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Document Details :
Title: Hydraulic and Pneumatic Devices in Pre-Islamic Yemen
Author(s): FILSON, Lily
Journal: Ancient West & East
Volume: 19 Date: 2020
The 10th-century work Al-Iklil of the mediaeval Yemeni historian Abu Mohammed al-Hasan al-Hamdani (AD 893-945) transmits memories of mechanical devices once present at Ghumdan Palace in Sana’a, a site which had been pillaged and destroyed before al-Hamdani’s lifetime. The present study’s aim is the insertion of these South Arabian pre-Islamic objects into a broader understanding of the period’s technology. The Ghumdan Palace devices supplement the established chronology of transmission from Greek origins to the East and the eventual Islamic sphere in late antiquity and the early mediaeval period, and in these we witness an as-yet unremarked facet of the intersection of Hellenistic culture with the Sabaean and Himyarite civilisations of ancient Yemen.