Located at the southern end of the Arabian peninsula, the countries of Yemen and Oman sit at a strategic crossroads. The Horn of Africa lies just a few miles across the southern end of the Red Sea, the Persian Gulf is off to the East, and the Arabian Sea, an arm of the Indian Ocean, gives ships easy passage to India and points east.
In ancient times, this advantageous location gave the area, then known as Saba, access to wealth and power. Today, it is easy to think that ancient societies were, because of their technological limitations, relatively isolated from other parts of the world. But the study of ancient Arabia proves otherwise.
The Sabaeans received goods from distant China and India and shipped them to the Mediterranean and beyond. They also produced their own luxury goods that were highly prized in other lands. Their wealth enabled them to build imposing cities, the ruins of which are treasured archaeological sites.