- J. M. Rogers,
- Jean-Paul Pascual
- and Robert Hillenbrand
[Arab. Dimashq, Dimashk, Dimishk, al-Sham; Fr. Damas]
Capital city of Syria. Built on the lower slopes of Mt Qasiyun, known in antiquity as Mons Cassius, Damascus lies on the Barada River and dominates a great oasis, the Ghuta. The situation of the city to the east of the Lebanon barred access to the Mediterranean and forced it to turn towards the caravan cities of the desert. Trade routes led from it east to the River Euphrates and thence downstream to the Gulf and the Indian Ocean, north to Aleppo, Antioch and Anatolia, and south to Palestine, Arabia and Egypt. Damascus, an important city in antiquity, became an international capital after the Muslim conquest in 635–6, the building of its Great Mosque a symbol of its status.
J. M. Rogers
Settlement in the region of Damascus is of considerable antiquity. An urban centre at Tell al-Shalihiyya, south-east of the city, dates to the 4th millennium bc. In the ...