Jordan in stone ages


During its history, Jordan has seen numerous civilizations, including such ancient eastern ones as the Canaanite and later other Semitic peoples such as the Edomites, and the Moabites. Other civilizations possessing political sovereignty and influence in Jordan were: Akkadian, Assyrian, Judean, Babylonian, and Persian empires. Jordan was for a time part of Pharaonic Egypt, the Hasmonean Dynasty of the Maccabees, and also spawned the native Nabatean civilization which left rich archaeological remains at Petra. Cultures from the west also left their marks, such as the Macedonian, Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman Turkish empires. Since the seventh century the area has been under Muslim and Arab cultures, with the exception of a brief period when the west of the area formed part of the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem and a short time under British rule.

Ancient Jordan has witnessed different ages during its history, below a brief description

Paleolithic Period

Inhabitants of Jordan in this period were wild animal's hunters, they follow the movement of animals that were seeking pasture and living near sources of water. Many evidences indicate that during this period Jordan climate during this period was considerably wetter than today. This means that large areas of Jordan desert were open plains ideal for a hunting and gathering subsistence strategy. Evidence has also been found of Paleolithic inhabitation near a large expanse of water at Zarqa. Nothing was found from the man of this period such as evidence of architecture or human skeletons. But archaeologists have uncovered tools from this period such as flint and basalt hand-axes, knives and scraping implements. Ancient man also left clues to the nature of his existence beginning in Paleolithic times and continuing through the Neolithic and Chalcolithic eras ( Al Kafafi , 1990)

Old Stone Age (000 500-000 .10 BC almost

Since the Stone Age human habitat in Jordan, many archeological traces that belongs to the late period of this ages in different sites Aharana and the Eastern Desert and elsewhere. Scientists agree that the weather in Jordan in this era was wetter and more moisture in general. And that man was living on hunting and collecting wild plants and discovered the fire and drawing on the rocks, pictures of animals, including deer, there are still many sites belonging to this era untouched after the prospectors. ( Yasin, 1994)

Archaeologists agree that the beginnings of the third round of the Old Stone Age is the beginnings of housing in the caves in Jordan and they connect such housing in the caves for a period of length relatively poor weather conditions in that period. But research has proved that man lived for a very long time outdoors in extreme weather conditions. The man was unable to have fire of those times and is not strange for a link to live in caves, with the ability to have fire, which initially served as a weapon. The oldest evidence of having fire in those areas was found in a cave of Um Qatafa in a desert west of the Dead Sea where some remains were found in the site surrounded by a number of stones and stone tools and bones, to indicate the existence of stone industries developed in that period.( Yousef, 2004)

Middle Stone Age

Archaeologists found tools in Jordan from the Old Stone Age which are minute fragments with a sharp straight line and stand on the shape of a crescent. They found also with this lithic tools a set of tools made of basalt and Cretaceous stone and bone, such as deer (bone, shells, tools such as hook). It is clear that agriculture spread at that time, scientists have proved that groups of the population were settled in one place and having an access to water sources .They buried their dead under the place where they were living and do so with great care, accompanied by decorations. Most of archaeological discoveries in Petra were rooted to the Stone Age .It is worth while to mention that this era was a transitional period include some of the previous period .( Yousef, 2004)

Neolithic ( New Stone Age ) (8000-4000 BC approx)

The Neolithic period is also called New Stone Age. In this stage three great shifts took place in Jordan. First, people settled down and start their community life in small villages. Due to this great shift new food sources such as cereal agriculture, domesticated peas and lentils, and the newly widespread practice of goat herding were practiced. Such combination of settled life and food security lead to a rise in Jordan population to reach to tens of thousands. The second shift is a radical change occurred in the climate, as climate became drier most of the year and thus formed the Eastern Desert and was separated from the western area of land that remained to enjoy rainfall there has been this change in climate in the period lying between 6500 4500 BC. The eastern desert area became warmer and drier, and gradually became uninhabitable during a large part of the year. Third, this area has experienced pottery industry which had the greatest impact on archaeologists to learn much about the population of different periods and lifestyles. The archaeological sites to witness the effects of this era is the Ain Ghazal and Wadi Sir, as the site contains a large number of historic buildings. (Yasin, 1994)

Making pottery was the most significant development at the end of Neolithic period, from about 5500-4500 BCE. The man in this period made many attempts and discover fashion pottery from plaster, but such thing was during the late Neolithic period when the man of that period began to create vessels from clay. Some argues that that pottery making in this period was introduced to the area from those craftsmen who came to the area from the seminal civilizations developing to the northeast, in Mesopotamia. (Manasra, 2009)

In Jordan, a number of sites related to the Neolithic period (8000 - 4500 BC). These sites extended from south to north. The most important archeological things of this era found in the hills of Beida in the south and Ain Ghazal in Amman an area that lies in Amman North East. Ein Ghazal area consists of a large number of buildings, which were divided into three distinct districts. The houses in this area were of rectangular shape including several rooms, and some of such houses had plastered floors. Therefore archaeologists argues that as though Neolithic man practiced ancestor veneration, as archaeologists have unearthed skulls covered with plaster and with bitumen in the eye sockets at sites throughout Jordan (Ein Ghazal and Beidha), The relic, which was found at Ein Ghazal, is thought to be 8000 years old. The statue is just over one meter high and is of a woman with huge eyes, skinny arms, knobby knees and carefully depicted toes. (Al Kafafi, 1990)

The houses were rectangular in shape and contain several rooms and floors are covered with polished plaster. A tower was discovered in Jericho which belongs to the villages of that period of time and archaeologists have also discovered many of the skulls belonging to that period in Jordan (Ain Ghazal and Baidha in Petra), Palestine and Syria.

