Nabataean Kingdom

Ancient Arab Kingdom (3rd century BC - 106 AD)

The Nabataeans (169 BC - 106 AD) (Arabic: المملكة النبطية, romanized: al-Mamlakah an-Nabaṭiyyah), also named Nabatea (/ˌnæbəˈtə/), was an ancient Arab kingdom in the deserts of Jordan, Sinai, the Negev and parts of the northern Arabian Peninsula. Their capital was the city of Petra in Jordan.

Nabataean Kingdom
المملكة النبطية
3rd century BC–106 AD
The Nabataean Kingdom at its greatest extent
The Nabataean Kingdom at its greatest extent
30°19′43″N 35°26′31″E / 30.3286°N 35.4419°E / 30.3286; 35.4419
Common languages
Arab polytheism
Historical eraAntiquity
• Established
3rd century BC
• Obodas I repels Hasmonean invasion
90 BC
• Conquered by the Roman Empire
106 AD
CurrencyNabataean Denarius
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Arabia Petraea

It was a strategic stop on the Incense Road; it is located at the crossroads of the caravan routes coming from Yemen, linking it to the Levant, Egypt and the Mediterranean Sea.

The Nabataeans relied on the caravan trade, enriched and established an important kingdom, and wrote in Aramaic, which they took from the Edomites. Aramaic was the language of trade in western Asia since the beginning of the first millennium BC, and it also became the language of the Achaemenid Persian court. The Nabataeans used to speak Arabic among themselves.

They had little interest in the scattered series of oases that were within their kingdom, they practiced limited agriculture, and their frontiers with the desert were not effectively secured; they lost their independence during the reign of the Roman Emperor Trajan.

The Nabataeans were able to take advantage of the location of their country for the passage of the arteries of trade between the Levant and Yemen, and they also mediated the transfer of trade between Egypt, the Levant and other places of the Arabian Peninsula. They imposed taxes on trades and merchants.

The port of Gaza was a favorite, due to its proximity to Petra. In addition, they built irrigation canals, took care of agriculture, exploited their land and the natural resources in it, learned and mastered the exploitation of copper and iron mines, minted money, and accumulated great fortunes as a result of their economic prosperity.