Queen of Sheba

Queen of Sheba

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The Queen of Shebah was a monarch
Monarch
A monarch is the person who heads a monarchy. This is a form of government in which a state or polity is ruled or controlled by an individual who typically inherits the throne by birth and occasionally rules for life or until abdication...

 of the ancient kingdom of Sheba
Sheba
Sheba was a kingdom mentioned in the Jewish scriptures and the Qur'an...

 and is referred to in Habeshan history, the Bible
Bible
The Bible refers to any one of the collections of the primary religious texts of Judaism and Christianity. There is no common version of the Bible, as the individual books , their contents and their order vary among denominations...

, the Qur'an
Qur'an
The Quran , also transliterated Qur'an, Koran, Alcoran, Qur’ān, Coran, Kuran, and al-Qur’ān, is the central religious text of Islam, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God . It is regarded widely as the finest piece of literature in the Arabic language...

, and Josephus
Josephus
Titus Flavius Josephus , also called Joseph ben Matityahu , was a 1st-century Romano-Jewish historian and hagiographer of priestly and royal ancestry who recorded Jewish history, with special emphasis on the 1st century AD and the First Jewish–Roman War, which resulted in the Destruction of...

. She is widely assumed to have been a queen regnant
Queen regnant
A queen regnant is a female monarch who reigns in her own right, in contrast to a queen consort, who is the wife of a reigning king. An empress regnant is a female monarch who reigns in her own right over an empire....

, although there is no historical proof of this; in fact, she may have been a queen consort
Queen consort
A queen consort is the wife of a reigning king. A queen consort usually shares her husband's rank and holds the feminine equivalent of the king's monarchical titles. Historically, queens consort do not share the king regnant's political and military powers. Most queens in history were queens consort...

. The location of her kingdom is believed to have been in Ethiopia
Ethiopia
Ethiopia , officially known as the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. It is the second-most populous nation in Africa, with over 82 million inhabitants, and the tenth-largest by area, occupying 1,100,000 km2...

  and Yemen
Yemen
The Republic of Yemen , commonly known as Yemen , is a country located in the Middle East, occupying the southwestern to southern end of the Arabian Peninsula. It is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the north, the Red Sea to the west, and Oman to the east....

.

Diverse references


Known to the Ethiopian people as Makeda or Maqueda , this queen has been called a variety of names by different peoples in different times. To King Solomon of Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

 she was the Queen of Sheba. In Islamic tradition she was called Bilqis or Balqis by the Arabs, who say she came from the city of Sheba
Sheba
Sheba was a kingdom mentioned in the Jewish scriptures and the Qur'an...

, also called Mareb, in Yemen
Yemen
The Republic of Yemen , commonly known as Yemen , is a country located in the Middle East, occupying the southwestern to southern end of the Arabian Peninsula. It is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the north, the Red Sea to the west, and Oman to the east....

 or Arabia Felix. The Roman historian Josephus
Josephus
Titus Flavius Josephus , also called Joseph ben Matityahu , was a 1st-century Romano-Jewish historian and hagiographer of priestly and royal ancestry who recorded Jewish history, with special emphasis on the 1st century AD and the First Jewish–Roman War, which resulted in the Destruction of...

 calls her Nicaule. She is thought to have been born on January 5, sometime in the 10th century BC
10th century BC
The 10th century BC started the first day of 1000 BC and ended the last day of 901 BC.- Overview :This period followed the Bronze Age collapse in the Near East, and the century saw the Early Iron Age take hold there. The Greek Dark Ages which had come about in 1200 BC continued. The Neo-Assyrian...

.

In the Hebrew Bible, a tradition of the history of nations is preserved in Genesis 10. In Genesis 10:7 there is a reference to Sheba
Sheba
Sheba was a kingdom mentioned in the Jewish scriptures and the Qur'an...

, the son of Raamah
Raamah
Raamah or Rama is a name found in the Bible , means "lofty, exalted, that also may mean "thunder".The name is first mentioned as the fourth son of Cush, who is the son of Ham, who is the son of Noah in Gen. 10:7, and later appears as a country that traded with the Phoenician city-state of Tyre, in...

