By James Wynbrandt

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They were also greatly influenced by Hellenistic (Greek) culture. Highly skilled in hydrology, they constructed an elaborate system of dams, canals, and reservoirs to irrigate their lands in the midst of the harsh desert. The empire’s wealth made it a target of nearby powers. C. and easily conquered the city, plundering its riches. But the amount of plunder slowed the conquerors’ withdrawal, and the Nabataeans counterattacked, annihilating the Seleucids in the desert. Yet the Nabataeans managed to maintain good relations with the Seleucids, due to their mutual trade interests.

Muslims call the period before the coming of Islam Jahiliyya, the Age of Ignorance, in contrast to the Age of Light that followed. And if the darkest hour is just before the dawn, surely this was Arabia’s. As Abdallah ibn Abd alRahman al-Darimi (d. 877) wrote in the introduction to his sunnah, a compilation of the words and deeds of the prophet Muhammad: Hearts had become hard. Every day a pit was dug in the corner of the desert for an innocent girl to be buried. Human beings were more brutal and cruel than hyenas.

In 313, Emperor Constantine signed the Edict of Milan, legitimizing Christianity, and himself converted to the faith on his deathbed in 327. The elaborate cremations and funerary displays that used pyres of frankincense were replaced by simple burials. The decline in trade had a calamitous impact in Arabia. The economic downturn caused some sedentary Arabs to revert to nomadism, which again became the predominant lifestyle in the peninsula. Tribal warfare and female infanticide were widespread.

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A Brief History Of Saudi Arabia (Brief History) by James Wynbrandt
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