At the southern end of Arabia, Yemen was once rich from trade and frankincense. By the 11th century, it had fallen off the map, but two strong queens led it back to prosperity, particularly Arwa Al-Sulayhi, whose reign did more for Yemen than 350 years of men who followed. There's assassins, executions, heads on pikes.
Among Arwa's accomplishments was refurbishing the Great Mosque of Sana'a, Yemen's capital, whose medieval old city features gingerbread-like skyscrapers. Despite the horrors of war, Yemen perseveres.
Charlie from the Almost Forgotten podcast joins us to discuss Arwa and other historical figures that we've forgotten. Plus saltah!
Daftary, Dr. Farhad. Sayyida Hurra: The Isma‘ili Sulayhid Queen of Yemen
Mackintosh-Smith, Tim. Yemen: the Unknown Arabia
Mernissi, Fatima. The Forgotten Queens of Islam
Walker, Jenny. Lonely Planet Oman, UAE and the Arabian Peninsula
Wintour, Patrick. “Yemen civil war: the conflict explained” in the Guardian
Music by Mohamed al-Kouek, Kamilia Anbar Yakout, and Mohamed Hmoud al-Harithy
Photograph by Maria Gropa