ammo, are they (Caucasian archers step aside, here come the Nabataian mobile ballistae...)? Same with the Sabaean Noble Archers.
    BTW, for everyone who's been complaining about Saba's roster in EB I, these two new units will make Saba and Nabataia much more powerful than in EB I. Noble Archer-Spearmen should be the perfect counter to enemy HAs, bar gunships of course.

    Swboz guide for EB 1.2
    Tips and Tricks for New Players
    from Hannibal Khan the Great, Brennus, Tellos Athenaios, and Winsington III.

  25. #25
    COYATOYPIKC Senior Member Flatout Minigame Champion Arjos's Avatar
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    Prisoners upon this rock, flying without wings...

    Default Re: Preview: Arabia

    Sorta been asked already, but have you worked around (map wise or traits), some way to represent the difficult terrain (cisterns even), maybe unpassable slots for inaccessable rock formations etc?
    I'm liking the roster, but by reading the history the terrain was as big a part of the military as their soldiers...

  26. #26

    Default Re: Preview: Arabia

    Many people had criticized me for adding the Nabataeans in my mod, saying that they were a joke and that they were not historically relevant. Now that EB is including them in probably the biggest modding project in history, I can finally say that I was right in adding them. My problem with the Nabataeans were always their military units. I never thought they used horse archers. This has been a blessing and will definitely help me! Cannot wait to play as these guys once EB 2 comes out :)

  27. #27
    Clear the battlefield... Member Tarkus's Avatar
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    Land of 10,000 Lakes

    Default Re: Preview: Arabia

    Fantastic work, Team -- congratulations!!!
    Another chapter of ancient history opens before us...many thanks!!!
    I have seen the future and it is very much like the present, only longer -- Kehlog Albran, The Profit

  28. #28
    Son of Lusus Member Lusitani's Avatar
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    Olisipo, Lvsitania

    Default Re: Preview: Arabia

    Great Moros....just great, you guys are amazing!!!!!
    "Deep in Iberia there is a tribe that doesn't rule itself, nor allows anyone to rule it" - Gaius Julius Caesar.

  29. #29
    Speaker of Truth Senior Member Moros's Avatar
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    Default Re: Preview: Arabia

    Quote Originally Posted by athanaric View Post
    Excellent as always.
    About the description: the HAs are described as wielding swords, yet are depicted with a spear. They aren't going to use those as ammo, are they (Caucasian archers step aside, here come the Nabataian mobile ballistae...)? Same with the Sabaean Noble Archers.
    BTW, for everyone who's been complaining about Saba's roster in EB I, these two new units will make Saba and Nabataia much more powerful than in EB I. Noble Archer-Spearmen should be the perfect counter to enemy HAs, bar gunships of course.
    About the desert and stuff read this thread at TWC I just answered:

    On the noble militia. Historically (at least that's my opinion of course) they would have wielded bows, long swords, spears and daggers. In game they will wield bows and spears in one form (in the model previewed here you can see the longsword scabard and the dagger), bows and longswords in another form. Indeed their infantry should be somewhat heavier and be more missile rich than in the previous game. They will have less options when it comes to cavalry though, as they will have to rely on mercenaries and regionals for that. But the province north of them already provides them exactly that.

    On the HA's. They could wielded both as well. I think I might actually have made a mistake here. They probably wield spears in game. I didn't care one way or the other anyway as both solutions were historically okay, so I just followed gg2, Tanit and Paullus choice. Add some heavier cavalry and camelry and indeed these guys should be better than they were.
    Last edited by Moros; 04-03-2012 at 20:53.

  30. #30

    Default Re: Preview: Arabia

    Quote Originally Posted by Ibrahim View Post
    I knew it! Nabataea is in!

    well, then again, I was actually told it would be in game a long time ago


    @ Eddy: I suggest you clean up your post. otherwise, you will be doomed!
    It was already cleaned, By moros himself <3 ahhaha

    Here we go with the 'I knew all along'
    Who told you about this faction? hahaha
    Only the evil will triumph if good men do nothing .
    Edmund . . . .

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