- Museum number
Limestone inscribed slab; South Arabian text incised in 7 lines; part of the inscription is missing and was probably included on another block in the wall. On the object's right side there is also a fragmentary inscription suggesting that this block was on the corner of the structure. Two square holes are carved into the top surface of the block, but they were not used to secure the feet of a statue; they may have been used to secure the inscription in place or part of the reuse of the block. Traces of pigment confirmed as hematite (red ochre).
- Production date
Height: 23 centimetres (Face)
Height: 2.50 centimetres (Letter height)
Height: 0.30 centimetres (interline height)
Height: 31 centimetres (with base)
Length: 93.30 centimetres (Base)
Length: 89.50 centimetres (Face)
Thickness: 15 centimetres (base)
Thickness: 10 centimetres
- Inscription subject
- Curator's comments
- Bowers catalogue entry
Sabaean royal decree regulating business and financial transactions
End of 3rd century AD
Height 22.5 cm, width 90 cm, thickness 10 cm
ANE 1911-5-13,2 = 104396
Purchased from George Hallett
This is a royal decree by Shammar Yuharish, King of Saba and dhu-Raydan (c. AD 285-300), and concerns the regulation of the sale of slaves and animals in his capital at Marib. Part of the inscription is missing but the remainder can be reconstructed and may be translated as follows:
“Thus has King Shammar Yuharish, king of Saba and dhu-Raydan, the son of Yasir Yuhanim, king of Saba and of dhu-Raydan, for their subjects, the tribe of Saba, the inhabitants of the city of Marib and their valleys, commanded, decided, ordered and confirmed, as to every sale and every transaction which they undertake concerning a human being, a camel, a bull, a beast of burden or anything else: if someone buys a male or a female slave, a beast of burden or something else, the waiting-time [before the transaction is completed] shall be one month; if someone wants to return a camel, a bull or a beast of burden after ten or twenty days he has to pay a hire charge for the time during which he has used it, if a beast of burden dies while at its purchasers after the seventh day has ended, then the seller is released from all responsibility for its death and loss, and the purchaser must pay the seller its price; if someone borrows or lends money or goods, or agrees on a hire charge or a payment at an unspecified date with a male slave or a female slave ...”
Legal documents such as this were normally inscribed as two versions, one of which was on a small wooden branch or baton and was stored in an archive (sometimes in temples), and the other was inscribed on a stone block such as this and set up in a publicly visible place.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
2004 17 Oct-2005 13 Mar, California, Bowers Museum, 'Queen of Sheba: Legend and Reality'
2002 5 Jun-13 Oct, BM, 'Queen of Sheba: Treasures from ancient Yemen'
2000 26 Sept-2001 7 Jan, Torino, Palazzo Bricherasio, 'La Regina di Saba, Arte e Leggenda Dallo Yemen'
2000 4 Apr-30 Jun, Rome, Fondazione Memmo, Palazzo Ruspoli, 'Nel paese della Regina di Saba'
1999 7 Jul-2000 9 Jan, München, Staatliches Museum für Völkerkunde, 'Im Land der Königin von Saba'
1998 9 Nov-1999 21 Feb, Vienna, Künstlerhaus, 'Jemen. Kunst und Archäologie im Land der Königin von Saba'
1997 20 Oct-1998 28 Feb, France, Paris, Musee de L’Institut du Monde Arabe, Yemen, Pays de la Reine de Saba
- Part of the inscription is missing; old chips and abrasion; old restoration to the back.
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- Collection of "5 Himyaritic stones, 3 rings, 2 seals" deposited by Hallett in January 1911 (ANE deposit book entry).
- Middle East
- BM/Big number
- Registration number
- Additional IDs
Miscellaneous number: Gl. 542 (Glaser)
Miscellaneous number: RES 3910 (siglum)