City in northern Iraq about 110 km south-west of the modern city of Mosul, in an area known as the Jazira. It flourished from the 2nd century bc to the 3rd century ad and was an important caravan city that played a significant role in the cultural and political development of the area. It was a great centre for Arab tribes since it had an abundance of fresh water from numerous springs and from the nearby Wadi Tharthar, and every house, temple or courtyard had at least one well. The site also had a strategic importance, for it controlled the military and trade routes across the desert and along the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. Consequently, wealth poured in, allowing its rulers to build new temples and public buildings and to strengthen the fortifications so that it became one of the wealthiest cities in Mesopotamia.
There are no literary sources concerning the foundation and development of the city, so that its early history is mainly dependent on archaeological and architectural evidence. It seems that the site was partially settled in the ...