A Brief History Of Saudi Arabia (Brief History) by James Wynbrandt

By James Wynbrandt

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With this annexation of the kingdom, direct Roman contact with the nomads increased. A brief confrontation with Arabs east of the Euphrates occurred during Trajan’s Parthian War. D. Rome apparently garrisoned troops at Palmyra, in Syria, which previously policed the desert caravan routes on its own. Gradually, trade activity dwindled. Palmyra surpassed Nabataea as an overland trading center and seaborne trade around the peninsula 14 ARABIA: THE LAND AND ITS PRE-ISLAMIC HISTORY increasingly diminished the importance of the overland routes.

Strabo wrote that “The Nabataeans are a sensible people, and are so much inclined to acquire possessions that they publicly fine anyone who has diminished his possessions and also confer honours on anyone who has increased them. Since they have but few slaves, they are served by their kinfolk for the most part, or by one another, or by themselves, so that the custom extends even to their kings” (Strabo 1930, 367). A pantheon of deities was ruled by the sun god, Dushara, and the goddess Allat. ) Nabataeans spoke an Arabic dialect but later adopted Aramaic.

Courtesy of S. M. Amin/Aramco World/PADIA) 27 A BRIEF HISTORY OF SAUDI ARABIA The Quraysh was Mecca’s dominant tribe. They are thought to have arrived in Mecca sometime early in the fifth century and took control of it shortly thereafter when Qusayy, one of its members, became Mecca’s ruler, possibly through marriage to the daughter of the king he succeeded. By the time of Muhammad’s birth in the latter sixth century, ongoing warfare between the Byzantine Empire and Persia’s Sassanid dynasty had severed the caravan route from the Mediterranean to the mouth of the Persian Gulf.

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