Yusuf ‘As’ar Yath’ar Dhu Nuwas (Masruk)
- (c. 517–25)King of Himyar, in South Arabia. Yusuf was of royal descent and had converted to Judaism before he ascended the throne of Himyar. He established the unity of the kingdom and set out to enlarge its borders. He had to contend with the active opposition of Ethiopia, on the opposite side of the Red Sea, whose inhabitants had accepted Christianity. The Christians of Himyar, mainly in the two towns of Zafar and Najran, acted as fifth columnists for Ethiopia. Zafar had fallen into the hands of the Ethiopians in 517, but after a great battle was retaken by Yusuf. The inhabitants of Najran, however, broke into open revolt and some Jews of the city were killed. Yusuf proposed peace terms, and when these were rejected he conquered the town. The number of Christians killed in Najran provided an excuse for a war of vengeance against Yusuf, encouraged by the Byzantines and undertaken, by the Ethiopians. Yusuf met the Ethiopians in battle in 525 but was defeated, and he and his army were wiped out. According to legend, he leapt into the sea on his horse and was drowned, but a rich tomb found in Ghaymen is now thought to be his burial place. With the death of Yusuf the independence of the Jewish Kingdom in South Arabia came to an end.
Who’s Who in Jewish History after the period of the Old Testament. Joan Comay . 2012.