Nabataean Kingdom

Also found in: Wikipedia.

Nabataean Kingdom


the ancient state of the Nabataeans, a group of Arabian tribes, lasting from the late third century B.C. until A.D. 106 on the territory of modern Jordan. Its capital was Petra. In the late third and early second centuries B.C., the Nabataean kingdom lay within the sphere of influence of Ptolemaic Egypt. The first known Nabataean king was Aretas I, who came to the throne in 169 B.C. Under Aretas III (87–62 B.C.), the Nabataeans conquered Damascus. In the late 60’s B.C. the kingdom became a vassal of Rome. The Nabataeans frequently took part in Roman military expeditions, such as the siege of Jerusalem in A.D. 70. The kingdom reached its peak under Aretas IV, who ruled from A.D. 9 to 40. After it was conquered by the Roman emperor Trajan in 106, it became the Roman province of Arabia.

Without losing its ancient Arabian artistic traditions, Nabataean art was strongly influenced by Hellenistic culture. This influence may be seen in architecture in the use of orders and, in pictorial art, in the predilection for themes from Greek mythology and a striving toward three-dimensional treatment of form. An outstanding relic of Nabataean culture is Petra, a unique complex of temples, mausoleums, houses, and theaters carved out of rock (third century B.C. to first century A.D.). Other remains have been found north of Petra, including the temples at Khirbet Tannur in Jordan and at Jabal Hauran in Syria dating from the first century B.C. to the second century A.D.


Kaufman, S. A. “Ob arkhitekture drevnego arabskogo naroda nabateev.” In Voprosy vseobshchei istorii arkhitektury, collection 1. Moscow, 1961.
Kennedy, A. B. W. Petra: Its History and Monuments. London, 1925.
Mentioned in ?
References in periodicals archive ?
Besides art in the city, a trip to the lunar-landscaped al-Ula and the southernmost remains of the Nabataean Kingdom (think Petra only more spread out), overawed visitors; its vast, natural beauty putting man-made endeavour into perspective.
This is a lovely and lovingly written work about Petra, capital of the Nabataean kingdom, and arguably the most impressive archeological site in the Near East.
Petra - capital of the Nabataean kingdom from the 4th century BC and captured by the Romans in the 2nd century.