, the son of Cush
Biblical Cush
Cush was the eldest son of Ham, brother of Mizraim , Canaan and the father of Nimrod, and Raamah, mentioned in the "Table of Nations" in the Genesis 10:6 and I Chronicles 1:8...

, the son of Ham
Ham, son of Noah
Ham , according to the Table of Nations in the Book of Genesis, was a son of Noah and the father of Cush, Mizraim, Phut and Canaan.- Hebrew Bible :The story of Ham is related in , King James Version:...

, son of Noah
Noah
Noah was, according to the Hebrew Bible, the tenth and last of the antediluvian Patriarchs. The biblical story of Noah is contained in chapters 6–9 of the book of Genesis, where he saves his family and representatives of all animals from the flood by constructing an ark...

. In Genesis 10:26-29 there is a reference to another person named Sheba
Sheba
Sheba was a kingdom mentioned in the Jewish scriptures and the Qur'an...

, listed along with Almodad
Almodad
Almodad was a descendant of Noah and the first named son of Joktan in and . While the Bible has no further history regarding Almodad, this patriarch is considered to be the founder of an Arabian tribe in "Arabia Felix"...

, Sheleph
Sheleph
Sheleph was a son of Joktan, of the family of Shem. . Sheleph means "drawing out" or "who draws out" ....

, Hazarmaveth
Hazarmaveth
Hazarmaveth is the third of thirteen sons of Joktan, who was a son of Eber, son of Shem in the table of the Sons of Noah in Genesis chapter 10 and 1 Chronicles chapter 1 in the Bible...

, Jerah, Hadoram
Hadoram
Hadoram is the son of Joktan mentioned in the Book of Genesis of the Hebrew Bible. Noah had three sons: Shem, Ham, and Japheth. One of Shem's sons was Arpachshad. One of Arpachshad's sons was Eber...

, Uzal
Uzal
Uzal, in the Hebrew Bible, is a descendant of Joktan whose clan supposedly settled in Yemen. He was believed to be the founder of an Arabian tribe. Joktan became the father of Almodad and Sheleph and Hazarmaveth and Jerah and Hadoram and Uzal and Diklah...

, Diklah, Obal, Abimael, Ophir
Ophir
Ophir is a port or region mentioned in the Bible, famous for its wealth. King Solomon is supposed to have received a cargo of gold, silver, sandalwood, precious stones, ivory, apes and peacocks from Ophir, every three years.- Citations :...

, Havilah
Havilah
Havilah is in several books of the Bible referring to both land and people.The story of the Garden of Eden in Genesis 2:11: "And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads...

, and Jobab as the descendants of Joktan
Joktan
Joktan or Yoktan was the second of the two sons of Eber mentioned in the Hebrew Bible. His name means "small" or "smallness"....

, the son of Eber
Eber
Eber is an ancestor of the Israelites, according to the "Table of Nations" in and . He was a great-grandson of Noah's son Shem and the father of Peleg born when Eber was 34 years old, and of Joktan. He was the son of Shelah a distant ancestor of Abraham...

, the son of Shelah, the son of Arphaxad, the descendant of Shem
Shem
Shem was one of the sons of Noah in the Hebrew Bible as well as in Islamic literature. He is most popularly regarded as the eldest son, though some traditions regard him as the second son. Genesis 10:21 refers to relative ages of Shem and his brother Japheth, but with sufficient ambiguity in each...

, another son of Noah.

Aharoni
Aharoni
Aharoni is a surname. People with this surname include:* Amikam Aharoni , Israeli physicist* Israel Aharoni , Jewish zoologist* Ron Aharoni, Israeli mathematician* Yisrael Aharoni , Israeli chef...

, Avi-Yonah, Rainey
Rainey
Rainey Haynes, also known simply as Rainey, is an American rock singer and writer.-Life and career:...

, and Safrai placed the Semitic Sheba in Southern Arabia in geographic proximity to the location of the tribes descended from their ancestor, Joktan. In addition to Sheba, Hazarmaveth and Ophir were identified. Semitic Havilah was located in Eastern Africa
Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

, modern day Ethiopia
Ethiopia
Ethiopia , officially known as the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. It is the second-most populous nation in Africa, with over 82 million inhabitants, and the tenth-largest by area, occupying 1,100,000 km2...

