Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Who were the Nabataeans?

They were a group of Arabian tribes who settled in Northern Arabia and the southern parts of the Levant during the fifth-fourth centuries BC. Archaeological evidence shows that around 580 BC the Nabataeans started to move into the kingdom of Edom and integrated into this settled group.

The first reference to the Nabataeans goes back to 312 BC during the campaign unsuccessfully waged by Antigonus I against the nomads living in the ancient Edom lands. the historian Diodorus Siculus (50 BC) told of the events using the report by hieronymous of Cardia, a Seleucid official who fought in the war.

So, in his Bibliotheca historicais the first known description of the nabataeans: “nomads who neither sow nor reap, nor do they build houses, living from the trade of goods from Arabia. their rocky, arid land is impenetrable by enemies and only they understand” it.

During the period between the second century B.C. and the first century A.D. they established a kingdom that covered modern Jordan, northern Arabia, southern Syria and southern Palestine.

The control of trade routes was the main source of wealth for the Nabataean kingdom between the second century BCE and the end of the first century CE.

Petra, the Nabataeans' capital, was an active commercial metropolis receiving goods from various producers such as Arabia, India, East Africa and China. These commodities were then to be distributed to other nations.

Their kingdom came to an end in A.D. 106 when it was annexed to the Roman Empire by Trajan. By that time  the Nabataeans were a cultural entity possessing their own Aramaic dialect and associated script, distinct religious pantheon, characteristic art style, architectural forms and a territory centred at Petra and Medai’n Salih.
Who were the Nabataeans?

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