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Historical Geography

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Chapter Summary

This chapter discusses that Palestine was known for two basic situations as a result of its geographical position, the more common state of affairs being domination by a great power, which left a certain degree of autonomy to the local inhabitants. In its earlier history the suzerain powers were the states which had risen in the twin cradles of civilization, the Nile Valley and Mesopotamia. Then came the more distant powers: Persia, the Hellenistic monarchies, Rome and Byzantium. Such periods were the reigns of David, Solomon and the Hasmonaeans. In retrospect they appeared to the Jews as periods of divine favour and national glory. The roots of the territorial divisions in the first century go back to the Assyrian period. The earliest roads in Palestine in pre-biblical and biblical times followed the geographical layout of the country and that of its neighbours.

Keywords: Assyrian governors; geographical layout; Hellenistic monarchies; Palestine; Persia; Rome

10.1163/9789004275003_003
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