9. The Nabateans
The Nabateans were a Semitic culture that inhabited parts of Jordan, Canaan and Arabia from around the sixth century BC. They are most widely known as the builders of the city of Petra, which served as their capital. Petra is an impressive city carved out of the cliff side with the crown jewel being the Khazneh, or Treasury, a giant Greek inspired building. The Nabateans’ wealth was gained by being a major stop on a complex trading network, through which they traded ivory, silk, spices, precious metals, gems, incense, sugar perfume and medicine. Because of the extent of the trade route, the Nabatean culture was highly influenced by Hellenistic Greece, Rome, Arabia and Assyria. Unlike other societies of their time, there was no slavery and every member of society contributed in the work duties.
Where did they go?
During the fourth century AD, the Nabateans abandoned Petra and no one really knows why. Archeological evidence proves that their exodus was an organized one that was unrushed, which leads us to believe that they were not driven out of Petra by another culture. The most likely explanation is that when the trade routes they relied on moved north they could no longer sustain their civilization and left Petra behind.