The Nabataeans had already some tincture of foreign culture when they first appear in history. That culture was naturally Aramaic; they wrote a letter to Antigonus in Syriac letters, and Aramaic continued to be the language of their coins and inscriptions when the tribe grew into a kingdom, and profited by the decay of the Seleucids to extend its borders northward over the more fertile country east of the Jordan. They occupied Ilauran, and in about 85 their king Aretas became lord of Damascus and Coele-Syria. Allies of the first Hasmonaeans in their struggles against the Greeks, they became the rivals of the Judaean dynasty in the period of its splendor, and a chief element in the disorders which invited Pompey's intervention in Palestine. The Roman arms were not very successful, and King Aretas retained his whole possessions, including Damascus, as a Roman vassal. As allies of the Romans the Nabataeans continued to flourish throughout the first Christian century. 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. Under the Roman peace they lost their warlike and nomadic habits, and were a sober, acquisitive, orderly people, wholly intent on trade and agriculture. They might have long been a bulwark between Rome and the wild hordes of the desert but for the short-sighted cupidity of Trajan, who reduced Petra and broke up the Nabataean nationality. The new Arab invaders who soon pressed forward into their seats found the remnants of the Nabataeans transformed into fellai~tn (?), and speaking Aramaic like their neighbors. Hence Nabataeans became the Arabic name for Aramaeans, whether in Syria or Iral~ (?), a fact which has been incorrectly held to prove that the Nabataeans were originally Aramaean immigrants from. Babylonia. It is now known,however, that they were true Arabsas the proper names on their inscriptions show who had come under Aramaic influence.