By Ross Burns
This is often the 1st ebook in English to narrate the historical past of Damascus, bringing out the an important position town has performed at many issues within the region's previous. Damascus strains the background of this vibrant, major and intricate urban via its actual improvement, from the city's emergence in round 7000 BC in the course of the altering cavalcade of Aramaean, Persian, Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Arab, Mongol and French rulers correct as much as the tip of Turkish regulate in 1918.
In Damascus, each layer of the historical past has equipped accurately on best of its predecessors for a minimum of 3 millennia, leaving an in depth archaeological checklist of 1 of the oldest always inhabited towns on this planet. The publication appears really on the interaction among the western and jap impacts that experience supplied Damascus with this sort of wealthy previous, and the way this completely encapsulates the forces that experience performed over the center East as a complete from the earliest recorded occasions to the current.
Lavishly illustrated, Damascus: A History is a compelling and targeted exploration of a desirable urban.
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Additional info for Damascus: A History
It already had a formidable reputation in metalworking – useful both for arms and the production of chariots. It developed its wool industry to a high order including the dyeing and weaving of elaborate designs. Its investment in irrigation quickly paid off. Finally, it boasted a cult centre of considerable note, always a useful means of maximising a city’s drawing power – a centre, moreover, which was to rival the status of the Jewish temple in Jerusalem in attracting support from its hinterland.
It was a tough, no-nonsense regime but it had a sophisticated administrative apparatus and a developed infrastructure, 22 A GREATER GAME including a system of roads equipped with way stations and a courier service. It was the first Middle Eastern power, apart from Egypt, which could sustain its grip over an extensive empire and administer it. International trade flourished, promoted by state intervention in the opening up and securing of new routes, an important and declared aim of the regime. Damascus benefited, particularly from the spices and incense trade from Arabia – always a highly profitable venture during periods of firm governance.
Damascus seems to have drifted off with the rest of southern Syria-Palestine around 609–605 BC to become for a while part of the realms of the Twenty-fourth Dynasty Pharaoh Necho II. It remained in the orbit of Egypt during the last stages of the Assyrian Empire when the Egyptians retained control as far as the Euphrates. Neo-Babylonian rule (572–532 BC) The circumstances of Assyria’s implosion, however, are not at all clear. We have glimpses of a process in which Assyrian rulers in Nineveh were gradually being edged out by the forces of Babylon, a kingdom traditionally allied to Assyria but increasingly ascendant in its own right in lower Mesopotamia.