Author Topic: "...a famous temple, whose superior sanctity was revered by all the Arabians..."  (Read 6735 times)

Peter

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"...a famous temple, whose superior sanctity was revered by all the Arabians..."

In a desperate and ever-failed effort to find even a shred of evidence, that suggests a history of Mecca prior to the 4th century A.D., some folks quote 18th century English author Edward Gibbon's misunderstanding of a writer that preceded him by a couple thousand years in regard to "...a famous temple, whose superior sanctity was revered by all the Arabians...". Gibbon apparently presumed that the early writer referred to the Kaaba in Mecca, but in that same section of "The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire" Gibbon describes himself as:

"I am ignorant, and I am careless, of the blind mythology of the Barbarians: of the local deities, of the
stars, the air, and the earth, of their sex or titles, their attributes or subordination."

So Gibbon effectively warns us regarding the relative care we can expect that he devoted to this subject. After all, his subject was the Roman Empire, not pagan Arabian temples and occult rituals.

Mada'in Saleh, for example is an ACTUAL ancient town, rich with historical and archaeological evidence unlike the 4th century AD founding of Mecca and it's 5th century Ka'aba.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ancient_Towns_in_Saudi_Arabia
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mada%27in_Saleh



Where there was in fact a temple nearby that was highly revered by all the Arabians.


http://www.scta.gov.sa/sites/english/Antiquities_and_Museums/Pages/Maden_Saleh.aspx

"A religious area, known as Jabal Ithlib, is located to the north-east of the site.[4]  It is believed to have been originally dedicated to the Nabatean deity Dushara."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mada%27in_Saleh

Jabal Ithlib

"The Jabal Ithlib

This toponym refers to two mountain ranges which dominate the site from the northeast.  These mountains, with their high peaks, were particularly important for the Nabataeuans since they chose them to be their religious area. They thus carved inside the Jabal and on its outline, various type of sanctuaries and other structures related to the cults of rituals they practiced there.  One of them called the Diwan is a room for banquets near which are carved several niches with betyls."

Pagans worshiped the deity Dushara, who was supposed to have been mothered by Manat.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dushara

"Dushara - (Arabic: "Lord of the Mountain"), also transliterated as 'Dusares', was an aniconic deity in the ancient Middle East worshipped by the Nabataeans at Petra and Madain Saleh (of which city he was the patron). He was mothered by Manat the goddess of fate.[1]"

"His sanctuary at Petra contained a great temple in which a large cubical stone (Ka'ba) was the centrepiece."

Petra is in Jordan off the north end of the Gulf of Aqaba.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Petra

The godess Manat is mentioned in the Quran. Worship of Manat also forms part of the Hajj that the pagans performed. Found in Mohammed's "satanic verses" that recognize the true source of Mohammedan worship.

Sura 53.19 Have ye seen Lat. and 'Uzza, 20 And another, the third (goddess), Manat?



Medayin Salih lies in the same area that the Qibla of 3 of the oldest mosques point as well.
http://brotherpete.com/index.php?topic=1230.0



Even Mohammed's tribe the Quraish continued to go on a summer and winter pilgrimages long after Mohammed invented his 7th century religion. His jealousy finally resulted in another "revelation" that put an end to the pilgrimages.

Quran 106:1 For the covenants by the Quraish, 2 Their covenants journeys by winter and summer,- 3 Let them adore the Lord of this House,

[end edit]
_________________________________________

"...a famous temple, whose superior sanctity was revered by all the Arabians..."

Many Muslims quote the above Gibbons quote of Diodorus. He wrote (link to online book)

"The religion of the Arabs," as well as of the Indians, consisted in the worship of the sun, the moon, and the fixed stars, a primitive and specious mode of superstition."

"I am ignorant, and I am careless, of the blind mythology of the Barbarians: of the local deities, of the stars, the air, and the earth, of their sex or titles, their attributes or subordination. Each tribe, each family, each independent warrior, created and changed the rites and the object of his fantastic worship; but the nation, in every age, has bowed to the religion, as well as to the language, of Mecca. The genuine antiquity of the Caaba ascends beyond the Christian era: in describing the coast of the Red Sea, the Greek historian Diodorus" has remarked, between the Thamudites and the Sabseans, a famous temple, whose superior sanctity was revered by all the Arabians:..."

While professing his own ignorance and carelessness regarding Arabian paganism, he attributes his understanding of Kaaba Star Family worship and Kaabas to Diodorus. Were his 18th century presumptions regarding Mecca being "...between the Thamudites and the Sabseans..." supportable? It would seem that his limited 18th century resources, and his personal knowledge of the then, 18th century Mecca, perhaps colored his understanding of one of the chroniclers of Agatharchides.

Please go to the third post down for preface details regarding Agatharchides, whose work Diodorus was preserving.
Quoting Dr. Amari hereafter.
http://religionresearchinstitute.org/mecca/classical.htm

"Unfortunately, the original documented survey of Agatharchides on the Erythraean Sea disappeared, but almost the entire book has survived in the writings of three classical writers: Strabo, Photius and Diodorus. The most significant summary of Agatharchides' book is found in Photius' book, "Bibliotheca." [3][c]"

Agatharchides Describes a Temple Along the Gulf of Aqaba.

