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"They might have long been a bulwark between Rome and the wild hordes of the desert but for the short-sighted cupidity of Trajan..."

This seems a bit opinionated. After all, if neither the Romans or the Sassanids could resist the eventual Arab invasions that destroyed both, what are the chances that an independent Nabataean kingdom could've? Kuralyov 03:35, 2 Mar 2005 (UTC)

"Mightabeen" never makes very good history. --Wetman 05:59, 2 Mar 2005 (UTC)
On the contrary, speculation makes for interesting reading so long as it is labeled as such. Plus, there were many instances in which the mighty Roman army performed quite a ways below expectation, from the extended defeats by Spartacus to the reversals in Britain. JDG 00:42, 26 Apr 2005 (UTC)


A note to Kuratowski's Ghost: Your edit summary: "Josephus mentions both Nebaioth and Nabatene but does not claim anything about the origin of the latter name." Could you work the Latin phrases and translations into the text, so that we can see what "Nebaioth" looks like in Josephus' Latin context. Or just give me the ref. to the passage and I'll do it. --Wetman 14:48, 21 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Josephus is in Greek. The point is that Josephus doesn't seem to say anything about Nabatene being named after Nebaioth.
The English in Whiston is:
"Book I, 12:4. When the lad was grown up, he married a wife, by birth an Egyptian, from whence the mother was herself derived originally. Of this wife were born to Ismael twelve sons; Nabaioth, Kedar, Abdeel, Mabsam, Idumas, Masmaos, Masaos, Chodad, Theman, Jetur, Naphesus, Cadmas. These inhabited all the country from Euphrates to the Red Sea, and called it Nabatene. They are an Arabian nation, and name their tribes from these, both because of their own virtue, and because of the dignity of Abraham their father."
Nebaioth is Nabaiôthês in the Greek and Nabatene is Nabatênên
The words obviously look similar, but less so in the original Hebrew and Aramaic forms which also differ in meaning. Nebaioth is n-b-y-t understood to mean words or prophecies or buds (root n-b-y with t=letter tav as plural ending, although Easton says it means "height" - go figure). Nabatean is n-b-T (with hard T = letter tet not typically interchangeable with tav) understood to mean "(well) digger". Kuratowski's Ghost 15:23, 21 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Note also the distinction in Josephus' Greek th = theta in Nabaiôthês vs t = tau in Nabatênên reflecting the difference in the Hebrew/Aramaic as well as the diphthong ai in Nabaiôthês reflecting the presence of the y (yud) in Nebaioth. Kuratowski's Ghost 15:31, 21 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Retrieved from ""

Thank you! Having it here is almost as good as seeing it worked into the article. (I could have sworn I remembered puzzling out Latin with a translation in the other hand, which I could not dream of doing in Greek.) --Wetman 16:08, 21 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Do you think it would be relevant to add to this article that Nabatea was the first place for Paul to preach? Altough not mentioned in Acts, it's shortly mentioned in Galateans 1:17 and 2.Cor 11:32. According to 2.Cor 11:32 he wasn't very succesful :-)

It's worth noting that while the building in the photograph is indeed in Petra, it was built by the Romans, and not Nabataeans. It may be worth distinguishing between the two.Seastreet 18:02, 25 August 2006 (UTC)

I can't speak to who built Petra, but if you'll notice in Galatians 1:17, Paul simply says he went to "Arabia" not Nabatea. Arabia was a more general term for the region that included Nabatea, but he could have gone somewhere else in the region rather than the Nabatean Kingdom proper. Despite the consensus of most commentators I don't think there's enough there to definatively show that Paul preached in the Nabatean Kingdom. It's even kind of uncertain if he actually preached while he was in "Arabia", although the previous verses seem to indicate that he did go there to preach.
As for 2 Corinthians, while Damascus was under the Nabatean king at the time, it was not really considered a part of Arabia or Nabatea. Note the aforementioned Galatians passage where Pauls says he goes to Arabia and then back to Damascus. If Damascus was part of Arabia, then he woundn't have made the distiction between Arabia and Damascus. It's similar to the status of Hong Kong. It was under the British government, but you wouldn't say it was a part of Britain. It was a part of China that was under British rule.Josh 21:13, 20 July 2007 (UTC)

Dates and Locations in DiodorusEdit

Petra certainly was built and carved by the Nabataeans. Most of the building took place during the firs century BC and the first century AD. The Romans didn't annex the nabataeans until 106 AD. Petra became the city (that reached up to around 30.000 inhabitants IIRC) due to the Nabataeans. While it's true that there were already some signs of settling from before the nabataeans, this was pretty limited. The real and major mistake in this article is that it mistakes ancient Edomite Sela with early Petra. The famous attacks on the Nabataeans from 312 BC (though more likely actually 311 BC) were in fact on Khirbet es-Sela' which is rather more to the north. Sela and Petra were often mistakenly connected with each other, but they are not. See for example 'Nabataeans in History', WENNING, The world of the Nabataeans : volume 2 of the International Conference The World of the Herods and the Nabataeans held at the British Museum, 17-19 april 2001, Stuttgart, 2007. Online avaible here: My two cents. Titirius (talk) 14:10, 17 April 2011 (UTC)