. Semitic
Semitic
In linguistics and ethnology, Semitic was first used to refer to a language family of largely Middle Eastern origin, now called the Semitic languages...

 Havilah
Havilah
Havilah is in several books of the Bible referring to both land and people.The story of the Garden of Eden in Genesis 2:11: "And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads...

 (Beresh't 10:29) is to be distinguished from Cushite Havilah (Beresh't 10:7), the descendant of Cush, descendant of Ham; both locations for Havilah
Havilah
Havilah is in several books of the Bible referring to both land and people.The story of the Garden of Eden in Genesis 2:11: "And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads...

 are thought by these scholars to have been located in present day Ethiopia.

Hebrew biblical accounts



According to the Hebrew Bible
Bible
The Bible refers to any one of the collections of the primary religious texts of Judaism and Christianity. There is no common version of the Bible, as the individual books , their contents and their order vary among denominations...

, the unnamed queen of the land of Sheba heard of the great wisdom of King Solomon
Solomon
Solomon , according to the Book of Kings and the Book of Chronicles, a King of Israel and according to the Talmud one of the 48 prophets, is identified as the son of David, also called Jedidiah in 2 Samuel 12:25, and is described as the third king of the United Monarchy, and the final king before...

 of Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

 and journeyed there with gifts of spices, gold, precious stones, and beautiful wood and to test him with questions, as recorded in First Kings
Books of Kings
The Book of Kings presents a narrative history of ancient Israel and Judah from the death of David to the release of his successor Jehoiachin from imprisonment in Babylon, a period of some 400 years...

  (largely copied in 2 Chronicles
Books of Chronicles
The Books of Chronicles are part of the Hebrew Bible. In the Masoretic Text, it appears as the first or last book of the Ketuvim . Chronicles largely parallels the Davidic narratives in the Books of Samuel and the Books of Kings...

 ).

It is related further that the queen was awed by Solomon's great wisdom and wealth, and pronounced a blessing on Solomon's God. Solomon reciprocated with gifts and "everything she desired." Solomon offered to give her everything his kingdom had to offer except the "royal bounty." Therefore, according to the Bible, "she turned and went to her country, she and her servants." The queen apparently was quite rich, however, as she brought four and a half tons of gold with her to give to Solomon (1 Kings ).

In the biblical passages which refer explicitly to the Queen of Sheba there are no hints of love or sexual attraction between Solomon and the Queen of Sheba. The two are depicted merely as fellow monarchs engaged in the affairs of state.

The biblical text, Song of Solomon
Song of Solomon
The Song of Songs of Solomon, commonly referred to as Song of Songs or Song of Solomon, is a book of the Hebrew Bible—one of the megillot —found in the last section of the Tanakh, known as the Ketuvim...

 (Song of Songs), contains some references, which at various times, have been interpreted as referring to love between Solomon and the Queen of Sheba. The young woman of the Song of Songs, however, continues to deny the romantic advances of her suitor, whom many commentators identify as King Solomon. In any case, there is little to identify this speaker in the text with the rich and powerful foreign queen depicted in the Book of Kings. The woman of the text of the song clearly does regard "The Daughters of Jerusalem" as her peer group
Peer group
A peer group is a social group consisting of humans. Peer groups are an informal primary group of people who share a similar or equal status and who are usually of roughly the same age, tended to travel around and interact within the social aggregate Members of a particular peer group often have...

.

Account in the New Testament


The Queen of Sheba is believed to be the Queen of the South referenced in Matthew
Gospel of Matthew
The Gospel According to Matthew is one of the four canonical gospels, one of the three synoptic gospels, and the first book of the New Testament. It tells of the life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth...

 12:42 and Luke
Gospel of Luke
The Gospel According to Luke , commonly shortened to the Gospel of Luke or simply Luke, is the third and longest of the four canonical Gospels. This synoptic gospel is an account of the life and ministry of Jesus of Nazareth. It details his story from the events of his birth to his Ascension.The...

