Map: Syria in c. AD 500

Syria 200AD – 500AD


In the century after 200 AD[1] the Syrian provinces experienced invasions from the east in the 3rd century, and for a time was even ruled by a breakaway regime under the formidable queen, Zenobia of Palmyra.

With the unity of the Roman empire restored, peace and prosperity returned to the Syrian provinces in the 4th century. In the 5th century, while the western provinces were enduring massive German invasions which eventually led to the end of Roman rule there, the inhabitants of the Syrian provinces were enjoying a comparatively tranquil time, with no major disturbances.

With Christianity becoming the dominant religion of the Roman empire after Constantine (“the Great”)’s conversion in 311, Palestine became a centre of pilgrimage. Imperial patronage led to magnificent churches springing up in and around Jerusalem, and devout men and women from all over the empire came to live in the many monasteries which dotted the wilderness here.

The days when Syria would form the eastern frontier[2] of an empire based in Europe were coming to an end, however. The coming centuries would see the region restored to the Middle Eastern political and cultural sphere.

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