Monday, April 26, 2010

Historical Timeline of Sinai Part 5

Persian, Hellenistic and Roman Ages

Settlements from the Persian (520 – 332 BC), Hellenistic (332 – 37 BC) and Roman (37 BC – 324 AD) have long been known on the ancient highway from the eastern delta along the northern coast . Expeditions excavated some of these sights, including a large, fortified Egyptian enclosure south of Pelusium that dates to the 6th century BC. The many Greek vessels found in the fort testify to an occupation by a Greek population under the aegis of the Egyptian monarchs of the 26th Dynasty.

The Persian conquest of Egypt in 525 BC is reflected in settlements, caravansaries and cemeteries along the coast. Finds confirm historical sources that describe the prosperity of the region during Persian and Hellenistic times due in no small part to the reciprocal trade between Egypt and her neighbors.

Among the early Roman sites discovered were a number of Nabataean cities. The Nabataeans were famous merchants who controlled the incense and spice traffic at the time. The largest and most important of their cities on the Mediterraneun coast of Sinai was Qassarwit, where a series of most impressive Nabataean temples were uncovered.

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