 11:31 in the New Testament, where Jesus
Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

 indicates that she and the Ninevites
Nineveh
Nineveh was an ancient Assyrian city on the eastern bank of the Tigris River, and capital of the Neo Assyrian Empire. Its ruins are across the river from the modern-day major city of Mosul, in the Ninawa Governorate of Iraq....

 will judge the generation of Jesus' contemporaries who rejected him. (Some argument believed that The Queen of Sheba was not the Queen of the South, because she did not come from the Ends of the Earth.)

Qur'anic and other Middle Eastern accounts



The Qur'an
Qur'an
The Quran , also transliterated Qur'an, Koran, Alcoran, Qur’ān, Coran, Kuran, and al-Qur’ān, is the central religious text of Islam, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God . It is regarded widely as the finest piece of literature in the Arabic language...

, the central religious text of Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

, mentions the kingdom of the Queen by name (Sheba) in the 34th Chapter. Arab
Arab
Arab people, also known as Arabs , are a panethnicity primarily living in the Arab world, which is located in Western Asia and North Africa. They are identified as such on one or more of genealogical, linguistic, or cultural grounds, with tribal affiliations, and intra-tribal relationships playing...

 sources name her Balqis, Bilqis or Bilquis. The Qur'anic narrative, from sura
Sura
A sura is a division of the Qur'an, often referred to as a chapter. The term chapter is sometimes avoided, as the suras are of unequal length; the shortest sura has only three ayat while the longest contains 286 ayat...

 27 (An-Naml), has Suleiman getting reports from the Hoopoe
Hoopoe
The Hoopoe is a colourful bird that is found across Afro-Eurasia, notable for its distinctive 'crown' of feathers. It is the only extant species in the family Upupidae. One insular species, the Giant Hoopoe of Saint Helena, is extinct, and the Madagascar subspecies of the Hoopoe is sometimes...

 bird about the kingdom of Saba (Sheba), ruled by a queen whose people worship the sun instead of God. Suleiman sends a letter inviting her to submit fully to the One God, Allah
Allah
Allah is a word for God used in the context of Islam. In Arabic, the word means simply "God". It is used primarily by Muslims and Bahá'ís, and often, albeit not exclusively, used by Arabic-speaking Eastern Catholic Christians, Maltese Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox Christians, Mizrahi Jews and...

, Lord of the Worlds according to the Islamic text. The Queen of Sheba is unsure how to respond and asks her advisors for council. They reply by reminding her that they are "of great toughness" in a reference to their willingness to go to war should she choose to. She replies that she fears if they were to lose, Suleiman may behave as any other king would: 'entering a country, despoiling it and making the most honorable of its people its lowest'. She decides to meet with Suleiman in order to find out more. Suleiman receives her response to meet him, and asks if anyone can bring him her throne before she arrives. A jinn
Jinn
Jinn are supernatural beings in Arab folklore and Islamic teachings.Jinn may also refer to:* Jinn , a Japanese band* Qui-Gon Jinn, a character in the Star Wars universe...

 under the control of Suleiman proposed that he will bring it before Suleiman rises from his seat. One who had knowledge of the "Book" proposed to bring him the throne of Bilqis
Tay al-Ard
Tayy al-Arḍ is the name for thaumaturgical teleportation in the mystical form of Islamic religious and philosophical tradition. The concept has been expressed as "traversing the earth without moving"; some have termed it "moving by the earth being displaced under one's feet"...

 'in the twinkling of an eye' and accomplished that immediately. The queen arrives at his court, is shown her throne and asked: does your throne look like this? She replied: (It is) as though it were it. When she enters his crystal palace she accepts Abrahamic
Abrahamic religions
Abrahamic religions are the monotheistic faiths emphasizing and tracing their common origin to Abraham or recognizing a spiritual tradition identified with him...

 monotheism
Monotheism
Monotheism is the belief in the existence of one and only one god. Monotheism is characteristic of the Baha'i Faith, Christianity, Druzism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Samaritanism, Sikhism and Zoroastrianism.While they profess the existence of only one deity, monotheistic religions may still...

 and the worship of one God alone, Allah.

Ethiopian accounts


The imperial family of Ethiopia
Ethiopia
Ethiopia , officially known as the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. It is the second-most populous nation in Africa, with over 82 million inhabitants, and the tenth-largest by area, occupying 1,100,000 km2...

 claims its origin directly from the offspring of the Queen of Sheba by King Solomon. The Queen of Sheba , is named Makeda in the Ethiopian account.