The archaeologists have finished restoring one of the oldest statues belonging to that era, found in the Ain Ghazal and there is a belief that is eight thousand year, the old statue was for woman with huge eyes and two thin arms big knees clear feet fingers. Al Baidha in the north Petra is belonging to this age . The ruins of such are had been classified into six levels, the oldest is the lowest level and each layer is witnessing an improvement in the method of construction of the former class in the time for example, that when the sixth-class homes contain adjacent rooms like bees house , it became in the fifth-floor apart and not assigned in the fourth floor and began to take form a rectangle. The second and third layers are very similar. In Al- Baidha forty-five graves were and some has bodies in full and on the other head was disconnected from the body. This time period ended suddenly and Al Baidha never built, while Jericho abandoned for a period of time which is difficult to estimate. (Yousef, 2004)

Brass Stone Age (4000-3150 BC)

The term refers to the use of a new element copper in the manufacturing some tools in these period more inventions were made by the man in these areas; copper was smelted for the first time. The use of metal provide the human with large capacity to control tools forms and output specifications more accurately which increased their efficiency. Copper was used It in making axes, arrowheads and hooks, although flint tools also continued to be used for a long time The man of brass stone period was not depending so much on hunting as the case in Neolithic period , instead of that he focused more on sheep and goat breeding and agriculture activities such as cultivation of wheat, barley, dates, olives and lentils. In the desert areas the lifestyle was probably very similar to that of modern Bedouins (Yasin, 1994). This was accompanied by the emergence of specialists in copper mining and processing. And the emergence of copper has effects beyond this as copper mining was distributed in specific geographic areas and copper trading became as means of communication between the different sites of this age in the ancient East. This has resulted in the spread of many skills and industries in a wide region, and due to this discovery the relative isolation ended that characterized the lives of humanitarian groups in the previous periods ( Yousef, 2004)

The largest village in the Jordan Valley is called Tuleitat Ghassul. The village houses were built of sun-dried mud bricks with roofs made of wood, reeds and mud. Some dwellings were based on stone foundations and many were planned around large courtyards. The inhabitants of Tuleitat Ghassul used the walls of their houses for artistic or ceremonial purposes, painting bright images of masked men, stars and geometric motifs, perhaps connected with religious beliefs (Yousef, 2004).

Early Bronze Age (3150-2200 BC)

Around 3200 BCE, urban character was developed in Jordan. Various settlements were established during the Early Bronze Age (3200-1950 BCE) in different parts of Jordan, either in the Jordan Valley or in the mountainous areas in the country In this period a large number of villages were built with defensive castles to protect the inhabitants from enemies such as nomadic tribes who were also residing in the region. Water was channeled from one place to another and precautions were even taken against earthquakes and floods. Interesting changes took place in burial customs during this period .Man in this age began using bronze in the manufacture of some tools. And important development that has occurred at the beginning of this era is the spread of fenced locations, or walled cities, in all parts of the ancient East. This stability of the population in the cities of the ancient East led to complex economic conditions that prompted the invention of writing .Such achievement was made in Iraq and Egypt in the beginning of the third millennium BC. In this age spread of cities begun, a phenomenon that began on the late end of the previous period .Excavations have shown, especially the written documents that the population of coastal areas in great Syria and a large part of the interior during the second millennium BC, constitute a unit of language is Canaanite civilization. (Al Kafai, 1990)

Jordanian cities have flourished in the Bronze Age, which is indicated by the nature of the walls, towers and gates and temples engineering and streets and houses planning. The prevailing system of the Kingdom of the city as a political system, since several small states were found each of which consists of walled city surrounded by a number of farming villages. It is believed that Jordan and Palestine were one kingdom. As the Early Bronze Age period started of vague and complex period, it ends as well with a period that witnessed the destruction of Jordanian cities completely only some villages and little pottery were left. (Yousef, 2004)

Archaeologists discovered more than 20,000 shafts, tombs with multiple chambers at Bab al-Dhra, which is a well-preserved site in Wadi Arabia. They also found houses made of mud-brick that contain human bones, pots, jewelry and weapons. The scattered dolmens throughout the mountains of Jordan are belonging to the late Chalcolithic and Early Bronze ages. It is possible to consider that such dolmens are evidence of new peoples from the north bringing with them different burial traditions. (Yousef, 2004)

During the period 2300-1950 BCE, many of the large, hilltop towns constructed during the Early Bronze Age were abandoned in favor of either small, unfortified villages or a pastoral lifestyle. Archaeologists found no evidence of what prompted this shift, but they guess that it is possible that many cities were destroyed by an earthquake. But other say that sharp climatic change at this time resulted in less rainfall and higher temperatures across the Middle East was behind this shift .( Al Kafafi, 1990).

Middle Bronze Age (200 t 2-550 .1 BC)

A discovered tomb which was found in Al- Huson that belong to this period of time indicated the lack of structural joint between the buildings and that it was built from green mud bricks. Huge numbers of new arrivals who came to the region were buried in these graves . Not so much remains are available regarding the beginning of this era. In this period ( 1950-1550 BCE), people began to move around the Middle East to a far greater extent than before. Trading developed sharply between Egypt, Syria, Arabia, Palestine and Jordan. Such trade led spread of civilization and technology between the mentioned countries . Due to bronze creation out of copper and tin tools such as axes , knives and other tools and weapons became harder and more durable axes. There is an evidence that distinct communities were found during this period in the northern and central parts of the country while the south was populated by a nomadic, Bedouin-type of people known as the Shasu. Other new and different type of fortification appeared at sites like Amman's Citadel, Irbid, Tabaqat Fahl and Jericho. These towns were surrounded by ramparts made of earth embankments. The slope was then covered in hard plaster, making it slippery and difficult for an enemy to climb. Tabaqat Fahl was enclosed by massive walls and watch towers. (Yousef, 2004)

