The Nabataeans were an ancient people of north west Arabia. They spoke a form of Aramaic, showing a heavy Arabic influence. Originally nomads, the Nabataeans established their own independent state in the 4th century BC. The Nabataean capital was Petra, near the modern town of Wadi Musa in Jordan. Seven hundred years before the birth of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), the Nabataean Kingdom stretched from Damascus to the Red Sea. In 63 AD, the Nabataean Kingdom was annexed by Rome and, in 106 AD the Emperor Trajan converted it into the Roman province of Arabia.

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