Agatharchides told about another temple close to Ilat in the Aqaba gulf area. It is in a land belonging to a tribe called "Batmizomaneis." Agatharchides emphasizes that the temple, in his own words, "is highly revered by all the Arabs."
[xviii][18]

Many Muslims claim that Agatharchides' temple was actually the temple of Mecca.
To fix the exact place of that temple, let's follow the narration of Agatharchides, as reported by Photius and Diodorus. Agatharchides began to describe regions north of this temple, including the Nabataeans around the Gulf of Aqaba, which was called the Laeanites Gulf. In Photius and Diodorus, Agatharchides says:

One encounters the Laeanites Gulf around which there are many villages of the so-called Nabataean Arabs. They occupy much of the coast and not a little of the adjacent country which extends into the interior and contains a population that is unspeakably great as well as herds of animals that are unbelievably numerous. In ancient times they led a just life and were satisfied with livelihood provided by their flocks, but later, after the kings in Alexandria had made the gulf navigable for merchants, they attacked those who suffered shipwreck. They also built pirate vessels and plundered sailors, imitating the ferocity and lawlessness of the Tauri in the Pontus. But later they were caught at sea by quadriremes and properly punished. After what is called the Laeanites Gulf, around which Arabs live, is the land of the Bythemaneas.

Notice that the land of Bythemaneas is connected  to the south of the Nabataeans' region, close to Gulf of Aqaba. ( See FIG. 2, at the end of the article). Musil, a famous scholar on Arabia, declared that this land was the  "lower portion of the Wadi al- Abjaz, namely the so-called Wadi al 'efal[4][d], a lowland 50 Km long by 20 km. wide just east of the Gulf of Aqaba."[xix][19] The narration of Agatharchides continues:

Next after this section of the coast is a bay which extends into the interior of the country for a distance of not less than five hundreds stades. Those who inhabit the territory within the gulf are called Batmizomaneis and are hunters of land animals.

 

The stade, or stadia, according to the system of Eratosthenes, equals one tenth of an English mile,[xx][20] thus making the land of Bythemaneas only about 50 miles. He is placing the inhabitants of Batmizomaneis within the gulf region, as we see from his statement, "Those who inhabit the territory within the gulf are called Batmizomaneis." He means that these people lived within the Laeanites Gulf, which was the old name for the Gulf of Aqaba. The narration of Diodorus is parallel to that of Photius because both copied the writings of Agatharchides in his fifth book On the Erythraean Sea. Diodorus says:

The people who inhabit the country beside the gulf ,who are named the Banizomenes , support themselves by hunting and eating the flesh of land animals. A very sacred temple has been established there which is highly revered by all the Arabs.


We see that both Photius and Diodorus placed the people of Banizomenes or (Batmizomaneis) beside the gulf of the Laeanites, or the Gulf of Aqaba, many miles from where Mecca was eventually built. Mecca is in central western Arabia, very close to Yemen. Following their comments on Banizomenes, the two authors speak of another area in the south, the Thamud territory. They describe it in these words, "after these it is the territory of the Thamoudeni Arabs." [xxi][21] The Thamud tribe was known in history to inhabit northern Arabia close to the Aqaba gulf, they never reached to the south, toward the area where Mecca was later built. So the temple described by Diodorus was between the Thamud region and the city of Petra, within the Gulf of Aqaba region.

      After Photius mentioned the Thamud region, he mentioned the next segment to the south of Thamud. [xxii][22]  Scholars have identified this segment as the portion of the coast between Ras karama (25 54 N, 36 39 E.) and Ras Abu Madd (24 50 N, 37 08 E). [xxiii][23] Ras Abu Madd is about 450 kilometers (280 miles) north of Mecca. This accurate study shows clearly that the Temple mentioned by Diodorus was in the Aqaba Gulf region, north to the Thamud region, and could not be identified with the temple of Mecca. (See Fig.2, at the end of the article )

     Nonnosus, another classical writer, seems to speak about the same temple at the same place close to Petra. This temple is built to honor the Arabian deities. Nonnosus says:

Most of the Saracens, those Phoinikon and those beyond the Taurenian mountains, consider as sacred a place dedicated to I do not know what god and they assemble there twice a year. [xxiv][24]


The Saracens are a people mentioned by Pliny in Natural History, Book V, Chapter 12, as people who live in the Gulf of Aqaba not far from the city of Petra. Crone studied the locations and tribes who venerated this temple. She has located the temple in the northern region of the Gulf of Aqaba. The Saracens are people in northern Arabia. Since the Taurenian Mountains are Jabal Tayyi', the sanctuary is located in the northern area of the Gulf of Aqaba. [xxv][25]  This leads us to assume that Nonnosus was speaking about the same temple mentioned by Diodorus.

    This temple mentioned by Diodorus is built to honor the Arabian deities. The remarks of the Greek historians and geographers about this temple though situated within the secondary tribe's domain, is very significant. They remark that the temple is highly revered by all the Arabs. The Greeks are very careful to distinguish the temple, which has special importance and is revered by many, in a land, regardless of where it is located.

    With such propensity of the Greek historians and geographers, it seems impossible that they could fail to mention a temple with a special claim such as to draw worshippers from all tribes, as Islam claims, for the temple of Mecca. The fact is that neither Mecca, nor its temple, is mentioned by Agatharchides, although he to pursue with such passion all temples existent until his time;This is a clear indication that Mecca, nor its temple, did not exist   during such times.

    Agatharchides covered the narrations of geographers of the 3rd century and his time which was the first part of the 2nd century B.C. Scholars today confirm the fact that the temple near the Aqaba Gulf, close to the border with South Jordan, was revered by Arabian tribes, just as the classical authors had written.

