Christian Julien Robin
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Name derived from the Arabic al-yamanyaman v, 561b , which indicates the south of the Arabian peninsula. Etymologically, al-yaman means “the south” and is the opposite of al-shāmshām v, 561b , “the north” (see syria ). These two words are themselves derived from Arabic terms for right and left. Before Islam there is no evidence of the proper name Yaman in the sources, whether they are internal (the inscriptions of south Arabia) or external, to indicate the country. They refer to the Ḥimyarīs, the tribe which ruled south Arabia from the end of the third century c.e. In the list of titles of the fourth, fifth and sixth century Ḥimyarī kings, however, south Arabian inscriptions mention a region called Ymnt (apparently the Ḥaḍramawt south), a name which certainly derives from the ḥimyarite substantive ymnt, “south” (as opposed to s2ʾmt “north”; for the precise location of place names and ethnic groups, see Robin and Brunner, Map of ancient Yemen).

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