History Files
 

 

Middle East Kingdoms

Ancient Arabic States

 

 

 

Kedarites / Kedar (Qedarites / Cedarenes)

The Kedarites were another nomadic Arabic people, just like their cousins, the Nabataeans. They occupied the desert regions of eastern Syria and present day Jordan, on the edge of the Levant. Also like their cousins, the Kedarites claimed an Israelite ancestor figure, this time being Kedar, second son of Ismael, who was himself one of the sons of Abraham. The truth of the claim is debatable, of course, as Abraham's sons are claimed as the founding fathers of many of the kingdoms which existed on the borders of ancient Israel.

The Kedarites emerged into the historical record first as enemies of the Neo-Assyrian empire, to be defeated in battle, and then as vassals. From then on they suffered fluctuating fortunes at the hands of successive empires in the region. It is unclear whether they ever fully settled as a city-dwelling people. More likely, they remained a semi-transient tribal confederation to a large extent.

fl c.1680s BC

Kedar ben Ishmael

Son of Ismael of the Israelites.

9th century BC

A Kedarite kingdom emerges on the eastern flank of the Levant, in eastern Syria and present day Jordan. Many small states have arisen by this time during the period of the Assyrian decline, with the Kedarite state being perhaps one of the last to emerge.

Dumat al-Jandal
Adumattu, modern Dumat al-Jandal, was the Kedarite capital, now in ruins

Kingdom of Kedar (Qedar / Qidri)
c.870 - 610 BC

Subdued by the resurgent Assyrian empire in the ninth century BC, The Kedarite kingdom survived as a vassal state, occasionally rebellious, but mostly compliant. Its capital was at Adumattu, the Akkadian name for the modern archaeological site of Dumat al-Jandal in north-western Saudi Arabia. It may well have been founded by the Kedarites, since the earliest findings date to the tenth century BC, and for a time it was also home to an important temple dedicated to Ishtar. The kingdom's female rulers have been referred to as 'queens of Aribi'.

Following the destruction of the Neo-Assyrian empire in 612 BC, the Kedarites enjoyed the resultant power vacuum in the sixth century BC, controlling a large swathe of territory between the Sinai and the Persian Gulf. The Kedarites are also mentioned in Aramaic and Old South Arabian inscriptions, and it seems likely that they were subsumed within the Roman-controlled Nabataean state by the second century AD.

c.870 - 850 BC

Gindibu

853 BC

Gindibu is the leader of the Arab forces in an alliance of states which also includes Ammon, Arvad, Byblos, Damascus, Edom, Egypt, Hamath, and Israel Together they fight Shalmaneser III of Assyria in a battle which consists of the largest known number of combatants to date, and is the first historical mention of the Arabs from the southern deserts. Despite claims to the contrary, the Assyrians are defeated, since they do not press on to their nearest target, Hamath. Little else is known of Gindibu or the Arabs of this period, but it is likely that he is from the region of Kedar, and may be responsible for the creation of the kingdom following his success in battle.

c.850 BC - ?

?

Name unknown.

?

Name unknown.

?

Name unknown.

?

Name unknown.

?

Name unknown.

? - c.750 BC

?

Sixth unknown ruler uncertain.

c.750 - 735 BC

Zabibe / Zabiba

Queen.

c.746 - 710 BC

Samsi / Samsil

Queen.

c.710 - 695 BC

Yatie / Iati'e

Queen.

c.690 - 678 BC

Te'elkhunu / Te'elhunu

Queen, and high priestess of Atarsamain.

690 - 676 BC

Hazael / Hazail

Co-ruler, and remained so for two years with Tabua.

c.678 - 675 BC

Tabua

Queen.

676 - 652 BC

Yauta ibn Hazail / 'Iauta / Uaite / Yawthi'i

Son of Hazail.

652 BC

Abyate ibn Teri challenges Yauta ibn Hazail for control of the kingdom, but despite being successful, he never fully gains the support of his people.

652 - 644 BC

Abyate ibn Teri

c.652 BC

Ammuladi / Ammuladin

Opposed Abyate ibn Teri.

c.650 - 644 BC

Yaute / Uayte ben Birdadda

Opposed Abyate ibn Teri.

