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64
EARLY CHRISTIANITY

government to Hirah, which had been built by one of the tobbaas, who stopped there on his road to Irak.[1] The kings of Ghassan deduced their descent from the tribe of Azd in Yaman.[2] Gafahah, the first king, had dispossessed the original dynasty, and is said to have been confirmed in his conquest by the Roman governor of Syria.[3] The third king Tsâlabuh, built Akhah, in the Hauraun, towards Balka, the latter of which was the capital of Ghassan in the time of the second Hareth, but the seat of government was removed to Sideir, by Amru, the twelfth king of this dynasty.[4]

Although by eastern writers the name of Syria is given to the whole of the territory between the Mediterranean and the Euphrates as far as Babylon,[5] yet all the tract which spreads out to the east

  1. Abulfedæ Irak, in Büschings Magazin für die neue Historie und Geographie, band iv. p. 257.
  2. Pococke, p. 77. Hamza, in Rasm. p. 41.
  3. Hamza, ib. p. 42.
  4. Hamza, p. 44. The capital of the kings of Ghassan is generally considered to have been Petra, the magnificent ruins of which were explored by Irby, Mangles, and Bankes. But the Arab kings appear to have seldom been long in one place; and as being nearer to the frontiers of the neighbouring states, into which they were continually making excursions, they might prefer to reside at Balka, or Sideir, or Tadmor.
  5. Maimonides describes Syria as consisting of the country—"from Israel and below it to Aram Naharimארם‬ נ‬ה‬רים [Aram of the Rivers, i.e. Mesopotamia] and Aram Isobaארם‬ ישו‬בא‬ [the northern part of Syria towards Aleppo], and the whole tract of the Euphrates as far as Babel—