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Sheba: Through the Desert in Search of the Legendary Queenby Nicholas Clapp
Synopses & Reviews
Three thousand years ago, a dusky queen swept into the court of King Solomon, and from that time to the present day, her tale has been told and retold. Who was this queen? Did she really exist? In a quixotic odyssey that takes him to Ethiopia, Arabia, Israel, and even a village in France, Nicholas Clapp seeks the underlying truth behind the multifaceted myth of the queen of Sheba.
It's an eventful journey. In Israel, he learns of a living queen of Sheba — a pilgrim suffering from "Jerusalem Syndrome" — and in Syria he tracks down the queen's tomb, as described in the Arabian Nights. Clapp investigates the Ethiopian shrine where Menelik, said to be the son of Solomon and the mysterious queen, may have hidden the Ark of the Covenant. Then the "worst train in the world" (according to the conductor) takes Clapp to the Red Sea, where he sets sail for Yemen in an ancient dhow and comes perilously close to being shipwrecked.
As in his search for the lost city of Ubar, Clapp uses satellite images, this time to track an ancient caravan route that leads to the queen's winter capital in present-day Yemen. The quest is bolstered by new carbon-14 datings and by the discovery of an Arabian Stonehenge in the sands of the Rub' al-Khali. Finally, at the romantic and haunting ruins of Sirwah, the pieces of the queen of Sheba puzzle fall into place.
In this exhilarating archaeological adventure, Nicholas Clapp seeks the truth behind the legend of the Queen of Sheba. Ever since she swept into the court of King Solomon three thousand years ago, her story has been told and retold, often getting diluted, amended, and reworked along the way. In a quest to collect clues to the mystery of Sheba, Clapp travels to Ethiopia, Yemen, Israel, and even a village in France. Using the latest technology, including satellite images and carbon-14 dating, and some recent archaeological discoveries, he pieces together the facts behind Sheba's multifaceted myth.
In an adventure that is part history, part travelogue, Clapp sets out on a quest to find the Queen of Sheba one of the most mysterious figures of the past. Everyone knows her name, but few know more about her than that she journeyed to see wise King Solomon. 8-page insert.
About the Author
Nicholas Clapp, a noted documentary filmmaker, has lectured on Ubar at Brown University, the University of California at Los Angeles, California Institute of Technology, the National Georgraphic Society, and the Goddard Space Center. Clapp currently lives in Los Angeles, California.
Table of Contents
Map x Prologue 1 Part I: In Which the Queen of Sheba Appears and her Legend Unfolds 1. In the Monasteries of the East 5 2. I Kings 10 18 3. Songs of Sheba 20 4. The Desert Queen 29 5. With Eyes Shining As Stars 47 6. Touched By the Queen 60 Part II: In Which we Seek Solomon and Sheba in the Holy Land 7. O Jerusalem! 79 8. Looking for Solomon 90 9. Zabibi and Samsi 109 Part III: In a Desert Oasis, an Unexpected Sheba 10. Further Suspects 127 11. The Caliphs Command 130 Part IV: In Which we Venture to a Land of Incense and Spices 12. To Far Arabia 143 13. A Trail of Ruins 161 14. City of Divine and Mysterious Pleasure 180 15. Chiseled in Stone 202 16. A Secret of the Sands 210 Part V: A Journey Reveals the Power and Dominion of the Queen of Sheba 17. The Glory of Kings 221 18. The Holy City of Aksum 230 19. By Dhow from Djibouti 242 20. The Road to Sirwah 251 21. In the House of the South Wind 258 22. Sheba and Solomon 272 Epilogue: Shebas Tomb 288 Appendix 1: The Names of Sheba 297 Appendix 2: Chronology of the Sabean (Sheban) State 299 Appendix 3: Demon Sheba 302 Appendix 4: Alchemical Sheba 309 Notes 314 Bibliography 337 Acknowledgments 357 Illustration Credits 360 Index 361
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