During the 18th century BCE large part of Syria, Jordan and Palestine were rules by a military aristocracy from northern Mesopotamia known as the Hyksos., Hyksos went on to conquer much of Egypt and help overthrow the Middle Kingdom there. Archaeologists believe that the Hyksos who are a Greek form of the ancient Egyptian hkaw haswt, which refers to rulers of foreign lands, were from Jordan and Palestine. It is known that Hyksos brought with them the war chariot, horses and a new type of defensive architecture. According to archaeologists the Middle Bronze Age ended around 1550 BCE when the Hyksos were kicked out of Egypt by the rulers. Most of Historians argued that the Middle Bronze Age towns in Palestine and Jordan were destructed by the Egyptian armies while they were tracing the Hyksos. (Manasra, 2009)

By 1482 BCE the Egyptian Pharaoh Tuthmosis III, succeeded in settling many of the internal disputes. He carried out at least 16 military campaigns and set up an empire in Canaan (Palestine, Jordan and Syria) after the successful conclusion of a seven-month siege of the combined Canaanite forces at Megiddo, in northern Palestine. Tuthmosis III appointed rulers by his choice to rule major towns and introduced a system of Egyptian governors in general control over administration of the province. Canaanite city-states system with littler different degrees of Egyptian influence existed throughout Jordan and Palestine during this period. In the north part the Egyptians fought the kingdoms of the Mitannians and Hittites for the purpose of controlling Syria. Due to the relative peace that made by the Egyptians the international trade improved especially with the Mediterranean and Aegean. The most famous goods that were found are pottery from Mycenaean Greece and Cyprus throughout Palestine and Jordan. Such pottery contained fine oils and perfumes, and were also used as elegant tableware or buried with the dead. (Manasra, 2009).

The next period of the Middle Bronze Age was characterized by the emergence of a new type of pottery industry, and bronze use in the arms industry. Some historians indicated that some groups of Syrian coast population arrived to the region and they rebuilt some cities in Jordan and Palestine. Others argue that this period was characterized by a wave of cultural interaction, which flooded great Syria. The graves of that period has a special character as a single grave containing more than one Skelton . In some of these graves narrow wooden table with three legs and loaded with food was found and if the deceased lying on a straw mat. Small number of graves also contained chairs and beds. The deceased was buried his clothes, which consisted of textiles with tough texture in the form robe extends to the knee and fixed with pins at the waist, chest and shoulders. Beside the dead a basket of tools and wooden combs were found of in addition to a number of wooden pots and cups .All of which show as a whole the link between the rulers of Jordan and Palestine during the reign of the Hyksos, which ruled part of Egypt. Ahmose has chased Hyksos in Jordan, Palestine, and beat them and took control of Jordan and Palestine. (Manasra, 2009).

Later Bronze Age (1550 -1200 . BC)

This age is known as the Egyptian control. Era.It begins by Egyptians rule to Jordan. The Late Bronze Age was brought to a mysterious end around 1200 BCE, with the collapse of many of the Near Eastern and Mediterranean kingdoms. The main cities of region including Greece and Cyprus, were destroyed and . It is thought that this destruction was wrought by the Sea Peoples from the Aegean and Anatolia who were eventually defeated by the Egyptian pharaohs Merenptah and Rameses III. One group of Sea Peoples was the Palestinians, who settled on the southern coast of Palestine and gave the area its name Palestine. The Hebrews may have been another cause of the Late Bronze Age devastation in Palestine , their origins of history as stipulated in the Old Testament of the Bible . The Old Testament of the Bible mentioned that Hebrews came out of Egypt led by Moses to Sinai, passing through Jordan and occupied part of the land of Moab. Although the archeological record does not always agree with the Biblical narrative. But it is certain that after the death of Moses at the site called Nebo, Joshua Ben-Nun. took command of the Hebrew tribes who crossed Jordan River to Jericho a Canaanite city which was fenced and inaccessible. Hebrews destroyed many Canaanite towns including (Jericho), Ai and Hazor, they entered and killed its inhabitants and destroyed the whole city, then Joshua launched three campaigns, the first was directed to the center of Palestine and the second to the south and the final to the north and occupied as a result of these campaigns all over Palestine. They divided Palestine to shares between the Hebrew tribes. The excavations in Eastern Bank of Jordan' the existence of structural remains belonging to the Bronze Age in Amman new airport in and Tel Deir Alla. The excavations at Deir Alla from the temple are similar to the above-mentioned contents of the temple were also found on the effects of Egypt.

Although the archeological record does not always agree with the Biblical narrative, it is certain that the. (Yousef, 2004)

Kingdoms of the Old Testament in Jordan - the Iron Age (1200-332 BC)

This era witnesses the development and consolidation of three new kingdoms in the land of Jordan: Edom in the south, Moab in center and Ammon in the northern mountains. Perhaps the power balance in this era was in favor of the great kingdoms that were formed in this era One possible reason for the growth of these local kingdoms was the growing importance of the trade route from Arabia, which carried gold, spices and precious metals through Amman and the most important indicator of growth in these kingdoms is the trade way, which flourished trade with the Arabian Peninsula. As the trade caravans carried gold, spices and precious metals from those territories to the north of Syria. (Yasin, 1994)

Christianity spread in this period, a period that witnessed most of the events of the narrative of the Old Testament in the Bible. There is little archeological evidence to fully support the Biblical account of the Israelies' occupation of Palestine. Although archaeologists have demonstrated that certain cities taken by the Israelies were indeed destroyed during this period, it is equally feasible that they may have been sacked by invading Egyptian armies. It is probable that the conquest occurred more gradually than in the Biblical narrative, with the process more akin to waves of ethnic migration than a conventional military campaign. (Yasin, 1994)

Torah, stated the immigration from Egypt (1270 -1240 . BC) occurred in the meantime, when the Israelis requested the permission to pass from Kingdom of Edom, but their request was turned down, which forced them to turn around towards the east and then north near Madaba. The reason for such refusal to allow Israelis to pass through the Kingdom of Edom is the fear of the Israeli intentions and the unwillingness of the king to give up food and water of the waves of new immigrants. But the Israelis did not accept this rejection and fought Sihon and captured the city. And then continued to the north and entered the city of Moab, which its king had made an alliance with five of the kings of the tribes of the Arabian Peninsula but the Israelis defeated the coalition and seized some of the tribes on the occupied territories. ( Yasin ,2004).

