By Ross Burns
This can be the 1st ebook in English to narrate the heritage of Damascus, bringing out the an important function town has performed at many issues within the region's earlier. Damascus lines the historical past of this vibrant, major and intricate urban via its actual improvement, from the city's emergence in round 7000 BC throughout the altering cavalcade of Aramaean, Persian, Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Arab, Mongol and French rulers correct as much as the top of Turkish keep an eye on in 1918.
In Damascus, each layer of the background has outfitted accurately on best of its predecessors for a minimum of 3 millennia, leaving an in depth archaeological checklist of 1 of the oldest regularly inhabited towns on the planet. The e-book appears relatively on the interaction among the western and japanese affects that experience supplied Damascus with one of these wealthy earlier, and the way this completely encapsulates the forces that experience performed over the center East as a complete from the earliest recorded instances to the current.
Lavishly illustrated, Damascus: A History is a compelling and designated exploration of a desirable urban.
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Extra info for Damascus: A History
Though the Egyptians may have used the Damascus oasis as a point for coordinating the supply of goods from further north, Damascus’ potential as an outlet for the cross-desert trade was unrealised. One difficulty was the lack of an obvious route from Damascus to the coast. While there were several options – the routes to Tripoli in northern Lebanon, Tyre and Sidon in the south or Accho (Acre) on the southern Phoenician coast – none looked compelling. Acre may have been the most accessible as the others involved either complicated mountain routes or a long diversion to the north to avoid the two ranges.
Some may be based on natural outcrops but at least two reflect accumulated debris from occupation layers that predated the rest of the city. The usual method of construction in ancient times (as indeed in most of Syria’s villages until the arrival of modern concrete building methods) was earth beaten to form floors and dried mud-bricks for the walls. The roof and larger walls were of earth held between frameworks of local timber. The materials were fragile and as they crumbled or were eroded by rain the residue accumulated, forming the successive levels of the mound or tell on which the town gradually rose.
The aristocracy that had once served as a check on the ruler, reminding him that he was no more than primus inter pares, was gradually sidelined. It was a tough, no-nonsense regime but it had a sophisticated administrative apparatus and a developed infrastructure, 22 A GREATER GAME including a system of roads equipped with way stations and a courier service. It was the first Middle Eastern power, apart from Egypt, which could sustain its grip over an extensive empire and administer it. International trade flourished, promoted by state intervention in the opening up and securing of new routes, an important and declared aim of the regime.
Damascus: A History by Ross Burns