Ancient Syria: A Three Thousand Year History
Syria has long been one of the most trouble-prone and politically volatile regions of the Near and Middle Eastern world. This book looks back beyond the troubles of the present to tell the 3000-year story of what came before: the peoples, cities, and kingdoms that arose, flourished, declined, and disappeared in the lands that now constitute Syria, from the time of the region's earliest written records in the third millennium BC, right through to the reign of the Roman emperor Diocletian in the early 4th century AD. Across the centuries, from the Bronze Age to Imperial Rome, we encounter a vast array of characters and civilizations, enlivening, enriching, and besmirching the annals of Syrian history: Hittite and Assyrian Great Kings; Egyptian pharaohs; Amorite robber-barons; the biblically notorious Nebuchadnezzar; Persia's Cyrus the Great and Macedon's Alexander the Great; the rulers of the Seleucid empire; and an assortment of Rome's most distinguished and most infamous emperors. All swept across the plains of Syria at some point in her long history. All contributed, in one way or another, to Syria's special, distinctive character, as they imposed themselves upon it, fought one another within it, or pillaged their way through it. But this is not just a history of invasion and oppression. Syria had great rulers of her own, native-born Syrian luminaries, sometimes appearing as local champions who sought to liberate their lands from foreign despots, sometimes as cunning, self-seeking manipulators of squabbles between their overlords. They culminate with Zenobia, Queen of Palmyra, whose life provides a fitting grand finale to the first three millennia of this ancient civilization. And yet the long story of Syria does not end with the mysterious fate of Queen Zenobia. The conclusion looks forward to the Muslim conquest in the 7th century AD: in many ways the opening chapter in the equally complex and often troubled history of modern Syria.
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The Tale to be Told
The Bronze Ages
From the Iron Age to the Macedonian Conquest
Syria Under Seleucid Rule
Syria Under Roman Rule
The Rise and Fall of Palmyra
The Last Farewell
Chronology of Major Events and Periods
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Abdi-Ashirta Achaemenid Ahuni Akhenaten Aleppo Alexander Alexander’s alliance Amurru Anatolia Antigonus Antiochus Appian Arab army Asia Minor assassinated Assyrian attack Aurelian Aziru Babylon Babylonian battle became Bronze Age brother Byblos called campaign capital captured Carchemish century bc city’s Cleopatra coast conquest Damascus death defeated Demetrius dynasty east Eastern world Ebla Egypt Egyptian emperor empire empire’s enemy Euphrates father forces Greek Hatti Hattusili Hittite Hittite king homeland imperial inscriptions invaders Jerusalem Jewish king’s lands Late Bronze Age Macc Mesopotamia military Mitanni Mitannian Mursili Muwattalli Nabataean Nebuchadnezzar Neo-Hittite northern Syria Odenathus Orontes Palmyra Palmyrene Parthian peace period Persian pharaoh Polybius province Ptolemy Qadesh queen Ramesses region reign Rib-Hadda Roman world Rome Rome’s royal rule ruler Sasanian Seleuceia Seleucid Seleucus Septimius Shalmaneser Shapur siege sources southern successor Suppiluliuma Syria and Palestine territories throne Tiglath-pileser took transl troops Tudhaliya Tuthmosis Ugarit vassal victory western Yamhad Zenobia