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The Nabataean Arabs, one of the most gifted peoples of the ancient world, are today known only for their hauntingly beautiful rock-carved capital - Petra, a magnificent city carved out of the mountains, and one of the most breath-taking achievements of the ancient world. Yet they were famous in their day - Herod the Great and his sons, and a kaleidoscope of Roman emperors and generals were keenly aware of this powerful and wealthy trading kingdom. The Nabateans became inspired patrons of the arts, creating some of the most sublime and perfectly individual architecture of the time, not only at Petra, but over much of the Middle East. This richly illustrated book recounts the story of a remarkable but lost civilization. It tells of their nomadic origins, the development of their rich culture in Jordan, Syria, Arabia, Sinai and the Negev, their relations with their more famous neighbours and the demise of their kingdom at the hands of the Romans.