From the first century все onwards, the vast expanses of the Arabian Peninsula were encircled by Roman provinces.2 Spread all over the Middle East, Arab groups of diverse lifestyle were in regular contact, if not part of the Roman cultural orbit, at the latest from the second century се onwards. They were involved in imperial affairs, regularly collaborated with imperial administrators, provided auxiliary forces to the empire’s eastern armies, participated indirectly in commercial exchange with the northwestern shores of the Mediterranean, may even have set foot on Western European soil in some cases, and probably encountered the occasional ‘Westerner’ in a Middle Eastern context. As long as the northwestern and the southeastern peripheries of the Mediterranean still belonged to one political entity, regular exchange very likely acquainted Arab groups of the second to the early fifth centuries with the fact that the Roman Empire extended far to the northwest.[1]

  • [1] See the beginning of Chapter 2.1. and Chapter 2.1.1.
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