Syrian History

Since approximately 10,000 BC Syria was one of centers of Neolithic culture where agriculture and cattle breeding appeared for the first time in the world. The following Neolithic period is represented by rectangular houses of Mureybet culture. At the time of the pre-pottery Neolithic people used vessels made of stone, gyps and burnt lime (Vaiselles blanches). Finds of obsidian tools from Anatolia are evidences of early trade relations. Cities of Hamoukar and Emar played an important role during the late Neolithic and Bronze Age.

Archaeologists have demonstrated that civilization in Syria was one of the most ancient on earth. Around the excavated city of Ebla in northern Syria, an Italian mission led by Prof. Paolo Matthiae discovered in 1975, a great Semitic empire spread from the Red Sea north to Anatolia and east to Iraq from 2500 to 2400 BC Ebla appears to have been founded around 3000 BC and gradually built its empire through trade with the cities of Sumer and Akkad, as well as with peoples to the northwest. Gifts from Pharaoh found during excavations confirm Ebla's contact with Egypt. Scholars believe the language of Ebla to be among the oldest known written Semitic languages. The Eblan civilization was likely conquered by Sargon of Akkad around 2260 BC; the city was restored as the nation of the Amorites a few centuries later and flourished through the early second millennium BC until conquered by the Hittites.

During the second millennium BC, Syria was occupied successively by Canaanites(Phoenicians) and Arameans as part of the general disruptions associated with the Sea Peoples; the Phoenicians settled along the coastline of these areas as well as in the west (Now Lebanon and the current Syrian coast), in the area already known for its cedars. Egyptians, Sumerians, Assyrians, Babylonians, and Hittites variously occupied the strategic ground of Syria during this period, as it was a marchland between their various empires. Eventually the Persians took control of Syria as part of their general control of Southwest Asia; this control transferred to the Macedonians after Alexander the Great's conquests and thence to the Romans and the Byzantines.

In 83 BC Syria fell under the rule of Tigranes the Great; the King of Armenia. The Armenians maintained a rule of 13 years over Syria, which was finally turned into a Roman Province in 64 BC.


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