The etymology of her name is uncertain, but there are two principal opinions about its Ethiopian source. One group, which includes the British scholar Edward Ullendorff
Edward Ullendorff
Edward Ullendorff FBA was a British scholar and historian, especially in Semitic languages and Ethiopia.-Biography:...

, holds that it is a corruption of "Candace", the Ethiopian queen mentioned in the New Testament Acts
Acts of the Apostles
The Acts of the Apostles , usually referred to simply as Acts, is the fifth book of the New Testament; Acts outlines the history of the Apostolic Age...

; the other group connects the name with Macedonia, and relates this story to the later Ethiopian legends about Alexander the Great and the era of 330 BCE.

The Italian scholar Carlo Conti Rossini, however, was unconvinced by either of these theories and, in 1954 stated that he believed the matter unresolved.

An ancient compilation of Ethiopian legends, Kebra Negast ('the Glory of Kings'), is dated to seven hundred years ago and relates a history of Makeda and her descendants. In this account King Solomon is said to have seduced the Queen of Sheba and sired her son, Menelik I
Menelik I
Menelik I , first Jewish Emperor of Ethiopia, is traditionally believed to be the son of King Solomon of ancient Israel and Makeda, ancient Ethiopia Queen of Sheba. He ruled around 950 BC, according to traditional sources...

, who would become the first Emperor of Ethiopia.

The narrative given in the Kebra Negast - which has no parallel in the Hebrew Biblical story - is that King Solomon invited the Queen of Sheba to a banquet, serving spicy food to induce her thirst, and inviting her to stay in his palace overnight. The Queen asked him to swear that he would not take her by force. He accepted upon the condition that she, in turn, would not take anything from his house by force. The Queen assured that she would not, slightly offended by the implication that she, a rich and powerful monarch, would engage in stealing. However, as she woke up in the middle of the night, she was very thirsty. Just as she reached for a jar of water placed close to her bed, King Solomon appeared, warning her that she was breaking her oath, water being the most valuable of all material possessions. Thus, while quenching her thirst, she set the king free from his promise and they spent the night together.

Other Ethiopian accounts make her the daughter of a king named Agabo or Agabos, in some legends said to have become king after slaying the mythological serpent Arwe; in others, to have been the 28th ruler of the Agazyan tribe. In either event, he is said to have extended his Empire to both sides of the Red Sea.

The tradition that the Biblical Queen of Sheba was a ruler of Ethiopia who visited King Solomon in Jerusalem, in ancient Israel, is supported by the first century CE. Roman
Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that grew on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to one of the largest empires in the ancient world....

 (of Jewish
Judaism
Judaism ) is the "religion, philosophy, and way of life" of the Jewish people...

 origin) historian
Historian
A historian is a person who studies and writes about the past and is regarded as an authority on it. Historians are concerned with the continuous, methodical narrative and research of past events as relating to the human race; as well as the study of all history in time. If the individual is...

 Flavius Josephus, who identified Solomon’s visitor as a "Queen of Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

 and Ethiopia
Ethiopia
Ethiopia , officially known as the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. It is the second-most populous nation in Africa, with over 82 million inhabitants, and the tenth-largest by area, occupying 1,100,000 km2...

".

While there are no known traditions of matriarchal rule
Matriarchy
A matriarchy is a society in which females, especially mothers, have the central roles of political leadership and moral authority. It is also sometimes called a gynocratic or gynocentric society....

 in Yemen
Yemen
The Republic of Yemen , commonly known as Yemen , is a country located in the Middle East, occupying the southwestern to southern end of the Arabian Peninsula. It is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the north, the Red Sea to the west, and Oman to the east....

 during the early first millennium BC, the earliest inscriptions of the rulers of Dʿmt in northern Ethiopia and Eritrea
Eritrea
Eritrea , officially the State of Eritrea, is a country in the Horn of Africa. Eritrea derives it's name from the Greek word Erethria, meaning 'red land'. The capital is Asmara. It is bordered by Sudan in the west, Ethiopia in the south, and Djibouti in the southeast...

 mention queens
Queen consort
A queen consort is the wife of a reigning king. A queen consort usually shares her husband's rank and holds the feminine equivalent of the king's monarchical titles. Historically, queens consort do not share the king regnant's political and military powers. Most queens in history were queens consort...

 of very high status, possibly equal to their kings.