    Scholars today believe that even Quraish, which is the tribe of Mohammed, traveled north every year to a revered temple. There are many proofs that Quraish neglected the temple of Mecca and made their Hajj to the north. Wellhausen quotes the words of al-Kalbi, "people would go on a pilgrimage and then disperse, leaving Mecca empty." [xxvi][26] In their thinking, another temple had pre-eminence over Kaabah, the temple at Mecca.

     Verses in the Qur'an tell us that the citizens of Mecca used to make a trip "far away," but later the Qur'an put a stop to the practice. Mohammed also prohibited people from making this religious trip after he occupied Mecca. Quraish used to go to Taif in the summer. This is attested to by a saying of Ibn Abbas, as reported in the Tabari. [xxvii][27] The other trip may be toward a northern temple.

      Agatharchides' survey, along with what we have discussed, confirms the fact that Mecca and its temple didn't exist during the 3rd and 2nd centuries B.C.  Even when the temple was eventually built in later centuries A.D., it was a local temple of secondary importance, disregarded even by the tribe to which Mohammed belonged.  Mohammed's tribe used to make a pilgrimage with other Arabian tribes to a temple in the far northern part of Arabia.

    It's unhistorical to believe the Islamic claim that the temple in Mecca was built by Abraham and Ishmael as a center of monotheistic worship for Arabia.  Muslims today need to renounce this claim and return to the true monotheism of history, the revelation of God, which the Bible alone represents. Such Biblical revelation has been documented in all epochs since the time Moses received the first five books of the Bible until Revelation, the last book of the New Testament.  

Peter

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Nonnosus Reports on the Temple in the Gulf of Aqaba Area

This temple mentioned by Agatharchides in northern Arabia in the Aqaba Gulf region is attested to by Nonnosus. Previously, I quoted the words of Nonnosus regarding this temple, as we find them in the book of Photius:

Most of the Saracens , those Phoinikon and those beyond the Taurenian mountains, consider a place dedicated to I do not know what god as sacred, and assemble there twice a year.

The first of these gatherings lasts a whole month and goes on until the middle of Spring. The other lasts two months. While these gathering last, they live in complete peace not only with each other, but also with all the people who live in their country.  They claim that even the wild beasts live in peace with men and, what is more, among themselves.[xxviii][28]

 

This tells us that the northern temple was a place where many tribes would perform a pilgrimage twice a year. During this pilgrimage, the tribes abstained from fighting each other. If one of the religious trips of Quraish was to this temple, It is clear that Mohammed tried to stop this famous and historical Arabian temple pilgrimage. He directed Quraish, the tribe of Mecca, as well as other tribes, to make the pilgrimage to Mecca instead.

    From the quotation of Nonnosus, we see that the northern temple had similarities between their rituals and the rituals we encounter in the temple at Mecca and in other temples of Arabia. These rituals included the Hajj, and abstinence from war during the Hajj. These rituals performed in the temple of Mecca reflect those of pagan Arabian religions. The temple of Mecca was built in the 5th century A.D. by Tubb'a, the Himyarite leader of Yemen. However, the Quraish tribe, like many Arabian tribes, continued to make a pilgrimage twice a year. The word "Hajj" means pilgrimage.  Scholars think the Quraish were regularly traveling on these pilgrimages to the temple at Taif and to a temple located in the far north of Arabia. These travels were performed long before Mohammed imposed worship at the Temple of Mecca on all Muslims and annulled worship at the other temples of Arabia. Therefore, with the accuracy of Agatharchides and the geographers of that time, we see that neither the temple of Mecca nor the city of Mecca existed at that time.  Instead, there was another temple, which attracted the Arabian tribes. That temple was located near the border between northern Arabia and Jordan.

     Quraish, the tribe of Mohammed, occupied Mecca after it was built around the 4th century A.D. by another tribe called Khuzaa'h who had come from Yemen. So the Quraish tribe did not find a revered ancient temple in the city. Even after the temple of Mecca was built in the city later, the Quraish continued the practice of many Arabian tribes and made a pilgrimage twice a year.

     The Qur'an in Sura Quraish 106 verses 1-3 prohibits the tribe to do their "covenant" for two journeys. I think the two pilgrimages to a northern temple and to the temple of Taif are intended in the Qur'anic verse and, instead, compel them to worship Allah in the temple of Mecca. Sura Quraish 106 verses 1-3 says:

for the covenants by the Quraish; their covenants covering journeys by winter and summer. Let them adore the lord of this house.

Islamic tradition confirms that Quraish used to have two religious Hajj to other places in northern Arabia. Scholars think that Quraish were traveling on these pilgrimages to a temple located in the far north of Arabia and to the Taif temple. These travels were regularly performed before Mohammed imposed worship at the temple of Mecca, called Kaabah, on all Muslims. Mohammed annulled worship at the other temples of Arabia, many of which were also called Kaabah.

 

The Kaabah of Mecca was Part of a Religious System Involving Many Kaabahs of Arabia That Belonged to Arabian Star Worship

In the worship before Mohammed's time, "Kaabah" was the name given to all the temples of the so-called "Family Star Religion" of Arabia. The Kaabah of Mecca was no exception.  Each Kaabah had the same basic cubic form, with the same structural details on the inside as are found in the temple at Mecca. For example, each temple had a well where gifts were placed.  Also, each temple had a well which provided holy water for use in the rites of the pilgrimage.  In the case of Mecca, this well is called Zamzam.