According to the Bible, the Israelis then continued their northward into the Kingdom of Moab, where the Moabite king set up an alliance between the five tribal kings of Median (the Hijaz of Arabia). The increasingly powerful Israelis triumphed over the Midianites as well, and some of the tribes settled in the conquered territories. The prophet Moses apparently climbed, or was carried, to the top of Mount Nebo, where, according to some sources, he died. Joshua then led the remaining tribes across the Jordan River into Palestine. A United Kingdom of Israel arose there about 1000 BCE with Saul and David as its first kings. After the death of David's son King Solomon in 922 BC, the kingdom divided into two, with Israel in the north and Judah in the south... Soon thereafter the kingdom of Israel attacked Egypt and extended its influence on the territory of the Egyptian and Jordanian and Palestinian peoples. It is clear historically that the more experienced Israelis have trouble the situation in Jordan is stabilized. So when the kingdom of Israel split into northern and southern kingdoms in Palestine and Israel's wars with Egypt the situation in Jordan was stabilized and the three kingdoms flourished. The Edomian restored after the death of King David around the year 960 BC, their occupied territory in southern Jordan and their capital Basira.

The Edomians were skilled in copper extraction of and had their settlements near the present site of Petra and Aqaba. The Kingdom of Moab in central Jordan expanded, and Karak and Theban became the capitals of the kingdom. The trade and agriculture flourished in the Kingdom of Ammon in the year 950 BC and built several castles (Yasin,1994)

The relative ease with which the Israelis made their way north and west into Palestine says much about the situation in Egypt, which still nominally ruled the lands of Jordan and Palestine. Attacks from the Sea Peoples of the Mediterranean Sea had weakened the Pharaonic Empire and allowed the Palestinians to gain a foothold on Egyptian soil as well as in Palestine and Jordan. The primary contribution of the Palestinians to local culture was the introduction of iron working to the region. Their superior skills in weapon making gave them a military advantage and assisted in their early victories over the Israelis tribes. By around 1000 BC, however, iron was in widespread use throughout the region.( Manasra ,2009).

In general, trouble for the Israelis was good for Jordan kingdoms . For example, Palestine split into Israel and Judah in 922 BC, along with the invasion of the Egyptian against Israel four years later, allowed the three kingdoms a bit of breathing room and prosperity. After the death of King David around 960 BC, Edom regained most of its former independence. The Edomites occupied southern Jordan and their capital at Buseira possessed at least one large temple or palace. They were skilled in copper mining and smelting, and had settlements near modern-day Petra and Aqaba ( Yasin, 1994)

Jabal Al Qala'a in Amman was the capital of Moa'b Kingdom . The richness of these kingdoms was a curse for the owners since it forms a target of its neighbors, the Israelis, and Arameans in Damascus, and Assyrians in Iraq. Assyrians became a powerful force in the eighth century B.C and were able to occupy Damascus and Samaria, the capital of the northern kingdom of Israel. The kingdoms of Ammon, Moab and Edom maintained their independence by paying tax to the Assyrians. Difficult times prevailed in those areas in 612 BC when the Assyrian Empire fell and the Babylonian empire replaces it , when the Babylonian emperor Nebuchadnezzar occupied the region . The Persian emperor Cyrus in 539 BC, ended the rule of the troubled Babylonian empire. More structure live prevailed in the country and as soon as the Persian Empire to become the largest empire in the Near East and the Persians leaders occupied f Egypt and northern India, Minor Asia and was often conflict erupts with Sparta and Athens, a Greek states. ( Yousef, 2004)

Internal conflicts impact Jordan. Jordan and Palestine were under Persian rulers and sub rulers. The Persian king Cyrus in the meantime liberalizes the Jews from Babylonian captivity and allowed them to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem. The Moabites and the Ammonites interpreted this work as an announcement of expanding the influence on the city and they have organized campaigns against the returning Jews. Jews were led by Tobia, who was appointed by the Persians rulers of. He established a Kingdom lived a short period, the Persian commander Darius in the era of (522-486 BC) protected the Jews and their temple was rebuilt. The collapse of the Persian Empire paved the way for Alexander the Great in 332 BC to occupy Persian capital Persepolis Xie and expanded the Greek control on Jordan and neighboring countries. ( Yousef, 2004)

The Moabites are best known from the Mesha Stele, a ninth-century BC stone which extols the deeds of the Moabite King Mesha. The Kingdom of Moab covered the center of Jordan, and its capital cities were at Karak and Dhiban. The Kingdom of Ammon around 950 BC displayed rising prosperity based on agriculture and trade, as well as an organized defense policy with a series of fortresses. Its capital was in the Citadel of presentday Amman. ( Yousef, 2004).From the ninth century BC and on, the Assyrians campaigned against the Aramaeans, and in the late eighth century BC they captured Damascus as well as Samaria, the capital of the northern kingdom of Israel. The kingdoms of Ammon, Moab and Edom retained their independence, however, by buying the Assyrians off with tribute. The Assyrian Empire crashed down in 612 BC, when Nineveh ( their major town )fell to an alliance of Medes of Persia and the Chaldean kings of Babylonia. As a result the Babylonian Empire and King Nebuchadnezzar came up . Nebuchadnezzar defeated the Egyptians at Carchemish in 605 BC and control large part of the region. Considerable population shifts took place under the Babylonians, exemplified by the Edomites' migration from Jordan into the area in southern Palestine known as Idumaea. In fact, there was a decline in urban development and power swung back again too nomadic tribes. In 587 BCE, Nebuchadnezzar II of Babylon destroyed Jerusalem and deported thousands of Jews to Babylonia. ( Yasin,1994)