644 BC

Kedar is conquered by Assyria, possibly one of the empire's final acts of expansion.

644 - ? BC

?

Assyrian vassal, name unknown.

?

Assyrian vassal, name unknown.

?

Assyrian vassal, name unknown.

?

Assyrian vassal, name unknown.

? - 610 BC

?

Possible fifth Assyrian vassal, name unknown.

610 BC

With the fall of Assyria, the Neo-Babylonian empire rises to fill the power vacuum, maintaining its grip on Kedar. During the sixth century BC there appears to be a movement towards Kedarite independence, with an apparently independent rule emerging at Dedan, although little is known of it or its level of success in remaining independent. Its disappearance in circa 550 BC suggests that it fails.

c.580 - 565 BC

Mati-il

Ruled at Dedan.

c.565 - 550 BC

Kabaril ibn Mati-il

Ruled at Dedan.

552 - 539 BC

The Babylonian king, Nabonidus, moves his capital to Teima, deep in Kedarite territory. The Kedarites are a people with whom he has good relations, and the place feels safer to him than Babylon. His arrival is probably what causes the disappearance of the Kedarite 'state' at Dedan.

539 BC

The Persian capture of Babylonia witnesses the rise of a new empire in the region, although Kedar remains a client state. Kedarites are employed as vassal rulers of southern Jordan and the Negev Desert.

Kedarite Bedawi Kings of Southern Jordan & the Negev
539 BC - AD 106?

The Bedawis were a Kidarite clan which rose to prominence under the control of the Persian empire. Chosen to supply client kings to govern southern Jordan and the Negev Desert. During this period, Moab disappeared from the historical record, the area being overrun by Arabs who included the Kedarites and the Nabataeans.

539 - ? BC

?

Persian vassal, name unknown.

?

Persian vassal, name unknown.

?

Persian vassal, name unknown.

?

Persian vassal, name unknown.

? - c.470 BC

?

Possible fifth Persian vassal, name unknown.

c.470 - 450 BC

Shahr I / Shahru

c.450 - 430 BC

Gashmu / Geshem ben Shahr

Son.

c.430 - 410 BC

Quainu / Kaynau bar Geshem

Son.

c.410 - ? BC

?

Persian vassal, name unknown.

?

Persian vassal, name unknown.

?

Persian vassal, name unknown.

?

Persian vassal, name unknown.

? - 332 BC

?

Possible fifth Persian vassal, name unknown.

334 - 330 BC

Persia is conquered by the Greek Empire under Alexander the Great.

Kedarite fortress of Marid
Dumat al-Jandal later housed the fortress of Marid, shown here

332 - 323 BC

Alexander the Great's Greek Empire rules the entire region until his death. Subsequently the empire is divided during the Wars of the Diadochi. Between 323-305 BC the wars see shifting fortunes and changes of ruler in the Levant, but the Seleucids emerge as the controlling power there. Little is known about the Kedarites, but it is thought that they remain in place as local rulers, administering the same territories as before. Unfortunately, none of their names have been preserved.

323 - c.250 BC

The Kedarites fall out of Greek control, instead being dominated by the Lihyans.

c.250 BC

Lihyan control of the Kedarites is superseded by that of the Nabataeans.

AD 106

Nabataea is conquered by the Roman empire, becoming the capital of the province of Arabia Petraea. Dumat is incorporated into the empire and the Kedarites lose their individual identity.

269

Zenobia, queen of Palmyra, mentions Dumat as a city with a fortress immune to conquest. The fortress of Marid subsequently withstands an attack by Rome during the queen's revolt against the empire, although it is unclear if this is because she has captured it.

5th century

Towards the later part of the century, Dumat becomes the capital of the kingdom of Kindah.

633

The Islamic empire makes one of its first territorial gains when Khalid ibn al-Walid captures Dumat al-Jandal. Kedarite identity, if any remains by this time, becomes totally submerged within the empire in its various forms and successors over the subsequent fourteen centuries. In the modern age parts of it form the kingdom of Jordan.