NABATAEANS, a people of ancient Arabia, whose settlements in the time of Josephus (Ant.
94 seq.) as being at this time a strong tribe of some io,000 warriors, pre-eminent among the nomadic Arabs, eschewing agriculture, fixed houses and the use of wine, but adding to pastoral pursuits a profitable trade with the seaports in myrrh and spices from Arabia Felix, as well as a trade with Egypt in bitumen from the Dead Sea.
Their power extended far into Arabia, particularly along the Red Sea; and Petra was a meeting-place of many nations, though its commerce was diminished by the rise of the Eastern trade-route from Myoshormus to Coptos on the Nile.
Having at last got into trouble with the authorities he fled from Sicily, and visited in succession Greece, Egypt, Arabia, Persia, Rhodes - where he took lessons in alchemy and the cognate sciences from the Greek Althotas - and Malta.
By Arabia, and S., approximately, by a line between Cape Guardafui, the north-east point of Somaliland, and Cape Comorin in India.