Coordinates: Tayma (Arabic: تيماء; also transliterated Tema) is a large oasis with a long history of settlement, located in northeastern Saudi Arabia at the point where the trade route between Yathrib (Medina) and Dumah (al-Jawf) begins to cross the Nefud desert. Tayma is located 264 km southeast of the city of Tabouk, and about 400 km north of Medina.
The oldest mention of the oais city appears as "Tiamat" in Assyrian inscriptions dating as far back as the 8th century BCE. The oasis developed into a prosperous city, rich in water wells and handsome buildings. Tiglath-pileser III received tribute from Tayma, and Sennacherib named one of Nineveh's gates as the Desert Gate, recording that "the gifts of the Sumu'anite and the Teymeite enter through it." It was rich and proud enough in the 7th century BCE for Jeremiah to prophesy against it (Jeremiah 25:23). It was ruled then by a local Arab dynasty, known as the Qedarites. The names of two 8th-century BCE queens, Shamsi and Zabibei, are recorded.
In 539 BCE, Nabonidus retired to Tayma for worship and looking for prophecies, entrusting the kingship of Babylon to his son. From this we can recognize Tayma as being an important place.
Cuneiform inscriptions possibly dating from the 6th century BCE have been recovered from Tayma. It is mentioned several times in the Old Testament. The biblical eponym is apparently Tema, one of the sons of Ishmael.
Archeological investigation of the site, under the auspices of the German Archaeological institute, is ongoing.The Tayma stele discovered by Charles Hubert in 1883, now at the Louvre, lists the gods of Tayma in the 6th century BCE: Ṣalm of Maḥram and Shingala and Ashira. This Ashira may be Athirat/Asherah.
Jews of Tayma
According to Arab tradition, Tayma was inhabited by a Jewish community during the late classical period, though whether these were exiled Judeans or the Arab descendants of converts is unclear. The town fell to the Muslims in the 630s and the inhabitants were subjected to a dhimma pact, and later expelled.
Points of interest
- Qasr Al-Ablaq castle is located on the southwest side of the city. It was built by Jewish poet and warrior Samuel ibn 'Adiya and his grandfather 'Adiya in the 6th century CE.
- The Qasr Al-Hamra palace was built in the 7th century BCE.
- Tayma has an archaeologically significant perimeter wall built around 3 sides of the old city in the 6th century BCE.
- Qasr Al-Radhm
- Haddaj Well
- Many Aramaic, Lihyanite, Thamudic, Nabataean language inscriptions, around Tayma
- Qasr Al-Bejaidi
- Al-Hadiqah Mound
- Many museums. Although Tayma has museums of its own such as the "Tayma Museum of Archaeology and Ethnography", many artifacts from its history have been spread to other museums. Early finds such as the "Tayma Stele" are at the Louvre in Paris among others while large museums of national importance in Saudi Arabia, such as the National Museum of Saudi Arabia in Riyadh and the Jeddah Regional Museum of Archaeology and Ethnography also have significant collections of items from or related to ancient Tayma.
- Some or all of this article is forked from Wikipedia. The original article was at Tayma. The list of authors can be seen in the page history.
- Deutsches Archäologisches Institut: Tayma
- Nabatea: The 12 Tribes of Ishmael: Tema
- about Jouf district
- Verse account of Nabonidus, translation at Livius.org
- Chronicle of Nabonidus, translation at Livius.org