Yemenite Goddess amulet and altars

Gold amulet from Yemen, inscribed: hwl / 'lhtn 'lhy / b'lt / hrn

"Magical power of the Goddess be upon the bearer of this amulet." (Maraqten 1996)

"Lunate amulet of a goddess. Gold. Possibly 2nd century AD. Height 1.6 cm, width 1.75 cm; 1.2 g weight. Said to have been acquired at Shabwa in 1954."
—British Musem description

Yemenite stone altar, 1st century BCE. Now in Istanbul. Many of you will have seen this same motif of the invoking woman, with upraised arms above a triangular skirt, from Carthage: the Sign of Tanit.

Punic culture was Phoenicians in Tunisia + indigenous Amazigh ("Berber") people. This motif is not exclusive to them, but also exists in Arabia and at the northern tip of the Gulf of Aqaba, the sea on the eastern side of Sinai. I'll post that one, the most ancient of all, far below.

Altar-censer with Qatabanic inscription. Now in British Museum.

Altar in the Aden Museum. There are several layers of symbolism here: invoking woman / Goddess in benediction; lunar crescent (moon god Sin) and solar disk (sun goddess Shams); some sources highlight "moon pillars," though it is difficult to find photos of them, more drawings.

Here we have an actual inscription to the sun goddess Shams. Saba,_1st century ce. The inset architectural portals are a very ancient motif, seen in early dynastic buildings in both Sumeria and Kemet (Egypt). The moon crescent is like horns, or a chalice, with the solar light hovering over it. Exceptionally fine carving, and that beautiful Sabaic (Sabaean) script.

"The Ancient South Arabian script branched from the Proto-Sinaitic script in about the late 2nd millennium BCE. It was used for writing the Old South Arabian languages Sabaic, Qatabanic, Hadramautic, Minaean, and Hasaitic, and the Ethiopic language Ge'ez in Dʿmt." (wiki)

Ge'ez is the script that modern Amharic writing derives from. Like the Arabian languages, it is a member of the Semitic language family, which in turn belongs to the larger Afroasiatic family, including Kemetic / Ancient Egyptian.

Broken censer, southern Yemeni highlands

Another finely carved censer from Hayd ibn Aqil, Yemen. A name is inscribed upon it. Unusually deep-carved stone portals on the sides.

Altar from Sabean Yeha treasury, Ethiopia. Saba' spanned the Red Sea, so that both Yemenites and Ethiopians claim the Queen of Sheba.

"Eyes of the Goddess" on stone censer from Yemen. This motif is very ancient in southwest Asia. The earliest examples I know of are in Sumeria, Eyes of Inanna, also found in the eastern Diyala region of Iraq. They are prominent in Nabataean stelae also, in Jordan, one of them inscribed to Allat, "Goddess."

Bronze censer, still with the crescent moon and sun disk motif, but foregrounding the ibex. These wild mountain goats were sacred to goddesses throughout western Asia and into the Dardic country of Afghanistan and Pakistan, where the horns were heaped at outdoor altars. (I have more about this buried somewhere in the Archives, but this off the top of my head.) But the serpents ascending from the ground!

Black gem amulet from Shabwa, Yemen. Those are letter around her face; but looking closer, she is horned.

Mother Goddess suckling infant, bronze container, Yemen. Hellenistic influence on this one, probably early centuries CE

Goddess blessing or woman invoking, with ritual assemblage of miniature grinding stones, bowls, a bird statuette, possible phallus, and shells. Ein Natafim, 5000 bce. The name means "a spring of small drops," (not much water!) outside Elat (a city named "Goddess"!) at the top of the Gulf of Aqaba. Below is a picture of the site.

"the pillars of Marib's Baran Temple, where Sabaean priests and priestesses once clouded the air with incense. The trade in precious woods and fragrant resins fueled the ancient economy that built these monuments." —"Saving Yemen's History," National Geographic, p 114. (when did they stop listing the month and year on the pages?)

Below, the Mahram Bilqis, as Arabians call this temple, "throne of Bilqis," the legendary queen of Sheba as she is called in the Qur'an. Marib was the capital of the Sabaean realm, ancient Yemen.

Below, another view. I have this down as built in the 7th century bce. Sabaean inscription in foreground.

Another Ethiopian altar, with inscription YLBB dedicated to Almaqah, 6th-5th bce.

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