Established: c. 13th century BC
Idumea, also spelled Edom, is an ancient region located in the southern part of modern-day Israel.
Idumea | History
Origins and Biblical Accounts
The biblical narrative traces the origins of the Edomites to Esau, the twin brother of Jacob (Israel). According to the Book of Genesis in the Old Testament, Esau sold his birthright to Jacob, and the descendants of Esau became known as the Edomites. Idumea had interactions and conflicts with various neighboring kingdoms, including the Israelites, Moabites, and Ammonites. The biblical accounts describe wars and alliances involving these nations.
Bozrah, an ancient city in Edom, is often mentioned in the biblical texts and is considered a significant center. It served as a capital for the Edomites and played a role in the historical and cultural identity of the region. The Edomites established a kingdom in the southern Levant, and their historical development is associated with a form of tribal organization. The Edomite kingdom existed alongside other regional powers.
In the Hellenistic period, the Nabateans, an Arab people, expanded their influence into the southern Levant, including parts of Idumea. The Nabatean Kingdom, with its capital at Petra, had a significant impact on the region.
Roman and Byzantine Period | 1st – 7th centuries
In the first century BC, the Roman Republic and later the Roman Empire expanded their control over various regions of the eastern Mediterranean, including Idumea. The region became part of the Roman province of Arabia Petrae, and it was administered as part of the broader Judean territory. During the period of the first century BC to the seventh century AD, the influence of Roman and later Byzantine were growing in the region. The region experienced the broader social, economic, and religious changes associated with Byzantine rule.
During the early centuries of the Common Era, Christianity spread throughout the eastern Mediterranean, including the region of Idumea. The Byzantine Empire played a role in the Christianization of the area, and Christian communities were established in various parts of Idumea.
Islamic Conquests | 7th centuries
In the seventh century, the Islamic Caliphate, led by the Rashidun Caliphs, embarked on a series of conquests that brought the southern Levant, including Idumea, under Muslim rule. The Islamic conquests had a profound impact on the region, introducing Islam and transformating the political and cultural landscape.
Arabian and Abbasid Periods | 8th – 9th centuries
During the subsequent centuries, the southern Levant, including Idumea, was part of the larger Islamic caliphates. The Umayyad Caliphate (661-750) and the Abbasid Caliphate (750-1258) successively ruled the region. Idumea likely experienced shifts in administration, governance, and cultural influences during this period.ing the dominant language and Islam the predominant religion.
Roman de Brut | Wace, c. 1155