   The Main element in the Kaabahs are the black stones, a key element in worship. These stones are meteorites that the Arabians found and revered. Wherever one of these stones was found, a temple was built around it. So each Kaabah has one black stone which is held in esteem as a deity representing the family star.  Pilgrims visiting any of these Kaabahs perform many of the same rites we encounter in the rites at Mecca. For example, men and women wearing special clothing circle around the black stone. The Kaabahs originated in Yemen and were dedicated to "The Star Family." Hilal, the moon, was the father and Ellat, the sun, was his wife.[/b] The Kaabahs spread across Arabia with the emigration of many Yemeni tribes in the north. The tribe of Khuzaa'h emigrated from Yemen in the 2nd century A.D. to the area where Mecca was later built. In the 4th century A.D. they built the city of Mecca. Asa'd Abu Karb, the Yemeni leader who occupied Mecca during his reign in Yemen from 410 to 435 A.D., built the temple of Mecca with the same specifications as Yemeni existing temples. They worshipped the daughters of Allah, and his wife, Ellat, the sun, just as in every Kaabah in Yemen and in regions of northern Arabia.

 

Through the report of Agatharchides , we know that the area where Mecca was eventually built as uninhabited during his time.

We will now return to our discussion of the works of Agatharchides. He is known for describing in detail the regions of Arabia along the Red Sea. He identified all the peoples that lived along the entire Arabian coast of the Red Sea. Agatharchides described the geography from the coast of the Red Sea to 100 miles inland. He mentioned cities like Petra, located about 80 miles from the coast. This was the area that the caravans begin to use in the 3rd century B.C. as their land trading route along the Red Sea.

   The Greek and Roman geographers were very interested with the strip of land which extended in depth from the shore of the Red Sea to about 100 miles inland, and in length from Sinai to Yemen. This strip of land is important to our study, because this is the place where Mecca was later built - about 40 miles from the shore. Although sites in this area were well documented, Mecca is absent in the descriptions of all the Greek and Roman geographers from this time who explored and described this strip of land.

    There is another historical strip of land which starts about 150 to 200 miles from the Red Sea in northwestern Arabia. A few cities were built on some of the oases in this region around the 9th century B.C. Among the first cities built were Dedan and Qedar. Other cities were built later when a trading route developed between the oasis cities and Yemen in the 8th century B.C.  Among these cities were Yathrib and Khaybar, which are mentioned in various records of the kings and the people who occupied northwestern Arabia, an area also called Hijaz.  The location where Mecca was later built is also located in Hijaz.  Mecca is not mentioned in these different records.

    One of the kings who ruled in the area of northwestern Arabia, known as Hijaz, was Nabonidus, the Babylonian king.   Nabonidus transferred his residence to the city of Teima in northern Arabia for 10 years (550-540 B.C.). In what has been called, the "Verse Account of Nabonidus - we read:

Nabonidus killed the prince of Teima and took his residency and built there his palace like his palace in Babylonia.[xxix][29]

 

From an inscription which Nabonidus left at his original city Harran, we know that during his sojourn at Teima he also ruled the cities of Hijaz existing at that time. Among them were Yathrib (Medina) and Khaybar,[xxx][30]  but he did not mention Mecca. (See Fig. 4, at the end of the article) Mecca, if it existed at that time, would have been the only city of Hijaz which he did not conquer. This would have been strange for a strong Babylonian king to conquer so deep and far into the land of Hijaz, reaching as far as Yathrib, and then spare Mecca. The fact is that he did not mention Mecca because it did not exist in his time, which was the middle of the 6 th century B.C. Therefore, Mecca is absent from the historical picture of the events of northern Arabia during the aforementioned times.

    This strip of land bordering the Red Sea holds yet another key to the dating of Mecca. The land is historically attested to by expeditions of Greeks and Romans . It is also attested to by kingdoms that tried to control the trade across it from Yemen toward Palestine and Syria. One of these kingdoms is the Nabataean kingdom, situated on the border between Arabia and Jordan.  Another is the Main Kingdom in Yemen. In all their reports, Mecca is absent from the archaeological records.

    Agatharchides' survey covered, in detail, this strip of land along the Red Sea where Mecca was built in later times. He started systematically with the Nabataeans and mentioned a body of water called the Laeanites Gulf. This confirms the influence of the Lihyan kingdom on the region of Aqaba Gulf.  This influence extended from the 4th century B.C. until the 2nd century B.C.

     Agatharchides also tells us about the land inhabited by people called the Batmizomaneis. He says:

Next after this section of the coast is a bay which extends into the interior of the country for a distance of not less than five hundred stades. Those who inhabit the territory within the gulf are called Batmizomaneis and they are hunters of land animals.[xxxi][31]

 

( A "stade" is one eighth of an English mile.)  Fig.2(at the end of the article) shows the Gulf of Aqaba where the land of the Batmizomaneis is located - south of the Nabataeans and north of the Thamud.

   In this land Agatharchides mentioned the temple which all the Arabs used to revere, the temple that I discussed previously. This temple is not the temple of Mecca; geographers had placed the temple in the land of the Batmizomaneis, close to Petra, about 700 miles distant from where Mecca was built. It is interesting to note that Agatharchides describes each group of people living on the strip along the Red Sea, and he explicitly mentions how far each one's territory extended into the interior.  As a careful Greek geographer, he documented, in detail, all the people and the geography of the strip, mentioning places at least 100 miles into the interior of Arabia.

