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Bryce T. Ancient Syria: A Three Thousand Year History

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Bryce T. Ancient Syria: A Three Thousand Year History
Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014. — 357 p. — ISBN: 978–0–19–964667–8
The 3000-year history of ancient Syria, from Bronze Age to the Roman era - and beyond
The essential back-story to one of the world's most trouble-prone and volatile regions
Includes a vast array of historical characters, from the Egyptian pharoahs, through Biblical villains such as Nebuchadnezzar, to Alexander the Great and Diocletian
Looks forward to the coming of Islam in the 7th century - the opening chapter in the history of modern Syria
Syria has long been one of the most trouble-prone and politically volatile regions of the Near and Middle Eastern world. This book looks back beyond the troubles of the present to tell the 3000-year story of what came before: the peoples, cities, and kingdoms that arose, flourished, declined, and disappeared in the lands that now constitute Syria, from the time of the region's earliest written records in the third millennium BC, right through to the reign of the Roman emperor Diocletian in the early 4th century AD.
Across the centuries, from the Bronze Age to Imperial Rome, we encounter a vast array of characters and civilizations, enlivening, enriching, and besmirching the annals of Syrian history: Hittite and Assyrian Great Kings; Egyptian pharaohs; Amorite robber-barons; the biblically notorious Nebuchadnezzar; Persia's Cyrus the Great and Macedon's Alexander the Great; the rulers of the Seleucid empire; and an assortment of Rome's most distinguished and most infamous emperors. All swept across the plains of Syria at some point in her long history. All contributed, in one way or another, to Syria's special, distinctive character, as they imposed themselves upon it, fought one another within it, or pillaged their way through it.
But this is not just a history of invasion and oppression. Syria had great rulers of her own, native-born Syrian luminaries, sometimes appearing as local champions who sought to liberate their lands from foreign despots, sometimes as cunning, self-seeking manipulators of squabbles between their overlords. They culminate with Zenobia, Queen of Palmyra, whose life provides a fitting grand finale to the first three millennia of this ancient civilization. And yet the long story of Syria does not end with the mysterious fate of Queen Zenobia. The conclusion looks forward to the Muslim conquest in the 7th century AD: in many ways the opening chapter in the equally complex and often troubled history of modern Syria.
Readership: All those interested in the history of the Ancient World and the Middle East
List of Maps
List of Figures
The Tale to be Told
The Bronze Ages
The First Kingdoms
The International Intruders
The Amorite Warrior-Chiefs
The Empires Collide
The End of an Era
From the Iron Age to the Macedonian Conquest
The Age of Iron
The Wolf upon the Fold: the Neo-Assyrian Invasions
From Nebuchadnezzar to Alexander
Syria under Seleucid Rule
The Rise of the Seleucid Empire
The Seleucid Empire in its Prime
The Jewish Question: the Maccabean Reellion
The Decline and Fall of the Seleucids
Syria under Roman Rule
The Coming of the Romans
Nabataean Excursus
The Syrian Emperors
The Crisis Years
The Rise and Fall of Palmyra
From Desert Oasis to Royal Capital: the Story of Palmyra
Syria's 'King of Kings': the Life and Death of Odenathus
The Queen of the East: Zenobia
The Last Farewell
Appendix 1: King-Lists
Appendix 2: Literary Sources
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