Sheba: Through the Desert in Search of the Legendary Queen

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The Queen of Sheba might have wanted to make a trade deal with him. But as the author warns, "Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. He starts in Jerusalem, looking for any clues to the will o'the wisp queen, and proceeds to northern Saudi Arabia where the kingdom of Midian once flourished. From there he investigates sites in Yemen, just before it became too wild, woolly, and well-armed for even hardy seekers like him. With valuable incense and spices and an old civilization built upon trade with the Mediterranean world, the ancient kingdoms of Saba, Qataban, and Hadramawt prove the most likely points of origin for a Queen of Sheba Saba?

Clapp goes over to Ethiopia too, to Aksum and Lalibela, but their time charts don't match the rest of the story.

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Sheba: Through the Desert in Search of the Legendary Queen

He sails back to Yemen in a local craft in one of the less comfortable trips of our times. It's all with a good sense of humor, all really well-written. I don't think the conclusions are earth-shaking, but it's a hell of a read. Definitely one for the reading list.

Sheba : Through the Desert in Search of the Legendary Queen by Nicholas Clapp (2002, Paperback)

Jan 25, Alex Telander rated it liked it Shelves: In this most historic effort, one man records — through fact, evidence and study — who the real woman known as the Queen of Sheba was. Firstly, she is a place in the ancient world in which she was at one point considered queen; ruling with her, as well as being the one who made her queen, was none other than the king of Solomon. In Sheba Nicholas Clapp goes all the way, taking the reader on a guided tour, first into every known genre where the enigmatic Sheba is mentioned.

Having provided a stron In this most historic effort, one man records — through fact, evidence and study — who the real woman known as the Queen of Sheba was. Having provided a strong background and introduction, Clapp then takes the reader into the areas where Sheba is actually though to have lived: Ethiopia, with Solomon and the Holy Land, and into the desert and land of spices.

What is necessary, I believe, before reading the book is a relatively well-rounded background in the religious texts of the ancient world, like the Bible and the Koran, for there are certain instances where Clapp tries to explain religious as well as historical significance, but can only go so far when these texts are involved. Nevertheless, the book is a delight to read and provides a unique insight into a character so shrouded in mystery and legend that very few truly know who the Queen of Sheba really was.

Great Myths and Legends: The Queen of Sheba in History and Legend

Originally published on February 11th For over book reviews, and over 40 exclusive author interviews both audio and written , visit BookBanter. Jan 29, Hannah rated it really liked it. This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.


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I found this book interesting although I'm not in love with the writing regarding the history and archeology in and around Arabia. However, I found the "Sheba" hunt to be a little dramatic and overbearing.


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  7. SHEBA: Through the Desert in Search of the Legendary Queen?

Clapp is aware of his obsessiveness on the subject and seems to have convinced himself of a favorable outcome, but aside from uncovering and piecing together amazing archeology history, I am unconvinced of the link to Sheba - nor did I find it particularly important. Unlike Road to Ubar, wit I found this book interesting although I'm not in love with the writing regarding the history and archeology in and around Arabia.

Unlike Road to Ubar, with a fairly clear discovery and outcome, this seemed forced. Well, if you accept that Solomon existed, then she probably did. And after traveling to several sites Ethiopia, Syria searching for evidence of her existence, it seems the most likely location for her was Yemen. Which has historically been unavailable for any kind of excavations. This is one of those popular travel cum history books where the author goes 'in search of', telling of his adventures and occasionally noting this, that or the other 'discovery' about the ostensible object of the quest.

Sheba: Through the Desert in Search of the Legendary Queen by Nicholas Clapp

Don't expect to learn much about the Queen of Sheba. We don't know much. You'll learn more about legends about the Queen than about the person herself--and considerably more about the author, primarily known as a film-maker, but an amateur archeologist as well.

Nov 10, Sharon Buchbinder rated it it was amazing. This book is a great journey through history, geography, religions all focused two main questions: Or was she a symbol of trade opening in Israel under the reign of Solomon? An in-depth, thoughtful examination of a legendary female that took me along for a great ride. I wanted to like this book but I just did not connect with it all. I think the problem for me was that the book really did not know what it wanted to be when it grew up.

Did it want to be historical detective novel in search of the mysterious Queen of Sheba or did it want to be a travel guide? Not bad but just not something I could get into. This book details a twenty-year quest to find the historical Queen of Sheba; if she even existed. Part detective story, part religious scholarship, part archaeology, part linguistics, and a good dose of adventure make this trip through the ancient lands an enjoyable read.

If you enjoy a good history yarn, this is one you will enjoy. I love this book! The writing is amazing and the journey itself sounds so fun and educational. Made me want to go visit Yemen and see the old shrines and monuments! Jan 07, Nicole Kapise-Perkins rated it it was ok. This was an interesting travelogue about trying to search for archeological clues concerning the Queen of Sheba, but far less about the findings than I had expected, mostly because Nicholas Clapp wasn't able to investigate as much as he would have liked.

Jul 23, John rated it liked it Recommends it for: A decent book, but got a bit bogged down in the archeology for me.

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Tudor Parfitt's books on searching for The Ark of the Covenant were more interesting. Jan 30, M. Spencer rated it it was ok. It was a lot slower than I expected. I was particularly interested in the Ethiopian connection and Clapp spent very little time on that. In a quixotic odyssey that takes him to Ethiopia, Arabia, Israel, and even a village in France, Nicholas Clapp seeks the underlying truth behind the multifaceted myth of the queen of Sheba.


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  • It's an eventful journey. In Israel, he learns of a living queen of Sheba -- a pilgrim suffering from "Jerusalem Syndrome" -- and in Syria he tracks down the queen's tomb, as described in the Arabian Nights. Clapp investigates the Ethiopian shrine where Menelik, said to be the son of Solomon and the mysterious queen, may have hidden the Ark of the Covenant.

    Then the "worst train in the world" according to the conductor takes Clapp to the Red Sea, where he sets sail for Yemen in an ancient dhow and comes perilously close to being shipwrecked. As in his search for the lost city of Ubar, Clapp uses satellite images, this time to track an ancient caravan route that leads to the queen's winter capital in present-day Yemen.