    After describing land along the Red Sea, Agatharchides turns to the Thamud region, which covered a section north of the strip about which we've been talking. He says this area is inhabited by "Arabs called Thamoundeni," or Thamud, a tribe which first appeared in the 8th century B.C. and continued until the 5th century A.D. The existence of the Thamuds is also reflected in Assyrian records, whose inscriptions on rocks proved that the Thamuds were scattered through a wide part of northern Arabia, including the strip along the Red Sea.  Agatharchides describes many details about this part of strip - the length of the Thamudic coast, and other particulars. This helped scholars to identify the coasts which come next after this Thamudic coast, corresponding to today's maps of the Red Sea. In fact, the next coast he described have been identified by geographers as the coast between the following current locations in Arabian peninsula: Ras Karkama located at 25 54' N, 36 39' E, and Ras Abu Madd located at 24 50' N, 37 08 E.[xxxii][32] Ras Abu Madd is about 450 kilometers (280 miles) from Mecca.

    After describing the place identified today as Ras Abu Madd, Agatharchides seemed to pass through uninhabited areas. Previously, he would stop to describe the inhabitants of each area, but after leaving the area which the geographers identified with the region that ends with Ras Abu Madd, there are no description of inhabitants. It is unusual for Agatharchides and the other geographers upon whom he depended to fail to describe an area if it was inhabited. To fail to tell about the inhabitants of an area allows us to conclude that the area was uninhabited. This segment without inhabitants corresponds to the strip where Mecca was built in later times. This fact is reconfirmed by other geographical facts; not only by scholars recognizing the tract that it precedes it, namely, the tract between Ras Karkama and Ras Abu Madd, the two cities which we find today on the map of Arabia. But it is also identifiable by the tract, which follows in the description of Agatharchides, which he describes with the following words:

The next part of the coast is dominated by dunes which are infinite in their length and breadth and black in color.

 

This is identified by scholars with (the black basalt Harat Shama half way between Jeddah and the lagoon of al-Sharifa.)[xxxiii][33] Today Jeddah is considered as the port of Mecca - it is about 40 miles distant from it. Al-Sharifa is described by the geographical books as "a very long inlet, parallel to the coast immediately northwest of al-Lith, shut in by a long narrow island, Jezirat Qishran."[xxxiv][34]  (See Fig. 3, at the end of the article)

      After the area where Jeddah and Mecca were built, Agatharchides described another arid, uninhabited area in his time which extended about 86 miles to the south. From his description, we can see a long tract, starting from Ras Abu Madd until half-way between Jeddah and the Lagoon of al-Sharifa, which was uninhabited in the time of Agatharchides. It is the tract where Mecca was built in later times. This tract we can estimate to be about 460 miles in length.  Mecca was built in the 4th century A.D. in the middle of this tract which divides northwestern Arabia (particularly where some of the Thamuds came to live along the Red Sea) from other tracts which connect central west Arabia with southern Arabia. It was a huge arid geographical barrier between northwestern Arabia and the southwest, where no inhabitants lived at the time of Agatharchides, who wrote about the 3rd century B.C. and his times, the middle of the 2nd century B.C.

    This observation of Agatharchides about this tract located in central western Arabia is understandable historically, because the tribes which inhabited the north of Arabia along the Red Sea were mainly Lihyanites and Thamuds, along with the Nabataeans who extended their dominion sometimes over Northwestern Arabia. None of these tribes were known in history to have lived toward the central western portion of Arabia where this uninhabited tract (that later became the city of Mecca) is situated.  All this tells us is that it would be easier for the people of Alaska to claim that Abraham went to the frozen north and built a temple to establish a monotheistic religion, than for Mohammed to claim that Abraham built a city in an arid tract along the Red Sea in central west Arabia - an area which never attracted people to inhabit it, even the closest tribes of North Arabia. Neither of the tribes and nations closest to such tract from the southern direction had ever inhabited such tract of central western Arabia.

 

ARTEMIDORUS' SURVEY


Artemidorus' survey showed that the tract on central western Arabia, where Mecca was later built, was still uninhabited as late as 103 B.C.

Another Greek geographer and historian, Artemidorus of Ephesus, wrote a total of eleven geography books. He lived around 103 B.C. and was quoted by the historian, Strabo. Although Artemidorus included extensive excerpts from the book of Agatharchides in his eleven-book survey of world geography,[xxxv][35]  he also included additional information gathered by others in his time, and from his own travels, as well.[xxxvi][36] Consequently, Artemidorus, as well as Agatharchides, described the strip of land along the Red Sea. Just like Agatharchides, Artemidorus described the nature of each tract along the coast of the Red Sea and the population who lived there. When he came to the same central western Arabian tract where Mecca was later built, he didn't mention any people living there, making it clear that around 103 B.C. this tract was still uninhabited. He mentioned some islands near that area which were also uninhabited.[xxxvii][37] He has to walk very much more to the south of this region in order to find a small port. To the south of this port was a land inhabited by the so-called "Debae" people. There were Bedouins traveling in the area and a few farmers, but no cities were seen in that area. Artemidorus had to travel much further south to near the border of Yemen to find, as he said, "more civilized" people.[xxxviii][38] In other words, the tract of central western Arabia where Mecca was built later was still uninhabited as of 103 B.C. This tract is divided from Yemen by an area, which is inhabited only by uncivilized Bedouin tribes.

 
THE ROMANS EXPLORE WESTERN AND SOUTHERN ARABIA

The Roman expedition into western and southern Arabia accurately described the villages which were built in the area of central western Arabia , but they never mentioned a city called Mecca.


Our history doesn't end here. In the year 30 B.C. Egypt became a Roman province. The Romans then wanted to control the Arabian regions along the Red Sea, especially south of the city called Leuce Kome on the shore of the Arabian Red Sea. From there, through the central western shore, were places where savage tribes were acting as pirates and threatening sea navigation. The Romans also wanted to control Yemen and, subsequently, the spices trade coming from India through Yemen.

