Friday, September 21, 2012

Petra's Roman Era

On our second day in Petra we concentrated on the Roman ruins, always magnificent and historically fascinating.  After the Romans conquered the Nabataeans in 106 CE,  a brief Renaissance occurred.  After Trajan ordered the conquest, the newly formed province continued to flourish under Hadrian, the Antonines and Septimius Severus. 

The paved road still exists.  It was an engineering marvel for the time, a 500 kilometer road that connected Petra to Aqaba, the sea port to the south.  A guidebook is an absolute must because there are layers of history here. Roman ruins are scattered among the Nabataean temples and tombs.  It is a sad irony that its initial rebirth led to its eventual decline.  Heavy taxation ate up the revenues.  Caravans began to reroute, and although the city continued to survive under Byzantine and Islamic rule, it eventually died and disappeared.  There is no doubt, however, that Rome left her mark.

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