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Palestine (Arabic:

Situated at a strategic location between Egypt, Syria and Arabia, and the
birthplace of Judaism and Christianity, the region has a long and
tumultuous history as a crossroads for religion, culture, commerce, and
politics. The region has been controlled by numerous peoples, including
Ancient Egyptians, Canaanites, Israelites, Assyrians, Babylonians,
Persians, Ancient Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, the Arab Rashidun,
Umayyad, Abbasid and Fatimid caliphates, Crusaders, Ayyubids, Mamluks,
Mongols, Ottomans, the British, and modern Israelis and Palestinians.
The boundaries of the region have changed throughout history. Today, the
region comprises the State of Israel and the Palestinian territories in which
the State of Palestine was declared.

Etymology

Further information: Timeline of the name "Palestine"

A 1759 map entitled The Holy Land, or Palestine, showing not only the Ancient
Kingdoms of Judah and Israel in which the 12 Tribes have been distinguished, but also
their placement in different periods as indicated in the Holy Scriptures by Tobias Conrad
Lotter, Geographer. Augsburg, Germany

Modern archaeology has identified 12 ancient inscriptions from Egyptian


and Assyrian records recording similar sounding names. The term "Peleset"
(transliterated from hieroglyphs as P-r-s-t) is found in five inscriptions
referring to a neighboring people or land starting from c. 1150 BCE during
the Twentieth dynasty of Egypt. The first known mention is at the temple at
Medinet Habu which refers to the Peleset among those who fought with

Egypt in Ramesses III's reign,[1][2] and the last known is 300 years later on
Padiiset's Statue. Seven known Assyrian inscriptions refer to the region of
"Palashtu" or "Pilistu", beginning with Adad-nirari III in the Nimrud Slab in c.
800 BCE through to a treaty made by Esarhaddon more than a century
later.[3][4] Neither the Egyptian nor the Assyrian sources provided clear
regional boundaries for the term.[i]
The first clear use of the term Palestine to refer to the entire area between
Phoenicia and Egypt was in 5th century BC Ancient Greece,[7][8] when
Herodotus wrote of a 'district of Syria, called Palaistin" in The Histories,
which included the Judean mountains and the Jordan Rift Valley.[9][ii]
Approximately a century later, Aristotle used a similar definition for the
region in Meteorology, in which he included the Dead Sea.[11] Later Greek
writers such as Polemon and Pausanias also used the term to refer to the
same region, which was followed by Roman writers such as Ovid, Tibullus,
Pomponius Mela, Pliny the Elder, Dio Chrysostom, Statius, Plutarch as well
as Roman Judean writers Philo of Alexandria and Josephus.[12] The term
was first used to denote an official province in c.135 CE, when the Roman
authorities, following the suppression of the Bar Kokhba Revolt, combined
Iudaea Province with Galilee and the Paralia to form "Syria Palaestina".
There is circumstantial evidence linking Hadrian with the name change,[13]
but the precise date is not certain[13] and the assertion of some scholars that
the name change was intended "to complete the dissociation with
Judaea"[14] is disputed.[15]
The term is generally accepted to be a translation of the Biblical name
Peleshet ( Plsheth, usually transliterated as Philistia). The term and
its derivates are used more than 250 times in Masoretic-derived versions of
the Hebrew Bible, of which 10 uses are in the Torah, with undefined
boundaries, and almost 200 of the remaining references are in the Book of
Judges and the Books of Samuel.[3][4][12][16] The term is rarely used in the
Septuagint, who used a transliteration Land of Phylistieim (
) different from the contemporary Greek place name Palaistn
().[15]

The Septuagint instead used the term "allophuloi" (, "other


nations") throughout the Books of Judges and Samuel, [17][18] such that the
term "Philistines" has been interpreted to mean "non-Israelites of the
Promised Land" when used in the context of Samson, Saul and David, [19]
and Rabbinic sources explain that these peoples were different from the
Philistines of the Book of Genesis.[20]
During the Byzantine period, the region of Palestine within Syria Palaestina
was subdivided into Palaestina Prima and Secunda,[21] and an area of land
including the Negev and Sinai became Palaestina Salutaris.[21] Following the
Muslim conquest, place names that were in use by the Byzantine
administration generally continued to be used in Arabic. [3][22] The use of the
name "Palestine" became common in Early Modern English,[23] was used in
English and Arabic during the Mutasarrifate of Jerusalem[24][25][iii] and was
revived as an official place name with the British Mandate for Palestine.
Some other terms that have been used to refer to all or part of this land
include Canaan, Land of Israel (Eretz Yisrael or Ha'aretz),[27][iv] Greater Syria,
the Holy Land, Iudaea Province, Judea, Coele-Syria,[v] "Israel HaShlema",
Kingdom of Israel, Kingdom of Jerusalem, Zion, Retenu (Ancient Egyptian),
Southern Syria, Southern Levant and Syria Palaestina.

History

Main article: History of Palestine


Further information: Time periods in the region of Palestine

Overview

Situated at a strategic location between Egypt, Syria and Arabia, and the
birthplace of Judaism and Christianity, the region has a long and
tumultuous history as a crossroads for religion, culture, commerce, and
politics. The region has been controlled by numerous peoples, including
Ancient Egyptians, Canaanites, Israelites, Assyrians, Babylonians,
Persians, Ancient Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, the Arab Rashidun,
Umayyad, Abbasid and Fatimid caliphates, Crusaders, Ayyubids, Mamluks,
Mongols, Ottomans, the British, and modern Israelis and Palestinians.

Modern archaeologists and historians of the region refer to their field of


study as Levantine archaeology.

Ancient period

Depiction of Biblical Palestine in c. 1020 BCE according to George Adam Smith's 1915
Atlas of the Historical Geography of the Holy Land. Smith's book was used as a
reference by Lloyd George during the negotiations for the British Mandate for Palestine.
[33]

The region was among the earliest in the world to see human habitation,
agricultural communities and civilization.[34] During the Bronze Age,
independent Canaanite city-states were established, and were influenced
by the surrounding civilizations of ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, Phoenicia,
Minoan Crete, and Syria. Between 15501400 BCE, the Canaanite cities
became vassals to the Egyptian New Kingdom who held power until the
1178 BCE Battle of Djahy (Canaan) during the wider Bronze Age collapse.
[35]
The Israelites emerged from a dramatic social transformation that took
place in the people of the central hill country of Canaan around 1200 BCE,
with no signs of violent invasion or even of peaceful infiltration of a clearly
defined ethnic group from elsewhere.[36][37]
The region became part of the Neo-Assyrian Empire from c. 740 BCE,
which was itself replaced by the Neo-Babylonian Empire in c. 627 BCE.[38]
According to the Bible, a war with Egypt culminated in 586 BCE when
Jerusalem was destroyed by the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar II and
the local leaders of the region of Judea were deported to Babylonia. In 539
BCE, the Babylonian empire was replaced by the Achaemenid Empire.
According to the Bible and implications from the Cyrus Cylinder, the exiled
population of Judea was allowed to return to Jerusalem.[39] Southern
Palestine became a province of the Achaemenid Empire, called Idumea,
and the evidence from ostraca suggests that a Nabataean-type society,
since the Idumeans appear to be connected to the Nabataeans, took shape
in southern Palestine in the 4th century B.C.E., and that the Qedarite Arab
kingdom penetrated throughout this area through the period of Persian and
Hellenistic dominion.[40]