    Rome trusted the military campaign to Gallus, the governor of Egypt. He was unsuccessful, but his campaign provides more historical accuracy for us. Gallus departed from the Egyptian shore of the Red Sea with 10,000 Roman soldiers, 1,000 Nabataean soldiers, and some other Roman allies in the region. The Nabataeans were ruled by the Roman Empire at that time, so they promised to help the Romans in this expedition as soldiers and guides.  The Nabataeans were ideal as guides because part of northern Arabia along the Red Sea was under the Nabataean domain. Strabo, the famous geographer and historian, took part in the expedition and wrote about it in his 16th book. This gives to the expedition a special value in terms of geography; it is a highly-documented expedition, and not a narration of any kind.

   The expedition had special importance for a geographer, because it was not the journey of a traveler who might have missed cities deeper inland. It was a military expedition, intended to control all the villages and cities which might threaten Roman trade within this strip of land.  The Romans were very thorough and would not have missed a city. The Roman Expedition went through the strip of land which geographers used to explore along the Red Sea, which I defined previously as extending from the shore to at least 100 miles inland. The Romans wanted to subdue every village because of the continuing piracy which originated from central western Arabia. Therefore, no city or village was left alone in this military expedition.

    The expedition arrived at Leuce Come, which means the "white village." This village was part of the Nabataean territory at the time of the expedition.  Strabo attested to the flourishing of the land route through this village to Petra, and from there to Egypt and Syria. This village is placed in the today map of Arabia at El Haura, 25 7 N., 37 13 E.[xxxix][39] Leuce Come is about 280 miles from the place where Mecca was later built. To the south of this village lay the central western part of Arabia along the Red Sea, which we previously saw was uninhabited in 103 B.C., But now, because the land route along the Red Sea had started to flourish, there had been a few villages built since 103 B.C. which Gallus occupied. These villages are mentioned in the narration of Strabo who was an eyewitness to this important expedition.

    After Leuce Come, Gallus marched to the south, through Nabataean-controlled lands. Strabo describes the nature of the region with these words:

Gallus moved his army from Leuce Come and marched through regions where water had to be carried by camels.

 

Gallus marched until he reached the desert assigned to Aretas, his kinsman, by King Obodas of Nabataean. We assume that Gallus was marching toward the village of Egra about 1100 Greek stadia from Leuce Come (about 137 miles).  Strabo described this part under Aretas, as follows:

It afforded only zea, a kind of coarse grain, a few palm trees and butter instead of oil.[xl][40]

 

It is a description of a deserted tract of land with few stations on the caravan route coming from the south. These stations are mainly Nabataean stations to protect and control the trade passing through this area.

    Then Strabo described the next segment of the central-western Arabian campaign with these words:

The next country which Gallus traversed belongs to nomads and most of it was truly desert; and it was called Ararene, and he spent fifty days arriving at the city of Negrani.

 

That was a city of Najran on the border of Yemen about 385 miles south of Mecca, and about 125 miles from the shore of the Red Sea. So we understand from the description of Strabo that the central western tract of Arabia along the Red Sea during the time of the expedition had few changes since the 3rd and 2nd centuries B.C. This region was described by previous geographers as uninhabited in its northern part, and inhabited by Bedouins in its southern part, until reaching the more civilized people near Yemen.  At least three of the stations which the Nabataeans had built on the caravan road became small villages, which were mentioned in this expedition. The situation was likely similar to that of the 2nd and 3rd centuries B.C.

    Gallus wanted to subdue the region to protect the trade from the piracy coming from this area. His plan was to occupy all the cities found in this dangerous tract, but he did not find any city until he reached Najran. This demonstrates that Mecca was not yet built in those times - that is, around 23 B.C.  Gallus occupied Najran, then Asca (within Yemeni territory). Going south he occupied a city called Athrula, then advanced toward Marsiaba (probably Ma'rib, the capital of Saba), he assaulted and besieged the city for six days, but desisted for want of water. He lost only seven soldiers in war against the Arabians of Najran and in the battles south of it. Most of the losses in his army came from lack of water and supplies, and disease.

If Mecca existed at the time of the expedition, it would have been impossible to be missed by a weary army which needed a city in which to rest and replenish supplies

The hardships of Gallus' army were because of the huge distances, which existed between the small few villages in this tract of central Arabia where Mecca was built in later times. This caused many soldiers to die from a lack of supplies and water. The Romans accused Syllaeus of not helping them as a guide because he chose paths between the villages and cities that were longer than they should have been. This did not affect the plan of passing through all the villages which existed in the area, since the villages and cities were known by all contemporaries to the expedition, and confirmed by the inhabitants. In other words, each village or city knew the name of the next city or village which Gallus needed to visit on the way to Najran and the other cities of Yemen.

    Since subduing all of central western Arabia was an important goal for the expedition, Gallus would not have missed a city like Mecca, if it had existed then.

    Another thing to consider is that after Gallus failed to occupy the Yemeni city of Marsiaba, he replaced Syllaeus as a guide, and instead depended on native experts to return to Negrana and then to the Nabataean village of Leuce Come. Consequently, he made the return trip more quickly, passing through the few villages which were built on the caravan road where Mecca was eventually built. Strabo mentioned them by name, but never mentioned Mecca.[5][e] Ultimately, Gallus withdrew from the war. The huge distances between the villages, which were built on this central Arabian tract, created a logistical travel problem for an army of more than 11,000.  Gallus lost thousands of his soldiers because of lack of supplies and water.

