Petra and the Lost Kingdom of the Nabataeans

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"The Nabataean Arabs, one of the most gifted peoples of the ancient world, are today known only for their hauntingly beautiful rock-carved capital - Petra. Here, in the wild and grand landscapes of southern Jordan, they created some of the most prodigious works of man in the vast monuments which they chiselled there from the russet sandstone mountains. The very scale of their achievement is breathtaking but beyond mere scale is their creative vision, for they transformed the living rock of Petra into an enduring architectural masterpiece." This
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Overview

"The Nabataean Arabs, one of the most gifted peoples of the ancient world, are today known only for their hauntingly beautiful rock-carved capital - Petra. Here, in the wild and grand landscapes of southern Jordan, they created some of the most prodigious works of man in the vast monuments which they chiselled there from the russet sandstone mountains. The very scale of their achievement is breathtaking but beyond mere scale is their creative vision, for they transformed the living rock of Petra into an enduring architectural masterpiece." This illustrated volume recounts the story of a remarkable but lost civilization and the capacity of its people to adapt and diversify their skills as necessity demanded. It tells of their nomadic origins, the development of their multifaceted culture, their relations with their now more famous neighbours and the demise of their kings and kingdom. It looks at their continued, if unrecognized, survival as Christians and farmers under the Byzantine Empire and into the early years of Islam.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Writer and photographer Taylor (High Above Jordan) has created a beautifully illustrated work covering the history of the Nabataeans, an Arab people who lived in the area of present-day southern Jordan and northern Saudi Arabia from about the third century B.C.E. until the sixth century C.E. The Nabataeans remain largely forgotten and are known today mainly for their spectacular rock-hewn city of Petra, located in the rugged mountains of southern Jordan. Taylor provides an intimate look at Nabataean life and culture based on archaeological evidence and written records of the period. She thoroughly examines the development and architecture of Petra and describes the Nabataean domination of the Middle Eastern spice trade, as well as giving detailed information on their changing religious practices over the centuries. For several centuries, Nabataean culture flourished and adapted to many outside influences, including Roman rule. The Nabataean civilization gradually declined beginning in the third century C.E. as overland caravan trade routes ceased to be used. Taylor's clear, incisive writing and copious photographs bring the ancient world of the Nabataeans to life. Highly recommended for archaeology and history collections in academic libraries. Elizabeth Salt, Otterbein Coll. Lib., Westerville, OH
From the Publisher

"The Nabataeans created Petra - perhaps the single most astonishing site of the ancient world. Now at last, after two thousand years, Jane Taylor has given them the book they deserve. She has written a valuable and eminently enjoyable text, while her photographs do more than justice to the story of these extraordinary people." - John Julius Norwich, historian, travel writer and presenter

"I have very much enjoyed Jane Taylor's book on the Nabataeans. She writes marvellously for her audience. She has complete command of her material and obviously loves it. I was deeply impressed by reading the book." - Professor Glen Bowersock, School of Historical Studies, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton University

"A vibrant narrative... The stunning photographs are simply not to be missed." - Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians

"A full and accessible account of the Nabataean world, which, illuminated by her brilliant photographs, does justice to a great and unjustly forgot ten civilization" - British Museum Magazine

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780674017559
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • Publication date: 4/30/2005
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 8.50 (w) x 10.30 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Jane Taylor is a writer and photographer whose books include Testament to the Bushman (with Laurens van der Post), High Above Jordan, Petra and Imperial Istanbul (I.B.Tauris, 1998).

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Table of Contents

Prelude : Alexander the Great, frankincense and the Nabataeans 10
1 They came from Arabia : the origins of the Nabataeans and the incense trade 13
2 ...Into a habitation of dragons : settling in the land of Edom and the emergence of the kingdom 29
3 Friends, foes and neighbours : relations with Egypt, Syria and Judaea 43
4 Days of glory, days of dust : from independence to Roman annexation 59
5 The miracle of Petra : the development of the capital 79
6 The delicate magic of life : Nabataean gods and places of worship 121
7 Language, script and graffiti : speaking Arabic, writing Aramaic and carving inscriptions 147
8 Babatha : the life, loves and litigation of women among the Nabataeans 173
9 Afterglow of empire : Nabataeans and Christianity in the Byzantine era 191
Epilogue : the Nabataeans in the Islamic world 212
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