In 539 BCE, the Persians under Cyrus II ended the rule of the Babylonian Empire and paved the way for a period of more organized life and prosperity. The Persian Empire became the largest known in the East, and Cyrus' successors conquered Egypt, northern India, Asia Minor, and frequently conflicted with the Greek states of Sparta and Athens. Internal turmoil continued in Jordan, with numerous clashes occurring between the Moabites and Ammonites. (Yasin, 1994)

Jordan and Palestine were placed under the control of a Persian viceroy with subordinate governors. Meanwhile, Cyrus freed the Jews from captivity in Babylonia and allowed them to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem. The Moabites and Ammonites interpreted this as a virtual declaration of sovereignty, and hence organized attacks upon the resettled Jews, but ultimately the Persian leader Darius I (522-486 BCE) safeguarded the Jewish community and the temple was rebuilt.( Manasra , 2009)

In 332 BCE, Alexander the Great conquered the Persian capital of Persepolis (in modern Iran) and established Greek control over Jordan and surrounding countries. Although the influence of Greek culture had been felt in Jordan previously, Alexander the Great conquest of the Middle East and Central Asia firmly consolidated the influence of Hellenistic culture. The Greeks founded new cities in Jordan, such as Umm Qais (known as Gadara) and renamed others, such as Amman (renamed from Rabbath-Ammon to Philadelphia) and Jerash (renamed from Garshu to Antioch, and later to Gerasa). Many of the sites built during this period were later redesigned and reconstructed during the Roman, Byzantine and Islamic eras, so only fragments remain from the Hellenistic period. Greek was established as the official language, although Aramaic remained the primary spoken language of ordinary people.( Yousef,2004). Alexander died soon after establishing his empire, and his generals subsequently struggled over control of the East for more than two decades. Eventually, the Ptolemies consolidated their power in Egypt and ruled Jordan from 301-198 BC. The Seleucids, who were based in Syria, ruled Jordan from 198-63 BC. The most spectacular Hellenistic site in Jordan is at Iraq al-Amir, just west of modern-day Amman. The Qasr al-Abd was constructed of very large stones, some of which have sculpted figures of lions and eagles. The Qasr belonged to a governor of Ammon named Hyrcanus, who was also a member of the influential Tobiad family. It was built in the late-second century BC.

Before Alexander's conquest, new civilization had emerged in southern Jordan. It appears that a nomadic tribe known as the Nabateans began migrating gradually from Arabia during the sixth century BCE. Nabataean are Arab nomads tribe which was interested in the beginning such as other nomadic tribes in, livestock and had been moving from one place to another in search of pasture Over time, they abandoned their nomadic ways and settled in a number of places in southern Jordan, the Naqab desert in Palestine, and in northern Arabia. (Abu Al Hamam,2008). Nabatean's just left the northern Arabian Peninsula and dispersed after some of them arrived to the area of Petra and coexistence with Alodumien who were living at home in towns and villages.Their capital city was Petra, which is now the most Jordan most famous tourist attraction. The capital of the Nabatean city Petra exceeds than ten cities in beauty. The Romans tried to invade and eliminate the independence they sent an army led by Amelios Scowrs, which declined after the Nabataeans gave him an amount of money. The Nabateans were skilled traders, facilitating commerce between China, India, the Far East, Egypt, Syria, Greece and Rome. They dealt in such goods as spices, incense, gold, animals, iron, copper, sugar, medicines, ivory, perfumes and fabrics, just to name a few. From its origins as a fortress city, Petra became a wealthy commercial crossroads between the Arabian, Assyrian, Egyptian, Greek and Roman cultures. Control of this crucial trade route between the upland areas of Jordan, the Red Sea, Damascus and southern Arabia was the lifeblood of the Nabatean Empire. ( Abu Al Hamam,2008). Therefore the area enjoyed economic flourish by virtue of its geographical location between Egypt , Palestine , the Arabian Peninsula, Iraq and Syria The business life attempted them because of financial gain and welfare , so they abandoning nomadic life and became traders , so their caravans cross the desert carrying gold, silver and precious stones, spices, and precious wood from Persia and the Arabian They soon found Petra as a place stable where they store their goods and sheltering. The wealth of the Nabataeans became a target for the greed leader Antigonus Alexander the Great (306-301) who sent an army of 600 men and four thousand infantry, led by Athenia to occupy Petra and seize its treasure. The Romans attacked Petra while the Nabataeans out of their town in neighboring markets and swooped over the city and looted the wealth. One of the survivors told the Nabataeans with the news , they returned and followed the military aggressor who had surrendered to sleep because of drowsiness and fatigue and killed all of them except fifty horsemen, and took all that has been looted from their city. In the year 90 BC, a bloody battle among Obida the first king of the Nabataeans and Alexander Janius (31-76) in the vicinity of the eastern shore of Lake Tiberias and Obeida won and his army occupied the southern region of Syria (Jordan, and Jebel Druze). . ( Yousef, 2004).

In 87 BC, Antiochus XII wanted to elimination of the Kingdom of the Nabataeans, he came to meeting in Mu'tah with an army of thousand men led by King Antiochus Rabel. Antiochus was killed in the battle and a large number of his army died its members from starvation and thirst. At the time of Al-Harith III (87-62 BC) the Nabataeans armies arrived Jerusalem and besieged the town and also reached to Syria .The people of Syria made coin to mark the king of the Arab-bearing on one side the image of goddess of victory and one of the gods standing sitting on a rock flows from the River God also put the following writing framework under the picture "Habib Al-Harith, King of Greece" ( Abu Al Hamam, 2008).

