The little island won great favour as a religious resort, not only for the Egyptians and the Ethiopians and others who frequented the border district and the market of Assuan, but also for Greek and Roman visitors.
(464-404 B.C.), reveal the existence of a colony of Jews, with a temple to Yahu (Yahweh, Jehovah), which had been founded at some time before the conquest of Egypt by Cambyses in 523 B.C. They also mention the great frontier garrison against the Ethiopians, referred to by Herodotus.
In early times, too, the Hebrews had commercial intercourse with the Ethiopians; and according to Abyssinian tradition the queen of Sheba who visited Solomon was a monarch of their country, and from their son Menelek the kings of Abyssinia claim descent.
The Ethiopians possessed the richest part of Arabia, carried on a large trade, which extended as far as India and Ceylon, and were in constant communication with the Greek empire.
Their expulsion from Arabia, followed by the conquest of Egypt by the Mahommedans in the middle of the 7th century, changed this state of affairs, and the continued advances of the followers of the Prophet at length cut them off from almost every means of communication with the civilized world; so that, as Gibbon says, "encompassed by the enemies of their religion, the Ethiopians slept for near a thousand years, forgetful of the world by whom they were forgotten."