What Was Jordan Called in Ancient Times?

Jordan, a country located in the Middle East, is known for its rich history and cultural heritage. The country has been inhabited since ancient times, and it has been home to various civilizations that have left their mark on the land.

But what was Jordan called in ancient times? Let’s explore.

Origins of the Name Jordan

The name “Jordan” is believed to have originated from the Hebrew word “Yarden,” which means “to descend” or “flow down.” This name is a reference to the Jordan River, which flows through the country and into the Dead Sea. The river has played an important role in the region’s history and culture.

Ancient Names of Jordan

Jordan has been known by different names throughout history. In ancient times, it was part of several empires and kingdoms that gave it different names. Here are some of them:


Moab was an ancient kingdom that existed in what is now modern-day Jordan. It was located east of the Dead Sea and was bordered by Edom to the south.

The Moabites were a Semitic people who spoke a language similar to Hebrew. Their kingdom flourished during the 9th century BC but declined after being conquered by Assyria in 715 BC.


Edom was another ancient kingdom that occupied parts of modern-day Jordan. It was located south of Moab and east of the Arabah Valley.

The Edomites were descendants of Esau, Jacob’s twin brother in Hebrew scripture, who settled in this region. They were known for their skill as metalworkers and controlled important trade routes between Arabia and Mesopotamia.


Nabatea was a kingdom that existed from around 400 BC to 106 AD. It covered parts of modern-day Jordan, Syria, and Saudi Arabia.

The Nabateans were a nomadic Arab tribe that settled in the region and became known for their skill as traders. They developed a sophisticated trading network that spanned from China to the Mediterranean.


Philistia was an ancient coastal region located in what is now modern-day Israel and Gaza. However, it also included parts of southern Jordan.

The Philistines were one of the major enemies of the Israelites in the Hebrew Bible. They were known for their military prowess and their use of iron weapons.


Jordan has had many names throughout history, reflecting its rich cultural heritage and diverse civilizations that have inhabited it over time. From Moab and Edom to Nabatea and Philistia, these ancient kingdoms have left their mark on the land and contributed to its unique character today. Understanding the history behind Jordan’s name is just one way to appreciate this fascinating country’s past and present.