- The home of the one-hump camel (dromedary) was most likely the Arabian peninsula, from where there are indications for its domestication as early as the fourth millennium B.C. Depictions of camels from the Oman peninsula date to approximately 3000 B.C. The two-hump Bactrian camel came from the steppes of Central Asia. Both kinds are mentioned in Old Babylonian cuneiform texts. In at least one of them the dromedary occurs as a domesticated animal, but it is not before the middle of the second millennium B.C. that there is evidence for the widespread use of domesticated camels (dromedaries) for transportation and warfare. Especially for the stock-breeding nomads of the Syrian-Arabian steppe, camels meant greater mobility and independence from traditional pasture areas. In the overland trade, camels opened new caravan routes through territories that had been impassable before due to the lack of water. The oases along these routes—Palmyra, Djuma Djandal, Teima, al-Ula— became important trading places and military posts. Military expeditions such as Nabonidus’s conquest of Teima depended heavily on the use of camels. Therefore, they were important items among the booty and tribute from the Arabian Peninsula. Wall reliefs from Nineveh show Assyrian troops pursuing Arab fighters mounted on dromedaries. Bactrian camels being presented to the Assyrian monarch are depicted on the famous Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III (see WARFARE).
Historical Dictionary of Mesopotamia. EdwART. 2012.