You are correct about the Nabataeans being the ones to carve Petra in the 1st C BC and AD but the issue of Sela/Petra is still debated in the literature as is that idea that the Antigonid attack on the Nabataeans occurred in 311 BC rather than 312. 311 BC is now the accepted date for Demetrius' attack but as far as I am aware, the earlier attack under Athenaeus is still believed to have been undertaken in the summer of 312BC (Note that Wenning is incorrect to say that, "From here he

sent two expeditions against the Nabataeans, the first under the command of Demetrios, the second under Athenaios," as Diodorus clearly places Athenaeus first). The references can be found in Anson, E. 2006. ‘The Chronology of the Third Diadoch War,’ Phoenix 60(3/4): 226-235. and Errington, R.M. 1977. ‘Diodorus Siculus and the Chronology of the Early Diadochoi, 320-311 B.C.,’ Hermes 105(4): 478-504. I propose that the article should read 312/11 BC as the chronology in Diodorus has not yet been firmly established for the first contact under Athenaeus and that the Sela/Petra dispute can be resolved in a similar way. (talk) 03:26, 20 April 2011 (UTC)

Hi while I could imagine that the date might still be somewhat under discussion, I think the academic world is rather set on the fact that Petra is not Sela and that it most likely was the latter that was under the attack of the Hellenes. It was indeed first Athenaios who was send though. Just a little mistake probably. Who doesn't make those. For the date I think your suggestion is good. I remember reading other books/articles who support the stronghold most likely being Sela', I'll have a look at those again and others and see if there are indeed more recent works who claim the opposite when I have some time. So that we can find the correct solution.Titirius (talk) 20:39, 20 April 2011 (UTC)

I completely agree that several people have currently argued for the rock of the nabataeans in diodorus/hieronymus being sela, rather than petra (perhaps hornblower and or bosworth?) that said, I've not seen an arguement which convinces me one way or another that the location was sela or petra - I will do some checking as well and we can clear it up once we find the relevant references. Nice to work with someone who knows about the nbts - I've also divided this section off from the Josephus one as we're now talking more about date! (talk) 23:45, 20 April 2011 (UTC)

If I had my notes and bibliography with me I could anwser. The changing of Sela as the ancient capital of Edom makes the article less well structured I noticed. Perhaps we should add a sentence on how Petra/Rekem became the capital of the Nabataeans, as it pops up out of nowhere later in the article. Which means less informed readers need to read the article on Petra first, to be able to follow well. Perhaps more attention to this discussion should go into the article of Petra as well. Either way I'll try doing some rereading when I have time and respond again. Titirius (talk) 00:17, 21 April 2011 (UTC)

That sounds like an excellent idea - I will try to do some further following up too but might suggest at this point that sela should take precedence, with a further sentence or note on petra being a possibility and/or becoming the later nabtaean capital - links could then be made to the articles on the edmoites and on petra as you suggest to bring it all together. I've also noted recently that the kingship article needs plenty of work as it's a little out of date now. (talk) 01:20, 21 April 2011 (UTC) Vastiel

What kingship article are you talking about? Do you mean the article The Nabataean kingdom? Actually alot of what we are discussing here is not included in that article while it's more in line with the subject than this. This one should be focussed more on ethnicity, culture,... I think both articles should be edited together, so that they can each have their place. Titirius (talk) 23:59, 21 April 2011 (UTC)

Sorry - should have been more specific. The article is hidden within a few others but can be found at List_of_rulers_of_Nabatea. I am currently trying to track down the most up to date kinglist (at the moment I'm using Meshorer's 1970s one) to then update this list - the problems are in spelling, attribution and dates from what I can see and the list could then be better integrated into the rest of these articles. Vastiel (talk) 00:39, 29 April 2011 (UTC)


" Nabataeans became the Arabic name for Aramaeans, whether in Syria or Iraq, a fact which has been incorrectly held to prove that the Nabataeans were originally Aramaean immigrants from Babylonia."

This statement is not true. Nabataens is not the arabic name from the Aramaen, whose arabic name is the same as in english آرامي / آراميون -آراميين. Nabataens in arabic is exactly that; Nabataen, although "Al Anbat" الأنباط is much more commonly used (both Al Nabataen and Al Anbat are correct plural forms).

