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D. T. Potts, J. Schmidt, Paolo M. Costa and Alessandro De Maigret

Region in which diverse cultures and civilizations flourished from c. 4500 bc to the rise of Islam in the early 7th century ac. Throughout history the term Arabia has varied according to changing political and cultural conditions. In this article it denotes the Arabian peninsula as far north as the borders of Jordan and Iraq. For regions north of this modern boundary see Syria-Palestine and Mesopotamia.

A supraregional survey is not always possible for the art forms discussed below, either because of distinct regional diversity or because archaeological excavation is more advanced in some parts of the peninsula than in others. In some cases, therefore, this article simply discusses those works of art and architecture that are most noteworthy, either stylistically, technologically or iconographically. Generally, the earliest material considered dates to the latter part of the late prehistoric period, c. 4500–c. 3400 bc. Thereafter there is a range of sites and finds that span the protohistoric (...

Article

Nubia  

William Y. Adams, R. G. Morkot, Timothy Kendall, L. Török and Khalid J. Deemer

Region in the Nile Valley, immediately to the south of Egypt, in which several cultures flourished, from the Khartoum Mesolithic period (c. 10,000–c. 5000 bc) to the establishment of the Islamic Funj sultanate c. ad 1505. Ancient Nubia corresponds essentially to the ‘Aethiopia’ of Herodotus and other Classical writers and the ‘Kush’ of the ancient Egyptians and Hebrews. It extends approximately from Aswan in southern Egypt to Khartoum in Sudan (see fig. 1 and fig. 2). The most northerly part, Lower Nubia, has always been regarded as an Egyptian sphere of influence, and it is included within the borders of the modern Arab Republic of Egypt. Egyptian control of the larger, southerly region, ‘Upper Nubia’, was much more sporadic.

Article

Sheila S. Blair and Jonathan M. Bloom

Region between the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea and the Arabian desert, containing sites holy to Jews, Christians and Muslims. The exact borders have varied in different periods, but the term has come to be applied to the area now covered by Israel and Jordan, Hashemite Kingdom of. Artistic development in this region between the 13th millennium and the 1st bc is discussed in the survey on Syria-Palestine, and development of some specific types of art is also discussed in the wider context of the Ancient Near East. The first permanent agricultural settlements were established in 8000 bc at Jericho. After c. 1200 bc the coastal zone of Palestine was settled by the Peleset, later known as the Philistines (see Philistine), from whom the name of the region is derived. By 1000 bc the area was dominated by Hebrew tribes, who made Jerusalem their capital. The Kingdom of Palestine became divided into the Kingdom of Israel and the Kingdom of Judah, but these were destroyed, the former by Assyria in ...

Article

Shusha  

E. R. Salmanov

Regional centre in the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan. The town was founded in 1756–7 when the Karabakh potentate Panah ‛Ali Khan built a fortress on a rocky area surrounded by the mountain streams Dashalty and Khalfali-chay. The eponymous fortress Panakhabad was later renamed Kala or Shusha-qalasy and finally Shusha. Situated in the strategic and economic centre of Karabakh, it became the capital of the Karabakh khanate. The town was surrounded by stone walls with round towers protecting the gates. The khān and his court lived in a rectangular citadel surrounded by bazaars, a Friday Mosque and residential quarters. The first nine residential quarters, known as Ashagy Mekhelle, were built in the 1760s. Another eight were added under Khan Ibrahim Khalil (reg 1759–1806), and another twelve after the khanate was absorbed into the Russian empire in 1805. Each quarter was centred around a mosque surrounded by small squares containing a source of drinking water set in a stone façade sometimes decorated with blind arches. Town estates incorporating a garden and vegetable plot were separated from the street by stone walls. A typical example is the Mehmandarov House (...