Nouveaux arguments en faveur d'une identification de la cité de Gerrha avec le royaume de Hagar (Arabie orientale)

Christian Julien Robin 1 Alessia Prioletta 2
1 OM-MS - Équipe Mondes sémitiques
OM - ORIENT ET MÉDITERRANÉE : Textes, Archéologie, Histoire
Abstract : The site of Gerrha, the Greek name of an important caravan city of Eastern Arabia during the Hellenistic period, has not yet been identified. Ten inscriptions from South Arabia that have been recently published, some mentioning Eastern Arabia, others commissioned by traders originating from that very region, provide new relevant data. One of these data sheds light on the location of Gerrha. According to classical sources, Gerrha formed a pair with Chattenia (in Greek) and Gerra with Attene (in Latin). The same pair is found in a Syriac source, the episcopal lists of the eastern Syrian Church (called œ"Nestorian"), according to which there was a common episcopal seat at Hagar and at Pîṭ-Ardashîr (=Ḥaṭṭâ). The two toponyms also appear in a Ḥimyarite inscription from South Arabia that mentions Hagarum and Khaṭṭ together. A link is thus established between Chattenia (also called Attene, Ḥaṭṭâ and Khaṭṭ) on the one hand, and either Hagar or Gerrha on the other. As a result, Gerrha and Hagar can be identified. Moreover, as Hagar is the former name of the oasis of al-Hufūf, we can conclude that Gerrha was also situated there. Concerning the Semitic name of Gerrha, the authors assume that it was Hagar. However, they also observe that there is another potential candidate, Ḡr, which was certainly a toponym to be located in Eastern Arabia and whose transposition into Greek could be Gerrha. This study is based on the inventory of all available data on Gerrha that are found in classical sources, coins, and in the Greek and Arabian inscriptions. Among the most significant new data resulting from this examination is the use, unexpected in Yemen, of a dating system that is based on the regnal years of the king Seleucus (c. 305-280 BC). In other inscriptions from Eastern Arabia, the reckoning system is based on the reigns of 'tbl and 'rbḏ, rulers who can be identified with Attambelos and Orabazes, kings of Characene. These evidences suggest that Gerrha was dominated by the Seleucids under the reign of Seleucus I and was later incorporated into the kingdom of Characene (founded around 127 BC) after the fall of the Seleucids. Between the first decades of the 3rd century and the last decades of the 2nd century BC, Gerrha was probably independent, since we know at least one king of Hagar, called Ḥārithat, who is attested on coins.
Document type :
Journal articles
Complete list of metadatas
Contributor : Catherine Fauveaud-Brassaud <>
Submitted on : Wednesday, February 19, 2014 - 5:16:14 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, May 2, 2019 - 4:38:15 PM



Christian Julien Robin, Alessia Prioletta. Nouveaux arguments en faveur d'une identification de la cité de Gerrha avec le royaume de Hagar (Arabie orientale). Semitica et Classica, Brepols Publishers, 2013, 6, pp.131-185. ⟨10.1484/J.SEC.1.103730⟩. ⟨halshs-00949459⟩



Record views