  • syrian is the arabic name for arameans, nabat is independent jordanian tribe but the name was given also by arab historians to non-traibls arabs and arameans of iraq although they not belong the nabat tribe — Preceding unsigned comment added by Hshamalsahra (talkcontribs) 00:06, 30 December 2014 (UTC)

Deleted external linksEdit

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Confusing Section: The Hellenistic and Roman periodsEdit

Reading through this entire section results in confusion and apparently conflicting statements. It should be cleared up with better facts & references, which I cannot do myself because I know nothing about the subject :) -- (talk) 18:28, 13 October 2008 (UTC)


the nabataeans also had ceramic pipeline irrgation, also mention Jacob Blaustein Institute which also conducts research to nabataeans irrigation techniques see —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:30, 29 March 2009 (UTC)

Nabataean peopleEdit

I suggest a move to make this article more in line with other articles on population groups (often refered as ... people)

Khmer people was added as link as they were people as skilled in building waterways, structures as the nabataeans


I wanted to ask what do you think about the ancestory of the nabateans. Are they the descendents of Nebajot and Ishmael? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:47, 19 May 2010 (UTC)

Please step forward into the 20th century before attempting to engage the 21st. More reading and less imagining will serve on many similar occasions.--Wetman (talk) 21:00, 19 May 2010 (UTC)
Josephus certainly thought so which tells something of Jewish ideas about the Nabataeans in the 1st Century AD, but there is no archaeological, genetic or historical link which can be firmly established. Most scholarly opinion would say that there is no actual link between the descendants of Ishmael and the Nabataeans and trying to make sense of these biblical geneaologies isn't really worth it as they have little real world application. (talk) 07:29, 2 January 2011 (UTC)Vastiel

Nabataeans one of the groups that form ancient ArabsEdit

Why is Wikipedia extremely biased against Arabs? Nabataeans are one of the groups the form ancient arabs... even the names of the kings are still used among Arabs and have an Arabic meaning.... Aretas حارثة malichus مالك Obodas عبادة Gamilath جميلة

It is funny how the has a monopoly over editing or writing anything about the Arabs.... Jews are by their very nature anti-arabs, and should not be allowed to play and mess with our history.... we have a lot of sources in Arabic that most people in Wikipedia consider un-reliable simply for the fact that they come from Arabs.... I can believe how a small group of people from the middle east decide and revise the history of this part of the world..... (talk) 14:54, 20 November 2011 (UTC)

why should jews want to "mess with our history"? that article just mention iudea and that alone contradict the propaganda about the "palestinians" without even reading from that other history parts like the byzantine and the creation of the name "palestine" years befor the caliphates conquer the whole no jew need to edit the history that already destroy the propaganda we fight against.

-- (talk) 08:46, 16 June 2013 (UTC)

we are discussin history here, there's no place for propaganda and conjectural theories, please keep the Arab-Israeli conflict out of it, or take it somewhere else Omar amross (talk) 03:01, 3 August 2013 (UTC)

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Need to add Mamshit (Memphis) as an important archeological siteEdit

Mamshit (Israel) is yet another big and important city, somehow missing in the list — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:11, 25 November 2012 (UTC)

Wrong Statements with no References + Hidden PropagandaEdit

i noticed that there are some wrong statements with no references in the Article, some people seem to be insisting on pushing those statements down the reader's throat

Wikipedia should be a Neutral source of Information for everyone, not a tool to re-write history

take the statement of "Nabateans is a name of Arameans", this claim holds no water, and gives no scholarly source, but still it still exists in the article

i can see the true reason of this try to make such a claim, the reason why some people want to delete any reference to Arabs from the history of the Ancient Middle East, Especially Palestine

The actual statement is "Nabataeans became the Arabic name for Aramaeans" which is copied from the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica. That doesn't mean Nabataeans weren't Arabs - the article goes on to say they were. Dougweller (talk) 11:11, 24 March 2013 (UTC)
the article dosnt realy say that they were arabs it just get confused with the meaning of "arab" and than treat them as non arab when it talk about the arabs and just confuse the reader.any attempt to define "arab" by origin/ethnicity ALONE is very problematic especialy when it comes to ancient people without clear origin that may and may not come from the area of the arabian peninsula and may have similar ancestry like the rest of the people in the arabian peninsula and may not,immigration of people (especialy nomadic people) into areas in the "arab peninsula" is not unlikely so even if they did was in somewher in the arab peninsula we can't be sure about their ancestry or to exclude the posible immigration of that people into some area in the arab peninsula.the arabian peninsula is not small area and many people outside of that area was in the area for some time atleast.
at the end the main definition of arab is by language and that how most of the arabs today are actualy defined as arabs.-- (talk) 23:56, 16 June 2013 (UTC)

the nabataean language belongs to the aramaic languages,they weren't "arabs" they just merged with them in the early islamic eraEdit

like many other people in the area.that dosnt make them 'arab' even if they do came from somewher in or around the arabian peninsula,and even that is not sure. at the end the best definition for "arab" is by language and with the fact that they and their language merged and replaced with the arabic in the islamic era(that even writen her in the article and in the article about their language)obviously means that they weren't arabs.

