The ancient Arabians, or Arabes as they were called by the Hellenes, were a Semitic people. One must note that the Arabians were not a single people but multiple smaller kingdoms and tribes. Arabia was home to great city builders and nomads alike. They were of great influence on many occasions in the ancient period.

One of the first mentions of Arabs comes from the Bible and the Torah. The table of nations mentions Sheba, Dedan, and Qedar. Best known is the famous and legendary rich Queen of Sheba who visited King Solomon, also mentioned in the Qur'an. Sheba is these days identified with ancient Saba, then the leading power in what today is Yemen. It was known for its prosperity, urban centres, and magnificent buildings. The Qedar are known from Assyrian records as paying tribute from the 8th century BCE onwards, but also as Assyria's enemies in the annals of Ashurbanipal. The Minaeans, also mentioned in Assyrian records, were famous traders who controlled most of the Red Sea area and appear to have had close ties with the Egyptians with whom they traded incense. The caravan city of Tayma was also famous; it was mentioned in the 8th century BCE by the Assyrians for paying tribute, and it was the home of the Babylonian king Nabonidus during his elder days.

More about: Arabia


  • 570
    Muhammad is born in Mecca.
  • 637
    Aleppo is conquered by Khalid ibn al-Walid.
  • 638
    Arabs capture Jerusalem.