chapter  VII
21 Pages

SYRIA, PALESTINE AND THE EASTERN FRONTIER

THE territories acquired by Pompey in 64 constituted a region with indefinite boundaries whose length, at any rate between Cappadocia and the frontier of Egypt, extended to about 700 kilometres. To assure peace there and the successful working of a regular government, at once new and uniform, was no light task, especially in view of the medley of peoples who had to be brought under the authority of Rome: Aramæans, concentrated chiefly in the north; Phœnicians, along the coast where their ancestors had lived; Arabs, on the other side of the littoral mountain chains and the rivers beside them; Jews, especially numerous in Palestine; Ituræans and Idumæans encircling them-all Semitic races, though more or less differentiated-and finally, to complicate the problem still further, a number of Greeks introduced by the Seleucids into all the northern and southern districts. Now the Romans were accustomed to give or leave the first place in their various oriental possessions to the Hellenic element, since this was the most highly civilized of all, the most adaptable, and, through its hereditary attachment to the municipal system, the best suited for the methods of provincial government.