Significance Of Petra To The Ancient World

1569 words - 7 pages

The Significance of Petra to the Ancient World
Petra has been named the “Rose red city, half as old as time” (Dean Burgen, Petra). It is visited by ­­­­­­­thousands people per year as they are attracted to the intricate carvings and unique aesthetes, but many of the visitors are blissfully unaware of how significant this magnificent city was to the ancient world.
What made it so important to the ancient world was its location. It is in a very sought after position as it had access to water, many trade and caravan routes crossed through the city, it was protected from attack by the 20 story high walls and only had two entrances though narrow canyons. Whichever ­­empire ...view middle of the document...

They were not urbanised and showed little interest in occupying the Petra basin. Most of what we know about them was written by the Israelites who conquered the Edomites. Under king Solomon the Israelites who gained most of the mineral wealth of Wadi Araba, started to trade with Edom people. Solomon soon controlled Edom and its trade, Solomon then went all out to develop Edom (Petra). The Israelites lead the Edom people into a false security by thinking they would not conquer Edom as they already controlled their wealth, However the Israelites wanted to not only control their wealth but own their land. The conquest of Edom provided the Israelites not only to control the trade routes but also provided them with a large amount of slaves. The kingdom was renowned for slave owners and slave traders. Selling family and "friends" was not an uncommon thing, one’s family and friends were a limited source of supply. There was constant conflict between the Israelites and their neighbours due to Petra being in such high demand. This lead to instability and eventually the Israelites being taken over by the Mesopotamians.
The fall of the Israelites coincided with the rise of the Assyrian Empire. The Assyrians exploited the downfall of the Israelites. During the sixth and seventh centuries the political control of Edom shifted successfully from the Assyrians to the Neo-Babylonians and then finally to the Persians. This turbulent period created instability which in turn allowed a new group from the south to claim the land and turn themselves into the new regional power. The new rulers the Nabataens were Arabs from around Jordan and Palestine, there is little evidence about them and the Nabataeans are sometimes referred to as a “desert sandstorm” (Tschsnz, Petra: a brief history). The Nabataens were the longest occupying group at Petra. The technologies displayed in Nabataean art, metal work, hydraulics and architecture suggests that the Nabataean culture was a combination of the traditional Edom culture and the various skilled Nabataeans. The Nabataens used their mercantile and caravanning skills to improve their finances, which helped the Nabataeans to be recognized for their great magnitude of wealth. This meant that the Nabataens had to always been on guard looking out for neighbouring rulers who sought to enrich their wealth at the expense of the Nabataens. The Nabataeans exploited incense which the Romans required in their temples and for burying rituals and with their rapidly expanding empire the demand for incense was at an all - time high, so the Nabataens took the opportunity to get the most money they could, much to the ­­­­displeasure of the Romans. Nabataeans also bought little from the Romans making the imbalance even greater. In 26 BCE Agustus Caesar sent an army to Petra. We obtain evidence of this in the soldier historian Hieronymus of Cardia, though his works have not survived we have his works mentioned in the...

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