Ancient History of Palestine

The name Palestine is claimed to be derived from the word ‘plesheth’ which means a mixture of edible things that migratory tribes would carry as they moved from one region to another. However, others suggest that the word Palestine was derived from the androgynous god Pales who was worshipped during the early times in Palestine. This god was believed to have a head of a donkey and was widely recognized by the Philistines, Israelites, and Canaanites. However, there exists no documentation that confirms that Palestine was named after this god.

 

Situated between Europe, Africa, and Asia, Palestine has a long history of different approaches to politics, culture, commerce, and religion. Over time, this region has been controlled by different powers and groups such as the Ammonites, Romans, Israelis, Ancient Egyptians, Babylonians, Tjeker, Canaanites, Ancient Greeks, Crusaders, Moabites, Amorites, Jordanians, Late Muslim Dynasties, Israelites, Byzantines, Persians, Assyrians, Philistines, and Romans. Palestine was one of the regions in the world to see civilization, agricultural communities, and human habitation. It is also considered to be the origin of Christianity and Judaism.

 

In 1194 BCE, the Philistines were repulsed by Rameses III in their invasion of Egypt. This caused them to settle in Canaan which was on the Southern Mediterranean Coast. By 1185 BCE, the Philistines had well established themselves along the Coast of Philistia. Settlements that had been established earlier in the region were already thriving. This encouraged the Philistines to begin working to subdue and make the most out of the land. In reference to Biblical narratives, the Philistines were hardworking and organized. This led to the creation of great problems with the early Israelite cities and tribes. They went to war and got defeated by King David, but this did not bring them down as they continued to thrive in their endeavors.

 

In 721 BCE, the Philistines lost their autonomy and got completely subdued by the Assyrians. The cities and towns of Palestine, as well as the remaining Philistines, got sucked up by the Assyrians in 604 BCE. The Assyrians also sold the inhabitants into slavery. Later, the region was declared to be part of the Neo-Assyrian Empire and then claimed by the Persians. After a while, it was liberated by Alexander the Great and later declared to be a Roman Province known as Judea.

 

Between 66 and 73 CE, there was the first war between the Jewish and the Romans. During the war, Titus destroyed Jerusalem, as well as the Second Temple. Following the Bar-Kochba revolt that occurred during 132-136 CE, the Emperor who was known as Hadrian became so enraged by the resistance of the Jews. This led him to rename the Province and call it Syria Palaestina. This name was derived from the two enemies of the Jews who were the Philistines and the Syrians. Additionally, Emperor Hadrian banished all the Jews from the area and built the city, Aelia Capitolinia, on Jerusalem ruins.

 

Under Constantine the Great, the Eastern Empire rose, and Palestine became a Christian Province. It remained in this state from 330 to 640 CE until the Muslim Forces invaded the land. Palestine became a much contested and war-torn region from then till today.