Crime and Punishment among the Nabataeans

محمـد إسماعيل النصـرات, أنـــور دبشي الجـــازي


This paper shed light on crime and punishment among the Nabataeans (312 BC-106 AD), based on historical and geographical sources such as Diodorus of Sicily and Strabo, as well as Nabataean inscriptions. Crimes and punishments were a part of Nabataean society like other human societies in the Ancient Near East. Nabataean society had reached a stage of urbanization and development and had good trade relations with various neighboring peoples. Petra was an important trade center in the east, where the traders met from around the ancient world. This meant that the city had infrastructure such as courts in order to facilitate commercial transactions and adjudicate disputes. Nabataean society, like other societies of the Ancient Near East, enjoyed prosperity and stability that enabled it to build a state for more than four centuries. This would not have been possible without an orderly legal system that regulated relations among the members of society and between society and the rulers. The article also reveals the significance of the religious aspect in preventing crimes within Nabataean society through the use of curse formulas linked to the divinities that appear in inscriptions


Petra, Nabataeans, Crime, Punishment, Curses, Law, Fines.


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