The provinces that the Romans referred to as Syria covered a vast area occupied today by several modern states. These included some of the most spectacular ruins of the ancient world-Palmyra, Baalbek, and Apamea-and fabled cities such as Antioch, Damascus, Sidon, and Tyre. Roman Syria also comprised sites that are virtually unknown, such as the great fortress city of Zenobia on the Euphrates and the remarkably well-preserved villages of the limestone massif of northwestern Syria. Roman Syria and the Near East offers a broad overview of this major cultural crossroads. Surveying a millennium of Roman and Byzantine rule in the Near East, from Roman annexation to the Arab conquest, the book outlines Syria's crucial role in Roman history. Topics discussed include the Roman army's use of Syria as a buffer against its powerful eastern neighbors and the elaborate road system that Rome developed to connect its far-reaching empire. The book also explores the impact of geography, trade, and religion on the shaping of Syria, as well as the influence of Syrian culture on the classical world.