Other traditions


In addition to the above cited accounts, at least one other traditional reference to the queen exists. The Yoruba
Yoruba people
The Yoruba people are one of the largest ethnic groups in West Africa. The majority of the Yoruba speak the Yoruba language...

 Ijebu clan of Ijebu-Ode, Nigeria
Nigeria
Nigeria , officially the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is a federal constitutional republic comprising 36 states and its Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. The country is located in West Africa and shares land borders with the Republic of Benin in the west, Chad and Cameroon in the east, and Niger in...

, claim that she was actually a noblewoman of theirs known as Oloye
Oba (ruler)
Oba is a West African synonym for monarch, one that is usually applied to the Yoruba and Edo rulers of the region. It is also often used by their traditional subjects to refer to other kings and queens, such as Elizabeth I of England, in their native languages.-Edo account of the word's origin:The...

 Bilikisu Sungbo
. They also assert that a medieval structure, known as the eredo
Sungbo's Eredo
Sungbo's Eredo is a rampart or system of walls and ditches that is located to the south-west of the Yoruba town of Ijebu-Ode in Ogun state, southwest Nigeria . It was built in honour of the Ijebu noblewoman Oloye Bilikisu Sungbo, and is reputed to be the largest single pre-colonial monument in...

, that was built by their ancestors over the course of the 9th, 10th and 11th centuries, was a monument to the greatness of this personage by her people. This immense shrine, as well as her reputed grave which is attached to it, have been acknowledged as being potentially connected to the Sheban monarch by at least two archaeological scholars.

Christian interpretations


Christian interpretations of the scriptures mentioning the Queen of Sheba in the Hebrew Bible, the Old Testament, typically have emphasized both the historical and metaphorical values in the story. The account of the Queen of Sheba is thereby interpreted by Christians as being both a metaphor and an analogy: the Queen's visit to Solomon has been compared to the metaphorical marriage of the Church to Christ where Solomon is the anointed one or the messiah and Sheba represents a Gentile
Gentile
The term Gentile refers to non-Israelite peoples or nations in English translations of the Bible....

 population submitting to the messiah; the Queen of Sheba's chastity has also been depicted as a foreshadowing of the Virgin Mary; and the three gifts that she brought (gold, spices, and stones) have been seen as analogous to the gifts of the Magi
Magi
Magi is a term, used since at least the 4th century BC, to denote a follower of Zoroaster, or rather, a follower of what the Hellenistic world associated Zoroaster with, which...

 (gold, frankincense, and myrrh). The latter is emphasized as being consistent with a passage from Isaiah
Book of Isaiah
The Book of Isaiah is the first of the Latter Prophets in the Hebrew Bible, preceding the books of Ezekiel, Jeremiah and the Book of the Twelve...

 60:6; And they from Sheba shall come: they shall bring forth gold and incense; and they shall show forth the praises of the Lord. This last connection is interpreted as relating to the Magi, the learned astronomers of Sheba who saw a new star and set off on a journey to find a new ruler connected to the new star, that led them to Bethlehem
Bethlehem
Bethlehem is a Palestinian city in the central West Bank of the Jordan River, near Israel and approximately south of Jerusalem, with a population of about 30,000 people. It is the capital of the Bethlehem Governorate of the Palestinian National Authority and a hub of Palestinian culture and tourism...

.

Medieval depictions


Art in the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

 depicting the visit of the Queen of Sheba includes the Portal of the Mother of God at the 13th century Amiens Cathedral
Amiens Cathedral
The Cathedral of Our Lady of Amiens , or simply Amiens Cathedral, is a Roman Catholic cathedral and seat of the Bishop of Amiens...

, which is included as an analogy as part of a larger depiction of the gifts of the Magi. The 12th century cathedrals at Strasbourg
Strasbourg Cathedral
Strasbourg Cathedral or the Cathedral of Our Lady of Strasbourg is a Roman Catholic cathedral in Strasbourg, France. Although considerable parts of it are still in Romanesque architecture, it is widely consideredSusan Bernstein: , The Johns Hopkins University Press to be among the finest...

