Charles Huber



The first-ever account of Charles Huber’s colourful life takes the reader from his modest origins in Strasbourg, through his youthful escapades and early efforts to educate himself, to the dangerous journeys that ended in his murder and brought him renown as one of Arabia’s great explorers.



New light is shed on the dates and itinerary of Huber’s first Arabian journey, an epic quest of some 5,000 kilometres on camelback requiring immense fortitude. For this, he used Ha’il as a base before travelling with the pilgrim caravan to Iraq and thence to Syria. The focus then shifts to his return to Arabia in 1883 with Julius Euting, the eminent German Semitist, and the twists and turns of their unsuccessful collaboration. Having parted company with Euting at the great Nabataean site of Mada’in Salih in the northern Hijaz, Huber went back into central Arabia before making a dangerous journey to Jiddah. He was murdered shortly after, on 29 July 1884, by his guides on the Red Sea coast. Finally, the affair of the Tayma Stele, the celebrated Aramaic inscription now in the Musée du Louvre, comes under the spotlight. In a new analysis of this notorious Franco-German imbroglio, the prevailing idea that Huber first saw it in 1880 is held up to scrutiny, and Euting at last given his due for its discovery in 1884.




  • William Facey

    William Facey is a historian and museum planner. Since 1974 he has been involved in many heritage projects in the Middle East, especially in Saudi Arabia. His books, introductions and articles cover the history, architecture and early photography of the Arabian Peninsula countries, as well as Arab maritime history, Islam among the British, and Western travellers in Arabia, particularly those visiting Islam’s holy cities. He established Arabian Publishing Ltd in London in 2002, and in 2006 became a founding trustee of the British Foundation for the Study of Arabia (BFSA), now IASA, the International Association for the Study of Arabia.