Qataban and Sheba: Exploring the Ancient Kingdoms on the Biblical Spice Routes of Arabia

By Wendell Phillips | Go to book overview

22
AUDIENCE WITH THE IMAM

*

As might have been expected in Yemen, it was ten-thirty rather than nine o'clock when cars came for us, under the guidance of Sami Ezzedin, Foreign Affairs Officer. After leaving the guest house, we stopped to pick up Dr. Tarcici, and then drove not to the palace as I expected but to the building in the city outside of which the police had tried to stop our picture-taking.

We were ushered into a rather plain room and there had our first sight of His Majesty, the King of Yemen. He was sitting on an ornate chair, holding a small boy on his lap. The boy was playfully kicking the leg of a table which stood in front of the King.

The ruler of Yemen was a heavy-set man in his middle fifties, striking in looks because of his black beard and very large eyes which seemed to take in everything before him at a glance. He was beautifully dressed in a white silk robe, with a jeweled jambiya thrust into a green and gold sash. On his head he wore a gold brocaded turban. Behind his chair, on lovely Persian rugs, stood his advisers and a group of white-robed guards holding rifles.

The King greeted us with a friendly smile and shook hands all around. As Jama bent low to kiss his hand, His Majesty remembered that he had first met our chief Somali during his visit with entomologist Hugh Scott in 1938, and inquired, "How are my favorite people, the Somalis?"

I was seated on the King's left, whereupon he leaned forward and put one hand on my knee as he asked, "Takallam Arabi?"

-203-

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Qataban and Sheba: Exploring the Ancient Kingdoms on the Biblical Spice Routes of Arabia
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Author's Preface vii
  • Field Staff - American Foundation Arabian Expeditions xi
  • Contents xiii
  • 1 - Turn Backward, Turn Backward 3
  • 2 - Search for a Site 8
  • 3 - The Essence of Mukalla 16
  • 4 - Through the Hadhramaut 23
  • 5 - The Dig 40
  • 6 - Mountains and Clouds Of Sand 53
  • 7 - "Weakness of the Bones" 65
  • 8 - Bal Harith Tribesmen 76
  • 9 - The Lions of Timna 89
  • 10 - The Queen of Sheba 103
  • 11 - Miriam and the Gold Necklace 109
  • 12 - Professor Albright 120
  • 13 - Salaams to the President 125
  • 14 - Mount Sinai 133
  • 15 - Eileen 146
  • 16 - The Scaifes 154
  • 17 - Cities of the Dead 163
  • 18- Lady Bar'At 171
  • 19- Back to 1000 B.C. 180
  • 20 - Temple of Venus 186
  • 21 - Into Forbidden Yemen 194
  • 22 - Audience with the Imam 203
  • 23 - Across Unexplored Land 210
  • 24 - The Queen's City 218
  • 25 - Farewell to Beihan 231
  • 26 - Qataban Revealed 243
  • 27 - Troubles in Marib 248
  • 28 - Confusion Compounded 262
  • 29- Danger at Sheba 273
  • 30 - Escape! 301
  • 31 - Charges And Countercharges 321
  • 32 - Unknown Oman 329
  • Afterword Birth Pains of An Expedition 341
  • Substantial Contributors - American Foundation for the Study of Man 351
  • Index 355
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