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(Greek, Idumaea), an ancient country in Southwest Asia, south of Palestine, between the Dead Sea and the Gulf of Aqaba; named for the Edomites.
In the second half of the second millennium B.C., the land was settled by the Edomites, who united to form a state in the late second millennium B.C. In the 11th century B.C., Edom was subjugated by the tribes of Israel. It paid a tribute to Assyria from the ninth to seventh centuries and to the neo-Babylonian kingdom in the seventh and sixth centuries. Together with the Babylonians, the Edomites laid seige to Jerusalem in 586 B.C. and destroyed the city. By the late sixth century they governed part of southern Palestine.
When the Nabataean kingdom was formed in the late third century B.C., much of Edom was incorporated into it. With part of southern Palestine (capital, Hebron), western Edom became the independent kingdom of Idumaea. In the late second century B.C., Idumaea was conquered by a Judean king of the Hasmonean dynasty, and the population was converted to Judaism.
Together with Judea, Idumaea was subjugated by Rome in 63 B.C. and became a Roman protectorate. King Herod I was an Idumaean. In 106 A.D., a large part of Idumaea was incorporated into the Roman province of Arabia.