Definitions for zafar, yemen

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  1. Zafar, Yemen

    Ẓafār or Dhafar Ðafār is an ancient Himyarite site situated in Yemen, some 130 km south-south-east of today's capital, Sana'a. Given mention in different ancient texts, there is little doubt about the pronunciation of the name. Despite the opinion of local patriots in Oman, this site is far older than its namesake there. It lies in the Yemenite highlands at some 2800 m. The closest large town is Yarim, which is 10 km directly to the north-north-west. Zafar was the capital of the Himyarite tribal confederation, which at its peak ruled most of the Arabia. The Himyar are not a tribe, but rather a tribal confederacy. 250 years long the Himyarite confederacy including its allies extended north of Riyadh to the north and the Euphrates to the north-east. Zafar was the Himyarite capital in South Arabia prior to the Axumite conquest. The settlement beginnings are obscure. The main source is Old South Arabian musnad inscriptions dated as early as the 1st century BC. It is mentioned by Pliny in his Natural History, in the anonymous Periplus of the Erythraean Sea, as well as in the Geographia of Claudius Ptolemaeus. Presumably in medieval times the coordinates of the Ptolemy map were incorrectly copied or emended so that subsequent maps place the site Sepphar metropolis in Oman, not in Yemen. Written sources regarding Zafar are numerous, but heterogeneous in informational value. The most important source is epigraphic Old South Arabian. Christian texts shed light on the war between the Himyar and the Axumites. The Vita of Gregentios is a pious forgery created by century Byzantine monks, which mentions a bishop who allegedly had his see in Zafar.

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