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Updated: 2021.07.05

גַּנְבִּיָה

(Adopted By Arabs From Tei•mân•im Jews As "Janbiya")


ccJanbiya silver Assib fm Tiaham Yemenc
Click to enlargeJanbiya silver Assib fm Tiaham Yemen (photo: oriental-arms.com) https://oriental-arms.com/product/silver-assib-jambiya-from-tihama-yemen/
fem. n. Janᵊbiyâh (MH spelling: גַּ'נְבִּיָה),Janbiyah,Jambiya,Jambia,sicarii from גָּנַב, necessarily via Aramaic גַּ'נְבִּיָא, to Arabic janaba, from Arabic root janb (meaning "side") but still retaining the original Yemenite Jewish (Hebrew) pronunciation — the short curved dagger worn by Arabs and first documented as used by the Qa•nâyim (Roman Latin: sicarii ) in the 1st century CE (4 centuries before the first extant Arabic writing!).

The Janᵊbiy is the curved dagger, worn for millennia throughout the ancient Middle East on the belt under one's cloak. While it's presence in the ancient Middle East is reportedly noted from c. BCE 4,000, it is first noted in the historical record as the dagger of the Qa•nâyim. Today, only Arabs continue to wear the Janᵊbiy.

“Archaeological studies in the region have traced the Janbiya's origins as early as 6000 years back, where men of early civilizations that once dominated the region are shown with Janbiyas wrapped around their waists in ancient manuscripts & drawings, among which is the Kingdom of Sheba that was once ruled by the widely celebrated queen of Sheba (pronounced as the kingdom of “Sabaa” in Arabic) which modern evidence tends towards it's existence in Yemen in southern Arabia.

“Early Janbiya's hilts were made mainly out of a Rhino's horn & this tradition continued till today, where the most prestigious & high priced Janbiyas are made out of the same material.”

Janbiya in belt
Click to enlargeJanbiya in belt (photo: Anthony Pappone; https://www.flickr.com/photos/ronnyreportage/

“Evidence of the oldest janbiyas show they were worn in Sheban times, in the Himiarite kingdom; a statue of the Sheban king dating from 500 B.C. includes a janbiya … It is said that no man is complete without his janbiya. …

“The Jewish artisans of Yemen proved to be great geniuses in manufacturing the janbiya and it became their exclusive profession. Individuals and sometimes entire families gained celebrity for their fine workmanship of the janbiya. That tradition in Yemen largely ended when virtually all Jewish Yemenis migrated to Israel around 1949.”

Arabic Phallus Symbol

In Yemen, the Janᵊbiy is worn by all Arab men, exclusively; the symbol of their manhood—but Arabs racistly prohibited any Yemenite Jew from wearing the Janᵊbiy Arab symbol of manhood.

“…the dagger also served, and still serves, as a status symbol with every male, from the humblest to the richest, wearing their jambiya as a sign of strength, manhood and self-sufficiency…

A prestigious type of jambiya… is worn … tucked to the side of a man’s waist rather than in front of the stomach.”


1st Century CE Roman Counterpart: The Pugio

The PBH term for "dagger", פּוּגְיוֹן, derives from the Roman Latin: Pugio.

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1st Century CE Roman Pugio in sheath (photo romancoins.com)

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1st Century CE Roman Pugio beside sheath (photo romancoins.com)


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