    The Roman historian, Dio Cassius, described the failure of the expedition in his book, The History of Rome. Here's what he wrote:

At first Aelius Gallus encountered no one, yet he did not proceed without difficulty; for the desert, the sun, and the water (which had some peculiar nature) all caused his men great distress, so that the larger part of the army perished.[xli][41]

This advances our argument. If Mecca had existed as a city, it would have been Gallus' main goal to control it. No cities are described by any of the historians, except for the few villages I mentioned previously which were built on the caravan road. If Mecca had existed, it would have been an important place to rest, to replenish supplies and to prepare a person to traverse the rest of this terrible tract toward Najran and the other Yemeni cities. No one who planned to occupy a desert would abandon its main city. But that desert had no city in existence like Mecca; that is why the expedition had its hardships and problems with supplies.

    What this ultimately shows us is that the claims of Islam which state that Mecca was a city that flourished during the time of Abraham, are unsubstantiated and false. All the records of the historians of the time show that Mecca was not in existence until the 4th century, certainly not in the time of Abraham. If Islam is wrong on this key assertion, how can we trust it in other assertions?  

Peter

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AGATHARCHIDES' SURVEY ON WESTERN ARABIA, AND THE ACCURACY OF HIS SURVEY AS A RELIABLE SOURCE FOR OUR STUDY.

In our study, we now come to the 2nd century B.C. Without doubt, the most important geographer and historian of the time was Agatharchides of Alexandria, who wrote between 145-132 B.C. He was believed to be a major figure in compiling Egypt's political history in the late 2nd century B.C.[vi][6]

    Because he was very close to the royal palace of the Ptolemies, he had first-hand knowledge of the results of the expeditions which took place throughout the 3rd and 2nd centuries, especially in the regions around the Red Sea, the African shore and West and South Arabia.  He had access to sources which documented the achievements of the Ptolemies. These were mainly reports presented by the envoys of the kings during the 3rd and the beginning of the 2nd centuries B.C.[vii][7] Agatharchides coordinated all the information as a keen synthesizer and analyzer. He documented the names of the explorers who visited the region. Among those he mentioned was the name of the geographer, Ariston. That geographer is the one Ptolemy dispatched in the 3rd century B.C. to explore Arabia, especially the regions of West Arabia near the Red Sea where Mecca was later built.[viii][8]

Agatharchides mentioned the name of other explorers, such as Simmias, whom Ptolemy  III sent to explore the region.   Agatharchides told how Simmias described the region, and how this had become an important resource.[ix][9]

    Agatharchides also studied books written by other geographers sent by the Ptolemies.[10]  Scholars think he drew heavily from Anaxicrates' voyage to South and West Arabia.[xi][11] We know of at least seven authors who visited and wrote about the Red Sea region during the 3rd century B.C.  Among them are: Pythagoras,[xii][12]  who was an admiral under Ptolemy II, Basilis, Dalion, Bion of Soli, Simonides the Younger, Aristocreon, and Philon. Scholars assert that Agatharchides consulted all of their writings. Those books were available in the famous Library of Alexandria. In fact, we understand from the narration of Strabo, that Eratosthenes made a collection of these books.[xiii][13] Agatharchides synthesized and gathered information from reports and books which explorers and geographers had written before his time. He also depended upon people he encountered whom he called "eyewitness." Among them were envoys of the king, traders and explorers who visited the regions surrounding the Red Sea.[2] Unfortunately, the original documented survey of Agatharchides on the Erythraean Sea disappeared, but almost the entire book has survived in the writings of three classical writers: Strabo, Photius and Diodorus. The most significant summary of Agatharchides' book is found in Photius' book, "Bibliotheca." [3][c]

    The accuracy of his survey is very much accepted by scholars. The expeditions and discoveries from the 7th and 8th centuries A.D. confirmed the accuracy of the writings of Agatharchides, as they corresponded completely to his writings. Burstein, in his book  Agatharchides of Cnidus, on the Erythraean Sea, describes it this way, "they have vindicated its basic accuracy so that, once again, it is recognized by scholars as one of the most important sources for the study of the history and human geography of ancient northwest Africa and western Arabia to survive from antiquity."[xiv][14]

    One example scholars give to defend Agatharchides' accuracy is how he described the shores and adjoining water.  Agatharchides tells us that the color of the water opposite Saba Land, South Arabia, was white, like river water. The phenomenon is still true today.[xv][15]  Another element which proves the accuracy and value of his writings is the similarity between his descriptions of tribes and people living in the area, and the description of the same people in later reports.[xvi][16]  Agatharchides gives measurements of various tracts along the shores of the Red Sea in West Arabia.  This tells us that his writing depended on testimony from expert geographers who examined the shore and the regions of Arabia connected to it.

    Ptolemies wanted an exact study of the region to protect their trade in the Red Sea, and to know how to deal with various groups of population or tribes living in regions connected with the Red sea. They also wanted to know the exact lengths of regions where the trade might find uninhabited areas, or areas with savage tribes or Bedouins. This justified the quantity and the quality of a prolonged, intensive and accurate study through the 3rd and 2nd centuries B.C., where the Ptolemies started to control the movement of trade on the Red Sea, and deal with piracy which threatened such trade coming from the interior Arabian regions.  The book of Agatharchides reflected the success of the Greek geographers in providing to the Ptolemies accurate and detailed geographical and geographical information of the region of West Arabia.

 

Although Agatharchides wrote about locations along the Red Sea, including all the temples and routes which pass through the area where Mecca was eventually built, he never mentioned Mecca, nor its temple.

