Syria, officially the Syrian Arab Republic, is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the west, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest. Its capital Damascus is among the oldest continuously-inhabited cities in the world. Since approximately 10,000 BC, Syria was one of the great culture centers where agriculture and cattle breeding appeared for the first time. With the destruction of the Hittites in the late 11th century BC, the Aramean tribes gained control of much of the area. The Assyrians introduced Imperial Aramaic as the official language of their empire which remained dominant in Syria and the entire Near East and was to be a vehicle for the spread of Christianity. Pompey the Great of the Roman Empire, captured Antioch in 64 BC, turning Syria into a Roman province.