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This poem is taken from PN Review 77, Volume 17 Number 3, January - February 1991.

HRGB or A Lunar Eclipse in Yemen John Ash

In his description of the trade route to India
Pliny mentions in passing 'Sapphar
residence of the king,' and this is the first,
certain reference to the western sources to
the fabled, nine-gated city of the Himyarites.
At about the same time the unknown author
of the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea
(doubtless a merchant captain long familiar
with the routes that led from Alexandria
to India by way of south Arabia)
describes Zafar as 'the residence of Charibael,
king of the Homerites and Sabaites,'
and it may have been this same Charibael,
or one of his immediate successors
who first assumed the sonorous title
'King of Saba and Lord of Raydan' (there is

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