History, Novel

Numismatics in Jayida: Negus Kaleb of Aksum

When portraits of historical figures are lacking, there could be coins 🙂

Negus Kaleb of Aksum is famous for his sixth century expedition to Himyar in response to the massacre of Christians in Najran (and nearby areas) by the Jewish leader Dhu Nuwas. This essentially reinstated Christian Aksumite rule in the region for about the next 40 years (though not without its own internal drama—yanno; the usual!). As a result of his protection of the Christians, Kaleb is also known as Saint Elesbaan after the 16th century Cardinal Caesar Baronius added him to his edition of the Roman Martyrology despite his being a Miaphysite.

The shattering Najran event is part of the context of my historical fiction novel Jayida, whose life collides with Khaled and the mixed-race poet ‘Antarah amidst often volatile Arabian tribal relations, along with spiritual and climatic shifts sweeping the sixth century.

Speaking of British Museum: