Centre for Continuing Education

Oman and Yemen: Discover the Arabian Peninsula - from Ancient to Modern

History. See the future. It’s in the past.

The world as we know it today has been shaped by events of the past. Learn about history the smart way with History courses at CCE, The University of Sydney.

Though smaller than most other Arab countries, the Arabian Peninsula states of Oman and Yemen represent some of the most fascinating areas of the Middle East. Unveil the mystery of the Arab kingdoms, history of their birth, rapid economic development astride the great land and maritime trade routes of the ancient and medieval world, history of royal dynasties, Bedouin traditions, tribal culture, and religious customs. Look at the contemporary political, social and economic developments in this volatile region as the civil war in Yemen further undermines stability of the Peninsula and beyond.


Upon completion of this history course, you should be able to:

  • Understand the historical background to modern and contemporary developments in Oman and Yemen.
  • Describe major political, economic and social developments in the Arabian Peninsula States of Oman and Yemen.
  • Identify ethnical, tribal and religious differences of those states.
  • Explain how regional powers influence national political events in Yemen and Oman.


This history course will cover the following content:

  • Landscapes and peoples of Oman and Yemen (Arabia Felix).
  • From Sheba to Petra: the Frankincense Route.
  • From India to Alexandria: Arabia Felix and the Monsoon Route.
  • The Arrival of the West and the Exploration of Arabia.
  • Oman and Yemen under the Ottoman leadership.
  • Oman in the 18th and 19th centuries.
  • The Ottoman-British competition over the territories in the Arabian Peninsula; British colonialism in Yemen; rise of nationalist movement in Yemen.
  • Formation, competition and merge of the Yemen Arab Republic (YAR, North Yemen) and the People’s and Democratic Republic of Yemen (PDRY, South Yemen).
  • Economic development and transformation in the 1990s.
  • Demographics, ethnicity and tribal divisions: Oman and Yemen.
  • The Arab Spring in Yemen and Oman.
  • Religion.
  • Regional and international diplomacy: Oman and Yemen.
  • Oil diplomacy and economic diversification in the 21st century: Oman and Yemen.
  • Civil unrest and war in Yemen (2015-).

Delivery Style

This history course will be delivered as a face-to-face, interactive lecture where questions and open discussions will be encouraged.

Recommended Reading

  • J-F Breton, Arabia Felix. From the Time of the Queen of Sheba, University of Notre Dame Press, 1999
  • L. Casson, The Periplus Maris Erythraei, Princeton University Press,1989
  • D. Hawley, Oman, 2005 (rev. edn.)
  • R.G. Hoyland, Arabia and the Arabs. From the Bronze Age to the Coming of Islam, Routledge, 2001
  • G. D. Johnsen, The Last Refuge: Yemen, al-Qaeda, and America’s War in Arabia, W. W. Norton & Company, 2014.
  • J. Jones & N. Ridout, Oman, Culture and Diplomacy, Edinburgh University Press, 2013.
  • T. Mackintosh-Smith, Yemen: The Unknown Arabia, Overlook Press, 2014.
  • A. de Maigret, Arabia Felix, Stacey International Press, 2009
  • S. Phillips, Yemen and the Politics of Permanent Crisis, Routledge, 2011.
  • W. Phillips, Qataban & Sheba: Exploring Ancient Kingdoms on the Biblical Spice Routes of Arabia, London, 1955
  • St. J. Simpson (ed.), Queen of Sheba. Treasures from Ancient Yemen, British Museum Press, 2002
  • F. Stark, The Southern Gates of Arabia, J.Murray Press, 1936 (multiple reprints)
  • W. Thesiger, Arabian Sands, 1959 (multiple reprints)
  • M. Valeri, Oman: Politics and Society in the Qaboos, Oxford University Press, 2014.


  • Expert trainers
  • Central locations
  • Small class sizes
  • Free, expert advice
  • Student materials – yours to keep
  • Certificate of completion