Nabataean Kingdom expanded and extended from the Wadi Al-Sirhan in the East to Jordan River to the west from the Red Sea south to Syria in the north .The kingdom has been affected by virtue of its geographical location with the Greek civilization . Much of what is now known about Nabatean culture comes from the writings of the Roman scholar Strabo. He recorded that their community was governed by a royal family, although a strong spirit of democracy prevailed. According to him there were no slaves in Nabatean society, and all members shared in work duties. The Nabateans worshipped a pantheon of deities, chief among which were the sun god Dushara and the goddess Allat. As the Nabateans grew in power and wealth, they attracted the attention of their neighbors to the north. The Seleucid King Antigonus, who had come to power when Alexander's empire was divided, attacked Petra in 312 BCE. Records indicate that the Nabateans were eager to remain on good terms with the Seleucids in order to perpetuate their trading ambitions. Throughout much of the third century BC, the Ptolemies and Seleucids were fighting over control of Jordan, Nabatea remained essentially untouched and independent throughout this period.( Abu Al Hamam ,2008).

Although the Nabateans resisted military conquest, the Hellenistic culture of their neighbors influenced them greatly. Hellenistic influences can be seen in Nabatean art and architecture, especially at the time that their empire was expanding northward into Syria, around 150 BC. However, the growing economic and political power of the Nabateans began to worry the Romans. In 65 BCE, the Romans arrived in Damascus and ordered the Nabateans to withdraw their forces. The Nabatean King Aretas III either defeated the Roman legions or paid a tribute to keep peace with them.

The assassination of Julius Caesar in 44 BC, the Romans in Jordan, were subject to attacks by Parthian kings of Persia and Mesopotamia. The Nabateans stand with the Parthians in their war with the Romans, and after the Parthians' defeat, Petra had to pay tribute to Rome. When they fell behind in paying this tribute, they were invaded twice by the Roman King Herod the Great. In the second attack, in 31 BCE, he took control over a large part of Nabatean territory, including the northern trading routes into Syria ( Abu al Hamam, 2008)

Nonetheless, the Nabateans continued to prosper for a while. King Aretas IV, who ruled from 9 BC to 40 C, built a chain of settlements along the caravan routes to develop the prosperous incense trade. The Nabateans realized the power of Rome, and subsequently allied themselves with the Romans against the Jewish uprising of 70 CE. However, it was only a matter of time before Nabatea would fall under direct Roman rule. The last Nabatean monarch, Rabbel II, made a deal with the Romans that as long as they did not attack during his lifetime, they would be allowed to move in. Upon his death in 106 CE, the Romans claimed the Nabatean Kingdom and renamed it Arabia Petrea. The city of Petra was redesigned according to traditional Roman architectural designs, and a period of relative prosperity ensued under the Pax Roma ( Abu Al Hammam,2008).

The Nabateans profited for a while from their incorporation into the trade routes of the Roman Near East, and Petra may have grown to house 20,000-30,000 people. However, commerce became less profitable to the Nabateans with the shift of trade routes to Palmyra in Syria and the expansion of seaborne trade around the Arabian peninsula. The

During the Byzantine rule there was a Bishopric in the city of Petra, and was inhabited by preists.The inhabitance changed the graves to churches, but there is no any trace of Byzantine civilization, and this may be because the population start to leave the city looking for commercial gains. In the year 636 of Petra and the surrounding area has become subject to the rule of the Arab and lived out the rest of the population from agriculture. The earthquake that occurred in 746/748 destroyed the city and there was another earthquake might hit in the fourth century in 365 AD. The Crusaders built a small castle on top of Al Habies using the old stones, but they did not leave us any trace of them ( Yousef, 2004)

Nabateans left their capital at Petra. No one really knows why. It seems that the withdrawal was an unhurried and organized process, as very few silver coins or valuable possessions have been unearthed at Petra

The Hellenistic period (from 301-63 AD)

More significant indications of this age are the archeological Iraq Al-Amir in the town of Wadi Sir,. History states that a group of Ammonites settled in the year 360 BC in the area of Wadi The Nabataeans were in that era of time controling all the area east of the Jordan River. Iraq Al- Amir construct extend from north to south about five hundred meters and rises from 25 to thirty meters, which is carved in the rock and consists of two floors and this building we used , for housing ,supply and horses stables. The castle beard the name TIROS which is a Greece term which means Aramaic Tora, that is castle but the Arabs pronounced Sir and so called modern city and Wadi Sir. Iraq Al-Amir was called by this name because the entrance door looks like the cave door an the Prince is Toubia. In Jordan, many sites back to the Hellenistic period, including Husban, Jerash, Umm Qais, and others. Perhaps the most beautiful architectural evidence belonging to this stage is the Grand Palace in Iraq Al-Amir, as well as finds of glass and pottery and others.

The age of Rome

Rome in 63 AD occupied Jordan, Syria, Palestine and the region remained under Romanian control over four hundred years.During that period, a ten cities union was formed( Decapolis) which was an economic and culturalfederaunionl. The federal union included the Greek cities such as Philadelphia Palestine and southern Syria. The city of Gracia (Jerash) was the most important city in a league of this Decapolis gathering so that the Emperor Hadrian himself visited in 130 AD. The Kingdom of the Nabataeans in southern Jordan maintained its independence up 106 AD, when it was occupied by Emperor Trajan. The followed approach in these times that after every victory group of construction workers, accompanied the army to set a foundation south to the Syrian city Bosra. Check points, castles, control towers spread along the road and the same was made for other similar roads .Jerash , Amman and Um Qais were containing streets and archaeological that are characterized with its decorated pillars. A cultural tension prevailed between Jordan population since most of population speaking Greek language while the invaders language was the Latina , the invade forced the population to use their language and forced the original inhabitance to follow Rome religion . In spite of all this period of time was characterized by peace and stability and many developments were made in the infrastructure. ( Yousef, 2004)