, Chartres, Rochester
Rochester Cathedral
Rochester Cathedral, or the Cathedral Church of Christ and the Blessed Virgin Mary, is a Norman church in Rochester, Kent. The bishopric is second oldest in England after Canterbury...

 and Canterbury
Canterbury Cathedral
Canterbury Cathedral in Canterbury, Kent, is one of the oldest and most famous Christian structures in England and forms part of a World Heritage Site....

 include artistic renditions in such elements as stained glass windows and door jamb decorations.

Renaissance account


Boccaccio's On Famous Women  follows Josephus in calling the Queen of Sheba, Nicaula. Boccaccio goes on to explain that not only was she the Queen of Ethiopia
Ethiopia
Ethiopia , officially known as the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. It is the second-most populous nation in Africa, with over 82 million inhabitants, and the tenth-largest by area, occupying 1,100,000 km2...

 and Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

, but also the queen of Arabia. She also is related to have had a grand palace on "a very large island" called Meroe
Meroë
Meroë Meroitic: Medewi or Bedewi; Arabic: and Meruwi) is an ancient city on the east bank of the Nile about 6 km north-east of the Kabushiya station near Shendi, Sudan, approximately 200 km north-east of Khartoum. Near the site are a group of villages called Bagrawiyah...

, located someplace near the Nile river, "practically on the other side of the world." From there Nicaula crossed the deserts of Arabia, through Ethiopia and Egypt, and up the coast of the Red Sea
Red Sea
The Red Sea is a seawater inlet of the Indian Ocean, lying between Africa and Asia. The connection to the ocean is in the south through the Bab el Mandeb strait and the Gulf of Aden. In the north, there is the Sinai Peninsula, the Gulf of Aqaba, and the Gulf of Suez...

, to come to Jerusalem to see "the great King Solomon".

Christine de Pizan
Christine de Pizan
Christine de Pizan was a Venetian-born late medieval author who challenged misogyny and stereotypes prevalent in the male-dominated medieval culture. As a poet, she was well known and highly regarded in her own day; she completed 41 works during her 30 year career , and can be regarded as...

's The Book of the City of Ladies
The Book of the City of Ladies
thumb|400px|right|Picture from The Book of the City of LadiesThe Book of the City of Ladies , or Le Livre de la Cité des Dames, is perhaps Christine de Pizan's most famous literary work, and it is her second work of lengthy prose. Pizan uses the vernacular French language to compose the book, but...

continues the convention of calling the Queen of Sheba, Nicaula. Piero della Francesca
Piero della Francesca
Piero della Francesca was a painter of the Early Renaissance. As testified by Giorgio Vasari in his Lives of the Artists, to contemporaries he was also known as a mathematician and geometer. Nowadays Piero della Francesca is chiefly appreciated for his art. His painting was characterized by its...

's fresco
Fresco
Fresco is any of several related mural painting types, executed on plaster on walls or ceilings. The word fresco comes from the Greek word affresca which derives from the Latin word for "fresh". Frescoes first developed in the ancient world and continued to be popular through the Renaissance...

es in Arezzo
Arezzo
Arezzo is a city and comune in Central Italy, capital of the province of the same name, located in Tuscany. Arezzo is about 80 km southeast of Florence, at an elevation of 296 m above sea level. In 2011 the population was about 100,000....

 (ca 1466) on the Legend of the True Cross, contain two panels on the visit of the Queen of Sheba to Solomon. The legend links the beams of Solomon's palace (adored by Queen of Sheba) to the wood of the crucifixion. The Renaissance continuation of the metaphorical view of the Queen of Sheba as an analogy to the gifts of the Magi also is clearly evident in the Triptych of the Adoration of the Magi
The Epiphany (Bosch triptych)
The Epiphany is an oil painting on wood panels triptych painted by Hieronymus Bosch around the year 1495. This triptych is also sometimes referred to as "The Adoration of the Magi".The centre panel measures 138 x 72 cm, and the wings measure 138 x 34 cm....

