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Legends of the Queen of Sheba are common throughout Arabia, Persia, Ethiopia and Israel. In Arabian tradition, Balkis ruled with the heart of a woman but the head and hands of a man. Islamic stories portray Solomon as marrying the Queen. In contrast to the Bible,(3) they portray her abandoning her gods and converting to the God of the Israelites.

More realistic portraits of the Queen of Sheba appear in the Bible and the Kebra Negast. According to Ethiopian legend, she was born in 1020 B.C. in Ophir, and educated in Ethiopia. Her mother was Queen Ismenie; her father, chief minister to Za Sebado, succeeded him as King. One story describes that as a child Sheba (called Makeda) was to be sacrificed to a serpent god, but was rescued by the stranger 'Angaboo. Later, her pet jackal bit her badly on one foot and leg, leaving lasting scars and deformity. When her father died in 1005 B.C., Sheba became Queen at the age of fifteen. Contradictory legends refer to her as ruling for forty years, and reigning as a virgin queen for six years. In most accounts, she never married.

Sheba was known to be beautiful (despite her ankle and leg), intelligent, understanding, resourceful, and adventurous. A gracious queen, she had a melodious voice and was an eloquent speaker. Excelling in public relations and international diplomacy, she was a also competent ruler. The historian Josephus said of her, "she was inquisitive into philosophy and on that and on other accounts also was to be admired."

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Legends of the Queen of Sheba are common throughout Arabia, Persia, Ethiopia and Israel. In Arabian tradition, Balkis ruled with the heart of a woman but the head and hands of a man. Islamic stories portray Solomon as marrying the Queen. In contrast to the Bible,(3) they portray her abandoning her gods and converting to the God of the Israelites.

More realistic portraits of the Queen of Sheba appear in the Bible and the Kebra Negast. According to Ethiopian legend, she was born in 1020 B.C. in Ophir, and educated in Ethiopia. Her mother was Queen Ismenie; her father, chief minister to Za Sebado, succeeded him as King. One story describes that as a child Sheba (called Makeda) was to be sacrificed to a serpent god, but was rescued by the stranger 'Angaboo. Later, her pet jackal bit her badly on one foot and leg, leaving lasting scars and deformity. When her father died in 1005 B.C., Sheba became Queen at the age of fifteen. Contradictory legends refer to her as ruling for forty years, and reigning as a virgin queen for six years. In most accounts, she never married.

Sheba was known to be beautiful (despite her ankle and leg), intelligent, understanding, resourceful, and adventurous. A gracious queen, she had a melodious voice and was an eloquent speaker. Excelling in public relations and international diplomacy, she was a also competent ruler. The historian Josephus said of her, "she was inquisitive into philosophy and on that and on other accounts also was to be admired." More...

 
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