dont you think that writing her that they are arabs and than in the same article write that they merged with the arabs in the islamic era it is just confusing contradiction? how arabs merged with arabs? it is just another way to say that they are not arabs.the article should talk about them when they existed and not in their last days when they merged with the arabs. so i think someone (mybe me)should rewrite the beginning atleast,people should pay attention to what they call "arab" it is very confusing definition somtimes especialy with the fact that many people's merged with the arabs. -- (talk) 09:06, 16 June 2013 (UTC)

Oh yeah?? why did they have Arabic names ?? why did they worship Arabic deities ?? why did they call themselves "Arabs" in their inscriptions ?? why did ALL the Greek historians refer to them as "Arabs" ?? Omar amross (talk) 02:58, 3 August 2013 (UTC)
its already being noted her that they were arabized like other peoples which has different language and identity and that "The extent of Nabataean trade resulted in cross-cultural influences",and in any case peoples adopted new idols all the time so its can't realy suggest anything about their identity.
the most serious definition of 'arab' is by language and the nabataean language was different language from different sub family in the semitic languages family which means that they weren't arab and shouldn't be called like that.
we can't treat the different nations who underwent arabization as 'arabs' atleast not in their general history and especialy if that is all what is left from them.-- (talk) 11:55, 26 November 2013 (UTC)

they had arab names, arab gods. arab kings. arabic were not written language at that time they used aramaic language at writing the official language of the middle east at that time but written language changed into arabic. their origin is unknown (the nabt mesopotamian tribe) in the bible nabt is the son of ismail. they are probably a mixture of arabs and syrians . may be the first arabized nation before islam but their descendants today see themselves as arabs — Preceding unsigned comment added by Hshamalsahra (talkcontribs) 23:52, 29 December 2014 (UTC)

They were Arabs, case closed. They spoke Aramaic since it was the lingua franca of the middle east at the time but they still saw themselves as arabs. And Nabateans come from Ishamael who is one of the ancestors of Arab people, particularly the Adnanite Arabs. Honestly, this whole "Arabization" crap is not true and just offensive. Most people in the Levant are not Arabized and see themselves as arabs, including petra bedouins so why bother to decide who people are? Akmal94 (talk) 16:33, 21 June 2015 (UTC)

The peoples inhabiting the Arabian Peninsula should more accurately be referred to as Arabians, not as Arabs. Why bother? Because Arabs and Arabians are two different things. Arabian is simply a place name and therefore a neutral, precise designation. In the ancient world, the Akkadian word "Arab" denoted an outsider, and became the usual word to designate the various peoples of the Arabian Peninsula who lived as bedouin, instead of as settled communities. Later in antiquity, this name was replaced by "Sarakenoi", and in late antiquity Procopius speaks of Maddenoi or Maddene Sarakenoi, referring to the Ma'add Arabians of Northern Arabia who were to become the people that first adopted Islam. The text of the Quran is in a specific language called "Arab", but the inhabitants of the Arabian Peninsula spoke a diversity of languages (they still do) and only the language of the Quran was to unite them in a shared religion, culture, and language that would be called "Arab". In other words, before the 9th c CE, Arabs did not exist, they are the result of a process of ethnogenesis, based, so to speak, on the word of God. Afterwards, not only the inhabitants of the Arabian Peninsula but also most other groups in the Levant and Arab Iraq were given this Arab identity in Islamic historiography, but that is an incorrect back-projection. Cf. Peter Webb Imagining the Arabs (Edinburgh 2017). Therefore, calling the Nabataeans Arabs is an anachronism, the proper designation should be Arabians. KoechlyRuestow (talk) 11:41, 14 May 2018 (UTC)


Why can't you just make a map of the Nabataean distribution? Why the whole ancient world as a map? — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2003:6B:52D:A801:5DC3:F4C8:114E:CACA (talk) 10:26, 15 August 2015 (UTC)

Feel free to make one. Pinkbeast (talk) 15:09, 15 August 2015 (UTC)

Mada'in SalehEdit

There is a site called (Mada'in Saleh) it's on Saudi Arabia? And it not added to this page, hopefully we should add every country has monuments about Nabataeans — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:12, 13 February 2017 (UTC)

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gifted peopleEdit

The Nabataeans, as nomads controlling the trade routes from Petra, must have been reasonably astute, because unlike their successors further south about a thousand years later they did not conquer other countries, or aim to, in the name of religion, an extremely potent form of ideology. They were ultimately defeated by shifting trade routes and a devastating earthquake in 363. It seems understandable enough that the popular writer should make the claim that she made. What is less understandable is that this banality should be cited here as some sort of 'authority'.Pamour (talk) 21:57, 12 January 2018 (UTC)

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