Cultures > Nabataean Kingdom

Nabataean Kingdom

Roman History - Pax Romana Decoration


As a result of being a center of trade and commerce the city was highly rich and diverse due to cultural diffusion and adopted architectural styles and customs from around the Near East region. In fact at one point the Nabataeans themselves a sizable swath of territory called the Nabatean Kingdom that stretched from Hawaran in southern Syria into the Sinai in Egypt and into the Negev and the Hijaz in western Arabia, for a short period of time even including Damascus.

The capital of this great kingdom was located at Petra and as the city grew in wealth the population grew as well and a wider variety of hydraulic technologies were incorporated to sustain the resource demands. Under the leadership of the Nabatean kings Aretas I (c. 168 BC), Aretas II (120/110–96 BC), Obodas I (96–85 BC), Rabbel I (85/84 BC), Aretas III (84–61 BC), and Obodas II (62–58 BC) the city underwent tremendous urbanization and expansion of commerce which resulted in the necessity to construct massive water storage systems and associated hydraulic technologies. (Ortloff 2005)

Following the Nabatean control of Petra the city was conquered and incorporated into theRoman Empire under the leadership of Tiberias, Caligua, Claudius, Vespasian and Hadrian. The territory of Petra would be formally annexed into the Roman Empire by Trajan in AD 106. After this the Nabataean capital would remain relatively independent most likely due to the taxes and tribute that they paid to the Romans. Under the Romans the prominence of the city would decline as Palmyra grew to become the regional capital of the lucrative caravan trading network.


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