|Author||Henry Innes Macadam|
|Publication Date||August 1, 2002|
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The region that became Roman Arabia had been loosely "unified" and centrally administered by the Nabataean Arabs during the later stages of the Hellenistic period, as Seleucid and Ptolemaic control of Syria/Palestine/Transjordan gradually passed to the Romans. When Herod the Great established himself as the primary political force within Palestine (37-4 BC), by acceptance of a client status with Rome, he was allowed to annex to his kingdom and adminster all the territory collectively called today the Lava Lands (the Hawran) of southern Syria exclusive of the northern Nabateaen city of Bostra. That was the beginning of what became a long and very gradual process of pacification and urbanization of a region traditionally populated by pastoralists and infested with brigands who resisted - often through rebellious activity - royal or imperial encroachment. Governance of that area became Rome's responsibility when the Herodian and Nabataaen dynasties terminated almost simultaneously at the end of the first century AD and their royal domains became part of the ajoining provinces of Syria and Arabia, respectively. There is no evidence that Rome pursued a stated policy of economic and social development in the Hauran region. There is every reason, however, to believe that the provincial authorities supported, and even encouraged, those rural communities to become urbanized. Though few villages ever achieved the rank of formal "poleis" in the six centuries that followed Roman rule, many developed the form and function of the larger provinical city-states (for example Canatha, Bostra, and Philadelphia). The 15 articles included in this volume represent some of the authors research and publications between the early 1980s and early 21st century. The papers on the inter-related topics of geography, urbanization and settlement patterns aim to provide solid groundwork in comparing and contrasting historical development of the Roman Near East with neighbouring provinces of the eastern Roman Empire, as well as other portions of the Roman world.