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.
'\"makes a significant contribution to the scholarly debate about whether the queen of Sheba existed.\"'
'\"charming investigative account...a combination of serious scholarly investigation, casual observation, travel account and personal diary.\"'
"A modern odyssey filled with adventure, danger, and scientific discovery."
'\"…explores the boundaries between credible and fantastic.\"'
'\"Written as an archaeological adventure with the lay reader in mind\"'
'\"a satisfying, highly engaging book…\"'
'\"Clapp\'s self-deprecating wit, engaging manner, and enjoyment of anomaly aerate the morass of legend, myth and history…\"'
"makes a significant contribution to the scholarly debate about whether the queen of Sheba existed." The Los Angeles Times
"charming investigative account...a combination of serious scholarly investigation, casual observation, travel account and personal diary." Publishers Weekly
"Nicholas Clapp...has practically invented a new literary genre: call it 'scholarly adventure archaeology.'" Providence Journal
"Armchair travelers and those interested in the Middle East and biblical history could do no better than to pick-up [Sheba]" The Oregonian
"A modern odyssey filled with adventure, danger, and scientific discovery." Midwest Book Review
"Written as an archaeological adventure with the lay reader in mind" Library Journal
"a satisfying, highly engaging book
" The Washington Post
"Clapp's self-deprecating wit, engaging manner, and enjoyment of anomaly aerate the morass of legend, myth and history
" Boston Globe
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.
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.
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
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
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
In a Desert Oasis, an Unexpected Sheba
10. Further Suspects 127
11. The Caliph's Command 130
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
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: Sheba's 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
Illustration Credits 360