Ituraea

Ituraea (ĭtyŏrēˈə) [key], ancient country on the northern border of Palestine. According to tradition, Jetur, the son of Ishmael, was its founder. Ancient geographers are not agreed as to the exact limits of the country. The inhabitants were Arabs with their capital at Chalchis and their religious center at Heliopolis (Baalbek). Ituraea was conquered in 105 B.C. by Aristobulus, king of Judaea, who annexed it to Judaea and converted many of the inhabitants to Judaism. Later, after a brief period of independence, the country was subdued by Pompey. It remained thereafter chiefly in Roman hands, being united (c.A.D. 50) to the Roman province of Syria. Many Ituraeans served in the armies of Rome and were renowned for their skill as horsemen and archers.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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