In his description of West Arabia, Agatharchides mentions each of the populations present in the 3rd century and the first half of the 2nd century B.C. in the regions adjacent to the Red Sea. He began with the Nabataeans, who had their capital in south Jordan and then penetrated into north Arabia, and he went on to describe each population, city, port, temple and mountain, until he reached Yemen. Here's what we learn from Agatharchides' accounts: He passed through the region where Mecca was later built, but he never mentioned Mecca, nor did he mentioned a single temple in that region, although temples were a central subject in his study. We find him stopping to give the origin of the Poseidon Temple, in the northwest coast of Sinai. He tells who built it and for whom it was built. We find him also giving much attention to the temple located in the Negev desert, saying:

There is also an ancient altar that is made of hard stone and bears an inscription in lettering that is archaic and unintelligible. The sanctuary is cared for by a man and a woman who occupy their sacred office for life.[xvii][17]  

Agatharchides accurately reports the Greek trend to know about the temples existing in each region, especially in Sinai and West Arabia, where a temple is a rarity. The Greeks had a passion to know the origin of each temple. In the temple in the Negev, the Greeks made an effort to analyze the archaic inscription carved in the stone altar. They also described the source of the priesthood who served in the temple.

Peter

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaaba#Before_Muhammad

However, Edward Gibbon had misinterpreted the text by Diodorus Siculus. Diodorus Siculus described the location of this temple to be on a bay that extends deep in land to a distance of about 500 stades (about 80 km) and that the entrance of this bay is obstructed by a rock extending into the sea. Here is the description from Diodorus Siculus:

    Next after these plains as one skirts the coast comes a gulf of extraordinary nature. It runs, namely, to a point deep into the land, extends in length a distance of some five hundred stades, and shut in as it is by crags which are of wondrous size, its mouth is winding and hard to get out of; for a rock which extends into the sea obstructs its entrance and so it is impossible for a ship either to sail into or out of the gulf. Furthermore, at times when the current rushes in and there are frequent shiftings of the winds, the surf, beating upon the rocky beach, roars and rages all about the projecting rock. The inhabitants of the land about the gulf, who are known as Banizomenes, find their food by hunting the land animals and eating their meat. And a temple has been set up there, which is very holy and exceedingly revered by all Arabians.

There is no bay that matches this description along the coast near Mecca. Furthermore, Diodorus Siculus describes this area as lying between the Thamudites and the Nabataeans, not the Thamudites and the Sabeans as Gibbon erroneously stated, which would put it much farther to the north, around the area of Tabuk. It is widely believed that this bay and temple described by Diodorus is in fact the bay adjacent to Ash-Sharmah in Tabuk Province.

Phill

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There is no bay that matches this description along the coast near Mecca. Furthermore, Diodorus Siculus describes this area as lying between the Thamudites and the Nabataeans, not the Thamudites and the Sabeans as Gibbon erroneously stated, which would put it much farther to the north, around the area of Tabuk. It is widely believed that this bay and temple described by Diodorus is in fact the bay adjacent to Ash-Sharmah in Tabuk Province.

This Bay and Temple mentioned by Diodorus can't possibly be the one adjacent to Ash-Sharma as it is only 14 miles in lenght or roughly 123 Stades ! (See Pic below). The Bay is supposed to be "No less than 500 Stades and runs deep inland" which means it is probably more than 500. I believe this so called bay is actually the Gulf of Aqaba all the way up to Aila and Aqaba itself.



This second pic shows the yellow line from one end of the bay to the other which measures 14 Miles


Peter

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There is no bay that matches this description along the coast near Mecca. Furthermore, Diodorus Siculus describes this area as lying between the Thamudites and the Nabataeans, not the Thamudites and the Sabeans as Gibbon erroneously stated, which would put it much farther to the north, around the area of Tabuk. It is widely believed that this bay and temple described by Diodorus is in fact the bay adjacent to Ash-Sharmah in Tabuk Province.
This Bay and Temple mentioned by Diodorus can't possibly be the one adjacent to Ash-Sharma as it is only 14 miles in lenght or roughly 123 Stades ! (See Pic below). The Bay is supposed to be "No less than 500 Stades and runs deep inland" which means it is probably more than 500. I believe this so called bay is actually the Gulf of Aqaba all the way up to Aila and Aqaba itself.

Which would be more consistent with Dr. Rafat Amari's estimation as per the lower half of the original post.

I just added the text from the Wikipedia article for another view. With the battle I have been engaged in over the "Bakkah" article it would be tempting not to use Wikipedia for anything. Without question it is turning into a propaganda tool of Islamists (not necessarily because of this article).

In any event it really doesn't matter where the temple was that Diodorus referred to was located because Arabia was full of pagan temples - from north to south - except where Mecca is located because the area was considered uninhabitable by early geographers.
Since there is no historical or archaeological record of Mecca from before the 4th century AD, we can know for sure it wasn't the Kaaba in Mecca that was being referred to. Indeed it wouldn't surprise me if the qibla of the early "mosques" were directed toward pagan worship in these other places, like Al-Ula.
We know that the Quraish pagans still went on Hajj to pagan temples to the north of Mecca and to the south of Mecca, long after Muhammad invented his religion - until Muhammad put the kaibash on it through another "revelation" to help secure Kaaba Inc.

Quran 106:1 For the covenants by the Quraish, 2 Their covenants journeys by winter and summer,- 3 Let them adore the Lord of this House,
http://www.brotherpete.com/oldest_mosque_qibla.htm