Map Notes

Damascus: Inhabited as early as 10,000 or 8,000 BCE. Conquered by Pharaoh Thutmose III in the 1400s. The capital of an Aramaean kingdom in the 1000s. Conquered by the Assyrians in 732.

Jerusalem: According to Egyptian hieroglyphic records, a city called Rushalimum existed on the site of Jerusalem as early as 1853 BCE. Archaeologists are working on whether the Jerusalem that David conquered was provincial or a capital city. By the time of Solomon it was a major cultural center."

Gaza: Dates back to the around 3000 BCE. It served as an important trade center and stopover, became Egypt's administrative capital in Canaan, and was conquered by the Philistines in the 1100s. It was ruled by the Israelites, then the Assyrians, followed by the Egyptians and the Persians until the coming of Alexander the Great.

Phoenicia: First settled in 3200 BCE, more than a thousand years before Abraham, reaching a high point between 1200 and 800 BCE. The Phoenicians have been described as having Persian Gulf origins. In the centuries after 1200 BCE the Phoenicians were the major naval and trading power in the Mediterranean area, trading with the Greeks and along the coast of North Africa. In the 853 BCE they allied with King Ahab of Israel and stopped the advancing the Assyrians at QarQar in Syria. In 815 they founded the city of Cathage on the coast of North Africa. The Persian conqueror Cyrus the Great overran Phoenicia in 539 and divided it into four vassal kingdoms. Phoenicians ships began serving Persian kings, and it is believed that many Phoenicians migrated to Carthage and other colonies. Then in the year 332, after a seven-month siege, Alexander the Great defeated the Phoenicians and their overlords, the Persians. Many were put to death and women and children sold into slavery.

Ammon: The Ammonites bought off the Assyrians and remained independent. They and some neighboring tribes fought Judah's expansion led by Judas Maccabaeus. The last notice of the Ammonites is made by a Christian, Justin Martyr (100-165), who described them as still a numerous people.

Moab: The Moabites occupied part of the ancient trade route that connected Egypt with Mesopotamia, Syria, and Anatolia. Like the Edomites and Ammonites, trade along this route gave them considerable revenue. Like other Semites they were polytheists. Along with Israel and Judah, Moab was conquered by the Assyrians. Sometime during the Persian period that followed, Moab disappeared from historical records, and eventually the territory was overrun by waves of tribes from northern Arabia.

Edom: The Kingdom of Edom drew much of its livelihood from the caravan trade between Egypt and what today is Turkey. Until Assyrian expansion, the Edomites were dominated by Hebrew kings. With the coming of Nebuchadnezzar II in the 500s BCE they helped plunder Jerusalem and slaughter the Judaeans. This was followed by the Edomites settling in the region of Hebron, where they prospered. Resurgent Jews led by Judas Maccabeus conquered them around 163 BCE. They were subdued again by John Hyrcanus around 125 BCE, and he forcibly converted them to Judaism. After the Jewish Wars, between the years 66 and 135, they disappeared from historical records.