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Volume :36 Issue : 143 2018      Add To Cart                                                                    Download

The Relationship between the Kingdom of Lihyan and the Ptolemies during the Time of Ptolemy Philadelphus (285-246 B.C.E) (in Arabic).

Auther : Ragab Omran

This study aims to shed light on the relationship between the Kingdom of Lihyan and the Ptolemies of Egypt during the time of Ptolemy Philadelphus (285-246 B.C.E). Philadelphus was interested in controlling the trade passing through North Arabia from the south. He intended to re-route the trade from Dedan (Al-Ula) – the capital of the Lihyanite Kingdom – directly to Egypt without passing through the Nabataeans’ lands. At the same time, the Lihyanite Kingdom hoped to put an end to the Nabataeans’ control of trade. The establishment of the relationship between the two sides took place during the expedition of Philadelphus, which is recorded on Pithom stelae.
Philadelphus made improvements in navigational methods by establishing and renewing some Egyptian ports on one of the Red Sea coasts and linking them with those on the other Red Sea coast. He even encouraged Miletus to found a colony in the western coast of the Red Sea. These procedures offered an alternative passage to Egypt and helped control trade. Due to these alterations, goods from South Arabia no longer had to be transported overland across the Nabataenas’ lands.
Subsequently, the Nabataens lost profits accruing from trade. Before this shift of control over trade, the Nabataens lived in peace and profited richly from customs, tolls and various fees imposed upon goods passed through their lands. Losing the stability they once had, they decided to attack the Egyptian vessels.
Philadelphus retaliated by undertaking an expedition to North-West Arabia and attacking the Nabataeans’ lands. He also managed to acquire control of incense trade through forming an alliance with the Lihyanite Kingdom. To sum up, there are three main things that matter about this relationship: it was directed against the Nabataens, it aimed to control the lucrative trade, and its traces were manifested in some features in both Egypt and Al-Ula, the capital of Lihyan.

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