Who was Queen Sheba?


Queen Sheba is an exotic and mysterious woman whose reference has been found in many religious works such as the Bible, Koran as well as Jewish texts. Perhaps the first mention of this queen is found in the Old Testament. According to the narrative in Bible Queen Sheba was the queen of a rich trading nation around the tenth century BC and met King Solomon in person. As the story goes she did not believe in the tales of wisdom about King Solomon and wanted to test him herself. She asked him many hard questions and on answering them correctly Queen Sheba offered a lot of gold to Solomon in return. She also gave Solomon “all he desired” according to the Bible before returning home. Her name is also mentioned in the Book of Chronicles and even Jesus Christ spoke about this Queen from the South. But barring these few historical evidences there are no pieces of information about Queen Sheba and thus it has become one of history’s mysterious. So who was Queen Sheba?

Pictorial Representation of Queen Sheba Visiting Solomon's Palace

One of the most rrelevant stories about her true identity is found in the writings of an Ethiopian monk named Yetshak who wrote about her in Kebra Negast (or ‘Glory of King’). Yetshak writes about Makeda (Ethiopian translation for Queen Sheba) and claims that she visited King Solomon but was seduced by the king. On her arrival to Solomon’s palace she was welcomed heartily by the king and he extended his warm hospitality. He also instructed her not to take anything without asking. After dinner Queen Sheba felt thirsty as Solomon had offered her spicy meal and drank the water placed beside her bed. When the King came to know about this incidence he charged Queen Sheba against breaking the rules and as as repayment she had to sleep with the king. Further the story claims that after nine months the queen gave birth to a son named Menelik. This fact is also testified by the Jewish books. He later founded a great dynasty in Aksum, Ethiopia.

How Queen Sheba May Have Looked

Contrary to Yetshak’s account there are other stories found in Europe. A thirteenth century text Legenda Aurea claims that the queen became a prophetess and was even connected to the cruxification of Christ. Later she spent her days in studying and working with religious art and decorations. Some other texts also claim her to sorceress or even seductress. A French Gothic structure even shows her to have webbed foot. Many accounts of her physical deformity are also present. In both Koran and Jewish text named Targum Sheni it is revealed that the queen had hairy feet. According to the Jewish text the queen of Sheba is also portrayed as a demon or seductress. Whereas Koran states that she had hair on her feet which was eventually removed by the magical powers of King Solomon, who later married her. She is named as the Queen Sheba Balkis and her nation is believed to be Yemen according to the Koran. Accounts of queen Sheba’s kingdom such as camel trains, advanced types of farming and good access to the Red Sea meant that the land was prosperous. Archaeologists have at later dates uncovered such a land in the Mareb region of Yemen, and thus it is considered to be Sheba’s capital.

Throne of Balkis Built During Queen Sheba's Times

In the recent years the archaeologists have uncovered an ancient temple in Marab region which is known as “Throne of Balkis”. This temple dates back to the tenth century BC and was built nearly during the reign of Queen Sheba.  Another ancient building has also come up to the east of Marab region and it is known as “Temple of Moon God”. With the use of radar technology the scientists have been able to identify large structures to be laid within it. Study of these ancient buildings can yield a lot of information about this much talked about Queen.

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