 (c. 1510), by Hieronymus Bosch. Bosch chooses to depict a scene of the Queen of Sheba and Solomon in an ornately decorated collar
Collar (clothing)
In clothing, a collar is the part of a shirt, dress, coat or blouse that fastens around or frames the neck. Among clothing construction professionals, a collar is differentiated from other necklines such as revers and lapels, by being made from a separate piece of fabric, rather than a folded or...

 worn by one of the Magi.

Christopher Marlowe
Christopher Marlowe
Christopher Marlowe was an English dramatist, poet and translator of the Elizabethan era. As the foremost Elizabethan tragedian, next to William Shakespeare, he is known for his blank verse, his overreaching protagonists, and his mysterious death.A warrant was issued for Marlowe's arrest on 18 May...

's Doctor Faustus
The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus
The Tragicall History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustus, commonly referred to simply as Doctor Faustus, is a play by Christopher Marlowe, based on the Faust story, in which a man sells his soul to the devil for power and knowledge...

 refers to the Queen of Sheba as Saba, when Mephistopheles
Mephistopheles
Mephistopheles is a demon featured in German folklore...

 is trying to persuade Faust
Faust
Faust is the protagonist of a classic German legend; a highly successful scholar, but also dissatisfied with his life, and so makes a deal with the devil, exchanging his soul for unlimited knowledge and worldly pleasures. Faust's tale is the basis for many literary, artistic, cinematic, and musical...

us of the wisdom of the women with whom he supposedly shall be presented every morning.

Possible Egyptian derivation


Josephus says in his Antiquity of the Jews, book 8 chapter 6, that it was the "queen of Egypt and Ethiopia" who visited King Solomon.

Recent archaeological discoveries


Recent archaeological discoveries in Mareb, Yemen
Yemen
The Republic of Yemen , commonly known as Yemen , is a country located in the Middle East, occupying the southwestern to southern end of the Arabian Peninsula. It is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the north, the Red Sea to the west, and Oman to the east....

 support the view that the Queen of Sheba ruled over southern Arabia, with evidence suggesting that the area was the capital of the Kingdom of Sheba.

A team of researchers funded by the American Foundation for the Study of Man (AFSM) and led by University of Calgary
University of Calgary
The University of Calgary is a public research university located in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Founded in 1966 the U of C is composed of 14 faculties and more than 85 research institutes and centres.More than 25,000 undergraduate and 5,500 graduate students are currently...

 archaeology professor, Dr. Bill Glanzman, has been working to "unlock the secrets of a 3,000-year-old temple in Yemen
Yemen
The Republic of Yemen , commonly known as Yemen , is a country located in the Middle East, occupying the southwestern to southern end of the Arabian Peninsula. It is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the north, the Red Sea to the west, and Oman to the east....

." "We have an enormous job ahead of us," said Glanzman in 2007. "Our first task is to wrest the sanctuary from the desert sands, documenting our findings as we go. We're trying to determine how the temple was associated with the Queen of Sheba, how the sanctuary was used throughout history, and how it came to play such an important role in Arab folklore."

See also



  • Sheba
    Sheba
    Sheba was a kingdom mentioned in the Jewish scriptures and the Qur'an...

  • Minaean
  • King Solomon
  • Old Testament
    Old Testament
    The Old Testament, of which Christians hold different views, is a Christian term for the religious writings of ancient Israel held sacred and inspired by Christians which overlaps with the 24-book canon of the Masoretic Text of Judaism...

  • Teleportation in Islam
  • Bilocation
    Bilocation
    Bilocation, or sometimes multilocation, is a term used to describe the ability/instances in which an individual or object is said to be, or appears to be, located in two distinct places at the same instant in time...

  • Biblical narratives and the Qur'an
    Biblical narratives and the Qur'an
    The Qur'an, the central religious text of Islam, contains references to over fifty people and events also found in the Bible. While the stories told in each book are generally comparable in most respects, important differences sometimes emerge....


Primary sources

  • Budge, E. A. Wallis, The Queen of Sheba and her only son Menelik, London 1932.
  • Jankowski, A., Die Königin von Saba und Salomo, Hamburg 1987.
  • Joseph, Antiquitates iudaicae, viii.6.2.
  • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis historia, vi.32.154.

Secondary sources