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King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba were bound to play an important part in unravelling the story but I had not anticipated that this would lead to the hypothesis that the Bible story represents an historical 'slippage' of some two centuries, nor that the queen, though an historical personage, was not to be identified, as she usually is, with the land of the Sabaeans in south-west Arabia but more probably with ancient Meroe - a civilisation of which only a few people are aware. This led to a glimpse of ancient Egyptian history and, in particular, of the pharaohs of the twenty-fifth, or so-called Ethiopian, dynasty, the 'broken reed' against which the Assyrians warned King Hezekiah. These were Meroitic kings who came from the country known to the Old Testament writers by the Egyptian name Cush which was called Ethiopia by the Greeks and today forms part of northern Sudan.