Ancient Syria: A Three Thousand Year History

ISBN : 9780198828907

Trevor Bryce
400 ページ
135 x 216 mm

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 happened many centuries before. Trevor Bryce reveals the peoples, cities, and kingdoms that arose, flourished, declined, and disappeared in the lands that now constitute Syria, from the time of it's earliest written records in the third millennium BC until the reign of the Roman emperor Diocletian at the turn of the 3-4th century AD. Across the centuries, from the Bronze Age to the Rome Era, 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 Syria's recorded history. 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.


The Tale to be Told
Part I: The Bronze Ages
1 The First Kingdoms
2 The International Intruders
3 The Amorite Warrior-Chiefs
4 The Empires Collide
5 The End of an Era
Part II: From the Iron Age to the Macedonian Conquest
6 The Age of Iron
7 The Wolf upon the Fold: The Neo-Assyrian Invasions
8 From Nebuchadnezzar to Alexander
Part III: Syria under Seleucid Rule
9 The Rise of the Seleucid Empire
10 The Seleucid Empire in its Prime
11 The Maccabean Rebellion
12 The Decline and Fall of the Seleucids
Part IV: Syria under Roman Rule
13 The Coming of the Romans
14 Nabataean Excursus
15 The Syrian Emperors
16 The Crisis Years
Part V: The Rise and Fall of Palmyra
17 From Desert Oasis to Royal Capital: The Story of Palmyra
18 Syria's 'King of Kings': The Life and Death of Odenathus
19 Zenobia, Queen of the East
The Last Farewell
Appendix I: Chronology
Appendix II: King-Lists
Appendix III: Literary Sources


Trevor Bryce is an Honorary Research Consultant in the University of Queensland, and an Emeritus Professor of the University of New England, Australia, where he was Professor of Classics and Ancient History. He is also a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities and has been awarded an Australian Centenary medal for services to History. Although trained as a Classicist, primarily in Latin language and literature, most of his research has been conducted in the field of Near Eastern history and civilization, with some emphasis also on the links between the Classical and Near Eastern worlds. He is the author of numerous books and articles on Near Eastern history, including The World of the Neo-Hittite Kingdoms (2012) and Babylonia: A Very Short Introduction (2016), also published by Oxford University Press.