NABATAEANS, a people of ancient Arabia, whose settlements in the time of Josephus (Ant.
Thus the history of the Nabataeans cannot certainly be carried back beyond 312 B.C., at which date they were attacked without success by Antigonus I.
Petra (q.v.) or Sela` was the ancient capital of Edom; the Nabataeans must have occupied the old Edomite country, and succeeded to its commerce, after the Edomites took advantage of the Babylonian captivity to press forward into southern Judaea.'
The Nabataeans had already some tincture of foreign culture when they first appeared in history.
As "allies" of the Romans the Nabataeans continued to flourish throughout the first Christian century.