Christendom and the Byzantines

The Byzantine period or the Eastern Roman dates from the year 324 ., when the Emperor Constantine built Constantinople or current Istanbul and made it as the capital of the Eastern Roman, or Byzantine, Empire. Emperor Constantine became a Christian in 333 . Christianity religion spread in Jordan , however, the Christian community had developed much earlier: Christianity was developed and Pella city became as center for Christians refuge fleeing from killing in Rome during the first century. During the Byzantine period, a great deal of construction took place throughout Jordan. Since the cities which were built during the Roman era continued to flourish, and the regional population boomed. Moreover Christianity gradually became the accepted religion of the area, churches and chapels began to spread across Jordan along with, and a good number of pagan temples were converts to build. Church-building witnessed extraordinary growth during the reign of Emperor Justinian era (527-65 CE) also witnessed building of basilica type. Churches were of basilica type, with semi-circular apses to the east and two parallel rows of pillars supporting a higher roof over the nave. Perhaps one of the most important indications of the prosperity of the period can be seen in the mosaic floors which decorated most of churches floors of this era. These ornate mosaics often portrayed animals, people and towns. The most impressive examples of Byzantine mosaic artistry can be seen in Madaba city, and the greatest of these is the famed sixth-century Map of the Holy Land, also known as the Mosaic Map of Palestine. In 542 CE disease killed most of Jordan population , and the Season occupation in 614 CE killed the rest of the inhabitance . Assonating occupied Jordan, Palestine and Syria for fifteen years until emperor Hiracioulis retrieved the whole region in 629 CE but he did not remain for long time ( Manasra, 2009).

The Islamic Periods and the Crusades

The Byzantines' preoccupation with the Sassanians diverted their attention away from what was happening in the Arabian desert. For number of years Bedouin tribesmen had periodically staged raids to the north. The Arabs who swept northward on horse and camel-back were now united by a common faith, that of Islam. After hearing the call of God, the Prophet Muhammad, Peace be upon him, he who tried to convert the people of his home, Mecca but he failed at the beginning . Mecca peoples threatened him and his followers, so he and his followers were obliged to immigrate to the neighboring town Medina in the year 622 CE. This migration is known as Hijra, which later on is deemed as the beginning of the Muslim calendar. Eight years later, the Prophet returned to Mecca to convert its people to Islam. From then on, the new faith spread rapidly throughout the Middle East and North Africa.

With ten years Muslims fully dismantle Byzantine control over the lands of Jordan, Palestine and Syria. After two unsuccessful attacks against the Byzantine town Mu'tah (south of Amman, near Karak) in 629 CE, the Muslim Arab tribes regrouped for a much wider military operation. In the year 636 CE, the Muslim armies overran the Tran Jordanian highlands and won a decisive battle against the Byzantines on the banks of the Yarmouk River, which marks the modern border between Jordan and Syria. This victory opened the way to the conquest of Syria, and the remaining Byzantine troops were forced to retreat into Anatolia only a few years later. ( Sayed, 2007)

Umayyad Empire

Muawiyah Ibn Abi Sufyan founded the Umayyad state in 661CE. He proclaimed Damascus as the capital of the Umayyad Empire. The state covered Georgia, Khiva and Fergana in Central Asia to Aden and Oman to the south and north of Indian continent and Afghanistan in the east to Spain and Portugal up to the Atlantic Ocean to the west. When Umayyads came to Damascus, they found it different from Mecca and Medina . They found churches and temples, large and rich houses with green gardens and fresh water. They found that Damascus city has a history and culture and heritage rooted s to ancient times. This motivates them to move the capital of Islamic rule from Mediana , and Damascus became as the starting point for the new Islamic civilization. Umayyads founded schools and opened libraries. They conclude covenants , signing treaties and agreements with defeated the countries. Jordan prospered because of many reasons such as its proximity to Damascus the capital city, its strategic geographic position also made it an important place for pilgrims who are crossing Jordan to the holy Muslim places in Mecca and Madeira . Due to Islam spread, the Arabic language gradually replaced Greek language and became the main language. Christianity was still widely practiced through the eighth century. ( Tahboub, 2007)

The Umayyads were comfortable and at home in the desert. They felt little need for the Roman sites which guarded trading routes, and subsequently allowed them to fall into disrepair. However, they left an enduring legacy to bear testimony to their love of hunting, sport and leisure The Umayyads constructed caravan stops , bath houses, hunting complexes and palaces in the eastern Jordanian desert. These palaces are collectively known as the "Desert Castles." Examples of Umayyad artistry and ingenuity include the triple-domed Qusayr 'Amra bath house with its magnificent frescoed walls, and the massive Qasr al-Haraneh. The greatest of all Umayyad constructions is the Dome of the Rock Mosque, built by Caliph 'Abd al-Malik Ibn Marwan in the year 691 CE, in al-Quads (Jerusalem) ( Tahboub, 2007)

Christianity has survived and spread through the eighth century AD. Trade flourished during the reign of the Umayyads and the famous Umayyad caliphs their love for fishing and recreation. And what Aguetpsoa Astsagoh of Byzantine and Sasanian art, Coptic, and Greco-Nabataean and added by the improvements they wanted to have a vantage technique particular left their mark on the construction and reconstruction. And characterized their period of prosperity and stability, thus enabling them to spend money on construction and reconstruction rather than war and arming armies ( Tahboub, 2007)

Abbasids Empire

By 747 CE a powerful earthquake hit Jordan and destroys many buildings and perhaps contributing to the defeat of the Umayyads by the Abbasids three years later. Abbasid state was established after the abolition of the Umayyad state in 750 AD by Abu Abbas. Abu Abbas first work was moving the capital from Damascus in Syria to Al-Hashemieh in Iraq. The State then ruled Syria, Palestine, Jordan, Iraq, Egypt, Morocco, Persia and parts of Central Asia. With the transfer of capital to Baghdad, Jordan site became marginal if compared with the situation in Umayyad state .

As a result of Abbasids establishment their capital in Baghdad, Jordan became a provincial far from the center of the empire and Jordan suffered more from being neglect than from the attentions of invading armies. However, recent excavations have shown that the population of Jordan continued to increase, at least until the beginning of the 9th century CE ( Mohammad, 1998)


The tenth and the eleventh centuries witnessed a growing influence of the Fatimids who ruled Egypt in 969 and expanded to Jordan. The Fatimids make their efforts to extend their influence on the different areas of Syria for decades. At the beginning of the 12th century CE, however, a new campaign was launched which would once again place Jordan at the center of a historical struggle .At the beginning of the twelfth century AD Syria was subject to fierce attacks of the Crusades. The impetus for the Crusades came from a plea for help from the Emperor of Constantinople, Alexius, who in 1095 reported to his Christian European brothers that his city, the last bastion of Byzantine Christendom, was under imminent threat of attack by the Muslim Turks. The so-called "Holy Wars" began in 1096 AD. Jerusalem was occupied by Christian forces and they establish a kingdom there. And the Crusaders decided to protect the roads leading to Jerusalem. King Baldwin built the first line of castles in Jordan the spinal column. However, after having unified Syria and Egypt under his control, the Muslim commander Selah Eden al-Ayyubi (Saladin) defeated the Crusaders at the Battle of Hittin in 1187 CE. This opened the way for the Muslim armies to liberate Jerusalem, effectively eliminating the foreign domination of Jordan.(Mohammad, 1998)

Ayyubid and Mamluks

Salah Eddin founded the Ayyubid state. Ayyubid ruled most of Syria, Egypt and Jordan for a period of eighty years which ruled large part of Syria, Egypt and Jordan for the next eighty years. In the year 1258 CE Mongols, invade and swept across much of the Near East. The Mongols looted and destroyed every city where the armies passed.

The invaders were eventually turned back in 1260 AD by the Mamluk Sultan Baybars, who fought a successful battle at Ein Jalut. The Mamluks, who were from Central Asia and the Caucasus, seized power and ruled Egypt and later Jordan and Syria from their capital at Cairo

The unification of Syria, Egypt and Jordan under the Ayyubids and Mamluks led to another period of prosperity for Jordan, as it once again occupied a key position between its two larger neighbors. Castles were rebuilt, and caravanserais were built to host pilgrims and strengthen lines of communication and trade. Sugar was widely produced and refined at water driven mills in the Jordan Valley. However, another Mongol invasion in 1401 CE, combined with weak government and widespread disease, weakened the entire region. In 1516 CE, the Mamluks were defeated by the Ottoman Turks. Jordan became part of the Ottoman Empire and remained so for the next 400 years ( Al Zaidi ,2004)

Jordan under Ottoman rule ( 1516 -1918)

During the Ottoman rule that lasted for more than four hundred years Jordan witnessed a rescind period. In 1516 the Ottoman Sultan entered Jordan consider it as one his empire provinces. The Ottomans concerns in Jordan was due to its importance for pilgrimage route safety to Mecca al-Mukarrama. The Ottomans built a series of square castles along the route at Qasr al-Dab'a, Qasr Qatraneh, and Qal'at Hasa to protect pilgrims from desert tribes attacks and to provide pilgrims with sources of food and water. Due to the weakness of Ottoman administration they not able to provide the necessary protection and the Bedouin tribes remained masters of the desert unchallenged sovereignty that have not been affected by a factor of time and rulers change ( Yousef , 2004) .Over the course of Ottoman rule, many towns and villages were abandoned, agriculture declined, and families and tribes moved frequently from one village to another. The Bedouins, however, remained masters of the desert, continuing to live much as they had for hundreds of years. The State has contract agreements with the Bedouins who are located in the road region to ensure the security and safety of pilgrims, in exchange money were paid to them, and often set aside the Bedouin of these agreements. the failure of the state financial obligations towards them.In addition the refion was subject to foreign invasions, (Napoleon Bonaparte), and regional movements in the region of the Ottoman Empire (Ali Bye Al-Caber, and Ibrahim Pasha of Egypt and Saudi invasions) .. Ottomans did not care about education Among other things, Jordan has suffered a time of urbanization and the destruction of Ottoman decline and the lack of population, Shrinking the number of villages and reduce the number of inhabitants has become more difficult to defend, at a time when the state did not pay great attention to security of the citizen. Jordan was the demise of the Ottoman Sultan divided into: Sandzak Ajloun, Balqa and Karak. The obstacle was sometimes follow the Hijaz, Syria and other times, as they followed Egypt during the campaign of Ibrahim Pasha, and remained so until 1892, when it withdrew from the army of Ibrahim Pasha, and attached to the Hijaz. When the Ottoman revolution in 1908 and held elections for the Council elected representative of Jordan in this Council. The coup did not seek to make any changes for the better, but the education on a state of decline, and continued inequities in taxation and bad management and suppression of each move. Revolutions were made, including one in Karak and Shobak revolution, and others. It could be argued that the Ottoman administration reached bad a level .The Ottoman period saw a general neglect of infrastructural development in Jordan, and what was constructed was usually with some specific religious orientation. For instance, castles such as Qatraneh were built to protect pilgrimage routes, while most schools, hospitals, baths, wells, orphanages and, of course, mosques, were built with a particular religious function in mind. The most significant infrastructural development of the Ottoman period was the Hijaz Railway from Damascus to al-Madina al-Munawarra in 1908. Designed originally to transport pilgrims to Mecca al-Mukarramathe extension from al-Madina al-Munawwara was never completedthe railway was also a useful tool for ferrying Ottoman armies and supplies into the Arabian heartland. Because of this, it was attacked frequently during the Great Arab Revolt of World War ( Efanof, 2001)


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